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Old 05-21-2022, 09:55 PM   #1
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T44e transmission swap

Hi, I'm looking for a shop that can swap an at 545 for an mt 643 or a 1000? My bus is located south of Bend OR. Its been sitting for a few years but i finally have the money to fix it. I'm going to have to do some assessment on it and Im looking for someone in the pnw to look it over with me and see if its still viable. I'll pay for someones time of course. Any leads on dudes/shops who might be interested in a swap project?
TIA

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Old 05-22-2022, 01:43 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Journey42 View Post
Hi, I'm looking for a shop that can swap an at 545 for an mt 643 or a 1000? My bus is located south of Bend OR. Its been sitting for a few years but i finally have the money to fix it. I'm going to have to do some assessment on it and Im looking for someone in the pnw to look it over with me and see if its still viable. I'll pay for someones time of course. Any leads on dudes/shops who might be interested in a swap project?
TIA

doing a 1000 / 2000 swap is going to be somewhat involved unless you can do what another member did and that was he found a donor bus with a 2000 series in it and moved everything over.. unless you can find a custom diesel shop willing to do it then it will get tough as most regular shops or dealers stick to whats in the books..



the other member bought a 2004 T444E bus and found that IH had made the wiring and electronics for the 2000 series completely separate of the main wiring.. he moved the computers right iover to his older bus and ended up with a great working bus.. even swapped his pold At545 ovewr to the donor bus and sold it as a running / driving unit..



thats going to be your most economical..



my swap 5 years ago was done with new parts and a special purpose in mind (im sure youve read redbyrd Transformation thread).. I bought a specially built trans, harness and a couple different TCMs and software / interfaces to program my own shifting.. this will be your most expensive route.. in my case I ended up with exactly the build and driveability i wanted..



if you want a shop to do it, the best bet is going to be to look for custom diesel shops.. I have no idea whether your bus is a full-size, shorty, etc. a shorty will be easier as a shop can easier fit them in their bays..



you also need someone with experience in electronics as getting the wiring correct is the hardest part.. programming-wise, going 5 speed is the easiest as you can simply buy a TCM from another school bus or buy a custom TCM using a CIN from a bus..



jason at transmissiontuner dot com is an option for a 6 speed TCM.. but he is backed up for a few months, however he is top notch... if you buy a 6 speed TCM from him im more than willing to share my EFIlive capable shift calibrations whiuch work well in my bus..


hopefully some PNW centric folks can comment on a shop.. im way out in ohio and rarely go to the PNW(I dont like cold or wet) or id help you get everything running electronically.
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Old 05-24-2022, 09:44 PM   #3
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Hey, yes, thanks for responding, I have read your thread, i was hoping you might weigh in. It's a 19 foot '97 3600 Thomas. I'm looking to tour in it and I'd be thrilled if it would do 65 on the freeway. 4 years ago i drove it at 45mph from SF to Bend OR, I wonder if I could drive it to someone who knows what they're doing or if I'm better off finding a local shop who thinks they can take it on, any bets? I'm willing to do some research, as a non mechanic it feels pretty overwhelming. I will start calling local shops tomorrow. The other option someone mentioned to me is putting in a manual, i have driven stick before, maybe thats a simpler fix? Any advice appreciated
Cheers
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Old 05-24-2022, 09:58 PM   #4
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45 and you want to go 65.. you may need a couple things.. so did your 545 break? do you feel all of your shifts? 1-2 then 2-3 then 3-4?



ive seen busses made to only go 45.. they are usually north carolina units.. although I suppose a short bus made for inner-city san fran hills could be geared exceptionally low as well..



you will want to find out what gear ratio you have in the rear *what size tires do you run?* you may find a tag on the rear differential that you can wipe the dirt off of and read the numbers from which can be looked up to provide gear ratio..



you could also call a IH dealer with the last 8 of your VIN number and ask what the rear gear ratio is (from factory)..



this is important as if its geared super low (like a 6.50 or 7.17 ratio {higher numbers mean lower ratio}) then you may need to re-gear along with a trans swap..



if its geared good but the AT545 never makes it to high gear then ypu may be fine with a trans swap...


doing a manual stick-shift swap comes with its own set of challenges.. ie you need pedals and linkages (or hydraulics) for the clutch.. you need to find a transmission that has overdrive (just because its a manual doesnt mean it has an overdrive gear)


first thing is to find out what rear gears it has and what tire size is on the rear.. this helps us calculate what kinf od speeds you could expect from a 1000 / 2000 allison swap..
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Old 05-24-2022, 10:13 PM   #5
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Ah, ok. I'll try to get IH on the phone tomorrow. The bus is from Florida, all flat. I bought it with an ex who talked about regearing it, then my 545 lost 5th gear. Also it overheats. He always talked about putting in an oil cooler in addition to the split radiator? He said the ford superdutys that have my engine have a full one, but the bus only had half. Any of this sound familiar? Also the steering/brake reservoir is busted and needs replacing. Obviously my bus was intended for in town use and did not appreciate highways. I'm not sure if regearing is feasible and if that coupled with a new transmission would help the overheating issue?
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Old 05-24-2022, 10:37 PM   #6
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my little red bus used to run hot.. I installed an electric fan clutch and an updated (navistar TSB) 9 blade plastic fan.. then after I swapped my trans my RPM runs a lot lower and the bus runs nice and cool even in hot weather.. your fan clutch might just be no good.. or that radiator clogged.. I pulled mine apart and had it flushed at a radiator shop and made sire the fins were all clean...



telltale signs are if you are driving and your engine temp is getting over 210 headed towards 220 and you dont hear that fan roar under the hood then something is amuck.. clogged radiator or bad fan clutch are likely culprits.. could be a stuck thermostat too not opening fully.. it comes down to testing at some point.. im a techie guy so I ran a mult-zone digital thermometer with probes on the metal inlet and outlet of the radiator to see what kind of radiator issue i had..



I opted for the electric fan clutch as I could tailor it to my needs and even engage my fan manually if i know im going to climb a large hill or such where i want extra cooling ahead of time..





your AT545 only ever had 4 gears.. its not a 5 speed transmission.



when you drive it you will feel 3 shifts(1-2,2-3,3-4) if you floor it and watch the Tachometer..



since the torque converter is always unlocked, the shifts are mild.. they are not solid hard shifts in the 545..



if you floor it and the modulator works, you should see the tach reach near to 2500-2600 then drop a few hundred as it hits the next gear... then youll watch the same thing in 2nd t owhere it shifts to 3rd it will drop a few hunded RPM.. and same with 4th.. then it will max out at either the computer governor speed or at 2600 RPM and hang there...
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Old 05-24-2022, 10:46 PM   #7
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Ok, yes, 4th gear finally broke. It used to do 60, and now does 45. The cooling issue and steering box seem easy if i can find the right transmission set up. I will call IH about the gearing and start calling local shops. Thanks!
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Old 05-25-2022, 08:18 AM   #8
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knowing 4th gear broke and you previously had a top speed of 60 says you will likely be able to achieve 65 at a decent level RPM with an overdrive trans..
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Old 05-25-2022, 01:36 PM   #9
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Thats good news. I called an IH dealer, they told me my gearing is 391. Good? Bad?
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Old 05-25-2022, 02:14 PM   #10
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3.91 rear gears

I would not bother changin those gears...... might be a bit on the high side but good enough to bother with other things first.

william
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Old 05-25-2022, 02:20 PM   #11
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those should be nice gears... what size tires are on the bus?
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Old 05-25-2022, 02:24 PM   #12
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Engine: cummins 12 valve
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please oh please listen to Cadillac

He knows his stuff. really well. I would guess he can test out at genius level if he were ever to do that.

He has been up to his neck in machines and making them do what he wants and how he wants.

Dude is smart.

william
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Old 05-25-2022, 02:47 PM   #13
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Would the wheels be standard? I found a bus like mine that says 265 70r 195. The 195 sounds right, but I don't have good pictures of my tires
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Old 05-25-2022, 02:48 PM   #14
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Oh please believe, I'm paying attention
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Old 05-25-2022, 03:03 PM   #15
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Chassis: International 3800
Engine: DTA360 / MT643
Rated Cap: 7 Row Handicap
265-70R19.5 is a little larger than most have although ive seen them.. on short busses the most common were 245-70R19.5 and 225-70R19.5



sometimes people put bigger tires on to get more top end speed out of them.

also its possible that your top speed of 60 is a computer speed limiter also.. 60 was the generally factory set speed limiter ive seen on a ton of these T-444E busses.


if it has 33 inch tall tires (somewhere close to a 245 or 265 tire.. ) then your top speed wouldve been 63-65 with the engine RPM gauge pegged at the rev limiter. (2600)


if you have 31's (like a 225-70R19.5) then you top out just above 60)...


if you run a 32" tall tire (I just picked the middle).. and installed a 5 speed allison 2000 series you would run somewhere ariound 2000 RPM at 65.. which is close to ideal for a T444E... it will run with lower RPMs however it enjoys high teens, low 20s.



with a 6 speed you are about 1600-1700 at 65 which is a little low.. but still not bad..



5 speed allison 2000 transmissions (2500 PTS)are easy to come by.. 6 speeds are a little more difficult...


just some data to play with..



the calculator I use is this..


https://spicerparts.com/calculators/...rpm-calculator
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