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Old 12-05-2015, 09:23 AM   #1
Join Date: Sep 2014
Posts: 19
Year: 1998
Chassis: chevy
Engine: 366
Rated Cap: 36
Just bought a new skoolie

Hi all- I just bought another skoolie today and drove it home. A couple quick questions for you. First off, its a 98 blue bird with the DT466e and 545 tranny. Research shows these engines were tough on the 545. It seemed to shift pretty good with no obvious issues (i.e. slipping, etc). The low end torque is impressive on this engine, and is somewhat slow going to start off the line, but I found that it picks up quickly if I throttle down. Seemed to cruise nicely at 50-55 mph at the rpms were somewhere around 1500. It is a 35 passenger bus with about 118,000 miles.

The owner, who was a middle man, told me that it did have some water in the gas tank. This issue was rectified by the previous owner and just recently drove the bus up to Mass. where I purchased it. I assumed the water issue had been solved as the bus made it from CT to MA within the last week.

On the way home this a.m. I kept an eye on the guages and shifting patterns of the bus. There is a guage that indicates the tranny temp (i learned via research that the low end torgue of the 466 on the 545 trannies would cause them to overheat). The temp early on for this gauge was about 180 degrees. I notice after about 20 miles it went down to about 100-110 degrees. Is this normal or make sense to anyone familiar with the engine and tranny set up?

I also was mindful to see when the bus actually shifted and it was around the 2300 rpm range.

About 35 miles into the trip, and almost home, I noticed I lost power and all of a sudden the bus was blowing white smoke out the tail pipe. I shut the engine off, the smoke stopped billowing out, and then I fired it up again......I drove the bus the remaining 6-7 miles without incident. Would this issue indicate a little more water in the tank....(i.e. the white smoke, etc)? The engine ran fine after this with appropriate oil pressure, etc. Again, do you think that this is evidence that there is still water in the tank?

I look forward to any insight regarding the white smoke (water in the tank), and any advice regarding the AT 545. I am a little skeptical of the tranny horror stories I have read.

Thanks, Freebyrd
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Old 12-05-2015, 04:25 PM   #2
Bus Crazy
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Join Date: Nov 2015
Location: Billings, MT
Posts: 1,010
Year: 2003
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: HDX
Engine: Cat C7
Rated Cap: 84 passenger
White smoke is usually oil. Black is overly-rich fuel.
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Old 12-06-2015, 05:24 AM   #3
Join Date: Sep 2014
Posts: 19
Year: 1998
Chassis: chevy
Engine: 366
Rated Cap: 36
Thanks CaptSquid!
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Old 12-06-2015, 01:33 PM   #4
Bus Crazy
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Join Date: May 2010
Location: Montana
Posts: 1,615
Year: 1995
Coachwork: Blue Bird
Chassis: All-American R/E
Engine: 8.3 Cummins
Rated Cap: 72
White smoke tends to be a head gasket issue.
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Old 12-06-2015, 02:58 PM   #5
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Join Date: Jul 2015
Location: Farmington, IL
Posts: 185
Year: 1990
Coachwork: Blue Bird
Chassis: AARE 3903
Engine: Cummins 6CTA 8.3
Rated Cap: 84
Did you happen to smell it? You can usually tell if its oil or coolant by the odor of the smoke.
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