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Old 04-10-2017, 09:35 PM   #1
Join Date: Apr 2017
Posts: 10
newby advice: Is cummins with alison the way to go?

Hi, I'm about to enter the skoolie ranks here in Tasmania. I've asked a few bus folk down here and some general advice I'm getting is to look for a non-computer Cummins engine with an Alison transmission.

I know squat about vehicles, and want to learn. Wondering if anyone would be kind enough to send me some advice about what models to look for, any pitfalls to avoid, miles vs. age considerations etc. Anything else that might come in handy for a noob.

Thanks, Dane.
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Old 04-10-2017, 10:30 PM   #2
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Join Date: Feb 2016
Location: Willamina, Oregon
Posts: 6,409
Coachwork: 97 Bluebird TC1000 5.9
Generally speaking, based on my limited knowledge, you should be looking for a 1997 or older bus to remain computer free.

The Cummins is a very popular choice, usually in the 5.9 or 8.3. People here also like the International engines.

The common transmission is the Allison 545, which has no lockers. In older buses a 643 is preferable because this transmission has lockers in 3rd and 4th gears aiding in downhill decent. 1000, 2000 or 3000 series Allisons are excellent too but I think those are in the newer buses with computers.

Here buses age vastly differently depending on what part of the country they spent their years in. We have a rust belt where we try to avoid buying buses from.

As far as miles are concerned, obviously the lower the better. I purchased mine at 167K which would be a fairly average level. Some people get buses with amazingly low miles. Of course you usually pay more for buses with lower miles.

If you can send a link to buses you're considering buying, people here will gladly evaluate it as much as possible from the advertisement and photos. It's amazing what a group of people like this know cumulatively.

Good luck, and welcome.
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Old 04-11-2017, 09:45 AM   #3
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Join Date: Jun 2011
Posts: 690
My bus is titled as a 98 but was actually manf. in February of 97. It is a 12 valve.
Former owner of a 1969 F600 Skoolie.

1998 Ford B700 Thomas body 65 passenger. 5.9 Cummins 12 valve with MT643 Transmission 123,000 miles.
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Old 04-11-2017, 11:50 AM   #4
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Join Date: Apr 2013
Location: Colorado
Posts: 1,599
Year: 1993
Coachwork: bluebird
Engine: 5.9 Cummins, Allison AT1545
Rated Cap: 2
Originally Posted by Versatile View Post
My bus is titled as a 98 but was actually manf. in February of 97. It is a 12 valve.
very Cool Versatile! i'm just curious for a later model 12 valve, what hp is your factory setting.

my '93 was built out as a 190 hp. with the p7100 fuel pump. the same dodge year '93 was 160 hp with the ve rotary pump.

Cummins Horsepower & Torque by Model Year

as someone that turned up the screw, i'm curious if the later 12v bus models did the same?

oh, to the OP cummins and allison is great. the one allsion AT545 trans gets a bad rap here on this forum. But a bigger cummins than the 5.9 will have a bigger transmission.

good luck
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advice needed, alison, cummins

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