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Old 07-02-2017, 04:46 PM   #1
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1990 Blue Bird TC 2000 , good choice?

Hello,

There are some school buses for sale in my area, was wondering if this bus is a good one for conversion projects. I don't know a whole lot about school buses or their engines. This one has the 5.9 Cummins engine.

Anyway, appreciate it if you could let me know their opinions.

Also how hard is it to get a bus insured in CA?

Thanks!
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Old 07-02-2017, 06:39 PM   #2
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It depends.....

Assuming they are in good condition.....

Bluebird builds a good bus. I may be biased though..... TC2000 is a respected model.

5.9 Cummins is a good motor. In that year it will be mechanical. A good thing in my opinion. Much simpler than the electronic versions.

However...... a 5.9 in a full size bus could be a bit under powered. The transmission & rear end gears will be a big factor.

A TC2000 with 5.9, Allison AT-545 transmission and 5.38 rear gears is great for picking up the kiddies in town but will be a DOG on the highway and in the mountains.

The same with an Allison Mt-643 (or 647) and 4.44 rear gears would be better on the highway but not my ideal.

If they have the Allison MD-3060 then you have a reasonable highway coach.

Personally, I prefer a bit more displacement and horsepower in a rig that size. My ideal would be the 8.3 Cummins and the MD-3060.... Again, I may be a bit biased
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Old 07-02-2017, 07:07 PM   #3
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The AT545 was never meant for school buses to begin with. IIRC it was originally intended for bread trucks and light duty panel vans. It's fine for stop and go related traffic but terrible on highways and going up steep hills.

What baffles me is how Internationals could even be ordered with a DT466 and an AT545. That is WAY too much engine for the thing to handle.
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Old 07-02-2017, 07:27 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WIbluebird View Post
The AT545 was never meant for school buses to begin with. IIRC it was originally intended for bread trucks and light duty panel vans. It's fine for stop and go related traffic but terrible on highways and going up steep hills.

What baffles me is how Internationals could even be ordered with a DT466 and an AT545. That is WAY too much engine for the thing to handle.
Amen Brother Bluebird!!
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Old 07-02-2017, 08:13 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WIbluebird View Post
The AT545 was never meant for school buses to begin with. IIRC it was originally intended for bread trucks and light duty panel vans. It's fine for stop and go related traffic but terrible on highways and going up steep hills.

What baffles me is how Internationals could even be ordered with a DT466 and an AT545. That is WAY too much engine for the thing to handle.
I would think the 466 would have to be derated for the 545 to handle it.

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Old 07-02-2017, 09:34 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PNW_Steve View Post

If they have the Allison MD-3060 then you have a reasonable highway coach.

Personally, I prefer a bit more displacement and horsepower in a rig that size. My ideal would be the 8.3 Cummins and the MD-3060.... Again, I may be a bit biased
Thanks for the info!
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Old 07-03-2017, 02:42 PM   #7
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I have the same setup. 5.9 Cummings with an Allison 545. It is great in town. And the highway isn't that bad. However. Be prepared for a 65mph ride for the most part. No real power on the freeway.


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Old 07-03-2017, 02:51 PM   #8
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Gearing varies! My bus is electronically limited to 65mph but my cruising speed is more like 58.
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Old 07-03-2017, 03:46 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WIbluebird View Post
The AT545 was never meant for school buses to begin with. IIRC it was originally intended for bread trucks and light duty panel vans. It's fine for stop and go related traffic but terrible on highways and going up steep hills.

What baffles me is how Internationals could even be ordered with a DT466 and an AT545. That is WAY too much engine for the thing to handle.
The 466's paired with 545's are de-rated down to a level that the 545 is rated for.
Having said that- I just plain DON'T like the 545. Its not a very good choice in a bus. I can live with one in a shorty, but in a full size bus it would REALLY suck. I'd JUMP on a shorty with a 466, even if it meant I'd be stuck with another 545. A 643 can be found fairly cheap if you look around a bit.
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