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Old 04-23-2019, 12:39 PM   #1
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Advice for a newbie

So me and my wife have kicked around the idea of building a bus but recently we decided to sell our house and move. However the resident of the new place had some things come up and canít move til fall. Yesterday we decided to buy a bus and start converting ASAP and sell and move in the bus til the new place opens up. Then use the bus for travel later.

So....Iím looking at a 02 International 65 passenger bus. Owner says T444E with AT545 Alison transmission. 182,000 miles Itís a church bus and maintenance done by a member that works for Weller Transmission. Going to check it out Thursday.

What recommendations could be made here. Is this a good engine trans combo? Mpg without moving too much? What should I look for or be aware of? Anything that can help a newbie out. Iím very mechanical in gassers but just bought a 01 f-350 with a 7.3 so I kinda lean towards what I am familiar with.

Thanks!
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Old 04-23-2019, 12:48 PM   #2
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So me and my wife have kicked around the idea of building a bus but recently we decided to sell our house and move. However the resident of the new place had some things come up and canít move til fall. Yesterday we decided to buy a bus and start converting ASAP and sell and move in the bus til the new place opens up. Then use the bus for travel later.

So....Iím looking at a 02 International 65 passenger bus. Owner says T444E with AT545 Alison transmission. 182,000 miles Itís a church bus and maintenance done by a member that works for Weller Transmission. Going to check it out Thursday.

What recommendations could be made here. Is this a good engine trans combo? Mpg without moving too much? What should I look for or be aware of? Anything that can help a newbie out. Iím very mechanical in gassers but just bought a 01 f-350 with a 7.3 so I kinda lean towards what I am familiar with.

Thanks!
If looking to live in it and travel that engine and transmission are a bad choice.
How much is the bus?
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Old 04-23-2019, 12:57 PM   #3
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If looking to live in it and travel that engine and transmission are a bad choice.
How much is the bus?
Hopefully $2500 or a bit less if I can talk him down a bit more.

What makes that combination a bad choice? The engine or trans or both?
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Old 04-23-2019, 01:22 PM   #4
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Hopefully $2500 or a bit less if I can talk him down a bit more.

What makes that combination a bad choice? The engine or trans or both?
The engine is more or less a pickup truck engine and the trans has no lockup in 4th so it slips going down the highway causing heat. The radiator on that bus is probably the split design where half is the charge air cooler. They're marginal on the highway.
If you only ever plan to go 45 or 55 its an ok setup but in a loaded down full size bus trying to drive on the interstates and highways is a miserable experience.
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Old 04-23-2019, 02:20 PM   #5
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The engine is more or less a pickup truck engine and the trans has no lockup in 4th so it slips going down the highway causing heat. The radiator on that bus is probably the split design where half is the charge air cooler. They're marginal on the highway.
If you only ever plan to go 45 or 55 its an ok setup but in a loaded down full size bus trying to drive on the interstates and highways is a miserable experience.
I see. So would a be some good locking trannys? Also what are some good Diesel engines? What are some desirable combos for highway driving?

Is there any way to swap or mod the converter to lock up? A torque converter swap or programming mod etc..?
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Old 04-23-2019, 03:08 PM   #6
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I see. So would a be some good locking trannys? Also what are some good Diesel engines? What are some desirable combos for highway driving?

Is there any way to swap or mod the converter to lock up? A torque converter swap or programming mod etc..?
It is often best to buy the equipment you want instead of modifying what you settle for. Any type of modifying, if possible, would require some bills. There is plenty of info answering a couple of your questions. All you have to do is type whatever keyword into the search box at the top of any skoolie page and read read read away!
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Old 04-23-2019, 03:14 PM   #7
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Just about any other tranny will have lockup and be a better. For automatics the Allison MT3060 is a great option and if lucky you can find one with 6th gear unlocked. The 545 cannot, to my knowledge, be modified to have a locking converter The Navistar DT446 and Cummins 8.3 are desirable engines
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Old 04-24-2019, 10:25 AM   #8
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If you are planning on long distance traveling I would hold out for a nicer drivetrain.

Good engine choices would be the Cummins 8.3, International DT-466 or DT-530.

For transmission, look for the MD-3060 or a 2000 series.

That said, Brokedown toured the country successfully in a T444E/AT545 equipped bus. He has MUCH more patience than I do....
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Old 04-24-2019, 11:17 AM   #9
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I also toured the country twice in an AT 545 with a Cummins 5.9.
Misery was not that big of a deal, as I was not in THAT big of a hurry
56 mph was max on flat hills, 35-45 on inclines, but I was there with most all of the loaded semi's.

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Old 04-24-2019, 11:53 AM   #10
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I went back and forth 2 years from Texas to Glacier Park, MT in a 175hp Dt466e with an AT545. Blew the 545. after that, now have a MT643 and love it. Still go slower up the big hills, but much nicer combo.

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