Most people who are looking for a fun diesel romper generally aim for pickup trucks to satisfy their need to roll coal. But what happens when you want to buy something with the interior space of an RV, and still feel like you're driving a rocket ship? Next time you're late for class, just give a call to Mike Roane and his Racebus.
Roane's project started life as a typical school bus, serving the good people at Skyview Learning Academy. After outliving its service life, it went up for auction on eBay with a few problems. Roane was able to quickly identify the issues pointing to bad fuel injectors and decided to scoop up the bus for a cheap price and traveled to pick up the bus an hour away in Lincoln, Nebraska.
Once the bus was safely home, the engine was pulled in Roane's garage with the help of his friend Chris. Because it was such a hassle to pull the motor, Roane made the decision to do a few more upgrades to the power plant before returning it to its original nesting place. He upgraded the turbo to a KC Turbos Stage 2 unit, upgraded the fuel injectors, added a River City camshaft, a ported intake manifold, and some additional supporting modifications. He has yet to tune and dyno the motor for final numbers, but make no mistake; it can still do big smokey burnouts.
Being unique is important, but why go through the extra hassle to work on an E450 platform over, say a comparably sized pickup? Roane explained to us that he wanted to find a cheaper alternative than buying an RV and that pickups were simply unreasonable priced for what his goals were.
"Honestly the fun thing about this bus is that I have about $15,000 into it and it's a pretty decent build," said Roane, "For the miles there's no way I could come close to this much power from a pickup because everyone wants so damn much for them."
Even though neither man who worked on the car is a mechanic by trade, both are extremely pleased with the results. Roane feels that the bus is a bit smaller than what he ultimately wants, so he plans on seeking out a shuttle bus with a wheelchair ramp to fulfill his goals of an RV alternative, as well as have something to load his dirt bike into. I think we can all agree that it's impressive to see something intended to transport kids to school smoking its tires (now let's wait to see what the all-electric ones can do).