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Old 01-11-2016, 07:47 AM   #11
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Hot rodders have always said you can't beat cubic inches. The same applies to school buses.

The 5.9L and the T444(E) are great engines for what they are. There just isn't a lot there.

Max HP for both is about 250 HP but the torque numbers are not anything close to what you will find in a 250 HP DT466 or 8.3L. Which is why the small engines are great on the flat and get real pokey on the grades.

Yes an MT transmission is better in all respects than an AT transmission. But given reasonable care and understanding the limitations the AT transmission will go a lot of miles without any problems.

Depending upon who originally spe'c'ed the bus and where the bus saw service you will find some buses with the 5.9L or T444(E) with the MT transmission just like you will find some low HP versions of the DT466 and 8.3L with the AT transmission.

Don't take the word of a salesman about what is in the bus. Crawl under and check the data plate on the side of the transmission and the engine to determine what exactly is in the bus.
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Old 01-11-2016, 11:39 AM   #12
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The biggest thing in which bus to choose is what your plans are for it. That'll be the deciding factor.

On average, your larger engines will have heavier drivelines, axles, and brakes. That's all worth something so those busses will typically cost more. But the cost is worth it IMO if you're going to be traveling with it regularly. If you aren't going to travel with it regularly you can get by with something a little less power and reliability.
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Old 01-11-2016, 01:10 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EastCoastCB View Post
Hey PigPen, you a Deadhead?
Yes and no. Yes in the sense that my wife and I love them, no in the sense that we've never got to see them. I'm hoping Dead & Co do some more shows, even though I don't know how I feel about John Mayer. Ripple is like kryptonite for my daughter (6 months now) no matter how fussy she is, from the time she was a baby that song puts her to sleep like magic.

Anyway...interesting points on the different preheating options (or lack thereof). Is there anyway to easily tell if a bus would have a mechanical DT466, like based on the year or model? I've found quite a bit of buses with the DT466 and owners that don't know which one it is. A lot seem to get turned off when I ask for them to check things like that, which is frustrating. They're mostly mid to late 90s models...
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Old 01-11-2016, 01:35 PM   #14
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Well one way to tell is if the badging has an "E" or if its a 98 or later.
If you look up pics of "E" 466 engines and mechanical ones, you'll learn to visually tell the differences.

My love of the Dead has a lot to do with my love of buses.
I got to see the Grateful Dead in 1995, it was awesome. Caught a Further show or two after Jerry died and some Ratdog, but honestly I could care less about any "new" Dead ventures after about 98 or so. The scene isn't what it was, either.
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Old 01-11-2016, 06:38 PM   #15
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Gee, all the rave I've heard over the past years for the 8.3 is making me think of cashing in.
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Old 01-11-2016, 07:08 PM   #16
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Its good, for sure. A bit heavier and beefier than a DT466.
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Old 01-11-2016, 07:51 PM   #17
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I was quite content with my 545 on the drive back from Maine 18 months ago. Sure, I'd like to replace it with a 3060, but right now slow and steady is fine with me. As for the 444E, parts availability is a bonus, as is the ability to attach a ScanGauge or other electronic scanners to see what the power plant is putting out at any particular time.

Additional note-
I know a few people think that if it's electronic, it's going to be expensive to fix. But remember this-
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Old 01-11-2016, 08:30 PM   #18
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@EastCoastCB Yea, I've always kinda felt I missed the boat which is why we never went to any recent shows.

Regarding buses again, I'm the type of person that would be happy with anything but will obsess over the decision for weeks ahead of time trying to make it perfect.

Then there's the part of me that just loves how Crowns look and wants to impulsively buy this and drive into the sunset...
Vintage Crown Coach School Bus w Cummins Pancake Diesel Engine | eBay
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Old 01-11-2016, 09:12 PM   #19
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It seems like I'm a bit late, but oh well.
We have two t444e and they seem alright. They start and run consistently, and they make good speed on the flatlands. They don't accelerate too quickly witch is a function of three things
1) it's a bus
2) the jumps in my 5 speed are too wide
3) tuned to 175 hp
We have never had them on a hill, but they'd be awfully slow, that's fine by me though.

I disagree that they are hard to start. Last spring when we fired them up for the fist time after them sitting for ~5 months with the glow plug cycle run twice, they started up really easy. It was still -15 Celsius.
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Old 01-16-2016, 12:55 AM   #20
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[QUOTE=cowlitzcoach;132972]Hot rodders have always said you can't beat cubic inches. The same applies to school buses.

Horsepower is what is needed and not cubic inches!!!


Max HP for both is about 250 HP but the torque numbers are not anything close to what you will find in a 250 HP DT466 or 8.3L. Which is why the small engines are great on the flat and get real pokey on the grades.

The 5.9 cummins is by far the best engine over the 444, and the 466. It takes a little tweeking for the 12 valve but they are simple and for under $1000 you can have them at a nice 350hp. The 24 valve is a little more complicated in the sense that it is electronically controlled, and a programmer will boost you to the 375hp range. If driven nice they will also get you 15 to 20 mpg.
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