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Old 04-14-2021, 01:29 PM   #1
Mini-Skoolie
 
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Join Date: Feb 2017
Location: North Carollina
Posts: 14
Year: 1992
Chassis: Bluebird TC2000 Short Bus
Engine: 5.9
TC2000 Allison 545 to 1000 swap with pictures

Well I've finally bit the bullet and decided to start my 545 to 1000 swap in my 92 Bluebird TC2000 short bus. I hated to pull out a perfectly good transmission, but the last trip to Florida was pretty slow, poking along at 55mph.
The first step was to get my used trans that we picked up in Alabama home and inspect it. I drained the nice red fluid and pulled the pan, the filters and everything looked pretty good, just a tiny bit of material on the magnet inside the pan. New filters installed and I reattached the pan.
I contacted Jason at transmission tuners and he told me what I needed to get for a controller. Found one online and sent it to him. He had it on it's way back to me in just a day or two. He is an awesome guy and provided lots of info via numerous emails back and forth.
The removal of the 545 was really simple, I did it by myself in the driveway with just a motorcycle jack. First, I drove the bus up onto a few 2x12s on all four corners to give a little more working room. Chock the wheels and make sure nothing can move! Disconnect the battery, then disconnect the small plug on the right side of the transmission. Remove the bolt holding the kick down module to the side of the trans and pull it out. Drain the fluid first, or you'll have a mess.. Remove the nut holding the shifter cable to the selector assembly and then the bracket holding the cable in place. Remove the two cooling hoses from the top of the transmission with a7/8 wrench. Drain the hoses into a pan to catch the fluid. Next remove the two bolts covering the access cover on the driver side of the bellhousing. Then take your pry bar and insert it into the hole in the bottom of the bellhousing and rotate the engine clockwise until you can see one of the the 15mm head bolts. Remove all six of them. After the last one is out, the torque converter will spin freely when you insert the pry bar. Go to the back of the trans and remove the u joint bolts holding the drive shaft. Mine were super tight and I had to use a small torch to heat them up, then a small hammer to tap the bolts and they finally freed up. Wiggle the drive shaft back carefully and don't lose the needle bearings inside each cap. Loosen the bolts holding the center drive shaft support enough to allow the support to move a little. Remove the two bolts holding the drive shaft safety loop toward the front of the drive shaft. Now you can slide the drive shaft to the side enough so that the transmission will slide back over the front axle. Don't separate the driveshafts without marking the orientation or you'll get the u joints out of sync and have horrible vibrations. Go over to the passenger side and remove the fitting for the trans dip stick. I had to heat this one up a little also to get it to free up. It probably had some type of loc tite on it. Now that everything is removed from the trans, it's time to pull her out. Take a long extension and impact wrench and remove all the upper bolts around the transmission to bellhousing flange. Leave two side bolts in temporarily. Go under and remove the bottom bolts, now you should have only two of the twelve bolts remaining. I slid the motorcycle jack under the pan with a small piece of plywood between them and put a little pressure with the jack. Slowly remove the last two bolts, making sure the trans stays level and doesn't put any stress on the torque converter. Slide it back until you can balance it on the front axle. Move the jack behind the front axle and side the trans onto the jack. Lower the jack and side out the transmission. Voila, you're 1/100th of the way there, lol.

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Old 04-14-2021, 01:47 PM   #2
Bus Geek
 
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Columbus Ohio
Posts: 14,857
Year: 1991
Coachwork: Carpenter
Chassis: International 3800
Engine: DTA360 / MT643
Rated Cap: 7 Row Handicap
jason is one of my favorites!!! im running one of his TCMs in my bus... they are tuneable by EFIlive which has allowed me to build a near perfect shift schedule...
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Old 04-14-2021, 02:03 PM   #3
Mini-Skoolie
 
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Join Date: Feb 2017
Location: North Carollina
Posts: 14
Year: 1992
Chassis: Bluebird TC2000 Short Bus
Engine: 5.9
Your videos on YouTube also helped me decide to swap the transmissions. Love that red bus!
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Old 04-14-2021, 04:41 PM   #4
Mini-Skoolie
 
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Join Date: Feb 2017
Location: North Carollina
Posts: 14
Year: 1992
Chassis: Bluebird TC2000 Short Bus
Engine: 5.9
Here's some pics so far. https://imgur.com/a/sKCngLj

This is where I'm at right now. Everything mechanical is hooked back up. I filled it with fluid and cranked the bus. It will move forward and backward even without the computer hooked up, so hopefully the trans is going to be ok. I will update in a few days once I get the HARD stuff done. I have to lengthen the red cable harness and mount the Trans controller in a protected place. Not sure if I'm going to use the battery box, or the electrical panel on the side of the bus under the driver window. Still have to figure out what throttle position sensor I'm going to use and wire up the OBD2 plug so I can use the Autocal programmer to talk to the controller if needed. This is where I'm probably going to be using up my service call time with Jason, lol.
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Old 04-15-2021, 10:05 PM   #5
Mini-Skoolie
 
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Join Date: Feb 2017
Location: North Carollina
Posts: 14
Year: 1992
Chassis: Bluebird TC2000 Short Bus
Engine: 5.9
Well I spent most of the day lengthening the red harness cable to 10ft. Had to cut, strip, tin, heat shrink, and re-solder each wire two times. So, 60 plus solder joints to do, plus all the heat shrinking. Each wire had to be done individually, because on my MD harness that came with the transmission, all the wires were white.... They did have numbers on them, but they were very difficult to read. Hopefully I will get to finish up the gray connector tomorrow, mount the TCU, and test things out.
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Old 04-20-2021, 10:41 PM   #6
Mini-Skoolie
 
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Join Date: Feb 2017
Location: North Carollina
Posts: 14
Year: 1992
Chassis: Bluebird TC2000 Short Bus
Engine: 5.9
Almost done! I had a flakey NSBU switch, so I've got one coming Thursday. Finished mounting the tcu inside the control panel under the driver side window. Got the check trans and hot trans lights wired up to the old indicator lights for the flashers, and wired the tow haul input to an extra switch on the panel. Wrapped the wiring in plastic loom and taped it all up and secured it with cable ties to prevent it from moving around. Took it for a test drive the other day and for the most part it went well. May have to have Jason tweak a couple settings for the shift points, but won't know for sure till I get the NSBU switch installed. Updated the pics here: https://imgur.com/a/sKCngLj
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Old 04-26-2021, 10:29 PM   #7
Mini-Skoolie
 
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Join Date: Feb 2017
Location: North Carollina
Posts: 14
Year: 1992
Chassis: Bluebird TC2000 Short Bus
Engine: 5.9
The new NSBU switch fixed the issue I was having with the P0708 code. Talked to Jason and he told me to try the TOSS and VSS outputs to make the speedo work. The TOSS worked ok up till about 3rd gear, then dropped back to zero. So I hooked up the VSS output to the speedo send terminal, and BAM, now my speedo is working. Had to calibrate it a little bit, but now I'm within 1mph of my GPS at 70mph. I hit 75 the other day just to see if I could and it still had a little bit more in her. But that fast in a 132(I think) inch wheelbase 17k bus is scary. That was the fastest this bus has EVER been, unless it was on a trailer in it's previous life, LOL. Jason has done a couple small tune updates for me, and tomorrow we will hopefully have all the little details worked out. I can't say enough about him and his patience with me through this process. I bet we've exchanged 100 or more emails since I started this project. Hopefully I will get a chance to shoot some video tomorrow and I'll post a link.
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Old 04-26-2021, 11:00 PM   #8
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Location: Long Beach, CA
Posts: 375
Year: 1998
Coachwork: Blue Bird
Chassis: TC1000, 40' MPV
Engine: 5.9 Cummins/B300 trans
Rated Cap: U/K
You make it sound easy but it's pretty awesome what you did. It'll give some hope and ideas to the other dissatisfied 545 owners. Good job.
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Old 04-27-2021, 10:44 AM   #9
Bus Geek
 
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Columbus Ohio
Posts: 14,857
Year: 1991
Coachwork: Carpenter
Chassis: International 3800
Engine: DTA360 / MT643
Rated Cap: 7 Row Handicap
the factory VSS output on a 1000 / 2000 is 40 Pulses per driveshaft rev.. the factory on a 545 is 16, I cant remember what Jason set my TCM at, I think its 40.. but he can set it at whatever you want (or you cvcan do it with EFIlive).. I am using the brown Pin 25 VSS output as my speed sense.
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Old 04-27-2021, 07:12 PM   #10
Mini-Skoolie
 
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Join Date: Feb 2017
Location: North Carollina
Posts: 14
Year: 1992
Chassis: Bluebird TC2000 Short Bus
Engine: 5.9
Yep, I've got it dialed in now with the speedo. Working good. My only issue is that I can't get my 3-4 shift and my 4-5 shift down to lower speeds. I'd like my 3-4 upshift to be at 35, and my 4-5 shift to be at 45, but they are at 40 and 52-54. Any idea Cadillackid, on where I can try changing some variables in my tune to make that happen? I have 35 and 45 across the board on my shift tables for any throttle position input. I think I'm driving Jason crazy with it, so I'm gonna lay off him for a while, lol. He's been super helpful through all of this though. Here's a video I made today of a quick run down the highway, it's bouncy as all get out, I just put in an air ride seat, and I don't think I have it adjusted correctly, lol. But you can see my shift points, and cruising along at 70mph at just over 2000 rpms. With a 6 speed, I guess it would be closer to 1800. Anyways, I'm super happy with the results so far, even if I can't get those last two pesky shift points to cooperate.
It may take a while to finish uploading to youtube, but here's the video link:
https://youtu.be/OLl2cA4Zc-w
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Old 04-27-2021, 09:14 PM   #11
Bus Geek
 
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Columbus Ohio
Posts: 14,857
Year: 1991
Coachwork: Carpenter
Chassis: International 3800
Engine: DTA360 / MT643
Rated Cap: 7 Row Handicap
im running a 4th gen 6 speed TCM so im not sure if there are variables that need adjusted for yours or not.. using the MPH tables in EFIlive means that you need to have EFI live calibrated to the correct speed.. allisons actually shift by the driveshaft RPM as MPH varies so you need to input the correct parameters into the general / speedo section for EFI's MPH based shift tables to work.. also look for WOT shifts.. whatever you have the begin and end of WOT set at supercedes anything in the table. you dont want to lug the engine.. you dont want the RPMs to drop off super quickly like a gas engine does as laboring a diesel at low RPM lugs it and creates exceptionally high EGT.. so under any type of engine load you want the transmission to downshift.



with my engine being electronic i found that the allisons like some of the opther parameters siuch as kickdown request and engine load to give the best results.. although with persistence you can get them right.. make sure your downshifts are set slower than your upshifts for all ranges or your TCM will go into WOT shift mode as a failsafe.. to not cause Hammer-hunting..
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Old 04-27-2021, 09:23 PM   #12
Mini-Skoolie
 
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Join Date: Feb 2017
Location: North Carollina
Posts: 14
Year: 1992
Chassis: Bluebird TC2000 Short Bus
Engine: 5.9
Thanks Cadillackid!! I'll check all the parameters against what you suggested. I have noticed that I can get the temps up to 1200 very easily when rpms are low. I will have to make sure to keep an eye on that.
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Old 04-28-2021, 06:47 AM   #13
Bus Nut
 
Join Date: Oct 2019
Location: Wake Forest NC
Posts: 455
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Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: Vista 3600
Engine: T444E
Rated Cap: 24000 lbs
By far the shortest trans swap I've ever read

what red cable are you referring to?

did your transmission come with the TCM or is this something you got from the jason guy?


glad you got it done, but not exactly sure from the post what it entailed
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Old 04-28-2021, 07:59 AM   #14
Mini-Skoolie
 
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Join Date: Feb 2017
Location: North Carollina
Posts: 14
Year: 1992
Chassis: Bluebird TC2000 Short Bus
Engine: 5.9
There are two connectors going to the tcm, the red one carries the signals to the transmission from the tcm. The gray cable is the power from the bus and connections to the data port, speedo, tow/haul switch, warning lights, etc.. I bought the tcm off of Facebook marketplace (it was from a regular Duramax truck), and sent it to Jason to reprogram it. He had to put a medium duty program in it so that the tcm isn't looking for an engine ecu to talk to (My engine is all mechanical). All I need is the throttle position switch, so the trans knows how much load you're putting to it. The mechanical part of the swap was easy, everything bolted right up where the original trans came out. The tedious part is the electrical, extending the harness, finding room to mount the tcm, testing the different parameters to try and get the shifting just right. Even if I don't get those last couple of shift points dialed in perfectly, I'm still very happy with the results. Now I'll be able to cruise the interstate and not be a traffic hazard. Jason offers full kits as well for the swaps, including tcm, custom wiring harness, tuning the transmission, etc. I went the cheap route, because right now I have more time than money, lol.
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Old 04-29-2021, 07:04 PM   #15
Mini-Skoolie
 
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Join Date: Feb 2017
Location: North Carollina
Posts: 14
Year: 1992
Chassis: Bluebird TC2000 Short Bus
Engine: 5.9
I'm calling the project done!!! Jason helped me work out the last couple details on the shifting and today I took her out and everything was perfect, my 3-4 shift was right at 35 and around 2100 rpms, my 4-5 shift was at 50 and around 2100 also. Downshifts occurred as needed to keep the rpms and egts in good ranges. Thanks to Jason at transmissiontuner.com and all his help on this project, as well as all the countless posts I've read here and other places. Cadillackid, without watching your videos and reading all your project build info, I wouldn't have been convinced that I could do it. I'm very happy with the outcome of this project. Now to decide where we are going to take our first trip with the new megaspeed short bus. I'm thinking a nice trip up to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan would be nice this time of year..... Definitely not back to Florida until winter. Montana, Wyoming, Utah???? Maybe. To be continued.....
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Old 05-11-2021, 09:27 PM   #16
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Location: Alaska
Posts: 2
Year: 92
Coachwork: Blue Bird tc2000
Engine: 5.9 Cummins
Rated Cap: 26,500#
Hello rlg999.
Congratulations on your new transmission install. I hope to have my trans conversion done this summer. You and I have almost identical buses, mine, a 92, tc2000 is 28’ bumper to bumper (one set of windows longer then yours). When I was bus shopping I was trying to find the model you have but there rare.
We bought our bus in Edmonton and drove it back home to Alaska in the summer of 2016, the trip was just under 2000 miles, and involved crossing the Canadian Rockies with the stock 545, It was a long slow drive home, but of the few times I’ve driven the Alaska highway this was the first time I was able to really appreciate the scenery and the wildlife.

It was your thread “TC2000 Allison 545 to 1000 swap” that lead me to Jason at transmissiontuner.com, I contacted Jason about doing a similar swap on my bus and if the transmission I have been looking at, a 2500 series Allison would be a good candidate, he said we’ll need to ID some things before buying parts but felt confident he could run it, so I bought it and its currently being shipped.

My focus now is on other components and details.
Some questions if you don’t mind.
- Wondering which tps you decided to use? and how you set it up? and if you had photos?
- Did you need to modify your driveline? According to Ally spec sheets the 1000 & 2500 are the same length so if you didn’t I probably won’t either.
- I think you kept your stock dash mount shifter, that’s my plan too. Any issues connecting the shifting cable to new transmission?
- Any issues connecting cooling lines, dipstick tube backup lights etc?

I’ve watched your video a couple times, it’s a great source of encouragement seeing an early tc2000 keeping up with traffic. We’ve done several short trips since our conversion was done but I would usually cringe when my family suggested taking any kind of longer trips. Anyway, Thanks for your writeup and all the good info.
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Old 05-12-2021, 07:12 AM   #17
Mini-Skoolie
 
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Join Date: Feb 2017
Location: North Carollina
Posts: 14
Year: 1992
Chassis: Bluebird TC2000 Short Bus
Engine: 5.9
Some questions if you don’t mind.
- Wondering which tps you decided to use? and how you set it up? and if you had photos? Currently I'm using a temporary tps that I rigged together, but when I get everything tidied up, I'm going to be using one of the PCM TPS-6000 units. It should connect right where the kick down cable connects from the Allison 545 to the injection pump.
- Did you need to modify your driveline? According to Ally spec sheets the 1000 & 2500 are the same length so if you didn’t I probably won’t either. It was about an inch longer than the 545 overall after I swapped the output yokes on the transmissions. Mine seemed to have enough play in the driveline, but you should check yours just in case.
- I think you kept your stock dash mount shifter, that’s my plan too. Any issues connecting the shifting cable to new transmission? If you're using a six speed, you won't have the ability to manually select all the lower gears. I can select reverse, neutral, drive, fourth, third, and second before I run out of shifter positions. I don't use the parking position on the trans cause I've got air brakes, yours should also. The cable hooked right up to the trans, I did swap the lever from the 545 to change the angle that the cable pulled. The 1000 had more of a vertical pull where the 545 had a horizontal pull.
- Any issues connecting cooling lines, dipstick tube backup lights etc?I transferred the fittings that screw into the transmission from the 545 to the 1000, the hose side was the same, it's just the threads on the trans side that were different. I had to swap the dip stick tube on the 1000 from the passengers side to the drivers side because of starter clearance. But the trans has holes on both sides so it wasn't an issue. I'm not 100 percent sure cause I'm not at home right now, but I think the backup lights may be controlled by the shifter, I know the neutral start safety is in the shifter. I connected my speedo send terminal to the vss output from the gray connector on the tcm, I had to adjust the speedo a little bit to be accurate but it wasn't too bad. If I can answer any more questions just let me know.
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Old 05-13-2021, 02:43 AM   #18
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Join Date: May 2021
Location: Alaska
Posts: 2
Year: 92
Coachwork: Blue Bird tc2000
Engine: 5.9 Cummins
Rated Cap: 26,500#
Thanks for taking the time to answer all my questions rlg999.
This is excellent info you’ve provided and will be very helpful on change out day.
Thanks again
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