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Old 06-05-2017, 10:40 PM   #1
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: May 2017
Posts: 20
Question Yay or Nay? To buy as first bus

I have a chance to buy the following for 2,500 local to me here in MA. It was a bus taking out of fleet that was used for the Peabody Public School System. I have heard so much about this vs that engine and now I am so overwhelmed. Here are the details:

1998 CHEVY B-SERIES C7H064 / Blue Bird (Caterpillar Engine 3116)
****(I personally think its a 3126 from the pictures I took today when I went to look at it)**
RWD
Diesel
Hydraulic Brakes
Allison Trans (do not know model)
147,000 and change miles

I uploaded some photos, I have some more if needed. But this is all new to me and now after reading so many different things I am scared about the 3116 and 3126 or is there a difference? I hear so much good about the DT466 engines..
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Old 06-05-2017, 10:47 PM   #2
Bus Crazy
 
Join Date: May 2016
Location: Georgia
Posts: 1,950
Year: 2001
Coachwork: Blue Bird
Chassis: IH
Engine: T444E
Rated Cap: 14
As memory serves me, the main difference between the 3116 and 3126 Cat engines are that the former are mechanically injected engines, and the latter are electronically controlled ones. You'll find Cat engine parts can only be had at Cat dealers and usually at a premium price, where Cummins and IH parts are much more widely available and more reasonably priced.
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Old 06-05-2017, 11:10 PM   #3
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Join Date: Feb 2016
Location: Willamina, Oregon
Posts: 6,409
Coachwork: 97 Bluebird TC1000 5.9
Agreed on the Cat avoidance issue.

The wet brakes are also reported to be quite difficult to get parts for. I know, it seems simpler to have wet brakes, but apparently they aren't easy to get parts for.

Nay!
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Old 06-05-2017, 11:39 PM   #4
Bus Crazy
 
Join Date: May 2016
Location: Georgia
Posts: 1,950
Year: 2001
Coachwork: Blue Bird
Chassis: IH
Engine: T444E
Rated Cap: 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by Robin97396 View Post
Agreed on the Cat avoidance issue.

The wet brakes are also reported to be quite difficult to get parts for. I know, it seems simpler to have wet brakes, but apparently they aren't easy to get parts for.

Nay!
Hydraulic brakes from the last - say, 20 years or so - are not too hard to get parts for. There's many thousands of these buses all over the country, they have to get parts to keep 'em on the road. You just don't get them at any ol' parts store. Napa should have them available (if not on-the-shelf at some locations).
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Old 06-06-2017, 12:51 AM   #5
Bus Crazy
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Winlcok, WA
Posts: 2,196
My preferences are going to be showing through here so take what I am going to say with a gain of salt.

I say no for three reasons:
  1. GM stopped supporting all of their medium duty products when they sold off that division. As a consequence, unless your local GM dealer happens to still have some NOS medium duty truck parts sitting around you will be pretty much SOL if you need any OEM only parts. Most parts can be sourced but they become the proverbial unicorns with prices to match.
  2. Wet brakes are great brakes but do NOT lend themselves well to sitting around. Without use they deteriorate quickly and very expensively. Air brakes, mostly because they do not use a liquid to operate the brakes, do not have the issues that occur just from sitting around. Also, air brakes come with spring brakes that apply when you lose air or when you go to park. It is really a nice and powerful step up from a driveline hand operated emergency brake.
  3. Cat power is very good power. But they don't call it Caterpillar Gold for nothing! Both the 3116 and 3126 had teething problems. Most of the bugs have been worked out with the ones remaining either intermittent or not worth the expense to fix. In bus to bus comparisons the Cat's generally used more fuel than the Cummins.
Personally, I think for the $$$ there are a lot of other buses out there with similar prices that are in ready to go back into service condition.

Good luck and happy trails to you!
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Old 06-06-2017, 03:54 PM   #6
Bus Crazy
 
Join Date: Jun 2013
Location: Picton,Ont, Can.
Posts: 1,910
Year: 1997
Coachwork: Bluebird
Chassis: GMC
Engine: Cat 3116
Rated Cap: 72
Well, I am in the minority being a Cat owner, the 3116 to be exact. It's paired with a 5 speed standard transmission and is dependable as far as I can tell. Sure has power to spare up in 5th gear. I put the hammer down on it and read 90mph then backed off due to road conditions changing and cops using radar on that stretch. If you do regular maintenance things you'll find it is a worthy engine, not a dinosaur.
Anyway, I am of the mind that computers on buses are not for me and feel fortunate to have got one of the last mechanical Cats made.
They do smoke a bit till they warm up sufficiently so don't let that worry you as you live in a colder climate like I do.
Good luck!

John
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