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Old 07-19-2017, 11:30 AM   #1
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Jul 2017
Posts: 21
Journey to The Rockwood Colony

Hello everyone! I am new! I am also new to busses and I must say, I already have Skoolie fever! Here is my story up to this point.

My name is Ben. I am 29 and Im married with 2 kids. I am a woodworker by day and an over the road box truck driver by night. I run a woodworking business from home and my wife Gabby is a Photographer/Graphic Designer. We live in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

Recently I went to visit my best friend Denny for the first time in several years. He lives on 35 acres out in the boonies of Pineville, Missouri. His parents and all of his siblings live in Tiny Houses there. Long story shortish, we hit it off and it was just like old times immediately. We had such a good time! Such a good time that Denny told us we could build a Tiny House on his property and not pay a dime. I laughed and I told him only if he partnered up with me and started a woodworking business together on his land. Just like that we are moving to Missouri and starting a woodworking business called "The Rockwood Colony"! We also decided that we are starting a YouTube channel also called "The Rockwood Colony" naturally! The channel will be about woodworking and Tiny House/Skoolie life in the country by the Ozarks! Denny and I have always been pretty weird/crazy together so it should be interesting. Oh ya.. this is a Skoolie thread!...

Now onto the part you all have probably been waiting to hear.. WE DECIDED TO LIVE IN A BUS!!!! We were originally going to build a tiny house on a trailer but then we thought hey, we want our house to have a Diesel engine in it . Last Friday we won an auction on govdeals for a 1996 International Amtran dt444 3800 school bus with 110k miles on it that seats 77 passengers for $3004!! This bus is on southern Missouri about an hour away from Denny's acreage which we were already going to this weekend to visit again so it works out perfectly! We are getting our bus straight from a school district and it was still hauling kids last week! I talked to the mechanic that has worked on this bus for the past 20 years for an hour before I bid on it to make sure there was no problems. Not only did he guarantee zero mechanical problems, but he also said it's completely rust free and seems much newer than a '96 from all of the care it has received over the years! The way that he talked about all of their buses he's worked on for many years, I could tell he takes a lot of pride in what he does which made me feel so much better about buying a bus I've never seen in person. I have no pics of our bus yet btw but I will post some ASAP!

I am a bit nervous still because I know many people on different forums have talked about Amtran bodies being cheap and the dt444's having problems. Of course I didn't see any of these threads until after we won the auction but I have high hopes still and I'm hoping it's the unicorn out of all of the similar busses!

Like I said I am new to busses/skoolies so any opinions, feedback, and and advice would be welcomed with open arms! Thanks in advance and thanks for having me! I'm looking forward to getting to know all of you and seeing/hearing about your rigs!

Ps. We aren't moving until our current lease is up next June so we will be driving it 9 hours home and starting the conversion there. I've heard the dt444's can run into problems on long highway trips. Any advice on getting our new bus home safely would be greatly appreciated also!

Pps. This was short right?! . ...sorry.
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Old 07-19-2017, 11:51 AM   #2
Mini-Skoolie
 
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Welcome! a 444e is basically a 7.3l power stroke. If it was maintained well you shouldn't have any trouble making it back to Sioux Falls.if it has an Allison 3000 series transmission you should take it to an international dealer and have 6th gear switched on, if it hasn't been already.

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Old 07-19-2017, 12:04 PM   #3
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Join Date: Sep 2014
Location: Eustis FLORIDA
Posts: 10,416
Year: 1992
Coachwork: Ward/AmTran
Chassis: International
Engine: dt466
Rated Cap: 78
444 is an ok engine. And AmTran are all I own. I think they're great buses.
A DT466 is always better, but a 444 isn't the worst engine you could have ended up with. At least its not a Cat or Mercedes.
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Old 07-19-2017, 12:05 PM   #4
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Year: 2002
Coachwork: Bluebird
Chassis: All American RE (A3RE)
Engine: Cummins ISC (8.3)
Rated Cap: 72
Clarify: Is it a T444 or T444E?

Someone straighten me out if I don't have this quite right:

International produced an indirect injection (IDI) 7.3 Non Turbo engine.

Then a turbocharged 7.3 IDI engine.

And finally a completely new direct injection, turbocharged engine known as the T444E or in Fords as Powerstroke.


I THINK that 1996 you would have the turbo IDI engine. I THINK 1997 was the first year for the T444E.

They are all good engines but the IDI engines don't make near the power that the later T444E/Powerstroke engines do.

BTW: The IDI engines were also installed in Ford products.

Edit: I just read something that has me questioning what year they went from IDI to direct injection. It may have been as early as 1994.
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Old 07-20-2017, 03:52 AM   #5
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Jul 2017
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Thanks for the welcome! I'm not sure which tranny it has yet but is the alllison 3000 the only transmission for these that you can get the 6th gear switched on or is there others?
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Old 07-20-2017, 03:59 AM   #6
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Jul 2017
Posts: 21
The said dt444 but they probably meant t444

Quote:
Originally Posted by PNW_Steve View Post
Clarify: Is it a T444 or T444E?

Someone straighten me out if I don't have this quite right:

International produced an indirect injection (IDI) 7.3 Non Turbo engine.

Then a turbocharged 7.3 IDI engine.

And finally a completely new direct injection, turbocharged engine known as the T444E or in Fords as Powerstroke.


I THINK that 1996 you would have the turbo IDI engine. I THINK 1997 was the first year for the T444E.

They are all good engines but the IDI engines don't make near the power that the later T444E/Powerstroke engines do.

BTW: The IDI engines were also installed in Ford products.

Edit: I just read something that has me questioning what year they went from IDI to direct injection. It may have been as early as 1994.
They said dt444 but probably meant t444
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Old 07-20-2017, 10:09 AM   #7
Mini-Skoolie
 
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I believe that it needs to be a 3000 series or higher to have the 6th gear option. 3000 and up series transmissions are electronically controlled

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Old 07-20-2017, 10:53 AM   #8
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Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: Houston, Texas
Posts: 5,693
Year: 1946
Coachwork: Chevrolet/Wayne
Chassis: 1- 1/2 ton
Engine: Cummins 4BT
Rated Cap: 15
At least some of the 2000 series come as 6 speeds. My 2200MH has all.
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Old 07-20-2017, 11:01 AM   #9
Mini-Skoolie
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tango View Post
At least some of the 2000 series come as 6 speeds. My 2200MH has all.
I was hoping someone would chime in on this subject. Thanks!

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Old 07-20-2017, 11:18 AM   #10
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Jul 2017
Posts: 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tango View Post
At least some of the 2000 series come as 6 speeds. My 2200MH has all.
Thank you! I can't get a hold of the mechanic anymore to find out what tranny is in it so I guess I'll have to just find out in person. It will be like opening up a Christmas present! ...hopefully I don't get socks...
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