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Old 05-22-2019, 02:11 PM   #1
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How difficult to replace T444e with DT466e (IC 3800)?

Greetings! We're planning our first bus purchase, and our 'must-haves' are a dog-nosed pre-2004 between 8-10 windows in length (~ 19-23' interior space). A 'must have' for me was also a DT466/466e, but those are kinda hard to come by. If we were to purchase a T444e-equipped bus (international 3800 build), would an engine swap to a DT466 be pretty straight forward? I'm thinking that since the 3800 came in versions sporting either engine (and others), it should be easy (relatively speaking), but I'm not sure how the wiring / electronics (or other factors I may not be aware of) might complicate the issue. Or, would it be better to just wait on finding a 446? Which brings up question #2... does bus size dictate the power-plant variation? Are 446-equipped 8-10 window busses hard to find because they don't put 446s in the 'smaller' busses?
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Old 05-22-2019, 02:21 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheHubbardBus View Post
Greetings! We're planning our first bus purchase, and our 'must-haves' are a dog-nosed pre-2004 between 8-10 windows in length (~ 19-23' interior space). A 'must have' for me was also a DT466/466e, but those are kinda hard to come by. If we were to purchase a T444e-equipped bus (international 3800 build), would an engine swap to a DT466 be pretty straight forward? I'm thinking that since the 3800 came in versions sporting either engine (and others), it should be easy (relatively speaking), but I'm not sure how the wiring / electronics (or other factors I may not be aware of) might complicate the issue. Or, would it be better to just wait on finding a 446? Which brings up question #2... does bus size dictate the power-plant variation? Are 446-equipped 8-10 window busses hard to find because they don't put 446s in the 'smaller' busses?
There are plenty of 466 short and mid-length buses. You just gotta be patient and watch for em. Also consider the Cat 3126. Its a fine engine. I like mine.
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Old 05-22-2019, 04:06 PM   #3
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what ECCB says.. its a difficult swap on a mechanical bus(txstreetman replaced a 7.3 IDI with a DTA-360.. it was an intensive project involving cutting fabbing, etc and a donor vehicle for parts.. not just an engine..)..


an electronic one is even tougher.. 466E's are still real common on the auctions..
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Old 05-22-2019, 04:18 PM   #4
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The DT466 is a longer engine than the T444, so firewall cutting may be in order.


Personally, if I was going to do an engine swap, why stop at a DT466? Why not get something bigger and heavier duty? An L10 Cummins? M11 or N14? 60-series Detroit? Get some serious road tractor horsepower, drop in some 3.53 (or close) gears and cruise on down the road.


One forum member (I forget who) had a fully converted rig tipping the scales around 36K and the DT466 was woefully underpowered; he was looking for more oomph.
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Old 05-22-2019, 04:44 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brad_SwiftFur View Post
The DT466 is a longer engine than the T444, so firewall cutting may be in order.


Personally, if I was going to do an engine swap, why stop at a DT466? Why not get something bigger and heavier duty? An L10 Cummins? M11 or N14? 60-series Detroit? Get some serious road tractor horsepower, drop in some 3.53 (or close) gears and cruise on down the road.


One forum member (I forget who) had a fully converted rig tipping the scales around 36K and the DT466 was woefully underpowered; he was looking for more oomph.
I think it was this fellow
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Old 05-22-2019, 04:49 PM   #6
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I think it was this fellow
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Old 05-22-2019, 05:07 PM   #7
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The reason I was considering the possibility of a DT466 engine swap, but not something bigger/better/etc, was because the International 3800 line of buses were apparently assembled with both T444 & DT466 powerplants (as well as others). I figured - perhaps incorrectly - that this being the case, a swap to another supported motor wouldn't be much more than sourcing new motor mounts, radiator/mounts, etc... a 'bolt-up' conversion... one not requiring fabrication. But that's why I'm asking. I admit I haven't a clue. It's good to hear that the DT466s aren't limited to larger buses! Our main goal is to have a solid, reliable power-plant that we can always find (reasonably priced) parts for, that's as user-serviceable as possible, and that won't destroy us financially when the time comes to rebuild/overhaul it. I'm not looking to up-power the bus. Just keep it running and running well for years to come. Sorry for the wall of text BTW... my paragraphs keep getting collapsed every time I post.
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Old 05-22-2019, 06:59 PM   #8
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The 3800 is a series similar to saying ford has F series pickups.. they can in many different wheelbases engine configs(over the years), weight ratings etc.
Mechanically the 466 is heavier so you’d likely need another leaf up front. The 444e is a V8 and the 466e is I6 so you have to cut the firewall out and rework the floor plates. The frame holes are drilled for the mounts already.. the radiator/cac is different as is the piping. Exhaust is different. The 466 sits back further so you might need longer trans shift cable and shorten driveshaft. Different trans dipstick too.. I’m assuming you are replacing engine and trans together.. if not then making sure you have the right bits for the flexplate and such.

Now into the electronics. Many of the ECMs are same from 444e to 466e but the wiring harnesses are completely different. Computer program is completely different if your new engine didn’t have the computer. If it does then you still have program to match gearing for speedo to work. Then you have the bus wiring for alternator starter etc which is different location..

Not saying it can’t be done.. I swap all kinds of stuff but for an engine like this is sooner get another bus.. now if you are building something that really never existed. Ie big Detroit or big cat or even 530e in a conventional bus then it makes sense to do it as it’s a one off.. but 466e with nice transmissions are all over.. and you can reprogram the computer for more horsies
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Old 05-22-2019, 08:08 PM   #9
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Thank you all so much for the info!

Cadillac, you either saved me some measure of regret, or a lot of work & $$. Probably the former because once I realized what I was in for we'd likely be sticking w/ the 444 (which I'm sure is a great engine, just not what we want).

We'll do our best to take your advice, EastCoast, and be patient. Or at least act in a patient manner (despite frothing at the bit) ;)

Cadillac, when you say nice transmissions, which ones are you referring to. From reading here I'm guessing the 643 is one, and the 545 is not. The wiki for the 3800 lists 2 other manuals as options for the series (a 4 & 5 speed). Any clue about them? Also, are there other options from other manufacturers out there that would pair a 'nice' tranny with the DT466 is the year/body style we're hoping for? Most of what I see from Bluebird or Thomas has cats in them (again, I'm sure they're nice, just not what we're hoping for).
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Old 05-22-2019, 08:28 PM   #10
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I love my T444e engine. I have a 28' (8 window) dog nose - with the 7.3L 210HP V8 turbo diesel - and the Allison 2000 transmission - which has been very good to me (even with having to replace the compressor this week).
It has traveled from Florida to Montana to Virginia to Texas to Arizona and back to Montana.

It was originally a Georgia Bus (from Newton, GA) - and had 297,000 miles when it was retired. I have about 340,000 miles on it now. I generally cruise at 55 MPH - and average 10-14 MPG.

I have not seen any downfalls with this engine.

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Old 05-23-2019, 06:12 AM   #11
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Why swap an engine with another engine that has around the same or not much more horsepower? Both engines are very reliable.
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Old 05-23-2019, 08:13 AM   #12
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being the fact i own both a 444E and a mechanical DTA360, I can say that the inline 6 is a torque monster off the line. from a dead stop but runs out of steam at the higher RPM bands..



the 466 is an engine alot of people like because it has a lot of low end torque but it runs out of juice pretty qwuick into the RPM band thus why the Horsepower rating is low on many of them.. if you have a loaded down rig with a heavy conversion and a big heavy trailer that you are starting and stopping often in traffic.. ie having need to pull out into busier traffic, the 466 will likely pull harder for you...



that said, Johnny has great point in that most sachool bus engines are woefully "turbed-down" esp the electronic engines... the AT545 is a low torque city transmission and before the 466 became the 466E almost never did you see a 466 mated to a 545. as the torque was too high for the transmission..



Schools clamored for a budget option of the 466.. (some districts only wanted to stock parts for one type of engine...) so they released a low torque 175HP version of the 466E whuich got mated to AT545 transmission... no doubt about it, that engine is slow.. pulls hills slowly...



now lets talk about the 444E.. and why its a good engine also..

first off you wont win races with it, however its computer can be turned up to make it a pretty respectable power plant ,, I have my little short bus turned up to 250HP and thats on tired injectors. and frankly the bus still flies... I almost never have it floor-boarded... and when I do its keeping up with traffic accelerating on freeway ramps...


the 444E was often also discounted by skoolies as it is often mated to the AT545 transmission..



the 444E is what international OEM'd and sold to ford as the venerable Power stroke 7.3.. so when you need an ENGINE part.. ie belt, idler, water pump, injector, turbo, valve cover gasket, etc. many of those parts are on the shelf at local auto parts stores or an easy order online. as the power stroke 7.3 to this day remains popular..



the AT545 is a 4 speed non-lockup trans that tends to make a lot of heat and doesnt give much engne braking in the big mountains... in a short bus its probably fine depending on how much load you are running.. Johnny mullet and brokedown cruised their busses all over the country with AT545s and didnt break them.. I cruised 2 of my busses all over the country and broke 2 AT545s take the data as you will... none of us likely kn ew what care any of the transmissions had before we got the busses..



stick shifts are hard to come by.. not alot of districts bought them later on.. a friend of mine collects busses and he really only wants stickshifts .. they are rare these days..



allison 2000 series in a conventional bus are the most common "good" transmissions in the later busses... they are a 5 speed lockup auto with an overdrive gear... 5 geasrs, a lock up converter, and the right rear end ratio makes for a nice highway bus.. and enough gears you can downshift on the hills.. these came behind mamny engines.. (the dashboard shifter will have R-N-D-4-2-1. or R-N-(D)-D-2-1.



the MD-3060 is found behind many big engine busses like the 8.3 cummins and the DT-466.. these transmissions are found most in rear engine rigs though they could be bought in front engine as well..



the dashboard shifters on these always have a single or double digit LED gear display.. some still have a T-handle. but most have a pushbutton digital panel. these transmissions are 6 speed dual overdrive lockup transmissions.. school busses typically have 6th gear disabled.. some here have found ways to get it enabled but its not often an easy task...



the MT-643 and AT-545 transmissions ceased production in 2003.. both of these have shifters that are R-N-D-3-2-1. the 643 is a lockup transmission so makes much less heat than a 545 and is designed for more horsepower and torque..



I swapped a 545 out for a 643 last summer and can say that it made this particular bus a whole new rig to drive... and that transmission is also heavy duty when you look at it..



another thing I like about my 444E is the flat floor in the driver compartment.. and Much less engine heat on my feet...



ultimately you need to determine how you are goingto use your bus, how heavy your conversion will be, where you plan to travel the most..



if I were planning to take a full size bus over big mountains (more than once) towing a loaded trailer then id probably wait to find a big engine big trans rear engine bus.



if I were planning on one trip over the mountains and the rest is just short jaunts here and there with only smaller grades.. (couple thousand feet here or there).. then I really just hit the slkow lane and take my time..



buy and build the rig that fits your use cases not everyone elses use cases..

-Christopher
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Old 05-23-2019, 09:05 AM   #13
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I can't thank you all enough for the input. Perhaps my zeal for the 446 is due to the same level of ignorance I displayed regarding the ease of an engine swap. So allow me to rephrase my questions...


Our bus will be <10 windows, and I'm leaning heavy towards 8 (we want to 'boondock' exclusively, so the smaller the better w/in reason). 100 gallons of water & 1000 pounds of batteries/panels (pv system), 2 people and 4 dogs. A queen sized bed, small kitchen, small bathroom, small couch. If we tow anything - and we probably won't - it would be at most a very small single-axle with a quad or utility vehicle). I'd like to maintain a reasonable speed up grades that doesn't make us a road hazard, but other than that speed is not something we're concerned with. If I'm trucking along at 55 or so on the flats I'll be more than happy. We don't live in a mountainous region (Phx AZ), but would like to cross some from time to time in the future, and a couple common routes we'd be taking (Phx to Flag, Phx to Payson) involve climbing from near sea level to 5-6K over the course of 120 miles or so.

So would you consider the 444 be up to the task?

Second, and perhaps my main concern, I want / need this build to last. I'm hoping for the next 2 decades or so. So my requirements for a powerplant are one that's affordable to maintain, affordable to rebuild, and one for which new parts will be readily accessible not only now, but when I have need of them in the future. The two things that caused me to favor the 446 over the 444 in these regards were A) the fact the 444 was disco'd in 2003/2004 while the 446 has carried on, and B) the ability to do an in-frame rebuild with the 446. I don't want to end up in a situation where I either can't maintain, rebuild, or replace the 444 - when the time comes - without undue expense or difficulty.

Are these valid concerns? And is keeping our bus going for 2 decades a doable goal? I'm a motorcycle mechanic - so I'm no stranger to maintenance/repair, but I've never owned a diesel in my life, nor have I every worked on one, so I've got a lot to learn and don't yet know what I don't know, if you know what I mean
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Old 05-23-2019, 09:58 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cadillackid View Post
being the fact i own both a 444E and a mechanical DTA360, I can say that the inline 6 is a torque monster off the line. from a dead stop but runs out of steam at the higher RPM bands..



the 466 is an engine alot of people like because it has a lot of low end torque but it runs out of juice pretty qwuick into the RPM band thus why the Horsepower rating is low on many of them.. if you have a loaded down rig with a heavy conversion and a big heavy trailer that you are starting and stopping often in traffic.. ie having need to pull out into busier traffic, the 466 will likely pull harder for you...



that said, Johnny has great point in that most sachool bus engines are woefully "turbed-down" esp the electronic engines... the AT545 is a low torque city transmission and before the 466 became the 466E almost never did you see a 466 mated to a 545. as the torque was too high for the transmission..



Schools clamored for a budget option of the 466.. (some districts only wanted to stock parts for one type of engine...) so they released a low torque 175HP version of the 466E whuich got mated to AT545 transmission... no doubt about it, that engine is slow.. pulls hills slowly...



now lets talk about the 444E.. and why its a good engine also..

first off you wont win races with it, however its computer can be turned up to make it a pretty respectable power plant ,, I have my little short bus turned up to 250HP and thats on tired injectors. and frankly the bus still flies... I almost never have it floor-boarded... and when I do its keeping up with traffic accelerating on freeway ramps...


the 444E was often also discounted by skoolies as it is often mated to the AT545 transmission..



the 444E is what international OEM'd and sold to ford as the venerable Power stroke 7.3.. so when you need an ENGINE part.. ie belt, idler, water pump, injector, turbo, valve cover gasket, etc. many of those parts are on the shelf at local auto parts stores or an easy order online. as the power stroke 7.3 to this day remains popular..



the AT545 is a 4 speed non-lockup trans that tends to make a lot of heat and doesnt give much engne braking in the big mountains... in a short bus its probably fine depending on how much load you are running.. Johnny mullet and brokedown cruised their busses all over the country with AT545s and didnt break them.. I cruised 2 of my busses all over the country and broke 2 AT545s take the data as you will... none of us likely kn ew what care any of the transmissions had before we got the busses..



stick shifts are hard to come by.. not alot of districts bought them later on.. a friend of mine collects busses and he really only wants stickshifts .. they are rare these days..



allison 2000 series in a conventional bus are the most common "good" transmissions in the later busses... they are a 5 speed lockup auto with an overdrive gear... 5 geasrs, a lock up converter, and the right rear end ratio makes for a nice highway bus.. and enough gears you can downshift on the hills.. these came behind mamny engines.. (the dashboard shifter will have R-N-D-4-2-1. or R-N-(D)-D-2-1.



the MD-3060 is found behind many big engine busses like the 8.3 cummins and the DT-466.. these transmissions are found most in rear engine rigs though they could be bought in front engine as well..



the dashboard shifters on these always have a single or double digit LED gear display.. some still have a T-handle. but most have a pushbutton digital panel. these transmissions are 6 speed dual overdrive lockup transmissions.. school busses typically have 6th gear disabled.. some here have found ways to get it enabled but its not often an easy task...



the MT-643 and AT-545 transmissions ceased production in 2003.. both of these have shifters that are R-N-D-3-2-1. the 643 is a lockup transmission so makes much less heat than a 545 and is designed for more horsepower and torque..



I swapped a 545 out for a 643 last summer and can say that it made this particular bus a whole new rig to drive... and that transmission is also heavy duty when you look at it..



another thing I like about my 444E is the flat floor in the driver compartment.. and Much less engine heat on my feet...



ultimately you need to determine how you are goingto use your bus, how heavy your conversion will be, where you plan to travel the most..



if I were planning to take a full size bus over big mountains (more than once) towing a loaded trailer then id probably wait to find a big engine big trans rear engine bus.



if I were planning on one trip over the mountains and the rest is just short jaunts here and there with only smaller grades.. (couple thousand feet here or there).. then I really just hit the slkow lane and take my time..



buy and build the rig that fits your use cases not everyone elses use cases..

-Christopher
I'd like to add that standard transmissions seem to be fairly common in the Canadian buses I see for sale - I doubt there would be much of a problem importing them across the border from either direction
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Old 05-24-2019, 06:20 AM   #15
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A shorter bus with either of these engines will be fine as long as you don't make it too heavy. The transmission is the key especially if you will run a lot of highways along with gearing of the bus. I have a 7 window bus and built it pretty light and it runs awesome, but limited to 62 -65 MPH because of gearing.

After time in that bus you might long for more room and more power since you are carrying more stuff. Maybe consider a larger bus with a bigger powertrain for long term living.
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Old 05-24-2019, 08:34 AM   #16
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I spent the winter in Arizona (with my 28' 2000 International t444e). I had no issues going to Payson (Driving the winding route 87) - and I made several trips between Phoenix (Apache Junction - because Mt. Superstition is a neat place to hike) and Sedona, with a few to Flagstaff (and the Grand Canyon) - plus up and down the Mohave desert to Joshua Tree. I drove up Route 1 in California from Santa Cruz to Fort Bragg - plus, Rte 14 in Wyoming with a 10% constant grade for 13 miles - up and then back down the other side (that took a long time - but I was following another bus and we both had to stop several times to cool down the engine on the way up and cool the brakes on the way down).
I am in Montana, now. This engine (given it is the 210HP version of the 7.3L Turbo Diesel with the Allison 2000 transmission) with 340,000 miles on it - and any time I have needed a part, they are pretty readily available. Many parts are still made for the Ford 7.3L truck motors (Powerstroke).
If we'll maintained, these engines will outlast many / most of the others. I have decent power on the flats - I can overtake a slow moving tractor like a fast-moving tortoise (Actually it has a lot of spunk and pick-up) - the only time it slows is going up hill - but I have rarely been the slowest vehicle moving up a hill.

IMG_9483.JPG

%b6aE4rdSqC7id%p%EsqRg.jpg

GzEr7XQjRdqyrl4Ce10xmg.jpg

I love my bus - and the engine! I knew very little about working on engines - but thanks to this forum and some of the people here, I have been able to take care of most everything without much headache.
I change the oil and filters regularly, and I just replaced the Compressor (which was not as costly as I expected... which makes me think going to a small town diesel mechanic over a big city one is a better choice...).



Quote:
Originally Posted by TheHubbardBus View Post

So would you consider the 444 be up to the task?

Second, and perhaps my main concern, I want / need this build to last. I'm hoping for the next 2 decades or so. So my requirements for a powerplant are one that's affordable to maintain, affordable to rebuild, and one for which new parts will be readily accessible not only now, but when I have need of them in the future. The two things that caused me to favor the 446 over the 444 in these regards were A) the fact the 444 was disco'd in 2003/2004 while the 446 has carried on, and B) the ability to do an in-frame rebuild with the 446. I don't want to end up in a situation where I either can't maintain, rebuild, or replace the 444 - when the time comes - without undue expense or difficulty.

Are these valid concerns? And is keeping our bus going for 2 decades a doable goal? I'm a motorcycle mechanic - so I'm no stranger to maintenance/repair, but I've never owned a diesel in my life, nor have I every worked on one, so I've got a lot to learn and don't yet know what I don't know, if you know what I mean
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Old 05-27-2019, 05:04 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cadillackid View Post
being the fact i own both a 444E and a mechanical DTA360, I can say that the inline 6 is a torque monster off the line. from a dead stop but runs out of steam at the higher RPM bands..



the 466 is an engine alot of people like because it has a lot of low end torque but it runs out of juice pretty qwuick into the RPM band thus why the Horsepower rating is low on many of them.. if you have a loaded down rig with a heavy conversion and a big heavy trailer that you are starting and stopping often in traffic.. ie having need to pull out into busier traffic, the 466 will likely pull harder for you...



that said, Johnny has great point in that most sachool bus engines are woefully "turbed-down" esp the electronic engines... the AT545 is a low torque city transmission and before the 466 became the 466E almost never did you see a 466 mated to a 545. as the torque was too high for the transmission..



Schools clamored for a budget option of the 466.. (some districts only wanted to stock parts for one type of engine...) so they released a low torque 175HP version of the 466E whuich got mated to AT545 transmission... no doubt about it, that engine is slow.. pulls hills slowly...



now lets talk about the 444E.. and why its a good engine also..

first off you wont win races with it, however its computer can be turned up to make it a pretty respectable power plant ,, I have my little short bus turned up to 250HP and thats on tired injectors. and frankly the bus still flies... I almost never have it floor-boarded... and when I do its keeping up with traffic accelerating on freeway ramps...


the 444E was often also discounted by skoolies as it is often mated to the AT545 transmission..



the 444E is what international OEM'd and sold to ford as the venerable Power stroke 7.3.. so when you need an ENGINE part.. ie belt, idler, water pump, injector, turbo, valve cover gasket, etc. many of those parts are on the shelf at local auto parts stores or an easy order online. as the power stroke 7.3 to this day remains popular..



the AT545 is a 4 speed non-lockup trans that tends to make a lot of heat and doesnt give much engne braking in the big mountains... in a short bus its probably fine depending on how much load you are running.. Johnny mullet and brokedown cruised their busses all over the country with AT545s and didnt break them.. I cruised 2 of my busses all over the country and broke 2 AT545s take the data as you will... none of us likely kn ew what care any of the transmissions had before we got the busses..



stick shifts are hard to come by.. not alot of districts bought them later on.. a friend of mine collects busses and he really only wants stickshifts .. they are rare these days..



allison 2000 series in a conventional bus are the most common "good" transmissions in the later busses... they are a 5 speed lockup auto with an overdrive gear... 5 geasrs, a lock up converter, and the right rear end ratio makes for a nice highway bus.. and enough gears you can downshift on the hills.. these came behind mamny engines.. (the dashboard shifter will have R-N-D-4-2-1. or R-N-(D)-D-2-1.



the MD-3060 is found behind many big engine busses like the 8.3 cummins and the DT-466.. these transmissions are found most in rear engine rigs though they could be bought in front engine as well..



the dashboard shifters on these always have a single or double digit LED gear display.. some still have a T-handle. but most have a pushbutton digital panel. these transmissions are 6 speed dual overdrive lockup transmissions.. school busses typically have 6th gear disabled.. some here have found ways to get it enabled but its not often an easy task...



the MT-643 and AT-545 transmissions ceased production in 2003.. both of these have shifters that are R-N-D-3-2-1. the 643 is a lockup transmission so makes much less heat than a 545 and is designed for more horsepower and torque..



I swapped a 545 out for a 643 last summer and can say that it made this particular bus a whole new rig to drive... and that transmission is also heavy duty when you look at it..



another thing I like about my 444E is the flat floor in the driver compartment.. and Much less engine heat on my feet...



ultimately you need to determine how you are goingto use your bus, how heavy your conversion will be, where you plan to travel the most..



if I were planning to take a full size bus over big mountains (more than once) towing a loaded trailer then id probably wait to find a big engine big trans rear engine bus.



if I were planning on one trip over the mountains and the rest is just short jaunts here and there with only smaller grades.. (couple thousand feet here or there).. then I really just hit the slkow lane and take my time..



buy and build the rig that fits your use cases not everyone elses use cases..

-Christopher
Question for ya on the 643 swap, do you have a thread on that? Am seriously considering doing a swap. I've found them between $400-800 used.
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Old 05-27-2019, 05:54 PM   #18
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Call LKQ and see if they have the remans for $600 still.
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Old 05-27-2019, 06:08 PM   #19
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Call LKQ and see if they have the remans for $600 still.
They have em rebuilt online for $645. Wonder what amount of labor it takes to swap it
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Old 05-27-2019, 06:30 PM   #20
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Cadillac,

I was looking at a pic of a "T" handle shifter that had D-4-3-2-1. My best guess was that it was 2000 series. Another gent insisted that it was an AT-545 shifter.

Can you give us some clarification?

Thanks.

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