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Old 01-28-2017, 03:48 PM   #1
Join Date: Jan 2017
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Question Allison 5000 in a 00' Blue Bird? Help/Advice?

Hello! Looking for a little help/clarification/advice on a public surplus auction listing.

This will be my first time buying a bus. I have the next few months to find one near Oregon that fits our needs, which are simple; solid running, 60mph or better flatland, preferably not a CAT or an Allison 545. Most other aspects can be worked around.

There are a number of buses that will work on, but there is one that is less than 20 miles away. A 2000 Blue Bird that looks in decent shape. The thing is, the ad lists the engine as a "24valve Cummins" and the trans as a "Allison 5000." Is that a 5600 series Allison and a 5.9 Cummins? Or a 8.3? I can't find any information on an "Allison 5000" in a bus anywhere. Any input?

Here is the link.
Public Surplus: Auction #1760472

The location is a prime selling point for me, as it would cut shipping cost to nearly nothing, as long as the bus is able to be driven.

I am looking at a couple others in CO on that site, too.
Public Surplus: Auction #1770895
Public Surplus: Auction #1770893

They are both 5.9's. One is a 643, the other a 3060. Small engines, but good transmissions. If those don't get bumped up over $6-10k like those AZ buses did it will be hard to pass them up.

Any advice would be very helpful. I have been digging through posts for a while now and think I have a decent idea of what to look for, but if I am missing something crucial it would be cool to know! Knowing which 40ft vehicle to buy is a bit daunting...
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Old 01-28-2017, 05:24 PM   #2
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Hope this helps a little

I too am new to all of this and I am starting to learn which buses interest me. I am looking to buy one sometime to use as a moving truck, then possibly convert to a skoolie.

I also watched the 4 in AZ with great interest. They had the Cummins ISC 8.3 engines. The one with the 5.38 differential ratio I can see going for a premium price as that would go down the road cruising at lower RPMs. The other one that also went for $10k did not and I didn't understand why that one was bid up so high, but there is a lot I do not know still. I noticed 2 of the 4 of those had welds on brackets on the engines making me think they had vibration problems but that might be normal on those. I come from an airplane maintenance background (turbocharged 520 ci 6 cylinders). I also grew up on a farm and have rebuilt many diesel engines.

The one in Oregon, I am also watching but not bidding. I am keeping a spreadsheet up to watch what prices go for to know a good deal when it pops up. From a link someone had they showed a file here :Bluebird VIN Decoder and I printed a PDF file out of it to have on hand.

From that I have surmised, correctly or incorrectly, it is an All American, with the Cummins ISC 8.3 engine, with air brakes. I too was wondering about that 5000 series transmission. I did ask the question of the seller what is the differential ratio? That VIN decoder has been nice but there is a lot to learn.

I am also watching those ones in Aurora, CO (I want a wheelchair lift to help loading stuff for moving but I think I want a lift near the rear for a motorcycle room in my skoolie, not a mid-bus lift like the one in CO). The VIN decoder does help to figure out front engine/rear engine, brake type, engine type, etc.

Best of luck.
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Old 01-28-2017, 05:33 PM   #3
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On the bottom of the page for the Oregon bus is a PDF file with about 60 pages of information and maintenance files. Engine is an ISC which is the 8.3 as far as the tranny I would call the seller and get confirmation. The shifter in the pictures is the push button type which generally points to an electronic overdrive.
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Old 01-28-2017, 10:20 PM   #4
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I didn't check the PDF file, but I concur on the engine. The pic of the valve cover looks like an ISC.

To my knowledge, there's no such thing as an Allison 5000 series. My money would be on that bus having an MD3060 in it. If it's located that close to you, go look at it in person. There'll be a data plate above the stairwell with a transmission number on it. Run that number through the Allison website and it'll tell you what it is.

The two in Colorado... aren't 40 feet long. They're only 11 window buses. But the FE appears to have an abnormally high roof.
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Old 01-29-2017, 06:05 AM   #5
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Thanks Asetechrail! I was so caught up on figuring out what an Allison 5000 was that I glossed right over that PDF file.

Rameses, thanks for your input on the trans. The only thing that I could dig up anywhere about an Allison 5000 anything was something called the 5600 for "off highway use;" oil rigs and dump trucks are the main uses that were sited.

The bus is located 20 miles away from where I will be working on it, but I am currently 5000+ miles away on an island in the Caribbean while my wife finishes her second year of med school (SGU). I will be flying back to start working on the bus as soon as we find one, but until then I have to do my research from here. It is hard to bring myself to leave my wife here without knowing that we have a bus for me to work on. Though, if I don't find one in about a month or so I will be heading back to look for one the old fashioned way. I do have a friend in the area that is very knowledgeable about larger vehicles who I will send over to look at it asap.

I did notice that the 2 in CO were shorter buses. It is hard to say, but it seems like they are 30-35ft. I am not entirely set on a 40' bus, they just seem to be the most common length flat fronts.

Thanks again for the input! I will be trying for the OR bus for sure. With the 8.3-3060 (possibly) I would guess that it will spike to well over our budget, but you never know until you try!

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Old 01-31-2017, 07:47 PM   #6
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What a shame. A nice looking bus said to be in good condition with decent tires and 80 pages of maintenance records. Minimum bid was $2500 with no bids. Wow. It's missing something I am looking for but I can't believe there were no bids whatsoever on that one.
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Old 01-31-2017, 09:48 PM   #7
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"Auction ended early". My guess would be that someone local walked in and bought it.
I always thought there was no point in bidding until the last hour. But now.... Apparently they can cancel the auction so long as there is no bid yet. So... slap the minimum bid on it right away.
Millicent The Bus - roof raised two feet, toy-hauler tailgate.
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Old 02-02-2017, 08:52 AM   #8
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Yeah, pretty bummed about that one being shut down. It seemed like a nearly perfect base for our conversion. We had decided to put in our bid and logged on just a few hours after it shut down. Then we decided to try for a bus in CO and found out right toward the end that we couldn't process payments through publicsurplus from our current location. It looks like I will be flying back when we find another few that will work. Probably the better idea all around.

Thanks for that VIN decoder, bearhawk. That will come in really handy. I wish you luck on your bus search. We will find them someday!
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Old 02-02-2017, 06:43 PM   #9
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I can't take any credit for that Bluebird VIN decoder. That was found in this thread here. That thread has some good information for Bluebird busses, Cummins engines, and Allison transmissions.

I was wrong in my earlier post about the 5.38 differential. Not sure what I was thinking when I typed that because I knew the difference. The differential ratio is how many turns on the pinion gear it takes to turn the ring gear one revolution =how many times the driveshaft turns to make the tire turn one revolution. Simply it's how many teeth on the ring gear divided by how many on the pinion gear.

In the case I mentioned it takes the pinion 5.38 times around to get the ring gear to turn once. The higher the number the more input/driveshaft RPMs it takes for the pinion to have the same axle or wheel speed in RPMs. If you were only going slowly all the time or in the mountains all the time you'd want the higher numbers for more torque. Also, you would want higher numbers if you are towing a heavy load. You typically will get worse fuel economy and a slower max speed at redline with higher numbers but it's not totally that simple. Some of it has to do with what RPM your engine makes maximum torque. You could be geared where your engine is not in its "power band" for a given speed. If you were going up a long steep grade your bus might be running in 2nd at higher RPMs with a lower diff ratio but it would be in 3rd going the same speed with a higher ratio but running cooler and putting less stress on the cooling system while burning less fuel. If you are cruising down the highway you'd want a lower ratio. If you have a 5.38 you're going to go slower on the highway for a given engine RPM and probably use more fuel as compared to the same engine/transmission with a ratio of something like a 4.44. I hope that clears up what I messed up earlier.

As for me, I'm looking for a 40' BB AA with a wheelchair lift near the rear, RE with the Cummins 8.3/Allison 3060. I have a few other things too but those are the biggies for me. I'm in no big hurry. That was a nice one in OR though which could probably have been had for $2500.
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Old 02-02-2017, 07:16 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Elliot Naess View Post
"Auction ended early". My guess would be that someone local walked in and bought it.
I always thought there was no point in bidding until the last hour. But now.... Apparently they can cancel the auction so long as there is no bid yet. So... slap the minimum bid on it right away.
I bid early. I bid exaclty what I'd be willing to pay as soon as I find something I want.
I don't win often but its always a GREAT deal when I do.

Sucks when an auction is ended early. I was looking at a cool lil shorty freightliner in OK but its gone.
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