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Old 01-31-2020, 06:38 AM   #1
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Join Date: Jan 2020
Location: Plum Branch, SC
Posts: 1
Year: 1967
Coachwork: Bluebird
Chassis: Ford B-series
Engine: 5.9 Cummins 12 Valve, P-pump
Rated Cap: 66
Everhome: 1967 Ford 6BT Conversion

Greetings Skoolies!

After a lifetime of admiring buses, it's time for us to call a skoolie home.

The platform: 1967 Ford dognose bluebird, 66 capacity. The Ford is in great shape, I discovered it last week, sitting in a jungle in South Carolina.
Pros: No rust. No leaks. No seats. Well preserved. Style!
Cons: V8 gasser. Capacity is a little short.

The swap: I am lucky to have a fully operational 1997 Dodge 3500, with a Cummins 12 valve 6BT P-pump and 4WD. Transmission is a 47RE.

The thought process here is that ford B-series buses were built over medium-duty Ford drivetrains. In my knowledge that makes them an ideal platform for a 6BT swap. Please correct me if I am incorrect in that assumption.

The plan: swap the entire Dodge drivetrain into the bus. I dont intend to fool around with an old gas hog in a fully loaded bus, nor with notoriously bad Ford drum brakes.

Before I bite the bullet, buy this Ford, and haul it out of the woods, I need clarification on a few points.

What will I need that I dont already have? Custom driveshaft for certain. Motor mounts for certain.

What modifications might be required? Obviously I will likely have to edit the firewall to fit the 6BT. Will the 47RE transmission fit in the old housing?

What about the front end? Seeing as it's a 4wd Dodge drivetrain, I figure I need to move both axles, differentials etc. If so what's involved with swapping the front end into the old Ford?

Here is where you come in folks! All advice is accepted, both pros and cons. Help me figure out how to make this work! Thanks in advance, glad to be here among expert enthusiasts!
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Old 01-31-2020, 07:07 AM   #2
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Join Date: May 2016
Location: Georgia
Posts: 1,949
Year: 2001
Coachwork: Blue Bird
Chassis: IH
Engine: T444E
Rated Cap: 14
The Dodge transmission was marginal at best in the pickups, it won't last long at all in a much heavier bus. The axles won't fare much better, figure the bus on weighing 15,000 pounds empty. That'll be way over the axle's capacities. Even the 5.9 will be working hard to move it at highway speeds, even with some power upgrades (which will take a bite out of its longevity). You'll need *MUCH* more radiator than the Dodge ever had. IMO, the swap just isn't worth it.


If I were going to repower this bus, I'd find a much bigger engine, such as out of a wrecked semi - I'd scavenge the transmission and axles from it too. I don't think I've ever heard anyone say "This bus has too much power" but it's somewhat common to hear the opposite, especially from the 5.9's. One member even felt his DT466 needed a big upgrade, though to be fair, his rig weighed something like 36K pounds after conversion.
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Old 01-31-2020, 09:15 AM   #3
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Join Date: Jun 2018
Location: Unity, NH
Posts: 435
Year: 2003
Coachwork: Bluebird
Chassis: International 3800
Engine: DT466E (195hp, 520tq)
Rated Cap: 29,000
There was someone in a different topic that mentioned a place in NC that has all sorts of engines and parts from gutting buses. Might be worth checking out a place like that.

Cool looking rig though.
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