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Old 05-06-2016, 08:29 PM   #21
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They actually need ballast? I've changed the center of gravity by chiseling out rivets.

I don't understand, I post the pics through photobucket and they keep disappearing.




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Old 05-06-2016, 10:06 PM   #22
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That is truly bizarre guys. The only thing that I can think of is along the "ballast" lines to load the rear springs enough to take out the infamous "empty bus bounce".

These rigs come from the factory sprung to handle max loading. 72 passengers x 200 pounds or so equals 14,400 pounds. Without a full load, the spring rate is brutally stiff. I reduced the spring rate on my shorty by 50% and added rear shocks to accomplish something similar. You might think about dumping the dead weight and lightening the springs.
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Old 05-06-2016, 11:02 PM   #23
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I think that's a fine idea. Nice place for a big tank or something useful and there are already hangers there. That's very interesting. I'm hauling around hundreds of pounds of tail weight. No wonder it has such a heavy arse.

I think the springs are pretty well broke in by now. It doesn't feel stiff now, so I'll drop the weight and see how it feels. I'm guessing it will drive better on these bouncy back roads without the tail weight. I keep my water barrels right in front of the back axle but other than that there isn't a lot of weight in this bus, build wise. It's still my fishing van.
Still learning new things.
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Old 05-07-2016, 06:23 AM   #24
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The Goat kids asked me about buses "hopping"... It took me a minute to understand what they were talking about.
Turns out if you don't have air ride the rear can BOUNCE.
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Old 05-07-2016, 09:46 AM   #25
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I really have to watch it on the back roads. The bus width fills my half of the road with a good 6" to spare. People smack mirrors occasionally while passing. In these FEs the front seems to get equal bounce, apparently because of my short wheel base as the front is cantilevered just about as much as the rear. In this shorter wheel base bus I get a definite hopping motion. I've never ridden in the back of the bus while it's going down the road. The dog nose buses dip and dodge like normal but in this rig it kind of rocks front to rear. Hey... this rig rocks!
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Old 05-07-2016, 10:22 AM   #26
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I can make it down a bumpy dirt road without stuff falling over.
40' with air ride pretty much rides like a giant minivan. Sorta.
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Old 05-07-2016, 11:35 AM   #27
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Do they put air ride on short buses? There's a lot of advantages to a 40'r, but I'd like to see you follow my bus on the back roads where maneuverability counts.
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Old 05-07-2016, 11:47 AM   #28
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Do they put air ride on short buses? There's a lot of advantages to a 40'r, but I'd like to see you follow my bus on the back roads where maneuverability counts.
Thats why after I hit the lottery I'm putting in a steerable rearend.
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Old 05-07-2016, 04:05 PM   #29
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Hi Geick,
Just saw your post. I need to swing over to Ethridge in a couple weeks and pick up a load of cedar from one of the sawmills around there. Wife wants a "SheShed" with cedar siding.
As a long time bus driver I will say good idea on the RE DT466 and 3060. Really though don't worry about a DT466E or mechanical. It's going to be extremely difficult or impossible to find a mechanical one with the 3060 because of age. Anything past the mid '90s is going to be an E. The only practical difference between the mechanical and E is that the engine warning light on the E will stay on all the time. Even right after my engine was rebuilt with a reputable mechanic the computer always shows a faulty sensor even when it was replaced.

As far as manuverability: there's not much practical difference between an FE and RE. Yes, the RE has a longer wheelbase but it will drive the one lane mountain roads just as well. Just pull out a little further in the weeds. I will take an RE or FE over a conventional any day, any road. And in dicey weather conditions the RE wins.

Pulling a mountain grade: Any school bus is going to slow down, but a 466/3060 will do as well as any of them other than maybe a Crown. Going up the Cumberland Plateau I slow down to 45 but part of that is going around the curves.
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Old 05-07-2016, 04:16 PM   #30
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Do they put air ride on short buses? There's a lot of advantages to a 40'r, but I'd like to see you follow my bus on the back roads where maneuverability counts.
my 7 row has it in the rear but not the front
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Old 05-07-2016, 06:32 PM   #31
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I have none and have researched for some for my 86 and can only find custom made for custom money I don't have?
I want to go to a big rig graveyard and see how much they cost there and I can do the customizing. I just have to find them and NO I haven't tried flea bay?
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Old 05-07-2016, 08:00 PM   #32
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Do they put air ride on short buses? There's a lot of advantages to a 40'r, but I'd like to see you follow my bus on the back roads where maneuverability counts.
Most newer short buses have air ride front and back and air conditioning, at least in my neck of the woods.

And yes short buses have a tighter turning radius but I'll be right on your tail on the back roads. Not trying to be snotty but there are very few roads a 40' RE won't go. Basically one lane fire lanes with switchbacks. If it's a narrow two lane county road it's surprising how maneuverable an RE is.

Most of the problems driving a long bus are when you're in town in traffic and you're trying to make a turn with cars in the lanes beside you. That's when I would say a shorty has the big advantage.

To a new driver I would say do enough driving locally to really get a feel for the bus. Most new drivers forget about all the overhang they have in the front of the bus and are hesitant about swinging over a curb.
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Old 05-07-2016, 08:44 PM   #33
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Most newer short buses have air ride front and back and air conditioning, at least in my neck of the woods.

And yes short buses have a tighter turning radius but I'll be right on your tail on the back roads. Not trying to be snotty but there are very few roads a 40' RE won't go. Basically one lane fire lanes with switchbacks. If it's a narrow two lane county road it's surprising how maneuverable an RE is.

Most of the problems driving a long bus are when you're in town in traffic and you're trying to make a turn with cars in the lanes beside you. That's when I would say a shorty has the big advantage.

To a new driver I would say do enough driving locally to really get a feel for the bus. Most new drivers forget about all the overhang they have in the front of the bus and are hesitant about swinging over a curb.
Nice to see you back on here.
Do you post on School Bus Fleet?
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Old 05-08-2016, 12:37 AM   #34
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Thanks! Good to be back. For some reason my email address got messed up and I was never receiving notices from the forum. With my A.D.D. I started drifting away....

One more school year before I start converting my bus...

No, I don't post on there. I guess I should since I've been a contractor for a couple of years. Thankfully I've got access to some pretty decent mechanics.
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Old 05-23-2016, 09:08 AM   #35
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Hey Boojiewoojie,
I just saw your post...for some reason, I'm not getting email notifications about posts in threads I subscribe to. Anyway, thanks for the input. I'm still in the beginning stages. I think I've pretty much decided on a Cummins 8.3 with MD3060, but am still open to the DT466 with MD3060. I like the Thomas HDXes (from what I've gathered, the Thomases are said to be a little better built), which wouldn't be available with that engine/tranny combo. It seems like the combo I'm looking for (Thomas HDX with Cummins 8.3 and MD3060) is going to be hard to find. All of the local buses I see driving around are FE, so I'm not sure how to go about finding one from a local school district (which would be my preference). Shopping for one online would involve a lot of driving, which requires time and money, and the closest seemingly reputable reseller (Kerlin) I've been able to find is in Indiana...and all of their HDXes have the 5.9 Cummins, which I'm reluctant to even consider, as I feel they might be underpowered for my purposes. Thanks for the info. Nice to see someone close by on the forum. BTW, would you be able to provide a rough measurement of the engine hump in the rear (I'm trying to get rough estimates of the interior dimensions for design purposes)?
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Old 05-23-2016, 11:28 AM   #36
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Most newer short buses have air ride front and back and air conditioning, at least in my neck of the woods.

And yes short buses have a tighter turning radius but I'll be right on your tail on the back roads. Not trying to be snotty but there are very few roads a 40' RE won't go. Basically one lane fire lanes with switchbacks. If it's a narrow two lane county road it's surprising how maneuverable an RE is.

Most of the problems driving a long bus are when you're in town in traffic and you're trying to make a turn with cars in the lanes beside you. That's when I would say a shorty has the big advantage.

To a new driver I would say do enough driving locally to really get a feel for the bus. Most new drivers forget about all the overhang they have in the front of the bus and are hesitant about swinging over a curb.
You're exactly right on about all of that. My back roads are logging roads. Low speeds and lots of turns that are designed for logging trucks so I'm sure you're right about following to most places.
I've found these things get stuck very easily on wet ground. Thinking seriously about adding a winch that I can attach to a hitch in the front or rear.
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Old 05-23-2016, 10:26 PM   #37
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Geick, My last school day is tomorrow so I'll get a measurement for you hopefully tomorrow when it's sitting in my driveway.
You're right about most districts surrounding you running FE's. I used to live in Mt. Pleasant, Columbia and started driving in Marshall County (Lewisburg) after those two places. I don't recall seeing a single RE. We had one in Lewisburg but it was in the shop a lot for some reason.

If local low cost is your most important priority the closest RE's are in Franklin county. We're all contractors mostly with one or two routes and basically run a bus until it ages out. There's probably gonna be one or two RE's available, but nothing as new as an HDX.

And whether a Thomas is better built is highly questionable. All the big RE's are pretty heavy duty with more robust fittings, etc. and quality is about the same across brands.
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Old 05-24-2016, 02:26 PM   #38
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Geick, My last school day is tomorrow so I'll get a measurement for you hopefully tomorrow when it's sitting in my driveway.
You're right about most districts surrounding you running FE's. I used to live in Mt. Pleasant, Columbia and started driving in Marshall County (Lewisburg) after those two places. I don't recall seeing a single RE. We had one in Lewisburg but it was in the shop a lot for some reason.

If local low cost is your most important priority the closest RE's are in Franklin county. We're all contractors mostly with one or two routes and basically run a bus until it ages out. There's probably gonna be one or two RE's available, but nothing as new as an HDX.

And whether a Thomas is better built is highly questionable. All the big RE's are pretty heavy duty with more robust fittings, etc. and quality is about the same across brands.

Schooooool's...out...for summer! Thank you. The measurements will be really helpful. If you have a way of posting a pic, that would be greatly appreciated, as well. I work in Columbia, and my parents live in Cornersville, so I'm well acquainted with all of those areas.

Really, local and low cost aren't my most important priorities. I really want the bus that I want, and I would make time to go and get it (though the cost would be a factor, as I'm not going to spend the 20-40 grand that I've seen some sites selling these things for, especially knowing I can get something for much less). It's just that I've read that local school districts are the preferred place to find a bus (though I suppose non-local would be just as good, if I had intel about where the bus I'm looking for might reside, and could visit with those who service them). If there are better places (or other reliable alternatives), I'm certainly open to exploring as time allows.

I have no first-hand experience with buses, and at this point have been going off whatever info I can find, hence my Thomas bias. I'm open to whatever, so long as it is reliable and suits my purpose. A powerful engine is a must (Cummins 8.3/DT466), as we'll be all over the US (mountains and such), as well as a heavy duty tranny with overdrive (MD3060), and a rear end that's geared for highway driving (don't know much about the gearing ratio I need). Thanks again for the info.
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Old 05-24-2016, 05:15 PM   #39
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I like the way you're making your choices. I came here after I purchased this bus.
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Old 05-25-2016, 07:51 AM   #40
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I like the way you're making your choices. I came here after I purchased this bus.
Thanks. I research the crap out of things, most of the time at the expense of never getting anything done. I'm (and we're) determined that my family will live on a bus and travel the country. In this case, I think finding the time and patience to locate the right bus, plan accordingly (from designing the interior of the actual bus to financing this endeavor) and acquiring the skills to execute the conversion, all the while keeping from getting burned out, will be the real challenge here...in the words of the Robinson family, "KEEP MOVING FORWARD!" I am really coming to respect people who dive right into a project, because they seem to get things done without succumbing to the tempation to overthink everything.
Here's to people who get s#@t done! http://www.skoolie.net/forums/images...milies/bow.gif
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