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Old 01-05-2020, 03:23 PM   #1
New Member
Join Date: Jan 2020
Location: Ratcliff, AR
Posts: 2
Year: 1975
Hydraulic to air brakes?

New here. Just picked up my first bus and have big plans for a car hauler conversion for my shop. 1975 Chevy C60. It has the dual hydrovac brakes but I'd like to go air brakes. I'll be swapping in a 12 valve cummins with air compressor, either the dodge 5 speed or eaton 9 or 10 speed, taking off the old deck body, building a hauler bed with a few foot added into a dove tail. I'll do away with rear springs for air bags and c-notch the frame for easy aired down, no ramp loading having the tail sitting on the ground. Any axle gurus in here know if I can bolt on front air brake hubs from king pin out and rear air brake plates or am I hunting complete axles. If so I wouldn't mind a 2 speed. It's a single speed rear and that's all I know. No tag on the rear and I don't know much about these med duty axles. Appreciate any help
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Old 01-05-2020, 03:36 PM   #2
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Join Date: May 2009
Location: Columbus Ohio
Posts: 18,326
Year: 1991
Coachwork: Carpenter
Chassis: International 3800
Engine: DTA360 / MT643
Rated Cap: 7 Row Handicap
your easiest path is going to be to find another bus that has the same axles only with air brakes. and harvest the whole system.. and of course be ready for the fact your new hubs may require different rims.. (which its a good idea to go up to 22.5's if you can and get rid of the split rims...)..

coming up with a definitive parts list is going to be tough for an older chassis.. in fact maybe you find a newer GMC and swap the axles too.. there are a lot of 80s to around 91 or 92 GMC chassis that would probably have similar frames where you can just move the axles over easier than trying to find the same axles as your old ones..

GMC school busses tend to be somewhat collectible but they do show up in scrap yards from time to time.. esp in the midwest...
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Old 01-05-2020, 04:17 PM   #3
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Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: Andrews,Indiana
Posts: 2,403
Year: 1991
Coachwork: Bluebird
Chassis: AARE
Engine: 3116 Cat 250hp
Rated Cap: Just the two of us.
What Christopher said, plus at least 4 air tanks, air drier, a lot of valves and all of the plumbing to hook it up. Not for the feint of heart.
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Old 01-05-2020, 05:19 PM   #4
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Join Date: Jan 2020
Location: Ratcliff, AR
Posts: 2
Year: 1975
Doing it won't be a problem. Finding time around running my own shop might be but swapping this and that and fab work is no problem. I'm just not too knowledgeable on these medium duty axles
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Old 01-05-2020, 05:48 PM   #5
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Join Date: May 2016
Location: Georgia
Posts: 2,264
Year: 2001
Coachwork: Blue Bird
Chassis: IH
Engine: T444E
Rated Cap: 14
I wouldn't bother with the Dodge transmission. It's simply not heavy duty enough to last in a bus. For all the work you're going to be doing, it may be far easier and cheaper to simply find a 5.9 equipped air brake bus and modify that instead, or at least cannibalize it for all the parts you'll need (I could see this if you like the Chevy looks instead of something else).

Personally if I was going to do an engine swap, why bother with a 5.9? I mean, sure, parts are widely available but it's not a very powerful engine (not without some seriously life-shortening mods) and for about the same work I could drop in something like an ISX Cummins or similarly big motor. Good thing is, if I snag a wrecked truck to cannibalize all this from, I get the transmission, axle(s), fuel and air tanks too.
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Old 01-05-2020, 06:54 PM   #6
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Join Date: Oct 2017
Location: Virginia
Posts: 2,310
Year: 1971
Coachwork: Wayne
Chassis: International Loadstar 1700
Engine: 345 international V-8
I would skip the Dodge 5 speed too. It has given me plenty of trouble in my one ton pickup. Even the clutch itself is not up to it, the center rips out. I went to a 13" southbend.

Really cool would be a 6-71 Detroit....
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