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Old 07-12-2020, 10:14 PM   #1
Mini-Skoolie
 
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Join Date: Apr 2018
Location: Central Arkansas
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Year: 1996
Coachwork: International AmTran
Chassis: International 3800
Engine: International DT466
Rated Cap: 65 passenger - 27,500 GVW
Wandering Wapiti Bus

IMG_4103.jpg
Iíve been a fan of this website for a few years and recently bought my first bus. It is a 1996 International AmTran 3800 11 window bus with a mechanical DT466 engine and AT545 transmission. It has 200K miles on the odometer and was decommissioned from a school district last year. My plan is to build an adventure/expedition/overland type bus for travel into remote areas such as BLM areas. It will be off-grid capable for extended periods of time for our large family. I plan on swapping the 545 for a 13-speed RoadRanger and then turning up the fuel on the 466. I will probably do pump work and compound turbos once the transmission is swapped. The rear-end seems to be around a 4.68:1 ratio due to running 60mph @ 2500 RPMs downhill in 4th gear that doesnít lock up. One day it may be converted to 4x4 with four-wheel steering using military running gear but most certainly get military bead-lock wheels and tires before then and hydraulic assist steering. It will get a 12Ē roof raise in a couple weeks, exterior paint by Fall and good insulation over the Winter. Stay tuned for more. Adjustments.jpg
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Old 07-13-2020, 09:17 PM   #2
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Join Date: Apr 2018
Location: Central Arkansas
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Year: 1996
Coachwork: International AmTran
Chassis: International 3800
Engine: International DT466
Rated Cap: 65 passenger - 27,500 GVW
The bus handled great on the trip home despite one of the front tires having only 75PSI. The air compressor I brought from home broke down and wouldnít pump over 35PSI. We had to use the coin operated pump at the gas station and Iím thinking they were meant for light duty vehicles.

The bus averaged 9.8 MPG with my foot flat on the floor most of the trip on some 6-7% grades. It got down to 35MPH on one hill but held 45 on most. The fastest it got up to was 70MPH downhill but it will do 60 on flat ground.

One of the first things I did to the bus once we got home was install an air quick connect and ball valve to the wet tank for the air brakes. It allowed me to quickly pump the tire up to 110PSI and it has been holding steady. I highly recommend this mod if you have air brakes.IMG_4107.jpg
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Old 07-14-2020, 06:46 AM   #3
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love having the air chuck!! you really want to grab air via a protector valve off of the secondary tank vs the wet tank..



these old Ward (amtran) busses are nice for building on, they were solid units back then.. is this a mechanical 466 or a 466E? I didnt see any engine pics..


I didnt realize you could get a 13 speed in an SAE2 bell.. cool stuff if you can.. ive seen people put 9 speeds in but through the 13 only came with a #1 bell..
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Old 07-14-2020, 08:26 AM   #4
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Year: 1996
Coachwork: International AmTran
Chassis: International 3800
Engine: International DT466
Rated Cap: 65 passenger - 27,500 GVW
Thanks for the feedback! Iím guessing thereís a check valve between the secondary and wet tank?

It is a mechanical engine, the 3800 chassis was built in September of Ď95. IMG_4109.jpg


Also, Iíve seen SAE2 clutch housings for twin countershaft Roadrangers on ebay. There are part numbers for them in Eatonís literature http://www.roadranger.com/ecm/idcplg...ILE&dID=540580. Part number is A-3723 for a RTLO 16913-AIMG_4086.jpg
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Old 07-14-2020, 11:58 AM   #5
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Chassis: International 3800
Engine: International DT466
Rated Cap: 65 passenger - 27,500 GVW
Iím guessing the secondary tank is protected by a check valve?

Itís a mechanical engine. The chassis was built in Ď95.

There are part numbers for SAE1, and SAE2 IMG_4086.jpg
clutch housings in this manual for a RTLO 16913-A. http://www.roadranger.com/ecm/idcplg...ILE&dID=540580
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Old 07-15-2020, 08:51 PM   #6
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Chassis: International 3800
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Rated Cap: 65 passenger - 27,500 GVW
Took the bus to a local truck stop and got it weighed while fully gutted. All the seats, windows, ceiling panels and lower wall panels are removed. It weighed 7,260 on the front axle and 7,460 on the rear for a total of 14,720 with 60 gallons of fuel. This gives me a good baseline and idea for where to mount the heavy stuff. Adjustments.jpg
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Old 07-16-2020, 11:29 PM   #7
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Very nice to have a baseline weight. We got ours at the CAT scale.
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Old 07-17-2020, 07:28 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HazeltheMooseWagon View Post
Took the bus to a local truck stop and got it weighed while fully gutted. All the seats, windows, ceiling panels and lower wall panels are removed. It weighed 7,260 on the front axle and 7,460 on the rear for a total of 14,720 with 60 gallons of fuel. This gives me a good baseline and idea for where to mount the heavy stuff. Attachment 46675
Interesting, my bus is the same length but weighed 16,246 gutted (but with windows in place). The windows are maybe four or five hundred pounds (?); I wonder how much of a weight difference my high ceiling makes compared to yours, since it's a bit more material.
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Old 07-17-2020, 09:49 AM   #9
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Rated Cap: 65 passenger - 27,500 GVW
Musigenesis, what is the GVWR of your bus and which transmission does it have? Frame and sheet metal thickness could make a big difference. My bus has what appears to be 22ga sheet metal and an AT545 transmission which was one of the lightest ones used in these busses.
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Old 07-17-2020, 10:15 AM   #10
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IC use 20ga. They even use 16ga on some parts of newer ones. The sheetmetal and frame don't vary by engine or weight. My short bus has the same frame and body as a full size bus, just shorter.
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Old 07-17-2020, 11:46 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by HazeltheMooseWagon View Post
Musigenesis, what is the GVWR of your bus and which transmission does it have? Frame and sheet metal thickness could make a big difference. My bus has what appears to be 22ga sheet metal and an AT545 transmission which was one of the lightest ones used in these busses.
My GVWR is 29,000 (I forget the exact digits after the 29,). My bus is 16 ga on the floor (ribs and chair rails are also formed from 16 ga)) and 20 ga everywhere else (I've cut into my bus into numerous places and gotten a chance to measure everything with a gauge).

I think my bus is basically the same as yours but seven years newer. Most likely the windows + the extra height + the 2000 series transmission on mine accounts for the weight difference.
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Old 07-17-2020, 12:38 PM   #12
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Excited to see another bus the size I'm looking at. I've got 2 for sale in my area so hopefully we will end up with one or the other.

You have some serious drivetrain goals! My truck has a 10 speed....wish it had a 13 I love those splits on the top. Makes a huge difference in the hills when you don't have enough power.
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Old 07-17-2020, 01:00 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tlzimmerman View Post
Excited to see another bus the size I'm looking at. I've got 2 for sale in my area so hopefully we will end up with one or the other.

You have some serious drivetrain goals! My truck has a 10 speed....wish it had a 13 I love those splits on the top. Makes a huge difference in the hills when you don't have enough power.

Iím building mine with an emphasis on the time spent in it between destinations which will usually be in the mountains. I like the size of ours. Itís currently 33í8Ē bumper to bumper with 25í of build able space behind the driverís seat. This may sound crazy, but Iíve even considered 4-wheel steering capabilities for tight turns in campgrounds and such. Thatís pretty low on the priority list so it would be years from now. I hope to have it semi-usable by next fall.
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Old 07-17-2020, 01:21 PM   #14
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Awesome. The busses I'm looking at are both 35 footers with 27 behind the driver. That should give us just enough for 4 bunks and a queen for me and the better half....plus a small bathroom, decent kitchen and living.

Come to think of it maybe I should think about power upgrades with some of the mountains we would be looking at. I'm leaning towards 12 v Cummins with a 5 speed.
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Old 07-17-2020, 01:23 PM   #15
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I've got 2 feed trucks I maintain that have Dt466e in em. Great engine....mechanical would be ever better as the only problems we have ever had with them was the computer taking a dump.
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Old 07-17-2020, 09:19 PM   #16
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Rated Cap: 65 passenger - 27,500 GVW
When removing the side wall panels, I ground off the rivets on the vertical hat channels and used a cut-off wheel on a grinder to cut horizontally right above the rivets that hold the wall skin to the chair rail. I cant get 1-1/2Ē of rigid foam board behind the chair rail because the rivets stick out too far. I then decided to cut the horizontal lip off the chair rail leaving a vertical 10Ē wall at the bottom for strength. What I found out was that 10Ē wall was sorta floppy, more than I could stand anyway without the horizontal lip for strength. I then removed the wall skin by cutting directly above the horizontal lip, leaving tabs where it attaches to the wall ribs. I will weld this one horizontal section of seat ledge back to the 10Ē vertical part and cut the other walls above the ledge leaving tabs with the 1/4Ē structural rivets holding them to the vertical ribs. This leaves a good amount of strength while allowing good insulation as well. I may end up insulating past that ledge after all. Or maybe build a utility chase below it. Just wanted to share my experience in case someone else is contemplating the same thing.

Also, I have been trying different methods of cutting sheet metal, square tubing and heavy wall pipe. I will say the cut-off wheels are a must have. The diamond blade I got from the big orange box sucked terribly. It threw tons of sparks, just basically melted itís way through the steel and only lasted about 15í through 12ga metal. My new favorite blade is a metal cutting blade from Harbor Freight. My saw is a worm drive and only spins 4400 rpms, but this thing is a beast! I have cut several hat channels, 8 pieces of 3/4Ē black iron pipe, 24 sticks of 1-1/4Ē 12ga galvanized tubing and about 15í of 20ga sheetmetal and it cuts just as fast as it did in the beginning. It has lost one tooth but probably when I pulled the saw out of a cut. It doesnít throw many sparks but it throws a lot of larger shrapnel. A face shield is highly recommended as the shrapnel hurts. It cuts fast,clean and cool.
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Old 07-17-2020, 09:20 PM   #17
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Join Date: Apr 2018
Location: Central Arkansas
Posts: 22
Year: 1996
Coachwork: International AmTran
Chassis: International 3800
Engine: International DT466
Rated Cap: 65 passenger - 27,500 GVW
By the way, the red blade in the picture is not the one I recommend.
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Old 07-18-2020, 10:48 AM   #18
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Can you show us the metal cutting blade from Harbor Freight?


I like the Diablo brand Zaw-saw blade with carbide teeth I got at HD. It cuts quick, clean, and cool.



I was cut bigger pieces with a 10" carbon-fiber blade on a circular miter saw. It flexes, so sometimes when cutting angles, the cut comes out not being strait. And it heats up the metal. The guys at a fab shop told me to use the circular saw blade in your pics (with the carbide teeth). But that was aluminum. Glad I didn't buy one.
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Old 07-18-2020, 08:26 PM   #19
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Join Date: Apr 2018
Location: Central Arkansas
Posts: 22
Year: 1996
Coachwork: International AmTran
Chassis: International 3800
Engine: International DT466
Rated Cap: 65 passenger - 27,500 GVW
Here is the blade from Harbor Freight that has worked so well.

IMG_4379.png
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Old 07-18-2020, 09:37 PM   #20
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Join Date: Apr 2018
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Year: 1996
Coachwork: International AmTran
Chassis: International 3800
Engine: International DT466
Rated Cap: 65 passenger - 27,500 GVW
I raised the roof 12Ē today with help from my kids and brother. We used 3/4Ē all-thread and pipe on 4 corner posts and used two high-lift farm jacks to do the lifting. I cut my posts flush with the bottom of the windows and used 1-1/4Ē 12ga square tubing overlapped 12Ē above and below the cut. I then stitch welded the tubing to the inside of the hat channels on the top half and drilled 3/4Ē holes in the bottom half of the hat channel to weld plug holes.IMG_4358.jpg
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