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Old 09-21-2022, 11:06 AM   #1
Mini-Skoolie
 
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Bus searching

Hey all.
I've been eying up busses for a camper conversion for a while.
I bought a bus a while back with a dt360 and allison 545 for 1100$ but had to dump it for unforseen circumstances.
I recently checked out a winnebago for 5000$ with blown engine thinking that might be a simpler way to go, but the rv quality is something lacking. I think I'd prefer to have a strongly built vehicle that's ugly but simple to work with.

I guess I'd love some input from you all.
I'm hoping to find a bus new enough that it has a better transmission than the old one I had. Something that has a lockup converter and 2000rpm or less at 100km/h. Yes I'm in Canada hehe.
I also want the longest possible bus 72 passenger I believe just so there's lots of space to work with.
Id plan to use angle iron and tubing to Frame in beds and counters and cupboards and then rivet on thin panel or even plastic with wallpaper over it. Whatever is easy cheap light and durable.

I'm 99% sure I'm after a dt466e powered bus with manual or reliable auto as long as it doesn't scream down highway at 2600rpm like the the at545 did.

Just wondering if anyone knows a good place to look on the Canadian prairies for busses.

This will be for fun to go on trips with friends or kids, not for living in. So I plan to keep it rather simple and not tear out walls and put better insulation. I'd love great insulation cause it's always nice but just not worth all the work and cost I don't think.

If a bus is year 2000 or newer is the floor likely good or could it be rusted through already?

Anyone know the years that they started using better transmissions? I believe junk like the at545 phased out in the late 90s but not sure.

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Old 09-21-2022, 06:56 PM   #2
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If a bus is year 2000 or newer is the floor likely good or could it be rusted through already?
If a Canadian bus (or a bus from anywhere that uses salt on the roads) is for sale, it almost certainly has a well-rusted floor already. I'm a school bus driver and even our brand-new buses straight from the factory leak badly.

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I'm 99% sure I'm after a dt466e powered bus with manual or reliable auto as long as it doesn't scream down highway at 2600rpm like the the at545 did.
Your RPMs at highway speed are going to be more dependent on the bus' rear gear ratio. My bus has a DT466e and a very reliable 2000-series Allison transmission, but it has a 6.17 rear gear ratio so my engine is screaming at 2600 RPM when I'm doing its top speed of 67 mph (which is never).
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Old 09-21-2022, 06:59 PM   #3
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At545

That bottom of the line transmission was used at least until the 2000ís. That is twenty years ago. I have a 1998 with the at545 I will install a used transmission and by the time I am done I expect to spend $3000. And do the install myself. The programming will be done by an outside shop. Look for buses built 2000 or later and you will have to get under them and verify what transmission is in the bus.

William
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Old 09-22-2022, 01:00 PM   #4
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So newer than 2000.
And was it 2003 or 2006 that they started with the egr system on engines?
Leaves a narrow window of years.
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Old 09-22-2022, 02:11 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Parkland View Post
I think I'd prefer to have a strongly built vehicle that's ugly but simple to work with.
Are you opposed to going (much) older and possibly manual transmission? 80's and early 90's buses are still available. They're as simple as can be.
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Old 09-22-2022, 02:26 PM   #6
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Are you opposed to going (much) older and possibly manual transmission? 80's and early 90's buses are still available. They're as simple as can be.
I guess it depends what I can find. And for what price. I saw the perfect bus (full size, dt466, overdrive ) for 3000$ a few weeks back but couldn't get away from work and it sold in 2 days.

It looks like most are more $.
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Old 09-22-2022, 03:05 PM   #7
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Hmmm... I suggested older and manual before looking, because I assumed that the Canadian prairies have a similar used bus market to my area (Montana). Apparently not so... at any give time I can find at least one or two manual transmission older buses within a day's drive of me. Sometimes diesel, sometimes gas. I didn't find much of anything between 1970 and 2000 in AB, SK, or MB. Only thing I saw that interested me (maybe not you) was this one in Revelstoke:
https://www.kijiji.ca/v-cars-other/r...0258?undefined

I assume that's too far from you and the ad lacks useful info.
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Old 09-22-2022, 03:13 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tejon7 View Post
Hmmm... I suggested older and manual before looking, because I assumed that the Canadian prairies have a similar used bus market to my area (Montana). Apparently not so... at any give time I can find at least one or two manual transmission older buses within a day's drive of me. Sometimes diesel, sometimes gas. I didn't find much of anything between 1970 and 2000 in AB, SK, or MB. Only thing I saw that interested me (maybe not you) was this one in Revelstoke:
https://www.kijiji.ca/v-cars-other/r...0258?undefined

I assume that's too far from you and the ad lacks useful info.
I'm pretty sure I contacted that guy already and either it was a t444e engine or rear end ratio wasn't what I want
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Old 09-22-2022, 03:55 PM   #9
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sometimes we have to bight the bullet and get the motor and tranny we want and change the rear gears?
each one is specific as far what they have.
there is no definite until you look at it.
you can ask all you want and they can lie all they want.
sure a newer all electric bus will be computer controlled without knowing what is there without unlocking the controls.
older mechanical stuff you get what it was specified as from the school district.
i have one that was built for stop and go on the flat lands with a 6.50 rear and we run 49 mph with a stick as cruise. thats my 86 full size family camper.
then i have an 04 chevy express cutaway all electrical engine ran 75-80 on the interstate and was ready for more.
its all about choice for what you want.
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Old 09-22-2022, 07:00 PM   #10
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So newer than 2000.
And was it 2003 or 2006 that they started with the egr system on engines?
Leaves a narrow window of years.
2004 mandated (sort of) EGR, 2007 mandated DPF and 2010 mandated DEF.
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Old 09-22-2022, 09:04 PM   #11
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2004 mandated (sort of) EGR, 2007 mandated DPF and 2010 mandated DEF.
Never really thought about it before, but do those same years apply to Canadian spec'd buses?
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Old 09-22-2022, 10:20 PM   #12
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Never really thought about it before, but do those same years apply to Canadian spec'd buses?
Good question, I have no idea. My guess is if the Canadian school district bought US-made buses then they'd have the same EPA-mandated emissions equipment/standards by default.
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Old 09-23-2022, 09:54 AM   #13
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why is everyone so crap on the T444E? I have one and i'll gladly race you in your DT466.. i will win


point being you can make a triple 4E do anything you need a school bus to do...



im not sure how busses are bought and sold in canada.. id think going to the dry west would be the best place to get one, I guess thats the prairies? its all freezong cold to me ..



in the states EGR started in the 2004 model year for the IH and many of the CATerpillar engines..



EGR in and of itself isnt bad.. you just have to take care of the coolant so the EGR coolers dont cavitate... and if you find a bus that was in a more rural route where it ran longer run times you have a much better chance of getting an EGR cooler that was always heated fully and moisture cleared from the exhaust passages..



short run city busses in cold climates hopefully have webasto or espar units on them which would also help if you ended up in an EGR bus..
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Old 09-23-2022, 10:06 AM   #14
Mini-Skoolie
 
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I'm not anti t444e I love that engine and have had a few trucks with 7.3 in them.
For a bus I'd rather have an engine like a dt360 or dt466 just they're rebuildable without pulling block and they are a little tougher is all.
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Old 09-23-2022, 04:32 PM   #15
Mini-Skoolie
 
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2009 Thomas B2B Diesel

Just picked up a 2009 puller from auction and will sell it for $2500. It is a front engine bus that seats 34 kids... I will get picture up asap

Bill
509-670-3246
bhaley51@gmail.com
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Old 09-23-2022, 05:06 PM   #16
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was it what you wanted?
is it something you aint scared to work on?
congragulations.
dont be scared to drive it home.
just get it and go.
an in transit sign in the back might help depending on the states you are crossing ?
heck if you asked me to drive it and gave me point A to point B i would run with nothing if thats what you have.
brought to many vehicle's home with nothing but insurance.
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Old 09-23-2022, 05:12 PM   #17
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bill so you are buying stuff to sell?
go to the classifieds or buy sell swap stuff here.
but the forum and i am not the one to answer for this here.
classified might be better.
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