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Old 03-26-2016, 09:33 PM   #1
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is the AT545 THAT bad?

I see so much hate on the forums for the AT545... the bus I have my mark on has one in it... is it really that bad?? or do people just not like it?
-Christopher
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Old 03-26-2016, 09:54 PM   #2
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I'm happy with mine, no problems so far , I would by an other one .
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Old 03-26-2016, 10:04 PM   #3
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There is a lot of hate for the 545, but there's also others that call it a workhorse. It's in a lot of equipment.

Are you familiar with the term "slush box"? You know, like when automatics first came out. Did you ever drive one of those? To me that's what the 545 feels like. It works and seems dependable so far. It's still quite the slush box and you have to floor it to get it to move. But like Cowlitz said these engins like being driven at that higher rpm's. My transmission shifts remarkably smoothly on the highways.
Apparently these will last pretty well if you maintain them properly. This will work until I get something better.
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Old 03-26-2016, 10:32 PM   #4
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if the '545' is the transmission that "whistles" going from first to second.. then it seems to have been in every school bus I ever rode in as a kid / teen..

im not sure what my last bus had in it i never looked because it just worked.. but it had that sound... it was a 454 chevy in a 1988 bluebird..

I never knew a school bus was supposed to shift firm.. now the hotrod cars i built on the other hand I made them shift HARD...

I seem to be more in tune with the mechanics on this bus search.. perhaps too much... I never really thought about the last one other than I knew on a 454 I could mount 2 air conditioners easily and on the Diesel im likely to get i have no clue how to do such...

what is a good test drive test of the 545? im assuming the normal auto trans stuff? fluid;s red.. doesnt rev out of control in any gear? do you perform a stall test on a bus for 1st gear band slippage like with the old cars?

or is it simply just drive it, dont be crazy hard on it (like take it easy in the mountains?), enjoy it, and if it blows up build or buy another one?

the bus im likely to get is a short bus.. though it seems to have a high GVWR (27500) for a short bus.. but im thinking that the 545 is fine for a "short bus?"

-Christopher
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Old 03-27-2016, 08:49 AM   #5
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My first bus had a 545. I didn't like it at all.
My second has the 643.
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Old 03-27-2016, 09:01 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by EastCoastCB View Post
My first bus had a 545. I didn't like it at all.
My second has the 643.

didnt like it from what perspective? did it break? hunt shift in the hills? im mainly interested in reliability and longevity..

-Christopher
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Old 03-27-2016, 09:27 AM   #7
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It just felt wrong, idk. Had to floor it to make it move. Shifts were hard and didn't feel right they felt forced. It did ok for the thirty mile return trip home but when I started bus shopping the next time I thought I'd go for a better drivetrain.
For actually traveling much, I don't think the 545 and gas engine were at all even a decent combo.
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Old 03-27-2016, 09:50 AM   #8
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im thinking I had it in my last bus and it did seem like when I took off that i had to step hard.. but that was a 454 chevrolet gas engine and it seemed the stall speed was so low that the gas engine wasnt making power till the revs got up..

im going diesel on this one so maybe ill be bnetter off with the low stall speed because a diesel makes power at low RPM...

and its a short bus...

-Christropher
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Old 03-27-2016, 10:33 AM   #9
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if its a shorter, lighter bus its probably much better. Mine was a 40' Thomas with a Ford 370 and the 545. I didn't like that bus so much when it came to driving it.
I was patient and knew what I was looking for this time around. DT466, 643 trans, AIR RIDE rear, 4.44 gearing.
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Old 03-27-2016, 10:43 AM   #10
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So far so good, we pull up to near 5000lbs often. The squeal is a feature of the 545, lets you know what gear you're in.

RE: AC mounting, our 5.9 has 2 compressors hanging low. To tighten/replace the belts I just lie on my back and there they are. Each has a separate belt.
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