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C.HARDY
Advanced Member

354 Posts

Posted - 01/06/2014 :  6:33:52 PM  Show Profile  Click to see C.HARDY's MSN Messenger address  Reply with Quote
Our school is looking/thinking of taking bids for a new bus this summer. What are your thoughts on ICs bus as far as quality? I know the Maxxforce is crap and I would spec the 6.7L engine. It seems it will be the battle of the bus now that driveline is all pretty standard across the board. I'm more interested in the bus itself as far as leaks, squeaks, and just plain quality of the bus. So far the Thomas C2 seems to be the best one I have looked at and drove but I'm not 100% sold on it. I'm not sure about the Vision either, I just don't see it holding up 20 years 250k miles. Any input is appreciated.

JRob
Senior Member

184 Posts

Posted - 01/06/2014 :  8:06:46 PM  Show Profile  Visit JRob's Homepage  Reply with Quote
IC is number 3 of 3 with regards to quality in my opinion. All 3 have their positives and negatives. Corrosion issues and shoddy workmanship are the main things you see with IC. They are better than Ward was in the day but not on par with Thomas or Blue Bird. The engine reputation and price get them a lot of business but with the engine rep suffering they only have price.
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Fastback
Top Member

996 Posts

Posted - 01/07/2014 :  05:44:22 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
The current Cummins availability in the IC is limited to the CE with longer wheelbases, AFAIK that means 65 passenger or larger. The shorter wheel base buses will use a "switchback exhaust" and should become available in April 2014

Why yes, the ORIGinal CHARGER is a Fastback

Edited by - Fastback on 01/14/2014 09:36:56 AM
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Cal Mc
Advanced Member

256 Posts

Posted - 01/07/2014 :  9:25:31 PM  Show Profile  Visit Cal Mc's Homepage  Reply with Quote
In your area the C2 may be OK. We purchased four C2 buses which is eight too many. Not great in areas with gravel roads and snow if they are spec'ed with hydraulic brakes.
The park brake cable to the drum on the front of the differential is routed along the lower lip of the RH frame rail. It builds up with dirt, snow and/or ice and freezes at night so the park brake does not release properly.
The one piece glued in windshield takes two people to change and requires hours of cure time. Compared to a windshield in a Vision, it has 3 times the surface area for rocks to strike. Then the whole windshield has to be changed when not repairable, instead of half of a windshield. Our cost for a C2 windshield installed is $550. Our cost for a Vision windshield is $95 installed. With 6 times the surface area of the C2 windshield you can figure on 6 times as likely to receive rock hits.
It looks to me that comparable windshield cost is C2 $3300 and Vision $95.
Now start looking at all the glued in thermal glass and cost on the C2. There should also be a loss of value for all the down time in replacing the glass.

With the four C2 buses, we have changed 2 windshields in the first 6 months of ownership.

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Fastback
Top Member

996 Posts

Posted - 01/08/2014 :  06:09:55 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
In our operation we have found the curved and sloped C2 windshields to be less likely to need replacement than the flat, nearly vertical windshields that IC and Bluebird use.
I do agree that the easiest windshield to replace is the split, roped in design but we tend to replace those and just have the chips repaired in the C2 windshield.

Why yes, the ORIGinal CHARGER is a Fastback
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bwest
Administrator

United States
2356 Posts

Posted - 01/08/2014 :  1:45:00 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Hardy, you know what my answer is going to be. lol Can't beat a Vision with the propane engine.

Bryan
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05ICCE
Senior Member

USA
68 Posts

Posted - 01/08/2014 :  1:55:49 PM  Show Profile  Visit 05ICCE's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Are you on the trip tomorrow to Lynchburg for the We The People competition? If so you can climb all over and drive my new IC if you wish.

Mr. Scott, "because he drives a COOL BUS"
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RichBusman
Advanced Member

453 Posts

Posted - 01/08/2014 :  8:29:38 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Can't go wrong with the Cummins. Call your dealers, have them bring in demo buses for you to evaluate. Go over the pros and cons of each bus, plus parts and service. Make a list and tailor your purchase around what you think is best for the district.

Diesel is the only option in my opinion long term, at least here in 2014. High miles per gallon compared to propane, plus the 50 cent federal rebate per gallon of propane is finally out the window. What a waste of time that was, subsidizing a lousy performer in Type C buses. I'll take 8+ MPG any day over the 2-4 MPG of the propane.

Also consider the 10 year/200,000 mile warranty that Cummins offers, which covers essentially everything except the aftertreatment. This includes the turbo, injectors, EGR cooler, internals, electronics, etc.
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bwest
Administrator

United States
2356 Posts

Posted - 01/09/2014 :  09:37:15 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Rich, I agree with your first paragraph! You must tailor your fleet to fit your district. But, don't count propane out! Everyone needs to analyze it just like we did when we changed from gasoline to diesel. I came in on the tail end of the change to diesel but the guy before me said he didn't know if it was going to work out even after almost half of our fleet was changed over! I was also told by the super at the time that a lot of research was conducted and they gave the first one to the driver that they thought could tear it up, lol. It proved to be a good move and saw us through to where we are today. Good luck to everyone wanting to change minds because it is going to be hard. After they prove themselves, you and everyone else will wonder why you were such a skeptic.

Bryan
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second.flood
Advanced Member

USA
393 Posts

Posted - 01/09/2014 :  11:09:31 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
How many propane units do you have Bryan?

To the OP, our International bodies and chassis have been fine.
My oldest IC is 10 years old with 140,000 miles and zero body work. It is still a route bus. The student windows are junky and tend to fall down, the original seat foams are flimsy. I can see possible stepwell issue in time.

Every BB I have has had a new stepwell.
An 8 year old BB special needs bus had the whole floor replaced.

All the Thomas buses have had metal work around the rear wheels and back of the bus. My Thomas's even rust on the interior.

My BB and Thomas buses are 0-5 years older than my IC's.



Edited by - second.flood on 01/09/2014 11:30:56 AM
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bwest
Administrator

United States
2356 Posts

Posted - 01/10/2014 :  04:36:18 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I have one propane and one on the way out of a fleet of 17.
Rust is not a significant issue where I'm at. I do have the window problems but less on bird. The interesting thing is that bird didn't have those issues until a few years ago then changed suppliers. I'm told that issue has been addressed on the new buses. We'll see.

Bryan
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C.HARDY
Advanced Member

354 Posts

Posted - 01/14/2014 :  4:22:29 PM  Show Profile  Click to see C.HARDY's MSN Messenger address  Reply with Quote
Thanks so much for all of the input. I will keep you updated if something happens.....

"Hardybusman"
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Thomasbus24
Administrator

USA
3369 Posts

Posted - 01/16/2014 :  3:31:49 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by bwest

I do have the window problems but less on bird. The interesting thing is that bird didn't have those issues until a few years ago then changed suppliers. I'm told that issue has been addressed on the new buses. We'll see.



Yeah, you could say that lol. Go ahead and order two each of the right and left hand latches...the "easy to change" design = kids accidentally ripping the latches out and taking them home or throwing them away or something.

Like so many school bus components, if it was a senior citizens', shuttle, it would all last for years. But since it isn't a seniors bus, it needs to be able to withstand a certain level of abuse...and doesn't!!!
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Cal Mc
Advanced Member

256 Posts

Posted - 01/18/2014 :  06:29:24 AM  Show Profile  Visit Cal Mc's Homepage  Reply with Quote
We purchased two Vision/propane buses as test units. The drivers love the power, quick warm-up and the interior heat. The buses are almost too quiet inside and out. No diesel fumes at loading areas around schools is also a plus.
In Alberta we seem to have no warranty support for the engine or fuel system even after a number of calls to Roush. We are a small operation and cannot justify the expense for diagnostic equipment for the fuel system and engine. At 24000km (aprox. 15000 miles) we have had no need for warranty work. I am not a fan of the ford engine but so far aside from some signs of oil consumption they have been OK.
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Thomasbus24
Administrator

USA
3369 Posts

Posted - 01/18/2014 :  4:18:56 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
How's that ford transmission seem? I've been curious about them.
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Cal Mc
Advanced Member

256 Posts

Posted - 01/18/2014 :  9:05:14 PM  Show Profile  Visit Cal Mc's Homepage  Reply with Quote
I was a little disappointed to see they didn't come with an Allison transmission, but they have been fine so far. We should have speced something around the 6.83 axle ratio instead of the 5.63 (approx.)that we got.
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Cal Mc
Advanced Member

256 Posts

Posted - 01/18/2014 :  9:09:29 PM  Show Profile  Visit Cal Mc's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Forgot to mention 5 MPG in the propane buses does not help operating costs!
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JRob
Senior Member

184 Posts

Posted - 01/19/2014 :  05:45:30 AM  Show Profile  Visit JRob's Homepage  Reply with Quote
quote:
Forgot to mention 5 MPG in the propane buses does not help operating costs!


What do you pay for LPG vs. Diesel? There is less energy content in a gallon of LPG than in Diesel so the fuel economy difference is a given. Any savings you could expect should be from the fact that LPG is about half the price of diesel when purchased in bulk.
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bluebirdvision
Top Member

USA
1005 Posts

Posted - 01/19/2014 :  12:52:26 PM  Show Profile  Click to see bluebirdvision's MSN Messenger address  Reply with Quote
You were able to spec an Alison Transmission with the Roush set up when it first came out, I'm not sure about currently.

Shane Kirley
New York Bus Sales Delivery Driver. (I know its not much, but its a start)


Facebook Page: Blue Bird Corporation Fans
https://www.facebook.com/home.php?sk=group_212311114614&ap=1


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Tatum
Top Member

United States
606 Posts

Posted - 01/19/2014 :  8:59:31 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Can you imagine how bad IC is going to feel if they sell more Cummins in their buses than they do their own engine?
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Cal Mc
Advanced Member

256 Posts

Posted - 01/19/2014 :  9:07:23 PM  Show Profile  Visit Cal Mc's Homepage  Reply with Quote
diesel $4.60 gal.

propane $2.80
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Cal Mc
Advanced Member

256 Posts

Posted - 01/20/2014 :  7:27:08 PM  Show Profile  Visit Cal Mc's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Our propane price just took a major jump today. It is now in excess of $4.00 a gallon.
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Fastback
Top Member

996 Posts

Posted - 01/21/2014 :  03:56:56 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Quote from BB below;

"In addition, domestically produced propane autogas prices are significantly lower than the cost of diesel or gasoline,and the price is not subject to frequent fluctuations."

uuummmm yeah, as long as the winter isn't too cold and propane inventories aren't diminished drying crops...

Why yes, the ORIGinal CHARGER is a Fastback

Edited by - Fastback on 01/21/2014 04:01:33 AM
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bwest
Administrator

United States
2356 Posts

Posted - 01/21/2014 :  10:47:49 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
That's the reason you book your propane in the summer. I think we're paying 1.41 now before any tax. I thought that was high back then but looks pretty good now. I filled a 1000 and 500 gallon tanks at home at that price. I'm an elder at my church and we opted to pay as we go this year instead of pay ahead like we have in the past, oops! No worries, it'll be back to a buck ten in a few months.

Bryan
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Fastback
Top Member

996 Posts

Posted - 01/21/2014 :  12:06:01 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
No guarantee that you won't end up paying more by booking your propane in the summer......

My suppliers advice; Either always book your propane prices in the summer or never do, you can't out guess them and it averages out over time. The worst thing you can do is swing back and forth from getting burned by booking to burned by not booking.

Why yes, the ORIGinal CHARGER is a Fastback

Edited by - Fastback on 01/21/2014 12:06:47 PM
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bwest
Administrator

United States
2356 Posts

Posted - 01/21/2014 :  2:05:53 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Fastback

No guarantee that you won't end up paying more by booking your propane in the summer......

My suppliers advice; Either always book your propane prices in the summer or never do, you can't out guess them and it averages out over time. The worst thing you can do is swing back and forth from getting burned by booking to burned by not booking.



It is true there is no guarantee, but in the past the company I have been buying from for home use (same company who got the bid for the bus fuel) has been pretty good about picking the time to buy. I really didn't agree with them this go around but we went ahead and booked (& I bought at home lol but not at church, go figure) guess they were right.

Congrats CalMc! I hope the service gets better. I am told that you can read the codes on the Roush engine with the same machine that will read any Ford car or truck. So your local Ford dealer should be able to help.

Bryan
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C.HARDY
Advanced Member

354 Posts

Posted - 01/22/2014 :  06:35:01 AM  Show Profile  Click to see C.HARDY's MSN Messenger address  Reply with Quote
In my opinion its the only option that will save them. Around here the International dealerships are flooded with buses having work done to them. Hopefully Cummins will be a good fit. I hear good things about Cummins so we will see
quote:
Originally posted by Tatum

Can you imagine how bad IC is going to feel if they sell more Cummins in their buses than they do their own engine?


"Hardybusman"
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Cal Mc
Advanced Member

256 Posts

Posted - 01/23/2014 :  8:25:50 PM  Show Profile  Visit Cal Mc's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Our propane price just took another hike.
We are now at $5.15/galUS

We have spoken to 6 Ford dealers within 100 miles of us and none are interested in warranty work on the engine or fuel system.
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bwest
Administrator

United States
2356 Posts

Posted - 01/24/2014 :  05:36:57 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Wow, thought Roush was suppose to get with a local Ford dealer and set that up. On the propane price, I talked to my delivery guy and he said they are having trouble even getting it. I don't know what the problem is. It's a wonder we are not in that problem with diesel and gasoline. Time will tell. Glad I contracted!! Now I just need to talk the school board into contracting the diesel. lol I will find out though. I've never heard this in the 40 years I've had the presence of mind about such things.

Bryan
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second.flood
Advanced Member

USA
393 Posts

Posted - 01/24/2014 :  3:48:38 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
http://news.msn.com/us/us-propane-shortage-affects-millions-in-freeze
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Cal Mc
Advanced Member

256 Posts

Posted - 01/24/2014 :  7:28:29 PM  Show Profile  Visit Cal Mc's Homepage  Reply with Quote
We have had gasoline and diesel shortages in our area. In the month of December it was common the go to the cardlock and find the pumps taped off indicating no fuel supply. Some of the cardlock operators
were shutting down the pumps in the evening to prevent people from outside the local area from coming in with tank trucks cleaning out the fuel supply.
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Thomasbus24
Administrator

USA
3369 Posts

Posted - 12/10/2014 :  03:08:58 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Didn't want to make a new thread, so I'll put this here.

I had a demo of a new CE with Cummins engine on Friday. I have to admit, it was impressive! Engine sits high and forward in the frame and is very accessible. The bus still has a doghouse, but really could do without it because of how forward the engine is (but it would be nice to access the back of the engine from inside if need be).

Fuel/Water separator sits on the left front of the engine rather than under the bus. Seems like a good idea.

IC has upped the game on their body. Granted only time will tell, but from what I saw, and I did get up close and personal, they have addressed a lot of the issues that reminded me of WARD and AmTran.

I pulled a seat apart, looks like they addressed the back pan issue.

Again...time will tell. That being said, I'm not going to cry if they win the bid in January.
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RonF
Active Member

33 Posts

Posted - 12/10/2014 :  03:53:49 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
My opinion is IC is the cheapest built body out there. The seats foam is to flimsy, the windows won't stay up, screws fall out of the sealing, rivets on the body panels are loose, the dash squeaks, a lot of wind noise, and if you buy the CE-200 model it's even junkier.
I'm in Southeast Georgia so as far as rust goes, no issues.

If you can't handle the answer, don't ask the question
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Kodie
Top Member

United States
1995 Posts

Posted - 12/10/2014 :  3:41:21 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Thomasbus24,

We run nearly 100% CE series buses in the fleet of 45 here, all International power with a mix of V8 and I6. While most are brand new we have some that have been around for some time now, our oldest being an 06. We have 15 CE's that are 2014-2015 and only 2 of them were found to have leaks, which were found around the air horn because they used a foam gasket. Otherwise nobody else has reported any leaks. We have a handful of 2010's that have run problem free this entire school year and they are all around the 40,000 mile mark. My bus had the water pump go out at 37,000 miles but if you're ordering the 6.7 that issue is irrelevant. As for the bodies the only thing the 2010's are showing is fading of the yellow roof and some fading on the rear end but this seems to be common with every builder anymore. No signs of body rot up to this point. One of the 06's is showing some "acne" by the right rear 4" brake light but from what I can see that's the only area that is bad. Worth noting is that our fleet is regularly power washed by an outside company to keep the salt off.
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bwest
Administrator

United States
2356 Posts

Posted - 12/11/2014 :  1:10:59 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Our 2010s seam to be pretty good. Lots of little problems that really get under your skin. Lol Like the plastic dash breaking where it mounts & now one wants to not crank every once in a while for no reason. Lol, had to pay a tow the last go around to have them tell me it started for them.

Bryan
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second.flood
Advanced Member

USA
393 Posts

Posted - 12/11/2014 :  1:22:52 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
The windows are the worst. Won't stay up and the slides fall down all the time.
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