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Old 11-14-2016, 09:40 AM   #1
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Allison 2000/3000 Unlocking 6th gear?

Mornin' Everyone,

I just bought a Bluebird with an MD3060 that is set up as a 5 speed. I have done my research and come to the conclusion that no Allison dealer is going to unlock it for me.

I did a bit of poking around and found an "evaluation" version of the Allison software.

If I was in possession of a working version of the Allison service tool do we have anyone here that is adept in its use?

Just because I have scrubs and a scalpel does not make me a brain surgeon.....

I would be not be willing to make programming changes without some qualified direction.

While typing this I had a thought. If I can get a version working on an inexpensive laptop and picked up the interface cable, I could ship it, on loan, to board members in need to do any programming that they needed.

What do you all think?

S.
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Old 11-14-2016, 10:06 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PNW_Steve View Post
Mornin' Everyone,

I just bought a Bluebird with an MD3060 that is set up as a 5 speed. I have done my research and come to the conclusion that no Allison dealer is going to unlock it for me.
PCS got in touch with Allison Transmissions, explained what he wanted and how he was using the same transmission in his bus, and got a letter from the the manufacturer authorizing 6th gear's unlocking.

That's the only way, AFAIK, that an Allison dealer will unlock 6th on a bus
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Old 11-14-2016, 10:19 AM   #3
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im thinking an IHC dealer can do it too.. I know they can and do work on allison.. at least the Rush truck center in Columbus Ohio does Navistar and allison.. perhaps they are a dealer for both... I dot know if Rush in every city is the navistar and allison dealer or not..

ie been in contact with rush in columbs talking about arious IHC software pieces / subscriptions and the possibility of Horsepower re-rating on the Navistar 'E' engines...

-Christopher
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Old 11-14-2016, 02:56 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scooternj View Post
PCS got in touch with Allison Transmissions, explained what he wanted and how he was using the same transmission in his bus, and got a letter from the the manufacturer authorizing 6th gear's unlocking.

That's the only way, AFAIK, that an Allison dealer will unlock 6th on a bus
Interesting...

I have come across a couple of accounts of folks who had tried the same and were told no. I guess that there is still hope.

Maybe we can get PCS to share his experience and maybe give us some tips on successfully navigating this process.
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Old 11-14-2016, 03:15 PM   #5
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Over on the medium duty truck side of world, I've read folks were able to get 6th gear added by using the wrong VIN (of a truck with a six speed) and having the trans reflashed.

If there's a version of your bus/powertrain that has 6 speeds, that might be possible. Does require someone at a dealer willing to overlook the real VIN, but that doesn't seem too hard.

Google "6 speed update for Chevrolet C4500" or something like that to find out more.
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Old 11-14-2016, 04:25 PM   #6
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Our local diesel shop will reprogram Allison modules for $500... just to get them to work with an exhaust retarder. I didn't bother asking them about the sixth gear.
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Old 11-14-2016, 04:44 PM   #7
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Search the forum for member "Porkchop sandwich". He successfully had his done--and gives a full rundown of what it took.
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Old 11-14-2016, 04:55 PM   #8
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Search the forum for member "Porkchop sandwich". He successfully had his done--and gives a full rundown of what it took.
Ummm...... not exactly. His actual name is "porkchopsandwiches". I'm still looking for the post.

EDIT: Found it!
http://www.skoolie.net/forums/f11/sm...html#post86821
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Old 11-15-2016, 12:11 AM   #9
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The "evaluation" software you found is probably only for diagnostics. I got neck-deep into an interface cable, software, etc and ultimately learned Allison keeps the transmission flashes real close. From what I could tell, the calibrations are produced at Allison specifically for each transmission and will install only on that transmission. Further, it seemed that access to the software for doing the programming required a live internet connection and successful login with Allison. The calibration could be downloaded to the local computer but would expire within a week... The details are growing fuzzy now, but that's roughly what I recall.

I have yet to figure out how to penetrate the wall of OEM approval. Seems to me that there must be some point at which we declare that the vehicle I have is not the vehicle the OEM produced, and it no longer makes any sense to consult them about it at all. I haven't tried pursuing that line with my local Allison shop yet.. something like "it was produced with a powertrain and running gear that came together in a Blue Bird factory, but there's really not much Blue Bird left in it. Let's say I'm the manufacturer now."

Otherwise, do I really have to go through the formality of physically swapping the trans for a new or reman??
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Old 11-15-2016, 01:42 AM   #10
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This is a fun thread
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Old 11-15-2016, 04:39 AM   #11
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So I have to wonder if a straight Allison shop can just do it.. how do places like CAC make custom programs? Those guys will build me a custom 1000 to add to a bus that never was built..

I can have them program it to the specs required to run my custom application.

Tango had one made by a shop for his custom project. The Allison dealers in both cases are building the program and opening however many gears you want.

Back to OEM though, IHC has a similar process for HP upgrades to engines. Most of the E engines can be upgraded 20 or more horsepower with just a reflash. IHC has a checklist that must be followed for every vin before it can be done.

Because the USA society loves to sue... the checklist may require transmission upgrades suspension or brake upgrades etc as more HP could result in deemed unsafe conditions to the vehicle or the occupants.

My guess is gears are deemed to result in higher speeds the bus isn't designed for.. no not real world but in their minds.. i.e. 6 gear means driveshaft rpm exceeds anything ever tested so it's a unknown hazard..

Christopher
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Old 11-15-2016, 06:46 AM   #12
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The top speed limits for a school bus could also be dictated by the insurance industry.
When a school district insures their busses, there might be different rates depending on the bus's daily use pattern.
i.e. a route bus with an average mph of 15
versus a route bus with an average of 25mph could be different yearly rates.
An activity bus that is expected to be on the interstate on a regular basis might be the highest rate in the school fleet.
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Old 11-15-2016, 07:38 AM   #13
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and the liability of a manufacturer in an accident.. likely nill but...

take a scenerio..
i buy a bus with an MD3060 and get 6th gear enabled then decide to sell it before I even take the seats out.

someone buys it, drives it through a state where the speed limit is 75... car cuts them off on the freeway / puls on fro mthe shoulder without looking..

driver of the bus doesnt stop in time and smacks the car..
bus driver is cleared because the accident fault is the car driver..

determined that bus was running 75 in a 75 zone.. all legal..

car driver is whiney and sues everyone they can think of including thomas..(why the hell was a school bus doing 75!)

comes out that thomas authorized the transmission to be altered raising the top speed from 65 to 80 on the bus...

lawyers go through paperwork and realize if bus was only going 65 that the accident wouldve been avoided...

hmmm far fetched? YES!! but thats how Legal departments work in business....

-Christopher
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Old 11-15-2016, 08:49 AM   #14
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The information I was given regarding top gearing in skoolies was that speed was limited in the tranny based on the speed rating of tires as well as what the districts set as safety standards. And yes...there are now quite a lot of people besides Allison shops that are now re-flashing them to open sixth gear.
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Old 11-15-2016, 12:22 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by family wagon View Post
The "evaluation" software you found is probably only for diagnostics. I got neck-deep into an interface cable, software, etc and ultimately learned Allison keeps the transmission flashes real close. From what I could tell, the calibrations are produced at Allison specifically for each transmission and will install only on that transmission. Further, it seemed that access to the software for doing the programming required a live internet connection and successful login with Allison. The calibration could be downloaded to the local computer but would expire within a week... The details are growing fuzzy now, but that's roughly what I recall.

I have yet to figure out how to penetrate the wall of OEM approval. Seems to me that there must be some point at which we declare that the vehicle I have is not the vehicle the OEM produced, and it no longer makes any sense to consult them about it at all. I haven't tried pursuing that line with my local Allison shop yet.. something like "it was produced with a powertrain and running gear that came together in a Blue Bird factory, but there's really not much Blue Bird left in it. Let's say I'm the manufacturer now."

Otherwise, do I really have to go through the formality of physically swapping the trans for a new or reman??

It is the full application. The gent that has it explained to me that for it tu run properly you have to change the date on the laptop to a particular date before launching the application or it won't work.

"Evaluation" may not have been the most accurate description.

That said. It sounds like looking deeper into the Allison dealer option is a more realistic approach.

I wonder what approach would have the best chance of success getting an approval letter from Bluebird would be?
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Old 11-15-2016, 12:53 PM   #16
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What I mean to say is that the pirated (nor the legitimate) Allison DOC software, in so far as I could determine, does not contain the components for flashing a calibration to the tranny. I personally played with an older version.. 9 or 12, maybe.. There just wasn't a dialog anywhere to simply enable 6th gear. It's a whole separate PC application that flashes the calibrations. I read some training document from Allison that explained it. Of course I don't recall now where I dug it up, so it's entirely reasonable for anybody to take my statement as unsubstantiated hear-say. It also appeared to me that the calibration reflash software does not provide the ability to edit the calibration and that Allison shops do not produce the calibration file, but rather they request and download it ready-to-flash from engineers or technicians or whatever at Allison. It's composed on a somewhat application-specific basis according to the desired shift points going up and down into each gear and so on -- it could (would?) vary depending on engine performance curves, vehicle weight, anticipated driving profile, etc.

But with all that said, the point is well-made that a person can apparently easily have a new transmission prepared to his own specs for a custom application. Several of our members have done it. My question then is this: what do I have to do to my bus so that it is viewed as one of these custom jobs where everybody is willing to configure the equipment just the way I want it? Do I have to get a state-issued "franken-car" VIN to replace the OEM VIN? Do I have to buy a new transmission even though the original still serves fine? Can I simply assert "it's custom now?" I'd love to see somebody find a favorable answer for this question. Though porkchopsandwiches' experience with Thomas was positive, my own experience with Blue Bird is that any kind of "do whatever you want" authorization letter is just not going to come out of their offices. I do believe there has to be another way; I just haven't found it.

I even considered building snooping hardware to capture the exchange on the data bus, then contrive some pretense under which to get the calibration updated on a truck already equipped with six speeds, then figure out how to modify and replay the capture against my own vehicle to make it a clone of the other one. That sounds like an awful lot of work though. Do you want to join the effort, cadillackid? This kind of reverse-engineering work is right up your alley!
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Old 11-17-2016, 10:46 AM   #17
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Quote:
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And yes...there are now quite a lot of people besides Allison shops that are now re-flashing them to open sixth gear.
If anyone knows of shops that are doing this please let us know?

The more I look at RPM/Speed on this Bluebird with 5.38 gears,11R22.5s and a .75 5th gear the more I think that 6th gear is going to be needful.

1800 RPM will get me 56mph. Governed at 2200 RPM I will have a top speed of 69 MPH. Top speed of 69 is plenty for me but I definitely don't want to run 600 miles down the Interstate wound up to 2200 RPM.

With 6th opened up I can get that same 69 MPH at 1875 RPM.
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Old 11-17-2016, 11:10 AM   #18
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see if possibly a Rush truck center can do it if you have one near you.. I know most of the ones ive run into have the capability to diagnose and repair and update allisons..
also tak to the folks at Cummins Allision Conversions.. they are on outfit in florida, but maybe you can send them your TCM and have it flashed and sent back?

I dont remember the outfit Tango used for his tranny, but they seemed reputable.. im wondering somehow if you convince someone this is a TCM for a custom hotrod project that they would flash it for you...
-Christopher
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Old 11-17-2016, 02:40 PM   #19
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But, will they do it without a letter from bus manufacturer authorizing it?

There is a Rush shop in Smyrna TN (about 40 minutes from me).... would be willing to make the trip out there IF they will do it, and it doesn't cost too much. I get 65mph at 2100, would like to lower the revs while keeping the speed.

(I'm not even sure if my tranny has a 6th gear in it or not, I can't find anything identifying what it is.... I think it's an Allison 2000 series but the data plate is faded and the stamped-in numbers don't tell me anything, other than there is a "2000" stamped in the upper left corner that might indicate that it's a 2000 tranny. None of the other numbers mean anything to me.

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Old 11-17-2016, 02:54 PM   #20
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thats why i was wondering if you just told them you have a TCM that needs flashed for 6 gears for a completerly custom project... the minute they see a school bus it will be same ole same ole... but if they can flash a TCM on a bench......
- Christopher
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