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Old 06-10-2016, 02:15 PM   #1
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: May 2016
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Coachwork: AmTran
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Engine: DT530
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Who owns an AmTran RE?

I have a line on a 40' with a DT530 engine. From what I understand this a very good motor. I have been looking exclusively at Thomas and Bluebird because I don't think I'd like dealing with the big triangular air handler intrusions into the cabin in the back that you find on all the AmTrans. I'm trying to get every inch of space I can out of the interior and those things just seem like they will make laying out the rear sleeping quarters less space efficient (I'm planning on a double or queen back there)

So, who has one and have you found it a pain or no big deal?
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Old 06-10-2016, 02:26 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by Bus Driver View Post
I have a line on a 40' with a DT530 engine. From what I understand this a very good motor. I have been looking exclusively at Thomas and Bluebird because I don't think I'd like dealing with the big triangular air handler intrusions into the cabin in the back that you find on all the AmTrans. I'm trying to get every inch of space I can out of the interior and those things just seem like they will make laying out the rear sleeping quarters less space efficient (I'm planning on a double or queen back there)

So, who has one and have you found it a pain or no big deal?
I've got one, and I never felt any problem with them; the offset, however, makes it rather flaky. It also depends on how high you're making your aft sleeping quarters. I'm not planning on going above seat level.
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Old 06-10-2016, 03:51 PM   #3
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The DT530 is sort of the holy grail of school bus engines.

It has more HP and torque than any other engine that has been put in a school bus since Crown with the big cam Cummins went out of business in 1991.

As far as the air intakes are concerned, you can modify those to your heart's content. They were only made that way to keep them from being a problem with the kids. Blue Bird and Thomas just used round pipe covered with vinyl covered padding. You could very easily go to snorkels going outside the bus and then up.

Some of it might have to stay since some of it might be piping fresh air to the radiator. But again, you could do some modifications to minimize their intrusion as long as you don't reduce the air flow to either the engine or cooling.
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Old 06-10-2016, 05:00 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Bus Driver View Post
I have a line on a 40' with a DT530 engine. From what I understand this a very good motor. I have been looking exclusively at Thomas and Bluebird because I don't think I'd like dealing with the big triangular air handler intrusions into the cabin in the back that you find on all the AmTrans. I'm trying to get every inch of space I can out of the interior and those things just seem like they will make laying out the rear sleeping quarters less space efficient (I'm planning on a double or queen back there)

So, who has one and have you found it a pain or no big deal?
If you don't buy it, hook us up with the info.
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Old 06-10-2016, 05:09 PM   #5
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: May 2016
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If you don't buy it, hook us up with the info.

Haha! Nice. I'm really leaning toward getting it. Got the guy talked down to $7500. I never heard of the engine until I emailed Greg down at Floridachurchbus.com. He seems to have a good rep around the webs. I was looking for a DT466 or Cummins 8.3. He had nothing good to say about the 466, but couldn't say enough good things about the DT530.

He's got one coming in that has AC. He wants $15-20k for it depending on how much he fixes it up for sale. Too much for me but got me taking a second look at other AmTrans.

Do the Thomases and Bluebirds really have covered piping? In all the pics I've seen it looks like there is nothing there at all rising above the height of the engine cover.
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Old 06-10-2016, 07:10 PM   #6
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Haha! Nice. I'm really leaning toward getting it. Got the guy talked down to $7500. I never heard of the engine until I emailed Greg down at Floridachurchbus.com. He seems to have a good rep around the webs. I was looking for a DT466 or Cummins 8.3. He had nothing good to say about the 466, but couldn't say enough good things about the DT530.

He's got one coming in that has AC. He wants $15-20k for it depending on how much he fixes it up for sale. Too much for me but got me taking a second look at other AmTrans.

Do the Thomases and Bluebirds really have covered piping? In all the pics I've seen it looks like there is nothing there at all rising above the height of the engine cover.
Anyone that doesn't like the 466 is crazy. Its just the smaller brother of the 530. Not very many school buses out there with the 530, so lots of us have 466's and almost everyone who has one is pretty satisfied I think.
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Old 06-10-2016, 07:45 PM   #7
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: May 2016
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Yeah, I was surprised by his comments as I've seen nothing but positive press elsewhere. He says he's had to rebuild two already this year. But what do I know, I'm just a noob 😋.

I think I have the boss (wife) on board so I may pull the trigger nex week. I think $7,500 for year 2000, 84 pax, DT530, High roof, with underbelly storage is a good deal. Someone please tell me if I'm wrong.

I think this guy had two available, so once I get mine secured I'll share where I found it. 😉
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Old 06-10-2016, 11:19 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bus Driver View Post
Yeah, I was surprised by his comments as I've seen nothing but positive press elsewhere. He says he's had to rebuild two already this year. But what do I know, I'm just a noob 😋.

I think I have the boss (wife) on board so I may pull the trigger nex week. I think $7,500 for year 2000, 84 pax, DT530, High roof, with underbelly storage is a good deal. Someone please tell me if I'm wrong.

I think this guy had two available, so once I get mine secured I'll share where I found it. 😉
I've seen folks pay as much or more for much lesser buses.
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Old 06-11-2016, 12:39 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bus Driver View Post
Yeah, I was surprised by his comments as I've seen nothing but positive press elsewhere. He says he's had to rebuild two already this year. But what do I know, I'm just a noob ��.

I think I have the boss (wife) on board so I may pull the trigger nex week. I think $7,500 for year 2000, 84 pax, DT530, High roof, with underbelly storage is a good deal. Someone please tell me if I'm wrong.

I think this guy had two available, so once I get mine secured I'll share where I found it. ��
Yeah, I started out getting bad reviews on an engine model I was looking at but you also have to consider the source... Mechanics by their very nature only see the problem engines and if they see two or three of the same model they start to assume that it's symptomatic of the entire line.

Going back to the angular intake intrusions, once you look at how little is actually contained therein I think you'll be okay with modifying them. Understand also that the body is often manufactured to accommodate a host of different options and there may have been another engine that needed a bigger intake stack or something, or they were just being over-generous since that area isn't really all that useful in a school bus.

Regarding with versus without factory AC, I think the general consensus is usually that it's not worth a premium price in our community. At 15+ years old it probably doesn't work or will need more $$ put into it than the cost to replace it... Plus it's usually intrusive in the interior and only operates off the engine since its compressor is mounted on the engine whereas for cooling when parked you'd need a separate RTU anyways. Just a thought.

As for your seller, I'll bet I can guess where you're planning to buy from but I won't tell ... Man, once you get into this the community seems to get pretty small pretty quickly!
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Old 06-14-2016, 03:01 PM   #10
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Join Date: May 2016
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Engine: DT530
Rated Cap: 84
Well, I put a deposit on the bus yesterday. It is far, far away and I can't personally inspect it but I'm getting an oil and coolant analysis done. I remember reading somewhere that this is a good, cheap insurance policy. I'm, crossing my fingers and hoping that everything looks good!
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