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Old 01-20-2007, 10:37 PM   #1
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Goin Bus Crazy!

Hey guys, been on the site and learnin about skoolies. Been looking for a skoolie to convert to a racing rig for 92 event days this summer. Got my heart set on a 1990-93 tc 2000, 40ft, with mt643, hiway gearing, air brakes, 5.9 cummings, and handi lift in rear. Haven't heard of any with manuel tranny, but would love one.

Anyone have any advice or any leads on where I could find one or perhaps any problems with what I'm looking for? Just out of college with some money but more time really to work on the bus for whatever it needs, I'm a professional motorccycle racinf mechanic and have little experience with large trucks but and mechanicaly inclined.

Would love any advice in my search and helpful hints. Thanks!

P.S. Anyone who races bikes on the east coast let me know, hopefully I can get the bus by Daytona.
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Old 01-21-2007, 01:08 AM   #2
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Year: 1992
Coachwork: Blue Bird
Chassis: TC-2000 Frt Eng, Tranny:MT643
Engine: 5,9 Cummins
Rated Cap: 84
I bought mine from First Student. According to their web site, they have one TC2000
for sale in Colorado, but it's only a 72-seater.
http://www.firststudentinc.com/defau...search_results

Here's their main Used Bus site. Look at one state at the time by selecting a state in "location"
down at the bottom, then "submit".

http://www.firststudentinc.com/default. ... s&S=search

There may have been an 84 pax TC2000 in McMinnville, Oregon, listed as a 78 pax.
You'd need to call and have them count seats for you. 14 rows = 84 kids.
The Scappose 84 pax bus is actually in McMinnville also. I didn't see any lifts, but these
buses are free of rust.

One quick way to (probably) identify an MT643 from an AT545: The 643 has a temperature
sending unit on the side of the pan on the left side.
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Old 01-21-2007, 09:22 AM   #3
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Year: 1993
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I was going to recommend the TC2000 in Colorado as well! It is located in Winter park which is only an hour or so away from Breckenridge! The price on the bus was $2500. Originally, they had three listed. I called about them on Friday and the lady said that they had sold two of them. One of the three she said, was not running well. She was going to call and get more info about the bus and call me back but she never did. I like the TC2000's as well. These had the 5.9L motors in them too,but no info on the tranny.
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Old 01-21-2007, 10:06 AM   #4
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Year: 1992
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Chassis: TC-2000 Frt Eng, Tranny:MT643
Engine: 5,9 Cummins
Rated Cap: 84
When you are looking at 15 year old motor vehicles with 200.000 miles on them, you
are always going to find that they all have... personalities. There were/are
several good candidates in McMinnville, Oregon. The mechanic seemed open about them:
On 728517 the head gaskets are weeping a little, so they will have to be redone before too long.
728518 is sound except it was used on a mountenous route so the engine was run hard.
And so forth.
I have found that school bus employees are universally friendly and helpful.
The web site list is not necessarily up to date. You would call McMinnville, tell them a
friend of yours (me) bought old # T-85, and ask which ones they have left - and about
length of each. The 84 pax that may be mislabeled as a 78 may be the one with the
seats in different colors - could be that 728518. I think I made a mistake not buying that
one, but I wasn't sure about the length. Then you make the trip to inspect them.
The actual transaction is done with the lady in Texas or somewhere.
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Old 01-21-2007, 12:19 PM   #5
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Do you think it's posible to get what I'm looking for that I can drive back to Colorado with $2500?
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Old 01-21-2007, 12:39 PM   #6
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Chassis: TC-2000 Frt Eng, Tranny:MT643
Engine: 5,9 Cummins
Rated Cap: 84
No, their prices are rather firm. I got mine down from 6000 to 5500.
That 728518 is listed at 5500, so perhaps you can get it for 5000.
I started by offering 2000 and received a rather stern reply!
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Old 01-22-2007, 01:43 PM   #7
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Finding a TC2000 or any other class D bus for $2500 or less is going to be a tall order. If you do find one for $2500, I'd be mighty careful. Just small things like a coolant flush, oil change, tranny service, new tires (steers atleast), etc will all add up to make up the difference between a $2500 bus and a $5000 bus, but you're going to be stuck putting all the time into it as well.
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Old 01-22-2007, 04:02 PM   #8
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http://ks-bus.com/catalog/default.asp?cid=18 has some, but they run 4,900 and are pretty close (sorta) to us CO guys
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Old 01-22-2007, 08:29 PM   #9
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See I got the time, way more time than money. I'm a professinal motorcycle racing mechanic but have never worked on big deisels. Confident to takle anything I need too within reason. I'm just worried about transmissin problems, never really trusted automatics, always owned manuals. I'm 25 and this will be my first big vehicle, really excited though and really appreciate all or the help.

Checkin out this bus tommorow, mileage seems a little steep.

Year Chassis Mileage Price Engine Trans Body Style Fuel Brakes

1989 TC2 226171 $2500 5.9 A BB D A
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Old 01-22-2007, 10:40 PM   #10
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Well....you aren't going to find a TC2000 with a manual tranny. You probably aren't going to find any contemporary class D bus with a manual tranny, actually. The one exception might be if you found an old Crown or Gillig with a manual, but those are kind of a west coast bus and demand a premium.

There are a few available close to your price range right in town here at United Truck Body. This is where I bought my bus at and they are good guys to deal with. I see they have several Ford-Thomas Class C buses with a 5.9, air brakes, and air ride....

http://www.unitedtruckbody.com
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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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Quote:
"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.
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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 logistics...it 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.
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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".
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Old 02-03-2007, 08:42 PM   #16
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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?
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