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Old 08-14-2020, 04:47 PM   #1
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Pusher or Puller...PROS & CONS

As I continue to research my wants and needs, wonder what the pros & cons of rear engine or forward? Your thoughts?


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Old 08-14-2020, 05:01 PM   #2
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Rear engines are quieter but make it harder if you want a rear deck or are going to tow something. Also, the emergency exits will be on the side and roof instead of straight out the back.

Front engine has dog nose or flat nose. A Flat nose puller is the hardest to work on for the engine and the loudest to drive.

Turning radius on flat nose tends to be shorter and they are arguably easier to drive.
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Old 08-14-2020, 08:06 PM   #3
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Old 08-14-2020, 08:46 PM   #4
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I would have wanted a pusher...but I was worried about having the long front and rear overhang. Dog nose also means I could have a manual transmission and I really love the manual.

I've heard of a coach or 2 that were pushers with manuals but that linkage has to be 30 foot long!
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Old 08-14-2020, 09:51 PM   #5
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I googled it, but could not found how a rear engine bus is setup, does it have a normal front engine transmission and a short driveshaft? Cars use transaxles which integrate the differential with the transmission to keep the length short. Probably not a priority for a bus. The issue with transaxles is making them matchup with different engines is not simple, but it is simple in a front engine, just a new driveshaft is needed if you swap engines.
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Old 08-14-2020, 10:52 PM   #6
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I googled it, but could not found how a rear engine bus is setup, does it have a normal front engine transmission and a short driveshaft? Cars use transaxles which integrate the differential with the transmission to keep the length short. Probably not a priority for a bus. The issue with transaxles is making them matchup with different engines is not simple, but it is simple in a front engine, just a new driveshaft is needed if you swap engines.
Nope, rear engine buses just have the rear end facing towards the back of the bus. The engine and transmission mount behind the rear axle and then there's a short driveshaft that feeds into the rear end. Nothing at all like a rear engine car.

The main advantage of this is the ability to build massive understorage compartments between the axles and completely enclose it without having to work around an exhaust pipe or driveshaft.
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Old 08-15-2020, 08:32 AM   #7
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Rear engine buses are quieter, tend to ride better and, depending on make and model easier to work on. Also as mentioned may have larger under storage. Flat nose buses have more interior space.
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Old 08-15-2020, 10:57 AM   #8
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Flat nose buses have more interior space.

The district I drive in exclusively requires flat nose buses for this reason. Our routes are very congested so we need all the space we can get. 84 passenger All Americans make up the majority of the fleet with a few 76/78 pax in the mix.



We've never had a conventional full size in this district and for good reason.
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Old 08-15-2020, 12:33 PM   #9
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We installed soundproofing all along the cabin walls in our pusher. On the highway I can carry on a conversation in a normal voice with my passenger even halfway back in the rig. Watching YouTube videos I see people with FE buses yelling to eachother or the camera.


I haven't even plugged all the holes in the front yet...
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Old 08-15-2020, 01:56 PM   #10
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We chose a dog nose for the clearance. We boondock as far out in the wilderness as we can get. We take the bus down forest service roads we probably have no business taking it on and it's handled them all like a champ. We routinely hear "How the hell did you get a bus back here?!" from people on 4 wheelers.
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Old 08-15-2020, 02:16 PM   #11
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Nope, rear engine buses just have the rear end facing towards the back of the bus. The engine and transmission mount behind the rear axle and then there's a short driveshaft that feeds into the rear end. Nothing at all like a rear engine car.

The main advantage of this is the ability to build massive understorage compartments between the axles and completely enclose it without having to work around an exhaust pipe or driveshaft.
Thanks. So just a different the rear axle and engine swap would be no problem. That makes the 1953 non-running bus for sale more attractive if I can swap a V10 into it.
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Old 08-15-2020, 04:32 PM   #12
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You lose rear access to interior on a rear engine bus. I have a "garage" in the back of mine that would not be possible on an RE. Easier rear bedroom in an RE than an FE.
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Old 08-15-2020, 04:58 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by BeNimble View Post
I googled it, but could not found how a rear engine bus is setup, does it have a normal front engine transmission and a short driveshaft? Cars use transaxles which integrate the differential with the transmission to keep the length short. Probably not a priority for a bus. The issue with transaxles is making them matchup with different engines is not simple, but it is simple in a front engine, just a new driveshaft is needed if you swap engines.
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Originally Posted by BeNimble View Post
Thanks. So just a different the rear axle and engine swap would be no problem. That makes the 1953 non-running bus for sale more attractive if I can swap a V10 into it.

The *OLD* Detroit Diesel engines could be built as "Reverse Rotation" engines, for industrial, marine, or rear engine bus use (the old 2-stroke engines). To answer the question, rear engine buses use standard rotation engines, transmissions and short driveshafts. The axle faces backwards and the gears are "flipped" internally (using a flipped carrier assembly) so the axle "pulls" away from the engine for forward motion. This means you can't use a pusher axle in a front engine bus, unless you either flip the gears or run a reverse rotation engine.


My next question about the vintage bus is this: What engine is in it now (if any)? The old Detroits can be rebuilt reasonably and will be a far superior engine than the V10 for a full size bus. Also, although the V10's can be had easily enough, you *ABSOLUTELY* will need a transmission heavier than anything Ford used (unless something like an F550 or higher). So, no cannibalizing something out of an E- or F350 for long term use.
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Old 08-15-2020, 07:01 PM   #14
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You lose rear access to interior on a rear engine bus. I have a "garage" in the back of mine that would not be possible on an RE. Easier rear bedroom in an RE than an FE.
Yeah no rear bedroom for us
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Old 08-15-2020, 07:01 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by o1marc View Post
You lose rear access to interior on a rear engine bus. I have a "garage" in the back of mine that would not be possible on an RE. Easier rear bedroom in an RE than an FE.

That's one of my CONS, been doing alot of thinking (trucker enroute with load from WA to IN), but today what I was thinking....take about 5+ feet forward of RE partition off (with door) and cut separate access door on either side.


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Old 08-15-2020, 07:47 PM   #16
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Some people like getting the handicap bus and remove the lift just keeping the door for access.
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Old 08-15-2020, 09:03 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by tlzimmerman View Post
I would have wanted a pusher...but I was worried about having the long front and rear overhang. Dog nose also means I could have a manual transmission and I really love the manual.

I've heard of a coach or 2 that were pushers with manuals but that linkage has to be 30 foot long!

I have a 1966 Fishbowl with a non syncrho 4 speed stick .. the linkage is long but surpsinlgy little slop
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Old 08-19-2020, 04:14 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by o1marc View Post
You lose rear access to interior on a rear engine bus. I have a "garage" in the back of mine that would not be possible on an RE. Easier rear bedroom in an RE than an FE.
What a RE loses in rear access for the garage it gains in under bay storage. I don't know what to do with all the potential pass through storage space i could build, all with no sacrifice to interior living space.
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Old 08-19-2020, 04:17 PM   #19
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Rear engines are quieter but make it harder if you want a rear deck or are going to tow something.
I've heard people talk about the towing issue but i don't think i fully understand the problem. My current plan is to flat tow an old 4x4, maybe a Jeep. I'll have a bumper mounted hitch receiver i can swing down onto the bus hitch, then flip it up and strap it to the hood when I'm driving around. Is there issues with this style?
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Old 08-19-2020, 04:19 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by aswallie View Post
What a RE loses in rear access for the garage it gains in under bay storage. I don't know what to do with all the potential pass through storage space i could build, all with no sacrifice to interior living space.

So I decided go thru with a pusher. Perfect timing because my local school district just but a few of theirs up for auction. I'm bidding on a 2006 A3 RE 3904.


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