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Old 05-20-2020, 04:35 AM   #1
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Shortest rear engine bus

What is the shortest rear engine bus made? particularly 15-20 years ago, so that the price would be reasonable
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Old 05-20-2020, 05:32 AM   #2
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All the REs I've seen are 36-40 feet in length. I have seen a few Thomas REs at Midwest Transit in Whitestown which from a distance look like they could be as short as 30-32 feet and are wheelchair lift and roof AC equipped so special needs buses. I could be off with my estimate though and they could just be 36-footers. I cannot imagine rear engine buses getting much shorter than that although I cannot give a reason why. Perhaps simply no need or demand for such a configuration.
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Old 05-20-2020, 06:39 AM   #3
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All the REs I've seen are 36-40 feet in length. I have seen a few Thomas REs at Midwest Transit in Whitestown which from a distance look like they could be as short as 30-32 feet and are wheelchair lift and roof AC equipped so special needs buses. I could be off with my estimate though and they could just be 36-footers. I cannot imagine rear engine buses getting much shorter than that although I cannot give a reason why. Perhaps simply no need or demand for such a configuration.
I think there are some 32' Thomas RE's.
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Old 05-20-2020, 07:12 AM   #4
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My 2001 Thomas HDX is just less than 31’ bumper to bumper. I’m going to try and pass for 30’ at length limited camping spots. Everybody always says “What is this”? “30 feet”?
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Old 05-20-2020, 10:35 AM   #5
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My 2001 Thomas HDX is just less than 31’ bumper to bumper. I’m going to try and pass for 30’ at length limited camping spots. Everybody always says “What is this”? “30 feet”?
So, when there is a length limit, is that just the bus, or are they counting the car trailer or toad you are pulling too?
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Old 05-20-2020, 08:43 PM   #6
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Maybe someone more familiar can chime in on the rules. I just know that 30’ is a magic number some places. Nat. Parks? I’m not planning on a toad myself. Ms. meathead and I prob won’t stay more than 2 nights anywhere. But..All Plans Subject To Change!
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Old 05-20-2020, 09:11 PM   #7
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I've seen a <30ft rear engine bus, I thought they didn't exist, and was in the process of telling someone that they didn't, and of course not a day later I found two for sale. I think they were 28ish ft. BUT they were not skoolies, they looked to be maybe airport shuttles or something of the like, sorta 'rv style' with a mid door if I recall correctly. Can't recall if they were fiberglass or metal bodies, but they certainly didn't look as 'robust' as a skoolie body.
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Old 05-20-2020, 11:01 PM   #8
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we had a deposit on 31.5" RE when all the C19 stuff started. withdrew the deposit and ended up buying a 35' RE. So they exist, just maybe not as common.
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Old 05-20-2020, 11:49 PM   #9
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There are Gillig Low Floor transits at 27 and 28 feet. They were sold mostly into the Northeast from 1999-2001. New Hampshire got a bunch of them, because of the mountains and low passenger volume. They were very well kept, most with rebuilt motors and trans at about 375k miles, and they're still out there. I think some are still in service. Yankees hang onto good things.



I've seen two converted. Not easy to convert, but the Gillig LF is a great platform, and WAY over-engineered for that length. I missed one a couple of years ago that looked like new inside & out. Holding out for another...
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Old 05-21-2020, 12:29 AM   #10
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My company runs several of these in the fleet. The drivers like em and they are short. Temsa makes these in Turkey but they have Cummins ISX's and Allison transmissions. It may be awhile before these coaches end up on the used market though since they didn't start importing them until 2014 or so.
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Old 05-21-2020, 03:51 AM   #11
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Eldoradio National also made RE shuttle buses as short as 29' from '92-2013, but I haven't seen any newer than 2000 or for sale ever. They come up occasionally, almost always the shorter ones...


These were nice units, too, with good packaging for the small size. The ones I have seen were all airport car rental shuttles new, with a single central door. They have distinctive fiberglass body panels and end caps, on an Oshkosh (think motorhome) chassis with the Cummins ISB/Allison combo:


ElDorado National Escort RE-A Bus - Soderholm Bus & Shuttle Sales & Leasing
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Old 05-23-2020, 07:27 AM   #12
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Thanks for the input...in the evolution of my thought processes, I had come to the conclusion that a Gillig 40' was the dream bus for me. They have a 102" wide bus that would allow for lots of insulation in the walls to keep my tootsies nice and warm in the winter. Then, with a year or two of thinking put into it - and a big spreadsheet - I have started thinking about downsizing the bus in order to downsize the cost of building, maintenance and hopefully to get a little better gas mileage. I would like to find something small enough to be able to use the cummins 6bt or the Ford 7.3 diesel engines. These seem to be the cheapest to maintain and to rebuild, as well as being really durable. I would like it to be 28+ long, so that I still have a comfortable space for a bedroom, kitchen, bathroom and living room/dorm. It will also probably serve as my tiny house for the next 5 years or so. I also want to be able to cruise on interstates at 70 mph (flat land) without distressing the engine...and hopefully get at least 12 mpg. The rear engine platform provides for a whole lot of space. Sigh...this is my dream...
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Old 05-23-2020, 08:23 AM   #13
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Hey, don't get discouraged!


The Gillig LF40 is indeed a great bus, but not for the uninitiated. It is very heavy, and compared to a skoolie everything on it is complex and super expensive, from the multiplexed wiring harness and the kneeling air ride suspension to the Allison B500R transmission.

As it turns out, there's one of those El Dorado RE coaches on ebay out of Canada right now. Search for Item #392238664479. I think this is a 32 or 35 footer, and it has the ISC 8.3 motor, which is a gem. Beware, though, this bus has been for sale on and off for a year or more, never listed with enough pictures or description. If its a mess or hasn't been driven for five years its way overpriced. New ebay user with zero feedback. Also needs importing from Canada, which I know nothing about but could be a chore. Danger, Will Robinson, danger, danger! Of course it could be a super sweet bus and a perfectly good deal, too...

Relax and keep following your dream- when you're ready and know exactly what you want, the right bus will find you. In the meantime, work your floorplan out in the garage or the kitchen. Start a spreadsheet for project costs. Follow build threads on the buses you like to see the pros and cons. Not having a bus at the planning stage is actually a huge advantage. Become an expert in what you want out of your tiny home without the burden of already having a platform with all its needs and limitations. Go to events and tour converted buses. Tour new and used motor homes for ideas and an educated sense of what fits into where. Decide WHERE you're going to go and park, how much fuel economy you MUST have, and things you CAN'T live without on the rig. Much better to work out this three dimensional (five if you include cost and time) puzzle without having big pieces of it you may not use in your driveway and garage!


The more educating yourself, deciding, planning and designing you can do without lifting a finger to building the better. To that end, ironically, getting a bus should be the last thing you do...
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Old 05-23-2020, 06:06 PM   #14
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That was beautiful!
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