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Old 12-10-2015, 08:38 AM   #1
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Advice for buying the right bus

Hey everyone! I'm currently looking for the right bus to buy to build my future home in! I am currently looking at a 1998 International short bus with 134,000 miles on it. It's their 3600 model with a 7.3L V8 diesel engine. I was wondering if any of you have had any experience with this particular model and what some pros and cons of it were?


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Old 12-10-2015, 03:28 PM   #2
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Join Date: Nov 2015
Location: Billings, MT
Posts: 1,269
Year: 2003
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: HDX
Engine: Cat C7
Rated Cap: 84 passenger
Right now, the BIGGEST thing I'd tell you is that a short bus will run out of room VERY QUICKLY. You'll fill it up in no time flat.

I recently purchased Brunhilde, an 03 Thomas HDX with 128K on the clock. This beast is HUGE! 96" wide with a 273" wheelbase. The only intrusions into the passenger compartment (behind the white line) are the wheel arches and the doghouse at the rear. I have about 240 sq ft of floor space. You can easily divide that into living/bath & kitchen/bed and not trip across everything. And, it has 78" of headroom.
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Old 12-10-2015, 10:43 PM   #3
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Join Date: Sep 2013
Location: Denver
Posts: 489
Year: 1982
Coachwork: Blue Bird
Chassis: International S1800
Engine: DT466 Trans: MT643
Rated Cap: 65
Make sure you post in the correct section of this forum in the future.
Patina enthusiast and professional busman
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Old 12-11-2015, 09:32 AM   #4
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Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Winlcok, WA
Posts: 2,230
The IHC is the most common chassis in school buses. Common equals easy to find parts at reasonable prices.

The 7.3L is essentially the same engine as used in Ford pickups and vans of the same vintage. As a result, there is a lot of aftermarket support for the engine including forums to help you with issues. Parts and pieces to increase performance and drivability are available at reasonable prices.

As installed in a school bus the 7.3L had a range of HP options ranging from 160 HP to 210 HP--considerably less than in Ford products but resulted in a very long service life. 250,000-350,000 miles is not unusual.

I would agree with CaptSquid about the size. In most cases you can get an 11-13 row bus for about the same price. Unless you have a requirement that dictates the shorter bus you may want to consider stretching you sights to fit a long bus. Longer buses will ride a lot smoother and are not that much different to drive once you discover you reference points and how long it takes to get around a corner.

The number one thing to look for is rust. If the bus has any amount of rust find another bus. Rust repair can become very expensive very quickly.

When it comes to bus bodies you will discover the same sort of Ford/Chevy/Dodge discussion between Thomas/Blue Bird/IC. I have my preferences but they are all well built and similar in construction.

IC has had 12" windows standard since about 2003. They are still optional at Thomas and Blue Bird. 3" may not sound like a lot but it gets eaten up very quickly if you add a new floor or extra insulation in the roof.

Good luck and happy trails.
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1998, 7.3l, diesel, international, shortbus

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