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Old 09-14-2007, 02:06 AM   #1
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What's the best engine trans combo?

If you were looking for a donor with diesel and auto, what would you get? The most reliable, gets the best mileage, makes the best power (maybe contradictory), etc.

I lean towards a 5.9/AT545, but that's only because I'm somewhat familiar with those two brands. I know nothing of Cats, Detriots, Internationals, etc.
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Old 09-14-2007, 02:25 AM   #2
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Re: What's the best engine trans combo?

I don't know that I would say it's the best by any means, but I have ZERO complaints about my 6.6 and AT545. I think a 5.9 might be better just because of the commonality thanks to Dodge. The holy grail seems to be a DT466 and MT643.

If you're looking to swap I think a 6BT out of a Dodge is going to be your best bet. It's up to you to find the tranny then. If you could find a 5.9 backed by either an NV4500 or an NV5600 ($$$) you would REALLY be my envy and I think both are rated plenty high enough load-wise for use in a skoolie.
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Old 09-14-2007, 11:30 AM   #3
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Re: What's the best engine trans combo?

i am a convert when it comes to the 5.9. I'd say that the 5.9 cummins motor and a mt643 or even better a 10 speed manual would be the way to go.

the advantage of the 10 speed would be that you could put a rear end that was so conservative the engine couldn't even pull the vehicle down the road in high gear. You could use high gear while going downhill for added speed to help you get up the other side. That's what i would like to do.
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Old 09-14-2007, 07:28 PM   #4
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Re: What's the best engine trans combo?

Cool. Why would you say that DT466 and MT643 is the holy grail? (I know nothing about this stuff)
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Old 09-14-2007, 08:10 PM   #5
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Re: What's the best engine trans combo?

The DT466 is a big engine. It is capable of producing incredible power numbers so in a skoolie setting where it is detuned a bit you will see an incredible amount of life. It also has that capability of making all that power. They have been in use since about the time Jesus roamed the Earth so finding parts and competent mechanics for them is not hard.

The MT643 is about the best automatic transmission you're going to find for a skoolie. They are rated for far greater weights than we will ever see. They also have a lockup torque converter in third and fourth gear leading to far greater mileage and speed potential than an AT545. In the coming years I think we will start to see more skoolies with the MD3060, 2000 Series, etc. These are even better transmissions as they have more gears and electronics to control them, but will be more expensive to maintain. As of right now they are found in buses that tend to be too expensive to be seen on the secondhand market.
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Old 09-15-2007, 09:02 AM   #6
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Re: What's the best engine trans combo?

Holy Grail: DT466 with either a Spicer 5-speed or an Eaton-Fuller Synchro-6 manual transmission.
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Old 10-09-2007, 01:01 PM   #7
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Re: What's the best engine trans combo?

I like this thread.
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Old 10-09-2007, 01:47 PM   #8
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Re: What's the best engine trans combo?

the engine is a ford/new holland 6.6 liter brazilian 6 cylinder diesel. I think they all came with turbo, some with aftercoolers.

@ 170 hp you probably don't have the intercooler. It's a bulletproof motor, but a bit shy on power. However, you can turn up the hp for free just by turning a screw.

I"m not a trans expert, but it looks like an allison automatic. Most likely an AT545 although i do not know the physical differences in appearance between that and the MT643.

I had that motor and an at545 trans in a 72 pass bus with 5.56 rear end. top speed was about 57 mph and hill climbing was beyond painful! However turning up the govenor and the fuel delivery rate i'm sure would help tremendously. Mileage was always good for me. About 8.5 mpg all the time. Had one or two occasions over 10 mpg.
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Old 10-09-2007, 04:46 PM   #9
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Re: What's the best engine trans combo?

Just the opposite, my friend. I know, it's not intuitive, but the higher the ratio numerically the lower the gear ratio is considered.

For example...a 1:1 ratio would simply mean that 1 turn of the driveshaft (and engine) would equate to 1 turn of the wheels. A 2:1 ratio would mean that it would take two turns of the driveshaft and engine to make the wheels go around once. You would have essentially doubled your available torque, but cost yourself half the top speed.

A 4.56 rear such as mine is going to have more jump off the line and a little more pulling power than an identical bus if it had a 4.11 ratio. My gear ratio is lower (numerically higher, remember). This comes at the expense of top speed and mileage.

By the way, that transmission is in fact an AT545.

As far as having to tromp on it to go anywhere...well...I think that's kind of par for the course with a bus. Once mine gets up to speed I can let off, it's not like a little Honda Civic where a gentle application of the throttle will get you a big variance in speed. I've heard many bus drivers say they have two "throttle" positions.....closed and wide open. There is no real middle ground.

If you're still really concerned about power I might suggest a psychiatric treatment that has worked for me. Spend a few years driving a stock geared 22re powered Toyota pickup with 31 inch or taller tires. Pretty soon that bus is going to feel like it scoots just fine.
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Old 10-09-2007, 08:35 PM   #10
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Re: What's the best engine trans combo?

i had that motor in my old bus...not in the current one, and i'm planning to purchse mac's 60 foot articulating bus as soon as mine sells on ebay.

anyhow, back to the question at hand.

your gears should get you a little faster than my old bus, assuming the motor has the power to move the ol girl. With your gears, you would get slighly higher top end speed, and perhaps slightly better fuel economy at the cost of not quite as much pulling power for those hills.

I had an alluminum stick that fit nicely between the dash and the gas pedal to keep her all the way to the floor. the mechanic at the bus garage where i bought it said that the bus drivers had that thing to the floor it's entire life. It has about 300K miles when i got rid of it and for all i know is still running today.

these motors are knows for their reliablitly, but when they needs parts, they are very pricy, and can be a little difficult to find. the guy at autozone won't be able to find parts for a 6.6 liter 6 cylinder ford motor.
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