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Old 07-09-2021, 09:59 PM   #1
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: May 2021
Location: Houston, TX
Posts: 59
Cummins 5.9 12v or T444E...

Got 2, 6 window buses i want. One is a T444e w/ 5sp manual.
Other 12v cummins/at545 i assume. I wish it was manual, dang.

Besides the transmission, which motor is better in reliability terms? lol.

I feel like both of these platforms are in the top 5 of best diesel motors from my brief research, no actual experience with either.

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Old 07-09-2021, 10:33 PM   #2
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Join Date: Aug 2020
Location: Mesa, AZ
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Year: 2003
Coachwork: Blue Bird All American
Engine: 8.3 Cummins
Rated Cap: 2 adults and two pigeons
I prefer manual transmission myself, but it may be geared low
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Old 07-09-2021, 11:18 PM   #3
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: May 2021
Location: Houston, TX
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Ya, me too. So much better control imo. Right, if its geared low, top speed wont be much better anyway. At which point id prefer an auto w/ lock up no doubt. Manual is great though.

The real question is cummins 12v 6bt or IH 444e V8....?

Sound like both have tight .0005 and less! tolerances in a couple places. lol. I was a mill machinist for a decade. Thats pretty tight for me. I can hold it on a good machine maybe, but not easily. sheeew... lol.

edit: ive actually held that on the shittiest mill machine ever. lol. +.0005 -0. all night long. but the piece of **** was tight and did work. ill give them that Dude has a 6k cnc mill in 1 room and a 500k mill in the other. Typical! ha.
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Old 07-12-2021, 10:26 AM   #4
Bus Geek
 
Join Date: May 2014
Location: West Ohio
Posts: 2,524
Year: 1984
Coachwork: Bluebird
Chassis: International 1753
Engine: 6.9 International
Rated Cap: 65
This is the big conundrum most skoolie owners will face, evaluating the total package. Both engines are great, with a slight edge going to the 6bt IMO.

But in this scenario, I'd have to go with the t444e backed by the manual, over a 6bt/at545. You gain so many options transmission wise with a manual unit already in place, where as most upgrades to an at545 will require a bit more fab work, let alone the electronics if you decide to upgrade to a 2000 or md3060.

Another big issue is highway gearing, if that's in your future. A simple overlook in that department and that cheap bus in North Carolina on a gov deals auction is not so worth it anymore.
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Old 07-12-2021, 11:13 AM   #5
Bus Crazy
 
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Location: Virginia
Posts: 2,024
Year: 1971
Coachwork: Wayne
Chassis: International Loadstar 1700
Engine: 345 international V-8
Must say I prefer the manual by a long shot. Personal preference is the 5.9, but both really do seem to hold up about the same.


Can always change rear end gears to get better road speed. Compared to changing engines or transmissions it is easy, and cheaper.
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Old 07-12-2021, 01:31 PM   #6
Bus Nut
 
Join Date: Jul 2017
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Year: 1993
Chassis: IH 3800
Engine: DT360
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The 5.9 is a bit easier to work on as far as the fuel system and such are concerned.. I prefer it over the 444.


You can put a 5 speed behind it for relatively cheap.
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Old 07-12-2021, 02:26 PM   #7
Bus Crazy
 
Join Date: May 2018
Location: topeka kansas
Posts: 1,013
Year: 1954
Coachwork: wayne
Chassis: old f500- new 2005 f-450
Engine: cummins 12 valve
Rated Cap: 20? five rows of 4?
5.9 12 valve

I have a hot rod 5.9. I spent $4,000 for a new 6 speed manual. Direct drive in 5 th. 6 th gear is for flat land only.

William
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Old 07-12-2021, 06:38 PM   #8
Bus Geek
 
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Columbus Ohio
Posts: 15,426
Year: 1991
Coachwork: Carpenter
Chassis: International 3800
Engine: DTA360 / MT643
Rated Cap: 7 Row Handicap
I like my 6 speed auto behind my 444E.. both dialed into each other nicely.. i also dont have a long heaby bus though.. even so im not really into shifting all the time unless its with a button... sports car yes.. school bus no
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Old 07-12-2021, 07:43 PM   #9
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: May 2021
Location: Houston, TX
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Quote:
Originally Posted by magnakansas View Post
I have a hot rod 5.9. I spent $4,000 for a new 6 speed manual. Direct drive in 5 th. 6 th gear is for flat land only.

William
Thats badass!


I got flaked out on for that bus (3rd time)
Had a deal worked out, dude like ima call you. No call. lol. and im not gonna beg the people to sell me a bus.

Id love to have that 6bt b/c they sound legendary on the webs. But no biggie.

Then ... boom, Hot doggit, just stumbled across best deal yet in 2 months of searching.. Deal worked out, only to realize i cant get one of these bad boys insured for under $100 ish a month. Waiting on a quote from the infamous kelly newsome. Hope she can keep my bus dreams alive. I have little faith in getting it under $100 a mo. though. Last quote was $200 a mo. LOL. Thats minimum coverage lol.
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Old 07-25-2021, 03:41 AM   #10
Bus Nut
 
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Join Date: Jul 2019
Location: Freedom Field, New Mexico
Posts: 299
Year: 1998
Coachwork: International
Chassis: Amtrans
Engine: 444E
Rated Cap: 84 pas
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fox Slider View Post
Got 2, 6 window buses i want. One is a T444e w/ 5sp manual.
Other 12v cummins/at545 i assume. I wish it was manual, dang.

Besides the transmission, which motor is better in reliability terms? lol.

I feel like both of these platforms are in the top 5 of best diesel motors from my brief research, no actual experience with either.
If you like the standard transmission go with that one. The T444E is a solid powerplant. We've got a couple 40' Re International AMTRANS busses equipped with them. We love em.
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