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Old 07-12-2010, 08:08 AM   #1
Join Date: Jul 2010
Posts: 13
Newbie questions

I found two Carpenter '92 Ford 71 passenger cummins 5.9 three speed auto buses for sale locally. Price is within my budget of around $2200 so I went and had a look, test drive yesterday.
Both had close to 140K miles and seemed to be clean, rust free. The one I was able to drive (bus # 1) seemed very underpowered. Sluggish getting to speed and had a tough time doing 60 mph. Really slowed down on slight uphill grades also. I am wondering if this is normal?
Bus #2 was in better shape cosmetically but would not start due to dead batteries. It also had some tire cracking on the rears where bus #1 had what looked like new tires.
Both had air brakes however, bus #1 took a long time to get to pressure for the alarm to go off.

I was mostly disappointed in the "underpowered" area. The ride was horrible also. Perhaps removing a leaf or two from the springs might soften it...

Next option is a '94 Blue Bird with a 7.3l auto. Seller says it has a little over 100K miles. Priced at $2400, a little over budget but may make an offer if it is a better bus. I've yet to go have a look at this one.

My ultimate question is regarding the choice of chassis, drivetrains. I don't need it to run more than 70 mph but I would like for it to have enough power to merge. 5.9 cummins, 7.3l or ??? Whats the suggested power?

I'm located in north Texas so, anyone selling near hear please contact me.

Glad to have found this forum and hopefully I can contribute useful info in the future.

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Old 07-12-2010, 10:25 AM   #2
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Location: Estevan, Saskatchewan, Canada
Posts: 1,485
Year: 1990
Coachwork: Goshen
Chassis: Ford
Engine: 7.3
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Re: Newbie questions

nothing wrong with some pep lol.

if the bus is having hard times getting up to speed and going up hills empty then id think thats a tired engine...
bus #2 wouldnt even start then has to be a drain problem or the batteries are beyond their time and would need replaced

the bus with the 7.3 and auto might be an option. give it a good look over.

bottom line is dont 'jump' on the sale
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Old 07-12-2010, 01:00 PM   #3
Join Date: Jul 2010
Posts: 13
Re: Newbie questions

Yea, I would have thought the 5.9 would do much better. I have the 5.9 in my old '92 1 ton with nearly 400k miles and have no problems towing my heavy tractor up to speed.
The #1 bus engine was very solid sounding, had the cleanest oil I've ever seen for a diesel and the exhaust had no smell of using crankcase oil. I'm thinking maybe it had a fueling problem else it is not a good match with the three speed automatic in the heavy bus.

I'm also wondering how much quieter of a ride it might be after a conversion? Pretty hard to have a conversation in this empty bus while going down the road. Would be very fatiguing after a few hundred miles.
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Old 07-12-2010, 01:07 PM   #4
Join Date: Jul 2010
Posts: 13
Re: Newbie questions

Originally Posted by cincinnati_kid
I would shy away from the one with bad tires as well unless it is a dealer then maybe you can make a deal with him either that price off the bus or he puts tires on it. The 5.9 can make plenty of power but the trans can only hold so much. I have a 7.3 in my bus and I love it. She runs great and gets up to speed very nicely. Mine would do 70 + but with the governor it stops at 65. Once it gets to 65 you can hear it idle down. This is prob safer and better on the wallet.
I don't think this one would ever hit the governor unless it was a down hill run. I'd be happy with 65 mph if it would get there in a reasonable amount of time.
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