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Old 08-20-2010, 09:47 PM   #1
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changing gear ratios

is it possible to change gearing?

i figure it would free up a few mph on the highway and maybe drop the rpms?

just curious at this point as i havent purchased yet but ive seen a few folks mention top speeds of 60 with the engine screaming.

is it reasonable to want sub 2,000 rpms but able to cruise at 65+? sounds like it would be easier on the engine and get better mileage.

are some rear axles a better choice to change ratios?

from what ive read, skoolies are designed for low speed around town grunt work...makes sense.
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Old 08-20-2010, 09:48 PM   #2
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Re: changing gear ratios

oh i forgot to ask...

tire diameter comes into the equation...has anyone altered theirs? is it safe?
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Old 08-22-2010, 01:30 AM   #3
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Re: changing gear ratios

Yes its doable. The dealer quoted me $1800 total for parts and labor. Since you are still shopping for a bus, why don't you just limit your search to buses that already have the proper gearing. Some school districts have activity buses that will run 70+, and there fuel mileage is as good, if not better, than many gear-bound buses that can only do 55 to 60mph.
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Old 08-22-2010, 05:07 PM   #4
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Re: changing gear ratios

oh i intend to look for the right gearing...was wondering if it was one of my criteria that i could compromise on purchase and change later if i needed to.

some of the other specs i would like cant be changed. at least not easily.

$1800 doesn't sound too bad, i assume it would be dependent upon the axle type and manufacturer?
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Old 08-22-2010, 10:41 PM   #5
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Re: changing gear ratios

[quote="Cygnusaa"]oh i intend to look for the right gearing...was wondering if it was one of my criteria that i could compromise on purchase and change later if i needed to.
some of the other specs i would like cant be changed. at least not easily.

Once you locate the body and drive train that suits your needs and price range, anything else that doesn't satisfy you can be upgraded. In fact, converting a school bus is a series of upgrades. We're just starting with the most solid and safest of structures. Sorta like building a house, first and foremost a good foundation, and that's where the the school bus chassis really separates the boys from the men and why most of us prefer it as compared to the glitter of the big box tent on wheels, solid structure first.

Changing the rear axle or center section pumpkin, is a minor upgrade as compared to the total cost of a conversion. Tho most of us won't do that, mainly because we're not in that big of a hurry and the payback is long term unless you plan to put some very serious high miles on your skoolie. Most truck repair shops can change your axle ratio at a cost of around 2 grand.
The only catch 22 is, you may or may not see an increase in fuel mileage. A lot depends on how you drive. You will have a quieter motor if you don't increase your speed or weight too much.
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Old 08-23-2010, 01:34 PM   #6
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Re: changing gear ratios

good foundation is where its at...its why im looking for a big yellow tube

is there anything i should steer clear of axle-wise?

are there certain makes that are known to be problematic?

i havent come across too many here with rear axle issues. that tells me most are solid.

if i had to guess on yearly mileage i dont think i could be accurate. i only have a rudimentary idea of the places id like to spend time...i really want to have at least 1 property to call my own so i can do what i want...its a big unexplored country for me...i suppose i would start here on the east coast and make my way west...keep it casual and not be in a hurry...plan ahead to a degree of course but not sure how it will translate into miles...something tells me much less than 12k a year since id have to be judicial with use plus id stay in areas for awhile...

what do the rest of you rack up yearly?
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Old 08-27-2010, 03:12 PM   #7
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Re: changing gear ratios

Try this link:

http://www.csgnetwork.com/rearendgearcalc.html

And Here: http://www.idavette.net/tech/ratioc.htm

Good info. I'm not sure where I got it from, probably somewhere here.
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Old 08-29-2010, 12:15 AM   #8
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Re: changing gear ratios

thanks coma...that will come in handy
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Old 08-30-2010, 03:10 AM   #9
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Re: changing gear ratios

Since we're talking gears here, I just bought a Rockwell 22k lb whole rear axle with everything attached but the tires. It has 3.73 gears plus the wiring for ABS brakes. The brake shoes look to be about 90% new and other than rims, I wil need to buy a yoke b/c this spindle looks larger then the one on my 19k lb R190 axle.

My plan was to just change out the pumpkin, but the price on this new rear end was too good to turn down. I may now have to carry two spare tires b/c my bus came with Dayton wheels and this new one uses Budds. I guess I could change out the front hubs to Budds later, but the IH dealers are very proud of those hubs.

Has anyone actually swapped rear ends on their bus? Other than jacking up the rear end high enough, what other problems has anyone encountered. My bus already has air brakes and air ride but as far as I can tell, no ABS. I'm hoping that not connection the ABS wiring won't cause a problem. Any ideas?

My current rear end has 4.44 gears.
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Old 12-26-2016, 05:30 PM   #10
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Dear Sir,
I do realize this is a very old post.
We would like to know how the gear
change worked out, milage, engine
RPM and difficulty. Thank You very
much.
Sincerely, SCARECROW.
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