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Old 03-28-2018, 09:22 PM   #1
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Did I finally find a good Bus?

Alrighty, so here's the bus:

It's a 2003 Freightliner 72 Passenger Bus with a Thomas body and a cummins engine. It's air brakes and runs on diesel. It's got 287,750KM (178,799 miles).

It comes e-tested and has 3 new batteries still under warranty. The asking price is $4500. So what do you guys think?
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Old 03-28-2018, 11:36 PM   #2
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If it's the 8.3 I would go for it. If it's the 5.9 offer $3000. If it has an air ride seat even better. Just depends on the condition. If the tires don't have much left that could easily be $1500. I like to haggle though.
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Old 03-29-2018, 09:31 AM   #3
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As noted...the exact model of both the engine & tranny are critical. Both in terms of pricing and use. The 5.9 is a great engine but under powered for a full sized bus. Likewise, nearly all the Skoolies you find will have an Allison transmission, but there are huge differences from model to model. Most folks try to avoid the AT545 due to its' lack of gears (4 speed) and no lockup.
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Old 03-29-2018, 02:15 PM   #4
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They don't know..

The person I'm trying to buy from doesn't seem to know very much about it.

They don't know what kind of tranny it has, but I'm being told the engine is a 7.2...

I'll have to make the drive and find out for myself, I suppose.
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Old 03-29-2018, 06:35 PM   #5
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If it is a 7.2 then it is not a Cummins.

I suspect that it could be a CAT.

With the vin# the Freightliner dealer should be able to tell you exactly what you are looking at.
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Old 03-29-2018, 09:22 PM   #6
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If it has a Cat engine that price is a bit on the high side.

The vintage would suggest it most likely is a newer Allison automatic with OD.
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Old 05-30-2018, 10:59 AM   #7
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Question

In reply to the 5.9 underpowered remark, can I get more details?

I'm looking at a 5.9 myself. I'm planning an open concept floor plan, very lightweight. Everything I own fits in my minivan. In other words I won't be hauling much.

Would the 5.9 be alright with a light load? Or it it just underpowered in a bus no matter what? From online reviews it seems like that engine has problems in all the vehicle types it's installed in but I have to ask anyway.
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Old 05-30-2018, 11:05 AM   #8
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Kinda funny how the owner knows nothing about the drivetrain. get a vin and we can look up details and pics under the hood and perhaps even the cockpit. more pics can provide a lot more details.
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Old 05-30-2018, 11:12 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by beachtomountains View Post
In reply to the 5.9 underpowered remark, can I get more details?

I'm looking at a 5.9 myself. I'm planning an open concept floor plan, very lightweight. Everything I own fits in my minivan. In other words I won't be hauling much.

Would the 5.9 be alright with a light load? Or it it just underpowered in a bus no matter what? From online reviews it seems like that engine has problems in all the vehicle types it's installed in but I have to ask anyway.
The Cummins 5.9L 6BT/ISB is a great engine. It will take a lot of abuse, it is very easy on fuel, and it will run and run and run and run.

The downside of the 5.9L 6BT/ISB is that it is only 5.9L. It is a small engine. Even with 250 HP the torque is about 1/2 to 2/3 of the torque of a DT466 or Cummins 8.3L 6CT/ISC of the same HP rating.

You will discover the big differences when you are going up the hills.

Many times it was paired with the Allison AT540 transmission. For a low cost route bus it was a very economical power package. But the AT540 is not a great transmission for long distances or hills mostly because it doesn't have a lock up feature. You are always in convertor mode so you are always slipping a little. Slipping equals heat. Lots of slipping means lots of heat.

The biggest use of power in a bus is to push the brick shape through the air. Your biggest load on the engine is just trying to get it to go highway speed. On a vehicle that has a GVWR of 26,000 lbs. filling it full of your conversion and pulling a towed isn't going to be anywhere close to that weight.

So yes a 5.9L will do the job but it will just be adequate.
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Old 05-30-2018, 11:13 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by beachtomountains View Post
In reply to the 5.9 underpowered remark, can I get more details?

I'm looking at a 5.9 myself. I'm planning an open concept floor plan, very lightweight. Everything I own fits in my minivan. In other words I won't be hauling much.

Would the 5.9 be alright with a light load? Or it it just underpowered in a bus no matter what? From online reviews it seems like that engine has problems in all the vehicle types it's installed in but I have to ask anyway.
That motor is probably the most common motor found in a bus and there are in millions of them, they don't seem to be underpowered for their intended purpose. It's just not a big motor you want ride around all day at 65-70mph.
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Old 05-30-2018, 11:48 AM   #11
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Another +1 for the 5.9. It's a great motor. If you're drag racing you might want something else. My TC2000 with 5.9 and at545 has a 62mph or so cruising speed. My Vista with 7.3 and AT545 has a cruising speed about 58mph. Neither one will rocket up a mountain pass but I get to the top at the same rate as the big rigs.
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Old 05-30-2018, 12:21 PM   #12
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Thumbs up

Sorry for hijacking the thread and thanks for the awesome info. I'm looking at a 5.9 tomorrow that's overpriced by about $3k and I'm trying to binge on info to use as bartering leverage.
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Old 05-30-2018, 01:05 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by o1marc View Post
That motor is probably the most common motor found in a bus and there are in millions of them, they don't seem to be underpowered for their intended purpose. It's just not a big motor you want ride around all day at 65-70mph.
My friend Mike bought a TC with a 5.9 and 545. I bought a Genesis with 466 and 643. My rear was geared at 4.44, not sure about his.
My bus Topped out at 63, his would cruise at 70.
Mine was 40' his was 38'.

Gearing is a BIG factor. My shorty with the 175hp 444E and 545 would do like 70-75mph.
It would run hotter the faster you ran it but it never overheated.

But I DO agree with you in that for all day high speed cruising and interstate duty a large powerful engine is hands down what you want.
Honestly, for me at least, the more powerful the engine the better in ANY bus for any use.
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Old 06-07-2018, 02:22 PM   #14
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There is no replacement for displacement....other than turbo's and boost, that is.

Gearing helps immensely, too...especially where you're climbing the Smokies / Rockies etc. Some potential tradeoffs in towing capacity, if you're dragging anything behind...as others have noted.
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Old 06-08-2018, 08:38 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EastCoastCB View Post
Gearing is a BIG factor. My shorty with the 175hp 444E and 545 would do like 70-75mph.
It would run hotter the faster you ran it but it never overheated.
Seconded. Bigger is better, to an extent, but the t444e does just fine for me. I have a full length, 35 foot, 66 passenger bus ... post conversion and it's HEAVY. 175hp, 4.44 gear ratio. I drove through the Adirondacks no problem. My coolant temp never even climbed over 200. I top out at just about 70mph on flat ground. We were so worried that the engine wouldn't hold up after everything I had read but I really pushed the limits and she was happy as a clam. My advice? Don't decide on any particular engine and keep your options open. I was going to buy a 466, but the prices were crazy .... and that was for rusting, leaking piles of junk. I found my 444 with 65k original miles, no rust, well maintained and won the bid at $2600. AND its a 5 speed transmission. Score. Considering other options was the BEST decision I ever made.
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