Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
 
Old 02-14-2018, 03:32 PM   #1
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Nov 2017
Location: Somewhere Pretty
Posts: 16
Best engine/transmission for the high country

In your humble or not humble opinion, what are some of the best engine / transmission combos for driving a big bus in the Rockies?
I want a beastly 40 footer that can tow a Subaru.
Thanks!
Asantana is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-14-2018, 03:38 PM   #2
Bus Geek
 
Tango's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: Houston, Texas
Posts: 8,462
Year: 1946
Coachwork: Chevrolet/Wayne
Chassis: 1- 1/2 ton
Engine: Cummins 4BT
Rated Cap: 15
Sounds like you need at least an 8.3, a full locking tranny and even a retarder or Jake Brake. Best place to look for Skoolies that come equipped for the high country is in Colorado.
Tango is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-14-2018, 03:40 PM   #3
Bus Nut
 
johnbloem1974's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2015
Location: Montana/Texas
Posts: 503
Year: 1998
Coachwork: Crown by Carpenter
Chassis: International 3800
Engine: DT 466e/MT 643!
Rated Cap: 16
1st choice would be either a DT466 or Cummins 8.3 mated with an MD3060 transmission. Next transmission setup would be an Allison 2000 series as it will also have overdrive. If you get an older setup, an MT643 is also a very capable transmission. Run away from an AT 545. Ask me how I know...

John

Sent from my SM-G950U using Tapatalk
johnbloem1974 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-14-2018, 04:37 PM   #4
Bus Geek
 
Join Date: May 2016
Location: Eastern WA
Posts: 5,315
Year: 2002
Coachwork: Bluebird
Chassis: All American RE (A3RE)
Engine: Cummins ISC (8.3)
Rated Cap: 72
I have to go with the crowd: 8.3 Cummins and an MD3060.

That said, I would not pass up a good DT466 or DT530 if coupled with an MD-3060.
PNW_Steve is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-14-2018, 04:58 PM   #5
Bus Geek
 
Join Date: May 2016
Location: Eastern WA
Posts: 5,315
Year: 2002
Coachwork: Bluebird
Chassis: All American RE (A3RE)
Engine: Cummins ISC (8.3)
Rated Cap: 72
Here is one for you to look at: 422 Auction Services - Mathies & Sons, Inc.

8.3 & 3060
PNW_Steve is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-16-2018, 02:23 PM   #6
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Nov 2017
Location: Somewhere Pretty
Posts: 16
Thanks! I found a DT 466 but with an AT 545. So, I'm kinda scared to ask, but how do you know?
Asantana is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-16-2018, 02:58 PM   #7
Bus Geek
 
Tango's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: Houston, Texas
Posts: 8,462
Year: 1946
Coachwork: Chevrolet/Wayne
Chassis: 1- 1/2 ton
Engine: Cummins 4BT
Rated Cap: 15
If you are going to frequent the High Country...or even a few steep hills...you do NOT want an AT 545.

No lockup will have it overheating (and dying)...no (as in zero) engine braking coming down...and with only four gears topping out at 1:1...lousy MPG's. Plus they are rapidly becoming very difficult to service. I could not give a working one away for free here in Houston...no one wanted it...even as a core.

Seriously...find a another trans.

And somewhere here on the forum is a thread describing how to tell the difference between a 545 and a 643. Other than that, you'll have to go online with some serial numbers. Allison can tell you exactly what it is.
Tango is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-16-2018, 03:02 PM   #8
Bus Geek
 
Robin97396's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2016
Location: Willamina, Oregon
Posts: 6,409
Coachwork: 97 Bluebird TC1000 5.9
I'm also seeing a lot of 466s with 545s. That doesn't sound like a logical combination. A weak trans with a strong motor? Doesn't make sense, yet there it is.
__________________
Robin
Nobody's Business
Robin97396 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-16-2018, 03:14 PM   #9
Bus Geek
 
Join Date: Sep 2017
Location: Owasso, OK
Posts: 2,627
Year: 1999
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: Saf-T-Liner MVP ER
Engine: Cummins 6CTA8.3 Mechanical MD3060
Rated Cap: 46 Coach Seats, 40 foot
Quote:
Originally Posted by Robin97396 View Post
I'm also seeing a lot of 466s with 545s. That doesn't sound like a logical combination. A weak trans with a strong motor? Doesn't make sense, yet there it is.
A lot of DT466 are shipped with 195hp. It is an engine that makes servicing easy, and easy rebuilds in a school bus barn, yet can also be partnered with the cheapest transmission.

I guess that's why they were spec'd.
__________________
Steve Bracken

Build Thread
Twigg is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-16-2018, 05:07 PM   #10
Bus Nut
 
Join Date: Feb 2018
Location: Tahoe
Posts: 513
Year: 1997
Coachwork: International
Chassis: 3000RE
Engine: T444E w/ MT643
Rated Cap: 84 pass, 40'
Quote:
Originally Posted by johnbloem1974 View Post
1st choice would be either a DT466 or Cummins 8.3 mated with an MD3060 transmission. Next transmission setup would be an Allison 2000 series as it will also have overdrive. If you get an older setup, an MT643 is also a very capable transmission. Run away from an AT 545. Ask me how I know...

John

Sent from my SM-G950U using Tapatalk
OK, tell me about the AT545 please? I don't live in the rockies but I will have to go over a mountain now and then. I don't mind going slow and pulling over and letting people pass, but is it worse than that? Mine is either an AT545 or 540 - guy is gonna check for me Monday but with a T444e engine. Dear God, I'm clueless!!!! In my defense, my son picked out the bus....
__________________
middle aged mom on a learning adventure
2martins is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-16-2018, 05:11 PM   #11
Bus Nut
 
Join Date: Feb 2018
Location: Tahoe
Posts: 513
Year: 1997
Coachwork: International
Chassis: 3000RE
Engine: T444E w/ MT643
Rated Cap: 84 pass, 40'
Quote:
Originally Posted by Robin97396 View Post
I'm also seeing a lot of 466s with 545s. That doesn't sound like a logical combination. A weak trans with a strong motor? Doesn't make sense, yet there it is.
is it better if I have a T444e with an A540? cause I think that's what I have. the guy is gonna check. if i do, how do I adjust my driving to compensate?
__________________
middle aged mom on a learning adventure
2martins is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-16-2018, 05:46 PM   #12
Bus Geek
 
Robin97396's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2016
Location: Willamina, Oregon
Posts: 6,409
Coachwork: 97 Bluebird TC1000 5.9
The trick is to treat the transmission nice. It's great if you have a trans temp guage so you can see if your trans temp is getting to high. Just don't drive it wide open while pulling hills. Be that slow guy, because you'll be able to tell when the trans starts not pulling correctly on hills. You'll be running at rpms that don't match your speed and the transmission will heat up quickly. Not emergency quickly, but if you've got miles more of hill to climb you should be watching the trans temp while keeping an eye out for sort of nice places to stop to cool down.

I pull some 5 and 6 mile long hills and rarely get the trans temp up at all, but those are 1st and 2nd gear hills uaually at about 2000 rpm. I'm beginning to get a little clunking between 1st and 2nd as well as turning excessive rpms on hills while on the highway. I'm settling this by looking for a 2000 series transmission before this tired 545 gives out. Actually I'm looking for just about any transmission that will fit that's not a 545. Climbing all these hills also means I've got to go back down the hill. This does not exactly freewheel on downhills but I can understand why it would feel that way in 5th gear at high speeds. In first and second I was getting a fair amount of compression resistance. Enough to greatly reduce the need for braking.

It's an old workhorse transmission with no bells or whistle. It's kind of a go and stop transmission, fairly well suited for a bus or delivery vehicles. They're pretty cheap to replace, or you can pay a bit more for a higher quality replacement like the 2000 that I'm after.

At this point I'm to far in to change buses because of a weak transmission.
__________________
Robin
Nobody's Business
Robin97396 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-17-2018, 08:50 AM   #13
Bus Nut
 
johnbloem1974's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2015
Location: Montana/Texas
Posts: 503
Year: 1998
Coachwork: Crown by Carpenter
Chassis: International 3800
Engine: DT 466e/MT 643!
Rated Cap: 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by 2martins View Post
OK, tell me about the AT545 please? I don't live in the rockies but I will have to go over a mountain now and then. I don't mind going slow and pulling over and letting people pass, but is it worse than that? Mine is either an AT545 or 540 - guy is gonna check for me Monday but with a T444e engine. Dear God, I'm clueless!!!! In my defense, my son picked out the bus....
The AT545 is a transmission with a non-lockup torque converter. Basically, there is no mechanical connection between motor and transmission, only a fluid coupling. This kind of setup is OK for short distances and lots of stop/start runs. It is not ideal for towing/highway/mountains. I go back and forth from Texas to Montana 2 times a year, with lots of stuff and towing a car behind the bus. Transmission blew in October and we had to replace it. I upgraded and went with an Allison MT643. This model has a lockup torque converter. Night and day difference on how it drives, especially up and down hills. Basically, It boils down to how you will be using your bus. If you are not doing any towing, an AT545 will be adequate and could give you years of faithful service, just make sure to not overheat it... hope this helps!

John

Sent from my SM-G950U using Tapatalk
johnbloem1974 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-17-2018, 09:43 AM   #14
New Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2018
Posts: 1
Best engine/transmission for the high country

I am also wanting similar to what OP posted. I came across an Ď04 Bluebird 40 footer that I really liked with a Cummins ISB 5.9L L6 turbo diesel engine. As for the transmission the auction only states that itís an automatic transmission. Iíll update when I get a reply back regarding the transmission model. Is this engine strong enough to pull a car and make it up hills?

I really appreciate everyone that contributes to this forum, you guys make this place a very valuable resource!


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
Alvarez is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-19-2018, 09:43 AM   #15
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Nov 2017
Location: Somewhere Pretty
Posts: 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by johnbloem1974 View Post
1st choice would be either a DT466 or Cummins 8.3 mated with an MD3060 transmission. Next transmission setup would be an Allison 2000 series as it will also have overdrive. If you get an older setup, an MT643 is also a very capable transmission. Run away from an AT 545. Ask me how I know...

John

Sent from my SM-G950U using Tapatalk
Thank you! Do you think a Cat 3126 paired with an Alison 2000 would do the trick?
Asantana is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-19-2018, 12:44 PM   #16
Bus Nut
 
johnbloem1974's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2015
Location: Montana/Texas
Posts: 503
Year: 1998
Coachwork: Crown by Carpenter
Chassis: International 3800
Engine: DT 466e/MT 643!
Rated Cap: 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by Asantana View Post
Thank you! Do you think a Cat 3126 paired with an Alison 2000 would do the trick?
Don't know enough about the Cat engine to make a judgement, but that is definitely a good setup transmission-wise...

Sent from my SM-G950U using Tapatalk
johnbloem1974 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-19-2018, 01:03 PM   #17
Bus Geek
 
Tango's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: Houston, Texas
Posts: 8,462
Year: 1946
Coachwork: Chevrolet/Wayne
Chassis: 1- 1/2 ton
Engine: Cummins 4BT
Rated Cap: 15
Cats are fine...until they aren't. Then they get really expensive.
Tango is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-19-2018, 02:53 PM   #18
Bus Geek
 
Join Date: May 2016
Location: Eastern WA
Posts: 5,315
Year: 2002
Coachwork: Bluebird
Chassis: All American RE (A3RE)
Engine: Cummins ISC (8.3)
Rated Cap: 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by Alvarez View Post
I am also wanting similar to what OP posted. I came across an Ď04 Bluebird 40 footer that I really liked with a Cummins ISB 5.9L L6 turbo diesel engine. As for the transmission the auction only states that itís an automatic transmission. Iíll update when I get a reply back regarding the transmission model. Is this engine strong enough to pull a car and make it up hills?

I really appreciate everyone that contributes to this forum, you guys make this place a very valuable resource!


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
5.9 in a 40' bus is not going to be a highway screamer. If you really want good highway performance and some towing capacity you are better served sticking with the 8.3 or DT466/530 and an overdrive transmission. Best transmission choices would be the md3060 or the 2000 Series.

Worth mentioning: A few members here with md3060 equipped Thomas buses have had success getting 6th gear unlocked. Those of us who have Bluebird's have not been as fortunate and have 5 forward gears and a single overdrive.
PNW_Steve is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-19-2018, 03:38 PM   #19
Bus Nut
 
Join Date: Feb 2015
Location: Cincinnati, Ohio
Posts: 859
Year: 2000
Coachwork: Blue Bird
Chassis: International
Engine: TE 444
Rated Cap: 12
There are several of these on public surplus, pretty much what you are looking for
https://www.publicsurplus.com/sms/au...ew?auc=2024698
Kubla is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-19-2018, 03:54 PM   #20
Bus Geek
 
Join Date: May 2016
Location: Eastern WA
Posts: 5,315
Year: 2002
Coachwork: Bluebird
Chassis: All American RE (A3RE)
Engine: Cummins ISC (8.3)
Rated Cap: 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kubla View Post
There are several of these on public surplus, pretty much what you are looking for
https://www.publicsurplus.com/sms/au...ew?auc=2024698
Nice drivetrane. I would be concerned about rust on those. Definitely want to have a look at them before bidding.
PNW_Steve is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Tags
engine, transmission

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


» Featured Campgrounds

Reviews provided by

Powered by vBadvanced CMPS v3.2.3

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 05:27 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 4
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
×