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Old 06-13-2005, 09:27 PM   #1
New Member
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Seattle,WA
Posts: 4
Flat Nosed Pushers

I am curious if any of you are willing to spend finger-time letting me know your views on Flat Nose v. Dog Nose bus body styles.

More interior room, at the expense of a hard-to-reach engine, yeah, but there must be more to it that I can not figure out. A concert roadie I know sold me that "Pushers" or rear-mounted engines are a better design.
He thinks I should be looking into Eagles or MCI coaches, I would rather not pay that much.

I plan to do a veggie conversion to run on WVO and SVO and PetroDiesel, also want to get highway speeds out of it for longer hauls.
I am looking for any info that will get me closer to realizing a dream of
my highway capable Rear-Mounted-Diesel-Flat-Nosed-Bus. I lean towards International's, my '78 Scout commuter has 272,000 miles and counting....

Anyone interested in imparting some wisdom to a truely green newbie?
I have spent a few months lurking here and there, printing out a lot of information, looking on E-Bay doing 'research'. So have read arguments for why to buy what, but want more direct opinions. I also want to mount a large roof attachment and under carriage housing for tank spaces (making bio-diesel on the road?), water of all colors, gennies, etc..

Thanks in advance for your time and effort.

Marc (Bus-less in Seattle)
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Old 06-15-2005, 11:32 PM   #2
Bus Nut
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: Idaho
Posts: 448
A pusher is going to be quieter and will probably have highway gearing. They commonly have bigger egnines as well. Like you said you will have less access to the engine with a pusher. The other thing is you will have more interior room. The bull nose skoolies are fun to drive like a truck. They are a truck frame with a bus body.

Like you said the price of a skoolie is very attractive. Transits (city bus) are also cheap. Skoolies do have some advantages in my mind. They usually have lower miles than highway coaches and transits. They usually come with good rubber vs transits that usually come with the worst tires laying around the shop. Transits also usually come with "transit tires" meaning you don't want to drive them over 55 for very long.

I would rather get a 12-18 year old skoolie for $4,000 vs a 30 year old MCI for $10,000. You will just plain less work to do on it like replacing bushings and all. With a transit you may have a recently rebuilt engine or an old tired one you have to be careful. If you want the ride of an MCI and a higher roof a transit may be right for you. Some of them have the same drivetrain as an MCI and all have air ride suspension.

If you have a bus dealership near you I would suggest taking a look at the different buses they have and see what you like. They probably will not let you test drive them but maybe you can get them to start them up for you. When you go to buy though I would avoid a dealer and try to buy direct from a school or transit auction. If you are a novice have a good bus mechanic look it over before buying.
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Old 06-17-2005, 02:33 PM   #3
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Location: Seattle,WA
Posts: 4
I get your points. I am guessing then, that the 'truck frame' would indicate increased load capacity as well as weight.... Thanks for the information. I had half-way ruled out transits for other reasons, your logic makes me double-sure to avoid them as well as fleet vehicles such as mega-mile concert coaches.
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Old 08-28-2005, 10:55 AM   #4
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: fresno
Posts: 46
Year: Gill
Coachwork: Gillig
Engine: 636 c.i. CAT V8
Rated Cap: 33,700 GVWR
Marc, I can help you with your bus

Howdy Marc.

I don't know how I missed your post, but I am an expert (more or less) on school buses. I've owned about 50, and have worked on so many I've lost track. I've also dismantled 7 and am working on my 8th.

I have worked on and owned Cummins C-190, C-180, 220, 250, 290s, CAT 1160 and 3208, Detroit 6-71 and 6V71, and DT466 Internationals. I have also (helped) to rebuild a CAT 1160 (my current bus) and a C-180.

I have buses for sale, and LOTS of parts, and have an excellent network of friends (Transportation supervisors and veteran mechanics) who can solve any problem or answer any question.

I use my buses as trucks to haul medical supplies to latin America andalso to Haiti. If you have a moment, check out my web site.

Also feel free to call if you want. I've helped many new bus owners get a bus, and have trained them on driving, maintenance, and all the ins and outs of bussing. I drive my bus alone to Guatemala and back, and am responsible for everything and all repairs when I'm on the road.

I recommend Gillig pushers, with diesel power. There are other configurations, but the mid engines are hard to work on. I just had a heck of a time pulling a water pump out of a mid engine bus, a job that takes about a half an hour if your bus is a pusher.

OK get back to me if I can help

Patrick Young
Wheelchair Project
Fresno, CA
(559) 244-1042 (559) 251-3814
patrick Young
Wheelchair project
Fresno, CA
(559) 244-1042
(559) 251-3814
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Old 08-28-2005, 09:39 PM   #5
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Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: MA
Posts: 177
Hi Marc.

I've got an '89 Thomas pusher with a CAT 3208. I've never driven a dog nose but I can tell you that I find my saf-t-liner easy to drive.

As far as working on the engine, I have not had to do any major work but all of the stuff that one commonly deals with, engine accessories, belts, hoses, etc. are MORE accessible. They are all right there when you open that rear panel, no bending or reaching. The rest of the engine really doesn't seem that hard to reach either and dropping the trans looks to be easy as pie since there is no front cross member in the way, I really don't think pushers are hard to work on, my Town Car is harder to work on then the Thomas.
My 1989 Thomas Saf-T-Liner
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Old 10-22-2005, 06:47 PM   #6
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 36
I wouldn't be worried about access with a Pusher. While not as easy as a conventional or an FE transit, the big stuff is right there in front of you for easy access. It almost feels like working on a bench to me. I had to have a rear main seal replaced on the engine on my Thomas, and the job came out at literally half what it would have cost to have done on a CAR. About the only thing I can think of to be difficult, is access to the Turbo, and injection pump. Both require alot of disassembly to get to them.
1994 Safari Sarengeti Edition 37' diesel pusher
1997 Ford F150
1998 Jeep Cherokee SE 4x4 (toad)
2006 Chevy Aveo LS
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Old 10-22-2005, 10:46 PM   #7
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Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Savage, MN
Posts: 472
Year: 1992
Coachwork: Bluebird
Chassis: International
Engine: 7.3 diesel
Rated Cap: 14
I'd imagine the rear engine would have better access with out too much disasembaly, compared to a FE bus. The top of a FE bus is easy to get at but the belts can be a pain and anything bolted to the side of the engine.

A conventional also can be a pain to get to the belts cause the raidator is right there.

My thoughts on FE is based on a TC1000 with a FE 5.9 cummins. And conventional is based on International 3800 with t444e and dt466.
I have not had the privilge to play with a RE.
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Old 10-23-2005, 06:54 PM   #8
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 36
I apologize in advance to the dialup folks, but my hosting site rejected my downsized photo. Here's a shot of the engine compartment on my Thomas. Accessability to the engine is tops of any of the different placements for busses.

1994 Safari Sarengeti Edition 37' diesel pusher
1997 Ford F150
1998 Jeep Cherokee SE 4x4 (toad)
2006 Chevy Aveo LS
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