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Old 02-19-2016, 06:24 PM   #1
rjnye79's Avatar
Join Date: Feb 2016
Location: East Coast kid
Posts: 142
Year: 1995
Coachwork: Bluebird
Chassis: International 3800
Engine: T444e
Rated Cap: 66
Greenhorn Checking In With My First Question

Hey folks!

Another newbie here, sending salutations from Savannah! Just wanted to introduce myself and ask what could be a very loaded question... do you have any thoughts on the drawbacks/gains of a short bus versus the traditional 66 (or so) passenger rigs? No worries though, I've already gathered that size is the most apparent difference. What I'm interested in are the contrasts in performance, maintenance, ride, lifespan, etc. I apologize in advance if there is already a thread posted with regards to this topic. Must have somehow failed to find in my initial lurking efforts. Thanks to all who are active in this forum sharing their knowledge, experiences, and passion!


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Old 02-20-2016, 10:06 AM   #2
Bus Crazy
sdwarf36's Avatar
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Moodus, Ct.
Posts: 1,062
Year: 1996
Coachwork: Champion
Chassis: Ford e-450
Engine: 7.3 Powerstroke
Rated Cap: 14
It depends what you plan on using it for. 1 person or 6? Weekends or fulltime? Traveling the country or short trips in the summer? 40 acres or small driveway?
Most of the guts are the same-a 5.9 Cummins is the same short bus to long-maybe different trannys?
And a point I've made when people are to affixed on X motor vs. Y motor. "X motor is good for 1 million miles!" So they dismiss anything with a Y motor. How many miles you think you are actually going to put on the bus? You are never going to be putting on what the max design spec is going to be. (Full loaded running 24/7 is all conditions for 20 years.)
For me, a large bus doesn't make sense. I only go a few hundred miles at a clip-summers-and the sites I'm going to don't have room for a big bus. But if I were travling the country with 3 kids a 2 dogs, a full sized would be more realistic.
Price-wise, short vs. full are suprisingly close to the same-due to more full sized ones out there.
Don't make a fuss-just get on the bus!

my bus build
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Old 02-20-2016, 01:12 PM   #3
Bus Nut
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Join Date: Feb 2015
Location: North carolina
Posts: 651
Year: 1986
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: Ford
Engine: Detroit 8.2
Rated Cap: 60 bodies
That is the million dollar question for you to decide. I chose a full size for 4 people but have all of the amenities of home built in comfortably.
I am in N.C. Close to the beach and our original dream was/is to move to texas/home and live in the bus while I build a house. Slowly slipping away because my 11&12 year olds are now 15&16 but it is still a dream and we can go camping RV style when we can with no problems except for being a skoolie but not to much of that around here cause all of the tourist with the big RV's want to be on the beach. all the state parks are away from the beach in the tree's with beautiful water access and aren't getting overrun or filled so they are willing to accept filling a spot rather than not.
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Old 02-20-2016, 05:49 PM   #4
Bus Crazy
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Winlcok, WA
Posts: 2,233
Mechanically most of the same parts and pieces are used when they build 5-row Type 'C' buses as when they make 13-row Type 'C' buses or 15-row Type 'D' rear engine buses.

The biggest difference is the longer the wheelbase the better the ride becomes. Short full size buses don't really ride down the road--they jounce from one set of expansion joint to the next.

The other big difference is engine location. An engine 30-some feet away from you and running away from the noise, heat, and smells is always preferable to an engine 30-some inches from your ears.

And as it has been noted before, what your intended purposes make a big difference in the choice of bus. If you want a toy hauler a rear engine bus would be a really bad choice. If are going to go boondocking off the pavement a shorter wheelbase bus would probably do the job better than a 40' bus--getting to the end of a one lane road and having to turn around is much easier to accomplish with a 20' bus than a 40' bus.
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Old 02-20-2016, 08:13 PM   #5
rjnye79's Avatar
Join Date: Feb 2016
Location: East Coast kid
Posts: 142
Year: 1995
Coachwork: Bluebird
Chassis: International 3800
Engine: T444e
Rated Cap: 66
Thanks for the replies y'all! The bus would be home to my lady, our dog and myself (we're on the fence about our indoor/outdoor cats) for possibly a couple of years. Traveling up, down and across North America, occasionally boondocking and sometimes in more urban settings but spending lots of time in National/State park campgrounds too. Of course, extra space would be great but we do want something easy to drive and park. Ease of maintenance is also a plus, since neither of us are gear heads, although we are fairly quick learners.
The ride and highway performance of a school bus wasn't something that had really occurred to me until I started reading this forum. I imagine there are all kinds of adaptations that can be made to remedy these things, but we will also be on a rather tight budget. That being said, we are excited about the ability to customize our own mobile living quarters, as opposed to scoring a late modeled RV and trying to figure out what we need to repair/upgrade then pouring our money into those expenses.

On a side note, Jolly Roger, I grew up in Eastern NC! Whereabouts do you call home? Also, being an East Carolina alumnus, I dig your screen name...

Thanks again folks! I'm happy to have found this forum!
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