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Old 09-27-2016, 08:29 AM   #11
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Feb 2015
Posts: 34
Year: 2002
Coachwork: Bluebird FE
Engine: 5.9 Cummins
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jolly Roger View Post
I have an 8.2 Detroit with a 545 and while I am still debating rear gear changes in my bus I can say after a lot of research that a true 545 does not have an overdrive so after you hit 4-th gear? That is all you have. The biggest killer is running the 545 over its temp rating which for some reason I can't remember and don't have in front of me.
I love my bus
I bought it with a good power train for running a school bus route.
Now I am dreaming about re-gearing it to get above 49-mph?
I can pull tree stumps and go anywhere I want and TOW anything just not more than 49. I know others have mentioned better motors, trannies, but I can say within that combination you also need to look at the rear end gearing. For meThe 5 range will still give you some pull and the 4 range will give me highway speed but almost nothing uphill and that's without towing?
Hope this helps
Thanks for the info!

I'm not looking to set any land speed records in it, but it is good to know this as I could see overheating being a problem.
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Old 09-27-2016, 08:32 AM   #12
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Feb 2015
Posts: 34
Year: 2002
Coachwork: Bluebird FE
Engine: 5.9 Cummins
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rameses View Post
Yes.

The Allison AT545 does not have a lock-up torque converter. Putting a heavy load on these transmissions generates a lot of heat, resulting in a short lifespan.
Thanks!

That is why I love these forums. There are folks here that are a lot more knowledgeable and smarter about this than I am!

When it comes to computers or building something I can do pretty much anything. But for some reason my mechanical gene just never kicked in when I was a younger man so most of this is new to me.
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Old 09-27-2016, 08:37 AM   #13
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Feb 2015
Posts: 34
Year: 2002
Coachwork: Bluebird FE
Engine: 5.9 Cummins
Quote:
Originally Posted by cadillackid View Post
theres a couple forum members that have run 545's over the rockies without issue, I have run mine over the smokies, appalachains, adirondacks, etc.. but the highest elevation i hit issomething like 3400 feet withe the largest downhill grade being 7%..

if I let the speed go over 50, I couldnt downshift my 545 into D3, it would go into freewheel instead of downshift...

if I first braked hard down to 50 then downshifted it, i had great pull-down in 3rd gear with it....

going up hill the non-locked converter resulted in me usually pulling against the stall speed of the converter at fairly low speeds.. Ive done a lot of studying in the last few months on the converters in these.. the design is that when your foot is to the floor they let the engine rev a bit... its by design.. and yes will generate heat...

the AT545 is a work-horse and if taken care of they can and do last the full-life of the bus with nothing more than normal maintenance.. they are also everywhere for cheap.. many people will give them away to you if you blow one up...

if I were going to run my bus over the rockies alot id likely have opted for a different trans as mentioned.. if you are going to tow with your bus, id invest in an external cooler on any transmission you choose.. if the trailer is a one time thing and you are transporting it in cold weather, then id invest in a trans temp gauge (many busses have this factory installed).. and then take it easy when it syarts to get warm...

also i should note that all of my experience with AT545s has been in smaller busses.. my carpenter 7 row is heavier than many with aGVWR of 27,500 but i know my previous bluebird was rated well under 26k and this new one I got is i believe 17,500 or something like that... so my good experiences with it havent been of trying to use it for heavy heavy work.. and its been a fine tranny for me..
-Christopher
Thanks for the input.

You have some very good points and ideas there.

When trying to figure all this out I'd also thought of possibly getting a straight line truck and putting a shorted box on it (to be able to mount the 5th wheel) and coveting the box to my RV/office. I figured that would give me a better power train.

I'd also considered some of the "toterhomes" out there - which seem to be a straight truck with an oversided sleeper of sorts.

But the skoolies are so massively overbuilt (which I just positively LOVE) that I keep coming back to this idea.

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Old 09-27-2016, 04:07 PM   #14
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Feb 2015
Posts: 34
Year: 2002
Coachwork: Bluebird FE
Engine: 5.9 Cummins
Quote:
Originally Posted by CE42 View Post
Any thoughts as to how old of a bus (at a maximum) I should look for?

I see some fairly decent prices on older (90's) long nosed skoolies and most of them seem to have the DT-466 in them.
I forgot to add that another engine I run across in some decent priced skoolies is the T444E.

I've read different posts in different places and some seem to say it is good, others not so much.

Do you think it would work well for my purposes?

Thanks!

Charles
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Old 09-29-2016, 06:17 AM   #15
Bus Nut
 
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Join Date: Jul 2016
Location: Prince George, BC, Canada
Posts: 350
Year: 1974
Coachwork: Bluebird
Chassis: CHEVROLET C60 just under 19700 lbs body#B10353
Engine: 350 ci on propane
Rated Cap: 48
With regards to the placement of the 5th wheel hitch. They usually are centered over the rear axle or just a tiny bit forward. You would have to cut off at least 4 feet in front of the rear axle. That would mean on a long bus upto 14 feet to be removed since there could be 10 feet of over hang on the rear. JMO Gordon

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Old 09-29-2016, 10:22 AM   #16
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Feb 2015
Posts: 34
Year: 2002
Coachwork: Bluebird FE
Engine: 5.9 Cummins
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tootalltechie View Post
With regards to the placement of the 5th wheel hitch. They usually are centered over the rear axle or just a tiny bit forward. You would have to cut off at least 4 feet in front of the rear axle. That would mean on a long bus upto 14 feet to be removed since there could be 10 feet of over hang on the rear. JMO Gordon

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Thanks for the input Gordon.

I'd planned to mount the 5th wheel hitch about 1.5" forward of center.

I also figured I would install a 20,000 LB hitch (even though the 5th wheel fully loaded is rated at 16,000 LBs). I figure a bit more capacity on the hitch is not a bad thing.

My 5th wheel is a full 102" wide, so I'd figured on moving the back cap of the bus forward so that I had at least 5 feet of clearance so that a 90 degree turn is possible.

The way I see it, removing what could be 15' of the bus (with the exception of the end cap) and all the seats will significantly reduce the weight of the bus.

This should offset the weight of the loaded 5th wheel quite a bit while still leaving me with a nice heavy vehicle to tow it with.

The trailer has three Dexter axles (with brakes on each), so by the time I add an exhaust brake to the bus I don't believe I will have any problems taking it slow and easy on the downhill grades.

I've always believed that you simply slow down and go slow on steep grades anyway and let the speed demons behind you sort out their own problems for wanting to go faster. If they are in a hurry to die and want to zip around me or blow past me in the fast lane, I don't have a problem with that.

I'm also hoping that the significant reduction in bus weight will allow me to get by without having to wait years for the perfect engine/transmission combination to come up.

Based on input so far I think I have definitely decided to try for a mechanical DT-466. If I can't get exactly what I want on the transmission, then I may have to settle for a transmission cooler and gauge, then just taking my time on the trip.

Charles
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Old 09-29-2016, 12:04 PM   #17
Bus Geek
 
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Columbus Ohio
Posts: 5,048
Year: 1991
Coachwork: Carpenter
Chassis: International S3800
Engine: DT360
Rated Cap: 7 Row Handicap
Quote:
Originally Posted by CE42 View Post
I've been keeping an eye out for church buses too as I figure that they are using it at least semi-regularly and should be doing a reasonable job of keeping it up.

Any thoughts as to how old of a bus (at a maximum) I should look for?

I see some fairly decent prices on older (90's) long nosed skoolies and most of them seem to have the DT-466 in them.

there are still some all mechanical DT-466's to be found directly out of school service.. the place i just got my latest bus had several 1995 Waynes that had DT-466 mechanicals.

DT-466E's are everywhere.. many still in school service..

if a church bus is older and all mechanical it has a chance at being maintained OK... however most churches do all their own maintenance, and when a bus needs a major repair, they simply dump it and get another bus.

they will typically keep up on normal items.. and in some states registered church busses have to get annual inspections as the display DOT tags .. church bus regulations vary by state and thus so does the upkeep.

if you can find a church where the bus is maintained by a retired mechanic (oftentimes the case).. you get a good bus.. thiose guys like to putter around in the bus when they get bored with retirement and usually keep it ship-shape...

that siad, I dont believe churches have to follow any age restrictions on busses so they tend to find one and hang onto it for a long time as long as it gives them good service..

-Christopher
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Old 09-29-2016, 01:06 PM   #18
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Feb 2015
Posts: 34
Year: 2002
Coachwork: Bluebird FE
Engine: 5.9 Cummins
Quote:
Originally Posted by cadillackid View Post
there are still some all mechanical DT-466's to be found directly out of school service.. the place i just got my latest bus had several 1995 Waynes that had DT-466 mechanicals.

DT-466E's are everywhere.. many still in school service..

if a church bus is older and all mechanical it has a chance at being maintained OK... however most churches do all their own maintenance, and when a bus needs a major repair, they simply dump it and get another bus.

they will typically keep up on normal items.. and in some states registered church busses have to get annual inspections as the display DOT tags .. church bus regulations vary by state and thus so does the upkeep.

if you can find a church where the bus is maintained by a retired mechanic (oftentimes the case).. you get a good bus.. thiose guys like to putter around in the bus when they get bored with retirement and usually keep it ship-shape...

that siad, I dont believe churches have to follow any age restrictions on busses so they tend to find one and hang onto it for a long time as long as it gives them good service..

-Christopher
Thanks Christopher - that is good info.

Charles
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Old 09-29-2016, 02:28 PM   #19
Bus Nut
 
Join Date: Sep 2016
Location: Darrington, Wa.
Posts: 304
Year: 1994
Coachwork: Genesis/Am-Tran Tall Roof
Chassis: International, 643 transmission
Engine: DT 466ci 250hp, International
Rated Cap: 86 screaming Monsters
http://www.jeepforum.com/forum/f104/...-help-1373035/

This totter seemed to work well. two week build with hitch mount 9 inches forward of the rear axle. This is the route I have decided to take over building a place in the bus for a vehicle. I think I'm going to buy a 28ft semi trailer with a large lift gate to drive onto and raise the vehicle into the trailer/shop. They were still left with a 21 ft cabin. I kinda like the idea of the rear door coming out on the back of the bus bed. I plan to have my bedroom in the rear so two ways out seems like a good safe plan.
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Old 09-29-2016, 04:01 PM   #20
Bus Geek
 
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Columbus Ohio
Posts: 5,048
Year: 1991
Coachwork: Carpenter
Chassis: International S3800
Engine: DT360
Rated Cap: 7 Row Handicap
I remember that jeep bus build when I was hanging in that forum all the time with my Jeeps.. I like how he left the sjirting on the side and didnt flatbed it like a lot of other curtoffs I see.. i thought it looked sharp, although im guessing at 33000 loaded he probably had a bit of a time with things running down the highway.. seems a bit more than what a skoolie would handle..

plus that beautioful long distance build and No A/C... lol...

-Christopher
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