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Old 03-09-2017, 03:51 PM   #1
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Towing with an AT545?

Hey all, Here's a bit of back story. I'm looking at a 2001 40ft dognose with a DT466 and an AT545. I'm also intending to tow an enclosed trailer with a subaru forester.

So that brings me to my dilemma. From everything I have found on this forum and elsewhere, the 545 is not bad but it's not great. In my particular application, it is leaning more towards the "not great" side of things. Am I right in thinking this? I'm understanding that it will be prone to overheating and not a ton of power... especially in any sort of hilly environment.

I'm thinking I might have to keep an eye out for a better transmission and I'm posting here in hopes of either validation that I should stay away from the 545 or information that might allow me to make a 545 work.

So any thoughts on the 545 in a 40 footer that's towing a car? Thanks in advance.
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Old 03-09-2017, 04:50 PM   #2
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My bus is 35 feet long, weights 15500. The Jeep I haul is 4,000. I have the 545 & plan to drive it till it blows.

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Old 03-09-2017, 06:11 PM   #3
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thats an odd combo. i would think the dt466 would overkill a 545. just saying.

i'm a 545 owner, add a transmission cooler, i did and i can tow with enough power to accelerate uphill now. it made a huge difference.

i live on the colorado plains, so pretty much everytrip i take has a few big hills in it.
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Old 03-09-2017, 06:24 PM   #4
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I have a full size, t444e with at545, I haven't towed yet, but I plan to tow my chevy sonic and I'm not worried at all, just make sure you have a cooler, and do tranny oil changes.
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Old 03-09-2017, 07:46 PM   #5
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My shorty with 444/545 seems like it would be ok to tow a decent load. As long as big hills and high speeds aren't involved. I've not driven a full 40' bus with this engine/trans combo, but I wouldn't imagine it would be great.
A tranny cooler and accurate temp gauge would definitely be things to do if towing with this setup, imo.
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Old 03-09-2017, 08:58 PM   #6
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Just made a Pensacola to Crystal River (mostly level) weekend run with buss full of household and garage stuff in the bus. Pulling a 27 foot travel trailer.
75 to 80 during drive down interstate going no faster than 55 to 58mph.
Stock temp gauge showing 180 most of the time and 195 once in a while after a long but slow rise in the hwy.
Laser handheld showing 180 engine oil pan temp and 145 tranny pan temp.
466e and 545 tranny, 2300@55mph.
Return trip w/o trailer and empty ran 175 to 180 all the way back per dash gauge.
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Old 03-10-2017, 08:56 AM   #7
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Wow thanks for the replies, guys. Seems like I may have spent a lot of time worrying about nothing. I appreciate all of your input.

Double07, that is quite the setup! makes me feel a bit more comfortable about my own plans seeing your success. Do you have an additional cooler installed or no?

GBStewart, EastCoastCB, and turf, I am starting to see what you guys are saying about additional cooling and temp gauge. That is great advice and I appreciate that. I had not even realized (silly me) that that was an option but now it seems so obvious.

Thanks all for the help!
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Old 03-10-2017, 09:12 AM   #8
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We live at 4000' and tow up and down mountains every trip. The 545 is just fine.
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Old 03-10-2017, 09:17 AM   #9
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My bus is 100% stock. I only bought it to make the move as I plan to sell it after done moving. I figure I will at least break even.
But the experience has got me hooked on doing a conversion on a more desirable bus.

Screw your high jacking prices Penske.
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Old 03-10-2017, 11:59 AM   #10
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maybe i too worry too much about running my shorties with 545's in the mountains.... if people are towing cars and big arse trailers all over... maybe i could run one through the big mountains.. ive run mine through the east-of-the-missippi mountains but never the rockies..

-Christopher
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Old 03-10-2017, 12:43 PM   #11
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Yeah to be honest, this thread is about exactly the opposite what I had expected. (in a very positive way I assure you). It's nice to see so many real examples of folks doing what I was afraid of doing.

2Kool4Skool, any chance you can share the length and weight of your trailer? It looks like it's working well for you and any insight you might have would be appreciated.
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Old 03-10-2017, 01:30 PM   #12
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We go from Texas to Montana every year and have towed our vehicle (Ford Escape +/- 3500 lbs or so) on a dolly and gone up/down some pretty decent grades. Have a DT466/AT545 in a 9-window bus. Won't win any races going up the hills, but slow and steady all day long. On the really steep ones, usually slows to around 35-40. Just get in the right lane and crawl up with the 18-wheelers. On the downhill grades, put in in to 2nd or 3rd depending on the speed I want, and don't let it get above 40 or so.... just stab the brakes and the little amount of engine brakes the AT545 can give will do enough to keep it manageable.

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Old 03-10-2017, 01:41 PM   #13
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even though ive been apprehensive about my 545's.. I can say in the last 10 months ive driven a collective of 20,000 miles between the 2 busses...

the heavier of the 2 how (27500 GVWR 7 window DT-360) I have run through the appalachains, smokies, and adirondacks.. even gone up and down MontEagle without issues... the other bus (17500 GVWR T-444E) has gone down the route 75 from ohio to florida and back a few times.. so just mild hills.. so this thread is good positive feedback for me too should I decide to venture west this summer..

-Christopher
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Old 03-10-2017, 02:06 PM   #14
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Rengald, our trailer is a 14' wood floor car trailer. It's about 18' overall has 2 3500# axles and it's all steel. I've never weighed it but I think 14-1600 lbs empty.
The Tracker is skid plated, nerf bars, lifted and a winchand big bumper so it's about 2500 lb min. (These are light rigs)

4000 lbs plus total.

Like it's not there is true in this case. I can't feel the trailer back there, mpg is the same and hills are a bit slower but not much...I still pass a semi now and then
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Old 03-10-2017, 02:18 PM   #15
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I appreciate everyone taking the time to reply! Where are all the naysayers? I was expecting more than a couple when I asked the question ;0

JohnBloem, Thanks for sharing. That's exactly the kind or personal experience I was hoping to hear about when I started the thread. It just goes to show that asking the question can warrant much better results than trying to scavenge offhand comments from other threads.

2Kool4Skool, Thanks for the info on the trailer. There are so many options out there so it's nice to get a real world example. As I said before, I'm looking to haul a Subaru Forester on a trailer. Not a huge haul but it certainly is't small either.
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Old 03-10-2017, 02:21 PM   #16
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An aluminum trailer would be $weet, wish I could afford one.
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Old 04-04-2018, 09:05 PM   #17
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Thanks for the honesty guys.

I have a 25' c1fe with a 5.9L Cummins and an AT545.
I was hoping to tow our 94 Camaro once our conversion is done. You've all eased my nerves with real-world examples of it being done.

Especially the bus hauling a Jeep Cherokee in the back haha!

Awesome thread guys
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Old 04-04-2018, 09:42 PM   #18
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Hi Don , Mary and Spooky,


Do you have a Trans cooler?
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Old 04-04-2018, 09:45 PM   #19
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D,M and S Thanks

Joe AKA RB
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Old 04-04-2018, 09:47 PM   #20
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Me personally, not yet! Will be adding one though.
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