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Old 02-18-2017, 07:20 AM   #1
Mini-Skoolie
 
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Hey Members!

i'm just another guy from Washington State just north of seattle! I love buses for as long as I can remember! I want to look at getting a bus at some point in the future but don't know what to get.... I do need some help....

where would be the best place to post my questions on deciding between a few buses and engine/tranny choices?

hope to be a regular here and would love to meet with some of my Washington state members at some point!
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Old 02-18-2017, 06:11 PM   #2
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Hey there!

I'm out of ways to try to contact admin, anyone know why my posts keep getting deleted?

Adam
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Old 02-18-2017, 06:27 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by whitieiii View Post
i'm just another guy from Washington State just north of seattle! I love buses for as long as I can remember! I want to look at getting a bus at some point in the future but don't know what to get.... I do need some help....

where would be the best place to post my questions on deciding between a few buses and engine/tranny choices?

hope to be a regular here and would love to meet with some of my Washington state members at some point!
You first have to determine how you are going to be using your bus.

If you want to do the hidden in plain sight urban camper then you would not want to get a 40' bus.

If you want to do the go way off the end of the pavement and boondock you probably do not want to get a Type 'D' bus that generally have lower ground clearance than Type 'C' buses.

If you want the maximum interior space then you most probably want a Type 'D' bus.

If you want to use the back of the bus as a garage for toys, bikes, whatever then you most probably do not want a rear engine bus.

If you are never going to be more than 100 miles away from home base then having a bus that can maintain highway speeds isn't going to be important. If you plan to see all of the lower 48, Canada, Mexico and points south then you will more likely prefer to have a bus that can cruise at highway speeds and not slow down that much on the steep parts.

Once you have narrowed your search to what type of bus you want then you can start narrowing your search as to which engines you would prefer and which ones you would prefer to not have.

Whatever you decide will work for you it is important that you get the best bus that you can afford that meets your basic preferences. Spending $$$ later to upgrade HP or gear ratios is going to be a lot more expensive than finding a bus that already has those preferences.

And whatever you do, do not purchase anything with rust. Also understand that bad rust in WA state is not even considered a problem in the rust belt. Here in WA when people say bad rust that usually means the black paint has come off of the frame rails. When people in MI say bad rust it means you can read the newspaper through the holes in the sheet metal and frame rails.

Good luck and happy trails to you!
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Old 02-18-2017, 07:36 PM   #4
Mini-Skoolie
 
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Hey Members!

Most camping places don't really like you to have 40' so under 40' long would be good (maybe 35' long?) I love both the 04-07 Thomas FS-65 and the 08-12 Thomas EF but I know the second one will be spendy! I just made a thread asking about what engine and transmission I would want.... I would want it to go at least 80 mph since that is 5 over the fastest speed in the state even though i may not ever get that fast... some of our amtran international type D and carpenter international type Ds with front engines at our district can't even get up to speed empty so those are off the list

It's looking more like a type c would be the perfect choice but I would only go for the Thomas FS-65 or Thomas C2 if going that route (i wish the crown FS-65 had the newer dash than it would be on the list!)
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Old 02-19-2017, 06:39 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by whitieiii View Post
Most camping places don't really like you to have 40' so under 40' long would be good (maybe 35' long?) I love both the 04-07 Thomas FS-65 and the 08-12 Thomas EF but I know the second one will be spendy! I just made a thread asking about what engine and transmission I would want.... I would want it to go at least 80 mph since that is 5 over the fastest speed in the state even though i may not ever get that fast... some of our amtran international type D and carpenter international type Ds with front engines at our district can't even get up to speed empty so those are off the list

It's looking more like a type c would be the perfect choice but I would only go for the Thomas FS-65 or Thomas C2 if going that route (i wish the crown FS-65 had the newer dash than it would be on the list!)
80, like m p h ? buses were not made for that speed. you will use 3 times the gas. if a tire goes down your dead. ive found that 60 is a great speed, good mileage and not a lot of passing.
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Old 02-19-2017, 06:49 AM   #6
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Those late model buses are gonna be PRICEY to fix. All that emissions crap takes its toll.
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Old 02-19-2017, 08:51 AM   #7
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80, like m p h ? buses were not made for that speed. you will use 3 times the gas. if a tire goes down your dead. ive found that 60 is a great speed, good mileage and not a lot of passing.
ok really I was being funny but anything over 55 will be a win as some of our older carpenters and Amtran buses at the local district can barley get up to 40 mph from 25 mph... they do get there but it's so painful
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Old 02-19-2017, 09:08 AM   #8
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Those late model buses are gonna be PRICEY to fix. All that emissions crap takes its toll.
hey I do like them though... thought about a 1980-1994 Thomas on a Ford B700 chassis with a 7.0L engine or an 84-91 Thomas on a GMC B-series with the 7.0L engine but I still love my FS-65 way more than any other bus out there
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Old 02-19-2017, 09:23 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by El Tanke View Post
Hey there!

I'm out of ways to try to contact admin, anyone know why my posts keep getting deleted?

Adam
Hi Adam... looks like they are posting now. You had to wait until your membership was approved by admin. It apparently has now

Sandi
www.thismidwifetravels.com
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Old 02-19-2017, 10:00 AM   #10
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superdave is right... school busses at 80 is not a fun thing to drive... even a Heavy heavy coach bus at 80 is not an easy or fun ride.. going from 55 to 70. can cut your fuel mileage in HALF.. not to mention that you have to STOP a bus going 80... i venture to say you will never be able to maintain safe stopping distance on a highway at 80 in a bus... cars will always jump in front of you to the point you just cant stop..

school busses have decent brakes.. but going from 80 to zero with bus brakes you will experience some fade... and longer distance...

plus the wear and tear on the drivetrain if you can find one that will run that fast..

I ran my short bus up to 75 (its max) for a few miles and it was a handful to handle.. as well as the engine was at redline and the temperature was rising, fan was running max speed the whole time...

the newer busses are nice for features and creature comforts.. however the emission systems on there can cause you many headaches... school busses dont get serviced at the local car shop, they have to go to a commercial truck shop unless you have the tools and computer-diagnosrtics software required to diagnose complex issues with emissions.. our school system in columbus ohio has a bunch (close to 400) IC busses it boiught new in 2013 / 2014. .. I sometimes go to the local rush truck center to buy IHC parts for my busses.. there are always some of those shiny new busses coming in on tow trucks... I asked once why so many newer busses in the garage.. anbd the response was that 75% of the work they do on newer busses is related to the diesel emissions systems... the other 25% are just break-fix of other systems.. (often electronics related)...

I looked at buyting or leasing a new or newer bus and the result was WAY more expense than any repairs i need to make to an older bus.. and not much if any gain in fuel economy..

thgat said your busses that have lockup or overdrive transmissions.. (older units with MT-643). and newer units with allison 2000/3000 ) but staying Pre-2008 will give you good fuel economy and not have the emissions controls.. (the VT-365 was the start of a lot of issues but is easily avoided.. and its not a bad engine if you are careful with it).....

-Christopher
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Old 02-19-2017, 11:05 PM   #11
Mini-Skoolie
 
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Originally Posted by cadillackid View Post
superdave is right... school busses at 80 is not a fun thing to drive... even a Heavy heavy coach bus at 80 is not an easy or fun ride.. going from 55 to 70. can cut your fuel mileage in HALF.. not to mention that you have to STOP a bus going 80... i venture to say you will never be able to maintain safe stopping distance on a highway at 80 in a bus... cars will always jump in front of you to the point you just cant stop..

school busses have decent brakes.. but going from 80 to zero with bus brakes you will experience some fade... and longer distance...

plus the wear and tear on the drivetrain if you can find one that will run that fast..

I ran my short bus up to 75 (its max) for a few miles and it was a handful to handle.. as well as the engine was at redline and the temperature was rising, fan was running max speed the whole time...

the newer busses are nice for features and creature comforts.. however the emission systems on there can cause you many headaches... school busses dont get serviced at the local car shop, they have to go to a commercial truck shop unless you have the tools and computer-diagnosrtics software required to diagnose complex issues with emissions.. our school system in columbus ohio has a bunch (close to 400) IC busses it boiught new in 2013 / 2014. .. I sometimes go to the local rush truck center to buy IHC parts for my busses.. there are always some of those shiny new busses coming in on tow trucks... I asked once why so many newer busses in the garage.. anbd the response was that 75% of the work they do on newer busses is related to the diesel emissions systems... the other 25% are just break-fix of other systems.. (often electronics related)...

I looked at buyting or leasing a new or newer bus and the result was WAY more expense than any repairs i need to make to an older bus.. and not much if any gain in fuel economy..

thgat said your busses that have lockup or overdrive transmissions.. (older units with MT-643). and newer units with allison 2000/3000 ) but staying Pre-2008 will give you good fuel economy and not have the emissions controls.. (the VT-365 was the start of a lot of issues but is easily avoided.. and its not a bad engine if you are careful with it).....

-Christopher
ok.... I still am leaning towards a Thomas FS-65 though if I could change the dash in the older 97-2003 model to the dash that is in the 04-07 it may be better... the older FS-65 dash is thing that turns me off the most about those model years... but now what engine/tranny should I get?
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Old 02-20-2017, 07:51 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by whitieiii View Post
ok.... I still am leaning towards a Thomas FS-65 though if I could change the dash in the older 97-2003 model to the dash that is in the 04-07 it may be better... the older FS-65 dash is thing that turns me off the most about those model years... but now what engine/tranny should I get?

here is the reality.. and I get the dashboard thing... I have nixxed vehicles more than once for dashboards I hated...

go for the bus thats going to make you happeist regardless.. if an 04-07 FS65 is what you want then go get it.. dont let us tell you..

I know all about this as I hgave 'settled' in the past and never 'felt' right about said vehicle.. so in your case I say find that bus you want.. if you dont, your mind will screw with you...

im not sure what engines and transmissions were in those... I think in 04-07 you should have a good allison 2500 series overdrive in most all of them... engine wise I dont know what was in use.. im guessing an MBE-906 mercedes and a CAT (C7?) were available...

-Christopher
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Old 02-20-2017, 09:48 PM   #13
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here is the reality.. and I get the dashboard thing... I have nixxed vehicles more than once for dashboards I hated...

go for the bus thats going to make you happeist regardless.. if an 04-07 FS65 is what you want then go get it.. dont let us tell you..

I know all about this as I hgave 'settled' in the past and never 'felt' right about said vehicle.. so in your case I say find that bus you want.. if you dont, your mind will screw with you...

im not sure what engines and transmissions were in those... I think in 04-07 you should have a good allison 2500 series overdrive in most all of them... engine wise I dont know what was in use.. im guessing an MBE-906 mercedes and a CAT (C7?) were available...

-Christopher
it came with the 2000 standard but could be upgraded to an MD-3060 or an Eton fuller 5 speed for trannys... although the fuller I beleve could be only ordered with the 7.2 C7

the options for engines were 5.9 cummins, 6.4 MBE906 (only on Thomas bodied FS-65), and 7.2 Cat C7

I was thinking of the 7.2 with MD-3060 but is that the best choice?
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Old 02-27-2017, 07:05 PM   #14
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We just put money down on a 2003 FS65 with Cummins 5.9 and MD3060 that the owner (of the bus line and fleet repair shop said was his most reliable bus until retiring it (NL has a 12yr max for student transport use). I opted to avoid the FS65 with the MBE and the Bluebird with the 3126 that I viewed having heard expensive things about MBE and CAT engines here and on school bus driver forums. Ultimately though you should get what speaks to you. I do like the look of the freightliner conventionals since I rode one every day in high school and I wanted storage lockers, and surprise surprise I ended up buying just that kind of bus...
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Old 02-28-2017, 06:46 AM   #15
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We just put money down on a 2003 FS65 with Cummins 5.9 and MD3060 that the owner (of the bus line and fleet repair shop said was his most reliable bus until retiring it (NL has a 12yr max for student transport use). I opted to avoid the FS65 with the MBE and the Bluebird with the 3126 that I viewed having heard expensive things about MBE and CAT engines here and on school bus driver forums. Ultimately though you should get what speaks to you. I do like the look of the freightliner conventionals since I rode one every day in high school and I wanted storage lockers, and surprise surprise I ended up buying just that kind of bus...


How is it? Do you like it? I'd love to see what kind of mods are out there to get all the power possible out of the 5.9... from all I hear the 5.9 in the FS-65 is underpowered for a rv convention... and stay away from the mbe 904 since that is an inline 4 cylinder.... I'm basing my decisions on what the local district has because I have no Idea what engine is the best... they have 7.2 cat c7 with md3060 in all the buses until the last year they were offered minded they are all Thomas EF.... I don't know if that's really a good choice though... what do you plan on doing to yours? I'm interested in following along with any and all progress you make with yours
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