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Old 04-14-2010, 08:31 PM   #1
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Re: Best engine/trans for an mid-size bus in Colorado?

I'm just over the boarder to the East. I'm pretty sure that my bus will struggle when we make a trip to Colorado or Wyoming. If I were to do it all over again (heck, we've only just begun!!!), I'd certainly want a turbo. DT466 would be #1 choice, followed by a 5.9L Cummins, then maybe a 6.6L Ford-New Holland...or maybe the 7.8L Ford New Holland. The MT Allison is definitely the way to go. However, I've seen a lot of Colorado buses with driveline retarders...I guess that helps with braking and such. I haven't seen them much outside of Colorado. I don't have an experience with a manual in a bus. Some of our local school district buses have been having issues with T444 motors. One of them needs the injection system replaced and another one was somehow getting diesel and coolant mixed together (I think that was the issue). But that's two with issues out of 6 or 7 more that run fine.

One of the buses that I drive for the District has a DT408 in it. I like it pretty well.

Rear gears would be something to consider looking at too. The lower the gears, the higher top end speed, but it'll take forever getting up the mountains. Hope I've been helpful.

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Old 04-14-2010, 11:10 PM   #2
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Re: Best engine/trans for an mid-size bus in Colorado?

Get something with a turbo, a retarder (you can find them on AT545's, but more commonly on MT643's) or a manual transmission, and air brakes. Going up isn't what I would be worried about..it's going down that I think could be problematic.
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Old 04-16-2010, 03:47 PM   #3
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A really good diesel engine would be...

A Cummins that makes about 425HP, 8speed Allison trans, road economy of about 15 miles per gallon, dual turbos, water alcohol or nitros oxide, and every tank fill up is an automatic 50% fleet discount. The highways will always be level or slightly down hill. The temps would be in the low 70's with just an early morning
shower to remove the dust and clean the air. Buses are the most fun when driving. Every fuel stop, folks say what is that bus.?? Are there more? Frank
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Old 05-09-2010, 11:43 PM   #4
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Re: Best engine/trans for an mid-size bus in Colorado?

[quote=Iceni John]
Quote:
Originally Posted by "the_experience03":3ak266ug
Get something with a turbo, a retarder (you can find them on AT545's, but more commonly on MT643's) or a manual transmission, and air brakes. Going up isn't what I would be worried about..it's going down that I think could be problematic.
For this exact reason I would NOT want a transmission retarder! Long mountain descents could easily overheat your transmission fluid if you use a transmission retarder for long periods of time. All that energy it's absorbing is being turned into heat, and lots of it. Transmission retarders are good for around-town use, when they would be used for only a few seconds at a time. Even a huge external transmission fluid cooler may not be enough to keep the fluid cool enough coming down a long grade.

What would be ideal is a Telma retarder instead. They work by generating a reverse electric force, sort of like a diesel locomotive's dynamic brakes, and all the heat they generate is dissapated into the air flowing under the bus. Their only downsides are that they may need a shorter driveshaft, and they draw a lot of power off the vehicle's electric system so your alternator must be able to handle it. There are two versions, one "stand-alone" and one that attaches to the differential - one is called Focal, but I can't remember which one! You're right in saying plenty of Colorado buses use them - there's an interesting site of a converted Thomas Transit Liner (called Hormone Derange!) from Colorado which has pictures of its Telma.

John[/quote:3ak266ug]

I understand that some view this as a concern, but there are a LOT of commercial vehicles out there with retarders. If what you are saying is true, I think you would hear about WAY more issues with them. I am on a diesel forum quite a bit, and it doesn't even get mentioned. I just drove my bus from Idaho to Mexico and then back to MN with no problems whatsoever. I have an MT643 with a retarder and I LOVE it. I gave it a solid workout on the trip back and my tranny temp would always be cooler going down hill then up. 170* down hill was the norm, and these were many mile long 6-8% grades.

KeyserSoze, if I were you, I would look for a DT466/MT643 combo. I cannot say enough about how happy I was with this driving it cross country. Seriously, nothing ever hiccuped, not even once. The engines are also incredibly easy to work on if you needed to. I've had fun tinkering with mine (fuel, timing, governor...) I also have air brakes, which I would highly recommend. FWIW, I paid $1500 for mine. It's a '91 71 pass. international.
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Old 05-10-2010, 08:15 AM   #5
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Re: Best engine/trans for an mid-size bus in Colorado?

I did some more research on the retarder/overheating concern and found out a couple things. Allison first came out with a retarder in the early 70's. They did cause problems and were prone to overheating the transmission. So, Allison quit making them (for the most part) until the early 90's. The new style did NOT have the problems associated with the first and can operate for extended periods with no overheating issues whatsoever. Unfortunately, the association has probably stuck...
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Old 06-01-2010, 05:22 PM   #6
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Re: Best engine/trans for an mid-size bus in Colorado?

That bus is a very cool bus.

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