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Old 07-20-2018, 01:17 PM   #41
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Originally Posted by PNW_Steve View Post
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.
Please note I said REPAIR, not MAINTAIN.
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Old 07-20-2018, 01:21 PM   #42
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I've not seen a 45 foot school bus.
A few of our bus yards keep longer (45 foot) buses for larger charter groups.

They are all air brake FE Bluebirds with Cummins engines and auto trans.
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Old 07-20-2018, 01:25 PM   #43
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ryan Grimm View Post
Please note I said REPAIR, not MAINTAIN.
Sorry,



Some may disagree on the ease of REPAIR of FE Vs RE.

A common consensus is that RE buses are generally easier to work on than FE.
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Old 07-20-2018, 01:29 PM   #44
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Lot to think on for sure.

We will be full time in the bus with our teen.
We will be towing a trailer with our Wrangler on it.
We will be driving/moving the bus every few weeks once we're in it.
Needs to be BoonDocking friendy.
Needs to handle mountains.
Needs to handle back roads.
Needs to have room to make completely off the grind. (Fresh water/grey water tanks)
Needs to handle all 4 seasons.

Yes a big list. But those will be our needs. And it will be build over 4-12 months.
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Old 07-20-2018, 01:40 PM   #45
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If that were my list of criteria I'd be looking for a CE bus from Colorado with big HP and all the bells and whistles.
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Old 07-20-2018, 01:44 PM   #46
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No school bus will have 4 season insulation, 40 foot dog nose is going to have serious rear overhang, rear engine can be a pain in the rear to put any kind of hitch on, you are going to have to look at each one to see how the sub frame is installed in the back, front engine flat nose will have less overhang, hitch will be easier to install since the frame goes to the back
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Old 07-20-2018, 09:42 PM   #47
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Our need/want list I know is a tall order. 4 season will be in how we do the insulation and heating.

I have found a few 45' FE "Flat nose" busses here in MI with CAT motors and 3000 series transmissions.
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Old 07-20-2018, 11:44 PM   #48
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School buses by Federal law are limited to 40' in length and 96" in width. If the bus is longer or wider it was never a school bus. Blue Bird made several commercial buses that were 102" wide and up to 45' long. But those buses were never school buses.
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Old 07-21-2018, 12:20 AM   #49
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Originally Posted by cowlitzcoach View Post
School buses by Federal law are limited to 40' in length and 96" in width. If the bus is longer or wider it was never a school bus. Blue Bird made several commercial buses that were 102" wide and up to 45' long. But those buses were never school buses.
According to the "National School Transportation Specifications and Procedures 2015 Edition" page 59, the overall length cannot exceed 45 feet, indicating school buses may have lengths up to 45 feet.
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Old 07-21-2018, 01:03 AM   #50
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What is largest interior??

I hear the "flat nose is most room inside, but does anyone know what the largest model school bus is on the interior? Going to buy very soon and prefer rear engine I think but what's the longest one out there?? Thanks!
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Old 07-21-2018, 01:50 AM   #51
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Originally Posted by navonifamily View Post
Lot to think on for sure.

We will be full time in the bus with our teen.
We will be towing a trailer with our Wrangler on it.
We will be driving/moving the bus every few weeks once we're in it.
Needs to be BoonDocking friendy.
Needs to handle mountains.
Needs to handle back roads.
Needs to have room to make completely off the grind. (Fresh water/grey water tanks)
Needs to handle all 4 seasons.

Yes a big list. But those will be our needs. And it will be build over 4-12 months.
One thing to consider is that every back road in America on which a kid lives will have a school bus going to and from every day to pick up that kid to go to or from school.

In other words, there are very few roads in the US on which you can't drive a school bus. Those roads included tens of thousands of miles of unimproved gravel roads.

Unless you are considering really going off pavement onto unimproved BLM and Forest Service roads you shouldn't worry about being able to access those roads with a school bus. However I think I would be extremely cautious on some of those roads when the weather becomes inclement. Any time you take something as large as a school bus with a higher center of gravity it is going to get a little squirrelly when the roads get slick.

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. In other words, towing with a school bus is generally not a big issue. Just be aware and if you do think an RE bus will work for you, check out the frame rails to make sure they are solid all the way to the rear.

Making a bus four season capable is not difficult but it has to be planned and built with that in mind at the start. Trying to add more insulation later is not going to work very well.
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Old 07-21-2018, 02:01 AM   #52
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I hear the "flat nose is most room inside, but does anyone know what the largest model school bus is on the interior? Going to buy very soon and prefer rear engine I think but what's the longest one out there?? Thanks!
The Type 'D' front engine has the most interior volume usable for conversion. With the engine up front next to the driver there is no rear dog house over the engine. The front engine also allows for a rear emergency door that opens all the way to the level of the floor. Unlike a rear engine that has a rear emergency exit that opens above the rear engine dog house.

The other thing to be aware of is up until a few years ago the 12" window high headroom model was an extra cost option. Many buses, including Type 'D' buses, came with the 9" windows. If you are planning a roof raise it isn't a deal breaker. But if you don't want to go the time, trouble, and expense of a roof raise finding a bus with 3" more headroom is a good thing to do.

As far as length is concerned, 40' is the longest school bus available.
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Old 07-21-2018, 10:01 AM   #53
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Seems my wife has stepped into my research and due to where we plan to go she now wants a "Dog Nose". We love seclusion and getting as far out as we can. I do understand driving on rough roads. (We are Jeepers).

I think the ones I saw that said they were 45' were all RE and Church own Blue Birds in White. But they looked just like any other Blue Bird just longer.
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Old 07-21-2018, 10:16 AM   #54
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Just remember that all "long" buses are serious tail draggers. A 40' BB for example has about 12' extending out behind the rear tires which severely limits what grades/dips/bumps it can accommodate without bottoming out or worse yet, hanging up. Even with a lift.


You can easily calculate the angle on some graph paper once you have the distance from the rear wheel centers to the lowest point on the rear. It can be disturbingly limiting, especially for anyone considering anything remotely like off-road or even dirt road travel.


Definitely worth calculating in advance and know what limits it will impose.


Best of luck finding and building the "right" rig to fit your dreams.
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Old 07-21-2018, 10:45 AM   #55
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Quote:
Originally Posted by navonifamily View Post
Seems my wife has stepped into my research and due to where we plan to go she now wants a "Dog Nose". We love seclusion and getting as far out as we can. I do understand driving on rough roads. (We are Jeepers).

I think the ones I saw that said they were 45' were all RE and Church own Blue Birds in White. But they looked just like any other Blue Bird just longer.
an 8-10 window CE is a good candidate for you.
CE "dognose" are the most basic and rugged design.

I have lots of dirt roads and cow pastures to drive through so I like a short "dog nose" bus.
My latest bus came with a lift kit from the factory!


Ground clearance!
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Old 07-21-2018, 10:58 AM   #56
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I hear the "flat nose is most room inside, but does anyone know what the largest model school bus is on the interior? Going to buy very soon and prefer rear engine I think but what's the longest one out there?? Thanks!
As far as useable build space on the floor I believe a FE flat nose offers the most. Your only obstacles are the drivers seat and motor up front, everything behind is buildable. A RE flat nose still has the front seat area as an obstacle and the big hump in back covering the motor. The hump can be utilized to out a bed over it and make it usable space. A CE on the other hand looses at least 5' of dog nose and then still losing more in the drivers area compared to a like sized Flat nose.
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