M and I had the pleasure of meeting Amazing Grace this weekend. They live 10 min up the lane from us.
Nice folks, and after seeing his shop and the rock crawlers he builds we will just say he's got skills.. so fabbing things up is no problem and he's now my new best friend as he has a plasma table cnc
So here is where we are, and looking for you lads to chime in.
Goal was to achieve highway speeds cheap as possible. RE-gearing the rear end is out, he goes up mountains and tows a 2 axle trailer with a rock buggy. AT545 is a bad choice. (edit: also the rear end ratio is at this time unknown... he is finding out from IH)
His bus is a 1995, and the ECM DOES NOT have J139 connections to the TCM. So this would mean we would have to get an Allison 2000 to run stand alone and I have already advised him to count me out for the three laptops ride.
He has an Allison 1000 but it is from a Humvee. No TCM or anything else. and being a 4x4 it has a transfer case as well as the bell is wrong.
Bus is gutted and ready to start the interior build, but other than a tow hitch, rooftop AC, and a rear view cam is not sufficiently far enough into the conversion its not too late IMHO to bail and sell it and get another chassis.
I advised how I did it, and how much I saved vs buying the components needed a la carte
I think the bus, in today's market, he could keep his rooftop AC and the things he collected to do the build, and could fetch around $3500 for a blank bus ready to build.
He could then likely find another 3800 chassis and without dayton wheels and a newer ecm for same money. Possibly even a 2002 bus with an A-2000 already, but at least a chassis ready for a A-2000 drop in with fewer headaches.
but of course the missus is attached to the bus
so may have to keep and thats up to him.
I feel at least go with a newer chassis if you want to do the swap easier and cheaper. ANOTHER EDIT: His 1995 has juice brakes so he has to have that parking brake on the tail. Another reason I suggested newer chassis and AIR BRAKES which can also run his air tools.
However also at the last minute in our brainstorming and tossing ideas around I realized with HIS SKILLS in fabrication he could do an automatic to manual transmission swap and throw in an Eaton 10 and get the OD gears from that?
just tossing all the ideas around. We're totally going to help out, but I am leaning on going with the idea of a newer chassis vs trying to do an auto swap on a 95 ECM.
And without disclosing his personals he did get a smashing deal on the bus so a fair market price would be a good profit if he sold so he's already ahead there. (you know how I work by now lol)
oh and the deadline to get this done was July as there is a family trip planned and I would like to do what I can to make sure they achieve this.
and Merry Christmas
so lets hear your thoughts lads