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Old 07-11-2016, 06:22 AM   #1
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Hi all. An honor to be with you. And A question if I may?

Hi There

I've been lurking for a few years - looking at pictures mostly, and finally after realizing there are less years ahead than behind and I'd better get off of my keester and either buy a bus - or resign myself to bus voyeurism and eventual regret, I'm definitely on my way to the former.

Sure a bit more money to save .. and to actually find a rig - but it's going to happen.

I suppose many start here with the big open ended question of "which bus?". And so I shall not disappoint. However, with a pretty clear idea of what i want and my skills, I've pared things down considerably - and so my question is a bit more specific.

Engine choices.

Although (as they are the most common configuration here) a Bluebird IH 3800 conventional will likely be what I end up going for - and am quite comfortable with the DT466 as an engine choice, But I'm quite partial towards some of the flat nosed buses which I tend to see with either the 5.9 Cummins, of T444e Ford/Navistar.

At a glance I'd think both of those engines might be decent enough choices - especially the 5.9 now that they're common as heck in pickups and the coming years will see boneyards full of them - equals cheap and plentiful parts.

But.. man the 5.9 seems underpowered for pulling a bus. I mean they must be capable because they put them in, but are they being worked to death?

Then again, five and a half litre gas engines pulled them around in the 70's...

I'm partial to the DT466 because I'd likely as not do a piston and liner job (~$1000 in parts) straight away and put it out of my mind.

My dream is to actually put some miles on, and I'd rather not have the dream turn to nightmare 300 miles outside of Winnipeg with a powerstroke that has scattered itself all over the Trans Canada.

I obviously don't expect to win any quarter mile trophies - but I'd like a comfortable highway cruise without having to hug the right with hazards on.

Our 466 powered straight trucks will cruise nicely at the 110Km/h (68Mph) limiter, no problem powering up grades.

Anyone mind sharing drivability stories of their T444 / 5.9 powered rigs?

As well, data on exactly what some of these buses weight (curb weight) has been quite difficult to find. I figure a 38 foot bus has to be somewhere between 14 and 19,000 pounds, but no idea how much they varied between body manufacturer, year, configuration, etc. HAve any of you actually weighed your rigs?

Thanks to anyone for taking the time. I look forward to spelling out my whole master plan an how it came to this some time in the future should anyone care to read it.

Jim.
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Old 07-11-2016, 06:48 AM   #2
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my 40 footer weighs 17.9k without seats or interior paneling. With a 190hp DT466 it does about 62mph on flat ground. I drove it from KY to FL and only ever had to pass ONE car. Guy was doing 40 in a 70!
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Old 07-11-2016, 07:32 AM   #3
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So for the sake of argument the 466/Allison(?) adds a half ton over the 5.9 in the same chassis so lets say the bus 'might' go to 17 even without it.

Half of that (you'll see where I'm going with this in a second) is 8500 pounds and twenty feet.

That happens to be exactly what my P-30 specs out to at payload.

The P-30 has a down right anemic 4.8 (292 1 bbl) gas - I think 165Hp, 180 ft/lb - but it'll do 75 at 3500 RPM (though I think it's only been there once, lol.)

So in theory one might consider the powerstroke or 5.9 "twice the engine" as the 292 .. why shouldn't it be enough to pull a bus?

I know that's truly bad kindergarten science there, I'm not actually that dense .. just trying to figure out whether or not I should simply pass up even looking at anything other than a binder, or are they worth serious consideration.
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Old 07-11-2016, 09:03 AM   #4
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I have a short bus with a 195 HP DT-360 in it and the Power-eating AT545 transmission.. its a 7 window short bus.. a carpenter GVWR 27500 (I dont know its actual axle weights but its stock.. seats in mostly..)..

I spin a 60,000 BTU A/C compressor and run 65 on flat ground.. and slow down some in the hills.. even though I drive my bus around and have no issue running slower, if you are planning oin racking up alot of miles i think springing for a slightly newer bus with the Over-drive allison transmissions would be worth it.

in order of preference(best to worse) I would say transmission-wise would be the following: (Allison automatics)

1. MD3060 (usually found in the Rear engine large engine busses). 5 speed factory .. but 6th gear can be "unlocked electronically" by Allison

2. 2000,2500 series - found in busses typically year 2000 and newer.. standard dognose busses used them alot ..they are 5 speed from the factory and can also have 6th gear unlocked

3. Allison 1000 series - found in the IC (international) BE series.. light-weight busses.. I mention these if you are looking for a decent shorter bus under 26000 lbs GVWR .. they are 5 speed with 6th speed unlockable.

4. MT643 - a 4 speed Lockup torque converter transmission found in MANY busses from the mid-late 90s, early 2000s.. it is a good solid transmission and can handle the power of the larger engines... its advantage over the AT545 (see below) is that the lockup converter does not rob power.. and the transmission will not get nearly as hot in the mountains.. it also has better "engine braking" than the AT545 for the downhills..

4. AT545 - probably tyhe Most common transmission found in older conventional busses.. its been around foprever.. is a workhorse and lasts well.. it is also a 4 speed automatic.. but Lacks the lockuo torque converter... this transmission is NOT one that you want if you plan on doing Mountainness terrain... appalachains and smoky mountains probably OK but reocky mountains.. forget it.. you'll burn it up... I have it in my bus and am happy with it but i dont plan on trekking the rockies in my bus..

-Christopher
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Old 07-11-2016, 09:32 AM   #5
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Thanks guys. I've been meaning to check to see what our Penske rentals have for slushboxes (personally I'd be happy enough with a manual but you just don't see them anymore). Nice to know that even the worst of the pick isn't necessarily a grenade with a loose pin though.
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Old 07-11-2016, 11:32 AM   #6
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Weeeeell, a few years of the Cummins 5.9 had a loose pin that could grenade the engine, landing it the unfortunate moniker, KDP or Killer Dowel Pin. It's an easy enough fix though so if you do go with the 5.9 just do a little research to make sure yours won't be susceptible.

FWIW, my experience test driving a 38' Thomas RE with a 5.9 and Allison Automatic is that the 5.9 is anemic in that size of bus, so to compensate the differential was geared to 6.73 which means it topped out at 55mph wide open. So I determined to spend a little more on a larger engine that is more suited to push that beast down the road at highway speed. Yes 5.9s are common but it seems to me if it's always operating at its maximum capacity just to keep momentum then it's life expectancy will be significantly reduced and I don't want to be rebuilding engines every few years.
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Old 07-11-2016, 12:18 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jake_blue View Post
Weeeeell, a few years of the Cummins 5.9 had a loose pin that could grenade the engine, landing it the unfortunate moniker, KDP or Killer Dowel Pin. It's an easy enough fix though so if you do go with the 5.9 just do a little research to make sure yours won't be susceptible.

FWIW, my experience test driving a 38' Thomas RE with a 5.9 and Allison Automatic is that the 5.9 is anemic in that size of bus, so to compensate the differential was geared to 6.73 which means it topped out at 55mph wide open. So I determined to spend a little more on a larger engine that is more suited to push that beast down the road at highway speed. Yes 5.9s are common but it seems to me if it's always operating at its maximum capacity just to keep momentum then it's life expectancy will be significantly reduced and I don't want to be rebuilding engines every few years.
there are also the "53" blocks to watch out for.
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Old 07-11-2016, 01:24 PM   #8
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Quote:
...seems to me if it's always operating at its maximum capacity just to keep momentum then it's life expectancy will be significantly reduced and I don't want to be rebuilding engines every few years...
Aha! This is exactly what I was wondering, and I'm hearing pretty well what I was expecting. I know the 466 is up to the task, and even if I caught a high mileage example resleeving appears to be well within my comfort with a wrench zone and a good weekend's worth of work - so this is probably where I'll focus my efforts.

I know they made a few rear engine models with that engine, but I've yet to see one here (A few CAT3208's but I trust 'em like a politician). Never know I guess. I saw my ultimate fantasy bus in PA (4 wheel drive!) but I can't go there and they won't send it here.
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Old 07-11-2016, 01:42 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by EastCoastCB View Post
there are also the "53" blocks to watch out for.
That too.

Everyone has their own favorite or least desirable brands and models for whatever reasons... It's mostly just a matter of the devil you know best.
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Old 07-11-2016, 02:36 PM   #10
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I drove straight trucks for a fellow, one had a DT408 and the other a DT466; both were geared pretty fast and the DT408 could maintain 75 even heavily loaded. It could maintain 80+ empty. The DT466 had a little more power, but wasn't geared so high ... it could pass the 408 uphill (both loaded), but couldn't do it when both were empty. It had a top end around 78 empty.

As I understand it, the DT408 was a short production sibling to the DT466 and if you go to IH for a ReNewed engine, you'll get the DT466 to replace the '408 It is my belief that with proper maintenance, these engines can go a million miles.
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