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Old 03-25-2016, 05:01 PM   #1
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Location: Danglebury, Tejas
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Year: 1999
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Chassis: IH 3800
Engine: Navistar DT466E
Rated Cap: 72 passenger
Yet another Texan!

Let me first say, "This is ALL Elliots fault!!!". I'll come back to that thought in a minute.

By way of a proper introduction, here are the messy details about me: Originally from Southern Calif, 50-something, I now hail from deep south Texas, specifically from a tiny country town about 40 miles due south of Houston. Population 1500. Horses, cattle, and many such other critters. I pretend to run a law practice when I'm not causing trouble elsewhere.

As are several of the members here, I'm a Burner and spend my few free hours prepping for the next years event. We started small and are continually growing our camp. A schoolbus was the next logical evolution after we ran out of trailer space for the umpteenth time. And this is where Elliot gets the blame. At the 2014 event, he was kind enough to give me a guided tour of Millicent. And again at the 2015 gathering, only this time I was taking notes! And thus did I catch the Incurable Skoolie Bug, as did my partner-in-crime the lovely Ms Beams.

A confession: Currently I'm bus-less, but this should change very shortly. The homework is largely done and I'm ready to pull the trigger when the right candidate comes along. In fact, I'm actively shopping, so if you hear of anything local-ish to Texas, I'm yer Huckleberry.

Another confession: I've spent the last three years ghosting this site, and this AM finally did the right thing and registered. As a result, I sort of feel like I "know" many of you from some two years of voyeurism. From Elliots Millicent Chronicles, to Vlad's Epic Sliding Sidings, and the many excellent posts by the rest of the membership, its been a wonderful read.

I'm just here hoping to get some more good advice, make some new friends, and share pictures of cut-off saw wounds. And bus-builds!

Many thanks to all you Skoolies for your posts over the years. This place is a veritable treasure trove of information and I feel priviliged now to run amok in cyberspace with ya'll!

Grey
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Old 03-25-2016, 05:12 PM   #2
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Welcome GreyCoyote.
If we know what you're looking for you'll get responses about the right bus for weeks.
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Old 03-25-2016, 05:22 PM   #3
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Engine: Navistar DT466E
Rated Cap: 72 passenger
Good point, Robin. I should have fleshed this out in the first post.

I'm looking for a big bus that will be half hauler, half living area. Similar in some ways to Millicent but without the need for a beaver tail door. It can be a pusher or a conventional, 65 to 84 pax, but not a forward control bus. Prefer a DT466 with either an MD5030 or an MT643. Not big into manual boxes but would consider it if it was close by. Prefer a vintage that is 1998 or later. Gotta be diesel and not afraid of racking-up some freeway miles.

Since this bus will spend part of its life on an extinct alkali lake bad, any significant pre-existing corrosion is a deal-killer for me. Interior condition is unimportant however, since it will be gutted and rebuilt anyway.

Basically any mechanically-sound bus that meets most of the above criteria I'd be interested in exploring further!
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Old 03-25-2016, 05:39 PM   #4
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There seems to be a lot of long buses available in TX right now on Public Surplus. If you're looking for a more western (saltless) model Arizona, Oregon and Washington have pretty good buses.
It seems odd to me that you're considering a RE bus if you want to use it partially for a garage. It sounds like you want a pusher or a conventional long bus, but not the flat nose FE buses? They make the best garage/hauling buses and you get more floor space.
There's a pretty good variety of buses available right now. It's difficult to choose because with any advantage in one bus you are giving something else up something else in another model. I've been building basically the same way you plan to, but with a medium FE bus. Garage in the back and I go with a minimalist interior.
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Old 03-25-2016, 06:04 PM   #5
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As I understand it, the FE is a "snub-nose"'bus where the engine sits right next to the drivers right elbow. Working on the engine of these types of busses involves colorful language and a good first aid kit.

The RE types put the engine aft, low, and dont encroach on the interior space. The bus floor is essentially a long slab with a couple of bumps where the wheel wells arise amidships.

The "conventional" types put the engine forward of the driver and have the "doghouse" nose.

Now correct me ('cause I am *definitely* a noob here!), but if you wanted a long bus with max space but still have an access (loading) door in the rear, AND you didnt want the hassle of working on a hidden front engine, then you'd want an RE type, yes? A "rear-engine" aka "pusher"? Or did I just get seriously fuzzled-up in my logic here?

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Old 03-25-2016, 06:38 PM   #6
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Yes, a RE is a pusher. You won't get a rear loading door with a RE bus. RE buses are described as the best ride and the quietest to drive obviously. Most that want a garage in the back of the bus go for a FE with rear wheel chair lift. From what you've described I think you're looking for a class "C" conventional bus with about 15 windows counting from behind the entry door. If you've ever had a wheel chair lift in the front of the bus and had to climb over the cargo, you've probably considered getting another bus. That's why I have a FE bus, yes the flat-nose, bus. I don't find FEs difficult to work on, and on a rainy day I'd rather be inside working on my bus than outside. Point is certain models have certain advantages while others have other advantages.
Personally I like the rear entry door, but I load cycles with the wheel chair lift. My garage is in the rear of the bus which includes my wood stove and doubles as a kitchen when there are no bikes in the garage.
It's a matter of choices based on what you need in your bus. You've narrowed it down already.
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Old 03-26-2016, 02:30 AM   #7
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Well, well, well.... Look what the coyote dragged in!

Right, a pusher would not work for a drawbridge in the back, because the engine sticks up far higher than the floor. Looking inside a pusher, it seems almost as if there is a work bench across the back. Or a coffin. Seems most pusher owners put the master bed on top of that engine box, thus making maximum use of the space.

Millicent is a "forward control" -- that is, flat front body with the engine inside next to the driver. I had to remove the radiator -- which included the intercooler -- to repair the accelerator linkage on the left front of the engine.

The term "forward control" comes from the fact that motor vehicles started out as "conventional" designs -- like a model T Ford, or a pickup-truck -- where the driver sits behind the engine and the front axle. Then somebody figured out that the driver could be squeezed into the space between the tire and the headlight, thus placing the "controls" of the bus "forward" of the axle. This freed up some floor space inside.
Jeep made some vehicles like that, and they are called Jeep Forward Control.

I bought Millicent for maximum floor space and also so I could have the drawbridge (toy hauler tailgate). But I'm paying for it.

The terminology can get confusing. I try to stick with "conventional", "forward control", and "pusher". Quite possible none of those is official -- if there is such a thing.

Class C, class D... I have no idea what those mean.

Anyroad.... Welcome aboard here, GreyCoyote!



GreyCoyote in hat, Miss Sunbeam, Elliot with tool for fine-tuning GreyCoyote's hat.
Burning Man 2014.
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Old 03-26-2016, 06:43 AM   #8
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Hey Grey, welcome to the Skoolie madness. There are quite a few of us on here from the Houston area. Look forward to seeing how your build goes. Good luck finding the right bus for your needs.
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Old 03-31-2016, 03:43 PM   #9
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Bought a bus!

Greetings to all!

Today marks the first day of bus ownership for me: a 1999 International 3800 with a DT466E and AT545. Blue Bird did the coachworks, 71 seats, conventional bus with air brakes. Absolutely rust free, too. 165k miles and 8300 hours on the meter.

Tomorrow we leave at daylight to pick her up. "We" includes a veteran bus mechanic and driving instructor with all sorts of alphabet soup designations on his license. If it has wheels, he can drive it and fix it. I'm going along because... well... ummm.... ah.... he needed a ride. (Snicker).

And BTW, I still blame Elliot for exposing me to this highly contagious disease...
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Old 03-31-2016, 04:31 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by GreyCoyote View Post
Greetings to all!

Today marks the first day of bus ownership for me: a 1999 International 3800 with a DT466E and AT545. Blue Bird did the coachworks, 71 seats, conventional bus with air brakes. Absolutely rust free, too. 165k miles and 8300 hours on the meter.

Tomorrow we leave at daylight to pick her up. "We" includes a veteran bus mechanic and driving instructor with all sorts of alphabet soup designations on his license. If it has wheels, he can drive it and fix it. I'm going along because... well... ummm.... ah.... he needed a ride. (Snicker).

And BTW, I still blame Elliot for exposing me to this highly contagious disease...
Awesome, can't wait to see pics
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Old 03-31-2016, 04:42 PM   #11
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Do you have skoolieosys?
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Old 03-31-2016, 05:59 PM   #12
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Quote:
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Do you have skoolieosys?
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Old 03-31-2016, 07:01 PM   #13
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Greetings to all!

Today marks the first day of bus ownership for me: a 1999 International 3800 with a DT466E and AT545. Blue Bird did the coachworks, 71 seats, conventional bus with air brakes. Absolutely rust free, too. 165k miles and 8300 hours on the meter.
Where did you end up buying it from?
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Old 03-31-2016, 08:15 PM   #14
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Schoolieosis: Oh. My. God. You MUST warn us before you crack these puns off! Thank heavens for waterproof iPhone cases. Now let me just blow the rest of the Diet Coke out of my nose...

As to where I got it: Marble Falls ISD, Marble Falls, TX. I went up there yesterday and looked at several. They had four long busses which I examined carefully, and two short busses that I didnt have any interest in. Today I purchased bus #71016 which was the one I REALLY wanted. The auction was on GovDeals.com and closed about 2 pm Central Time.

And yep, I paid more than I wanted, but the bus was completely rust free and had an excellent history. I was also impressed as all heck in regards to the ISD folks. Really nice, no-BS folks who were very kind and patient. A gentleman named Michael Phillips was in charge of the bus inventory and he spent about an hour with me chatting and going over the inventory. He didnt have to do that, but he did... and his efforts and complete candor won me over. Just a SUPER guy with a big heart for busses.

These auctions are now over, but in the future, anyone looking for a rust-free and well-maintained bus should seriously consider these folks.
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Old 04-26-2016, 07:50 PM   #15
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Well, since I finally got all the paperwork handled yesterday (registration, title, insurance, etc) today I got to drive my bus for the first time. Whoo hooo!!!!

I loved it, but man... these things are just... pigs.

Mind you, I wasnt expecting a sports car, but there was this moment going down SH-35 at a whopping 60 mph and 2600 RPM where I was thinking "what the heck were these designers ON when they concocted this thing?!?"

And then I remembered this was a school bus, and a more zen-like mood appeared shortly thereafter.

As most of my miles will be on the highway, I'm thinking this bus could use another 50-80 hp and an overdrive transmission. And a "real" radiator too, not that "halfsie" critter presently sitting up front that looks seriously overwhelmed at 60 mph.

So let the evolution begin! Anyone have any interchange info on swapping-in a full-sized radiator and remounting the intercooler on a 1999 IH 3800 with a DT466E?
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Old 04-26-2016, 08:44 PM   #16
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Have you determined for certain what transmission it has? If it's the AT545, you have reason to replace it, and then you might as well go with a 6-speed, where at least one gear is overdrive.
There are photos of both AT545 and MT643 as a Sticky post here somewhere.

Changing the rear end ratio is possible, but I wouldn't, because there are places, such as steep driveways, where you need all the stump-pulling-oomph you can get.

There are 2-speed rear ends out there, but word is they are fragile, and require absolutely correct use merely to survive. (The "extra gear" in 2-speed rear end rear end is an underdrive, not overdrive.)

I have not compared the ratio of First Gear in a 6-speed to a 4-speed. That would be good to know. I'm a bit busy today, though.
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Old 04-26-2016, 08:44 PM   #17
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I think you missed the intercooler conversation about three weeks ago. I read it, but it was a learning process so like 50% of it stuck. I think I probably need an intercooler too especially for hill climbing.
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Old 04-26-2016, 08:50 PM   #18
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About radiators....
I learned something after I installed a manual switch on Millicent's radiator fan clutch: On hills, I can keep the transmission temperature down by running the engine fan. It doesn't make much difference on the engine temperature, because the thermostat controls that. But "down below", where the engine water cools the transmission oil, it makes hecka difference.
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Old 04-26-2016, 08:56 PM   #19
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About intercooler.... You are talking about the Charge Cooler, right? The Turbocharger Boost Cooler. After Cooler -- after the turbocharger. Cools the slightly compressed air going to the engine, thus making it denser for more oxygen molecules per piston stroke = more power.

Larger is better, no downside, best I understand.
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Old 04-26-2016, 08:59 PM   #20
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I thought we were talking about transmission coolers. Isn't there an extra radiator thing that can be added to keep the transmission cooler?
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