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Old 12-08-2009, 12:23 AM   #1
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Re: Short bus pre purchase questons

I think it will pull a trailer
not much on mileage though

see my conversion at
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Old 12-08-2009, 01:12 AM   #2
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Re: Short bus pre purchase questons

Look for a shorty with dual rear wheels if you want to pull a trailer. Check and see what axle it has. It seems most short buses are on a Chevy chassis so there is the possibility of a corporate 14 bolt full floater, a Dana 70, or a Dana 80 rear end. The Dana 80 would be best while a 14bff or Dana 70 are on par with each other. Any of those axles should be ok though. If it's a Ford you might want to make sure it doesn't have a Dana 61. I would far rather have a 10.25 "Sterling" rear axle.

You don't mention how big the trailer is you want to pull, but in either case plan on spending the money for a good Class IV or V hitch and a weight distribution setup. Even if your tongue weight is within the rating of the hitch it will handle much better with the weight distro setup.

The transmission is the last area I'd be really cautious. It wasn't uncommon to find a 700R4 under a GM chassis or an AOD under a Ford. I wouldn't tow anything heavy with either. You should be able to find a Chevy chassis with a TH400 which will be plenty stout though it will suck down the gas. If you find a new enough one (at least 1991, maybe needs to be newer) there is a possibility that it will have a 4L80E which is every bit as stout as the TH-400, but adds an overdrive gear which will help mileage a lot.

More details on what exactly you're towing would help.
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Old 12-08-2009, 09:44 PM   #3
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Re: Short bus pre purchase questons

Thats what I built mine for. I'd go definately go diesel. My 1st tow with my new rig was a trip to VT. towing a 14' landscape trailer with a 1000lb dwarf car on it. Except for the largest hills (I see you're from Ohio-have someone describe what a hill is. ) you never felt it back there. My mileage was around 11mpg. My prior rig was a 85 GMC 14' cube van with the car inside + a small living area. Mileage never got above 9 mpg with years of tuning. My 96 Ford goes down the road sooo much nicer.
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Old 12-21-2009, 03:44 PM   #4
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Re: Short bus pre purchase questons

Originally Posted by buslover44
Hi I am Jake I am lookin toward a shortie for conversion but I got some questons.

I wanna tow a enclosed car trailer can a shortie do this ?
Tes, assuming the frame is factory or was stretched properly. (If it wasn't, you don't want it anyway!)

gas or diesel which is best ?
Diesels get better mileage, work better in the mountains, and will run forever, but gassers are cheaper, less prone to overloading in front, a bit easier on transmissions, and quieter. The older (1996-older) gassers are a bit easier to work on than the OHC engines or the diesels in the very-tight Econoline engine bay.

What millage should I look for when buying a shortie ?
Overall condition MUCH more important...a bus with 25,000 miles in Boston will be WAY more beat-up than one with 150,000 highway miles.

it is just gonna be a place to sleep and rest when at the track
Yeah, right.
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