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Old 05-30-2020, 01:51 AM   #1
Mini-Skoolie
 
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Help. Buying a Cat 3126 shorty

Going to check out a 2001 cat 3126 freighliner thomas shorty.
Guy said its 24' long and has a allison. (Does not know which allison model
I'm assuming it's a allison 2000? Can anyone help on that? Is this the one with the unlockable 6th gear?

So I have never check out a full size shorty, been mainly looking at cutaways.
But the size seems ideal.

Anything o should be looking for besides the usual, leaks tires ect.

If anyone has good information on this year and make would be most helpful! Dependability, hows the chassis, the ride, read that they are hydraulic brakes and maybe air parking?

I would be great! I'm driving 5 hours this Sunday to go see it.

Once again thanks for all the help!
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Old 05-30-2020, 03:41 AM   #2
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Per some info I've gleaned from others on the site...
Allison Trans ID.png
I believe I made a slight mistake in this image, I believe the info given me was meant to indicate that the T444E engine did not usually get the MT643.

If I'm not mistaken, EastCoastCB owns or owned a 3126, hopefully they will chime in here.
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Old 05-30-2020, 05:43 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bpjr07 View Post
Going to check out a 2001 cat 3126 freighliner thomas shorty.
Guy said its 24' long and has a allison. (Does not know which allison model
I'm assuming it's a allison 2000? Can anyone help on that? Is this the one with the unlockable 6th gear?

So I have never check out a full size shorty, been mainly looking at cutaways.
But the size seems ideal.

Anything o should be looking for besides the usual, leaks tires ect.

If anyone has good information on this year and make would be most helpful! Dependability, hows the chassis, the ride, read that they are hydraulic brakes and maybe air parking?

I would be great! I'm driving 5 hours this Sunday to go see it.

Once again thanks for all the help!
Could be air or hydraulic. Almost surely a 545.
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Old 05-30-2020, 09:54 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EastCoastCB View Post
Could be air or hydraulic. Almost surely a 545.
Great thanks I think I found one exactly the same size as yours without the lift kit lol. Hope you dont mind me picking your brain on it.


the guy selling it really wanted a live in skoolie, but from the calls he did not seam to know much technical details. he would take it in for service. 110,000 miles Im planning to use it as a weekend getaway camper putting in realistically 2-5k miles a year. So with proper maintanace I should not have any issues on the tranny and engine reliability (fingers crossed)

Would this be ideal to get instead of a 23 foot long cutaway 2006 duramax for my situation of weekend camper? Thinking a cutaway is more convenient for freeway gearing. And hear it's less difficult to drive. And tires are cheaper...ect

Did say the bus likes cruise at 57mph on the highway. There is a slight shake in the wheel. Think the common king pin issue?

How does this set up do going up mountains would be a good plus if I can take it up to big bear mountain.

Told me his bus was about 24 feet long,
How long is yours? How much living space is there behind the seat. Height inside?

Any regrets or any common problems I should look for these busses?
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Old 05-30-2020, 11:19 AM   #5
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These are my favorite shorties. The FS65's.
Most of them with the pre-emissions engines will have 545.

Mine had a shake but it was the rear u-joint. Smooth as can be now other than these things all shake at idle. Wheel shake could be a few things. Wheel/tire out of round or balance. kingpin. other things as well.
If its happiest at 57 its probably got lower gearing. A gear swap will probably be a good idea.
I like the FS65, but the 545 isn't the best for mountains due to no engine braking.
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Old 05-30-2020, 12:15 PM   #6
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Great thanks for the help I did read up your thread for more info on it. Thanks. Going to se it tommorow hope it goes well
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Old 05-30-2020, 12:31 PM   #7
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Hopefully it's got a high roof ~77". The low roof will be ~72" which is a little low depending on which side of six feet you and your visitors are... The Thomas body is a bit more complicated to do a roof raise and have look good.

There will probably be a tag on the rear axle housing near the center diff. giving the gear ratio.

If the shifter has a D inside a circle -- that's the universal symbol for o/d and a very likely sign you've got an A2000. None of the early 2000's were set up internally for 6speeds -- that's a ~2005 and later thing...

Brakes could be hydraulic or air -- mine are hydraulic and my parking brake is cable actuated.

search "adept ape 3126" on youtube for some great info about the CAT engine.
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Old 05-30-2020, 12:41 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by banman View Post
Hopefully it's got a high roof ~77". The low roof will be ~72" which is a little low depending on which side of six feet you and your visitors are... The Thomas body is a bit more complicated to do a roof raise and have look good.

There will probably be a tag on the rear axle housing near the center diff. giving the gear ratio.

If the shifter has a D inside a circle -- that's the universal symbol for o/d and a very likely sign you've got an A2000. None of the early 2000's were set up internally for 6speeds -- that's a ~2005 and later thing...

Brakes could be hydraulic or air -- mine are hydraulic and my parking brake is cable actuated.

search "adept ape 3126" on youtube for some great info about the CAT engine.
Thanks for the info!. I'm 5'9" so dont mind a 6 foot cealing wife is 5'1" so even with insulated floor it should be ok.
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Old 05-30-2020, 02:46 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by banman View Post
Hopefully it's got a high roof ~77". The low roof will be ~72" which is a little low depending on which side of six feet you and your visitors are... The Thomas body is a bit more complicated to do a roof raise and have look good.

There will probably be a tag on the rear axle housing near the center diff. giving the gear ratio.

If the shifter has a D inside a circle -- that's the universal symbol for o/d and a very likely sign you've got an A2000. None of the early 2000's were set up internally for 6speeds -- that's a ~2005 and later thing...

Brakes could be hydraulic or air -- mine are hydraulic and my parking brake is cable actuated.

search "adept ape 3126" on youtube for some great info about the CAT engine.
Asked the owner he said the shifter is 123D and another D for overdrive hear it's a ok trans and I would be able to change it up to set up for 6th gear. But overall better trans than the 545 I'm assuming.
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Old 05-30-2020, 03:24 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bpjr07 View Post
Asked the owner he said the shifter is 123D and another D for overdrive hear it's a ok trans and I would be able to change it up to set up for 6th gear. But overall better trans than the 545 I'm assuming.
You can verify many things when you look it over. There will be a 'silver' tag on the right hand side of the tranny stating what it is.

My tag and shifter look like this -- search the web for more info...

IMG_1416.jpg IMG_1413.jpg

The 2000 is a 5sp with lock-up converter in 4th & 5th gear...
Converting the earlier versions to a 6sp requires some internal mods -- not impossible but not directly "plug n' play" either...

That said, the 5sp is stronger and more capable in many ways compared to the 545 so a good start for your expressed uses.
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Old 05-30-2020, 04:45 PM   #11
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I would crawl under and actually inspect the tag on the actual transmission assembly. The gear shifter indicator is a good indicator but not 100% certain.


It really seems like 2001-03 can be a tossup when it comes to getting a 2000 series or an AT545 in a school bus. Lots of times school bus model years don't make a lot of sense especially since unfinished chassis can sit in a factory yard for up to 2 years before getting a body bolted on and actually being titled/delivered. It also seems like the 2000 series was offered as an upgrade during those years but in other scenarios it was the first thing installed on the assembly lines when the supply of AT545s dried up.



I would consider 2005 to be the "safe" model year when you're VERY unlikely to end up with an AT545. But then you get into the emissions engines model years which is a whole nother box of worms.
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Old 05-30-2020, 05:42 PM   #12
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Seller just texted that a guy saw it and bough it today! :/ was sounding like the perfect setup for me...
Thanks for all the help guys I will keep a eye out for a shorty fs65 with the right drivetrain!
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