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Old 01-22-2017, 05:22 PM   #1
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Rated Cap: 84 pax or 1 RV; 33,000lbs
Checking the tranny?

Found this bus for sale in VA thru another listing.
https://www.proxibid.com/aspr/lot/33...p?lid=33633647

Went and looked at it yesterday. No rust. Started right up with a jump start. Idled fine. No smoke. Test drove it for a couple of miles. Stopped, backed up, and turned around. No vibrations. No warning lights. Nothing odd except the steering wheel seemed to be off; an alignment I think. It was hard to tell with the crowning of the road.

Anywho, the listing above says Starts and Moves - Trans. Needs Repair Per Seller. The guy I saw didn't mention anything about the tranny needing work. The dash appears to have been replaced; 26,009 Miles Showing (Mileage Per Sticker 94,840). The sticker is from some generic label maker and is stuck near the dash. Told the guy I would need to check around for service records since the mileage was hokie. That's when I found the listing above.
So, how does one know if a tranny needs work or not? It shifted from neutral to drive and to reverse just fine. It didn't lurch or anything else. I'll see if I can't find a number for the county maintenance guys. The guy with the bus now is asking $3500. I don't want to deal with ANY tranny work. Assuming it was something simple and this guy says he fixed it, I'll offer him $2500.

Found another bus on the auction block in TX. Has a buddy that is local to it and something of a gearhead check on it today. Rust free. Good rear tires, needs fronts. Air leaking from somewhere. Will only hold 30 psi. They couldn't get the brakes to release. It started right up once the batteries had a bit of a charge. Couldn't drive it with the brakes locked. The air tanks had the plugs in them.

The problem with the auction bus is that the auction expires on Thurs and the bus has to be out by Feb 2nd. Currently airfare is $110 one way which ain't bad at all. But what will it be when the auction closes on Thurs for a Sat flight? And what is it going to cost to get the brakes working? Could be just a hose but I don't know that either. Current bid is at $950. Even at $1500 and a $1,000 in diesel getting home, it would be the same as the VA bus. A year newer and lower miles.

What to do?
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Old 01-22-2017, 06:38 PM   #2
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Coachwork: Blue Bird
Chassis: Blue Bird TC RE 3904, Flat Nose, 40', 277" wh base
Engine: 8.3L Cummins ISC 260hp, MT643, 4.44 rear
Rated Cap: 84 pax or 1 RV; 33,000lbs
Meant to put this in the Cat drivetrain section. Not sure what the tranny is.

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Old 01-22-2017, 08:31 PM   #3
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Hello,
Let share my noob experience.

I bought my first bus straight from a school district. Description: start, run, drive, bla bla bla, good.
Had two mechanics tell me all was good with it. Drove it home, and started to have tranny problems.
Not really sure if there is a bullet prof way to figure it out.
Good luck brother.

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Old 01-22-2017, 08:41 PM   #4
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Having access to the service records is about as good as it will ever get. And those are only rarely available.
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Old 01-22-2017, 08:54 PM   #5
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re: Tango

Ha. I bought a bus last week- ad says "serviced annually and avail for inspection".

Annually??? Then, after the sale they tell me it's been off the road for 3 years. Didn't get it's "annual" checkup for awhile.

Going to recover it tomorrow. I love surprises.
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Old 01-22-2017, 09:29 PM   #6
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Coachwork: Blue Bird
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Engine: 8.3L Cummins ISC 260hp, MT643, 4.44 rear
Rated Cap: 84 pax or 1 RV; 33,000lbs
The VA bus needs enough tranny to last 200 miles home. Worst case, I saw a remanned 3126 on the 'net for $3700. What tranny is most often mated to a 3126 and what do they cost? Obviously I'd rather have the perfect bus with no miles but it's going to sit for at least a year. More realistically, 2 yrs while converting it.

The TX bus ... 2003 International School Bus; 87,179 Miles showing - not guaranteed; Diesel; Auto; 60-40 and bench seats; Rubber mats; PS; Air Brakes; Has Keys; Was running when removed from service; Location 1

I don't know anything about the air systems on buses and whether or not it would be easy to fix.
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Old 01-22-2017, 09:56 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brewerbob View Post
The VA bus needs enough tranny to last 200 miles home. Worst case, I saw a remanned 3126 on the 'net for $3700. What tranny is most often mated to a 3126 and what do they cost? Obviously I'd rather have the perfect bus with no miles but it's going to sit for at least a year. More realistically, 2 yrs while converting it.

The TX bus ... 2003 International School Bus; 87,179 Miles showing - not guaranteed; Diesel; Auto; 60-40 and bench seats; Rubber mats; PS; Air Brakes; Has Keys; Was running when removed from service; Location 1

I don't know anything about the air systems on buses and whether or not it would be easy to fix.
FYI, I'm noob, double check my info.

I don't know what size of bus/engine/tranny you want, but for 2-4 k, you should be able to get a decent big bus on govdeal.
I'm always crying about how the short buses sell for more than the big ones.


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Old 01-22-2017, 09:59 PM   #8
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Rated Cap: 84 pax or 1 RV; 33,000lbs
Quote:
Originally Posted by oricha1984 View Post
FYI, I'm noob, double check my info.

I don't know what size of bus/engine/tranny you want, but for 2-4 k, you should be able to get a decent big bus on govdeal.
I'm always crying about how the short buses sell for more than the big ones.


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Been watching there too. I just don't want to buy sight unseen especially if its from the rust belt. My perfect bus is a 90 Pax, flat nose. After seeing buses in person now, I don't even care if it is front or rear engine.
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Old 01-22-2017, 10:06 PM   #9
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Recently, there were a bunch being sold by a Huston school department on public surplus.

Not sure if your cup of tea, but here u go.

http://m.publicsurplus.com/sms/list/past?orgid=181290



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Old 01-22-2017, 10:40 PM   #10
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Have you searched Richmond Craigslist? I am seeing lots of busses showing up here.

Good luck!

And please do NOT buy a bus with tranny probs when there are sooo many without
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Old 01-23-2017, 08:59 AM   #11
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just because it goes into gear doesnt mean much other than the front pump works and the primary band engages .. in a bus like that in 2002.. it MIGHT have an AT545 but most likely has an MD3060.. (if it hads the digital trans display on the shifter its likely an MD3060)..

any number of things can be wrong that still allows it to move.. and youve got quite a bit of $$ in replacing / rebuilding an MD3060.. if it had an AT545 id be concerned in that big of a bus about being able to run it on long trips... maybe a 643?

the MD3060 is an electronic trans.. if an electronic trans detects a fault it will go into second gear and not any higher.. resetting the computer on it might get it to work again till the fault returned unless its a hard fault..

somewhere I thought we had a thread with someone here trying to diagnose such an issue..

-Christopher
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Old 01-23-2017, 09:30 AM   #12
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Year: 1999
Coachwork: Blue Bird
Chassis: Blue Bird TC RE 3904, Flat Nose, 40', 277" wh base
Engine: 8.3L Cummins ISC 260hp, MT643, 4.44 rear
Rated Cap: 84 pax or 1 RV; 33,000lbs
Quote:
Originally Posted by oricha1984 View Post
Recently, there were a bunch being sold by a Huston school department on public surplus.

Not sure if your cup of tea, but here u go.

Public Surplus: Closed Auctions
I have a people there too but I don't know if they would check on a bus for me. One of my Charlotte people needs a slap up side the head.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Carytowncat View Post
Have you searched Richmond Craigslist? I am seeing lots of busses showing up here.

Good luck!

And please do NOT buy a bus with tranny probs when there are sooo many without
Not yet but I will now!!

Speaking of CL, anyone know how to pick the entire US, the entire SE, just MD, DE, & VA? I don't want to look at it 37 times for individual cities.
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Old 01-23-2017, 09:41 AM   #13
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Chassis: Blue Bird TC RE 3904, Flat Nose, 40', 277" wh base
Engine: 8.3L Cummins ISC 260hp, MT643, 4.44 rear
Rated Cap: 84 pax or 1 RV; 33,000lbs
Quote:
Originally Posted by cadillackid View Post
just because it goes into gear doesnt mean much other than the front pump works and the primary band engages .. in a bus like that in 2002.. it MIGHT have an AT545 but most likely has an MD3060.. (if it hads the digital trans display on the shifter its likely an MD3060)..

any number of things can be wrong that still allows it to move.. and youve got quite a bit of $$ in replacing / rebuilding an MD3060.. if it had an AT545 id be concerned in that big of a bus about being able to run it on long trips... maybe a 643?

the MD3060 is an electronic trans.. if an electronic trans detects a fault it will go into second gear and not any higher.. resetting the computer on it might get it to work again till the fault returned unless its a hard fault..

somewhere I thought we had a thread with someone here trying to diagnose such an issue..

-Christopher
So, I found out this one may have an issue by luck. How many gears are in these trannies? I'm guessing/read the older ones have 5 with Allison locking out the overdrives on buses IIRC. Newer ones probably have more? Anywho, would the fault throw a warning light? Even if it did, I wouldn't know where to look for it on the dash. I don't recall any lights being on other than the air and it went out after the tank was plugged and the pressure was up. No buzzers.

There aren't many cars that'll do 40mph in 2nd gear. I'm willing to bet money there aren't ANY buses that will. Or if there are, it's a 1928 ____ that only had 2 gears and 40mph is the top speed.

This is the kind of info that I was hoping for. The guy selling the bus may or may not have known that this particular bus had a problem (he had a bunch and we looked at most of them). I came across it with a google search. The TX bus had no hits for the VIN; how do I know it or any other bus I look at doesn't have a half dead tranny/engine?
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Old 01-23-2017, 09:56 AM   #14
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When it comes to cars at least- Even my pos, slow subaru will do 40 in second. Maybe even first. suckers geared extremely high and has double overdrive.
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Old 01-23-2017, 10:52 AM   #15
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Engine: 8.3L Cummins ISC 260hp, MT643, 4.44 rear
Rated Cap: 84 pax or 1 RV; 33,000lbs
Quote:
Originally Posted by EastCoastCB View Post
When it comes to cars at least- Even my pos, slow subaru will do 40 in second. Maybe even first. suckers geared extremely high and has double overdrive.
My bad; I was thinking 1st.
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Old 01-23-2017, 12:47 PM   #16
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You can look at Dailylister for national C/Ls. I've found that they often miss some listings, but overall makes looking easier.
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Old 01-23-2017, 12:49 PM   #17
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Engine: 8.3L Cummins ISC 260hp, MT643, 4.44 rear
Rated Cap: 84 pax or 1 RV; 33,000lbs
Quote:
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You can look at Dailylister for national C/Ls. I've found that they often miss some listings, but overall makes looking easier.
Checking it out now; thx.
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Old 01-23-2017, 03:23 PM   #18
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if the bus had an MD3060 i believe the shifter digital digit flashes or gives some indication of an error.. it generally wont turn on the dashoard warning light as the ECM and TCM only talk enough (on some of them) to share speed, engine loading, and TPS information.

with a AT545 the only way to tell is to drive it and feel it shift all the way to 4th gear and run it till the bus is good and warmed up to make sure it doesnt lose pump pressure and slip the 3-4 CLutch packs..

ive Heard of someone assuming a bus had a transmission issue because it would rev to redline and not go over 55.. some people have no idea what gear ratios can do to top speeds.

the MD3060 is a 6 speed and from other forum reports it seems getting gear 6 Unlocked is nearly impossible unless you know an allison rep or have an allison programmer to just do it..

-Christopher
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Old 01-23-2017, 03:27 PM   #19
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Join Date: Oct 2016
Location: Essex, MD
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Year: 1999
Coachwork: Blue Bird
Chassis: Blue Bird TC RE 3904, Flat Nose, 40', 277" wh base
Engine: 8.3L Cummins ISC 260hp, MT643, 4.44 rear
Rated Cap: 84 pax or 1 RV; 33,000lbs
Quote:
Originally Posted by cadillackid View Post
if the bus had an MD3060 i believe the shifter digital digit flashes or gives some indication of an error.. it generally wont turn on the dashoard warning light as the ECM and TCM only talk enough (on some of them) to share speed, engine loading, and TPS information.

with a AT545 the only way to tell is to drive it and feel it shift all the way to 4th gear and run it till the bus is good and warmed up to make sure it doesnt lose pump pressure and slip the 3-4 CLutch packs..

ive Heard of someone assuming a bus had a transmission issue because it would rev to redline and not go over 55.. some people have no idea what gear ratios can do to top speeds.

the MD3060 is a 6 speed and from other forum reports it seems getting gear 6 Unlocked is nearly impossible unless you know an allison rep or have an allison programmer to just do it..

-Christopher
Unless the rear had a retarded gearing, I wasn't anywhere near 4th gear at 40mph. Wish I had found that report before driving down there. I would have taken it out on the interstate.
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