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Old 07-21-2018, 09:50 AM   #1
Bus Crazy
somewhereinusa's Avatar
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: Andrews,Indiana
Posts: 2,228
Year: 1991
Coachwork: Bluebird
Chassis: AARE
Engine: 3116 Cat 250hp
Rated Cap: Just the two of us.
Towing with a rear engine bus

This has been discussed on another thread and I didn't want to hijack it. This is how I built mine.

Off the top of my head I can't think of any RE school bus with the exception of a Crown or Gillig mid-engine bus that doesn't have the frame rails extending to the rear bumper.
I have a 91 Bluebird AARE. It has a frame going all the way to the rear bumper but, it isn't the main frame. The main frame stops about 3 feet from the rear there is another. My understanding is this was done to lower the engine.

Because of the rear overhang I didn't want my receiver below the bumper so I built mine into the rear bumper. The bumper isn't all that strong laterally, it flexes a lot, so I added a reinforcement to the back side. I then tied it to the crossmember the engine sits on. I don't think this arrangement would be suitable for a large trailer with a lot of tongue weight. It is more than enough for the small trailer I sometimes pull and towing "4" down where there is no tongue weight, only pull.

Finished receiver mounted in bumper

Angle welded to back side of bumper to give lateral stability. This piece spans almost the width of the frame.

Grade 8 bolts (with spacers) that tie hitch to the engine crossmember to add more lateral strength.

For those who have a bus with separate turn signals and brake lights there are a couple of ways to get your lights to work. On my towed I added an extra bulb in the tail light assy. this entails making a hole in the back of the tail light assy. and adding an extra wire. I did it this way because my towed brake controller needs a separate brake light. For this setup I use a 7 wire trailer connector.

For my trailer I built a converter. This can be done for a few dollars using three relays. The switch is to turn it off so the relays aren't working when I'm not pulling the trailer. For this setup I use a standard 4 wire trailer connector.

Here's a wiring diagram.

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Old 07-21-2018, 11:18 AM   #2
Bus Nut
Join Date: Feb 2015
Location: Cincinnati, Ohio
Posts: 986
Year: 2000
Coachwork: Blue Bird
Chassis: International
Engine: TE 444
Rated Cap: 12
You can also buy a converter for that purpose for a minimal amount
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Old 07-21-2018, 12:35 PM   #3
Bus Geek
o1marc's Avatar
Join Date: Dec 2017
Location: Dawsonville, Ga.
Posts: 9,364
Year: 1999
Coachwork: Genesis
Chassis: International
Engine: DT466/3060
Rated Cap: 77
There's this option also when things get in the way behind the bumper.

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Old 07-21-2018, 09:20 PM   #4
Bus Nut
Whatthefak's Avatar
Join Date: Apr 2018
Location: Wisconsin N.E.
Posts: 412
Year: 2000
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: Thomas
Engine: 5.9
Rated Cap: 72
I was planning on bolting on the brackets those big tow hooks are on for my hitch.

Yours looks much cleaner and more oem, I think you changed my mind.

Thanks for the info
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