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Old 07-26-2020, 10:25 AM   #1
Join Date: Jul 2020
Location: State of Maine
Posts: 33
Another Skoolie vs Cutaway thread with questions

I know this is primarily a skoolie site, but the cutaway question comes up frequently.

As I understand it the 2 big strikes against cutaway have been 1) A school bus is simply safer and 2) Cutaways are often close to their gross weight with body and conversion, if not over. Feel free to add any if I have missed and big strikes.

Cutaways (non-school bus) seem to be given the following plusses. 1) Interior height is often better, 2) The windows let in more light, 3) The price of parts, and 4) Larger availability of service. Again, feel free to add cutaway pros that you hear here.

So, here is where my forum searching and lots of reading fails me. All of the discussions on cutaways that I have read that also mention a vehicle chassis are discussing the E-350 or E-450. That helps to get an idea, but we are considering the shuttle busses based on either the F-550(not E) or the G5500 platform as one route we could go.

So here are the two shuttle bus/cutaway question ... for now ...

Would the F-550 or G5500 platform be a better platform than the E3/450 in terms of carrying a conversion and all your gear?

(Ok this one is a multipart question and a little bit of facts). Generally, how safer is a school bus really? Specifically when in motion we plan to have the passenger (there are and will be only 2 of us) buckled in, many of the F-550/G5500 I have seen have a real passenger seat in the Ford/GM section of the vehicle ahead of the steps; if are in the vehicle portion is a bus still really safer?

Finally, does anyone know any really good forums for conversion of shuttle busses? Basically a great resource to read and ask questions, just like this forum, ony with a slightly different focus?

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Old 07-26-2020, 12:07 PM   #2
Bus Crazy
roach711's Avatar
Join Date: May 2010
Location: Farmington Hills, Mi (Detroit area)
Posts: 1,965
Year: 2000
Coachwork: Eldorado Aerotech 24'
Chassis: Ford E-450 Cutaway Bus
Engine: 7.3L Powerstroke
Rated Cap: 19
I can't speak to the E450/F550 differences but our Eldorado E450 cutaway has a 14,040 lb GVWR and after conversion with fuel (55 gal), propane (2 20lb) and water tank (35gal) full and with the two of us and our stuff loaded we're right at 12,000 lbs. I'm running our "E" weight range tires, which normally call for 80 lbs, at 60 lbs for a better ride. Remember that the GVWR includes a full load of humans which you presumably won't be hauling anymore.

Undoubtedly the school bus bodies will be superior in a crash but the Eldorado fiberglass bodies are also crash tested and pretty sturdy.

Starcraft bodies have a bad reputation but Ive never seen one up close.
The Roach Motel
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Old 07-26-2020, 01:35 PM   #3
Bus Nut
BeNimble's Avatar
Join Date: Jul 2020
Location: Sacramento
Posts: 994
Year: 1999
There are versions of the E450 buses that have a real passenger door and seat, although much harder to find. The truck cab has a longer nose than the vans, that might help with travel noise having the engine farther way from the driver.

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