New Engine Is Coming

Ford is transitioning its medium duty spark-ignited engine from the current 6.8L V10 to the all-new 7.3L V8. This means that we also will bid farewell to the 6.8L and welcome the 7.3L. However, the exact timing of when the transition will occur is a moving target. We can estimate it’ll be this fall, depending on demand, mix of inventory and several other factors that Blue Bird will manage.

The change can leave a multitude of questions, many of which are likely around bid specifications. The V10 in gasoline and especially propane has built a loyal following — nearly 74 percent in the 2019 fiscal year. So, how do we impact specifications to best position Blue Bird gasoline and propane buses without risking the possibility of specifying ourselves out of the bid? We believe that one way is by using specs that can flex between 6.8L and 7.3L, but still highlight all the advantages against the competition. This is like finding the least common denominator, which allows you to either meet or exceed regardless of engine platform, such as having a minimum horsepower requirement of 320. Although we don’t have final power numbers on the 7.3L, Ford’s target is greater than the current engine, allowing you to meet or exceed that line item. Another way is to incorporate attributes beyond the engine that are specific to the fuel types in the same way, like Blue Bird’s superior mounting of the gasoline fuel fill or the ROUSH CleanTech propane fuel rail with top loading injectors.

In an effort to help with “flex specs” development, we have compiled a list of items, similar to the horsepower example given above. These items are based on what we know today and caveat emptor, as not all development is set in stone. But we have a reasonable level of assurance that the items listed are safe to use. You’ll find all the details in this three-page summary, “Specification Content.” Please note that the document is intended for dealer use only.

In order to gain access to the “Flex Specs” document, please complete the following form: