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Old 05-03-2015, 08:54 AM   #1
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Newbie- looking@ ward 47 passenger

Hi everyone, I've been lurking around for awhile and I'd like to get opinions on a possible project. It's a 1990 Ward 47 passenger with a Chevy 366, four speed manual with 2 speed axle. As far as I know it is completely stock. Is this a solid base to start from? Are there any commonly known issues with these? Any input is appreciated.
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Old 05-03-2015, 09:08 AM   #2
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Welcome.

I like the way the wards look, but have never seen one is person. Not common around here.

There are a few members in the build thread section that have wards. I would go read as many build threads as you can. Much valuable info there.

Good luck

Nat
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Old 05-03-2015, 09:51 AM   #3
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I've seen some pretty decent Wards and it is likely a solid platform to build on. My only concern would be the 366. That particular big block was quite a gas hog that only came in trucks & buses. (Note...but it was VERY popular with racers)

Personally, I would avoid any gas engine in a bus of any size. Diesel rules the hauler market for lots of very good reasons.

Paired with that 2-speed axle, something like a mechanical Cummins 6BT would make for a pretty economical and durable combo. And such a swap is not that costly or complicated. Funny thing is, you can buy the mechanical sixes for half the price of the old fours.

Just my dos centavos.
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Old 05-03-2015, 12:02 PM   #4
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The engine will eat you up alive. Every dollar you spend filling your tank will be one less dollar you have to spend on your bus.
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Old 05-03-2015, 12:53 PM   #5
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The engine will eat you up alive. Every dollar you spend filling your tank will be one less dollar you have to spend on your bus.
Agreed. I got ~10mpg driving my 03 Amtran from Maine to NJ with a T444E turbo under the rear deck. A gasser would have been completely cost prohibitive with today's prices.
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Old 05-03-2015, 08:45 PM   #6
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My ford/Thomas gas bus got about 3-4 mpg.
My current bus is a Ward and I'm very happy with it.
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Old 05-03-2015, 08:52 PM   #7
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My ford/Thomas gas bus got about 3-4 mpg.
My current bus is a Ward and I'm very happy with it.
What engine do you have in it? What is your average MPG?
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Old 05-03-2015, 09:34 PM   #8
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Try to find a bus with an 8.3 or 5.9 Cummins or International DT360, DT466, 444E. I have no personal experience but I understand that a Cat 3116 and 3126 are expensive to repair.
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Old 05-04-2015, 05:01 AM   #9
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Try to find a bus with an 8.3 or 5.9 Cummins or International DT360, DT466, 444E. I have no personal experience but I understand that a Cat 3116 and 3126 are expensive to repair.
444E is essentially a Ford 7.3L Powerstroke. Very easy to get parts anywhere. Porkchopsandwiches detailed all the problems (and expenses) he's had with his Cat-powered Thomas. The problem with Cat, AFAIK, is that they're proprietary, so you *have* to go to a Cat dealer for parts.
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Old 05-04-2015, 05:44 AM   #10
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What engine do you have in it? What is your average MPG?
DT466.
Ive only put about a thousand miles on it so far but somewhere in the 9-10mpg range.
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Old 05-04-2015, 09:54 AM   #11
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a Ford 7.3L Powerstroke is essentially a 444E. Very easy to get parts anywhere. Porkchopsandwiches detailed all the problems (and expenses) he's had with his Cat-powered Thomas. The problem with Cat, AFAIK, is that they're proprietary, so you *have* to go to a Cat dealer for parts.

Fixed it for ya.
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Old 05-04-2015, 10:35 AM   #12
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As far as Ward bus bodies are concerned, it sort of depends upon when they were built that determines whether they were good or not. The last few years before Navistar purchased a part of the business and until Navistar owned the whole business the quality was all over the map. Surprisingly, water leaks were never a big problem for them considering how poor the quality control was.

Ward cut a lot of corners in quality of materials and products used in order to stay competitive. But their basic design didn't change that much over the years so most of the Ward buses held up about as well as any other bus.

As others have mentioned, the GM 366 truck engine is a great engine for what it is.

It has virtually nothing in common with the big block engines used in GM cars and light trucks. It may look similar on the outside but inside it was designed and built for a lot more abuse than the engines used in cars and light trucks.

Because it is a GM big block getting parts and pieces to keep it going are relatively easy to find and not that expensive.

The expensive part comes in with the stops at the gas station.

Even though the bus is relatively small it will have a pretty big appetite for gasoline. Figure on 6 MPG tops with speeds less than 50 MPH. Increase speed to 60 MPH and you will be down below 5 MPG. And those guestimates are with everything working at tip top condition with fresh gas that isn't an ethanol blend with water in it. Realistic fuel mileage would be in the 4 MPG range. Or about $0.75 per mile just for fuel.

The same size bus with a T444(E) or 6BT/ISB will get 8-12 MPG.
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