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Old 07-08-2016, 04:52 PM   #1
plfking's Avatar
Join Date: Jun 2016
Location: N.C.
Posts: 61
Howdy ! FNG here with a couple of questions...

...will be buying my first bus (7 or 8 window) in 8-12 weeks or so, and have a few questions.

First off, let me scream out a huge THANK YOU to all of you who regularly post here. I've probably spent 70-80 hours over the last 5 months reading threads, and the amount of insight and helpfulness you guys share is really an awesome thing to behold. I'm sure I can handle most of the conversion on my own, but it's too cool knowing I can search anything here and probably come up with 4 or 5 different ways to accomplish the task at hand.

So, my questions --

1) Is an Allison 545 trans to be avoided at all costs, or just because it won't lock up? Is it otherwise on a par with their others models?

2) I haven't seen anything concerning the Spicer manual trans....anyone have a good or bad opinion ?

3) For cooling help on my bus, I had planned on cutting 16" wide x 6" tall vents in front and back (above the windshield and above the rear emergency door) with a sliding door to regulate the amount of air coming through while the bus is rolling. Other than blowing all my papers onto the floor, is there any structural reason I can't do this? I have yet to see any pics or discussion of this.

4) I have carefully read and agree with the forum rules, but.....can you insult Buckeye fans for their poor taste in football teams ? GO BLUE !
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Old 07-08-2016, 06:59 PM   #2
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Carytowncat's Avatar
Join Date: May 2016
Location: Richmond Virginia
Posts: 541
Year: 1984
Engine: 366 Big block Chevy! :) w/ Stick shift
Hello and welcome.

I too considered the front and rear vents. Mostly because i just do not want to cut into a non leaking ceiling. For now i have opted to try a evaporative cooler before any cutting takes place.

If you do those vents i would enjoy seeing pictures.

Good luck!
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Old 07-08-2016, 10:22 PM   #3
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Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: Houston, Texas
Posts: 4,350
Year: 1946
Coachwork: Chevrolet/Wayne
Chassis: 1- 1/2 ton
Engine: Cummins 4BT
Rated Cap: 15
The old 545's are not "bad"...just sorely out of date. In fact it is getting harder by the day to get parts & service. The non-lockup will suck a lot more fuel and make steep downhills scary putting a much greater load on the brakes. That said...if you ever need any parts...I have a working 545 you can have for free. Just pick it up in Houston.

Spicers are fine as long as your clutch leg holds up. A lot of folks still love manuals and they are easy to service.

As for dual vents, if you did have a means for controlling the airflow it should work fine.

Best of luck on your hunt & build.
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Old 07-08-2016, 11:03 PM   #4
Join Date: Jun 2016
Location: Mentor, OH
Posts: 29
Year: 2000
Coachwork: Bluebird
Chassis: Mini Bird (8 window)
Engine: T444E
Rated Cap: 24 +1
Hello and welcome, we brought our first ever bus home today It's an 8-window Bluebird. It has 2 ceiling vents and rear A/C and heat so you might find a bus that already has them.

Best of luck on your search <3
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Old 07-09-2016, 07:06 AM   #5
Bus Geek
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Columbus Ohio
Posts: 2,564
Year: 1991
Coachwork: Carpenter
Chassis: International S3800
Engine: DT360
Rated Cap: 7 Row Handicap
do i have some wierd version of an AT545?? if I pull my trans lever down from D to '3' my trans pulls down Hard like to nbe expected on a downshift... if I leave it in 'D' i have very little engine braking as noted... I agree lockup is better and if I blow up my 545 I'll replace it with a 1000 series... however im not getting where no engine braking occurs on a 545.. you just have to downshift like you would on any vehicle on a downhill..

as far as Ventilation, if you are not going to have road A/C which not just open the windows rather than cut vents in the bus.. I understand vents for being parked to help keep the bus cooler without running the generator and electric A/C...

when I brought my bus home from florida I opened the first window on the driver side and the last window on the passenger side which created an ice crossflow in the bus.. (even after converted im assuming some of the side windows will remain in your bus)..

then I could regulate easily the amount of air on me by how much i opened the driver window.. if youu just cut vents in the front of the bus directly in the airflow you will have issues with keeping them sealed as you blast 60+ MPH wind at the front of the bus in a heavy rainstorm.. at the very least you would want to have baffles and a way to catch any water that gets by even if they are closed..

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Old 07-10-2016, 03:04 PM   #6
plfking's Avatar
Join Date: Jun 2016
Location: N.C.
Posts: 61
Thanks folks ! I wanted to ask because I am seeing a lot of 545s out there.

As far as the vents......they will be a door with weatherstripping, and will compress against the walls by turning a knob attached to a threaded stud. I'm pretty sure they'll be waterproof.

A friend used to have a bus that we camped in a few times....even with all the windows open, I burned up while riding. I actually did the 'dog' thing and poked my head out the window a few times.
"Beelzebub has a devil on the side for me."
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