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Old 03-02-2021, 01:24 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Booyah45828 View Post
Back in the day. A lot of 8.2's were swapped with 3208t cats, but they're still only 215 hp or so, and aren't really any more common then a 8.2 is now a days. You could swap in a t444e and gain a little more part availability, but you still would be limited by 230 or so HP.

Any swap to an inline 6 would not likely fit, as it would require a dog house on the inside that you would have to source or build.
Depends on the bus, I guess. 5.9 Cummins were available in Ford-chassis buses of this type, with similar underhood space. I can see where this would be a problem with a Vista, though.

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Old 03-02-2021, 01:27 PM   #22
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This is why we have the slow lane and lots of blinker fluid in stock.
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Old 03-02-2021, 01:28 PM   #23
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I can't offer much about improving the speed but I can tell you when I had my 82 Vanagon Westy Diesel with a 1.8 (the same motor in the Rabbit) I installed a strobe light at the rear top. Since mine was not a school bus I asked the local highway patrol about installing it and they thought a good idea. I know it certainly made me feel better creeping up the hills I encountered.
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Old 03-02-2021, 01:41 PM   #24
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Only so much room in my sig per site rules, unfortunately. I think OP has somewhat obtainable ideas, but I think they're way overestimating their weight. 29k? An empty semi trailer attached to a road tractor weighs about 35,500 with full fuel tanks that add about 1700 lbs of fuel when full. No way a skoolie conversion weighs even close to that.
Unsurprisingly youíre right! I was reading the GVWR from a sticker. I realized as soon as I read this that I actually did have the bus weighed once and it was 11,000 lbs and some change.
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Old 03-02-2021, 01:44 PM   #25
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Unsurprisingly youíre right! I was reading the GVWR from a sticker. I realized as soon as I read this that I actually did have the bus weighed once and it was 11,000 lbs and some change.
Common mistake. A big-block Chevy should have enough grunt to pull 11,000 lbs with no issue.
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Old 03-02-2021, 02:01 PM   #26
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drive slow and enjoy it.. I been driving 55-60 on the highway for years in my DEV bus.. yep i have another bus that will haul ass however I really re-learmed to roadtrip using my slower bus.. I jump off the freeways, explore the places along my way, enjoy seeing something different than green exit signs and rest areas..


I used to want to go fasty wherever i went and I missed everything in between..


when I need to really get someplace quick there is american airlines.. when I want to enjoy the roadtrip and live the scenery and experience life I drive the bus (I rarely choose to fly)




the bus you have is a classic.. if it were still original id glady lt take it off your hands so you could get something faster...
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Old 03-02-2021, 02:28 PM   #27
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Ooops, bought a super big heavy school bus to make into a motorhome,
and now you built a house married to a drivetrain and want a divorce, but the lawyer say you need to give up half to the drivetrain, so now what?

The 8.2 is ok without a turbo, a turbo will kill it, so no more power there.

You need to reduce your weight. Or get another vehicle.
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Old 03-02-2021, 02:29 PM   #28
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Depends on the bus, I guess. 5.9 Cummins were available in Ford-chassis buses of this type, with similar underhood space. I can see where this would be a problem with a Vista, though.
Correct, the underhood space was no different. What they did was install a doghouse into the cab of the bus in order to house the longer I6.

Navistar did this as well.
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Old 03-02-2021, 02:37 PM   #29
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So,....just for the sake of conversation, not knowing the availability of the OP's make and model bus, but knowing and experiencing engine swaps both to different fuel types and same fuel type swaps, what would be the difficulty rating and expense of a body swap onto a newer or better powered chassis?
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Old 03-02-2021, 02:53 PM   #30
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Is this 11000 pounds after the conversion full of water and fuel? It seems light. My gmc 6500 wrecker with the same power train as yours weighed just shy of 14000 pounds.
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Old 03-02-2021, 03:04 PM   #31
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Is this 11000 pounds after the conversion full of water and fuel? It seems light. My gmc 6500 wrecker with the same power train as yours weighed just shy of 14000 pounds.
That wrecker also had towing equipment counter-weighted to keep the towed vehicle from lifting the front end off the ground, as well as heavier suspension and brakes. Also, a 6500 is going to be heavier than a 5500, which is likely what OP's bus is.
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Old 03-02-2021, 03:28 PM   #32
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drive slow and enjoy it.. I been driving 55-60 on the highway for years in my DEV bus.. yep i have another bus that will haul ass however I really re-learmed to roadtrip using my slower bus.. I jump off the freeways, explore the places along my way, enjoy seeing something different than green exit signs and rest areas..
Yeah, I agree with this. We've got a DT466 250hp engine and a MT643 transmission and we don't go much faster than OP. We're cruising at 67ish on the highway and 30 something up steep grades. Save yourself the stress and headaches and take the backroads, OP.
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Old 03-02-2021, 04:01 PM   #33
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FWIW my shorty IH weighs 14180 pounds, 25,500 GVWR. I have the T444e and 5-speed Spicer with air brakes.


Ultimately to make OP's bus better suited for their wishes a repower is in order but while we have the 8.2 out, why bother with insufficient gas engines? And let's face it, no GM 1-ton truck transmission is going to last much time in a 17,000 pound+ school bus. So why not move to something *MUCH* beefier like an M11 Cummins cranked up to 400 HP? If that's not your thing, a 60-series Detroit nearing 500 HP? Maybe an ISX is your preference at 575 HP? Maybe you'll prefer a Cat engine? Scavenge one from a wrecked 18-wheeler and get the associated trans while you're at it.
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Old 03-02-2021, 04:14 PM   #34
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to the OP trust me i feel your pain.
i have the exact same motor and transmission but my rear gears are 6.50 which with an engine governor spring change that only took me from 175 hp to 205 hp i can still only run 49-52 and hold a little better than you on grades because of the rear gearing.
i actually drove my bus from the beach to grandfather mountain a few years ago.
backroads the entire way and it did not like the grade up grandfather mountain at all.
for now you could get better highway/interstate speed by changing your rear gears but will be even slower up the hill.
i have an old truck yard near me (within an hour) that sells motors every now and then so i will help keep an eye out once you decide what you want to change to.
i am looking for at a minimum for me an 8.3 and a 643 transmission but i have mechaniced almost all my life and am a welder fabricator for a living.
but have not ruled out the 7.3 or 5.9.
double check your bus weight?
your normal NC license only allows you up to 26,001 gvw before you have to upgrade your license and if you are playing around the interstates and the hills i guarantee there is a DOT weigh man running around so be sure of your weight included loaded and headed out weight.
i live down near the beach so its mostly flat lands for me at average speed limit of 55 but i only dream of interstate speeds before i wake and say i will settle for 60/65 and be happy.
but i also grew up middle of nowhere texas where there was nothing but backroads to go anywhere so backroads all the way dont bother just plot out your fuel stops and know when to stop and fuel up or start moving closer to the interstate to hit a fuel stop.
as far as rear gears with you already hitting 60 with that powertrain combo you must already be in the 4.6/7 range.
you could go to the 3.5 range but will lose even more hill pulling power.
the engine governor spring change requires some skill and the correct tools to adjust the fuel rails and i was lucky with mine because i had an older man that i knew and worked for off and on real well that grew up and had owned almost every version of the 8.2 in his personal hauling/clearing business.
so he had everything and guided me doing but i didnt ask if i could have his tools.
that was 7-8 years ago now and he has passed but if you do decide to try that route i have a few other contacts at a diesel power service shop that i installed some heaters in there mechanics shop for them a few years ago and there was a few men in there that liked the 8.2 t/a but told me if i ever needed anything on mine to let them know.
they only work on medium to heavy duty stuff.
i got to see alot of million mile motors opened up for rebuild.
and all the different transmission on pallets or in coming out of crate after fresh reman.
i drooled every day i worked there.
any detroit motor or allison tranny serial is just a phone call or stop in when i am in the area to answer questions about line size or exact fit part numbers it was originally built with
if any one needs it.
okay gotta run?
my son just came home with a leaking thermostat housing??
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Old 03-02-2021, 04:30 PM   #35
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Originally Posted by Brad_SwiftFur View Post
FWIW my shorty IH weighs 14180 pounds, 25,500 GVWR. I have the T444e and 5-speed Spicer with air brakes.


Ultimately to make OP's bus better suited for their wishes a repower is in order but while we have the 8.2 out, why bother with insufficient gas engines? And let's face it, no GM 1-ton truck transmission is going to last much time in a 17,000 pound+ school bus. So why not move to something *MUCH* beefier like an M11 Cummins cranked up to 400 HP? If that's not your thing, a 60-series Detroit nearing 500 HP? Maybe an ISX is your preference at 575 HP? Maybe you'll prefer a Cat engine? Scavenge one from a wrecked 18-wheeler and get the associated trans while you're at it.
Well, now youíre talking my language.

Looking at all these responses, I decided I may stick with the current setup for now, but eventually I do want to upgrade both the trans and engine, for safetyís sake.

But if Iím going to go to the trouble, I want to be sure the results will be worth it.

So scavenging an 18 wheeler engine and trans would definitely be a start!!

Where to begin with something like that...

Okay, well, the junkyard- yes. But how do I have any clue about parts compatibility etc...

Any threads on this/ anyone have any info to share ?
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Old 03-02-2021, 05:25 PM   #36
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Insufficient gas engines? Might I remind everyone here that the base offering in these was a 366 tall-deck big-block Chevy. And the county I grew up in ran them for nearly three decades without issue. I was riding a 66-72 gasser model to high school my senior year of 1994, and it showed no signs of giving up in the least.

I can say that sticking a road tractor engine and trans into a skoolie may be a bit like trying to stick a 500 Caddy into a Chevette. Especially if the 5.9 required modification for clearance. Can it be done? Yes. Without a lot of fuss and muss? Not likely.

OP, I did some research and poking around. The 1980s 454 (RPO LE8 in C/K trucks) was rated 230 hp and 360 ft/lb. Motorhomes had camshafts for power, probably in the 240 hp / 370-380 ft/lb range. Summit says the 1980s 454 probably came with a 550-600 cfm carb, and recommended a carb upgrade (650-750 cfm) and a SUMK1300 camshaft that with a little tuning, maybe some head porting, could yield about 300 hp and 400 ft/lb, in the 1000-4500 rpm range, sufficient for your purposes. They did say, however, that this camshaft would require changing valve springs to handle the extra lift. Still, I'd say you could do this for under $3000 if you can do most of the work yourself. Milling the heads could bump compression up and give a bit more power and torque as well.

Tentatively confirmed that this RV my old man has is equipped with the TH-475 trans, which has a 10k GVWR, perhaps with adequate cooling it might be up to the task, but I can't really say whether it or the AT545 is a better bet. I can say that the 475 is likely better suited for highway driving and hills/mountains than the AT545, as the AT545 has a track record of spilling its guts under such use. And even if the TH-475 is not up to the task (it does have straight-cut planetaries, which is a great thing), you can easily resell it to a drag racer, the guts interchange with a TH-400. Perhaps you can find a reasonably-priced MT643 as well, or swap to a Spicer manual box.

You may try turbocharging the 8.2, it was available with a factory turbo setup. Though I'm not sure it will help much, and it may actually push the head gaskets beyond their limit.
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Old 03-02-2021, 06:01 PM   #37
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the 8.2 n/a didnt handle the turbo adds in the first try's because of lack of enough head bolts and spreader bars didnt help any.
look up a thread on here something like dave and kennys kenworth swap.
they did exactly that swap with our year models bus.
gov deals and craigslist but waiting for one to show up that has been wrecked.
my bus is an 86 b700 so i am looking for a ford L7000/8000 or a gm 6500/7500? not sure about the GM but in our year models they all sold the same platforms as cutaways and shared the same detroit allison stuff.
the 8.2 is a GM product but it is my ford as well as hundreds of other things. but at this point they are old and tired as well as the mechanics that have the knowledge and tools to work on them and finding one that passed his knowledge on to the new mechanics of that era are harder to find.
just cause a 30 year old mechanic says i think i can? dont let him.
unless he talks about fuel rail adjustments and governor spring at the same time and having to remember where that tool is because its not something used all the time?
then i might let him and ask to watch and help.
these things are very picky but when they are tuned correctly will run like an old sewing machine without fail but only the old school mechanics really have the feel for them when adjusting the internals anyone can do filter changes and attachments like compressors and stuff and even gaskets just dont do internals like injectors and governor springs stuff unless you know that they know exactly what they are doing.
the actual fuel rail on each side in lack of better word a mini cam shaft that has to be adjusted perfectly for the injectors to fire correctly. and its a fine art on an engine with no computer to help the mechanic. the ones that know it just listen and even if there hearing is about gone the motor is running while you are laying across or hands on it to adjust so you can feel it as well.
oh yeah the fuel rail adjustment point are in the back of the valve covers against the fire wall.
if anyone gets it wrong then it will never be right until you can coax some oldtimer out to help.
not a problem in a heavy AG community where they are still running these or a construction area where you have alot of heavy equipment rental companies like united rentals or sunbelt. they dont like to work on stuff that isnt on rent from them but you can usually find one of there mechanics looking for something to do while is on call and just sitting around or not even at work and just cant help himself because of nothing to work on?
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Old 03-06-2021, 03:07 PM   #38
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Mine was never that fast but it was a spec. ed. short bus. It got worse this year. I found out the accelerator pedal linkage was loose. Actually the hinge on the pedal was broken and it let the linkage flex more and more.
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Old 03-06-2021, 03:10 PM   #39
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Mine was never that fast but it was a spec. ed. short bus. It got worse this year. I found out the accelerator pedal linkage was loose. Actually the hinge on the pedal was broken and it let the linkage flex more and more.
Easy fix, as uniform as the truck chassis stayed regardless of car model changes, that accelerator is probably the same assembly from 1966 all the way up to 1990. Might be different from gas vs diesel, but otherwise...
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Old 03-06-2021, 03:19 PM   #40
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Depending on the year......

If you can get to know some school bus mechanics, someone will have the password to change the governor routine in the computer so you can get a little more speed. The bottom line being you need to be able to rev higher SAFELY. That might mean a cam, on a diesel, different injectors, or an outright engine swap. I swapped a 7.3L for a Cummins so I could lose the ECM and about 150 miles of wire and get out of the short trackdown game. First find a very good mechanic who likes to make things go fast and isn't in love with only computer diagnostics and tell him you want 300 hp and be able to run with the semis out on the freeway. That runs into money, but sometimes the swap is necessary. The bus was built to plod along on short hauls and an occasional field trip, so modifications sometimes mean changing a lot of things you weren't planning on changing if you want to get to grandma's in under 13 hours.
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