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Old 01-07-2008, 07:22 PM   #1
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Get my bus moving!

Hello -
I have an '88 Chevy bus with an 8.2L Detroit Diesel and it runs great. However it will only reach a top speed of 55 on a flat, but usually chugs along between 45 and 50. Now I know this 500 cubic inch beast can go faster. It was a fresh trade at a bus dealership, so it came straight from a school district and I know they put governors on their buses. How can I get it to go at least 60? I love driving my bus to and from the campgrounds but I hate having people backed up behind me. Thanks.

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Old 01-10-2008, 09:25 PM   #2
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Re: Get my bus moving!


That information is here, somewhere! Start searching, and elsewhere on the internet also.

Here's a site I found when I was studying the same question: http://www.freewebs.com/nevrenufhp/index.htm It has instructions for increasing fuel flow on your Detroit 8.2 -- and many other engines.
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Old 01-11-2008, 11:55 AM   #3
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Re: Get my bus moving!

School buses are ordered new with a very low rear gear ratio. Most buses use a 6:30 ratio. The top speed is usually about 45-60 MPH. To change the top road speed, the ring and pinion must be changed. A good ratio is 4:10 or 3:93 and will allow about 70-75MPH. The diesel engines do have govenors based on design requirements. A diesel engine can run forever at the maxamine engine govenor speed. Primarily the end use decides top road speed. School buses get very poor fuel milage. Frank
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Old 01-11-2008, 12:28 PM   #4
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Re: Get my bus moving!


I can add that the rear end ratio of a vehicle depends greatly on the operating RPM of the engine. Gasoline engines spin faster than diesel engines. My former bus had a gasoline engine, which probably could be wound to 4.000, and the rear end was 7 point something. Millicent has a diesel, with a top RPM around 3.000, and the ratio is 4.78.

In addition, school buses mostly have the engine governor set quite low. I have not gotten around to installing my tach yet, but I would not be suprised if it tops out at 2.500, because my top speed is 55 MPH. You/I could pick up quite a bit of speed by "turning up" the governor a few hundred RPMs.

There are several web sites that will calculate all this for you in seconds. Here are two of them:

http://www.csgnetwork.com/rearendgearcalc.html

http://www.idavette.net/tech/ratioc.htm
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Old 01-11-2008, 12:49 PM   #5
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I disagree

Engines of all designs are govenored in relation to engine design.There are several engine maximine RPM designs as low, medium, and high rpm. The Typical Cummins 855 cu in engine is a medium RPM engine with a set speed of about 1800-2500 RPM. The Int/Ford diesel is a high speed RPM engine at 2800-3200 RPM. Each engine designer decides engine RPM. There are several methods of gaining more power from a diesel engine but usually the RPM remains at or near design limits. Engine max RPM is not usually changed to gain a higher road speed. Frank
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Old 01-11-2008, 12:59 PM   #6
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Re: Get my bus moving!


Quote:
Engine max RPM is not usually changed to gain a higher road speed.
Agreed. The MAX engine speed is not something we want to fool with. It's when an engine is governed at a lower-than-max speed, that we can adjust it back up towards design limit revs. I could have made that clearer the first time around.
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Old 01-11-2008, 01:15 PM   #7
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Re: Get my bus moving!


I just calculated Millicent, using http://www.idavette.net/tech/ratioc.htm

At 55 MPH, Millicent's engine is turning only 2200 RPM.

At 3.000 RPM, which is about the design limit for the 5.9, she would go 74 MPH. She would drink fuel like I drink Gatorade in August, but she would go 74 IF the power output is enough to overcome wind resistance.
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Old 01-11-2008, 01:15 PM   #8
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Engine maximine RPM???

Please describe how engine max RPM can be adjusted? Tell also any criteria for determining max engine RPM? Do diesel engine have greater longivity after engine RPM changed? My opinion is that modern diesel engines should not make any max rpm changes. My Cummins NT855 is set to 2250 RPM, and will be changed to 2500RPM. This is a common RPM change, but not 3000RPM. You may change engine speed but the gains are minimal. Frank Old
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Old 01-11-2008, 01:57 PM   #9
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Re: Get my bus moving!


Frank, engine MAX RPMs, also referred to as redline, cannot be adjusted. Redline is, as you correctly point out, decided by engine design. The only people who can increase the safe redline of an engine are serious big buck engine builders who build custom engines such as for racing. That would involve a stronger crankshaft, more precice balancing, and so forth -- not something we deal with here. The consequenses of reving an engine beyond redline can include picking up pistons and pieces of crankshaft from the road. I overreved my IH gasoline engine and bent several push rods.(It still ran, sorta, so I drove it to the wrecking yard and gave it to them.)

Criteria for determining redline of an engine design are a bit beyond my knowledge! But I do know that the valve train and the connecting rods are often weak links. Inertia is the enemy. Typically, the valve train will "float", meaning that the valves fail to return to closed position "on schedule". Then the piston comes up and hits the still-open valve.
Connecting rods will stretch and even break. I have read that the highest force on connecting rods happens at the top of the overlap stroke, between the exhaust stroke and the intake stroke, when the inertia of the piston tries to stretch the connecting rod. This inertial pulling force is supposedly higher than the compressing force of combustion. That's about all I know.

An engine will always live longer when it is used well below design limits. It will also use less fuel that way. This probably explains why school buses often come with the governor set well below redline. Then the rear end ratio is determined to make it go "school bus road speed" at that engine speed.

Frank, you also bring up an important point about how gains from increased engine speed are minimal on a diesel engine. But we should emphasize that we are talking about power gain. Diesel engines make their best power at moderate RPMs. Winding them out to redline is often more a matter of reaching the desired road speed, or being able to "catch" the next gear while climbing a hill with a stick shift. The relationship between torque and horsepower is best explained with charts, and I don't have any. But with our modern 14- and 15-liter engines at work, we pull hills like gangbusters at 1200 RPM, and approach our redline of 2100 only on very rare occasions.
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Old 01-11-2008, 02:15 PM   #10
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Re: Get my bus moving!


Here is an example of custom built engines operating, successfully, far beyond original design limits.



(Bonneville Salt Flats, August 1997, Canon EOS Elan, 1000 MM elCheapo mirror lens, some exposure compensation for white salt.)

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Old 01-11-2008, 02:18 PM   #11
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Re: Get my bus moving!

well said elliot.

my former bus i think came at rpm about 2200 rpm, redline is around 3K rpm fr the dt360. I "turned up" the govenor to around 2700 rpm. Changed things from about 57mph stock to 64 mph after i fixed it. Made cruising at or just a little above 60 mph very easy. Also improves acceleration, and possibly helps fuel economy. It seems to me that engines use more fuel when they are fighting the govenor all day long.

to answer the original posters question...stolen from this website:

http://www.freewebs.com/nevrenufhp/index.htm


Cummins 4BT,6BT, 6CT(3.9,5.9, 8.3)

For the 89-93's (Bosch rotary "VE" pump)there's a screw behind a tin access cover about the size of a nickel. Shown in this article: http://www.dodgeram.org/tech/dsl/more_p ... wer_ve.htm . It takes a 1/2"(13mm) to break the jamb nut loose, then take the screw out. It'll have a metal band welded on it that needs to come off. Once that's off you can run the jamb nut farther out(towards the outside of the pump, about 2 turns). Then put it back in and test, some smoke more than others(especially with Lucas POD injectors!). The pre boost power adjustment is under a cover that looks like a vacuum diaphragm, and it is one. It has a torx bit with a jamb nut. Loosen the torx for more low end & tighten for higher. The governor spring is different than in the later 12 valves, and not adjustable, but reasonably priced. The other adjustment is to rotate the diaphram, under the top cover with 4 screws. Turn the diaphram clockwise 90-120 degrees, this is like sliding the fuel plate on a 94-98. Now put it back in & test.
The best bang for the buck, is to get a gov spring, most of the time they are under $20, and let it rev up to 3200 rpm. If you plan on a gov spring, hold off on doing the fuel screw shown above, it needs to be close to stock setting. Great instructions are here:
http://www.dens-site.net/Dodge_CTD/Governor_Spring/


The 94-98 12valve:
Easy instructions at http://www.tstproducts.com/INSRUCT98.pdf They are instructions to replace the fuel plate, but instead of replacing you just slide it forward. I also have another article with a couple pictures here: http://www.thedieselgarage.com/forums/s ... php?t=6815 . Not that I'm getting to the troubleshooting part here, but often overlooked is the overflow valve. It's basically the fuel pressure regulator and should be replaced every 100k miles.
and for the Governor springs:
http://www.thedieselgarage.com/forums/s ... post165523

This uses a washer to shim the governor springs for more rpm, usually about 3200. It's the low buck alternative to a 3k gov spring kit(GSK). Although, you cant go wrong with the real thing. A real 3k GSK is usually $150 or less, and you need heavier valve springs if you start pushing past 3400 rpm(if you go with the 4k GSK). They also come with decent instructions, and can usually be done in just under 2 hrs for a first timer.



Tools needed-screwdriver and I think it's a 9/16" wrench. On top-middle of the pump on the right side there's an all-thread looking screw with a jamb nut. Loosen the jamb nut and take the screw out. There's a spring inside it, so be cautious. Run the jamb nut so there's about 4-5 threads left and re-install the screw. Run it up to the jamb nut, then tighten the nut up and it's done. Not much, but it's free.
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Old 01-11-2008, 03:03 PM   #12
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Re: Get my bus moving!


Thanks!

Quote:
...possibly helps fuel economy...
About improving fuel economy by increasing speed... we now get into the next two realms of Engine Mysticism.

These days, engines are being built with variable valve timing and other goodies that allow the engine to produce impressive power with modest fuel consumption at a wide range of engine speeds. But prior to such magic, every engine had one ideal speed where it ran the most efficiently -- that is, got the most power out of each drop of fuel. The shape of the camshaft lobes is probably the most important factor. The trick was/is to drive the vehicle at that optimum engine speed. If your engine's most efficient speed was 2400, and you were driving around at 2200, then it is indeed possible that an increase in speed (57 to 60, as you report) would bring the engine closer to 2400 RPM, and the improved efficiency might outweigh the increased wind resistance.

The second thing is about running against the governor. About that, I know nothing!... except what my gut tells me. And that is, that an engine might be "happier" running a bit below the governor, yes. Pure witchcraft, but I like it. Maybe it's just the driver who is happier.

Jimmy, about the fuel screw, and the "plate" and injector size and so forth... That is to increase power by allowing more fuel into the engine, regardless of speed. The engine speed governor is a different gadget which simply keeps the engine from reving any higher than the set speed. No, I'm no expert. We're all learning the same stuff! The Dodge-Cummins forum is a good source for the Cummins 5.9 -- just remember that our engines are not entirely identical to theirs.
http://www.cumminsforum.com/forum/
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Old 01-11-2008, 04:39 PM   #13
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Re: Get my bus moving!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Elliot Naess

Thanks!

Quote:
...possibly helps fuel economy...

i didn't do a good job explaining what i meant, my brain is foggy today. What i wanted to say is that if your bus is running against the governor at 60 mph, and you increase the engines governed speed to say 65 mph, but still keep the bus at 60 mph fuel economy may be improved....maybe it just makes the driver feel better to not have the pedal all the way to the floor.

i do find that many times my bus would cruise about the same speed with the pedal to the floor as it would if i backed off the throttle just a bit, and the bus definitely got better mileage with just this small change in pedal position without noticeably affecting top speed.
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Old 01-11-2008, 05:28 PM   #14
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Re: Get my bus moving!

I may be wrong but I think that sweet spot that Elliot is refering to for the most efficient rpm is where the horsepower and torque curve intersect.
My .02
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Old 01-11-2008, 06:11 PM   #15
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Re: Get my bus moving!

you are correct dave. that is the peak of your "power band." I have thought long and hard about the whole top speed/fuel economy issues that everyone comes up with on here. My take on the whole thing is this: the best way to increase top speed is to raise (numerically lower) the rear end gear ratio. and the only way to raise fuel economy is to decrease the amount of fuel consumed by the engine at normal operating rpm's. these are both very doable with a diesel engine (especially turbocharged). my plan (if i can ever afford it) is to use the cummins 6bt (5.9l) since there are so many documented performance modifications for this engine. it is very reasonable to expect, with the proper modifications, 300+ hp & 600lb ft of torque out of a 6bt with the inline pump used in second generation dodge pickups. if you increase the power output by increasing turbo boost you can actually get away with using only marginal increases in fuel consumption due to the fact that the fuel used burns more efficiently. now, if you combine the increased output (even if it means more fuel consumed) with the effects of re-gearing your rear end, you can expect a very much higher top speed (depending on ratio used) but also you could feasibly keep a consistent cruise speed on the highway EASIER at a lower rpm. the added benefit of the increased power output would be good hill climbing ability even with the higher end gear ratio.

the information used above should not be viewed as "the gospel," but simply my take on these two very related issues. furthermore i highly recommend doing the exact calculations on what would be needed for you particular setup to produce the desired gains, as well as the effects it could have on you drivetrain (obviously this varies based on engine, tranny, vehicle weight etc.)

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Old 01-11-2008, 06:16 PM   #16
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Re: Get my bus moving!

sidenote: i have not seem anyone perform such modifications on a bus. but as an example i have personally seen a 1st generation dodge w250 cummins ext cab long bed with a suspension lift and 35" tires get mileage upwards of 25mpg on the highway without any real effect on it's ability to pull a load.
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Old 01-11-2008, 07:29 PM   #17
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Re: Get my bus moving!


I’m having trouble keeping up with you guys!

Jimmy:
Fuel is ooompf, and when you have more ooompf, you can accelerate from 0 to 50 in five minutes instead of six minutes, and you can climb Grapevine Grade at 30 MPH instead of 25 MPH. The governor is not directly involved with how quickly you get to 50, or how fast you pull the Grapevine.

Here’s what the governor does: When the fuel system is working correctly , you can push the foot feed (accelerator pedal) to the floor with the transmission in neutral, and nothing bad will happen. The engine will simply rev up to the governed speed and sit there and hum harmlessly.
This governor CAN be adjusted. Typically, this involves a spring or springs, which is replaced or tightened (or loosened?). So you need a tachometer to monitor engine speed, and then you need to learn how to adjust your governor. Once the governor is reset, you don’t really need the tach any longer -- except on down hills.
You MAY find that you have more power after adjusting the governor, but this would be a secondary effect -- the governor may have been activating gradually a bit below full governed speed, and the engine may simply have been governed below its peak-power speed.

Which brings us to Buster’s intersection of torque and HP....

Buster:
Yeah, that sounds right. I said “chart”, but I suppose I meant “graph”. Heck, I just drive with my foot and my butt.

Jason:
You explained it fine. But let me try yet another way, if only for fun: Question: Will an engine running down the road at 2200 RPM get better mileage if it has the freedom to climb to 2400 at the driver’s request, as opposed to being governed right there at 2200?
I think we may be operating in the realm of witchcraft.
If the engine is up against the governor at 2200, then the governor is acting as a cruise control. That’s good for mileage, avoiding unnecessary variations in speed. So if the governor is set to 2400 and the engine is spinning 2200 on cruise control, fuel mileage should be at least as good. But if the driver is holding the engine at 2200 with an itchy foot, then I would think that fuel mileage would suffer -- simply from the inevitable movements of the driver’s foot.
In other words, I suspect that the variables could easily cancel each other out. Just brainstorming!
You say you got better mileage without losing noticeable speed by just lifting your foot “off the governor” a little. I don’t doubt that at all. So many variables. Maybe the governor has an itchier foot than you do? Where I work, we/they spend a lot of time and brain power trying to convince drivers to ease up a little on the foot feed. I’m some sort of fuel mileage champion down there, and I’m not sure I could even explain it myself. Like buses, people have different personalities.

How’com’ so many of you have two names? I’m “Elliot” both at the top and at the bottom of the screen!

Chase, dear Child...
...I have about 40 bicycles in my yard that all need repair. Swing by Portland and pick up Sauce, and I’ll keep you both busy for a while.
...You are absolutely right about 300 HP from a 5.9. In fact, Cummins sold them that way for use in boats. 300 HP involves larger injectors, but a good power increase is supposed to be available with Injection Pump adjustment. Primarily, you modify or replace a part known as the “plate”. Those Dodge boys are all over that.

When fooling around with the fuel, you should have an Exhaust Temperature Gauge installed first. I read that it is easy to burn these things up with too much fuel.

When you two youngsters are done with my bicycles, you can install the Tach and the Exhaust Temp gauge that are still sitting on my kitchen table!

Now I really need to do something else for a couple of hours!
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Old 01-11-2008, 07:47 PM   #18
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Re: Get my bus moving!

elliot, i'd be more than happy to come help you with your bicycle troubles. that is, if you could pay to get me ther, then pay me atleast what i make at my job to do the work for you, lol. anyways, more to the point!

the cummins 6bt was originally a marine engine anyways, but they made newer versions in the trucks that made up to 325hp i believe, although they were 24 valve versions (i don't like them as much, too many extra parts!). also you are exactly right about the EGT gauge! it's not hard to MELT your turbo! but my main point was making power without a huge increase in fuel consumption. mainly things like increasing boost and water/methanol injection etc. i'm jealous though, not only does your bus have a 5.9 with the inline pump, you've got an mt643!! your tranny could actually handle some extra power.

ah well, enough ranting about how to make monsters.
gotta rest up so i might feel better for work tomorrow.
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Old 01-11-2008, 08:21 PM   #19
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Re: Get my bus moving!


No bicycle trouble here. Just a bunch of bikes that need work. No trouble. Many of them will be cut up for Kinetic parts anyway.

Yes, it was actually a surprise to discover the MT643 under Millicent. Turns out, as a full 40-footer (84 small scholars), Millicent has a Gross Vehicle Weight Rating a little bit above 30.000 lbs. And 30.000 is the limit for the AT545. So any bus with a GVWR above 30.000 will/should have the bigger tranny.

Work tomorrow?! That reminds me -- I'm going on the road tomorrow. 15 liter Cummins, 500 HP, 18 tires. I may be gone a while.
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Old 01-11-2008, 10:49 PM   #20
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Re: Get my bus moving!

Jason,

Did you see much of a decrease in your fuel economy when you upped your rpms? I'm looking to do something similar to my 360.
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