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Old 12-01-2021, 12:22 AM   #1
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Join Date: Nov 2021
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Looking to buy my first bus!

Hi everyone!
Iím looking to buy my first bus to convert into a skoolie. Iím super excited but want to make sure I get the right rig. Iíve done a good amount of research online and know Iíd like a shorter bus but not an econoline-type. I love the flat front busses with Cummins diesels and I found a local one with no major rust and in generally good shape. Other than actually test driving it, is there a way to know what the top-end speed would be? Iíd hate to buy a bus and find out it could only go 45 mph! Iíll post some stats and see if any of you can give me an idea of how fast this bus will go. Its a Blue Bird TC1000 with a 5.9 Cummins and an AT-545 tranny. The plate on the inside front of the bus shows a 3.54 gear ratio. The tires are 265ís.
Thank you so much to anyone can help with any info on this!

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Old 12-01-2021, 03:42 AM   #2
Bus Crazy
 
Join Date: May 2018
Location: topeka kansas
Posts: 1,149
Year: 1954
Coachwork: wayne
Chassis: old f500- new 2005 f-450
Engine: cummins 12 valve
Rated Cap: 20? five rows of 4?
265?

did you mean 265-70r 19.5 ?

if that is correct then I am going to use 594 revolutions per mile

with a 3.54 gear ratio and direct drive in 4th...... that gives right at 2,100 engine rpm at 60 mph.

that assumes there is no torque converter slippage - but that is not the case, the converter will have some slip.

I have 4.81 gears in a tc2000 with a 545 transmission and 55 mph is top speed for me. engine is governed to and is all out of poop at 2600 rpm. 55 mph on flat level ground is 2,300 rpm, more if there is down hill or tail wind.

so I would say you can do 65-68 mph on flat level ground with no head wind.

I assume this is a 1994-1998 ? or is this newer?

mine will do 45 mph on 5% grade at 2,400 rpm in 4th gear at 2,250/2,300 rpm my engine is at maximum fuel, any rpm past that I am defueling and lose power past that rpm. 25 foot long and running at 14,000lbs

william
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Old 12-01-2021, 08:20 AM   #3
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Thank you for the reply William.
Yes, you assumed correctly on the tire size. They are 265-70r 19.5. Also, the year of the bus is a 2000. I'm curious why you asked that. Did things change past 1998?
Tom
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Old 12-01-2021, 09:43 AM   #4
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Nov 2021
Posts: 24
I would encourage you to shop here for a bus. This is State Auctions which sell school buses, many of them go for under 3000 USD.

https://www.govdeals.com/index.cfm?f...=&category=94H
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Old 12-01-2021, 12:47 PM   #5
Bus Crazy
 
Join Date: May 2018
Location: topeka kansas
Posts: 1,149
Year: 1954
Coachwork: wayne
Chassis: old f500- new 2005 f-450
Engine: cummins 12 valve
Rated Cap: 20? five rows of 4?
tommywass

Yea the engines changed in 1998. 1998 and earlier the engines are mechanical fuel injection. Late 1998 and newer are 24valve and electric injector system. The 24 valve engines make a little more power and the engine speed is governed by software, the mechanical engines are a spring device inside the fuel injection pump.

william
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Old 12-01-2021, 01:11 PM   #6
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Jesusbus, I'll check that out. Thanks!

William, I was actually just wondering about that. I know the DT466's went to the DT466e. While I hear the 466e is a good engine, I also hear it's generally better to stick with the mechanical 466 if possible. Is that also the case with the Cummins? Do you recommend sticking with the mechanical Cummins, even though it produces a little less power? I prefer reliability and longevity over power unless it's extremely under-powered. Other than the year, is there a way to visually know it's mechanical vs. electronic?
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Old 12-01-2021, 05:15 PM   #7
Bus Crazy
 
Join Date: May 2018
Location: topeka kansas
Posts: 1,149
Year: 1954
Coachwork: wayne
Chassis: old f500- new 2005 f-450
Engine: cummins 12 valve
Rated Cap: 20? five rows of 4?
Better?

Both are pretty reliable. Look up pictures of 24 valve 5.9 and 12 valve 5.9. The valve covers are very different. Easy to tell once you have seen them.

Call if you want to talk engines. 785 2077600

William
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Old 12-01-2021, 05:36 PM   #8
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Oct 2021
Location: Jax Beach, FL
Posts: 56
Year: 2003
Coachwork: BlueBird
Chassis: TC2000 28ft
Engine: Cummins ISB 5.9 24v, MD3060
Rated Cap: 14
Since we're on the topic, does anyone carry spare VP44, ecu, or TCM for the electronic engines? I'd hate to be in Alaska and a chip goes bad, but that's $3k of parts that hopefully never get used.
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Old 12-01-2021, 10:06 PM   #9
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Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: So Cal
Posts: 3,141
Year: 1935
Coachwork: Superior
Chassis: Chevy
Engine: 317 ci/tid / Isuzu
That's a tough call. I carry a fresh rebuilt computer for my toad as it has a two year only/4x4 only computer and as a 1989 model there are few available. Rather than a second computer for my 2005 powered bus I purchased a dealer level diagnostic computer (about $1500) and have used it twice in nearly ten years to get back on the road. Now that you mention it I'll start shopping for a spare computer for the bus since the driveline is pushing 20 years old. Thanks.

I bought the diagnostic unit because I figured that if my bus broke down in BF Nowhere the likelihood of finding a knowledgeable mechanic would be next to impossible. Ya pays Ya money an' Ya takes Ya chances!
Jack
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Old 12-01-2021, 11:48 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by magnakansas View Post
Both are pretty reliable. Look up pictures of 24 valve 5.9 and 12 valve 5.9. The valve covers are very different. Easy to tell once you have seen them.

Call if you want to talk engines. 785 2077600

William
Thanks William for all your input. I REALLY appreciate it!
After reading a bit about the AT545 transmission I got scared off from this particular bus as I will be doing quite a bit of mountain driving. I did find a 2003 Thomas 30 passenger at auction with the 5.9 Cummins and the Alison 2000 tranny. It sounds like that may be a better unit overall. We'll see what happens!
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Old 12-30-2021, 03:38 PM   #11
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Thanks for all the input! I ended up getting the Thomas with a 24 valve 5.9 Cummins with the Allison 2000. It seemed to run well on the almost 2000 mile drive home. Hopefully it serves me well! Time to get started on the conversion!
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