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Old 07-06-2017, 03:02 PM   #1
Bus Crazy
 
Join Date: May 2016
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Brad's Shorty Bus

As promised (or threatened, depending on your perspective) I'm starting my own thread for my own bus. #206 is said to be a sibling to iBiscuit's #205, though I've already spotted a few small differences.

I still haven't taken any pics (will do shortly, if the weather cooperates) but I did check the oil (full, probably need changed, more on that in a bit). I also slid under it to see if I could determine the gear ratio. I could not see a plate but I did find a sticker which was only partially legible. "Navistar, Dana Part # [illegible], [a mostly present bar-code], 5.38 ..." the remainder either illegible or missing. I think it's a safe bet it's a 5.38 ratio, the top speed in high gear supports this theory. This is the first thing I wish to change.

Let's calculate:
55 (MPH) = 60 (MPH)
2600 (RPM) = 2836 (RPM)
Why am I calculating 60 MPH? Partly because I need one consistent variable for my calculations, and also because I'll need to calculate driveshaft revolutions per mile (to later recalibrate the speedometer)
Desired RPM range:
65 (MPH) = 60(MPH)
2167 (RPM) = 2000 (RPM)

60 = 60
2836 = 2000
5.38 = 3.79Going from that, I can estimate a top speed of about 80 at around 2700 RPM. I don't know if I can find an *exact* 3.79 gear ratio, but it gives me a baseline to work from. I'm betting I can find a 3.73 or 3.83 or something close.

A quick internet search shows "Lo Pro" 22.5's have 512 revolutions per mile. 512x5.38 = 2755 (rounded up), which is right in the range of my calculations above. It seems a safe bet that high gear in my transmission is a 1:1 ratio (as I suspected).

So, with VIN in hand I will call my local IH dealer and have him look up what axle it has. For those more knowledgeable about it, I have a couple questions: I am reasonably sure the top speed is governed both by its mechanical setup as well as electronically, is this doable "at home" (and what will I need to do it)? Second, while I could change the axle gear ratio and simply let it be (in a manner, bypassing the electronic governor) the speedometer will be wrong. Disabling the governor is planned, what is needed to recalibrate the speedometer? (Before anyone asks, it's an '01 IH with a 5-speed Spicer manual transmission). And finally, does anyone have any insight on such a gear ratio behind the T444E engine? (It's a shorty, which I'm sure will make a difference).
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Old 07-06-2017, 03:23 PM   #2
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to recal the speedometer on a T-444E we have to connect to the computer and do it.. inside the computer program are the parameters to set the axle ratio, tire revs per mile, and any speed limiters can be removed in the computer.

factory RPM limiters are 2600-2700 RPM and cant be altered.. so there may or may not be an actual speed limiter on it. it may just be the RPM limit.

I go between florida and ohio quite ab it and have the programmer and software to program those ECM parameters.. not sure where in GA you are.. or what your timeframe is for the gear swap.


3.73 (standard size). seems awfully tall for a bus with 11R22.5 tires on it.. or wait you have different tires.. I guess I dont know what a low pro is.. is it an 8R?

5.38's is definitely a short gear for even 11R22.5 tires.. so I can imagine on anything smaller its very short.. alas 55 top speed.

-Christopher
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Old 07-06-2017, 03:59 PM   #3
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Yeah, the rear end is geared low in those. Otherwise your bus would have been mine a year or two ago!
My shorty has 4.10 rear and 10r's. It will do 75 if you have a long enough road. I wouldn't go too high. 4.10 or 4.44 would be perfect with some 11r's.
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Old 07-06-2017, 04:45 PM   #4
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A quick Google search finds the following: A 11R22.5 tire has about 496 revolutions per mile, where a "Lo Pro" (295/75R 22.5) has about 512. I have no reason to change tire sizes as that will not change the top speed enough to make a difference, and Lo Pro 22.5's are very common in the U.S., making them easy to find and competitive on price. I'd much prefer a re-gear, I want more than a 4-5 MPH speed difference.

Christopher - I am off of I-85, about 30 miles NE of Atlanta. I'm not sure if my bus is governed or not, but it'll rev ~2700 in lower gears but only 2600 in high gear, which leads me to think it is governed. I would like to remove the governor (if set) but I figure IH set the max RPM's for a reason and I should leave it that way. It seemed to have plenty of power above ~1800 RPM and feels like it will cruise comfortably there at 60+.

I have a "Change Oil" light that comes on after startup (goes off a short while later). What triggers this, and how does it reset? (I do plan to do an oil change soon).

I'm thinking 3.73 gears may be acceptable for flat ground driving but may be a little much for any hill climbing. I'm thinking 4.10 (or whatever is closest to it) may be slightly slower than I am hoping to be able to run. Thoughts on 3.90 (or whatever I can find that is closest)?
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Old 07-06-2017, 06:19 PM   #5
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navistar engines sometimes have a customer imposed max RPM or a speed limiter and then the factory rev limiter.. I have my rev limiter in my bus set a 2600. the factory is 2700..

the change oil light is an optional parameter in the computer.. I have to look at the intervals again to see if its just miles or a combo of hours and miles. I use mine (I enabled it).. the only way I know to reset it is to log into the computer and reset it.. (there may be another way .. I know there are ways on the internet for the maxxforce engines.. i havent see if that works on the older units or not).. if the change oil indicator is set then it will stay on for about 30-45 seconds after you start the bus.. if its just in light test then it goes off shortly after the engine starts.

that feature can be permanently disabled in the computer easily.
there are quite a few parameters that can be set in the computer.

I enabled a cold weather mode on mine that will automatically adjust the idle speed when in Neutral and no brake applied to maintain the engine temperature from getting too cold.

one of these times when I head south we will have to meet up and I can read out your ECM.

-Christopher
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Old 07-06-2017, 06:49 PM   #6
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I might like to use the Oil Change light feature on mine as well. It is staying on for the 30 seconds or so, I expect it's due. Seems I'll need a way to reset it when I do oil changes in the future. At some point I'll probably want/need a computer of my own to link up and do all this myself (unless there's an easy way to reset the oil change reminder).

Mine *DOES* have cruise control switches so for cold weather I'll just idle it up myself (I'm accustomed to doing this in big trucks, and the bus works much the same way). It seems to generate plenty of heat, as I did need to use the defrosters on the way home.

When I picked up the bus, I did think to ask if service records were available. They were, so I requested them. I got an entire folder full and went through it all. Seems the pinion seal has leaked a couple times (and repaired); cam sensor replaced at least twice, kingpin bushings at some point, clutch job somewhere around 20K miles ago. Tires were 10R22.5's on several replacements but has Lo Pro 22.5's now. I doubt there's much difference except an inch or so of height/width and quite a few $$$ of cost.

Any thoughts on a 3.90-or-so axle ratio? And A/C retrofit (after the gear swap)?
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Old 07-06-2017, 06:57 PM   #7
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pinion seal is common on these.. mine is starting to leak on mine.. will be a project soon for me to change it. looks pretty straight forward.. cam sensor is also a real common thing to go bad (and causes a no start)..

you can definitely do the manual idler.. I can do it too... i just turned on the auto just because when I idle the most is im on a 1000 mile road trip.. I get dead sleepy and want a nap.. so I wearily pull off in a rest stop.. and plop down on the air mattress for an hour or so.. you definitely make good heat in summertime and while moving.. but if you have all the heaters on high in winter at idle it cools down fast.. cold in Ohio is probably different than cold in georgia. though I will say that the heating system while moving keeps me warm enough to be in short sleeves in 0 degree weather... (and im always cold in winter)..
-Christopher
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Old 07-11-2017, 09:04 PM   #8
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So, after a busy weekend driving out to Texas, I have returned to continue with my bus. I still need to get some pics, don't I?

I called about re-gearing the rear axle. Looks like about $1500 for a refurb module (it's a Dana N175 axle, according to my IH dealer). The service history shows a couple pinion gear seals over the years, the axle guy says it could be something out of balance, so while I have everything dismantled I might as well have the driveshaft balance checked too. How much gear oil should I need?

Paint! While the yellow might be quite appropriate for school use and for keeping the elements off the steel, I believe something different is in order for my purposes. I'm in GA, a white roof should help keep things ... less hot inside. A metallic dark grey will help keep the outside looking classy. How much paint (of each color) should I need? (It's about 25' bumper-to-bumper).
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Old 07-12-2017, 08:59 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cadillackid View Post
you can definitely do the manual idler.. I can do it too... i just turned on the auto just because when I idle the most is im on a 1000 mile road trip.. I get dead sleepy and want a nap.. so I wearily pull off in a rest stop.. and plop down on the air mattress for an hour or so.. you definitely make good heat in summertime and while moving.. but if you have all the heaters on high in winter at idle it cools down fast.. cold in Ohio is probably different than cold in georgia. though I will say that the heating system while moving keeps me warm enough to be in short sleeves in 0 degree weather... (and im always cold in winter)..
-Christopher
A hair off topic:
Christopher, this made me wonder... with the computer hooked up can you force the Exhaust Back Pressure Valve closed on the T444e? That would help with keeping the engine warm in the winter, but I'm not sure about having it closed for long periods of time. Any experience with it?

I removed mine so no longer have the option, though I never encountered a situation where it was especially useful. In the winter I usually start the bus, high idle while I get ready, then start driving gently until up to operating temperature.
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Old 07-12-2017, 09:03 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brad_SwiftFur View Post
Paint! While the yellow might be quite appropriate for school use and for keeping the elements off the steel, I believe something different is in order for my purposes. I'm in GA, a white roof should help keep things ... less hot inside. A metallic dark grey will help keep the outside looking classy. How much paint (of each color) should I need? (It's about 25' bumper-to-bumper).
Good on ya! Getting to the paint job swiftly. Well done.

I've been driving around with a hacky paint job for far too long. I'll let you know how many gallons it takes to cover a 25' bus if I beat you to it. Hopefully within the next 2 weeks or so...
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Old 07-13-2017, 05:36 PM   #11
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Good news everyone! Bus is titled and tagged. I posted more details in the "Registration worries in Georgia" thread. I had no difficulty at all, I made no effort to change it to RV or MH, it was simply tagged as a personal use vehicle. Initial cost was $213 ($2500 purchase price X 7% sales tax ($175), + $38 tag/title fees). From this day forward it will be $20 per year as long as I don't register it for another use.
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Old 07-15-2017, 09:17 PM   #12
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Photo time!







Pretty much "As it came" from the auction. I haven't done anything except partially wash it when these were taken.
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Old 07-15-2017, 09:21 PM   #13
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nice!! looks alot like my little bird!!
-Christopher
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Old 07-15-2017, 09:22 PM   #14
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I keep forgetting.. are you going for full-time in it? or is it a weekend camper?
-Christopher
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Old 07-15-2017, 09:26 PM   #15
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I keep forgetting.. are you going for full-time in it? or is it a weekend camper?
-Christopher
Right now, neither. That's one reason I made no effort to register it as an RV/MH. It'll either remain a passenger hauler or be put to a business use.
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Old 07-15-2017, 09:31 PM   #16
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sweet!! so kind of like me then... I just cruise around in my busses ...
-Christopher
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Old 07-15-2017, 10:56 PM   #17
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Pretty much; 3 of us went out for dinner in mine the other day.

I'd like to add A/C to mine.
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Old 07-16-2017, 07:53 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brad_SwiftFur View Post
Pretty much; 3 of us went out for dinner in mine the other day.

I'd like to add A/C to mine.
I did it in my carpenter.. a little different than most as I wanted Dashboard A/C and not just rear...

my bluebird has the rear hanging unit which is great to keep the back cool but i definitely never freeze in the driver seat..

im thinking of building a front evaporator.. seems you should be able to get some take-off A/C unit gear from people here who just rip it out and throw it away..
-Christopher
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Old 07-16-2017, 11:10 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cadillackid View Post
I did it in my carpenter.. a little different than most as I wanted Dashboard A/C and not just rear...

my bluebird has the rear hanging unit which is great to keep the back cool but i definitely never freeze in the driver seat..

im thinking of building a front evaporator.. seems you should be able to get some take-off A/C unit gear from people here who just rip it out and throw it away..
-Christopher
That's why I mentioned it, I'm hoping to snag a system that someone else on this board is removing.
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Old 07-16-2017, 10:03 PM   #20
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So, I went out to work on the bus. The front crossing arm has been removed, as has the stop sign. I plan to remove the air line for the crossing arm, the air line and wiring for the stop sign were removed with it. I took off the cover for the door handle, the wiring harness going into it had been cut (to disable the 8-way lights). I do not plan to re-enable the 8-way's, but I would like to re-enable the stairwell light, which I believe may be hooked into the door switch in some way.

I have a mess of wiring behind the control panel but I am slowly removing things I won't need such as the stop-arm air line and wiring for the kid-minder, camera system, and 8-way lights.

My roommate gave me a simple cup holder which I was able to attach to the dash. Not the prettiest thing, but should do the job.

I want to install a stereo system but I have a dilemma on how I want to mount it. If this bus is to be a passenger-hauler, then I will want the passengers to be able to play whatever they want. When driving empty, I will want to play my own music. Any suggestions on how to do this? I could consider a removable radio and install 2 mounts for it; not necessarily the most elegant solution. Anyone ever seen a swing-away type setup?
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