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Old 06-29-2015, 02:22 PM   #1
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What engines and transmissions to avoid

Hi Everyone,

I'm getting ready to purchase my first Skoolie and in doing so I'm thinking it would be easier to ask "what should I avoid" engine and transmission wise? As opposed to asking what is the best.

I realize that there may be bits and pieces of this info already on the forums but instead of reading every post in every thread for the next 3 months I'm hoping that it would be just easier to ask.

All I know so far is:

1. Stay away from Cat. engines because their parts are proprietary and expensive.
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Old 06-29-2015, 02:24 PM   #2
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I've been told to stay away from Allison 545 transmissions if you plan on driving in large hills or mountains, as they don't have any lockup...basically means the engine won't help you when you start going downhill.

Also, gas engines are probably not good unless you like getting 3 MPG.

(I've just learned all this from reading here so far...)

-Dan
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Old 06-29-2015, 03:09 PM   #3
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The list is shorter if you stick to what you should get.

Cummins 8.3
Cummins 5.9

International DT466
International DT408
International DT360
International 444E if not a huge bus

Transmission to get.

MT643
MD3060

Don't know about the newer Allison 2000 series Trans.
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Old 06-29-2015, 03:15 PM   #4
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Perfect. These are great starting points. Appreciate the info.
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Old 06-29-2015, 05:36 PM   #5
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awesome thread! this would have been one of the first questions I posted myself, but now, no need. thanks!
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Old 06-29-2015, 05:49 PM   #6
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HPD,

The only time to even look at Cat is IF you know it's either well taken care of, or, its had a reman/replace. That's the reason I pulled the trigger on my baby.... Replaced 32K miles ago.
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Old 06-29-2015, 07:42 PM   #7
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CAT engines are usually a bad idea because the parts are proprietary and as a result the prices are jacked up very high.
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Old 06-29-2015, 07:51 PM   #8
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Don't forget to avoid the GM 8.2 detroit diesel. Not a bad engine if running good. But don't plan on making any more power then it already has. It does make its name as a penny pincher, fuel usage wise, until it needs repaired.
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Old 06-30-2015, 04:24 PM   #9
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I'd get preatty much any manual trans....
The most common seems to be spicer 5 speeds, but I have seen 6/7 too.
I like manuals... I could rebuild one. Auto not so much.
Most of the busses from the mid nineties seem to have manuals around here.
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Old 06-30-2015, 04:30 PM   #10
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If you want a flat nose, or rear engine bus, you won't be getting a manual trans.

Nat
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Old 06-30-2015, 09:59 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by crazycal View Post

Don't know about the newer Allison 2000 series Trans.
Absolutely nothing wrong with the 2000 series allisons. They're light years ahead of any of the old mechanicals, including the mt643.
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Old 06-30-2015, 10:32 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by Booyah45828 View Post
Absolutely nothing wrong with the 2000 series allisons. They're light years ahead of any of the old mechanicals, including the mt643.

There you go. Add the Allison 2000 to the list of "To get".
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Old 06-30-2015, 10:38 PM   #13
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Most of the transmissions around today are pretty decent. Its just smarter to avoid the 545's. Had one in my gas Thomas and the 643 is a definite upgrade.
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Old 07-01-2015, 12:29 AM   #14
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I have a "FREE" AT545 for anyone who cares to pick it up. Yes...it was a "runner" when taken out.

It was replaced with a 5th generation Allison 2200MH six speed with double OD. Great thing about the New Gens is that they can plug & play with old school all mechanical engines, unlike the previous series. A single built-in processor lets it communicate with any engine via nothing more than a throttle position sensor.

The newer automatics are full lockups and will get better mileage than a standard. And to my simple mind, Allison builds just about the best there is.
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Old 07-01-2015, 04:03 AM   #15
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I have a "FREE" AT545 for anyone who cares to pick it up. Yes...it was a "runner" when taken out.

It was replaced with a 5th generation Allison 2200MH six speed with double OD. Great thing about the New Gens is that they can plug & play with old school all mechanical engines, unlike the previous series. A single built-in processor lets it communicate with any engine via nothing more than a throttle position sensor.

The newer automatics are full lockups and will get better mileage than a standard. And to my simple mind, Allison builds just about the best there is.

I agree and I would love to buy a brand new Allison, but the price you paid for your trans was more than the purchase price of a couple of my buses combined.
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Old 07-01-2015, 06:03 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by crazycal View Post
There you go. Add the Allison 2000 to the list of "To get".
Ditto...
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Old 07-01-2015, 10:17 AM   #17
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Hey Cal...you are correct sir. In my case I HAD to have all the extra OD I could find, and not being a fan of Brownies and such, bit the Allie bullet. The tranny cost more than the bus and Cummins engine combined.

But...it is SHINY!
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Old 07-01-2015, 01:17 PM   #18
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Shiny is pretty.
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Old 07-01-2015, 01:23 PM   #19
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Only reason I would ever buy a manual trans, is to push start the bus off the edge of a hill after a EMP blast.

As mentioned, the newer auto's are better than any manual trans.

Nat
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Old 07-01-2015, 01:27 PM   #20
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An automatic it will be for me then. I'm thinking of both a flat nose and rear engine type. Besides, I've done all the manual shifting I care to do in my lifetime already .
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