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Old 05-23-2020, 06:11 PM   #1
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How are they to drive?

When you drive on the interstates with the faster speed limits, i.e. 70-75 mph, how does your 35-40 ft bus handle? Does your big beast dance all over the highway? or does the weight help keep it going straight?
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Old 05-23-2020, 06:38 PM   #2
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There are a multitude of factors which come into play that will make a single answer unrealistic. It is taller, longer, and less aerodynamic than a car or light truck so headwinds and crosswinds will be more noticeable at highway speeds. Remember too that for the most part school buses weren't actually designed with the intention of being predominantly highway cruisers so within this community it's kind of an understood implication that these are bricks on wheels. There's also some sacrifices in ride quality incumbent in the design intention because you don't need a Cadillac ride at 35mph for a bunch of rowdy kids. So it'll probably have truck-like handling with heavy leaf springs and a solid front axle which after 15 years of back roads may need new bearings and bushings in order to track a straight line down the highway.
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Old 05-23-2020, 07:01 PM   #3
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Agree with the above post. However it may be possible to upgrade the suspension with bits from a coach or road tractor to improve the ride. Air ride is a good thing to have with 12000 pound brick at highway speed.
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Old 05-23-2020, 07:47 PM   #4
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Our bus handles fine at highway speeds, but not a chance in hell we're riding with the pace of traffic. We can get to 70+ downhill but on the level ground we're topped out at a tad over 65. I'm a leadfoot in a car, but in the bus I enjoy just putting on tunes and taking my time. People seem happy enough to go around us. The one thing that took me awhile to get used to is how physically and mentally tiring it is, especially at first. 6 hours of driving wipes me out. I don't know if it's just that there's so much to pay attention to or if it's the feel of the bus (or both), but I can't do the long hours that I can in a car. It took me a while to adjust my comfort expectations. The bus is more fun to drive, but not as comfortable as the car.
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Old 05-23-2020, 08:02 PM   #5
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Agree with the above post as well. When I was driving 18-wheelers over-the-road, I found it was best to drive 4-7 mph below the speed limit because no one else seemed to know or care that my 40-ton truck could kill them. Big, heavy vehicles do not stop or turn well, and you can expect about a 500-700 ft braking distance at 65. Air brakes do not apply as quickly as hydraulic -- there is a lag that adds about 50-100 feet to the actual braking distance. Fuel economy will improve, too -- as well as wear-and-tear on the brakes.
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Old 05-23-2020, 08:28 PM   #6
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I like driving my bus better then my car. All day in the bus 10-12 hours driving time usually around 65 on the highway, tired but feeling good. 2 hours in the car and I am stiff and sore.

At 70-75 is not much different then 65 but fuel mileage drops about 1/2 mile per gallon, and it is getting wound up a bit. If I can keep my lead foot out of it and keep it to 65 that really is a good cruising speed. Steering is good and stable, not as tight as a modern car but still very good. You know most school buses are not going to even make 70+ without a rearend gear change, or unlocking 6th gear if you have one. And then you are pushing the power limit.
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Old 05-23-2020, 09:09 PM   #7
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My bus is 35' and completely smooth and stable at 65 (which is its max speed). I've never driven any other bus or vehicle this large, but the guy who delivered it to me said it was a sweet driver and perfectly straight, from which I gathered they're not all like this.
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Old 05-24-2020, 06:05 AM   #8
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I have driven a 36ft rear engine bus a bit too. Other then the air ride seat which can launch you off the seat, think a shock absorber would be a good idea on the seat. It was a great driving bus, very stable on the highway. This bus is smoother rideing then most of the trucks I have driven. My bus is more truck like but not quite.

I do wonder about the shorter flat front buses, seems they would not be to great on the highway, but have not driven or riden in one so just a guess.
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Old 05-24-2020, 08:02 AM   #9
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from a purely BUS perspective..



tales of driving many busses ... alignment-alignment-alignment and tires tires tires are big factors in whether your bus will dance all over the highway.. alot of people like to run their tire inflation at the lower end of the allowable limits for your load.. ive found with aggressive tread drive tires that you'll end up with more skate than if you run them at the higher inflation..



align your bus.. or rather have it done.. these things are notoriously out of alignment.. front toe-in or toe-out will definitely make it harder to drive..



Noise and bounce is a part of driving a bus.. air-ride rear or 4 corner helps a lot..



bump steer happens .. although good alignment and tight front end parts help.. ie good king pins, drag link, tie rod ends, properly adjusted steering box, etc..



Chassis lube is important..



is your bus going to drive like a silverado pickup? not hardly.. ive driven brand new school busses and they are solid big-truck-style driving vehicles.. however you cvan definitely make it to where they are a pleasure to drive down the highway..



the more weight on them the better they drive. my busses fully loaded every seat full may not have accelration power but they do drive smoother and are also less prone to being blown around by wind than an empty bus.. in my opinion heavier conversions drive better..



-Christopher


P.S. that $750,000 Prevost Custom Coach conversion I drove really did almost drive like a cadillac...
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Old 05-24-2020, 11:03 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cadillackid View Post
tales of driving many busses ... alignment-alignment-alignment and tires tires tires are big factors in whether your bus will dance all over the highway.. alot of people like to run their tire inflation at the lower end of the allowable limits for your load.. ive found with aggressive tread drive tires that you'll end up with more skate than if you run them at the higher inflation..
*Yoda voice*

Yes... Yes... To Obi-won you listen...

Seriously, though, axle alignment and steering alignment are a big factor with long, heavy vehicles such as these. I drove a Freightliner Cascadia once with a frame bent to the point it tap-danced on the steer tires under load and at speed. Wasn't so bad with no trailer, but it was a nightmare to control otherwise.

Three dealers each did a three-axle alignment on this truck before I figured out what was happening. And for some odd reason, for a short while (about 1,000 miles) it would drive straight before going back to its old bob-and-weave. As I've said elsewhere in this forum, after 10,000 miles in *THAT* POS, I *KNOW* I can drive.
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