Originally Posted by atthebeginning
I am trying to decide how much to spend on a bus. I've found some great looking buses, 1993 IHC's, 71 passenger. They have the DT 360 engine which is a bit underpowered reading through the comments. I would really like to have a Cummins ISB 6.7 but I'll probably need to spend $30k vs $5k. An engine rebuild could even that out down the road. I'm not looking to go to the drags but I'd like the bus to cruise nicely with a CRV in tow. I don't have an unlimited budget but I'd like to have a solid, dependable bus that can perform pretty well. I've looked at and been in a lot of high end motorhomes and the more I see the more I want to do a school bus. I've found some buses with the VT 365 which when you talk to diesel folks can be made to perform pretty well in spite of their reputation. I have to wonder if there aren't some cautionary tales out there about a school bus dream that was shattered after all the work because of mechanical breakdowns. Hope to hear from the community. Thank you in advance.
Not familiar with a 6.7 Cummins engine, the most common in these buses is the 5.9 and 8.3 I *Have* seen a few factory equipped with N14 Cummins engines (Well, online, not in person, but checking the VIN backs up the claim).
The VT365 is similar to the Ford 6.0 (both made by Navistar) and have their shortcomings. Cheap to buy and costly to fix, but from what I understand, they are reliable runners after the upgrades. I'm guessing it will still not provide as much torque as the DT360 ... Yes, there was a member here who did buy a VT365 bus and it suffered a major engine failure on their way home. I believe they said IH wanted something like $25K to redo it.... From my understanding, these engines are horrible expensive to fix after a major failure, but only moderately expensive if upgraded before they fail.
Another member bought a flat-front bus with the 5.9 Cummins and it began overheating shortly after leaving the seller. I do not remember the details of their adventure, but as memory serves me they ended up cutting their losses and sold it locally (at a loss) before returning home. The Cummins 5.9 is a decent engine and has a reputation to match; it may be underpowered in a full size bus.
The IH/Navistar DT466 is perhaps the best bang-for-the-buck going. These engines produce far more torque than any of the V8 style engines mentioned so far, have been in production since '75 and have an excellent reputation and parts availability. The 8.3 Cummins is a somewhat larger engine and was the primary competitor for the DT466 (7.6L).
I have long since liked the aesthetic of the (*Ahem*) "Old School" buses, the rounded roofs and curved (flat) back windows, the 50's and 60's style front-ends from GM and Ford, the pre-Loadstar style IH chassis. But these ol' gas burners are getting hard to find parts for, and if I ever built one, I'd find a larger diesel engine to drop into it - maybe an M11 or N14 or ISX Cummins, complete with 10-speed transmission.