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Newbus
Senior Member

119 Posts

Posted - 12/01/2001 :  11:29:40 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Wondering if anyone had any ideas on what would be a great bus for conversion to RV? Conventional vs. flatnose? What models are good and what to stay away from? Diesel vs. gas. Best engines. What engines to avoid. Auto vs. standard? Again what trans to avoid. I'm leaning towards a conventional due to maintenance/repair costs/ease but I sure like the flatnoses too! I'm trying to learn. Any advice would be most welcome.

Steven A.Rosenow
Top Member

USA
1926 Posts

Posted - 12/01/2001 :  12:16:14 PM  Show Profile  Visit Steven A.Rosenow's Homepage  Send Steven A.Rosenow an AOL message  Send Steven A.Rosenow a Yahoo! Message  Reply with Quote
Well, the best, absolute best choice would be the Crown SuperCoach. It will look superb when converting it. They usually come only equipped with a mid-engine diesel with stick shift setup, but they're very low maintenance. Thats what I would personally go with.


Next best choice would be a Gillig with a rear engine setup. They look real nice converted. Conventionals IMO are the worst, I'd stick with the best of these transit style buses.


Although I would never convert a Gillig or a Crown for posterity and historical reasons, they do make excellent looking RV's when done! And done right!



"Preserving America's best - THE GILLIG! - THE BEST NEVER REST" http://www.geocities.com/gilligcoaches/
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Thomas Ford 85-16
Top Member

USA
4177 Posts

Posted - 12/01/2001 :  1:30:58 PM  Show Profile  Visit Thomas Ford 85-16's Homepage  Send Thomas Ford 85-16 an AOL message  Reply with Quote
It all depends on your needs. Here's a quote from Thomas Built Buses page about Conventional vs. Transit. It's on their FAQ section...
"Question: What are the main differences between a conventional bus and a transit-style bus?

Answer: A conventional bus, built on a "cowl" chassis with the engine forward, is a lower-priced bus than a transit style bus which has the flat front and engine either in the front or rear.

While durable, reliable and filled with safety features, a conventional style bus can be less maneuverable than a flat-front, transit bus. A transit-style can also provide more passenger room, making it a good choice for dense routes, especially in tight urban areas. Conventional buses by far make up the majority of school bus sales. But more and more, schools are choosing the larger transit-style buses for many of the reasons mentioned above."

I have a conventional, and it works great. I'm not converting it, but it runs great, is very reliable, and hasn't broken down at all. It's also very rugged and strong.

Stop at: www.buses.cjb.net
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Newbus
Senior Member

119 Posts

Posted - 12/01/2001 :  4:34:19 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Thanks for the posts guys. I agree that the transit style buses are very stylish looking. If it weren't for practical considerations I wouldn't hesitate to go that route. I'm going to visit that web page posted above and check it out. The comments on conventionals are helpful. I was told by another member to stay away from Ward bodies on conventionals and that Thomas/Bluebird was a good choice.

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VanHool21
Senior Member

USA
52 Posts

Posted - 12/01/2001 :  6:11:51 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I agree that Thomas and Blue Bird would be the best conventionals to convert because the quality and availibilty of parts.Also,conventionals are numerous (at least they are here) and are more affordable.But,if you want to dream,the ultimate bus to convert would be the Eagle motorcoach.They make great conversions,but are very expensive when in good shape.The company I work for just sold a 1986 Eagle earlier this year for $60,000.If you are like me,thats way too expensive,but face it,it is cheaper than a new motorhome and cheaper than the Prevost conversion that will set you back $900,000!!! An old Blue Bird Wanderlodge would be great and expensive too,but there is nothing wrong with dreaming.

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wagonmaster
Top Member

USA
2298 Posts

Posted - 12/01/2001 :  6:35:40 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
The most practical unit for RV conversion would be a rear engine transit, but the really good ones are expensive. Conventionals will work, and certainly cost less, but you must be selective. No 6.9 or 7.3 liter Internationals, no 8.2 Detroit Diesels, or 555 Cummins unless you're a real diesel mechanic. I would look for a DT360 or DT466 International chassis as my first choice and a Cummins ISB 5.9 as my second choice. They are both very reliable and can be serviced most anywhere. Air brakes and Allison auto trans would be a plus, too and they shouldn't be hard to find or expensive. Wheelchair lift buses traditionally sell for much less than non-lift buses and would be super easy to convert. You could utilize(or not) the door for the lift. The bus body brand for a conversion really doesn't matter much, since you're going to change it all around anyway.
They're out there. Take your pick and get to work!
Joe

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Thomas Ford 85-16
Top Member

USA
4177 Posts

Posted - 12/01/2001 :  6:56:45 PM  Show Profile  Visit Thomas Ford 85-16's Homepage  Send Thomas Ford 85-16 an AOL message  Reply with Quote
Well, I'm not sure about availability of mechanics, but 8.2 Detroit seem to work real well with me! All of our 85s had 8.2s along with all of our GMC conventionals. They ran/run very well! But once again, I don't know about the availability of mechanics for them....you'd have to ask someone else.

Stop at: www.buses.cjb.net
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Newbus
Senior Member

119 Posts

Posted - 12/01/2001 :  8:36:34 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Actually I've been wondering if gas (is that heresy?) would be a better choice for me than diesel. I've built several gas motors but have never worked on diesel. I wonder what the pros and cons are as far as diesel vs. gas. I guess gas engines per se make more power but also use more fuel and don't have the longevity of diesel. I've driven trucks for a living and have always been fond of diesels. I've gotten several good tips here already and thanks to anyone who takes the time to respond.

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John Farr
Top Member

USA
642 Posts

Posted - 12/01/2001 :  8:41:45 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
If it were me, I'd just buy an old motor home. It will have all of the amenities. Why buy an old, worn-out school bus? After many thousands of dollars and many hours invested - all you'll have will be an old school bus.

Even if the motor home engine needed work, you'd still be ahead if you had it repaired.

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B. Busguy33
Top Member

USA
3444 Posts

Posted - 12/02/2001 :  11:31:18 AM  Show Profile  Visit B. Busguy33's Homepage  Send B. Busguy33 an AOL message  Send B. Busguy33 a Yahoo! Message  Reply with Quote
When you are considering a gas or diesel engine, what's more important to you? Gas engines start up easier in cold weather, there are more "gas" stations than diesel stations in most areas, and SOME of them can be more powerful than a diesel.

If you were to go with a diesel engine, well, these engines last longer, are built tougher, can haul better than gasoline engines, and since most of the newer ones have turbochargers, they provide adequate power. If I were to decide between a diesel and a gas engine, I would go with diesel.

If you are planning on converting a school bus, definitely go with an International chassis. You can't get any better than that. I would try to find one with a DT466 diesel engine. Those engines are true workhorses and they last forever. As for a school bus body: The best choices would most likely be Blue Bird and Thomas. Those are two of the toughest school bus bodies that are STILL MADE TODAY, which translates into readily available parts and dealer support.

If you were to go with another chassis with another engine, I would look into a GMC or Chevy chassis with a CAT diesel engine. Cummins isn't too bad, and most Ford buses seem to do ok in my area, but it's not on the top of my list. If you can get one with air brakes, that's always a plus. Most of the newer buses have automatic transmissions, but you may be able to find a few standards here and there. If you need to decide between an automatic and a standard, what kind of driving would you be doing? If you can drive standard and if you are driving on the highway mostly, a standard transmission would probably be good. But, my preference would be an automatic. It would make the bus much easier to drive, although standards allow you to have better control.

I would go with a transit-style bus for a few reasons: They have a shorter wheelbase for excellent maneuverability, they tend to last a little bit longer than conventionals, they have higher GVWR, they offer excellent visibility, and they seem to be a favorite among most drivers who have driven these types of buses. Conventionals, on the other hand, are cheaper (which is sometimes good), they are pretty easy to work on, more plentiful in most areas, and they seem to be pretty popular, even though a lot of district are going with transit-styles. You could probably get either type of bus at a good price depending on the make, model, and model year.

I hope this will help you out with what you are looking for. There is a lot of equipment out there available to you. Good luck with your decision, and your conversion! Let us know how it all goes!

Bob
(B. Busguy33)

"Blue Bird: Always flyin' high above the rest...
Blue Bird: One of America's Best!!! "
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Newbus
Senior Member

119 Posts

Posted - 12/02/2001 :  1:03:19 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Thanks for the advice. Before I found this forum I was wondering where in the world I would find information like this out there. I could have gone out there and bought a bus that was the worst of everything and had nothing but headaches. The experience of the folks on here is impressive and really invaluable for me. I love the transit buses but for my first I might have to go with practicality which, to me, suggests a conventional. I've gotten two recomendations for the DT466 engine. I've seen some around turbo charged too but so far they have been in buses that are larger than my needs. I'm thinking of approximately a thirty foot interior space (behind the cab) give or take a foot. It's hard to tell how big some are just by the pictures. Someone suggested buying a motorhome but I don't like motorhomes. They are very cramped and closed in and most of them are cheapy constructed. "I'd take an old school bus over a new motorhome anyday!" I'm leaning towards automatic trans. I've heard Allison a lot. I'm envisioning having to have a motor or trans rebuilt someday and I shudder to think what kind of expense that means with a transit style bus. Heck if it were a gas conventional cab I could pull and rebuild the motor myself. I would imagine that transit buses have to be brought to a facility that specializes in bus repair because everything is underneath? I love this forum and I don't know what's happening to me but I'm starting to get hooked on buses!!

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Thomas guy
Senior Member

USA
165 Posts

Posted - 12/02/2001 :  2:18:02 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Hey Friends,
The only bus conversion I've seen was a late 80's to early 90's Thomas Conventional. It was really nice, the guy had all his famally.

Buh-Bye Y'all
Thomas guy
Remember when it comes to a kid's education school bus drivers lead the way!!

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Phil4747
Top Member

USA
695 Posts

Posted - 12/02/2001 :  2:20:11 PM  Show Profile  Send Phil4747 an AOL message  Reply with Quote
Well, depending on who built the bus, transit-styles aren't that much harder to service. Any mechanic that deals with the type of engine you have will be able to work on it. The design of a transit-style bus is either maximum convenience for engine repair, or just a pain to be able to access everything, but still do-able. You shouldn't need a bus specialist.

Also, the same transmissions come on conventionals as transits, with the exception that some transits have heavier-duty transmissions. But everything involved is almost always truck parts.

—Phil

"It's the same way some people are obsessed with cars. I'm just weird."
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BusBoy
Top Member

USA
2042 Posts

Posted - 12/02/2001 :  5:54:16 PM  Show Profile  Visit BusBoy's Homepage  Reply with Quote
I have never seen many transit's as RV's. But I have seen alot of conventional's RV's


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wagonmaster
Top Member

USA
2298 Posts

Posted - 12/02/2001 :  5:58:23 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
8.2 DD engines are great if you have someone familiar with them to help you maintain it! They are one of the most complicated engines around to tune, should that ever become necessary! They can be hard on main and rod bearings, and they are harder and harder to get parts for.
Joe

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newbeetlebugblue2000
Advanced Member

USA
271 Posts

Posted - 12/03/2001 :  08:45:56 AM  Show Profile  Visit newbeetlebugblue2000's Homepage  Send newbeetlebugblue2000 an AOL message  Reply with Quote
Me, personally, I would go for the International Wayne. A friend of mine has converted a International Wayne and B.Busguy33 has seen pictures of it. It really and truly is a nice bus and I love it! Go for Conventional, Mr. NewBus. My friends bus is a standard transmission.

Ryan Lane
NewBeetleBugBlue2000@yahoo.com
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Newbus
Senior Member

119 Posts

Posted - 12/03/2001 :  09:05:34 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I searched buses on Truck Trader Online and the two biggest dealers on used buses on there is a guy in Fla. and a couple of dealers in San Diego area. The Fla guys prices were pretty reasonable. I live in San Diego now (till I get my bus on the road!) and the two dealers here are way higher. I've gotten some great ideas from the great folks on this forum. I don't know anything about Wayne bodies. Everyone else is stressing Bluebirds and Thomas which is what I've been looking for. I've also taken their good advice on the 466 diesel everyone has been saying is a great engine and also appreciate the warnings on what engines to stay away from. I'm going up to one of the dealers to look at some buses today. I need to find out what is a good size conventional. I guess I'll know when I get inside some of them but I still haven't ruled out a transit. There was one bluebird in there that was two toned white and blue, a thirty passenger and it looked really cool but again I'm leaning conventional. I'm thinking: conventional, diesel 466 (turbo), allison trans around a 40 passenger. I haven't figured out has to determine the size of the body by the passenger capacity. I'll get a better idea when I look at some. I saw on that was a 71 passenger but I bet it's huge and too big for me. I think a 25-30 foot body would be around the right size. I wonder what kind of mileage it would get. I won't be hauling passengers and the seats will be all removed. I actually want a totally wide open floor plan, install a toilet and partition that off but the rest will be wide open. I love all the windows on the school buses. Much more of a feeling of openness. I do not like the closed in cramped quarters of motorhomes and few windows. Anybody have any idea what kind of mileage I would get on a rig that this? I'm not going to fill it up with a bunch of junk so it won't be hauling much wieght and I suspect most miles will be freeway.

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Thomas Ford 85-16
Top Member

USA
4177 Posts

Posted - 12/03/2001 :  3:15:29 PM  Show Profile  Visit Thomas Ford 85-16's Homepage  Send Thomas Ford 85-16 an AOL message  Reply with Quote
If you are in CA, I'd try as hard as you can to get a Crown!!! They are one of the best buses for converting...from what I've heard. Try to save one before it goes to the crusher, too! There's a new law stating that diesels made before a certain year must be destroyed...I'd try to save one before it's killed!!!!!!

Stop at: www.buses.cjb.net
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B. Busguy33
Top Member

USA
3444 Posts

Posted - 12/03/2001 :  4:26:47 PM  Show Profile  Visit B. Busguy33's Homepage  Send B. Busguy33 an AOL message  Send B. Busguy33 a Yahoo! Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Me, personally, I would go for the International Wayne. A friend of mine has converted a International Wayne and B.Busguy33 has seen pictures of it. It really and truly is a nice bus and I love it! Go for Conventional, Mr. NewBus. My friends bus is a standard transmission.


Hi Ryan,

Yes, that bus looks really nice!! I like it. It must be a great bus to ride on. The pictures that I have seen look good too.

---------------------------------------------------------

Hi Newbus,

About the Wayne bodies...

I rode on a Wayne bus on an International chassis and it was a great bus. We also used to have a bunch of Waynes operating in a local district. If you are going to buy a Wayne, go for one that is on an International chassis. I am not too particularly fond of their transit-style buses.

However, a couple of major things to keep in mind: Wayne did have a great bus body. But, if you want style, then Wayne wouldn't be a good choice in most (but not all) people's opinions because they weren't the "best looking" buses that are out there. But again, they got the job done. I know you would most likely be repainting them, but their school bus yellow paint jobs weren't all that great. They faded fast. But, they did have a one-piece roof and nice large windows.

One major reason not to go with Wayne is because they don't make buses anymore, and it would be very hard to find parts in most places for a Wayne bus. If you do happen to find a place that sells Wayne parts still, be prepared to pay a lot more for those parts than you would for a Thomas or Blue Bird. Plus, you may have to wait longer to get a needed Wayne part. But, parts for Blue Bird and Thomas are usually readily available.

Feel free to let us know what kind of buses you saw for sale. If you are looking for a transit-style bus, go with a Crown. I'm sure there's plenty of them for sale in California right now especially. Before you know it, they will be gone. But, I've also heard those buses are great buses!

Decisions...Decisions...Decisions...

Bob
(B. Busguy33)

"Blue Bird: Always flyin' high above the rest...
Blue Bird: One of America's Best!!! "
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Newbus
Senior Member

119 Posts

Posted - 12/03/2001 :  5:20:17 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I went to D&D bus sales today in Vista CA. They advertise on Truck Trader Online. I looked over the Crowns and he had some very nice ones and I liked them. He had a 54 that looked better than a 74 he had. Nice nice buses. He had a couple of really great looking bluebirds that were painted two toned blue and white. He said the were ordered in the particular configuration they were in. They were 30 footers and had a side door that was mid way down the body instead of up front. Man were those buses built. Air ride too. Auto with 8.2 diesel which I've been cautioned on here. Then I spied an 86 International, Thomas body, 466 turbo, auto, 71 pass and I must say I really liked being able to drop that cowl and there was that beautiful (and clean) looking 466. Ironically there was a guy who showed up shortly after and was pouring over it. He wanted it for a school and I have a feeling he bought it after I left. The dealer wanted 8,000 for it. Seeing that conventional pretty much sealed the deal that I'm going to go conventional. I tried to look at the motors in the bluebirds and couldn't hardly see a thing under the hatch. They had a couple nice Gilligs there too. I'm going to Calexico tommorrow and look at some more. I'll call that dealer on the International to see if it was sold. If it was, at least she'll carry on in her noble tradition!

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thomas86_a
Top Member

USA
4413 Posts

Posted - 12/03/2001 :  7:00:33 PM  Show Profile  Visit thomas86_a's Homepage  Send thomas86_a an AOL message  Reply with Quote
Go with that 1986 Thomas/International. 1986 Thomas Internationals are my favorite buses. As you noticed my sbf name is thomas86.

I drove a 1986 Thomas/International gas engine/manual transmission 66 passenger. That was the best. I prefer the gas/manuals over the diesel/automatics, but International is the leader in diesel engines.

From my standing I will recommend Thomas as the body choice. They build an excellent product. Blue Bird makes a good product, but from my experiences Thomas has done a better job for us. I will also say that Wayne made a product that in construction was comparable to Thomas, but in looks was not. They were solid buses that could handle the wear and tear of everyday use, the only downfall was there poor paint jobs. If you were to buy a Wayne it would be a good bus, but in comparison to Thomas/Blue Bird Wayne is no longer in business so part are much harder to find. You also have Carpentars and Ward/AmTrans but I would steer clear of them.

Thomas Built Buses- The best buses on the road.
Posts dedicated to 86-A. The best will never be forgoten.
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Buskid
Top Member

USA
3368 Posts

Posted - 12/03/2001 :  9:46:17 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Hi Newbus

I'm actually in the process of converting a 1969 Crown Supercoach into a motor home right now. I've also had a couple other Crowns and Gilligs in the past. I'm located in Orange County, Calif. If you'd like to come up and see mine sometime, let me know. I just started in on it this past summer, but it's coming along (slowly).

The only problem I've run into with the Crown is the mid-mounted engine. With such limited space underneath the bus, it's hard to find room to mount holding tanks, etc. Other than that, they're great buses, and certainly my # 1 choice.

There's actually quite a few web pages dealing with converting school buses, etc. You might want to take a look at some of them. In the links section on my web page, I have some of the ones that I frequent listed.

Take care, and good luck!

The Buskid - CrownBus32@aol.com - http://www.crownbus.com
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Newbus
Senior Member

119 Posts

Posted - 12/03/2001 :  11:48:08 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Thanks for the above posts guys. I can understand a guy going for a Crown because they are not only beautiful machines but they seem to be BUILT! I think a Crown for a beginner like me is over my head though. To thomas86 thanks. That just may very well be what I end up with. I'm going to go with practicality over style to begin with and I think the Thomas I described is one of the most practical solutions I have come up with. Ideally I think it is always a good idea to invest one's energy into an inspiring endeavor so I can understand why buskid is working on his Crown. I wonder what body lengths the Thomas conventionals came in? The so called 71 pass. I was checking out seemed to have about a 30 foot body. I could go a few feet shorter but no longer. Hi Buskid! I went to your website. Cool! Thanks and thanks for the offer. Very generous. If I have time I might take you up on it!

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Newbus
Senior Member

119 Posts

Posted - 12/06/2001 :  06:36:27 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Uh....sorry Buskid. Make that "her" Crown. Went to your website. Awesome! I must say if I went transit style I would go for a Crown. I looked at several of them and just loved them. I didn't know there was a law about destroying diesel buses after a certain year. What's up with that!? How many miles per gallon do you think you'll get from your Crown after the conversion? Actually I'm curious about fuel consumption of various buses. Maybe I'll post a new topic about expected fuel mileage in various models. That would be interesting. Somebody told me an International/Thomas 11 row, DT466, Allison would get approx. 10 mpg. I wonder if that is true?

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cowlitzcoach
Advanced Member

USA
325 Posts

Posted - 12/07/2001 :  06:12:19 AM  Show Profile  Visit cowlitzcoach's Homepage  Reply with Quote
The problem of asking which bus is best is the question is so subjective it is hard to get a "true" answer.

Some people would advocate converting a motorcoach because they were designed and built for highway use. Others would advocate converting school buses due to their lower initial cost.

The "true" answer is all sort of up to you. The determining factors have a lot more to do with what you are going to be using your rig for more than anything else.

If you are going to only use it only occasionally the cost of maintaining a diesel powered motorcoach sort of negates that choice. If you are going to be doing lots and lots of miles that sort of negates the choice of a gas powered conventional school bus.

Regardless of what sort of bus you choose, the cost of conversion will cost the same. After all, appliances, furniture, cabinets and plumbing cost the same regardless of what you put them in.

Fuel mileage in gas powered buses will range from 1-6 MPG depending on what engine and transmission the bus has. Fuel mileage in diesel powered buses will range from 5-12 MPG. My 10-wheeler Crown with a Cummins 262 averages about 7 MPG. My Ford/ElDorado with a 7.3L averages about 12 MPG.

Best bus to convert? I don't think there really is a best bus. There might be a best bus for you but it most probably won't be the best for anyone else.

My choice would be an IHC/conventional with a DT466. The reason for my choice is it is about the most common bus now showing up on the used market locally. Common equals lower cost.

Type 'D' buses are not as common as conversions mostly because for every Type 'D' built they build about 10 Type 'C' buses.

Good luck and have fun.

Mark O.

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Newbus
Senior Member

119 Posts

Posted - 12/07/2001 :  06:52:38 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Hi Mark. Thanks for your thoughts/ideas. I know what you mean. There is no "best" when it comes to this issue. I'm leaning towards an International/Thomas, DT466, automatic. A ten or eleven row. Does anyone have any idea what kind of fuel mileage I would get from a unit like that? Of course all the seats will come out. I am not going to load this bus down with a lot of junk. It will have a wide open floor plan except the for the bathroom being partioned off. The thing I didn't like about motorhomes was the cramped feeling in them and the lack of windows. It will be mostly freeway miles. I wonder what the difference between gas and diesel is as far as fuel mileage in this particular bus? One other thing I like about diesel is that they are smog exempt in CA. What is a "C" bus and "D" bus? Is that the designation for "gas" and "diesel"?

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thomasvista2012
Top Member

USA
747 Posts

Posted - 12/07/2001 :  12:10:13 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
NewBus,

A Type C bus is a bus with a hood. There are different types of buses.

Type A - A small bus with a van cutaway chassis
Type B - A semi-cab forward bus, with the engine forward but the drive sits behind the front wheels
Type C - A "normal" school bus with a nose
Type D - A transit type school bus, flat nosed bus, with a front, rear or mid engine. These buses have no noses and look like Twinkies to some.

I hope this helps!

If it's big and yellow, then it's a school bus!
http://www.geocities.com/jasonsbuspage
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B. Busguy33
Top Member

USA
3444 Posts

Posted - 12/07/2001 :  1:52:31 PM  Show Profile  Visit B. Busguy33's Homepage  Send B. Busguy33 an AOL message  Send B. Busguy33 a Yahoo! Message  Reply with Quote
Hi Newbus,

I think the International/Thomas with an automatic transmission and DT466 diesel engine would be an excellent choice. I think you will agree!

Have found any more International/Thomas buses that you are interested in? I would be curious to know if you have found any good ones that you are considering on purchasing.

Bob
(B. Busguy33)

"Blue Bird: Always flyin' high above the rest...
Blue Bird: One of America's Best!!! "
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Newbus
Senior Member

119 Posts

Posted - 12/07/2001 :  2:57:24 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Hey! Thanks for clearing that up for me! So I guess type C is what most refer to as conventional and type D is the transit or flatnose. I found a nice International Thomas body. It was surprisingly clean and no rust. I suspect a CA bus. It was in Vista CA. It was an 86, 466 turbo, Allison, 11 row. I liked it a lot. I also noticed it had a couple more inches of headroom than most of the other buses I looked at. I'm wondering if they are 76"? There are a couple more up in LA I haven't had a chance to look at yet but they sound like keepers too and they are LA district buses hence the rust free bodies. I'm still wondering what this bus will get for mileage. Any input would be mucho appreciated. Thanks again folks!

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B. Busguy33
Top Member

USA
3444 Posts

Posted - 12/08/2001 :  09:36:11 AM  Show Profile  Visit B. Busguy33's Homepage  Send B. Busguy33 an AOL message  Send B. Busguy33 a Yahoo! Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
I also noticed it had a couple more inches of headroom than most of the other buses I looked at. I'm wondering if they are 76"?


If the bus that you looked at seemed to have more headroom than other buses, it is probably a bus with about 78" of headroom.

One way to determine the amount of headroom on a Thomas bus is by looking at the "dip" in the roof, near the front of the bus by the entrance door. If the dip seems to go UP by the front of the bus, it has the standard amount of headroom which is about 73". If the dip near the front of the bus goes DOWN, then it most likely has 78" of headroom.

You are correct in saying that a Type-C school bus is also known as a conventional school bus, and a Type-D school bus is the transit/flatnose-style school buses.

Bob
(B. Busguy33)

"Blue Bird: Always flyin' high above the rest...
Blue Bird: One of America's Best!!! "
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Thomas Ford 85-16
Top Member

USA
4177 Posts

Posted - 12/08/2001 :  10:54:24 AM  Show Profile  Visit Thomas Ford 85-16's Homepage  Send Thomas Ford 85-16 an AOL message  Reply with Quote
I think CA requires the larger windows for more fire escapes, so most buses down there will consequently have the 78"/76" headroom.

Stop at: www.buses.cjb.net
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BusladyofSoCal
Advanced Member

USA
366 Posts

Posted - 12/08/2001 :  1:06:02 PM  Show Profile  Visit BusladyofSoCal's Homepage  Send BusladyofSoCal an AOL message  Reply with Quote
quote:

I went to D&D bus sales today in Vista CA. They advertise on Truck Trader Online. I looked over the Crowns and he had some very nice ones and I liked them. He had a 54 that looked better than a 74 he had. Nice nice buses. He had a couple of really great looking bluebirds that were painted two toned blue and white. He said the were ordered in the particular configuration they were in. They were 30 footers and had a side door that was mid way down the body instead of up front. Man were those buses built. Air ride too. Auto with 8.2 diesel which I've been cautioned on here. Then I spied an 86 International, Thomas body, 466 turbo, auto, 71 pass and I must say I really liked being able to drop that cowl and there was that beautiful (and clean) looking 466. Ironically there was a guy who showed up shortly after and was pouring over it. He wanted it for a school and I have a feeling he bought it after I left. The dealer wanted 8,000 for it. Seeing that conventional pretty much sealed the deal that I'm going to go conventional. I tried to look at the motors in the bluebirds and couldn't hardly see a thing under the hatch. They had a couple nice Gilligs there too. I'm going to Calexico tommorrow and look at some more. I'll call that dealer on the International to see if it was sold. If it was, at least she'll carry on in her noble tradition!




How much was the '54?!?!?!?!? It might possibly be an ex-garden grove unified bus cause they just dumped their 50s era (undortunantly cut up their '51 :-( )

Buslady
Long Live Crown Coach Corp! Detroit Diesel rules!
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BusladyofSoCal
Advanced Member

USA
366 Posts

Posted - 12/08/2001 :  1:51:10 PM  Show Profile  Visit BusladyofSoCal's Homepage  Send BusladyofSoCal an AOL message  Reply with Quote
That bus you saw at D&D was a Garden Grove Unified bus (i found the ad on trader). I've been in it, it's cool. I'll miss that one cause of the lower nose stripe. We saw 58 going down the freeway last week now it's on the internet. hahah


GGUSD took good care of their buses, they still run LOTS of Crowns.



Buslady
Long Live Crown Coach Corp! Detroit Diesel rules!
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Newbus
Senior Member

119 Posts

Posted - 12/08/2001 :  3:46:20 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Y'all just have some of the greatest tips about buses! Really xlnt! I'm going to look on top of that Thomas if I get a chance to see. I'm 6'2" and I'd swear there was at least a few inches above my head which really makes a bid difference. I guess it can be a small world when it comes to schoolbuses eh buslady?! I can't believe what a coincidence that you know that bus. I thought it was beautiful. I remember it's classy looking amber lights on the front reflecting the sun. Talk about vintage! What a hunk o'bus! But, alas I'm pretty much going to go practical on my first. Do you know anything about that supposed law that they will be destroying diesel units that they consider too old in the future? I wonder if that means all the old Crowns will be destroyed? That would be a bad thing.

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cowlitzcoach
Advanced Member

USA
325 Posts

Posted - 12/09/2001 :  06:12:58 AM  Show Profile  Visit cowlitzcoach's Homepage  Reply with Quote
An IHC with a DT466 and an automatic will get about 7 MPG. Sometimes better, sometimes not quite as good. It all depends upon how you drive and how much stuff you put into your bus and tow behind it.

I was able to purchase a 1979 IHC/Carpenter with a DT466 and an Allison MT643 transmission. The bus came with good rubber that is 80%+ and brakes that are 80%+. It was a WA bus so it is rust free. I paid a lot less than $8K for it. I am sure you should be able to find a similar bus for a similar price if you shop around for it. For that matter, I have purchased Crowns and Gilligs for a lot less than $8K.

Good luck and have fun.

Mark O.

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Newbus
Senior Member

119 Posts

Posted - 12/10/2001 :  1:11:23 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Thanks for the info Mark. 7 mpg. Yikes! I wonder what it would get on the freeway if I drove it with economy in mind. Most of the driving will be highway. You're right about 8,000 being a little steep but it's a dealer. I've got to admit though the bus is in great shape. No rust and just one little small dent. I didn't get to check the mileage though cause someone else was taking it for a test drive when I was there. I'm still looking. I found the coolest looking Bluebird in Colton. Transit painted two toned white and green. Only about a thirty pass. so not a big bus. It had I believe a Cat 3208 (?) which I don't know anything about. Probably won't buy it but it sure looked cool. One important question: I heard if a school bus is converted it has to have the yellow/black paint scheme painted over because it's not a schoolbus anymore. Anybody ever heard of that?

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