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Old 10-22-2018, 12:45 PM   #1
Mini-Skoolie
 
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2003 vs 2004 5.9 ISB?

Please Skool me...
Have found a bus that I think fits my needs. It's a 2004 Thomas EF 40 with a 5.9 ISB 205hp and an Allison 2000 transmission. I've read a lot on this amazingly informative forum about 2004 and later buses having numerous changes/issues due to emissions requirements. In some places it's mentioned that 2004-05 were the worst (but did they recover from that reputation later?). My question is this:
Is there a significant difference between 2003 and 2004 5.9 engines? I don't have the info from the label on the bus yet, but I'm going to look at the bus in a couple of days.

Any feedback from owners of 2004 5.9 ISBs as to reliability would be greatly appreciated.

I've read the posts about the 5.9 being "underpowered" for a full size bus (this is a mid-size), and the limitations in climbing power, etc. I'm aware of and accepting of those limitations. More concerned about long-term reliability of a 2004 model with this additional emissions "junk" on it.

Thanks!
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Old 10-23-2018, 12:20 AM   #2
Mini-Skoolie
 
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Also wondering about the limitations of a 5.9 cumins
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Old 10-23-2018, 12:46 AM   #3
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Dude .... it’s all friendly until we start bidding against eachother... I already got the plane ticket looked up 175$ from here to Vegas ;)
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Old 10-23-2018, 12:48 AM   #4
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In all seriousness your riding the globe just to find your bus. Let me know what you think of it when you get there to check it out... I won’t bid past 3800
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Old 10-23-2018, 10:08 AM   #5
Mini-Skoolie
 
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Man actually the more I read on the 5.9
I see that a lot of people are happy . Maybe they get better fuel economy and all.
But then again a 5.9 is a pickup truck engine ... I think the 2000 series Allison is a big improvement from what I read. But still has some issues and complications in needed to be repaired...
also I drive a 7.3 e350 and just thinking that has some power. It has a 4.10 rear end. I can go 100 if I wanted to and also cruising at 65 I get about 17 mpg.
I don’t know how I’d feel with a midsize bus not doing the same . I can load up 500 pounds and feel it just a bit on the motor.
I’m still trying to justify weather or not a 5.9 with a light load would be good . But then I go back to my van . It has a 7.3 it’s really to much I think but that in a bus would be perfect. Maybe even a dt446 or 444
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Old 10-23-2018, 11:00 AM   #6
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the T-444E is a 7.3, ford's version is simply a modified version of the T-444E.. the inline 6's defimitely seem to do better with low end torque.. I have a 444E in one bus and a DTA-360 in another bus. the DTA-360 is a small cousin (5.9 litre) of the DT-466. that bus is heavier than my 444e bus but it takes off quickly off the line but doesnt do well once its revs are above 1700 or so.. the 444E seems to do better when you get its revs up a bit. (you dont want to cruise a 444E at higher revs as MPG sux then. ).

-Christopher
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Old 10-23-2018, 11:59 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cadillackid View Post
the T-444E is a 7.3, ford's version is simply a modified version of the T-444E.. the inline 6's defimitely seem to do better with low end torque.. I have a 444E in one bus and a DTA-360 in another bus. the DTA-360 is a small cousin (5.9 litre) of the DT-466. that bus is heavier than my 444e bus but it takes off quickly off the line but doesnt do well once its revs are above 1700 or so.. the 444E seems to do better when you get its revs up a bit. (you dont want to cruise a 444E at higher revs as MPG sux then. ).

-Christopher

So the t444e is basically a 7.3
The dta is a international enegiem ? Which is a d466 little (5.9) brother?
So then a d466 is how many liters ?
Also what transmission do you have with it?
How would a Allison 2000 pair with a t444e ?

Also I think I would only use a mt 3060 with a dt466 ...
And so that dt360 you have is a 5.9 liter
Man I kinda think a Cummins 5.9 might be alright in a 30ft bus
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Old 10-23-2018, 12:16 PM   #8
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correct ford contracted international to build the 7.3 with some changes so ford could win at the consumer horsepower wars and sell competively.. the T-444E is the name international sold their version of the engine under.. some differences were ford used their own computers to be OBD-II compliant , the ford had an electric lift pump, navistar mechanical, ford used a thicker head gasket so they could run more RPMs.. this engine is a V-8



the DT466 is a 7.6 litre.. it is an inline 6 cylinder. it has had several revisions.. they were originally mechanical.. then in the mid 90s they began the 466E which is an electronically injected engine.. using a similar system to the 444E.. called HEUI. in 2004 these engines got EGR (ugh.. try to keep pre-2004)..


the DTA-360 is a 5.9 litre inline 6 all mechanical engine.. it has many of the same properties as the mechanical DT466s, just not as big.. they are great in shorter busses and are known to last forever (like the mechanical 466).. the DTA360s were made from 87-93


trasnsmissions. prior to model year 2000 the only overdrive automatic offered was the allison MD-3060. its a 6 speed double-overdrive electronic transmission.. I think they came out in the mid 90s? around the time the DT-466E was released.. in a school bus 6th gear is typically disabled.. the MD-3060 is a stout transmission..



in 2000 the allison 2000s and later 1000s were released.. as 5 speed single OD electronic transmissions..



mechanical transmissions. non overdrive - AT545 and MT-643 were out.. both 4 speed non overdrive autos.. the MT-643 features lockup converter and is a Lot heavier duty. . I just finished swapping an MT-643 into my bus with the DTA-360



the AT545 was the budget option offered.. great for strop N go school routes. but drive em on the highway towing or hauling-ass or fast in the mountains and you'll nuke it..



my experience - I blew up 2 AT545's in 2 different busses.. I road trip all across the eastern half of the country.. so I hit mountains but not rocky-style mountains.. so no more 545s for me.. except in my classic bus which wont be a major road-trip cruiser so I'll keep it in that one.



you could get allison 2000s on the T-444E and on the DT-466E.

the allison 1000 is basically the same as an allison 2000 however it has a taller Overdrive gearset in it.. I installed a built-up 1000 behind my 444E.. its fantastic.. I love it..



if h ad to choose for a DT466E I would choose an MD-3060 if available, but still very much accept a 2000 (likely a 2500 PTS in a school bus). both are great units.. I see the MD-3060 alot in the high horsepower Rear engine busses.. the allison 2000 wont handle the higjest HP rated DT-466E.


hope this helps..

-Christopher
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Old 10-24-2018, 01:41 PM   #9
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Cadillac --
Thanks for putting all of that in one post. The additional info (dates) on the and insight on the transmissions is helpful, and something I couldn't find before.

I looked at the Thomas EF40 with the 5.9 in it this morning. Unfortunately, the school district had a lot of wrong info in the auction (some of this I already knew just from looking at the photos). It's NOT a 78" headroom bus as they said...it's only 72", so my 73" head drags all the way up and down the aisle. They had four of these buses and none ran. Various states of disassembly. Also have two 84 passenger Thomas REs with the 8.3, but neither of those ran either. The transportation manager at the school district offered up (after I got there) that a company had come and bought ALL of their older buses except these six, which they didn't want because they tried to boost and start every bus and these six didn't make the cut. If I had known that (and the headroom info) before I made the trip, I would have passed.

It did give me an opportunity to take measurements and gather more data on this model Thomas, so I guess not a total loss. But I'm still putting the DT466 with the MD3060 at the top of my list. Not ruling out a 5.9 Cummins in a mid-size bus, but it's still #3 behind the DT466 and the 444E for me.
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Old 10-24-2018, 01:49 PM   #10
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Bangbus:
The guy at the district in charge of selling the buses told me he had several of these Thomas EF40s and he would be happy if he got $2500 for each. Of the ones he has, the bus listed in the auction right now is the best. But keep in mind that it's not 78" high inside as stated, and it's not running, though the guy at the bus barn said he could boost it and it would start if I wanted. I didn't bother. I didn't see any physical evidence of mechanical problems on this bus, but some of the others were missing parts and had hoses disconnected.

I also have a 7.3 Ford in a F250, with 400k miles and going strong. I love it. But as Cadillac said, I think the DT466 inline 6 is a better motor with more low-end torque for something like a bus. And from everything I've read on here, it seems to be every bit as bulletproof as the 444E (7.3L). So as far as I'm concerned, I'm looking for a bus with a DT466 first, a T444E second, or a 5.9 Cummins third. I'm staying away from the Cats completely.

The RideTheGlobe thing is from my last round-the-world trip on 2 wheels. Will be doing that again in a few more years, but set on building a bus to tour North America first. You're in Houston? I'm in between Austin and San Antonio.
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Old 10-24-2018, 01:52 PM   #11
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Quote:
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Dude .... itís all friendly until we start bidding against eachother... I already got the plane ticket looked up 175$ from here to Vegas ;)
Beat ya to it...Frontier had a $65 flight to Vegas last night. Headed to Tennessee on the company dime tonight.
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Old 10-24-2018, 06:57 PM   #12
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Sorry but staying away from the Cat motors is a mistake as is ranking a t444e ahead of a 5.9 the Cat motors only real down fall is Cat tries to keep it captive therefore it is a little more expensive to maintain it too is available in differing HP derivations and is far superior to a t444e.The cummins 5.9 is the dodge P/U engine but was made for many years previous.(I put one in a 1970 GMC Dually to pull trailers with)Easily modified the 5.9 is capable of hundreds of HP much less expensively than than a 7.3(t444e). Gene
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Old 10-24-2018, 11:42 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by Gdog 5651 View Post
Sorry but staying away from the Cat motors is a mistake as is ranking a t444e ahead of a 5.9 the Cat motors only real down fall is Cat tries to keep it captive therefore it is a little more expensive to maintain it too is available in differing HP derivations and is far superior to a t444e.The cummins 5.9 is the dodge P/U engine but was made for many years previous.(I put one in a 1970 GMC Dually to pull trailers with)Easily modified the 5.9 is capable of hundreds of HP much less expensively than than a 7.3(t444e). Gene
Thanks for your input on the Cat motors. It's hard to pick up everything on this forum, and most of what I've read just says that the Cat motors are much more expensive to maintain/repair due to having to go to Cat, and of course all of the negative posts about post-2004 models from everybody. I'm certainly not trying to start yet another heated discussion about the pros and cons of each motor, but I am learning with each post I read and replies. So thanks for that.
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Old 10-25-2018, 04:27 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 2RideTheGlobe View Post
Thanks for your input on the Cat motors. It's hard to pick up everything on this forum, and most of what I've read just says that the Cat motors are much more expensive to maintain/repair due to having to go to Cat, and of course all of the negative posts about post-2004 models from everybody. I'm certainly not trying to start yet another heated discussion about the pros and cons of each motor, but I am learning with each post I read and replies. So thanks for that.
3126 Cats are pretty good engines.
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Old 10-26-2018, 12:28 PM   #15
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What about and 8.9 or is it 8.3 Cummins?
Man thatís cool you went to check it out. I wouldíve tried to bid. How did you find your flights so cheap!!
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Old 10-26-2018, 04:47 PM   #16
Mini-Skoolie
 
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What about and 8.9 or is it 8.3 Cummins?
Man thatís cool you went to check it out. I wouldíve tried to bid. How did you find your flights so cheap!!
Kayak.com...there was only one flight, late Tuesday night, for that price. But they still had 4 seats.
Still 15 minutes remaining on that Thomas in Vegas... go for it!
I noticed that Las Vegas Bus Sales is already putting all of the Clark County buses that they bought cheap online for sale..."starting at just $13,000!".
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Old 10-31-2018, 06:53 PM   #17
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I have a 2002 CSFE with the 5.9 Cummins. I recently learned from someone on here how to lookup my tranny number. Turns out I have an Allison 2000 4 speed in my bus not a 545. Yes it is a 4 speed. I even called my local Bluebird dealer and they confirmed it. Seems transit buses got only 4 speeds. She tops out around 55 @ 2500 rpms.
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Old 11-01-2018, 01:46 AM   #18
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As any hot rodder will tell you, you can't beat cubic inches!

The Cummins 6BT/ISB is a great engine for what it is. But in a bus it is pretty much at the top end for HP ratings at 250 HP. In Dodge pickups and in RV's that engine is pumped up WAY beyond 250 HP. That doesn't mean you can use a chip for a Dodge/Cummins to pump up a Cummins in a Blue Bird or Thomas. In performance it is very similar to the IHC DT(A)-360. In a small bus either engine will do well. In a 35'+ bus it is going to be a bit underpowered.

The Cummins 6CT/ISC has about 40% more cubic inches. On any hill the 250 HP version will walk away from a 6BT/ISB 250 HP and leave it far behind. If you can get the 8.3L in the 285-310 HP ratings you won't have to slow down for much of anything.

The IHC DT466 and the bigger version DT530 are the big boys in school buses built since the late '90's. The DT466 had HP ratings as high as 300 HP and the DT530 usually started in at 300 HP and went up from there. As it was mentioned earlier, the mechanical versions run next to forever with very little down time.

Since you are wanting a large bus with high headroom or considering raising the roof it is very important to find the bus with the best power package that will meet your needs. Retrofitting higher HP engines, swapping rear gears to get better highway speeds, etc. will ALWAYS cost a whole lot more than if you purchase a bus that is already set up the way in which you want a bus to run.

Also be aware that if you raise the HP rating you will also increase the need for more cooling. In any front engine bus increasing the cooling capabilities is not terribly difficult. In any rear engine bus increasing the cooling capabilities is a BIG deal. The basic problem is you have to somehow get enough air to go over the radiator core to cool the engine off. since you are trying to draw air from a high pressure zone to a low pressure zone it can be a problem. The companies that make buses with engines anywhere except up front where the forward motion will tend to drive air to and through the radiator, on an rear bus any air movement has to be done by an engine driven fan. In most cases the amount of air movement is such that electric radiator fans are never quite enough to get the job done well.
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Old 11-01-2018, 10:31 AM   #19
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BIG and pumped up motors will also need stout trannies. And with some additional cooling as well.
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Old 11-01-2018, 10:41 AM   #20
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Quote:
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BIG and pumped up motors will also need stout trannies. And with some additional cooling as well.

Stout trannies need stout U-joints and driveshafts.
Stout U-joints and driveshafts need stout rear axles


..... the life of a hotrodder..
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