Skoolie MPGOct 31, 2021
SKOOLIE MPG - FUEL ECONOMY OF A SKOOLIE
How many miles per gallon should you expect from a full size bus?
How Many Miles Per Gallon Does A Skoolie Get?
What is the MPG of a Skoolie?
How far can I go on one tank of fuel?
That's something that we asked a lot before we bought ours. That's something that we still see people asking now. It's a big question with a lot of answers with a lot of variables. Our bus currently gets 6 miles per gallon but we are on our way to 12 mpg with the strategies discussed here.
CHECK OUT OUR YOUTUBE VIDEO ON THIS TOPIC
2 OPTIONS TO IMPROVE FUEL MILEAGE
Option 1 - Unlocking the transmission
Our transmision has a 6th gear that is locked out from the factory. The Allison 3060 transmission was blowing up in busses on school routes because drivers were going from stop to stop in high gear.
In our case, a Caterpillar mechanic that would work on our bus could plug in and unlock that high gear by flashing the computer. This will take our bus from 3,000 RPMs at 50 miles per hour to around 2,200 RPMs at 50-60 miles per hour.
Option 2 - Changing to a higher gear ratio in the rear end
In high school, I drove a 1968 Ford F100 truck every day that had a 3.73:1 gear ratio in the rear end. It drove comfortably at 45-50 miles per hour comfortably but would peg out at 70 miles per hour. Between 55-70, the engine sounded like it was about to blow up and the fuel mileage went from 10-12 mpg to 6-8 mpg. One time, it actually did blow up when we were adjusting the timing. We ran it out to 70 miles per hour at 3,000-3,500 sustained RPMs and the engine blew. This was an old farm truck. It wasn't made for the open road at modern highway speed.
Neither was your school bus. It was made to run consistently at 45-55 miles per hour and then to do frequent stops in neighborhoods. The rear end gear ratio change is going to go a long way to help you in the lower RPMs at cruising speed.
ALL OF THIS SOUNDS EXPENSIVE
It will be very expensive to do the rear end gear ratio change. My estimation from asking around will be between $800-$1,200. That sounds pricey. In our YouTube video on this subject, I shared an example from our real life on how this will work out mathematically to change our perception of the upfront cost. It's a case study of a hypothetical trip that will probably actually play out in the near future from Atlanta, GA to Tucson, AZ.
SO WHAT IS THE FIRST STEP?
What I would do first is flash the computer and get the 6th gear unlocked. One of our YouTube subscribers said that he had it done at his local diesel mechanic for $150. That should work wonders. I'm going to start there and see if I can live with the results before I go super invasive on the drivetrain and rear end.
If you like it, stay there. If you want to go a little farther, do the rear end gear ratio swap and see what more that does for you. I'd love to know what you decide. Reach out and let me know what you've done or plan to do on your bus in regard to this issue.
WANT TO QUIT YOUR JOB AND LIVE IN A BUS?
If you're looking for a solid way to make a mobile income or to make money on the road without having to actually report to a desk somewhere at an office, click here to download our free eBook called " A Guide To Making Money On The Road " to get started.