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Old 04-17-2017, 04:15 PM   #1
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Is it for me: 91 TC/2000 5.9/AT545

I'm looking at picking up a 30' 91 or 90 TC/2000 with a 5.9 and AT545. It's already been converted. It has a VE pump and 250k miles on it. It has air brakes.

I'm hoping to use this for an annual camping trip down in KY. It's a 12 hour drive from me in Ontario.
What all would be required to have this bus comfortably be able to cruise at 70 and not lose too much speed going up the bigger hills? I'd be fine switching to a manual transmission if the gains were worthwhile. I work at a truck center so parts are the only things I'd need to pay for and I get them at cost.

Are there things I can do to the bus so I can expect 10-14MPG highway? It would seem that 2100 RPM would be the RPM to aim for at highway speeds?

How do seatbelt laws apply to buses? I have 2 boys in car seats and I want them buckled up.

Would importing the bus into Canada be pretty straightforward since it's so old?

How much does insurance for something like this typically cost in Ontario?

Thanks

Here's a picture of the bus. I don't plan on towing but as my family grows it will probably become a necessity.

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Old 04-17-2017, 04:27 PM   #2
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the trans is a factor in cruising speed. no OD and no lock up. its a 4sp auto. the gearing in the rear will have bearing on top speed as well.
what does it cruise at now?
rear gears and possibly an at 645 (I think or 643) that has a lock up in 3rd and 4th would get you close to 70. if you do all that you should be able to pick the final gearing.
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Old 04-17-2017, 04:36 PM   #3
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Any chance you could go drive that bus on the freeway long enough to hit one of those hills so you can see what it feels like?
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Old 04-17-2017, 04:47 PM   #4
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nice bus!

i have a similar setup only a high mileage '93 bus instead.

to change the cruising speed and fuel efficiency you need to change the rear axle ratio.

there are gear ratio calculators online that can help with rpm and speed. my bus has a 4.7 rear and makes 67mph @ 2700rpm

a lower rear axle number will get you faster at lower rpm. i think bluebirds came with a 4.3 as the lowest ratio from the factory.

making changes that major is rarely worth it. its easier to find the right bus than change the wrong one.

good luck
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Old 04-17-2017, 05:19 PM   #5
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If I'm correct you both have the TC2000 with the 22.5" tires? If you could get a rear end from a TC1000 you'd have the gearing you're dreaming of. My data plates are still in the scrap pile with the other sheet metal, but this rear end is like 3.43 or something similar because of my 19.5" tires. Sounds like a simple swap if you spend a lot of time on the highway, but it might also be like being stuck in overdrive.
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Old 04-17-2017, 05:23 PM   #6
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Wow I was expecting this board to be a lot slower moving.

My friends own the bus so I know a fair bit about it's history. It is 12 hours away and not running though. It needs batteries.

They said that it had issues maintaining 70. I did some work to it a couple years ago and tweaked the pump and also put in EGT/boost/trans temp gauges. It's basically been sitting since then so I don't know what kind of effect it really had.

Since I'm a mechanic swapping out a rear end isn't that big of deal to me. Obviously it would be nice not to but my payback time for a MPG increase would be significantly shorter.

Is swapping ABS in a big deal?

With the AT545, can I just keep my foot into it going up grades and as long as the temp stays in range it will be fine?
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Old 04-17-2017, 05:36 PM   #7
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My 545 downshifts very well while climbing hills, and that's necessary because the 5.9 just doesn't seem to be that great at pushing uphill. I've heard some 545s don't downshift automatically and have to be manually downshifted.
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Old 04-17-2017, 07:08 PM   #8
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the mechanical 545's do a good joib od fownshifting up hills.. however a 545 usually wont run over about 45 MPH in 3rd gear no matter how you adjust it... and with no l,ockup comnverter at 45 you'll be close to redline on that engine due to converter "slip".. the 545 isnt designed to run under load at low RPM.. it needs RPM to get its line pressure up so you dont slip the drum in the band..

most of them have a higher stall speed converter.. such to always pout the engine in its maximum output... ie the 545 will usually stall at 2000 or so..esp when in motion.. most diesel engines max output is in that 2000-2300 RPM range..

if you want to be able to lug the bus at lower RPMs you'll need a different transmission... the 545 is pretty bulletproof and rarely fails unless it is taken "out of its element" so to say...

the 545s with electronic modulators are a PITA to get to downshift.. the electric modulators were JUNK.. and werent progressive like the cabled modulators were.

the 545 will heat up on hills.. if you asre omn Serious hills like rocky mountains, it will get quite hot... if you are just running the I-75 corridor you wont have amny issues.. those hills are small... neither of my 545s has any trouble at all in the small mountains... apps, smokies, adirondacks..

if you wamnt a transmission you can lug on a 643 would be your automatic of choice in a mechanical... it locks up in 3rd and 4th and full line pressure is achieved by i believe 1500 input shaft RPM.. the Overdrive 2000 series will lower your RPMs.. but also requires pricey electronic bits to run it...

-Christopher
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