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Old 09-12-2020, 01:22 PM   #1
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Join Date: Sep 2020
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Identify this engine

I've lived in my bus for 10 years. used it as a tinyhome, never have driven it on a public road, I have towed it between parkups. it is a propane engine, i moved it when I first bought it and it started no problem then it sat for 4 years and then started first try, then it sat for a year, and it didn't start, then another 2 years and didn't start, then after one more year I tried again and it still didn't start. now its been 3 and I am moving again, and I'm getting it towed to its new home but when I get there I want to start it to pull it in to where I want to park it. last time I moved it the tow truck driver said he thought it was likley the distributor cap/cables that needs to replace. I know what part that is visualy in the engine but I'm wondering what kind of engine I have in this bus. I have attached some Images. It is a 1977 GMC bluebird that is 25 feet bumper to bumper, I am in BC canada. If anyone has any guesses as to what it might be that would be great as I have no idea what it is. I guess ultimatly I will take out the distributor cap and see if I can find the same one. I only need to get it started to drive it 100 feet. Thanks - Eric
Attached Images
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File Type: jpg IMG_0059.jpg (323.9 KB, 11 views)

Eric Inthecircle is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-12-2020, 03:46 PM   #2
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Location: Virginia
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Engine: None
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Tall-deck 366 / 427 (6.0/7.0L) truck blocks were the order of the day for most of these. That's what this one appears to be. I don't think much, if anything, interchanges for a typical 427 Chevrolet car engine.

You can look up the application as a year-appropriate Chevrolet C50, C60, or C70 series medium duty truck chassis, which is what such buses of the era were built on. Make sure you specifically state a propane setup, plugs and other ignition parts may be different. Other engine options for these include the 292 (4.8L) straight-6, and a 5.7L I'm guessing was a 350 4-bolt main block.

It might also be a good idea to remove the spark plugs and shoot some Marvel Mystery Oil or WD-40 through the spark plug holes to help free any stuck rings after sitting so long. I would also turn it over with a breaker bar a bit before trying to start it.

These engines are something of an oddity, I've often wondered if these engines were loosely based on GMC's 305/351 CID V6 (or perhaps vice versa), which occasionally were grafted together to make a 702 "Twin Six", or V12, often used in COE fire trucks of the day.
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Old 09-12-2020, 07:45 PM   #3
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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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ill have to ask my buddy where the 366 came from.. he has a whole fleet of vintage GMC busses and 50/60 series trucks.. he knows a bunch about those..
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Old 09-12-2020, 07:51 PM   #4
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Year: 1990
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As Cheese said it's a tall deck big block. Most likely a 366, as the 427 were used mostly in dump trucks and other heavy duty truck platforms.

Some of the car big block parts are interchangeable, notably the distributor cap and plug wires are. The distributors themselves are not, as they are longer than what was used on the "standard" big and small blocks of the day.

Find someone who knows Chevy/GMC engines, and the tune-up should be a breeze.
LP fuel is not something I'd want, and if it was mine I'd convert it to a carburetor in a New York minute. But if you don't drive it much, if any, it might be best from a financial standpoint, to leave it LP.

Good luck getting it running and moved 100 feet!
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Old 09-12-2020, 08:40 PM   #5
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Since he doesn't drive it much, LP is his best fuel source. Gas sitting for too long would just make more of a hassle. Do these things use an ignition module in the distributor? I have had a few modules go bad in my past life. Cheap fix to try out.
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Old 09-12-2020, 08:58 PM   #6
Bus Geek
 
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Columbus Ohio
Posts: 15,233
Year: 1991
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Chassis: International 3800
Engine: DTA360 / MT643
Rated Cap: 7 Row Handicap
the early ones were points distributors..
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Old 09-12-2020, 09:27 PM   #7
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"Bus'n'it" is right for something not run or driven much. Gasoline goes bad eventually. I want to add that the oil and filter should be changed also after sitting so long without running. 1977 should be HEI for most, not sure of these.

If it does need a module, don't go with a cheap one, they don't usually last. Thinking about it, if it is point ignition, the points could be corroded after sitting so long. Could also be a blown condenser. PeteG59 makes an interesting point - perhaps the point dizzy could be converted to HEI if it is the same other than length.
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Old 09-13-2020, 01:32 AM   #8
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Location: Virginia
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Engine: None
Rated Cap: None
Some info and such for the OP, and anyone else who finds one of these under their hood...

https://www.tradecraftspecialties.com/bbckb

That link indicates that with the factory intake manifold, this engine can accept a standard-length big-block HEI dizzy. Ok, so who's right here, PG59 or the author of this link? LOL. Possible upgrade for the OP. One other thought -- Something occurred to me from another post...

If anyone remembers my post about engine paint color indicating a DT466E vs a MaxxForce DT, I believe that may be the case with the tall-deck big-block Chevrolets as well. Most 366s I've seen pics of were painted blue, the pics of 427s were either red or Chevrolet orange. Hope that helps someone in identifying these in the future.

An interesting thought I'd like to intone here... The 8.2 and 6.2 Detroit Diesel engines wound up in highway applications simply by a farce of sorts. The 8.2, from my understanding, was originally designed for marine applications. Legend has it that the 6.2 was originally designed for the military for generators, pumps and such.

Story goes that such an engine was orphaned when the equipment it powered was no longer serviceable apart from the engine. Military mechanics stuck the orphaned 6.2 into a military truck that no longer ran and apparently the military asked GM to build CUCVs with the 6.2, and it eventually was offered in light-duty civilian truck offerings as well.

What makes this relevant to this post is that I've found quite a few listings indicating commercial / industrial versions and applications for the tall-deck 427, which indicates it, too, was not originally intended for highway use, but was adapted. Several different water pumps were used, and several different head castings (some of which interchange with the more common Mark IV big-block Chevrolet.
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