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Old 07-18-2018, 05:33 PM   #21
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OK, here's some basic info:
Conventional, also called Dog Nose.
Transit or flat nose....Front engine (FE) or rear engine (RE).

Dognoses easiest to work on, pull maintenance, parts pretty much everywhere.
FE buses are harder to work on due to access problems.
RE buses hardest to repair from what I've heard, talked to mechanics.

FEs turn easier (better turn radius). May pitch a bit (up/down) due to a tendency to shorter wheel base than a dognose....keep the weight centered when building out the bus.
REs are lots easier to get in and out of the driver seat....FEs you have to climb over the 'doghouse'. Not a problem if you do it a lot, but as a school bus driver....APITA.
FEs are noisier due to engine up front (cover/wrap/insulate the doghouse).
REs are quieter due to engine being 30+ feet behind you.
Flatnoses have more useable interior space.

For starters....

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Old 07-18-2018, 05:53 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ryan Grimm View Post

Dognoses easiest to work on, pull maintenance, parts pretty much everywhere.
FE buses are harder to work on due to access problems.
RE buses hardest to repair from what I've heard, talked to mechanics.
....
Some may disagree on the ease of maintenance of FE Vs RE.

A common consensus is that RE buses are generally easier to work on than FE.
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Old 07-18-2018, 05:58 PM   #23
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We are just beginning the journey. I got tired of looking at buses online and went to 2 dealerships. Although they do not see themselves like car dealers, that is all they are. So, go and ride in them. We were really fortunate at one place the salesman was not there, but we called just as we got closer so he had the Service Manager speak with us. Wow!
He said a dog nose C2 was easier to find parts since they were manufactured verses some of the Mercedes and Flat front they were selling are special made parts. He showed us how to find rust and what was too much rust(one of the buses on their lot was too much rust!). He turned buses on and we got into others that were being worked on.
Personally, of the buses we have seen so far the dog nosed was the quietest, which is really important to me as I am used to a Ford 350 which is quiet compared to all buses.
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Old 07-18-2018, 06:05 PM   #24
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Also, some people are saying Flat nose is longer then Dog Nose. If that is important to you, be sure to measure the interior of the bus you are looking at. I measured a flat nose and a dog nose which were both 29' of interior space from the back of the drivers seat. As a newbie I know the seller will say the bus is 64 passenger, 30 passenger, etc. but I haven't had much success at comparing a 33'5" bus with a 34' or 176" wheelbase, etc. Yes, the wheelbase on the flat nose is significantly shorter but for those of us who drove dog nosed I'm not sure that will matter.
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Old 07-18-2018, 06:22 PM   #25
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This link was pretty helpful to me: Choosing the best bus body style for your build — Buslandia


Thanks for sharing this! It is extremely helpful. since all the buses are different the only thing I see is that the flat nosed are not always the longest as far as exterior. So, if the inside build is important be sure to measure.
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Old 07-18-2018, 08:36 PM   #26
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What about installing a hitch on a RE?
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Old 07-18-2018, 08:39 PM   #27
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Is a dognose not a whole lot safer if you encounter say a moose, elk, deer etc or even head on with some other vehicle?
If the Op is heading for Alaska and northern Canada then this would be the better choice, at least he has a chance of living if in a collision.


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Old 07-19-2018, 04:10 AM   #28
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i just like the looks my FE conventional bus.. but i also have not had much seat time in a cab-over or RE flat nose bus, so my opinion would be a little biased
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Old 07-19-2018, 08:04 AM   #29
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Quote:
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Is a dognose not a whole lot safer if you encounter say a moose, elk, deer etc or even head on with some other vehicle?
If the Op is heading for Alaska and northern Canada then this would be the better choice, at least he has a chance of living if in a collision.


John
I thought of how dangerous it would be in an FE head on collision, but you sit so high up in the seat that any animal would go under you and the same with most cars and trucks.
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Old 07-19-2018, 09:27 AM   #30
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I thought of how dangerous it would be in an FE head on collision, but you sit so high up in the seat that any animal would go under you and the same with most cars and trucks.



So you don't mind being the smushed bug, on the inside of the windshield?
No thanks, obviously you have never seen a mature moose.


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Old 07-19-2018, 02:53 PM   #31
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Fun reading through this. I decided on a dog nose because of the approach and departure angles as I plan to take my bus on remote forest service roads. I opted to also go for a shorter bus (29 feet) to keep my wheelbase shorter and more maneuverable. this comes a cost. I have just under 20 feet behind the drivers seat. This bus is for me, my wife and 2 kids (7 and 3). it'll also serve and an elk and deer hunting rig for me and my father.

not sure if anyone mentioned this or not, but with a Flat nose, you are most likely (I could be wrong) to have 4 wheel wells on the inside to design around. my handicap bus has a flat floor (comes with cons also) that I don't have to design around.
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Old 07-19-2018, 04:09 PM   #32
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So you don't mind being the smushed bug, on the inside of the windshield?
No thanks, obviously you have never seen a mature moose.


John
BlackJohn is quite correct. I drove highway 11 in Northern Ontario in a Peterbilt 18 wheeler. I narrowly missed a bull moose. His head was even with my driver side window. Just something to consider.
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Old 07-19-2018, 04:27 PM   #33
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We plan to tow, and do alot of boondocking around the country. Also looking to go to Alaska in it with in 2 years of completion..
There are a few things you have to consider. Assuming similar length buses, front engine buses (long or flat) will usually have a shorter wheelbase compared to rear engine buses to limit the length of the drive-shaft. Rear engine buses will usually have a shorter overhang, or distance between the rear axle and rear bumper, compared to front engine buses.

You said you will be towing your Wrangler. You have to keep in mind when you have a longer overhang, the distance between the rear axle and the rear bumper, the greater your tail swing is going to be. The tail swing is how much the rear end of the bus swings out in the opposite direction of your turn as it pivots on the rear wheels. A large tail swing can become an issue in tighter turns if it goes out too much into other lanes, or opposite traffic. You will be swinging your towed vehicle outward.

A rear engine bus will have a shorter overhang and tail swing, but the longer wheelbase might be an issue in taking sharper turns. The shorter wheelbase on front engine buses makes them easier to drive in areas where there are sharp turns. You will most likely see a lot of places where there will be sharp turns during your boondocking adventures.

So while you read through all the great discussions on the pluses and minuses of front engine buses versus rear engine buses, I highly recommend you also consider the physical dimensions of the bus plus your towed vehicle in relations to what you might encounter out on the roads.

Best of luck!
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Old 07-19-2018, 04:37 PM   #34
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BlackJohn is quite correct. I drove highway 11 in Northern Ontario in a Peterbilt 18 wheeler. I narrowly missed a bull moose. His head was even with my driver side window. Just something to consider.
I certainly would not base my buying decision on the freak chance I might run into a bull moose.
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Old 07-19-2018, 07:23 PM   #35
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I would think that an RE is cheaper and easier to work on.
My RE has access to the engine from all sides- left, right, back and front (through an access in the cab). I've seen other designs where you only have 3 of those four, but being more open probably easier to work on in general.

Depends on the layout of the engine compartment, I'd say. FE flat noses have the box up front.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ryan Grimm View Post
Flatnoses have more useable interior space.
Ugh. Our RE engine compartment actually cuts into the cab quite a bit, and the air intakes made it all but impossible to put the bedroom in the back. We are now building a rear-kitchen, front-bedroom layout. I'm going to delete the front door, which will give me considerably more space to work with but overall it really depends, I think.

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What about installing a hitch on a RE?
I don't see anything that would stop me from adding one on mine... the chassis goes all the way to the back past the engine. Other designs may differ.

Quote:
Originally Posted by BlackJohn View Post
Is a dognose not a whole lot safer if you encounter say a moose, elk, deer etc or even head on with some other vehicle?
Honestly I can't even fathom why this is a concern to some people. Its a BUS. BUS versus any land animal, the BUS wins.

In the driver's cockpit my behind is at the same height as the top of the roof of my truck. Anything short of an elephant is going under, not up and over.
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Old 07-19-2018, 08:01 PM   #36
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Originally Posted by Snuffleupagus View Post
There are a few things you have to consider. Assuming similar length buses, front engine buses (long or flat) will usually have a shorter wheelbase compared to rear engine buses to limit the length of the drive-shaft. Rear engine buses will usually have a shorter overhang, or distance between the rear axle and rear bumper, compared to front engine buses.

You said you will be towing your Wrangler. You have to keep in mind when you have a longer overhang, the distance between the rear axle and the rear bumper, the greater your tail swing is going to be. The tail swing is how much the rear end of the bus swings out in the opposite direction of your turn as it pivots on the rear wheels. A large tail swing can become an issue in tighter turns if it goes out too much into other lanes, or opposite traffic. You will be swinging your towed vehicle outward.

A rear engine bus will have a shorter overhang and tail swing, but the longer wheelbase might be an issue in taking sharper turns. The shorter wheelbase on front engine buses makes them easier to drive in areas where there are sharp turns. You will most likely see a lot of places where there will be sharp turns during your boondocking adventures.

So while you read through all the great discussions on the pluses and minuses of front engine buses versus rear engine buses, I highly recommend you also consider the physical dimensions of the bus plus your towed vehicle in relations to what you might encounter out on the roads.

Best of luck!
Lots of good thought there. For our needs/wants in a Bus we are leaning to a 40 or 45 footer. My tow toad(Wrangler) will be on a 16 foot flat deck trailer.
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Old 07-19-2018, 08:25 PM   #37
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I like ALL the styles of buses. Except Vistas lol.

FE, RE, CE- Its the condition, how it was kept/maintained, the running gear, and the way its setup that REALLY matter.

All that said- I like shorty CE's the best.
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Old 07-19-2018, 08:26 PM   #38
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Lots of good thought there. For our needs/wants in a Bus we are leaning to a 40 or 45 footer. My tow toad(Wrangler) will be on a 16 foot flat deck trailer.
I've not seen a 45 foot school bus.
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Old 07-20-2018, 12:24 PM   #39
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There is no one perfect bus which is why there are so many variations of the same thing available.

Personally, if I were shopping for a bus I would take into consideration what exactly I was going to do with the bus, where I would be taking the bus, and how often I would be taking the bus and doing with it. The more often you expect to be driving the bus down the road the more important it will be that you have big HP and highway gears.

Trust me when I say that 210 HP is adequate on the flats but it gets pretty slow on the steep parts. 210 HP will also be a top speed of 60-65 MPH on the flat regardless of the type of bus or rear gearing. You can only push so much air before the engine runs out of HP and torque to move you. You also do NOT want to travel with your foot always mashed to the floor, running against the governor all day long, just to be able to maintain 60 MPH.

If your plan includes a lot of unimproved roads a Type 'C' "dognose" conventional bus will probably be your best choice. It will have greater ground clearance and it will generally be able to have much steeper approach and departure angles. The approach/departure angles can be improved on a Type 'D' bus if the entrance door and front step are moved to behind the front axle.

Type 'D' "flatnose" transit buses do have the advantage of having the most interior volume of any bus. Every Type 'C' has some part of the overall length of the bus outside. In order to get the same amount of space from the back of the driver's seat to the back wall you have to add at least 5' out front for the hood.

The biggest advantages of the Type 'D' RE bus:
  • The engine is a long way behind the driver's seat. This means all of the heat, noise, and smell is also behind you and you are always driving away from all of that.
  • The wheelbase is longer which translates into a less choppy ride
  • The driveshaft is relatively short and completely behind the rear axle. Which means all of the space between the axles can bus used to locate tanks, mechanicals, and storage.
  • IC has had rear air ride suspension as standard for almost 20 years. Air ride makes a smoother, less choppy ride even more smooth and less choppy.
  • RE buses tend to have bigger HP and faster gears. They will also be about the only buses that will have the really big HP and really fast gears. I have never seen a Type 'C' with 285+ HP and real highway gears. I am not saying they haven't been made. What I am saying I have never seen one set up that way. I am also not saying RE buses don't come with low HP and town gears. Laidlaw/First Student ordered fleets of IC RE buses with the T444 and AT-540 transmission with top speeds of 60 MPH.
  • RE buses tend to have the high roof option. They will almost always have the high roof option if it also has big HP. Big HP high roof buses also tend to have luggage compartments. And only RE buses can have pass through under the floor luggage compartments.
At the end of the day, only you can determine what will work the best for you.

Keep us posted as to your progress.

Good luck and happy trails to you!
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Old 07-20-2018, 12:36 PM   #40
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By the way, some shops charge more for an RE bus because it can take a lot of time for the tech to walk back and forth from the driver's position to the engine when trying to figure out a glitch.

It does little good to be able to start from the rear if it doesn't want to start from the front. Which can add miles to a tech's steps in a day which increases costs.

Some shops will even charge more because they just don't like working on RE buses.

In my experience, the FE buses are the worst to have to do anything to under the hood. On some of them the radiator is built on a pivot so that it makes gaining access to the front of the engine easier. When the easiest way in which to service the engine belts is to remove the radiator it isn't what I would call easy.

Also, I have never liked climbing over the front tires to access the engine compartment on a Type 'C'. It is a world easier with tilt hoods but not nearly as easy as standing on the ground next to the engine in an RE.
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