View Poll Results: WHICH BUS?
stock# 15270 - 1991 International/Thomas, 7.3 Diesel, auto, 66 pass 1 20.00%
stock# 15588 - 1991 Chev/Bluebird, 8.2, 5 speed, 66 pass 1 20.00%
stock# 15588 - 1991 Chev/Bluebird, 8.2, 5 speed, 66 pass 1 20.00%
stock# 15141 - 1991 International/Thomas, 7.3, 6 speed, 66 pass 2 40.00%
Voters: 5. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 07-20-2006, 12:56 PM   #1
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Help me pick a bus

I am looking right now, but trying to decide what will work best for me.

What I want:
---66-72 pass. size bus for conversion
---ability to run 65-70 highway (will regear if know it will help)
---would like 10mpg, but not below 8mpg (i'll give this up before speed)
---cost below $5k for bus (bus only, not conversion)
---need to tow 7k to 9.5k lbs trailer on occassion
---economical to maintain (why I lean to the Intl 7.3)

Here are some options I like, from http://www.taylorbus.com (you can go there, pick 'search used buses' and search on the stock numbers below if you want to see pics and more specs). I am not looking to buy one of these specific buses right now, they just represent what I think may work for me.

The four that may do the job:

stock# 15270 - 1991 International/Thomas, 7.3 Diesel, auto, 66 pass

stock# 15588 - 1991 Chev/Bluebird, 8.2, 5 speed, 66 pass

stock# 14621 - 1993 Amtran/Genesis, DTA360, auto, 66 pass

stock# 15141 - 1991 International/Thomas, 7.3, 6 speed, 66 pass

edit: I tried to hot-link these, but their software timed out when I went back later, so if you want to see them, you have to go through their listing search.

To make it easy, i've made it a poll. But PLEASE make a post and tell me why you picked the one you did! (Or what other models/combos you would recommend I look for)

EDIT: I made a mistake in the poll, the 3rd option should be "stock# 14621 - 1993 Amtran/Genesis, DTA360, auto, 66 pass". Could an admin fix this, please?
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Old 07-20-2006, 02:44 PM   #2
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I made a mistake in the poll, the 3rd option should be "stock# 14621 - 1993 Amtran/Genesis, DTA360, auto, 66 pass". Could an admin fix this, please?
B
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Old 07-20-2006, 03:01 PM   #3
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My TC2000 gets 10mpg at 65mph but can run 75 on the highway. I haven't towed with it yet but I bet it would tow fine, seems to have lots of power. The 5.9 Cummins is siad to be a good motor. I wouldnt want to work on it though, as it is a flat nose, front engine bus.

I paid $1,850 for it 2 years ago.

I hear the 7.3's lack power....
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Old 07-20-2006, 03:14 PM   #4
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I'd kinda ignored them, as we don't have any in NC, and taylorbus (i'm looking at their website as they aren't far away (bus lot in Knoxville, TN) has them, but starting at 6500 and going up. My $5k limit isn't absolute, and I don't know how pricing does on them at other places (or how negotiable their prices are).

I see some of them in their inventory are 5.9 and others show as 5.9T, which I assume is turbo. Is yours turbo or NA?

A couple of other questions if you don't mind. What's your rear ratio? What is the interior height of the TC2000's, floor to center (high point) of ceiling?

Thanks for the response.
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Old 07-20-2006, 03:17 PM   #5
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My vote for a bus

My choise for a bus would be.........
Crown, Crown, Crown, Crown, Crown or Crown.
Gilligs are nice, Thomas if it is a pusher, Blue Birds are easy to work on and of course not to forget.... Crown.
Crown buses have it all, lots of parts available, easy to drive, tremendous power, many choises of trans, all years look like a new year, easy to work on, fun to drive, a new bus to those folks east of the Mississippi River and good resale value. Yep, I have and drive a Crown bus. Frank
Diesel is best.....
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Old 07-20-2006, 09:50 PM   #6
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I'm sure Crowns do have lots of parts available....if you live in the right area. Many of us have never SEEN a Crown or Gillig A good idea might be to look at what the districts in your locale run. Though price is always a factor, often times they will choose features and such that fit the area well. For instance...you will not find many buses in northern Minnesota with air brakes because with our extreme temperatures they can be a maintenance headache and the stopping power just isn't necessary with our topography.

Of the motors you listed, I think just about everyone would give the DT360 a solid vote of confidence. The 7.3 is supposed to be good depending on which generation you get. The 8.2 is either loved or hated.

Your goal of 70 mph and 8 mpg is kind of up there, but is possible. I'm sure my 6.6 Ford could do 70 with the correct gearing and governor setup, but my mileage would likely suffer. I currently get 8.5 or so going 62, but can get well over 10 going 45. If speed and mileage are priorities, an MT643 Allison would probably been one of your best bets in terms of auto trannies. The AT545 a whole lot of us have was used forever and is considered fairly reliable, but it emasculates motors and sucks down gas. Of course they are cheap and easy to maintain and you can darn near buy one at Seven 11.

The manual transmission will get you the same benefits as the MT643, but they are harder to drive and will have lower resale value. Also, when something goes wrong with a manual tranny, it often goes VERY wrong. While a throwout bearing itself might be cheap, pulling the transmission and clutch to replace it isn't.
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Old 07-20-2006, 10:17 PM   #7
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of those choices, i think the dt360 is the only good motor.

i think i would choose the detroit over the 7.3 liter. We can't keep the 7.3's running in our ambulances, i'd hate to see what a full size skoolie does to one. That motor is a dog even in a van chassis.

that's my 2 cents....i'm sure lots of other people will have their own opinions
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Old 07-20-2006, 10:21 PM   #8
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Working engines are inlines and go Team Leafspring
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Old 07-21-2006, 07:37 AM   #9
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If I had to make a guess...and anyone can correct me if I am wrong here...but I believe that the 7.3 was no longer being put in that bus that year. I was under the impression that they began putting the DT series in with the new body style. However, this is just my observation here. I would ask them what kind of motor is in each of the 7.3 listings. It might be the DT 466. If so...jump on it. My DT 360 wasnt gutsy but was very reliable. Before you buy check the DCA in the coolant.

My DT360 91 International Thomas pulled a 7,000lb trailer very well (until you hit a hill).
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Old 07-21-2006, 07:21 PM   #10
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The T444E (7.3) was used up until very recently when it was replaced by the VT360 (6.0 "Powerstroke" if you will). Like I said...there are many generations, each with their good and bad points. The newer it is the more electronic it is which tends to mean more power and better economy, but I know I sure couldn't fix one if it had a problem.
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Old 07-21-2006, 08:57 PM   #11
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i really didn't like the 7.3 liter in our ambulances...dont' even get me started on the 6.0 liter!!!! I think the 6 liter would be best suited as a boat anchor. We have 3 trucks that are 1 year old, and we can't keep any of them running. 1 of them is currently getting new injectors, head gaskets, and now they decided it needs new heads too. Did i mention i am not a fan of the 6 liter???
I have grown up as a ford truck fan, but the past few years ford has none nothing to impress me when it comes to the E350 chassis.
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Old 07-21-2006, 10:39 PM   #12
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Interestingly enough, I've heard the same from other ambulance drivers. They liked the 7.3 at first, but it became "tired" after just a year. They said the old 6.9 was never a powerhouse, but atleast it has been consistent and reliable. I'm yet to see a 6.0 powered ambulance in podunk Minnesota
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Old 07-22-2006, 05:42 AM   #13
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now i'm off topic.....

but i wish we had ambulances with the port fuel injected 460 gasser......i wonder how the V10 would compare??

My personal opinion is that pickup-truck diesels have just gotten too complicated to be reliable. Maybe just fords, idk. How can a company like international build the legendary dt466 and at the same time produce pieces of junk like the powerstroke motors?

I have heard nothin bad about the duramax (isuzu) 6.6 liter, and i've talked to several GM engeneers who have worked on or around that motor. The 5.9 cummins in phillsbus kicks the crap out of my skoolie in every way immaginable.

back to your original post....

anything with a straight 6 diesel would be my preference, with an emphasis on the DT series since they are cheap and easy to rebuild. I think that as an owner, a maual trans would be prefferred for the fuel economy and stump pulling torque. Its my estimation that automatics have higher resale value, although skoolies dont really have much value when it comes time to sell them. I wouldn't be afraid of either trans. The at545 is used in tons of buses, garbage trucks, dump trucks, ect and they seem to hold up just fine.
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Old 07-25-2006, 06:56 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by waywardfool
I'd kinda ignored them, as we don't have any in NC, and taylorbus (i'm looking at their website as they aren't far away (bus lot in Knoxville, TN) has them, but starting at 6500 and going up. My $5k limit isn't absolute, and I don't know how pricing does on them at other places (or how negotiable their prices are).

I see some of them in their inventory are 5.9 and others show as 5.9T, which I assume is turbo. Is yours turbo or NA?

A couple of other questions if you don't mind. What's your rear ratio? What is the interior height of the TC2000's, floor to center (high point) of ceiling?

Thanks for the response.
Sorry my internet connection has been down due to a lightning bolt & an extreemly slow cable repairman.

My TC2000 has 4.33 gears in it & although I've never measured the cealing height, I'd est. it to be 6' or so. I'm 5'10" and dont hit my head inside. My 5.9 cummins is Turbo & innercooled.

$6,500 sounds very high priced for a TC2000. I see them on ebay all the time for way less then that.

Good luck in your search.
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Old 07-30-2006, 08:42 PM   #15
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There are 2 completelky different 7.3 International diesels--IIRC, the ONLY part that interchanges is the crankshaft. The 7.3 IDI (a larger-bore version of the 6.9) ran from the mid-80's to 1994. It's an all-mechanical indirect-injection diesel, usually NOT turbocharged, ~170-185HP. A bit thin on power with a slushpump, EXTREMELY intolerant of neglect, glow plug system not the greatest (but easily bypassed). If the coolant additive isn't kept up, cavitation will eat the cylinder walls. Not at all a bad engine, as long as you don't overheat or neglect it. My friend uses a cutaway E-350 as a stuff-hauler, & the 7.3 IDI (no turbo) has over 240,000 miles & 22,400 hours on it. It's never been rebuilt, IP original, heads never off. Not a powerhouse, but absolutely stone-reliable.

The T444E replaced the 7.3 IDI, running from 1995 to 2003. It's a computerized, drive-by-wire engine, ALWAYS turbocharged, available with 170, 190, or 210HP. It still needs coolant additive (though not as sensitive to it as the IDI). Another good runner, & a 500,000+ miler with proper care. International has enough confidence in them to install (and warranty) them in 60,000+lb 10-wheeler beer trucks & trash haulers, and even in single-axle semi tractors. I've seen one (190HP, AT545 automatic) running over 320,000 miles & 26,000 hours in a 1997 IH 3400 bus. It still lit off immediately in sub-freezing weather & held plenty of oil pressure. There's a wrecker at work (2001 F-550 rollback) with 390,000 brutal miles on Ford's version (7.3 PowerStroke) and exactly one major repair in that time.

The 6.0 PSD is a total catastrophe, though I haven't heard of the VT365 being even one-tenth as bad.

The 5.9 Cummins (all turbos; late-1998's & up are 24V electronic ISB's, anything before that is a 12V 6BT.
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