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Old 11-28-2018, 11:24 AM   #1
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Engine and transmission swaps - how much trouble?

Typically an engine or transmission swap (replacing it with a different engine or transmission) in a passenger car can be a big headache because of a lack of space and frame to work with. How about with buses? Most of the buses that fit my budget have drive trains that are a bit tired, to say the least. I think a 38-40' pusher with an 8.3 and 3060 trans. is the ideal bus for what I want to do but is not so easy to find. Within my budget for the purchase, the drivetrain is likely to be a bit tired and suspect - otherwise why would they sell it? So I consider the option of getting any 40' pusher and just having a rebuilt drive train - with the engine and trannie that I want - installed. Core charges might be a bit of a problem..but maybe a trip to the junk yard would help there. Most of the diesels I have looked up are about 3' tall and 4' long, with widths about the same....
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Old 11-28-2018, 01:59 PM   #2
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its almost always going to be easier and cheaper to take the time to find a bus that has the drivetrain you want... that said.. if you fiund an 8.3 and its "tired" you can rebuild that engine in-frame and its nearly good as new.. you can have a transmission Reman'd if its showing signs of failure.. swapping from ione to the other is somewhat easier if the particular bus came with it in some form.. ie you found an Amtran RE with a 444E and wanted a 466E, since they were made with 466E you could be straightforward (as much as one can be) about swapping..



if you are going to truly rePower to a drivetrain never offered in that model of bus then you need to be ready to Fabricate parts and custom fit things together.. from mechanicals to electronics...



some of the things in busses apply the samne as they wrould to cars.. espo any bus that has electronics as part of its OEM drivetrain... ABS controllers, transmissions, gauges, lights, wiring.. all have to be considered when doing a RePower..



just read through some threads where some of us have swapped transmissions, built drivetrains from the ground up (like tango and ole trunt),


its not just space of whether the engine can fit... what about the weight? the springs, the cooling system, the pinion angles, exhaust routing, air induction, fuel delivery.. just a few of the things that come to mind when doing a repower..



if you are mechanically ssavvy and enjoy it, ands have the time to do your homework, a repower can make for a really nice ends result./. but if you have to pay someone to do it, you are definitely better off finding a bus that has the drivetrain you want in good shape..

-Christopher
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Old 11-28-2018, 06:43 PM   #3
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I am going to generalize to the most common bus since that is what most.

1st try to stay in the same brand / Engine family.
If you have a International with a DT360 installing a DT466 will not be too much of a stretch.
sot of like If you have a 5.6 Cummins a 8.3 is going be a little longer and little heavier. They are a little more different that the others.


NO MATTER the swap Try to get as much/as many of the parts from the donor vehicle. ALWAYS try to get the engine mounts as well. there are usually only 3, two in the rear and 1 up under the front.

Nearly all Medium Duty bus chassis' have straight frame rails. And those rails are usually the same distance apart no matter the make.
(this is how my Ford F-700 got its Freightliner air ride suspension)
That is why you see all these extra bolt holes in a frame rails.
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Old 11-28-2018, 09:49 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pengyou View Post
Typically an engine or transmission swap (replacing it with a different engine or transmission) in a passenger car can be a big headache because of a lack of space and frame to work with. How about with buses? Most of the buses that fit my budget have drive trains that are a bit tired, to say the least. I think a 38-40' pusher with an 8.3 and 3060 trans. is the ideal bus for what I want to do but is not so easy to find. Within my budget for the purchase, the drivetrain is likely to be a bit tired and suspect - otherwise why would they sell it? So I consider the option of getting any 40' pusher and just having a rebuilt drive train - with the engine and trannie that I want - installed. Core charges might be a bit of a problem..but maybe a trip to the junk yard would help there. Most of the diesels I have looked up are about 3' tall and 4' long, with widths about the same....
Good choice in the powertrain. It appears most of the 8.3 Cummins with Allison MD3060 are out West particularly the Pacific Northwest. Plus they are usually rust free unlike my area. I noticed the prices on average are a lot higher than they were a year ago but still not to bad. Good luck.
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Old 11-29-2018, 08:23 AM   #5
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The difficulty in swapping is whether or not you have the skill set, tools, and space to do it. If you have all those things, the only thing your left with is time and parts cost. If you're looking at Reman'd engines and transmissions, figure at least 10 grand in just those 2 items alone. That doesn't include all the odds and ends that you're going to run into like upgraded radiators, larger intercoolers, etc.

I can't stress enough how much easier it is to buy the bus that you want with the parts that you want on it. Even if you have to rebuild the engine or trans, you're ahead of the game by starting with it from the get go.
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Old 11-29-2018, 08:34 AM   #6
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Thank to you all - sounds like very good advice. Yes, I was planning on budgeting 10K for a rebuilt engine and transmission.



btw, where is the radiator placed on a rear engine bus?
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Old 11-29-2018, 08:35 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GWRider View Post
Good choice in the powertrain. It appears most of the 8.3 Cummins with Allison MD3060 are out West particularly the Pacific Northwest. Plus they are usually rust free unlike my area. I noticed the prices on average are a lot higher than they were a year ago but still not to bad. Good luck.
Do you know when buses started to get the 8.3/md3060?
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Old 11-29-2018, 08:53 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by pengyou View Post
Thank to you all - sounds like very good advice. Yes, I was planning on budgeting 10K for a rebuilt engine and transmission.



btw, where is the radiator placed on a rear engine bus?
In the rear of bus either in the very back or on the side of one corner.
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Old 12-19-2018, 11:18 AM   #9
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In most cases, unless you get the original bus for free, repowering to a better engine/transmission/rear end ratio will cost you much more than purchasing a bus with the engine/transmission/rear end ratio you really want.

Even if you purchase a donor vehicle with all of the parts and pieces you need it is going to cost you a LOT to do a repower.

If you have to purchase the parts and pieces from wrecking yards or remanufactured parts it is going to cost well in excess of $5K just for the engine.

It would not be hard to run the cost of the repower, just for the parts and pieces, in excess of $20K.
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