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Old 04-22-2013, 11:03 PM   #11
Bus Geek
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Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: Houston, Texas
Posts: 7,994
Year: 1946
Coachwork: Chevrolet/Wayne
Chassis: 1- 1/2 ton
Engine: Cummins 4BT
Rated Cap: 15
Re: 1954 Chevy

Hey Choc --- below is one of the calculators I used. It was in total agreement with the fifteen page readout I got from Allison as far as tire size, & drive ratios.

My 4BtAA came out of a Chevy P30 van (probably a Frito Lay or UPS truck) on Ebay and included a 545 Allison, the intercooler, wastegate turbo, fluid engine mounts and the complete package for power steering. I probably paid too much given that I didn't want the tranny, but overall was OK with the deal. Had it gone through by Diesel Specialists near Houston who are a Cummins outsource shop here and then had them bolt up the Allison MH2200. The 5.9s are great engines but as you noted quite a bit bigger (same motors with 2 cylinders difference). The 4BT weighs in at 750 pounds while the obviously larger 6BT is about a thousand and two cylinders longer. Just do the power calcs based on what your anticipated final weight might be and you should have a basis for choosing which to go with. As a side note...the 6BT's are quite a bit cheaper to buy due to a run on the fours. The all mechanical 4BT's are getting harder to find (and more expensive) as a result of demand but there are still a lot of good motors out there and since nearly all the parts are interchangeable between the 4's & 6's, they are still very cheap & easy to come by and maintain. Whatever else you do...look into the "KDP" ("Killer Dowel Pin") status on any Cummins engine. It is a little gasket locating pin in the front cover that can back out and totally trash the timing gears and possibly the whole engine. Cummins makes a bolt on tab or you can "peen" the sucker in place (what I did) to keep it from wiggling loose and causing problems.

Either engine is an excellent choice and once you do a little homework on the specifics (weight, speed/gearing/tire size, etc.), you should be able to make a good call.

Best of luck bud. Just let me know if I can add anything else.
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Old 05-20-2013, 03:32 PM   #12
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Join Date: Feb 2013
Location: Centerville, Utah
Posts: 8
Year: 1954
Coachwork: Superior
Chassis: Chevy 4502
Engine: TBD (hopefully a cummins)
Re: 1954 Chevy

Tango - Thanks for all the info. I have been researching like crazy... I'd love to go with a 4BT since it is very close in weight to the original engine of the bus. A 6BT would also be great for the extra power and towing capacity, since I'll likely tow a small car behind for "running into town"... My wife and I plan to make the bus our retirement and travel the nation being camp hosts and just living like nomads. My only concern is whether the 6BT will fit, and it is about 250 lbs heavier... We'll see.

I had some time to tinker with google sketchup... I did a total hack job, but it's good enough for me and the women I date ;)

A few things to note... I did this in about 15 min, it's not totally proportional, or exceptionally pretty. It does accurately represent the size of my bus and the components which are possible.

The two slabs in the "back" (aka, passengers side) are bunk buds. The top bunk will be hinged so that it will drop down and be a bench seat while traveling or a couch for chilling and reading a book. I will put 2 ARB refrigerators (1 fridge and 1 freezer) and a storage box of some kind underneath the bottom bunk on heavy duty slides of some kind.

The table will probably be made of aluminum and will basically be a shallow box. The cooktop will be down inside the box, and the lid will open toward the front and back of the bus to reveal the cooktop and provide a workspace on either side of it. When parked/camping, the captains chair will swivel around to be seated at the table.

The big wood unit in the back is the "master bedroom", which is a full size (double) bed with shelving at the head and floor at the foot (for kicking off your shoes). So obviously there would be a door (probably a split pocket door) to enter. There is also a back door to the bus, I will probably build a 2' - 3' back patio that steps down a lot more gracefully. SO it will be a master bedroom with balcony... spoiled .

There will be a fair amount of overhead cabinets.

There are many other commodities which I'm planning that weren't worth sketching... outdoor shower head, custom onboard water heater with temp sensor and pump (along the longs of the onboard showers jeepers use), A/C, 24V ([12v x 2] x 2) battery bank with solar panel charging system. There are others, I don't remember them all at the moment.

Also, the toilet closet will be partially over a wheel hump, so it will likely be up on a platform a bit. Which could make it more comfortable to use, but maybe I'll put some stirrups in there to aid in "assuming the position"...

Here are a couple of the parts I'm planning to use...

Stainless steel deep sink

ARB 12/24/110V fridge/freezer

stainless steel cooktop

soap dispenser mounted on wall next to sink

paper towel dispenser mounted by sink

Floor plan:

Edit: BTW, if anyone has suggestions/criticisms, I'd LOVE to hear them. I like this floor plan a lot, but I'm still tweaking/refining it. I'd live to find a way to incorporate this, but I'm not sure where/how:
Camp Chef Camping Range
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Old 05-21-2013, 12:39 PM   #13
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Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: Houston, Texas
Posts: 7,994
Year: 1946
Coachwork: Chevrolet/Wayne
Chassis: 1- 1/2 ton
Engine: Cummins 4BT
Rated Cap: 15
Re: 1954 Chevy

Hey Choc --- been away for a couple of weeks and just catching up. Layout looks great but personally, I'd opt for a slightly smaller surface mounted sink. A built-in lower cabinet enclosure would make for much more usable storage space. I hate the skimpy, shallow "RV" sinks myself and looked around till I found an 8" deep stainless unit at a salvage yard. And to take even better advantage of any under counter space, check out the waterless traps by Hepvo. Great space savers for any drain since they don't need to be hanging down in the usual "P" shape.
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Old 05-21-2013, 12:50 PM   #14
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Join Date: Mar 2013
Location: Landlocked... for now.
Posts: 285
Re: 1954 Chevy

Originally Posted by chocolatetoothpaste
Whoa, dude, I've got the same three-burner stovetop bookmarked that you do! Creepy, in a fun sorta way. Only difference is instead of the Outdoor Camp Stove (which looks AWESOME, by the way) is I'm setting a good quality Toaster Oven under my stovetop (I don't cook in it very often, unless I'm actively baking something, because, hey, I got the grill and the crockpot!).

I like your floorplan, though. I enjoy the look of minimalism (now if only I could implement it! ).

Dog is my copilot. As I have no dog, I have no flight plan.

"If all porkchops were perfect, we wouldn't have hotdogs!" -Steven Universe
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Old 05-21-2013, 10:17 PM   #15
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Join Date: May 2010
Location: Farmington Hills, Mi (Detroit area)
Posts: 1,734
Year: 2000
Coachwork: Eldorado Aerotech 24'
Chassis: Ford E-450 Cutaway Bus
Engine: 7.3L Powerstroke
Rated Cap: 19
Re: 1954 Chevy

Check out the Dometic CF-50ac powered cooler at It's a bit larger, about $200 cheaper and uses the same Danfoss cooling unit. Dometic also has smaller coolboxes if you want a size similar to the one you linked to.
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