School Bus 101, long technical post

Bikes, trikes, personal mobility and mutant vehicles - this is the place to discuss general transportation issues. For ride and RV shares, please go to Share Resources.

Postby DiveDogFLL » Wed May 26, 2010 2:35 pm

fwiw, hudson fl, is 1 hr north of tampa.
& I'm 5 hrs from tampa, or I would take a look for you.

yeah, the briggs are very loud, but I've seen a motorcycle muffler welded to the exaust on a larger (8-10) B&S generator, and it was almost acceptable. ( actually, a kart racing type extractor )

it would be very unpopular at BM, but its a lot cheaper than running a diesel for an hour. (in the long run).

I just threw that out as a FYI, when I read about charging issues a few pages back....

OTOH, its about $900 bucks cheaper than a honda 2000. (and the honda only puts out about 9amps DC, so you'd need a good 110v charger for the honda.


just curious, (in general terms), how much can these diesels tow? 7000#? and am I limited to an over ll lenght?
(like I'd need a short bus to pull a 24' enclosed car trailer)

TIA!
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Postby DiveDogFLL » Wed May 26, 2010 2:51 pm

knowmad wrote:...
. when motor power dies, I'm on pure leverage and prayers, she likes to konk out while going up hill this is because; some genius at GM decided, fuel tanks should be drained (intake) in the middle.


why not run a 2nd scavenger type tank? that's what racers do...

but often requires 2 fuel pumps...

(examples) no affiliation...
http://www.pegasusautoracing.com/produc ... oduct=2538
or
http://www.jegs.com/i/Aeromotive/027/18650/10002/-1

^ both of these are for inside on 1 tank, but a simple setup would be a small closed tank, fed by a pump, w/ an overflow going back to the main tank, and the smaller tank feeds the engine.

also, on sailboats, I've seen a small tank above the engine (gravity feed ), that is fed by the main tank, so if your pump failed, the engine would not shut down right away... (like in a busy channel). bet a small tank could be fit inside an engine compartment...


one last idea requires welding a fuel tank.... best left for pros... or your worst enemies
;)
http://www.summitracing.com/parts/CEE-4041/
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Postby Elliot » Wed May 26, 2010 3:25 pm

:D
just curious, (in general terms), how much can these diesels tow? 7000#? and am I limited to an over ll lenght?
(like I'd need a short bus to pull a 24' enclosed car trailer)


:D
Overall length and that sort of thing varies by state. In California, it is 65 feet, so I will not be able to tow my 35 foot Mutant Vehicle with my 40 foot bus. But I routinely tow my 25 foot trailer.

In some aspects of interstate travel, each state accepts your home state's rules. In other aspects, not. Overall length, most likely NOT.

Every motor vehicle has a tag that shows maximum weights -- total and by axles. You should be able to figure out from that how much your bus can tow.
:D
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Postby Tiahaar » Sun Aug 15, 2010 11:12 pm

Tiahaar wrote:
carmatic wrote: hopefully you would have fixed it by now


hahaha. yes. hopefully. However things can move at a glacial pace at Tiahaar's Automotive and Starship Repair. Budgets get cut, other sparkly new attractions pop up...sometimes the ol' playa rig gets the short end of the stick. I assure you I have no intention of blowing up the fuel line, when pressure tested it will be in the 25psi range, and yes soapy water is part of my repertoire. I still have to install the gauge set sitting on my toolbox that will help with diagnostics.

In the meantime, my bus needs a deck. Nothing big, maybe 4'x8', but a nice shaded viewing platform. Made a bit tricky by the aluminum skin but I think bolting it to the frame ribs will work nicely. Busses are great for custom body work (get a bus...I mean motorcoach Captain! :D )


Bus Thread Bump!

Today got my fuel line repair completed, the Starship Palomino now has a running engine again. Nothing like a looming launch date to push things along. (but I've been collecting needed parts for months). In a nutshell, the original fuel line must have filled up with scale and crude because my gauge showed it running way higher than spec vacuum (its on the suction side of the pump). Put in a 1/2"ID marine rated hose, fire resistant and all that, its about 1" OD, and a new filter setup, now it runs just a couple inches wc vacuum and flows fuel nicely. Most importantly, No Air Bubbles WOO! So there should be this bus on the playa in two weeks!
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Postby knowmad » Mon Aug 16, 2010 1:50 pm

Yeah!!!
@Elliot, Happy for you and Starship Palomino.
Betsy Duck has just compleated a pre Burn Shakedown Event, and found a few anoying Glitches, nothing major, Don't have time to Swap out the Shaky Starter for a "Better Used" one, Frankly I think it's a Crap shoot, pure 50/50 on wich one Really will be better.
Our Tower/Viewing deck works out awesome and passed My Idea of a stress test; 9 Peeps on Floor 1 dancing and 4 on Floor 2 Gently chilling and enjoying the Show (Lazers) Also stress tessted the Stainless Airplane Cable I'm using, finds: Snaps at 1100lbs/sq in Steddy pressure. and at 2 foot Droping Jerk survives a 300Lb Block but breaks on 350Lb. As long as things are tight I Have confidance.
Now it is Working with the camp mates incorperating the art, meals, playa prooffing (anouther crap Shoot), and Tring to condition myself for little Sleep/and Stressy Quesstins from non-techie helpers.

We are on Early placement for our (Art Instilation) and are Shooting for the 8:00 oclock B-D ish Area.

Come Visit one and all.
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Postby knowmad » Mon Aug 16, 2010 1:51 pm

Yeah!!!
@Elliot, Happy for you and Starship Palomino.
Betsy Duck has just compleated a pre Burn Shakedown Event, and found a few anoying Glitches, nothing major, Don't have time to Swap out the Shaky Starter for a "Better Used" one, Frankly I think it's a Crap shoot, pure 50/50 on wich one Really will be better.
Our Tower/Viewing deck works out awesome and passed My Idea of a stress test; 9 Peeps on Floor 1 dancing and 4 on Floor 2 Gently chilling and enjoying the Show (Lazers) Also stress tessted the Stainless Airplane Cable I'm using, finds: Snaps at 1100lbs/sq in Steddy pressure. and at 2 foot Droping Jerk survives a 300Lb Block but breaks on 350Lb. As long as things are tight I Have confidance.
Now it is Working with the camp mates incorperating the art, meals, playa prooffing (anouther crap Shoot), and Tring to condition myself for little Sleep/and Stressy Quesstins from non-techie helpers.

We are on Early placement for our (Art Instilation) and are Shooting for the 8:00 oclock B-D ish Area.

Come Visit one and all.
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Oh yeah, this year I was totally twerping out at the fence. ~Lonesombri
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Postby knowmad » Mon Aug 16, 2010 1:51 pm

Yeah!!!
@Elliot, Happy for you and Starship Palomino.
Betsy Duck has just compleated a pre Burn Shakedown Event, and found a few anoying Glitches, nothing major, Don't have time to Swap out the Shaky Starter for a "Better Used" one, Frankly I think it's a Crap shoot, pure 50/50 on wich one Really will be better.
Our Tower/Viewing deck works out awesome and passed My Idea of a stress test; 9 Peeps on Floor 1 dancing and 4 on Floor 2 Gently chilling and enjoying the Show (Lazers) Also stress tessted the Stainless Airplane Cable I'm using, finds: Snaps at 1100lbs/sq in Steddy pressure. and at 2 foot Droping Jerk survives a 300Lb Block but breaks on 350Lb. As long as things are tight I Have confidance.
Now it is Working with the camp mates incorperating the art, meals, playa prooffing (anouther crap Shoot), and Tring to condition myself for little Sleep/and Stressy Quesstins from non-techie helpers.

We are on Early placement for our (Art Instilation) and are Shooting for the 8:00 oclock B-D ish Area.

Come Visit one and all.
............................................Image...........................................
Oh yeah, this year I was totally twerping out at the fence. ~Lonesombri
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Postby knowmad » Mon Aug 16, 2010 1:53 pm

Yeah!!!
@Elliot, Happy for you and Starship Palomino.
Betsy Duck has just compleated a pre Burn Shakedown Event, and found a few anoying Glitches, nothing major, Don't have time to Swap out the Shaky Starter for a "Better Used" one, Frankly I think it's a Crap shoot, pure 50/50 on wich one Really will be better.
Our Tower/Viewing deck works out awesome and passed My Idea of a stress test; 9 Peeps on Floor 1 dancing and 4 on Floor 2 Gently chilling and enjoying the Show (Lazers) Also stress tessted the Stainless Airplane Cable I'm using, finds: Snaps at 1100lbs/sq in Steddy pressure. and at 2 foot Droping Jerk survives a 300Lb Block but breaks on 350Lb. As long as things are tight I Have confidance.
Now it is Working with the camp mates incorperating the art, meals, playa prooffing (anouther crap Shoot), and Tring to condition myself for little Sleep/and Stressy Quesstins from non-techie helpers.

We are on Early placement for our (Art Instilation) and are Shooting for the 8:00 oclock B-D ish Area.

Come Visit one and all.
............................................Image...........................................
Oh yeah, this year I was totally twerping out at the fence. ~Lonesombri
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Postby Elliot » Mon Aug 16, 2010 9:35 pm

"Cleanup in Isle 10, please."

I drove Millicent to Burning Man with a "shaky starter" in 2007. Spent Tuesday and Wednesday After traveling to and from Reno by hitch-hiking and rental car, purchasing $450,- starter, etc. The Playa is sooooo nice and quiet by Wednesday After!
:D
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Postby Tiahaar » Tue Aug 17, 2010 1:06 am

3 busses, 3 captains getting ready for some serious driving! Excellent! Looking forward to seeing you Elliot/Millicent and knowmad/BetsyDuck and spy for future 'modification' ideas I might borrow 8)

Is it too late to build a new shade structure? nah...drilled 92 holes tonight, 52 more to go, got a nifty pipe and tarp construct taking shape. It will be hurricane-proof. No thank you, hurricane not requested :P
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Postby CapSmashy » Tue Aug 17, 2010 5:39 am

3 busses, 3 captains and serious driving?

Ya'll live close to the event, what are you talking about? :)

We're rolling in from Dallas in our 89 Bluebird (Charon) and some camp mates are rolling in from Florida in theirs.
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Postby Elliot » Tue Aug 17, 2010 5:53 am

:D
Yes, obviously this is the time for major modifications to our buses! :lol:

I'm building a new bunk, with a Rube-Goldbergian hinge mechanism, so the bunk lifts/swings up above head-level when not in use.

After that comes the launch platform on the roof for the piano.

One of the great mysteries of humanity -- or at least of my own life; why did I not start on these projects 11 months ago? :lol:

Hi Smashy -- yes, you are of course a charter member of this group! Now, where is the gent who lost his skoolie and bought a Wanderlodge? And when will Jason and his bride return to the Playa with a Jacuzzi Bus? And....
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Postby Leo » Wed Sep 15, 2010 3:57 pm

I found a used bus dealership south of Seattle. They are selling a bunch of small (12-18 passenger) buses that are built on a Ford Econoline E-450 cab/chassis. Some of these units look like they have served as airport/hotel shuttles. These units look like they would be a good candidate for conversion into an RV. Almost every town of any size has a Ford dealership, so getting parts and service on an E-450 shouldn't be a big deal. Any comments or suggestions?
Thanks!
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Postby Elliot » Wed Sep 15, 2010 4:22 pm

:D
I don't know much about those, but you might find some information in the "Short Bus" section of the www.skoolie.net forum.
:D
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Postby Leo » Thu Sep 16, 2010 6:27 am

Thanks Elliot,
That is exactly what I was looking for.
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Postby Tin Halo » Thu Sep 16, 2010 9:42 am

Dammit.

I just discovered this thread. The amount of info is insane.
I have long wanted to do a skoolie conversion. For my tastes, though, I think I'd rather have a short bus; I don't need all that space, and it's a handy tool for a little self-deprecation when the need arises.
One of the problems I face is that from (embarrassingly) a style perspective, I prefer flat-front buses. Something about those is just so damned cool. But I've never looked into whether or not there's a flat-front short bus. C`est le vie.

The biggest problem I face? Money.

Dammit. (Shakes fist at heavens.)
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Postby Tin Halo » Thu Sep 16, 2010 9:47 am

Oh.... shit.

Image


DAMMIT! (Shakes both fists at heavens.)
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Postby Sail Man » Thu Sep 16, 2010 11:05 am

Elliot wrote:And when will Jason and his bride return to the Playa with a Jacuzzi Bus? And....



Shhhhhhh, you'll wake the baby :wink:
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Postby Tin Halo » Thu Sep 16, 2010 3:24 pm

Here's a general question that may or may not have been covered in the numerous pages prior to this:
Are transit buses 'highway legal'? I've always really dug transit buses; however, in context of what I'm hoping to accomplish, they seem to ride a little too low for acceptable highway driving.
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Postby Elliot » Thu Sep 16, 2010 5:51 pm

:D
The amount of info is insane. Thank you. My pleasure.

Sailman, please tell them Congrats if you have a chance!
On that topic, my camp-mates Peter & Jerri brought their baby Sam when he was eight months old. With the solid shelter of a bus, no problem.

I try to steer people away from front-engine flat-nose buses. It is so #$%^& difficult to work on the engine in there.

So far as I know, typical city public transit buses have plenty of ground clearance and can be driven anywhere. But they may not be geared for highway speeds. It's the gearing you need to investigate.

By the way.... that clever movable bunk I invented turned out to be a nightmare. It was too heavy for one person to (safely, comfortably) lift, and we walked smack into it when we did not expect it to be there (in the lowered position). Live and learn.

And the piano-off-the-roof never happened. Too many ideas; not enough resources. But thanks to Millicent The Bus, I did bring two pianos that lots of folks played.
:D
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Postby FIGJAM » Thu Sep 16, 2010 6:20 pm

Elliot...I didnt get to see the inside of the bus, but could you do a hinged fold up for the bed?

Its always the first thing I think of when I think of portable bunks.
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Postby Elliot » Fri Sep 17, 2010 10:10 am

:D
Millicent has two upper bunks that are hinged along the wall. This one:

Image

Image



and this one:

Image

Image



Trouble is, they wind up being used as storage shelves when not actually being slept in, so they may as well not be hinged at all.

Lesson to be learned: Provide lots of dedicated storage space in your bus, so you don’t have to store stuff in bunks. Because… at night you have to put that stuff somewhere else, and then you have a full-on Mess.

(In case you wonder, yes the interior is still totally incomplete -- bare metal, unpainted plywood, various colors of caulking.... please try to ignore that!)
:D
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Postby Tin Halo » Fri Sep 17, 2010 6:58 pm

Gearing.

Huh. Makes sense. I wouldn't have thought that a transit bus would be geared any differently.
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Postby Elliot » Fri Sep 17, 2010 9:01 pm

:D
No personal experience with transit buses, but I have read that the gearing can vary a lot, depending on what sort of territory the bus was used in. Imagine a bus that never leaves the city of San Francisco, versus one that runs back and forth to Walnut Creek.

By the way, the gearing can vary a bit on school buses also. Some school buses are designated "activity buses", which means they are intended to go on field trips. These tend to have higher gearing and other beneficial features like taller ceiling and more luggage compartments. There are stories of football-team away-game buses with extra large engine, stick shift transmission, and other long-distance-swallowing features. For us, those rare hot rod buses are the holy grail!
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Postby Tiahaar » Fri Sep 17, 2010 10:31 pm

My 1960 GMC 5301 transit bus don't need no gears...it has a grand total of one. Uses a hydrostatic drive up to about 30mph then I pull a knob on the console that locks it into direct drive, good for 60mph. In theory it can go the same speed in reverse :shock: but...slow up hills. Get something with a V730 3-speed if you can when shopping for old GMC transverse engine transits.

Saw the most awesome bus drive by while I was mooping Tuesday, a dual-steer-axle articulated monster! Bigger than the base bus for Purple Palace. The folks inside did not wave back at me...kept eyes locked straight ahead and serious...as it passed the bold lettering of some Christian Ministry became apparent on the side and I nearly strained some muscles laughing, naked playa elf that I was at the time heheh :D

It looked like one of these rigs, Prevost H560s (think of having the whole articulated part as storage Elliot yowsa!
Image Image
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Postby knowmad » Sat Sep 18, 2010 12:04 am

Tiahaar wrote:My 1960 GMC 5301 transit bus don't need no gears...it has a grand total of one. Uses a hydrostatic drive up to about 30mph then I pull a knob on the console that locks it into direct drive, good for 60mph. In theory it can go the same speed in reverse :shock: but...slow up hills. Get something with a V730 3-speed if you can when shopping for old GMC transverse engine transits.

Saw the most awesome bus drive by while I was mooping Tuesday, a dual-steer-axle articulated monster! Bigger than the base bus for Purple Palace. The folks inside did not wave back at me...kept eyes locked straight ahead and serious...as it passed the bold lettering of some Christian Ministry became apparent on the side and I nearly strained some muscles laughing, naked playa elf that I was at the time heheh :D

It looked like one of these rigs, Prevost H560s (think of having the whole articulated part as storage Elliot yowsa!
Image Image


This made me Laugh and cry at the same time. But yeah I saw something like this last month, yeah wow. I've never entertained the Idea of an articulated Bus, But I do love the Coach Style. so much Luggage space.
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Postby Tin Halo » Sat Sep 18, 2010 8:33 am

Elliot wrote:By the way, the gearing can vary a bit on school buses also. Some school buses are designated "activity buses", which means they are intended to go on field trips. These tend to have higher gearing and other beneficial features like taller ceiling and more luggage compartments. There are stories of football-team away-game buses with extra large engine, stick shift transmission, and other long-distance-swallowing features. For us, those rare hot rod buses are the holy grail!


I'll be damned.... see, that's what I wanted to ask about in my last post; my question was to be "Wouldn't school buses be geared similarly, then, given their generally limited routes?" then I deleted it before hitting 'send', figuring I was talking out my ass and needed to shut the hell up.
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Double articulated

Postby SnowBlind » Sat Sep 18, 2010 1:40 pm

And if you want to go all out, you can always go for a double articulated bus:

Image
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Re: Double articulated

Postby knowmad » Mon Sep 20, 2010 11:42 am

SnowBlind wrote:And if you want to go all out, you can always go for a double articulated bus:

Image


now that's just crazy talk.
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Postby Elliot » Tue Sep 21, 2010 6:04 pm

I'm not up on articulated buses (either!). But I do know that some of them have the engine in the trailer, driving the trailer axle, and that these are known for wicked handling. I can imagine it easily enough -- accelerate in a curve in the rain, and next thing you know you are jackknifed.

In California, articulated buses are limited to 60 feet, so there is no real advantage in total cubic footage here.

But this is getting awful specialized. The real bargains are with the basic 40 foot school buses.
:D
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