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Old 01-23-2007, 12:40 PM   #11
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mostly because truck drivers have more training and have more regs piled on them than bus drivers do...basicly it comes to "dumbing" down the bus to a level anyone can drive one
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Old 01-23-2007, 01:08 PM   #12
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Location: Clearlake, Northern California
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Year: 1992
Coachwork: Blue Bird
Chassis: TC-2000 Frt Eng, Tranny:MT643
Engine: 5,9 Cummins
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"dumbing" down
It's going that way in trucking also. Except, the 18-wheelers are not getting Allison
style hydraulic automatics, but automated mechanical transmissions such as used on
Formula 1 race cars. That is, a normal Road Ranger type transmission is outfitted with
computer controlled actuators that shift the gears and even operates the clutch. The
computer already controls the fuel to the engine, so the the system double
clutches flawlessly. One large national fleet is reportedly already all automated.
I have not driven one yet, but I do know that the whole point is to make the vehicle
easier to drive for the less mechanically oriented folks - an important point with
the shortage of drivers.

I like to shift gears myself, and I HATE the slushbox in my Dodge pickup, but the
Allison in Millicent is very impressive in the way it works. Nothing like the slipping
and hunting in a car-automatic at all.
Millicent The Bus - roof raised two feet, toy-hauler tailgate.
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Old 01-23-2007, 01:57 PM   #13
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The biggest reason why Bluebird wouldn't put a manual tranny in the TC2000 FE that I can see is that there is nowhere to put the shifter. Obviously they couls use cables, mechanical linkage, air, etc to attach the shifter to the tranny, just like any other rig where the shifter is remote to the tranny, but the dog house for the engine is right there. Either the shifter would be on the doghouse with linkage making it impossible to open, it would be behind the driver's seat, or it would be on the left side of the driver. Basically, I think it comes down to would have teken a lot of engineering to get the manual tranny to work and no one would spec it anyway. Schools figured out a long time ago that automatics are the way to go. The maintenance costs for a school are less with an auto (obviously our conversion driving style is the opposite) and they are more efficient because yes, the automated buses do take off better in stop and go driving. Finally, I think it was a matter of safety. An automatic transmission means there is one less thing for the driver to have to pay attention to so they can focus one getting kids safely to and from home.

Personally, I am a big fan of manual transmissions myself. In fact, the bus is the first automatic transmission I've owned since my 11th grade year of high school when I had a Lebaron coupe. The Lebaron, ironically, died of transaxle failure when it sent a pin flying through the case of the transmission and up through the hood. I was just leisurely cruising at 55mph down the highway.....go figure.

The trend I've seen with the manual transmission in the buses is that they are behind the smaller engines. I think this is to maximize the power available from a 366 gasser say. That's not unlike my Toyota pickup. The 5 speed trucks with a 4 cylinder came with 4.10 gears. If you had the factory 31 inch tire option, it was 4.30's. In the same truck, but with an automatic transmission you would get 4.56's with the 225 series tires or 4.88's with the 31's....and you still got out performed by manual!

As for the big trucks....Allison is actually advertising pretty heavily about their new OTR transmissions claiming better performance and mileage. I can't personally give experience one way or the other, but they do have videos on their site of a true hydraulic automatic spanking both a true manual and the automated manual transmissions in tasks like hillclimbing from a dead stop. There is something to be said for the torque multiplication a torque converter gives you.

I'd like to see the sequential style transmissions seen in some of the German vehicles become more popular in all vehicles. They actually are like two transmission in one. The input from the engine flywheel drives two clutches and two mainshafts All the odd gears are on one side while all the even gears are on the other. When you take off in first, that mainshaft is engaged, but second gear on the other mainshaft is akready preselected such that when you push the clutch pedal (it it even has one...some don't), it engages the other mainshaft instantly. There is not waiting to shift since all the gears are preselected. As it engages second gear, the odd gear mainshaft is now preselecting 3rd gear so that it is instantly ready. It is a need system, but is somewhat complex and would be HUGE to have beefy enough components for something like a medium duty truck application.
Skooling state at a time...
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Old 01-24-2007, 08:03 AM   #14
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Cat has announced within the last year that their power matched engine auto trans packages are available for the highway use market, with upgraded clutch packs and lockup converters. If these units prove to be as reliable as their industrial counterparts allison will have some serious competition in the near future.
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Old 01-25-2007, 08:59 AM   #15
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I think another factor is that a huge percentage of the bus driver population is female. I got my wife to drive our new Thomas by telling her that the bus was in fact designed specifically for her to drive. She moved to the drivers seat and away she went; her remarks were how easy it was to see, how easy it was to steer, and how she didn't have to shift. This wasn't cold turkey for her, she used to be my co-driver when we owned our semi but I could never get her to drive our Blue Bird; it was just too "truck like".
Les Lampman
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Old 02-03-2007, 08:42 PM   #16
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Breckenridge, CO
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Hey guys thanks for the help, looks like I'm gonna be gettin that bus in winter park. Let's see if it drives home if it does I'll have reached my goal, Get a bus back to my house for $1500. Will keep you posted.

Anyone have a battle proven veggie system specicfic to the 5.9 cummins and a 1989 tc2000?
1989 TC 2000; 235,000miles; 5.9 cummins with Alisson 545; Straight veggie burning with onboard filtration. Converting to a Toy Hauler for the summers racing motorcycles.
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