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Old 11-03-2016, 11:47 AM   #21
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Oct 2016
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I was thinking about doing it how some of the simpler raft transport decks are built.

Like this but shorter and narrower

http://www.bigcreekexpeditions.com/assets/img/bus.jpg

Rafts are heavy so I figure a metal bus roof will support kayaks or a few people sipping cocktails fine without any additional vertical reinforcement (am I wrong there?) but doing that on fiberglass would make me nervous.
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Old 11-03-2016, 11:50 AM   #22
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Although I was thinking about doing it with sideways cross ribs cut out from 2x8s or something to conform to use the curvature of the roof better for support. Would I need to tie them into the side walls or down to the floor of the bus to support, say, 1k lbs (counting wood and say four people and a generous safety margin)?
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Old 11-03-2016, 01:09 PM   #23
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Year: 2001
Coachwork: Blue Bird
Chassis: IH
Engine: T444E
Rated Cap: 14
The 6.9 in that shorty is the predecessor to the well known 7.3. Parts are easily and widely available; same engine was used by Ford for the same model years. It was discontinued in late 87 for the same reason the 9L was - emissions standards and replacement by the 7.3. As it came, it was no powerhouse but it is my understanding they can be turbocharged using aftermarket parts/kits.

I don't think you'd go wrong with that shorty.
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Old 11-03-2016, 01:12 PM   #24
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Do you know what MPGs it would get? I want to for sure at least be in double digits and I'd like to be getting at least 12.
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Old 11-03-2016, 02:42 PM   #25
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I think that if you can get 10 MPG out of a full size conventional bus, regardless of length, is going to be a blessing. 12 MPG would be hopeful. And 14 MPG would be doubtful.
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Old 11-03-2016, 02:45 PM   #26
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Location: Columbus Ohio
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Year: 1991
Coachwork: Carpenter
Chassis: International 3800
Engine: DTA360 / MT643
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even in a full height shoprt conventional bus.. im running a little over 10 in my carpenter at 55 MPH and the same in my lighter slightly shorter-in-height bluebird at 65..

the Liftetime MPG in my bluebiord reported by the computer.. (it shows miles vs gallons used) is about 9.5

-Christopher
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Old 11-03-2016, 02:47 PM   #27
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Hmmm gotcha. I'm more looking for a road trip mobile and weekend river warrior comparative luxury living than a mobile home. If gas mileage is a concern for me, are conventional short busses not going to get there? Ie, am I restricted to things like the shuttle busses or GMC Vanduras? If gas mileage (ie fuel costs on a trip) are a concern for me, what are good options to look at?
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Old 11-03-2016, 03:00 PM   #28
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Most operators of the E-350/450 buses with the V-10 report mileage in the 10-12 MPG range.

Most operators of the G3500/4500 buses with the 6.0L gas V-8 report mileage in the 11-13 MPG range.

Most operators of the same buses with diesel engines report fuel mileage in the 12-14 MPG range. Which is why so few are opting to pay the $14K premium for the diesel engine. The payout never arrives when the extra maintenance costs are factored into the equation.

I think that if you head into the idea of a bus conversion getting 8-10 MPG you will be pleasantly surprised if you get 11 MPG occasionally. If you go into the process hoping you will get 12 MPG and only get 9 MPG you will be sorely disappointed.

It takes a certain amount of dead dinosaurs to push these big brick shaped behemoths through the air. And you really start to burn them up when you start going up a steep grade.

Surprisingly, full size Type 'C' and 'D' buses equipped with the 5.9L/ISB can be amazingly fuel efficient. In route buses it isn't unknown for them to get 11-13 MPG.

I think if you scale back your expectations you will be able to find what you need.
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Old 11-03-2016, 03:49 PM   #29
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Year: 1991
Coachwork: Carpenter
Chassis: International 3800
Engine: DTA360 / MT643
Rated Cap: 7 Row Handicap
with the latest technology.. VVT engines and what-not the lower end RPM's can be brought up to push decent torque in Gas busses and trucks now... I know Bluebird is selling a full size Gasoline Bus again...

several shuttle operators in columbus Ohio went back to Gas busses after they had 6.0 / 6.4 Debacles with the fords... they reported even with a lot of slow n go and idle that their gas busses were more reliable and compared to the cost as mentioned by cowlitz.. they could buy a lot of gasoline (at a cheaper per gallon at least in ohio).. plus the fact of having a bus on the road vs in a shop for diesel repairs...

gas engines are lasting longer and longer too it seems... back in the 80s and 90s a gas engine in a Bus was worn out by 150k whereas now its not uncommon to reach that 200-300k on a well-kept gas engine...

-Christopher
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Old 11-03-2016, 04:35 PM   #30
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Thanks guys. So this is on the bigger side of what I'm looking for (27' without the generator mount) but apparently the coach company that ran it was getting 13-16 mpg depending on conditions, and I really like how efficient it is with internal space. Is that price too high? Or for a bus of this style, does it hold a bit more value given the relatively low miles?

1996 GMC C30 Bus

Also note that it's professionally wired with circuit breakers for 110 and 240, and includes two high volume AC units (but not the generator itself). Apparently the second user was a firefighting company that used it as a mobile AC base with the engine off and generator on.

So much information to try and digest . . .
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Old 11-03-2016, 04:48 PM   #31
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Year: 1997
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I was basing my fuel economy guess on my own rig. With a T444e and a 5-speed Spicer manual transmission I will typically get 11-13mpg on the highway if I keep it between 95-100km/h and out of the mountains.
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Old 11-03-2016, 04:58 PM   #32
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jazty View Post
I was basing my fuel economy guess on my own rig. With a T444e and a 5-speed Spicer manual transmission I will typically get 11-13mpg on the highway if I keep it between 95-100km/h and out of the mountains.
How does that T444e compare to the engine in the bus I posted?
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Old 11-03-2016, 05:00 PM   #33
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Year: 1997
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Chassis: B3800 Short bus
Engine: T444E
Rated Cap: 36
It's newer and more powerful largely due to the turbocharger. Cleaner burning.. I imagine fuel economy would be close, though, once on the highway. Cowlitz, what says you?

They're both ~7l V8s, at any rate.
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Old 11-03-2016, 05:40 PM   #34
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The 1996 GMC bus you posted has all of the worst qualities of school buses and commercial buses with few of the better qualities.

First off, it is built on the GM P-30 chassis. That chassis is an overbuilt 1-ton pickup chassis that really isn't up to the task of supporting the bus body that is up on top. They are hard on brakes, springs, spring hangers, shock absorbers, and shock mounts. The 6.5L is a bit of an orphan out there as well. It might have some support from the companies that do aftermarket parts and pieces for pickups but there isn't a lot out there.

Second, I am not a big fan of plastic bodies. Everyone of them will start to leak no matter how well they are put together. Unlike school buses the joints are not riveted but glued together. Over time as the buses are exposed to the elements, particularly UV rays and air pollution, the glue in the joints tend to degrade. When they degrade enough they start to leak. The joint leaking is exacerbated by how many miles the bus has been driven. A bus with 150K miles won't have shaken things up as much as a bus that has gone 300K miles. Others may have different experiences but I have owned and sold enough of them to know what happens in the out years.

As far as fuel mileage for a bus like this is concerned, I would guess it would be in the 8-12 MPG range. I would seriously doubt any claims greater than that. The same bus with a 350 small block V-8 or a 454 big block V-8 would get 7-10 MPG.
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Old 11-03-2016, 05:44 PM   #35
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Apparently the body panels are aluminum and the coach company that operated it said from their records it got 15-16 downhill and 13 uphill so I dunno. I know very little about it, I'm having to take people at their word.
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Old 11-03-2016, 05:53 PM   #36
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Year: 1997
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Chassis: B3800 Short bus
Engine: T444E
Rated Cap: 36
Oh, I missed the 6.5l. I was hoping for a 6.9 vs the t444e comparison.
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Old 11-03-2016, 05:54 PM   #37
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Year: 1996
Coachwork: Champion
Chassis: Ford e-450
Engine: 7.3 Powerstroke
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My shuttle has a fair amount of metal framework from floor to ceiling. It doesn't move at all with me walking on the roof.
I get around 10mpg-towing with hills. (7.3 aka T444 diesel) I have carpet everywhere I could-I don't find the engine noisey at all.
My (Champion) is glass from the chassis up-with metal below that. (Other are all glass.) Mine lived its life as an airport shuttle for a hotel.
One plus for the side of the shuttle no one is talking about--headroom.
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Old 11-04-2016, 01:14 PM   #38
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Thanks sdwarf. What transmission and gearing do you have? And what's your mileage flat without towing?
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Old 11-04-2016, 04:38 PM   #39
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E4OD trans. 4.10 gears. (Pretty much the norm for these.) I don't have anything to go by flat/ not towing. My bus is built to tow my hillclimb racecar-so its always going somewhere with hills. (Vt. or Pa.)
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Old 11-04-2016, 07:12 PM   #40
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Ok thanks all. Seems like if fuel costs are a concern to me, I need to probably look a different direction than the bus conversion thing. I've always wanted a Hilux, maybe a Sunrader would be a better start.
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