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Old 01-26-2017, 09:53 AM   #11
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Join Date: Oct 2015
Location: Belgrade, MT
Posts: 65
Year: 1999
Coachwork: AmTran
Chassis: International
Engine: DT466E International
Rated Cap: 72
I was stoked to see the 1997 International Amtran recommended, because I've got a 1999 International Amtran...very different buses in many ways, exactly the same in others. That said:

The DT466 is not a fast engine. Everyone I've talked to who has one agrees with my experience: it's a dog at acceleration. It takes me at least a quarter-mile to get up to 25 mph, and if there are hills along the way you'll be lucky to keep it at 35. For highway driving, they're great once you get them up to 65, and will happily motor along at 70 mph for days as long as you don't come to a mountain pass (or even a large hill).

I would have loved to get 4WD, but didn't know such a thing existed when I bought Velda - instead, I opted for buying a bus from a snowy, mountainous region which came equipped with an electromagnetic brake retarder and automatic chains. Unfortunately, since I bought it sight-unseen, I took the seller's word that these features worked. And they don't. (I recommend NOT buying a bus from the Adams 12 5-Star School District, just north of Denver, CO) The moral of that story is to verify that any features you want actually exist on the vehicle, and that they work, before you hand over the money.

As for navigating twisty-turny roads along the Pacific coast, I'd recommend that you look for something no longer than 35'. Velda is 39.5' long, and she's not particularly agile when it comes to driving in confined spaces. Heaven forbid you have to do a three-point turn with a vehicle that big in just about any forest setting (it's nerve-wracking).

All of your criteria regarding electrical power and usage are moot when you're looking at what type of bus to buy, as you're going to be adding those features (with the obvious exception of storage space for your batteries and other equipment). I would recommend NOT going with an electric on-demand water heater, as it is going to use more power than you can probably store or generate with solar, unless you're looking to invest some serious money in your electrical system (Batterie$$$$).

Good luck!
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Old 01-26-2017, 11:11 AM   #12
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Join Date: Dec 2015
Location: Utah
Posts: 266
Year: 1990
Coachwork: BB
Chassis: TC2000
Engine: Cummins
Rated Cap: 25.999K
I have a TC1000 with a 5.9 Cummins. My bus is 10ft shorter than a full-length TC2000. I wish I had more power, don't get me wrong, I love the engine, its just not winning any races. I agree with much advice given here. For our western canyons and mountains, the longer buses are tougher. My bus has a wheelbase that is only a foot of so longer than my ford F350, so it is very maneuverable. Also, I vote NAY to the electric on demand water heater. I have one in my garage, and it takes ALOT of power, the LP on demand heaters are very inexpensive and efficient.

-sorry your kid is distancing himself, Im sure its a phase, I have one like that as well....
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Old 01-26-2017, 12:26 PM   #13
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Join Date: Sep 2014
Location: Eustis FLORIDA
Posts: 10,412
Year: 1992
Coachwork: Ward/AmTran
Chassis: International
Engine: dt466
Rated Cap: 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by Just one man View Post
My choice of bus is as follows:

Bluebird TC2000 FE 5.9L Cummins 72 passenger.

Reason for my choice:

(1) I am on walkabout(Will be until I die)
(2) I am going to live off-grid.
(3) The size is what I need.
(4) I can put 2.5 ton military 6x6 or 5 ton 6x6 assembly on the bus.
(5) I want to travel and go places in my bus that no one has taken a bus before.
(6) Most important my son wants nothing to do with me so it will be just one dog just one cat and just one man.
Why not go for an All American? the TC lineup are the cheaper, lower-spec line of BB's.
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Old 01-26-2017, 12:30 PM   #14
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Join Date: Sep 2014
Location: Eustis FLORIDA
Posts: 10,412
Year: 1992
Coachwork: Ward/AmTran
Chassis: International
Engine: dt466
Rated Cap: 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by VeldatheWonderbus View Post
I was stoked to see the 1997 International Amtran recommended, because I've got a 1999 International Amtran...very different buses in many ways, exactly the same in others. That said:

The DT466 is not a fast engine. Everyone I've talked to who has one agrees with my experience: it's a dog at acceleration. It takes me at least a quarter-mile to get up to 25 mph, and if there are hills along the way you'll be lucky to keep it at 35. For highway driving, they're great once you get them up to 65, and will happily motor along at 70 mph for days as long as you don't come to a mountain pass (or even a large hill).

I would have loved to get 4WD, but didn't know such a thing existed when I bought Velda - instead, I opted for buying a bus from a snowy, mountainous region which came equipped with an electromagnetic brake retarder and automatic chains. Unfortunately, since I bought it sight-unseen, I took the seller's word that these features worked. And they don't. (I recommend NOT buying a bus from the Adams 12 5-Star School District, just north of Denver, CO) The moral of that story is to verify that any features you want actually exist on the vehicle, and that they work, before you hand over the money.

As for navigating twisty-turny roads along the Pacific coast, I'd recommend that you look for something no longer than 35'. Velda is 39.5' long, and she's not particularly agile when it comes to driving in confined spaces. Heaven forbid you have to do a three-point turn with a vehicle that big in just about any forest setting (it's nerve-wracking).

All of your criteria regarding electrical power and usage are moot when you're looking at what type of bus to buy, as you're going to be adding those features (with the obvious exception of storage space for your batteries and other equipment). I would recommend NOT going with an electric on-demand water heater, as it is going to use more power than you can probably store or generate with solar, unless you're looking to invest some serious money in your electrical system (Batterie$$$$).

Good luck!
In regards to the 466 being a "dog"- That's more to do with your gearing/transmission combo. If you think the 466 takes a long time to accelerate just be glad its not a 5.9 or an 8.2 Detroit.
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Old 01-26-2017, 03:26 PM   #15
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Join Date: Jan 2017
Location: Washington State
Posts: 14
thank you for your input on the on demand water heater. I might have enough batteries on board. I am going to put 16 225ah 6 volt deep cycle batteries in my bus. I just might go with the LP on demand water heater.
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Old 01-26-2017, 09:24 PM   #16
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Join Date: May 2009
Location: Columbus Ohio
Posts: 6,296
Year: 1991
Coachwork: Carpenter
Chassis: International S3800
Engine: DT360
Rated Cap: 7 Row Handicap
school busses are heavy.. they arent supposed ot be speed demons.. DT-466E's are good low end torque engines.. if you pair them with Higher-numerical rear ends and 6 speed MD3060 or Allison 2500 transmissions you'll get a good take off and still maintain a good highway top speed..

Most school busses pair the 466E with an MT-643 which is only a 4 speed.. and for highway use they have a lower numerical ratio rear end which is good for top speed but not as good for giddy-up

and a few are paired with AT545 which results in even more "dogginess" due to no lockup.. these will reallty slow down on hills..
-Christopher
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Old 01-26-2017, 11:01 PM   #17
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Speaking of the 5.9 Cummins. Any 24 valve after 1998 can be "turned up" with a simple electronic controller. About $600. 10 power levels above stock, each offering 15 hp and 40 lb/ft of torque. So from 210 to 360 hp. and 500 to 900 lb. ft. You will need to beef the trans if you drive around in the upper levels! TST products Power Max. No dog this one!
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Old 01-27-2017, 05:54 AM   #18
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Join Date: Sep 2014
Location: Eustis FLORIDA
Posts: 10,412
Year: 1992
Coachwork: Ward/AmTran
Chassis: International
Engine: dt466
Rated Cap: 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by cadillackid View Post
school busses are heavy.. they arent supposed ot be speed demons.. DT-466E's are good low end torque engines.. if you pair them with Higher-numerical rear ends and 6 speed MD3060 or Allison 2500 transmissions you'll get a good take off and still maintain a good highway top speed..

Most school busses pair the 466E with an MT-643 which is only a 4 speed.. and for highway use they have a lower numerical ratio rear end which is good for top speed but not as good for giddy-up

and a few are paired with AT545 which results in even more "dogginess" due to no lockup.. these will reallty slow down on hills..
-Christopher
I'd say its more than a "few" that have 545's.
https://www.govdeals.com/index.cfm?f...137&acctid=136
This one is pretty typical.
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Old 01-27-2017, 06:03 AM   #19
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Join Date: May 2009
Location: Columbus Ohio
Posts: 6,296
Year: 1991
Coachwork: Carpenter
Chassis: International S3800
Engine: DT360
Rated Cap: 7 Row Handicap
wow 545 in 2003 i didnt even know they were still made that late.. i was thinking 00 / 01 was about it for the 545
-Christopher
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Old 01-27-2017, 06:13 AM   #20
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Join Date: Sep 2014
Location: Eustis FLORIDA
Posts: 10,412
Year: 1992
Coachwork: Ward/AmTran
Chassis: International
Engine: dt466
Rated Cap: 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by cadillackid View Post
wow 545 in 2003 i didnt even know they were still made that late.. i was thinking 00 / 01 was about it for the 545
-Christopher
There's another 05' listed as having a 545, too. And there was a nice one I can't find now that wasn't a FL turd. Maybe it was in OK, I can't remember now. I almost put a bid on that one it was so clean!
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