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Old 10-07-2016, 01:02 PM   #1
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Finding a bus!

Hey all! First post and I'm just getting started on this venture. I'm looking for a 1995-1998 65+ pax international conventional bus with the DT466 (mechanical) and air brakes. Also a few other requirements such as no split rims, etc.

It seems all I can find is flat nose with dt466 and air brakes or conventional with dt466 and hydraulic. Also plenty of conventionals with 444e and air brakes. Am I missing something or did they just not make the big motor with air brakes in a conventional during those years?

I want the dt466 and air brakes so all I am looking at doing to the drivetrain is swapping rear axles with a 20k lb air ride from a class 8 truck with 3.55 gears and also swapping in 10 speed Eaton from same truck and converting bus to manual shift ( this is why I need conventional and not flat).

I will be moving other stuff over: a few air tanks, espar diesel cab heater, aluminum wheels for the whole bus, etc but it is all irrelevant for this post.

If anybody can let me know if they made 65+ pax (or preferably 72+ pax) international conventional busses with the dt466 and air brakes, please do! If not, I guess I'll just have to settle and buy one with the 444e and eventually swap in a Series 50/60 Detroit, space permitting 😀
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Old 10-07-2016, 04:01 PM   #2
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ive seen the DT-466E's in the 71 passenger dog-nose busses. , the T-444E was a lot lower cost so as the yeasrs came up you saw a lot of those.. schools in mountaineess areas rtended to buy RE's and often got 8.3 cummins it seemed in those..

therers definitely alot of 11 row dognose with DT466's in them..

-Christopher
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Old 10-07-2016, 04:04 PM   #3
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Yes but I'm looking for an 11+ row conventional (dog nose) bus with a dt466 mechanical engine and air brakes.
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Old 10-07-2016, 04:47 PM   #4
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Finding a mechanical engine in a used bus on a dealer's lot is going to be difficult as those buses are 20+ years old.

IC Bus 2002 IC

IC Bus 2003 CE

International 1997 AMTRAN

And something a little different:

GILLIG 1968 C190-12
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Old 10-07-2016, 05:09 PM   #5
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wow those are some high price busses.. at least they seem that way...

a couple weeks ago I saw some DT-466 mechanical 65 PAS wayne dognose.. they were at an auction where I acquired my second bus. those busses did get bid up twice or 3X what the DT-466E's did..

down south when mechasnicals come on the market it seems they get bid up quickly by Exporters who send them to ??? countries...

you can find some of them up north, however many schools up north are forced to unload busses at 10-15 years due to rust-away so you'll have a tougher time finding them.

you just have to scour the auctions and dealers looking for what you want ... I think you have a possibility of still finding a good mechanical bus out there...

-Christopher
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Old 10-07-2016, 06:12 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by cowlitzcoach View Post
Finding a mechanical engine in a used bus on a dealer's lot is going to be difficult as those buses are 20+ years old.

IC Bus 2002 IC

IC Bus 2003 CE

International 1997 AMTRAN

And something a little different:

GILLIG 1968 C190-12
Not to be nitpicky but 1998+ is DT446E, not DT466. The mechanical is the good one while the E model is okay in terms of performance but life expectancy is about 50%.

The 1997 would be perfect if it only had air brakes. I will be towing so I feel pneumatic brakes are a necessity. I'm also a CDL A holder so legalities are no issue either.

As for the 1968, that's cool as hell but not what I'm looking for right off the bat. My mind could be changed however if the 68 had a 12v71 in her 😉.


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wow those are some high price busses.. at least they seem that way...

a couple weeks ago I saw some DT-466 mechanical 65 PAS wayne dognose.. they were at an auction where I acquired my second bus. those busses did get bid up twice or 3X what the DT-466E's did..

down south when mechasnicals come on the market it seems they get bid up quickly by Exporters who send them to ??? countries...

you can find some of them up north, however many schools up north are forced to unload busses at 10-15 years due to rust-away so you'll have a tougher time finding them.

you just have to scour the auctions and dealers looking for what you want ... I think you have a possibility of still finding a good mechanical bus out there...

-Christopher
Bus dealers are a little too proud of their inventory. There is a joint down here in Texas asking $12,995 for a 1996 AMTran 65pax conventional with DT466 and MT543 transmission and hydraulic brakes and 169,000 miles.

Specifically, I'm looking at private sellers, eBay, and other auction services. I've spent a cumulative 24-36 hours looking and can't seem to find any 1995-1998 International 65+ pax conventional nose busses with the DT466 mechanical engine and air brakes. I really just want someone to say if they have seen anything in that criteria so I know to keep looking or settle for 444e and motor swap.

Also, if anybody could tell me how hard it is to motor swap a flat nose bus, I may just be able to swing that too. It seems like it would be a chore. I assume having to lift the front of the bus 6 ft off the ground and remove the front axle to get the motor out from the bottom. And how much extra room is there around the engine? The motor I would swap for is about 12 inches taller than a DT466. I suppose I could go with a rear engine if I went flat as well. Any input?
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Old 10-07-2016, 08:13 PM   #7
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the DT-466E is not a 50% life expectancy... the DT-466E is life-shortned by school bus drivers and fleet managers who ignore warning sides that it needs help...

notorious for ignoring the WARN indicator lamp on the dash... while a failed injector dumps fuel in the oil and washes out the rings...

notorious for being scared of it because it might be pricey to fix..

same the T-444E.. the T-444E can easily run 350k if its maintained properly and not overheated... the DT-466E can easily go 500k if maintained and not overheated...

the 'E' is not a death sentence to a motor...

any bus that has an allison 2000 in it is running an 'E' motor.. the 2000 is an electronic transmission and requires data fro mthe compiuter to operate.. the LATEST GEN of allisons CAN be run with a mechanical engine but are different transmissions than the ones built in the late 90s - late 00's

the MT-643 and AT545 were basically mechanical units.. however when mated to an 'E' engine they use an electronic modulator... i dont know if you can replace the engine with a mechanical and replace the electronic modulatior with a cable or not..

-Christopher
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Old 10-07-2016, 08:38 PM   #8
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the DT-466E is not a 50% life expectancy... the DT-466E is life-shortned by school bus drivers and fleet managers who ignore warning sides that it needs help...

notorious for ignoring the WARN indicator lamp on the dash... while a failed injector dumps fuel in the oil and washes out the rings...

notorious for being scared of it because it might be pricey to fix..

same the T-444E.. the T-444E can easily run 350k if its maintained properly and not overheated... the DT-466E can easily go 500k if maintained and not overheated...

the 'E' is not a death sentence to a motor...

any bus that has an allison 2000 in it is running an 'E' motor.. the 2000 is an electronic transmission and requires data fro mthe compiuter to operate.. the LATEST GEN of allisons CAN be run with a mechanical engine but are different transmissions than the ones built in the late 90s - late 00's

the MT-643 and AT545 were basically mechanical units.. however when mated to an 'E' engine they use an electronic modulator... i dont know if you can replace the engine with a mechanical and replace the electronic modulatior with a cable or not..

-Christopher
The E may not be a death sentence but like you said, buying one would be putting a lot of trust in the previous drivers and mechanics that they properly maintained it. At least with a 466 mechanical, I have a little more reliability I think. The 466 is, after all, a legend. Honestly, it may not even stay in the bus if I don't like it or it doesn't pull well enough for my taste. I'm a big HD diesel fan and wouldn't mind having a bus turning 600 HP and 2050 ft lb of torque behind a 10 speed Eaton rated for the same.
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Old 10-07-2016, 09:15 PM   #9
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Looks like I bought the exact bus you want. Its a 1985 International Blue Bird 11 window (84 pass) with a DT-466, MT643 and Air brakes.
They do exist, but will be older. BTW I paid $1500 for mine and drove home happy.
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Old 10-07-2016, 09:26 PM   #10
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Looks like I bought the exact bus you want. Its a 1985 International Blue Bird 11 window (84 pass) with a DT-466, MT643 and Air brakes.
They do exist, but will be older. BTW I paid $1500 for mine and drove home happy.
I thought the dt466 want used until 1994.5? Are you sure it's not been motor swapped by previous owner? Also, please rub the hate in lol
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Old 10-07-2016, 10:09 PM   #11
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there were a few mechanicals after 1994.5 but few and far between.. his is 1985 so definitely mechanical..

if you sre going to build a bus like you want then id say who cares what drivetrain you buy.. get thecheapest rust free bus you an find and build away..

I did that wit ha Number of hotrods I built.. bought an old V-6 whatever that no one wanted and swapped in my own engine / trans /and rear .. I looked for the cheapest nost rust free body i could find , bought that car, and it was in pieces within days of my getting it..

a couple of times I built an engine and then sat and thought "ok what can I go buy to put it in?"

uf you buy a bus with a T-444E, you part the injectors, ECM's, etc out... theres still a fair amount of 7.3 power-strokers out there that would love to get decent injectors halfway cheap..

I know right now of a couple school busses that have bad injectorss or IDM's.. so you could recoup some cost by parting a motor out.. esp the electronics for other T-444E's and injectors..

the PSD folk have different ECM's.. but the IDM's are the same and the injectors on some of them..

the long block might be worth something...

probably not much for an AT545 but an allison 2000 would definitely bring a few bucks..

-Christopher
-Christopher
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Old 10-08-2016, 04:38 AM   #12
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there were a few mechanicals after 1994.5 but few and far between.. his is 1985 so definitely mechanical..

if you sre going to build a bus like you want then id say who cares what drivetrain you buy.. get thecheapest rust free bus you an find and build away..

I did that wit ha Number of hotrods I built.. bought an old V-6 whatever that no one wanted and swapped in my own engine / trans /and rear .. I looked for the cheapest nost rust free body i could find , bought that car, and it was in pieces within days of my getting it..

a couple of times I built an engine and then sat and thought "ok what can I go buy to put it in?"

uf you buy a bus with a T-444E, you part the injectors, ECM's, etc out... theres still a fair amount of 7.3 power-strokers out there that would love to get decent injectors halfway cheap..

I know right now of a couple school busses that have bad injectorss or IDM's.. so you could recoup some cost by parting a motor out.. esp the electronics for other T-444E's and injectors..

the PSD folk have different ECM's.. but the IDM's are the same and the injectors on some of them..

the long block might be worth something...

probably not much for an AT545 but an allison 2000 would definitely bring a few bucks..

-Christopher
-Christopher
The DT466 should be mechanical all the way up to 1998. 1998.5 was the start of the DT466E. I thought they only started using the DT466 in 1994 in the busses but yes, I know pretty much anything diesel and pre94 is mechanical.

As for why I'm making such a big stink out of this: I figure that the DT466 mechanical is the only engine with the reliability and power I would be satisfied with. If I can get a bus with that engine and I do like it, then I will only have to swap rear axle and transmission. If I don't like it, I can then swap the motor as well. If I get a bus with a T444E, then from the get go I will be planning a motor, transmission, and rear axle swap. I'm going to put money into this build but I'm not made of money 😀

The way I see it, factory specs say the DT466 mechanical will go up to ~240HP and 600 ft lb of torque. As others have proven, it wouldn't take much to go up to 400HP/1000ftlb if one wanted to, but that's not me. If i do like the DT466, Ill pair it up with a 7 speed Fuller (.75:1 OD) and 3.8x:1 rear axle. that should give me 65mph without wrapping the tach to red on that motor and it will still have the acceleration and hill climbing power with the motor at stock output.

If I don't like the DT466, I'll part the motor out or sell it outright and do the Series 60 Detroit / Eaton 10 speed (.074:1 OD) / and 3.55:1 air ride rear axle, all out of a donor class 8 truck. Honestly, for what I can get a totaled class 8 for, I could sell the DT466 and get the whole donor truck with everything I need in it all in one shot! It's kind of a good deal for me so that's the baseline I'm trying to stick with.

Sorry if I have not been very clear up until now. I drive big trucks for a living so I'm posting whenever I have time and trying to do it fast. I hope this helps!

Last ditch, I found a 84 pax international with a T444E and air brakes close to Austin, TX today. It's a southern bus in good shape, running well, 89k miles. The district it's at has pulled the outer duals off, I assume for other busses, but say that they can find me some to put on it and take it home if I want it.

Any of you guys that have read this far and are looking to buy a bus, do yourself a favor and check the local auctioneer service close to where you live. You can pick these busses up for $1500-$3000 in good condition. Most of the auctions are online and require a refundable $100 deposit. A short description on each unit is listed but you are able to swing by wherever the unit is physically located and inspect before bidding. It will keep you out of these money hungry "bus dealers" and you will have the same selection that they do. For 25% of the price!
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Old 10-08-2016, 06:48 AM   #13
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if you want h p , get an 8.3 cummins. 250+ and a great motor.
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Old 10-08-2016, 08:45 AM   #14
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+1 on the cummins but I never saw one in a dognose bus.. but yes Very buildable and mainly mechanical.. I think theres a few electronics but it has mechanical injectors rather than the electronic injectors that the DT-466E / T-444E have.. thats the part which fails the most is that HPOP / electronic injector system.. and thats what ruins engines by stuck injectors giving heavy fuel shots and the drivers not paying attention to skips / smoke, etc from their busses.. like i mentioned earlier.. washing out the rings..

I cant imagine putting a class 8 drivetrain in a medium duty chassis... i think about how much room my little DT-360, or a DT-466 takes in a bus, let alone a big motor from a semi...

I also question the ability of the rigidity of the frame in a bus to handle the torque of a class 8 drivetrain... and the suspension to handle the weight.. school busses are tough and heavy.. but to me they are tough and heavy to avoid deformation in a crash situation more than they are to handle huge rotational torque against the frame / body..

at some point a school bus just isnt the right tool for the job..

the DT-466E can be found in 1996 / 1996 and Up busses... technically IHC stopped making the mechanical after 1994 however there were some later that had mechanicals.. we see them here.. bus chassis were built often way ahead of time... my latest bus is a 2000 model year but the engine is a 99 model year as the chassis was buolt in springfield and then shipped to the bluebird facotry where it sat until it was made into a bus..

it seems like ive seen some AMTRAN flat nose busses with DT-466 mechanicals into the 97 / 98 model year.. potentially IHC had engines in the pipeline and chassis in the pipeline it built out before being sent to the body company..

-Christopher
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Old 10-08-2016, 03:23 PM   #15
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if you want h p , get an 8.3 cummins. 250+ and a great motor.
+1! I was actually looking before going to bed last night and I found a 94 blue bird with the 8.3! Current owner swapped in rears and trans and bus will cruise at 75 and pull 6% grade at 55! That's plenty fast enough for me. With the rear engine, I think I have room to go maybe to 8.9 cummins if I just had to swap for some reason and it looks super easy to work on. Also has auto tire chains, basement model bus with belly storage, high roof, air ride suspension, air brakes, 10 lug wheels. All the seats have already been removed!

Now to see if I can scoop it up. Will update you guys for sure. I'm ready to stop looking at busses! Lol
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Old 10-08-2016, 03:26 PM   #16
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that sounds like a great bus!!!! hopefully you can snag that one.. better to buy it ready to work than having to build it from scratch
-Christopher
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Old 10-08-2016, 03:46 PM   #17
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that sounds like a great bus!!!! hopefully you can snag that one.. better to buy it ready to work than having to build it from scratch
-Christopher
True. I am not a fan of cummins. The ISX in recent years has broke me of that. Being a ISC tho, it's pre EGR so it should be a good engine. At heart im all about DDEC IV Detroits but if I can get a good drivetrain from the get go it will save me ~$10k in the long run. I'm not unreasonable... I just have my dreams. 😉

By the way, the bus frames will handle the torque and weight of the bigger drivetrains. Obviously, you wouldnt want to be hot rodding as you'll for sure break stuff. I don't want big power to hot rod tho. I'll be flat towing my 8000 lb suburban via towbar and an enclosed trailer with ATVs and my bike hooked to the burb via receiver hitch for a total of around 13000 lb + the weight of the bus. Whatever trans is in this bus may not be rated for it but it would be nothing to swap in a good used ultrashift hv and scoot down the road.
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Old 10-08-2016, 04:08 PM   #18
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my first bus had an AT545 and a chevy 454 that was highly de-tuned.. I built the %^$& out of that 454 and still never wasted the trans... I think allison highly underrates the tags on their trans o be very conservative.. sure you can hit limits.. but with good high flow coolers and common sense alot of these transmissions will take more than what they are plated for.. esp the lockup ones like the 643 and the allison 2000's / 3000's

and i agree everyone has their drivetrain of choice... when i was into street-rodding everything I built got a chevy drivetrain... preferece of course.. there was nothing wrong with the fords or Mopars I just always preferred chevy.. and I knew how to work on it easily if it broke... so i get it with the drivetrain.. you can probably work on a ddec in your sleep vs having to learn another one..
-Christopher
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