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International 3800

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Title: International 3800  
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Subject: Blue Bird Corporation, International Harvester, Thomas Built Buses, Carpenter Body Company, IC Bus, Corbeil Bus Corporation, Stock Transportation, AmTran, Wayne Lifeguard, Chevrolet/GMC B-Series
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International 3800

International 3800
Manufacturer Navistar International
Also called International 3700
Production 1989-2004
Body and chassis
Class Type C
Layout conventional 4x2
Body style(s)

Cowled chassis

  • School bus
  • Commercial bus
Related International 4900
Engine(s) Diesel (International)
Predecessor International Harvester S-Series "Schoolmaster"
Successor International 3300

The International 3800 is a Type C (conventional) bus chassis that was manufactured by Navistar International for school bus and commercial bus applications. It was produced from 1989 until 2004. The replacement for the S-Series "Schoolmaster", the 3800 used powertrains and components from the 4700 and 4900 lines of medium-duty trucks.

The 3800 was discontinued by Navistar in 2004, outliving the International 4000-Series by three years; it marked the end of the International Harvester S-Series, introduced a quarter-century earlier. It was replaced for 2005 by the 3300, a design based on the 4000-Series (now known as the DuraStar).

Design history

In 1989, Navistar redesigned the S-Series medium-duty conventionals for the first time since 1979; the medium-duty trucks were renamed the 4000 Series. The 3800 (and lighter-duty 3700) were introduced in 1989 and sold alongside the S-Series school bus chassis until it ended production. Over its production life, the 3800 (and its variants) received few visible changes throughout its production run. For 1992, it received a redesigned instrument panel with larger gauges. In 1995, along with all other International medium-duty trucks, the 3800 received chrome hood badges denoting the model series and its engine type; the grille badging changed from red to chrome.

In 2002, Navistar made the first visible styling changes to the 3800 (or any 4000-Series truck); to mark the transition of its subsidiary body manufacturer from AmTran to IC Corporation, the hood was redesigned for its conventional-style school bus. Initially dubbed the International IC (later the CE), these wore vertical grille slats instead of horizontal ones seen for over a decade. As it was a change intended to promote IC Corporation, chassis destined for Blue Bird or Canadian manufacturer Corbeil were still given the standard hood and grille design. When the 3800 was replaced in 2005, the school bus industry had changed from its introduction. In 1989, it was a common practice for buyers of conventional-type school buses to specify both chassis and body manufacturer; there were a large number of potential combinations of Type C buses available.

By 2004, there were only three body manufacturers (Blue Bird, IC Corporation, and Thomas) and three chassis manufacturers (Blue Bird, Freightliner, and International). Navistar, the parent company of IC Corporation, was the lone chassis manufacturer that sold bus chassis to other body manufacturers. Declining school bus sales during the 1980s and 1990s and corporate politics led to Ford Motor Company and General Motors to stop producing full-size bus chassis altogether.

Body manufacturers

For most of its production run, the 3800 was used by many manufacturers of Type C school buses in North America. Its availability in the late 1990s and early 2000s was primarily limited by the end of Wayne and Carpenter production (in 1995 and 2001, respectively). Corbeil only ever sold its Type C buses in Canada.

Body Manufacturer Model Name Years Available Notes
American Transportation Corporation (AmTran) Volunteer (1993–1996)
CS (1997–2002)
Blue Bird Corporation Conventional 1989–2004
  • Replaced by the Blue Bird SBCV, based on the International 3300.
  • Also replaced by Blue Bird Vision.
Crown By Carpenter
Classic 1989–2001 From 1996 to 1999, Carpenter used the Crown by Carpenter brand name on their buses.
Integrated Coach Corporation (IC) CE 2002–2004 The version of the 3800 used by IC wore a modified hood.
Les Enterprises Michel Corbeil 1990–2003 Corbeil Type C buses were not sold in the United States.
Mid Bus Mid Bus SC mid 1990s cutaway bus, has cab of International 4900 called 3400.
Thomas Built Buses Conventional 1989-2002 replaced by Freightliner-based buses (FS-65 and C2).
Ward Body Works Volunteer 1989–1992 The Ward brand was replaced by AmTran in early 1992.
Wayne Corporation
Wayne Wheeled Vehicles
Lifeguard 1989–1995


The 3800 is notable for being the first American school bus chassis to have an engine lineup consisting only of diesel engines. Unlike its S-Series predecessor, the 3800 used an all-International lineup of diesel engines.

Inline-six diesel

  • DTA360 (1989–1994)
  • DT408 (1994–1995)
  • DTA466 (1989–1998)
  • DT466E (1996–2005)
V8 diesel
  • IHC 7.3L IDI (1989–1994)
  • T444E (1994–2004)
  • Allison AT545 automatic
  • Allison MT643 automatic



The 3400 was a chassis designed in the same fashion as a Type A cutaway school bus, but with a heavier-duty vehicle (the Navistar 4900) as its base. Today, school buses like these are known as Type A-2 buses. In the school bus industry, Mid Bus and U.S. Bus both developed products based on the 3400, but the chassis became more popular in the transit and specialty vehicle industries instead. The 3400 was replaced by the 3200 when the 4000-series trucks were replaced by the DuraStar; currently, the 3200 is used only for transit bus, commercial bus, and specialty vehicle applications.

Main article: Thomas Vista

The 3600 was a chassis custom-designed for the Vista from Thomas Built Buses. The Vista combined design elements of a conventional and a forward control school bus. In comparison to a conventional, the driver sat further forward, closer to the front axle. Although much of the engine was located next to the driver like a transit-style bus, access from the front was also maintained via a traditional (although much-shortened) hood. The 3600 chassis was designed in much the fashion of International's step van chassis, borrowing many components from the 3800.

As it was originally designed specifically for the Vista's body, no other body manufacturers developed their own product lines based on the 3600. It was produced from 1991 until 1998 when Thomas chose to discontinue Vista production after the body manufacturer's purchase by Freightliner.


From 1989 to 1994, International offered two versions of its conventional school bus chassis (as it had with the S-Series). The 3700 was the lighter-duty model of the lineup; only minor differences in powertrain and weight ratings differentiated it from the 3800. The 3700 only was produced with the 7.3 engine. After 1994, the 3700 was dropped.

See Also

Buses portal


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