Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
 
Old 10-05-2018, 06:04 AM   #1
Skoolie
 
Rogue1bus's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2018
Posts: 142
2002 AmTran pusher engine/trans removal/replacement

Really general question, Iím converting a ~30í AmTran t444e/t545 pusher. The transmission fluid is bright and stamped as rebuilt in 2013, engine has just over 200k miles/ 11.2k hours and runs great. Iím considering changing the gears to lower cruising rpms etc. I know the the 545 is not the best transmission etc and my engine has a lot of miles so at some point in the future both may need a replacement or rebuild. I also understand the t444e has to be removed to be rebuilt. I plan to keep the bus indefinitely and do some slight mods to lower the high point of the rear engine compartment for a loft bed.

So I want to get an idea of how involved/difficult/costly is it to remove/rebuild the drive train? Does the back of the bus body have to be cut open or anything?

It looks like the transmission just drops out the bottom... what about the engine?

Thanks!
Rogue1bus is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-05-2018, 09:40 AM   #2
Skoolie
 
bigskypc50's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2016
Location: Anaconda,MT
Posts: 210
Year: 1995
Coachwork: Amtran
Chassis: International
Engine: DT466 Turbo
Rated Cap: 90
It's all of those things involved/difficult/costly.

What's your RPM and top speed now?

What's your plan with the bus light travel or full time over the road rig?

How far along are you in the conversion?




Quote:
Originally Posted by Rogue1bus View Post
Really general question, Iím converting a ~30í AmTran t444e/t545 pusher. The transmission fluid is bright and stamped as rebuilt in 2013, engine has just over 200k miles/ 11.2k hours and runs great. Iím considering changing the gears to lower cruising rpms etc. I know the the 545 is not the best transmission etc and my engine has a lot of miles so at some point in the future both may need a replacement or rebuild. I also understand the t444e has to be removed to be rebuilt. I plan to keep the bus indefinitely and do some slight mods to lower the high point of the rear engine compartment for a loft bed.

So I want to get an idea of how involved/difficult/costly is it to remove/rebuild the drive train? Does the back of the bus body have to be cut open or anything?

It looks like the transmission just drops out the bottom... what about the engine?

Thanks!
bigskypc50 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-05-2018, 10:34 AM   #3
Skoolie
 
Rogue1bus's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2018
Posts: 142
Planning on weekend/vacation use for now. 3-4yrs I want to plan a 2-3month cross country trip. And after that trip Iíll see where things take me. The conversion is hard work and I want to maintain the investment (my time and effort) long term, which is why Iím wondering how everything on the bus works and how to maintain and replace the mechanical systems in the future. IE does the back of the bus need to be cut open to replace/rebuild the engine?


So far Iíve got the basic maintenance caught up, 95% of surface rust (which was light except on the fuel tank) rehabbed, the seats/floor out and 95% of the subfloor finished. Other maintenance issues I have to run to ground are:
-the instrument cluster cuts out sometimes
-fuel gauge inoperable
-unidentified frontend clunk while turning (I suspect a suspension component)
Rogue1bus is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-05-2018, 10:47 AM   #4
Skoolie
 
bigskypc50's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2016
Location: Anaconda,MT
Posts: 210
Year: 1995
Coachwork: Amtran
Chassis: International
Engine: DT466 Turbo
Rated Cap: 90
I don't know a lot about the rear engine bus. But I am 99.9% sure northing will have to be cut. The engine either comes out the back or the bottom.

Basic maintenance meaning your oil change fuel filters coolant flush etc. If you can do all that yourself then your already half was there.

Sounds like a grounding issue maybe on your dash problems.

My advice is live with the bus like it is for now. If you totally can't stand it then maybe looking at swapping in a trans or gear set.

EDIT: I can get my bus up 68-70MPH at 2500RPM floored and I have MT643, but frankly it's kind of scary, something that big going that fast. It's a 41ft bus. There is no rush your driving your house down the road. Slow down take your time and drive at 55MPH and enjoy the trip.



Quote:
Originally Posted by Rogue1bus View Post
Planning on weekend/vacation use for now. 3-4yrs I want to plan a 2-3month cross country trip. And after that trip I’ll see where things take me. The conversion is hard work and I want to maintain the investment (my time and effort) long term, which is why I’m wondering how everything on the bus works and how to maintain and replace the mechanical systems in the future. IE does the back of the bus need to be cut open to replace/rebuild the engine?


So far I’ve got the basic maintenance caught up, 95% of surface rust (which was light except on the fuel tank) rehabbed, the seats/floor out and 95% of the subfloor finished. Other maintenance issues I have to run to ground are:
-the instrument cluster cuts out sometimes
-fuel gauge inoperable
-unidentified frontend clunk while turning (I suspect a suspension component)
bigskypc50 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-05-2018, 12:06 PM   #5
Skoolie
 
Rogue1bus's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2018
Posts: 142
Totally agree, I love the bus size, drives good and generally speaking Iím totally happy with itís systems even my 545 transmission.

Plenty of well documented reasons people dislike the 545 especially in a full size bus but I like it because.
-Cheap to rebuild/replace (I think, correct me if Iím wrong)
-performs fine in my 30í bus

* I donít want to change the transmission or drive faster per-say I just want to shift the gear ratio so I can cruise at 50-55 mph at 2100-2300 rpm, the bus has plenty of pep as is so I think acceleration would still be fine. And I would have a more optimal cruising rpm and continue the ease of servicing/remanding my current transmission.


Iíve been spending extra time and money being meticulous about the the body stuff, floor etc because I want long term durability/longevity and using the bus to travel will eventually result in major mechanical work so Iím trying to prepared mentally and fiscally for those future events but donít know enough about the buses systems yet.
Rogue1bus is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-05-2018, 03:27 PM   #6
Bus Geek
 
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Columbus Ohio
Posts: 11,515
Year: 1991
Coachwork: Carpenter
Chassis: International 3800
Engine: DTA360 / MT643
Rated Cap: 7 Row Handicap
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rogue1bus View Post
Totally agree, I love the bus size, drives good and generally speaking Iím totally happy with itís systems even my 545 transmission.

Plenty of well documented reasons people dislike the 545 especially in a full size bus but I like it because.
-Cheap to rebuild/replace (I think, correct me if Iím wrong)
-performs fine in my 30í bus

* I donít want to change the transmission or drive faster per-say I just want to shift the gear ratio so I can cruise at 50-55 mph at 2100-2300 rpm, the bus has plenty of pep as is so I think acceleration would still be fine. And I would have a more optimal cruising rpm and continue the ease of servicing/remanding my current transmission.


Iíve been spending extra time and money being meticulous about the the body stuff, floor etc because I want long term durability/longevity and using the bus to travel will eventually result in major mechanical work so Iím trying to prepared mentally and fiscally for those future events but donít know enough about the buses systems yet.

I was a big fan of the AT545 till I wasted two of them (in different busses).. now one bus has a 6 speed allison 1000, and the other has an MT643..



Luckily neither of them left me far from home.. but the one in the tan bus. did just go without warning... it shifted 1-2 and 2-3 and then 3-??? never did that bus move under its own power again with that transmission.. glad I was 3 miles from home and not 300 or 1300. (I go on long trips in my busses)...

-Christopher
cadillackid is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-05-2018, 03:51 PM   #7
Bus Geek
 
EastCoastCB's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2014
Location: Eustis FLORIDA
Posts: 18,041
Year: 1999
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: Freighliner FS65
Engine: Cat 3126
Rated Cap: 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rogue1bus View Post
Totally agree, I love the bus size, drives good and generally speaking Iím totally happy with itís systems even my 545 transmission.

Plenty of well documented reasons people dislike the 545 especially in a full size bus but I like it because.
-Cheap to rebuild/replace (I think, correct me if Iím wrong)
-performs fine in my 30í bus

* I donít want to change the transmission or drive faster per-say I just want to shift the gear ratio so I can cruise at 50-55 mph at 2100-2300 rpm, the bus has plenty of pep as is so I think acceleration would still be fine. And I would have a more optimal cruising rpm and continue the ease of servicing/remanding my current transmission.


Iíve been spending extra time and money being meticulous about the the body stuff, floor etc because I want long term durability/longevity and using the bus to travel will eventually result in major mechanical work so Iím trying to prepared mentally and fiscally for those future events but donít know enough about the buses systems yet.
There are many reasons the 545 is not desired. Efficiency, reliability, and power. They all suffer with the slipping.
I've got one and its fine for now. First chance I get I'll swap it though. I just don't like the way they drive.
My bus only has 64k on it and its on its second 545.
__________________
.
Roll Your Own Build Thread
EastCoastCB is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-05-2018, 04:12 PM   #8
Bus Geek
 
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Columbus Ohio
Posts: 11,515
Year: 1991
Coachwork: Carpenter
Chassis: International 3800
Engine: DTA360 / MT643
Rated Cap: 7 Row Handicap
the 545 is a great stop N go transmission, they were generally extremely reliable in school bus scenerios.. the lack of lock-up is no issue when doping school routes as when doing route service within a neighborhood the transmission rarely goes above 2nd gear.. most of the lockup trans dont llockup till 3rd gear..



the issue comes in when trying to run them on long road trips.. esp up and down hills. as EC mentioned, they get hot.. that constant converter spin makes lots of heat... heat kills transmission fluid..



you can put a bigger cooler on to help, you can run synthetic fluid which takes a higher temperature nefore it breaks down but ultimately its not a good transmission for long trips, heavy loads, or towing..



for sheer brute in a school bus the MT-643 is probably the most stout.. in comparison, the AT545 weighs about 375 lbs, the MT643 weighs about 700 lbs..



the soutness of the 1000 / 2000 come from newer designs and the lockup.. the sungear shell and inout shaft is heavier on the 1000 / 2000 than the 545.. and of course you gain lockup and an extra gear or 2..




-Christopher
cadillackid is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-05-2018, 05:17 PM   #9
Skoolie
 
Rogue1bus's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2018
Posts: 142
Thanks for all the good info!

Btw I forgot to say my cruising rpm at 55mph is 2550ish.

Good food for thought. Maybe I will switch to a different transmission when this one goes... I read there are a lot of technical issues changing to a different transmission type from the factory one, IE the electronics need some assistance to communicate with a different transmission etc.

Can anyone here address that? As in if I had a different transmission put in by a shop, how do I get it to work with my t444e? What is involved outside the mechanical side?

Anyways I feel pretty good about the 545 in it now, my bus is not a full size rig and I donít plan on making the build too heavy and donít plan on towing anything with it so Iím cautiously optimistic itíll last if Iím easy on it.
Rogue1bus is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-05-2018, 09:46 PM   #10
Bus Geek
 
EastCoastCB's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2014
Location: Eustis FLORIDA
Posts: 18,041
Year: 1999
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: Freighliner FS65
Engine: Cat 3126
Rated Cap: 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rogue1bus View Post
Thanks for all the good info!

Btw I forgot to say my cruising rpm at 55mph is 2550ish.

Good food for thought. Maybe I will switch to a different transmission when this one goes... I read there are a lot of technical issues changing to a different transmission type from the factory one, IE the electronics need some assistance to communicate with a different transmission etc.

Can anyone here address that? As in if I had a different transmission put in by a shop, how do I get it to work with my t444e? What is involved outside the mechanical side?

Anyways I feel pretty good about the 545 in it now, my bus is not a full size rig and I donít plan on making the build too heavy and donít plan on towing anything with it so Iím cautiously optimistic itíll last if Iím easy on it.
Your 545 isn't electronic.
55mph at 2550 rpm means you have low gears in the rear.
__________________
.
Roll Your Own Build Thread
EastCoastCB is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


» Featured Campgrounds

Reviews provided by

Powered by vBadvanced CMPS v3.2.3

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 11:17 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 4
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.