Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
 
Old 04-06-2018, 10:14 AM   #1
New Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2018
Posts: 5
Need advice/opinions Newby alert!!!

Hey Skoolie peeps! So here is the scoop.......We are searching for a bus and have been for a few months. Here is the rundown.......we are a family of 5 kids 8,6, and almost 4 years old. We sold almost everything here in Minnesota and want to take life on the road for a time. My wife is a hair stylist and we listed her salon for sale. Once its sold, we are free!
We will be using the rear 7 ft of a bus for a 1 chair mobile salon. with that said.......we have pretty specific criteria for what we are looking for.
Flat nose, front engine, 77 inch inside ceiling, automatic transmission, and rear door that comes with a front engine, also under bay storage. I understand that these are rare and I found 1. I am going to look at it on Monday 4/9/2018 and its a 6.5 hr drive from me.
My only concern with the bus is that it has a CAT 3126 and 545 Allison transmission. Ive been reading up on these and I get a little nervous. Im no diesel mechanic, although I am decent at fixing various things myself. This bus just got traded in around the 1st of the year and it was used as a district bus in Iowa until then. Any advice on this engine/ transmission combo from real life experience would be amazing! Thanks skoolie family!
Adam The First Man is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-06-2018, 02:17 PM   #2
Bus Geek
 
brokedown's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2016
Location: St Petersburg, FL
Posts: 2,540
Year: 1997
Coachwork: Bluebird
Chassis: TC2000 FE
Engine: Cummins 5.9
Rated Cap: 72
Around here you won't get a lot of votes in favor of that CAT engine. The AT545 isn't an amazing transmission but despite the constant complaining it is adequate.

Consider a Bluebird TC/2000. All the front engine models came with a 5.9 cummins and AT545. Some have 77" ceilings (mine does), some have under-bay compartments (mine has 1, I've seen 4 on others) and they're actually pretty easy to add. The 5.9 is a good reliable well known engine with easy parts availability that won't surprise any mechanic who has ever seen a dodge truck. The TC2000 was a VERY popular model and was made in lenght from around 26 or 28 all the way to 40 ft length.
__________________
Keep up with us and our build!
Follow us on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and Twitter
brokedown is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-06-2018, 02:32 PM   #3
Bus Geek
 
Tango's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: Houston, Texas
Posts: 8,462
Year: 1946
Coachwork: Chevrolet/Wayne
Chassis: 1- 1/2 ton
Engine: Cummins 4BT
Rated Cap: 15
What he said. Not a very desirable combination. The Cat is expensive to maintain and the 545 is a fuel sucking dinosaur with no lockup.
Tango is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-06-2018, 04:11 PM   #4
Skoolie
 
Join Date: Jan 2018
Location: Brunswick, GA
Posts: 148
Year: 1999
Coachwork: Blue Bird
Chassis: TC2000
Engine: 5.9 Cummins
Rated Cap: 84
Quote:
Originally Posted by brokedown View Post
Consider a Bluebird TC/2000. All the front engine models came with a 5.9 cummins and AT545. Some have 77" ceilings (mine does), some have under-bay compartments (mine has 1, I've seen 4 on others) and they're actually pretty easy to add. The 5.9 is a good reliable well known engine with easy parts availability that won't surprise any mechanic who has ever seen a dodge truck. The TC2000 was a VERY popular model and was made in lenght from around 26 or 28 all the way to 40 ft length.
Agree with all that was said - with the exception of all TC-2000 FE's having AT545 - most might, but my 1999 40' came with MT-653RM.
TrailLifeBill is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-06-2018, 04:32 PM   #5
Bus Geek
 
brokedown's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2016
Location: St Petersburg, FL
Posts: 2,540
Year: 1997
Coachwork: Bluebird
Chassis: TC2000 FE
Engine: Cummins 5.9
Rated Cap: 72
Wikipedia (I know!) claims that the MT643 was only available in rear engine configurations. But we all know wikipedia is an unreliable source!

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blue_B...000#Powertrain

And yes there was a manual transmission option and a gas engine option, but those were very unpopular choices!
__________________
Keep up with us and our build!
Follow us on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and Twitter
brokedown is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-07-2018, 12:20 AM   #6
New Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2018
Posts: 5
lots of opinions

So the bus i mentioned in the post is a Thomas 2001. Today I found a 2003 Bluebird with the cummins 5.9 has the height and underbay storage that we need as well as front engine. Both busses are the same price. The Thomas I can drive to at 6 hrs away. The Blue Bird is 10 hrs away, But if I buy it.....the guy will drive it to me as soon as nec=xt weekend. I have to cover the fuel and his time.......im assuming that will be at least $500.
Ive read that when towing or on any kind of grade that the cummins is doggy, whereas the Cat has alot more torque to handle those situations. Im actually really torn between the two buses. They are very similar with just 2 years apart and both have the high ceilings, front engines, and bay storage. I can drive to look at the Thomas, But cant with the Blue Bird. Basically Im going to have to make a purchase decision in 36 hrs. The guy claims that the Bluebird has no rust. The thomas has had wheel wells replaced and has small rust on the back corners. They were both inspected in the last 12 months and just recently out of service from school systems. the cummins 5.9 has 160k miles and the cat 3126 has 120k miles. They are both within $300 asking price of each other.
Adam The First Man is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-07-2018, 03:34 AM   #7
Bus Crazy
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Winlcok, WA
Posts: 2,135
Between the fact the Thomas has a Cat engine and has had some significant rust repair I think I would not consider it at all unless it was free.

I came across this one. Depending upon where you are it might or might not be a good choice. It does have the 12" windows so it does have the high roof option. It doesn't have any skirt mounted luggage compartments. https://harlowsbussales.com/inventor...1ab23a80a8cb2/

This one without a picture it is hard to know exactly what it is. But the description and price are very attractive. Used 2001 Blue Bird Blue Bird - Swansea IL Near Kankakee IL - Midwest Transit
cowlitzcoach is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-07-2018, 09:47 AM   #8
Bus Crazy
 
2kool4skool's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2015
Location: Spring Valley AZ
Posts: 1,259
Year: 2000
Coachwork: Bluebird
Engine: 5.9 Cummins
Rated Cap: 2 elderly children, 1 cat
Welcome!....
__________________
Don, Mary and Spooky the cat.
2kool4skool is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-07-2018, 10:47 AM   #9
Bus Crazy
 
M1031A1's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2014
Location: Oberlin, Kansas
Posts: 1,397
Year: 1989
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: Saf-T-Liner ER
Engine: 3208 CAT/MT643 tranny
Rated Cap: 87
Adam,

Unlike most people here, I ADORE my CATs. Very reliable engine if taken care of properly. Granted, the 3126 can get a bit finicky, however, they are reliable if properly maintained. I drove one in my service bus for Katy ISD for many years. NEVER had an issue with it. Turn the key, she'd fire up. Let her warm up with a 10 to 15 minute warm time, and off we went. She had 165K miles before auction.

I also have an '88 Ford F600 with the 545 transmission. It doesn't preform like the 643 in our '89 Thomas, but it gets the job done.

Looking at all the suggestions, and what you have found, I much prefer the '93 Genesis for several reasons. MOST importantly, its 100% pure mechanical drivetrain, i.e. NO computers to give you headaches!!!! Second, the engine is one of the most reliable (outside of CATs) to be installed in a bus, but not one of the most powerful - being the CAT 3208C engine (like the one in my '89 Thomas - reliable AND powerful).

It's your decision in the end, but I'd lean to the Genesis... Just my opinion..

M
__________________
Firearms stand next in importance to the Constitution itself. They are the American people’s liberty teeth and keystone under independence. — George Washington
M1031A1 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-07-2018, 12:46 PM   #10
New Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2018
Posts: 5
Quote:
Originally Posted by cowlitzcoach View Post
Between the fact the Thomas has a Cat engine and has had some significant rust repair I think I would not consider it at all unless it was free.

I came across this one. Depending upon where you are it might or might not be a good choice. It does have the 12" windows so it does have the high roof option. It doesn't have any skirt mounted luggage compartments. https://harlowsbussales.com/inventor...1ab23a80a8cb2/

This one without a picture it is hard to know exactly what it is. But the description and price are very attractive. Used 2001 Blue Bird Blue Bird - Swansea IL Near Kankakee IL - Midwest Transit
Thank you for the links! the one at midwest transit isnt availabel until July. The other one is available. It does have a little rust I can see in the pics. And some dents in the rear by the back lights in the drivers side. Is the mileage too high on the harlow bus? How good of a setup in the MD463 transmission, 230200 miles, DT466 engine? Im reading good things, But this rig is getting pretty old and thats a good bit of miles. I want to make a good decision. I thought I had my choices narrowed down.......now im seeing alot more options once I started posting about it. Will the DT466 out perform and outlast both the 5.9 cummins and the 3126 cat?
Adam The First Man is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-07-2018, 01:01 PM   #11
Bus Geek
 
Join Date: Sep 2017
Location: Owasso, OK
Posts: 2,627
Year: 1999
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: Saf-T-Liner MVP ER
Engine: Cummins 6CTA8.3 Mechanical MD3060
Rated Cap: 46 Coach Seats, 40 foot
Quote:
Originally Posted by Adam The First Man View Post
Thank you for the links! the one at midwest transit isnt availabel until July. The other one is available. It does have a little rust I can see in the pics. And some dents in the rear by the back lights in the drivers side. Is the mileage too high on the harlow bus? How good of a setup in the MD463 transmission, 230200 miles, DT466 engine? Im reading good things, But this rig is getting pretty old and thats a good bit of miles. I want to make a good decision. I thought I had my choices narrowed down.......now im seeing alot more options once I started posting about it. Will the DT466 out perform and outlast both the 5.9 cummins and the 3126 cat?
I would want to take a long, hard look at that Genesis. It's a very good looking bus at that price, and with an excellent drive-train.

... and Yes, the engine is preferable to either the CAT or the Cummins.
__________________
Steve Bracken

Build Thread
Twigg is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-07-2018, 01:10 PM   #12
Bus Geek
 
Join Date: May 2016
Location: Eastern WA
Posts: 5,564
Year: 2002
Coachwork: Bluebird
Chassis: All American RE (A3RE)
Engine: Cummins ISC (8.3)
Rated Cap: 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by cowlitzcoach View Post
Between the fact the Thomas has a Cat engine and has had some significant rust repair I think I would not consider it at all unless it was free.

I came across this one. Depending upon where you are it might or might not be a good choice. It does have the 12" windows so it does have the high roof option. It doesn't have any skirt mounted luggage compartments. https://harlowsbussales.com/inventor...1ab23a80a8cb2/

This one without a picture it is hard to know exactly what it is. But the description and price are very attractive. Used 2001 Blue Bird Blue Bird - Swansea IL Near Kankakee IL - Midwest Transit
FWIW: I have heard good things about Harlow Bus sale regarding customer service etc.
PNW_Steve is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-07-2018, 09:17 PM   #13
New Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2018
Posts: 5
Quote:
Originally Posted by PNW_Steve View Post
FWIW: I have heard good things about Harlow Bus sale regarding customer service etc.
Thank you so much!!! I was in contact with Harlow today and I felt good about our conversation and all that they offer. Genesis is with the DT466 is for sure the way im leaning
Adam The First Man is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Tags
cat

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


» Featured Campgrounds

Reviews provided by

Powered by vBadvanced CMPS v3.2.3

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 05:03 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 4
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
×