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Old 01-22-2020, 11:47 PM   #1
New Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2020
Posts: 4
Year: 1999
Coachwork: International
Engine: DT466E
Rated Cap: 72
New bus owner needing advice.

Hello everyone from western N.C. I知 new here to the forum. My wife and I have talked about going small for a long time, and we are now the new owners of a 1999 International Amtran flat nose 72 cap bus. It has the DT466E and the dreaded AT545 transmission and 444 rear gears. It seems to be a pretty solid bus, for the most part, no real rust that I can tell, but a few dings. I知 sure I could have found one with a better transmission but because of the finances and the fact that I traded for it, this is what I致e got to work with.

Anyways we drove it 130 miles back to the house up some pretty steep grades. It was slow going, had to keep the pedal to the floor most of the way but would never rev past 2k rpms. The speedometer never registered and the dash gauges came on and off at times. It got hot once on the way back maybe 220 or 230 degrees. We were able to pull off as soon as the buzzers went off and it cooled off. Once I got it home we discovered it had a crack about an inch long in the intake boot on top of the valve cover, so it was loosing boost pressure for sure. I知 hoping that is the reason behind the low power issue and possibly getting hot once.

After looking up the serial number on the block I believe this is one of the high torque engines. I致e done mechanic work on and off for the past 12 years. Mostly on gasoline engines but no real experience on big diesels or automatic transmissions.

So here are my questions for someone that痴 got experience in this area. After doing some research and reading forums for hours the easiest transmission swap would be an Allison MT643, or a MD3060. As far as pulling it out and putting one in what all is needed? As far as the computer goes, what do I need to find and where do you find it? I知 used to working with obd1 or obd2 stuff, I知 not even sure how to read codes on this type of stuff. I have found a few MD3060s but they are just the transmission, no computer.

Our plans are to take it across country, but will be living in it full time. I have found an Allison 1000 transmission that someone is willing to give me, but it痴 out of a newer straight truck and it was paired to a Cummins or Cat engine. Would that be something to look at? The transmission is still in the truck with a blowed engine. I知 wanting to get the bus in good running shape before I get in to the conversion side of things. I知 planning on doing a roof raise as well. Right now I知 at a standstill on what to do, as far as the transmission goes, and I don't know if I should be looking for a hole new dash cluster. So far I've got the seats out and most of the plywood subfloor out. cleaned the engine bay and have got that intake boot coming. Any advice is greatly appreciated.
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Old 01-23-2020, 12:30 AM   #2
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Join Date: May 2016
Location: Georgia
Posts: 1,886
Year: 2001
Coachwork: Blue Bird
Chassis: IH
Engine: T444E
Rated Cap: 14
The AT545 was not up to any DT466 except the lowest HP/torque version. Crawl under it, get a good look (and maybe a photo) of the trans ID plate and verify first.


Low boost will certainly lead to a power loss. Check your cooling system, including radiator (clean debris and stuff from between the fins, carefully, as you don't want to bend them). Check coolant level, hoses, belt, fan clutch (very important, these are a frequent point of failure), etc. At 210 (or so) degrees, that fan should kick in hard and *MOVE A LOT OF AIR*. This should be *VERY* obvious and if it's not then double check the fan clutch. I don't just mean "spinning lazily". It should be turning the same speed as the pulley or very close to it. Also double check anything that activates the fan clutch (sensor, etc, if it's electric).


The 4.44 gears with a 1:1 trans top gear should get you around 65 MPH or so on the freeway.


The internationals are notorious for the instrument cluster problems, and can be resoldered fairly easily by a reasonably handy person. It's usually the solder joints between the circuit board and plugs. Also be a good time to replace any burned out lights or swap to LED's if you choose. Mine had this issue and was resoldered in minutes and I was back in business.


I'm not all that far from you in North GA.
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Old 01-23-2020, 07:50 PM   #3
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Join Date: Feb 2018
Location: Stansbury Park, Utah
Posts: 184
Year: 2000
Coachwork: Amtran
Chassis: GA39530
Engine: DT466E 215hp 620tq
Rated Cap: 40
I would double check that transmission, the high torque dt is a beast that would kill the AT545 in short order, you might have the MT transmission already in it.
Especially with the 4.44 gears in it.
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Old 01-23-2020, 07:53 PM   #4
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Location: Eustis FLORIDA
Posts: 20,273
Year: 1999
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: Freighliner FS65
Engine: Cat 3126
Rated Cap: 15
Lots of low spec Dt466E's down here with 545's.
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Old 01-23-2020, 11:33 PM   #5
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Year: 1999
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Engine: DT466E
Rated Cap: 72
Thank you everyone for the info so far, I'm checking into the fan clutch, there is a small amount of play in the fan itself, but I wasn't able to get it up to temperature for it to engage. I will see if I can get a soldering gun in the next few days to work on the instrument cluster. I was sure the transmission was a 545, I've got a clear picture of the Allison tag. I'm having difficulty loading photos up on the forum. Im probably wrong on the high torque engine, wishful thinking. The serial number is 469HM2U1176632 on the block, it also matches some paperwork I got with the bus. I installed the intake boot this evening, pressure tested from the turbo side and had no other boost leaks throughout the intercooler to the valve cover. I'm still not able to get the RPMS past 2k. Ive noticed the transmission is leaking some fluid, haven't pinpointed exactly where its coming from, looks like from a line that runs beside the downpipe towards the top of the transmission, and another possible leak from a cover plate on the passenger side of the transmission. So on that note, I'm not wanting to put any real money in the 545 if I can swap something else in without too much of a headache. Does any one have any suggestions on the transmission, and without diagnostic tools/scanners what would cause it not to rev up completely? Im sure a scan tool is not cheap on these things.
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Old 01-23-2020, 11:46 PM   #6
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Year: 1999
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Engine: DT466E
Rated Cap: 72
transmission tag
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Old 01-24-2020, 12:10 AM   #7
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Engine: DT466E
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Where the transmission is leaking
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Old 01-24-2020, 01:56 AM   #8
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Join Date: May 2016
Location: Georgia
Posts: 1,886
Year: 2001
Coachwork: Blue Bird
Chassis: IH
Engine: T444E
Rated Cap: 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by JT20 View Post
Thank you everyone for the info so far, I'm checking into the fan clutch, there is a small amount of play in the fan itself, but I wasn't able to get it up to temperature for it to engage. I will see if I can get a soldering gun in the next few days to work on the instrument cluster. I was sure the transmission was a 545, I've got a clear picture of the Allison tag. I'm having difficulty loading photos up on the forum. Im probably wrong on the high torque engine, wishful thinking. The serial number is 469HM2U1176632 on the block, it also matches some paperwork I got with the bus. I installed the intake boot this evening, pressure tested from the turbo side and had no other boost leaks throughout the intercooler to the valve cover. I'm still not able to get the RPMS past 2k. Ive noticed the transmission is leaking some fluid, haven't pinpointed exactly where its coming from, looks like from a line that runs beside the downpipe towards the top of the transmission, and another possible leak from a cover plate on the passenger side of the transmission. So on that note, I'm not wanting to put any real money in the 545 if I can swap something else in without too much of a headache. Does any one have any suggestions on the transmission, and without diagnostic tools/scanners what would cause it not to rev up completely? Im sure a scan tool is not cheap on these things.

I'll avoid the transmission as there are folks on this forum more knowledgeable about it that I am. I'll trust you've found no more boost leaks, so the question becomes how is the power? Some of these engines (like mine, a T444e) won't rev past 1800 or so parked, but go up to the redline when driving. When was the fuel filter(s) last changed? (A very common low-power issue, and they should be replaced every 10K miles or so. Keep spares on hand when on a road trip. There may be more than one.) Anything in the water separator (besides clean fuel)?


Pressure wash the radiator from behind, aim "straight" into the fins so as not to bend them. Can use compressed air as a substitute. If the fan clutch is electric, you may be able to "hot wire" it to check. A viscous fan clutch will engage more slowly (mine has this). Poor air circulation through the radiator may not generate enough heat for the fan clutch to engage fully (kind of a catch-22), or the viscous clutch could be worn (somewhat common, the stuff can leak out after some years). If it's a rear-engine (for anyone reading this thread later) some have hydraulic fans and the hydraulic systems do wear out - electric fans simply can't move enough air to keep 'em cool.



You won't need a big soldering tool, a typical 15-40 watt iron should do the job. The dash should be relatively straightforward to remove and disassemble. The gauges simply press into their respective locations on the circuit board, they are not soldered. A couple (fuel and air pressure, if equipped) I believe are independent of the computer.
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