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I need advice on bus Jason 3-22-07  
My church is looking for a 1996 and newer bus that can hold 65+ passengers. I was wondering which engine/transmissions you would choose and why. Also if there are certain ones I should avoid. Thank you and God bless.
Re: I need advice on bus Eric 4-13-07  
Its really not a matter of which one to get because every vehicle bus tractor trailer or car has its own flaws and its on how the previous owners took care of them usually with busses they generally keep up with the maintenance pretty well cause of odot but on the other hand if you buy them from auction or second hand you need to look it over and wounder why the previous owner got rid of them if you have any other further Question you can email me at I can also direct you to places to look at for used and new busses
Hope I was some kind of help
Re: I need advice on bus wrench 5-6-07  
I think what matter the most is what the bus will be use for & where. Does not take the same engine in montains as flat land of arizona or florida, will the bus be loaded with camping, canoe, gear on the top of kid, adult? What is the access to maintenance facility around? Will the bus be use in place where it's tigh to turn(a flat nose(transit type) turn sharper then a conventional)?
Then you can search for one with the proper setup/equipments, air brake, retarder, 2 speed rear end, low ratio, or else.
A qualified choise is always cheaper & safer.
Re: I need advice on bus Mark O. 10-2-07  
There is no one-size-fits-all bus any where. How the bus is going to be used determines more on what sort of bus is needed than anything else.

If the bus is going to used for long trips with lots of luggage a heavy duty Type 'D' with luggage compartments would be the choice.

If the bus is going to be used for mostly short trips (short being less than 2 hours) with little or no luggage a Type 'C' would be more than adequate.

As far as power packages go, get the largest engine and transmission you can find. The larger HP power packages usually come with heavier duty components all the way down the line. While they will cost more to repair when things break, because they are heavier duty you man never have any major repair expenses.

The most common school bus on the road is a Type 'C' bus on an IHC/Navistar chassis. Probably 75% of all school buses on the road on on some version of the IHC/Navistar conventional school bus chassis. The best version will have some version of the DT466 I-6 turbocharged diesel engine and the MT640 series Allison automatic transmission.

Buses purchased from fleets operating in the SW and CA in particular will command higher prices. They are able to command higher prices because they will not have any rust issues. DO NOT, I repeat, DO NOT consider any bus that has any sort of rust issues. Once the rust worm gets into a school bus it will cost you more to fix it than it would be to purchase another bus.

I would not lock myself into a specific model year bus. My church purchased a 1979 Gillig School Coach three years ago. It is a 12-row bus with luggage compartments, it is capable of highways speeds, and the power package was swapped out for a more modern engine and an automatic three years before we purchased the bus. We paid $5K for the bus. To replace it with a 1996 or newer bus would cost in excess of $20K.,,, are all good companies with which to deal. All have a lot of choices in their inventories. And if you go to them with cash in hand the asking price is rarely the selling price.

Contact me directly if you want some more input. Our church has been operating a bus ministry for almost 30 years now and our fleet is now three buses and two vans.

Mark O.
Castle Rock, WA
Re: I need advice on bus Mark O. 10-2-07  
About specific buses to avoid, there are several.

The least expensive buses on the market were made by Carpenter. In the past Carpenter made a really nice bus but the build quality really went downhill in the last years of production. Certain Carpenter built bus bodies were subject to recalls because the roof bows were not welded correctly. The short story is in a lot of those buses the only thing holding the roof on is the sheet metal.

If you don't have any body at your church that knows anything about buses your best bet would be to stay with a bus that is still supported by a dealer service network--Thomas, Blue Bird, and I-C.

My first choice is for inline six cylinder diesel engines. There are some good V-8's out there but the I-6's have a lot more pulling power on hills, usually get better fuel economy, and usually have fewere problems. Stay away from the Cummins 555, the GM 8.2L, and the IHC 9.0L. They are all obsolete for a reason. And because they are obsolete parts and service for them is getting very difficult.

As far as transmissions go, the only way to go is with an automatic. A church bus is going to be driven by a lot of people, most of whom rarely drive a bus. The easier it is to drive the easier it will be to get people to drive it. The HT700 series is the best (rarely found in most school buses), the MT600 series is next to best(found in most heavier duty school buses), and the AT500 series is last choice (found in lighter duty school buses). All of the Allisons are good transmissions but the heavier duty they are the longer they live.

Good luck.

Mark O.
Castle Rock, WA
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