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Old 12-31-2018, 06:53 PM   #1
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new here - very novice when it comes to bus conversions

getting more serious about getting a bus to convert to a combination camper/toy hauler ( only my toys are sleddogs )
my first question is about advice on this motor transmission combination - I'll be doing a lot of winter miles, often in the mountains on icy roads ( BRING ON WINTER!! )

New crate engine with new turbo with less than 180k tranny done not long before t444e engine Allison auto trans mt643 with lock up torque converter
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Old 01-01-2019, 02:13 AM   #2
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The T444e is almost the same engine as the Ford 7.3 (both made by IH, a few minor differences between them. Most parts are same or similar). Engine has a very good reputation and parts availability. It's no powerhouse, though, so don't expect it to perform well ascending hills. The DT466 will produce *MUCH* more torque and as such will give you better hill climbing power.


The trans may not have overdrive, but otherwise should serve you well. One thing not mentioned is the rear-axle gear ratio. With a non-overdrive transmission and a (numerically) high axle ratio, you'll find yourself with a low top speed. My own bus has 5.38 gears and a non-overdrive transmission (actually a 5-speed manual); the top speed is 55. Changing this to a 4.10 ratio should get me about 70 or so.
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Old 01-01-2019, 09:27 AM   #3
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what brad said, although with the right computer program you can ramp up the power on a 444E, but still wont have the torque of an inline 6 ... inline 6 engines tend to have more brute low end torque.. only exception might be the cummins 5.9 as its a fairly small engine for a full size bus...



the DT-466 and cat-3126, and ultimately the cummins 8.3 have great low end torque
-Christopher
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Old 01-02-2019, 08:20 AM   #4
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If you're looking for something to cross snowy mountain passes, there are northern state buses that have automatic snow chains and antilock brakes. You might end up going newer than we generally recommend to get them though. Transmission choice is at least as important as engine choice as well. The 643 is the obvious upgrade path from a mechanical engine 545 but any of the 6 speeds would be better suited to those long hard hills.

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Old 01-02-2019, 10:50 AM   #5
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Probably one of the best places to shop for "Winter/Mountain" buses is Colorado. Most of their rural buses are ordered from the factory with all the right gear to handle cold, elevation and steep inclines.
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Old 01-02-2019, 07:06 PM   #6
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IMHO: The ideal setup for Winter mountain driving would be an RE with a big 6 and a 6 speed transmission.

The Dt-466 & 530 and the Cummins 8.3 are all good options.

An International RE with the DT-530 and MD3060 would be the bomb. I am a big Bluebird fan but BB is not cooperative when it comes to allowing you to open up 6th gear in the transmission so you are limited to 5 forward gears. International appears to be fairly cooperative with requests.
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Old 01-02-2019, 07:29 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PNW_Steve View Post
IMHO: The ideal setup for Winter mountain driving would be an RE with a big 6 and a 6 speed transmission.

The Dt-466 & 530 and the Cummins 8.3 are all good options.

An International RE with the DT-530 and MD3060 would be the bomb. I am a big Bluebird fan but BB is not cooperative when it comes to allowing you to open up 6th gear in the transmission so you are limited to 5 forward gears. International appears to be fairly cooperative with requests.
International is only cooperative on newer models, would not ok unlocking my 99 due to age.
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Old 01-02-2019, 07:41 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by o1marc View Post
International is only cooperative on newer models, would not ok unlocking my 99 due to age.



for those older ones you just have to send your TCM out or get another one... when I did the swap on my trans, navistar never would hear of altering the trans setting in my ECM and had no idea how to handle something not attached to the VIN.. unlike ford, GM, Ram, Navistar doesnt have any concept of custom builds.. commercial trucks arent the subject of hotrodding or custom work most times..



I had to go completely 3rd party to get a 6 speed TCM... that even allison had no ideas how to develop a shift schedule on my recommendations... they could only offer CIN calibrations that were pretty terrible..



it wasnt till I got a 3rd party allison TCM that could be tuned with EFIlive that i made my trans start to work right.. then when I got hold of the algorithms to program my navistar ECM in any which way I choose could I make it and the engine fully work together like it does now.. sad but it's taken me a year and a half to get to that point.. and I own lots of software and scan tools as a result of it all...



I need to get more Jiggy with the older gen 2 and gen3 TCMs.. old WTEC-II stuff I wont even touch... thats the MD-3060 stuff of the early to mid 90s...



if I can get myself a TCM to play with and a 5 speed bench harness I might be able to come up with ideas for unlocking peoples TCMs for them..



all my experience thus far is on Gen4 and Gen5 stuff..
-Christopher
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Old 01-02-2019, 07:48 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PNW_Steve View Post

An International RE with the DT-530 and MD3060 would be the bomb. I am a big Bluebird fan but BB is not cooperative when it comes to allowing you to open up 6th gear in the transmission so you are limited to 5 forward gears. International appears to be fairly cooperative with requests.
There is one of these for sale down in FL right now, 2000 AmTran with the 530 and the 3060, high roof and full basement, but they are asking 16K so its going to stay there, but it seems like the ideal combination.
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Old 01-02-2019, 07:48 PM   #10
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Quote:
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for those older ones you just have to send your TCM out or get another one... when I did the swap on my trans, navistar never would hear of altering the trans setting in my ECM and had no idea how to handle something not attached to the VIN.. unlike ford, GM, Ram, Navistar doesnt have any concept of custom builds.. commercial trucks arent the subject of hotrodding or custom work most times..



I had to go completely 3rd party to get a 6 speed TCM... that even allison had no ideas how to develop a shift schedule on my recommendations... they could only offer CIN calibrations that were pretty terrible..



it wasnt till I got a 3rd party allison TCM that could be tuned with EFIlive that i made my trans start to work right.. then when I got hold of the algorithms to program my navistar ECM in any which way I choose could I make it and the engine fully work together like it does now.. sad but it's taken me a year and a half to get to that point.. and I own lots of software and scan tools as a result of it all...



I need to get more Jiggy with the older gen 2 and gen3 TCMs.. old WTEC-II stuff I wont even touch... thats the MD-3060 stuff of the early to mid 90s...



if I can get myself a TCM to play with and a 5 speed bench harness I might be able to come up with ideas for unlocking peoples TCMs for them..



all my experience thus far is on Gen4 and Gen5 stuff..
-Christopher
I'm holding out till you tell me you can unlock mine. Where could I send my existing one to get unlocked?
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Old 01-02-2019, 07:51 PM   #11
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at one time Custom Automatic Conversions in gulf breeze fl said they could do them. I thinl another is PCM performance.. im not sure if Defero can do them or not.. these are all companies which work on people installing custom allisons into originally non-allison trucks.. so they typically have the hardware / software to change the calibrations.

-Christopher
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Old 01-02-2019, 07:53 PM   #12
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at one time Custom Automatic Conversions in gulf breeze fl said they could do them. I thinl another is PCM performance.. im not sure if Defero can do them or not.. these are all companies which work on people installing custom allisons into originally non-allison trucks.. so they typically have the hardware / software to change the calibrations.

-Christopher
PCM said they didn't even have the software for the older ones including my 99.
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Old 01-02-2019, 09:03 PM   #13
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There is one of these for sale down in FL right now, 2000 AmTran with the 530 and the 3060, high roof and full basement, but they are asking 16K so its going to stay there, but it seems like the ideal combination.
lol 16 grand???
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Old 01-03-2019, 06:21 PM   #14
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searching the adds - came across a 2001 Blue Bird school bus with a 7.2 Liter Caterpillar engine with a 5 speed standard transmission - been trying to find horse power and torque info, but couldn't find any except on newer equipment - one thing that interests me in this bus is that it's from Saskatchewan - few places with winters as cold as the broad windy prairies of Saskatchewan - still to find out, but there may be a chance that it has some insulation already - looking for advice and/or info on the motor/trans combo
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Old 01-03-2019, 08:08 PM   #15
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Quote:
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searching the adds - came across a 2001 Blue Bird school bus with a 7.2 Liter Caterpillar engine with a 5 speed standard transmission - been trying to find horse power and torque info, but couldn't find any except on newer equipment - one thing that interests me in this bus is that it's from Saskatchewan - few places with winters as cold as the broad windy prairies of Saskatchewan - still to find out, but there may be a chance that it has some insulation already - looking for advice and/or info on the motor/trans combo

Sounds like a good one if it worked in that cold testing ground.
Mine was built for northern Quebec so seems well insulated, added woodstove just in case.

Can you get pics? Specs you want are on the valve cover.
Mine is a 6 l Cat with speed standard, lots of power and hwy geared, have pushed to 85mph but backed off at that. Nice power thru the gears.

If it breaks, your dogs can tow you in!


Good luck,


John
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Old 01-03-2019, 09:15 PM   #16
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Sounds like a good one if it worked in that cold testing ground.
Mine was built for northern Quebec so seems well insulated, added woodstove just in case.

Can you get pics? Specs you want are on the valve cover.
Mine is a 6 l Cat with speed standard, lots of power and hwy geared, have pushed to 85mph but backed off at that. Nice power thru the gears.

If it breaks, your dogs can tow you in!


Good luck,


John
so far I've just been looking at the ad - the owner has been slow to respond, so I haven't been able to get many details so far - it's a day and half or two day drive each way to see it in person, so I want to find out as much as I can before even committing to drive that far - re: dogs pulling - I've had to hook a team to a vehicle several times to get out of a tough situation - lol
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Old 01-08-2019, 08:46 AM   #17
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That Sask, bus sounds nice should be pretty clean and minimal rust.
This will be an intriguing build, love dog teams
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Old 01-08-2019, 11:02 AM   #18
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I was curious as to what generation my 3060 is. I found an interesting article: https://blog.diesellaptops.com/2016/...els-explained/
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