Originally Posted by cowlitzcoach
The vast majority of First Student RE buses have the smallest available engines with low HP ratings. They do this to keep the original investment down.
In reality, when the majority of the miles driven by a school bus during the service life is at 30 MPH or lower there is no need for HP and gearing to go 80 MPH with a full load.
In many states the smaller contractors and schools follow the same formula. If you can save $10K per bus that means every 9th or 10th bus is free.
So while your new-to-you bus was purchased at a really good price, don't expect to much out of that T444E. It is a great little engine but it does much better in a Ford pickup than in a bus that is rated at over 20,000 GVW.
my latest bus is a shortie with a T-444E in it, the mid grade at 190 HP.. with an AT545, it moves that little short bus decently, that bus is only 17,500 GVWR..
the DEV is a DT-360 with (according to jasper) 185 HP, and an AT545.. that bus is rated at a GVWR of 27,500..
both busses max out top speed at about 68 MPH at 2600 RPM.. the new one might be a couple MPH faster..
the DT-360 being an I-6 has More brute off the line than the 444.. though once my revs are up, the seat of my pants feel is that the 444E will run faster than the DEV..
that 2003 Bus likely has a 2000 series allison so you wil have 5 gears ad a Lockup converter.. and you may have the 210 HP version in an 84 passenger bus.. im not sure ive seen one rated at the mid or low grade in that large chassis...
I dont think you'll have a hard time with it...
NOW as mentioned in various threads.. Dont get your 444 Hot..
BOTH of my Busses have come with bad fan clutches.. I jyst fixed the new bus yesterday and now it runs nice N cool..
you may be lucky and have a horton Air-electric fan clutch which have much lower failure rate than viscous clutches do..
many schools dont realize this because the fans run at the minimum rated speed all the time which in stop N go / idle traffic will cool a 444E 210 or below..
444's LOVE to get hot on the freeway if the fans dont turn on or if the radiator fins are clogged..
wheb you fly up and bring your bus back pay attention to your oil pressure and your temperature.. a temperature of 190-200 is optimal.. 210 is pushing it.. 230 and its time to take action.. in fact most of them have the computer programmed to turn on the temperature alarms and set a code at 230 or over..
you are bringig it from up north past the heat of the summer which will help but just pay attention..
if it slowly starts to get hot as your driving, turn on your heaters.. they will help dissipate engine heat.. on my new bus coming from houston to florida in mid 90s heat I had one stretch of time where I ran the rear heater on high to keep my temp at 210-215..
just something to pay attention to closely.. esp when you first start out on a long highway trip..
be sure your heater valves are open (if the yare closed when you buy the bus, open them and check for leaks by driving around for a while in town and then sniffing for coolant smell around the heating units..if they dont leak leave the valves open.. this gives you more coolant to circulate as well as a way to dissipate heat if you should need to)..
yours may be fine but theres been a few bad fans on here and ive now gotten 2 busses with bad fan clutches. hopefully yours has the nice Horton clutch that engages.. they go bad a Lot less than the viscous.