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Old 01-07-2019, 03:15 PM   #1
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Apr 2016
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cummins 12 valve swap help me

here is the bus. a 53 chevy with a 40s dodge nose and a vw on top. I have spent the last year making it into a livable home( while living in it) and saving money to fix it mechanically. the bus currently has a 283 motor and the original 4 speed, gm 10 bolt on the back. the bus is insulated well, has hardwood floors, wood burning stove, gas stove/oven and 6 gal water heater, running cold/hot water with 40 gal fresh tank with 12v pump as well as a shore water connection. bus also has a shower and toilet, plenty of storage. I have put in a parallax 3 way converter charger that gives me both 110 house power and a 12 volt fuse panel with 15 circuits. have a 4 6v battery bank and solar panels with an inverter as well as transfer switches that let me use 110 power off my batteries. have replaced the majority of the windows with new glass. bus also has a good sized back porch where I keep my water heater and propane tanks.

4 days ago I bought a 1995 bluebird bus with a 12 valve cummins and allison auto. also has air brakes. my plan is to take this as well as the rear end off the 95 and shove it all into the 53. also considering a rockwell front wheel drive axle/transfer case but that is a whole other beast.

i have no idea what i am doing but am very stubborn and determined to do this. am certain I will need a real mechanic to finish this up for me.. in the meantime I am at least pulling all that I need off the bluebird and going to see how far I get before I get really mad.

any advice, compliments, concerns, criticism, advice, etc would be greatly appreciated.

I also have set up a go fund me to help me pull this off. even a few dollars can go a long way folks

anyone trying to convince me to just move into the bluebird is wasting their time.
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Old 01-07-2019, 03:21 PM   #2
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Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: Houston, Texas
Posts: 8,462
Year: 1946
Coachwork: Chevrolet/Wayne
Chassis: 1- 1/2 ton
Engine: Cummins 4BT
Rated Cap: 15
Wonderfully wacky mix of parts there! And if the frame is '53...you should have room for the Cummins 6. You may have to do some cutting to the firewall but nothing like what I had to do.


Is the Cummins mechanical or electronic?



Either way...I say...GO FOR IT! (just post lots of pix)
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Old 01-07-2019, 03:26 PM   #3
Mini-Skoolie
 
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its mechanical luckily. that's the plan, cutting out the fire wall and taking the bumper off to ease it in. there's also an awesome hole much bigger than it needs to be around the tranny so once the firewall is out I should have plenty of space.
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Old 01-07-2019, 03:30 PM   #4
Mini-Skoolie
 
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just saw the pictures of your short bus project tango, wowowow that's pretty inspiring
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Old 01-07-2019, 03:31 PM   #5
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Year: 1946
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Ya...huge difference between the pre-war & post-war frames. The earlier versions taper in dramatically. Mine is just a 4BT but it had to be set back nearly 24".
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Old 01-07-2019, 03:36 PM   #6
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wow, feeling lucky then. did you keep the original rear end? that is what's honestly freaking me out the most. I'd just keep what I have if I thought it could handle the cummins and it may but i have the 95 rear end that also has shocks no rust and seems much beefier
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Old 01-07-2019, 04:01 PM   #7
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Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: Houston, Texas
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Year: 1946
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Engine: Cummins 4BT
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All the running gear is new. The original axle was only good to about 45 mph max and there were zero regearing options available so I swapped it for a Dana 80 dually out of a big Chevy. It also came with disk brakes which was a plus as I also installed disks on the front. The tranny is a brand new Allison 2200 MH 6 speed with double OD. Between the trans & the rear gears I should roll 65mph at 1800 rpm. The perfect sweet spot for that motor. Working out all the numbers will make all the difference in the world.


BTW...the 6BT has the same "sweet spot" and can also be turned up by nearly 100hp using the same tuning specs. No new parts needed. Just a screwdriver and a little time. Gotta' love those old one-wire B engines!
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Old 01-07-2019, 05:18 PM   #8
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A 6bt cummins is probably one of the easiest engines to swap. They call them a one wire engine because of the lack of electronics.

Your rear axle will likely not work though. From your pics it shows that the axle is in a pusher style school bus, which isn't the same as a vehicle with the engine in the front.
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Old 01-07-2019, 05:21 PM   #9
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Year: 1992
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Engine: 5.9, Spicer-5
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My advice. Don't let anyone talk you out of it!
That is a cool bus!
It will take some engineering but totally doable.
Point of interest. The Bluebird, being rear-engine would make the diff. turn the wrong direction. I don't know if you can just turn the diff upside-down [likely not] to get er turning the right way. That's what they used to [probably still] do, with off-road builds to get things turning the right way.
Once-again, my 2bits.
Have fun with that.
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Old 01-07-2019, 05:33 PM   #10
Mini-Skoolie
 
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Year: 1992
Coachwork: Blue Bird
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Engine: 5.9, Spicer-5
Rated Cap: 44 Big butts/66 Lil ones
As a side note.
If you were anywhere near me, I'd offer to take the bluebird off your hands once you got what you need out of it?
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Old 01-07-2019, 05:35 PM   #11
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Neat build. I have had several 47 Dodges trucks over many years. Love the style. It is what I had in mind before I found the 71 international.

Good choice of engine.

Automatic, well for me it would not be my choice, but nothing wrong with it. I am taking the automatic out of my bus, and putting in a 5 speed manual.
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Old 01-07-2019, 06:15 PM   #12
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awesome build!!



definitely use the 6BT... you might want to do a refresh on it like rivetboy did on his to make sure its good and ready to roll..



ditch the allison 545 and install a 1000 with lockup and over-drive..



looking forward to watching this come together
-Christopher
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Old 01-07-2019, 06:59 PM   #13
Mini-Skoolie
 
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I was under the impression I could just turn it around 180 degrees like I would with the engine and transmission. if it isn't the same what is the difference and could you regear it to work? either way I'm willing to bet it will work better with the Cummins than what I currently have
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Old 01-07-2019, 08:13 PM   #14
Mini-Skoolie
 
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Engine: 5.9, Spicer-5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by spiritjohn View Post
I was under the impression I could just turn it around 180 degrees like I would with the engine and transmission. if it isn't the same what is the difference and could you regear it to work? either way I'm willing to bet it will work better with the Cummins than what I currently have
Well as far as re-gearing that housing, I do not know what is different in the rear engine set up. Don't know if it's just a different ring and pinion, or a whole different housing. I am thinking the brakes would be wrong cause they would be backwards as well.
Respectfully:
One_Eyed_Jack.
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Old 01-07-2019, 08:15 PM   #15
Mini-Skoolie
 
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okay damnit I get what you're saying now. if I just flip my rear end I'm going to go the opposite direction real fast. turning it upside down seems like asking for trouble
I'll ask again, is there any thing I can do to make the rear diff in a rear engine bus work in a front engine setup?
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Old 01-07-2019, 08:20 PM   #16
Mini-Skoolie
 
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just saw that reply on my brakes, guessing it would be hard to just rotate all these parts and still have them work, I will try to figure something out but I may be better off with something else entirely. very frustrating
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Old 01-07-2019, 08:47 PM   #17
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Yea opposite direction real fast. If you flip it it will not oil properly. You may be able to change the center section to a normal rotation center section. Then you would "roll" the axle forward, and re clock the brakes to be upright again.

Seems a lot of work when rears are plentiful.
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Old 01-07-2019, 09:36 PM   #18
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Coachwork: Blue Bird
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Engine: T444E
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Whoops! Yep. At this point you have a couple options. Sell the BlueBird as is, using the money to buy a front-engine version on which you can cannibalize the rear-axle. You can also look for one with a desirable transmission (if you don't already have one).


Otherwise, strip what you can and look for an axle elsewhere. If you're changing the whole axle anyway, look for one off a bus, road tractor, straight truck, or whatever.
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Old 01-08-2019, 06:21 AM   #19
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what transmission is in that bluebird RE? if the engione and trans are in great shape and desirable.. ie great 6BT and a 643 or MD3060, harvest those.. and sell the bus to a scrapper, as part of the deal ask for an exle .. most axles end up getting crushed with the busses.. a friend of mine recently swapped axles via a scrapper to get better brakes and a more deisrable gearing on his bus.. his deal was darn good since he handed them an axle and got one in return... in your case with both axles still on the bus it makes it a mucb easier tow for them to the scrapyard.. so perhaps they can bring you an axle from a CE or FE when they take this bus away..
-Christopher
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Old 01-08-2019, 07:20 AM   #20
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Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Clearlake, Northern California
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Year: 1992
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Chassis: TC-2000 Frt Eng, Tranny:MT643
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Rated Cap: 84
Is it too late to exchange the pusher BB for a front engine one? Then you could simply install the old body on the BB chassis.
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