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Old 09-10-2017, 01:58 PM   #21
Bus Crazy
Join Date: Mar 2017
Location: iowa
Posts: 1,026
Year: 1997
Coachwork: bluebird
Chassis: chevy
Engine: 3116 catapillar
Rated Cap: 71 now 2 humans 1 cat
Originally Posted by cowlitzcoach View Post
I think you will discover the bus is only 40' long. School buses are limited to 40' maximum. As a consequence, even in the commercial versions none of the school bus based buses are longer than 40'.

A 1998 Blue Bird is going to have one of three engines--Cummins ISB, Cummins ISC, or Cat 3126/C7. The ISB is going to be a little small in that bus, the ISC will be a great engine, the Cat engines are good but can get very expensive to repair.

It will have either an Allison MT643 or MD3060. If you are lucky it will have the MD3060 and since your bus was never a school bus it may actually have all six gears enabled.

Axles, brakes, and rear end gearing is so variable that I can't even begin to guess what you might have.

If you do end up purchasing that bus there is some things you need to know about Type 'D' FE buses.
  • They are nose heavy. If you notice, the total weight of the engine and transmission are in front of the front axle.
  • Because they are nose heavy they can become a handful when the road gets slippery--a lot of oversteer and no traction.
  • Because they are nose heavy you need to plan your conversion so that anything heavy goes behind the rear axle. Empty you will most likely discover there is twice as much weight on the front axle as there is on the rear axle.
  • Because the engine is in the dog house right next to you it is going to be loud and hot. You can put more insulation on it to reduce the heat and noise but when it is inches from your right foot you can only reduce the heat and noise so much.
  • Because the engine is in the dog house working on it is a royal PITA! Changing service items like filters can be an exercise in gymnastics and contortion. Changing wear items like fan belts can become a full day job.
The only caveat I would have is make sure there is no rust in the bus.

Good luck and happy trails!
my 1998 bb came with a cat 3116 mechanical engine and my filters are located forward on the motor so you rarely take the small (1 ft long )
doghouse off unless your running the rack

mmoore6856 is offline   Reply With Quote

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