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Old 07-11-2017, 01:39 AM   #1
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Join Date: Mar 2017
Location: Maryland
Posts: 95
Year: 1998
Coachwork: Blue Bird
Chassis: TC2000
Engine: Cummins 5,9 12V
Rated Cap: 24 seats, 3 wheelchairs
Can my 5.9 and AT545 pull a 9k van?

Ok - so we're on our maiden voyage with the SkooLee. Travelled from MD to CO and currently staying in Grand Lake. I can't stop thinking about how fun it'd be to pull our 4x4 van out to do some trails. But realistically - is that even possible with this setup?

We have a 28' Blue Bird TC2000 with the 5.9 12v and AT545 - ~150k miles. On the big mountain passes (6%-7% grade) she can maintain 35-45 mph uphill in 3rd gear. She's also got highway gears the previous owner upgrade to.

Funny thing is my van has a 7.3L turbo diesel, which seems better suited for the towing task. I'm over estimating the weight - but let's say it's 9k with the wheelchair lift and crap we throw in it. It's probably more around 8-9k though.

Here we are in CO:




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Old 07-11-2017, 04:35 AM   #2
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i tow about 4k lbs with a similar set up. i;ve added a transmission cooler and turned up the power a bit.

towing up long hills is tough. you'll be pushing the limits of the 545. your bus and truck will be 30k lbs combined weight. and higway gears are the opposite of towing gears. speed or power is a trade off.
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Old 07-11-2017, 06:01 AM   #3
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You are going to need a transmission cooler. To get a close guess of the weight of the van, look at the GVW on the plate on the drivers door frame and subtract 1000 pounds from it
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Old 07-11-2017, 06:09 AM   #4
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Location: Western Wisconsin
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The 12 valve doesnt have nearly the power of 24 valve but your bus should be able to tow more than a full length, i have 2 tcfe 2000's, a '97 with the 12v and 4.44 rear end ratio and a '04 with 24v and 5.29 ratio. both 72 passenger, both AT-545 trans, 13 window. i would take rigs to weigh station and get axle weights and make sure its within specs on placard in bus. transmission cooler sounds like a good plan, trans temp gauge too.
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Old 07-11-2017, 06:31 AM   #5
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awesome bus!! most certainly a transmission cooler... for one thing the 545 will add lots of heat to your radiator not to mention heating it up wit hthe weight.. you'll likely drop to second gear on the uphills.. you need to keep the revs up on a 545 under heavy load or you will pull the clutches loose,slip and glaze.... they need at least 2000 RPM to run at full pressure..
-Christopher
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Old 07-11-2017, 06:39 AM   #6
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The exporters pull a bus with another bus. You should be fine pulling a van.
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Old 07-11-2017, 07:11 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cadillackid View Post
awesome bus!! most certainly a transmission cooler... for one thing the 545 will add lots of heat to your radiator not to mention heating it up wit hthe weight.. you'll likely drop to second gear on the uphills.. you need to keep the revs up on a 545 under heavy load or you will pull the clutches loose,slip and glaze.... they need at least 2000 RPM to run at full pressure..
-Christopher


I just did the Rocky Mtn. National Park pass (12,173' !!) and had to stop several times in the steepest grade for the entire 50 miles for 1-way roadwork traffic. I was so nervous it wouldn't get going. It was slow but once the turbo kicked in we got moving. I was making good use of 1st and 2nd on that pass




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Old 07-11-2017, 07:56 PM   #8
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using 1st and 2nd is wise! that kept your RPMs up so you have full line pressure in the transmission, keeps the fluid in motion through the cooler and the clutches held tight! its when people leave them in D or 3 and the RPMs go way down because the engine is bogging (AT545s take a long while to downshift).. that gets people in trouble. as the line presure drops
-Christopher
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Old 07-11-2017, 08:08 PM   #9
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Chassis: TC2000
Engine: Cummins 5,9 12V
Rated Cap: 24 seats, 3 wheelchairs
Quote:
Originally Posted by cadillackid View Post
using 1st and 2nd is wise! that kept your RPMs up so you have full line pressure in the transmission, keeps the fluid in motion through the cooler and the clutches held tight! its when people leave them in D or 3 and the RPMs go way down because the engine is bogging (AT545s take a long while to downshift).. that gets people in trouble. as the line presure drops
-Christopher


I am having some coolant leaking problems I'll post in another thread. But otherwise the bus is doing great!


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Old 07-11-2017, 08:13 PM   #10
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Join Date: Mar 2017
Location: Maryland
Posts: 95
Year: 1998
Coachwork: Blue Bird
Chassis: TC2000
Engine: Cummins 5,9 12V
Rated Cap: 24 seats, 3 wheelchairs
Can my 5.9 and AT545 pull a 9k van?

Oh and here's the van I also have to get a quick disconnect driveshaft to flat tow and that seems to be a complicated endeavour.

Honestly I've wondered if buying another bus, a pusher, with 7.3 equivalent (DT444??) would be more appropriate.




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