Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
 
Old 07-01-2020, 10:38 PM   #1
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: May 2020
Posts: 32
Unhappy Bought my First school bus and it broke down half way home

Hey everybody long read. My name is Rob, My Girlfriend Amanda and I just bought our first bus!
2000 international 3800, dt466e, at545 (I know not the best choice)
We were super excited to go pick it up in Ohio (we live in NY) and about halfway home in PA, the bus broke down. while I was driving the tranny slipped and got stuck in 1st gear so the bus wouldn't go faster than 20 mph. We had to get it towed and get a hotel down the road. The guy who came to tow it broke the U joint when taking the Driveshaft off. so we had to wait to get that part to have them fix it and put the driveshaft back on ( $325 for the tow $450 for parts and labor) Then we had to drive it to a shop that would actually work on the transmission and drive it to them on back roads going 20 mph up and down hills in PA about 15 miles. The mechanic is thinking that most likely its the torque converter because the tranny was replaced about 5-6 years ago but the bus hasn't been driven consistently for about a year and a half. I was quoted 1200-1800 to check the tranny and possibly replace the torque converter. $4000 for a full tranny rebuild and about $2000 to buy a used at545 and replace it.
I was wondering 1. what do you guys think about these prices
2. if the tranny needs to be replaced should I just upgrade to the mt643
3. is it possible to put a manual tranny in the bus
4. just general thoughts lol
Gambler936 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-01-2020, 10:56 PM   #2
Bus Crazy
 
Join Date: May 2016
Location: Georgia
Posts: 1,984
Year: 2001
Coachwork: Blue Bird
Chassis: IH
Engine: T444E
Rated Cap: 14
My *VERY* first question is, being from Ohio, how rusty is it? If there are *ANY* visible rust holes, it will cost you a small fortune to fix the rust, before you spend the first dollar on the actual conversion. Add to that a dead transmission and ... I would seriously consider finding another bus.


Now, if there's little to no rust, maybe it would be worth putting another transmission in. Swapping to a manual is possible, but at what cost? The ECU will have to be swapped and/or reprogrammed, the parts will have to be sourced, the actual swap done, driveshaft length may have to be changed .......


Seems to me $4000 is awful expensive for an AT545 rebuild. I had a transmission shop around here quote about half that (maybe $2500?). One member of this forum did a AT545 to (something-with-overdrive) swap on a bus around 2000-ish and the swap went surprisingly straightforward, though by the time you get into all that, you may as well have bought another bus (and saved money).
Brad_SwiftFur is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-01-2020, 10:59 PM   #3
Bus Nut
 
WIbluebird's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2015
Location: Wisconsin
Posts: 931
Year: 2001
Coachwork: Bluebird
Chassis: All American
Engine: 8.3 Cummins ISC
Rated Cap: 75
Not worth fixing an AT545 bus and a swap is a VERY involved project. We've had members here successfully pull it off but it involves a lot of DIY and access to a parts bus.

I'd scrap it and start over.
WIbluebird is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-01-2020, 11:02 PM   #4
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: May 2020
Posts: 32
So there isn’t any visible rust holes, underneath looked pretty good. There’s definitely some rust and I’m sure there’s some on the floor but it doesn’t seem terrible. And the issue is I bought it on public surplus and it’s as is auction. I called the place I got the bus from and they were pretty much like sorry we wish we could help you
Gambler936 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-01-2020, 11:03 PM   #5
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: May 2020
Posts: 32
So I just wasted $3500 then?
Gambler936 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-02-2020, 03:17 AM   #6
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Jun 2020
Location: Baltimore, MD
Posts: 29
Engine: MBE926210
Rated Cap: 31
Sorry to hear that. I'm currently auctioning on Public Surplus myself. I decided not to bid on one bus because there was a lot of rust on the floor inside the bus, making me think that frame is probably corroded. I would be somewhat weary of buses in the Midwest because of the rust, unless you are able to go see the bus in person.
Choc Lesnar is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-02-2020, 07:11 AM   #7
Bus Crazy
 
joeblack5's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2015
Location: pa
Posts: 1,682
Year: 98
Coachwork: 1. Corbeil & 2. Thomas
Chassis: 1 ford e350 2 mercedes
Engine: 7.3 powerstroke & MBE906
Where are you in PA at the moment.
Why did you tow it while it was slipping and then drove it to the mechanic... .

How far is it to your home in NY. Do you have a place to park and work on it at home..

If you are in hurry and on the road everything will be very expensive. At545 are plenty in the junkyard or rebuild from auction.

At home and not pressured everything becomes a lot cheaper.

Good luck
Johan
joeblack5 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-02-2020, 08:33 AM   #8
Bus Nut
 
bigskypc50's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2016
Location: MONTANA
Posts: 375
Year: 1995
Coachwork: AMTRAM
Chassis: INT
Engine: DT466
Rated Cap: Big Girl
Sorry to hear about this, I know that gut wrenching feeling saving for something and getting ripped off/let down/broke down etc. As others have said, check the thing over for rust. I have seen countless buses retired from OH due to rust. mostly way before there time with rusted though frames.

But unless this bus is special or unique I too would consider scrapping it and even more sure if it's rusty and starting with a new bus.

There is a guy here that bought a rusty bus and had to do massive metal repairs, Not sure if he still is happy with his choice repair it or feels should have started over? Were are you? Rusty something I think?




Quote:
Originally Posted by Gambler936 View Post
So I just wasted $3500 then?
__________________
My Build Thread: https://www.skoolie.net/forums/f11/sk...ran-16474.html
bigskypc50 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-02-2020, 08:49 AM   #9
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: May 2020
Posts: 32
The bus is about 5 hours away at a repair shop and yea I have a place very close by to my house to work on it and my cousin is a welder so I’m not too worried
Gambler936 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-02-2020, 08:55 AM   #10
Bus Geek
 
EastCoastCB's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2014
Location: Eustis FLORIDA
Posts: 22,238
Year: 1999
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: Freighliner FS65
Engine: Cat 3126
Rated Cap: 15
Maybe ask the shop for a quote to put a 643 in it?
__________________
.
Roll Your Own Build Thread
EastCoastCB is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-02-2020, 09:57 AM   #11
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: May 2020
Posts: 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by EastCoastCB View Post
Maybe ask the shop for a quote to put a 643 in it?
I asked him when we dropped it off, and he said he's going to look into it
my issue is we were planning on working on this bus as we go I don't have a big pool of money to grab from so scrapping and buying another bus would make it so I wouldn't be able to start for a long time.
Gambler936 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-02-2020, 09:58 AM   #12
Bus Geek
 
musigenesis's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2019
Location: Philadelphia
Posts: 3,528
Year: 2003
Coachwork: International
Chassis: CE 300
Engine: DT466e
Rated Cap: 65C-43A
Quote:
Originally Posted by bigskypc50 View Post
There is a guy here that bought a rusty bus and had to do massive metal repairs, Not sure if he still is happy with his choice repair it or feels should have started over? Were are you? Rusty something I think?
I'm totally happy because I got into this in the first place to get experience with welding and fabrication, and a badly-rusted bus gives you lots of opportunities for practicing (also the rust repair is now mostly done, which certainly colors my perspective). Also, my bus has a DT466e with 30K miles on it after a rebuild and a 2000-series transmission, so it's a bit more worthy of the effort.

For anyone that doesn't want to spend a full year rebuilding the rusted-out parts of their bus, it's absolutely the right decision (in terms of economics and mental health) to ditch a rusty bus and get a rust-free one, even if it costs you thousands of dollars in the short run.
__________________
Rusty 87 build thread
musigenesis is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-02-2020, 10:22 AM   #13
Bus Crazy
 
banman's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2019
Location: Ohio
Posts: 1,456
Year: 2002
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: Freightliner FS-65
Engine: 7.2L Cat 3126 turbo diesel
Rated Cap: 71 passenger 30,000 gvwr
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gambler936 View Post
The bus is about 5 hours away at a repair shop and yea I have a place very close by to my house to work on it and my cousin is a welder so Im not too worried
I'm with what joeblack5 said.

If you poked and stabbed from the bottom of the bus and found no holes than your rust will be mostly surface rust... Southern OH is not the rust-belt that Northern OH is...

It's the right time of year to enjoy a 20 mph drive -- ****, 3 day weekend coming up -- just do it. Enjoy all the back-roads from PA to NY...

The DT466 is a good engine and had every tranny mated to it so getting an upgrade for your current ass-pain should be very viable...

I would limp the sucker home now and be on the search for an MD3060 at your leisure. If that work is beyond you find a local tranny shop and explain your situation. A good shop will add your md3060 to their list of good used things to be looking for. When a deal becomes available they'll let you know, and you'll pay them to do the work. It'll be a great upgrade to your bus.

At the very least an A2000 series will be a good upgrade as well.

Switching to manual will be more expensive but doable... The positive is that it will eliminate the electronic wiring aspect of conversion.

Get it home and you have time to research your options -- it sucks now -- you'll laugh about it later...
__________________
David

The Murder Bus
banman is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-02-2020, 11:43 AM   #14
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: May 2020
Posts: 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by banman View Post
I'm with what joeblack5 said.

If you poked and stabbed from the bottom of the bus and found no holes than your rust will be mostly surface rust... Southern OH is not the rust-belt that Northern OH is...

It's the right time of year to enjoy a 20 mph drive -- ****, 3 day weekend coming up -- just do it. Enjoy all the back-roads from PA to NY...

The DT466 is a good engine and had every tranny mated to it so getting an upgrade for your current ass-pain should be very viable...

I would limp the sucker home now and be on the search for an MD3060 at your leisure. If that work is beyond you find a local tranny shop and explain your situation. A good shop will add your md3060 to their list of good used things to be looking for. When a deal becomes available they'll let you know, and you'll pay them to do the work. It'll be a great upgrade to your bus.

At the very least an A2000 series will be a good upgrade as well.

Switching to manual will be more expensive but doable... The positive is that it will eliminate the electronic wiring aspect of conversion.

Get it home and you have time to research your options -- it sucks now -- you'll laugh about it later...
We are totally In the boat of it sucks now and Well laugh about it later haha. But the shop we dropped it off at thinks it might be the torque converter and not the actual transmission so were waiting to see if it actually is. They have an at545 and they can get there hands on a mt643 they said so were gunna wait and see on Wednesday next week
Gambler936 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-02-2020, 02:36 PM   #15
Bus Geek
 
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Columbus Ohio
Posts: 13,086
Year: 1991
Coachwork: Carpenter
Chassis: International 3800
Engine: DTA360 / MT643
Rated Cap: 7 Row Handicap
stuck in first gear doesnt sound liek a torque converter it sounds like either the 2nd gear clutch pack ate it or driving it stirred up some dirt and stuck in the valve body.. were you driving and it just downshifted to first and never came out? or did it start acting sluggish and then end up in first?
cadillackid is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-02-2020, 02:37 PM   #16
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: May 2020
Posts: 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by cadillackid View Post
stuck in first gear doesnt sound liek a torque converter it sounds like either the 2nd gear clutch pack ate it or driving it stirred up some dirt and stuck in the valve body.. were you driving and it just downshifted to first and never came out? or did it start acting sluggish and then end up in first?
Down shifted and wouldnt come out
Gambler936 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-02-2020, 03:36 PM   #17
Skoolie
 
Join Date: Mar 2020
Posts: 108
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gambler936 View Post
We are totally In the boat of it sucks now and Well laugh about it later haha. But the shop we dropped it off at thinks it might be the torque converter and not the actual transmission so were waiting to see if it actually is. They have an at545 and they can get there hands on a mt643 they said so were gunna wait and see on Wednesday next week

Nothing is either as good or as bad as it seems.


You have the right attitude, and sounds like you're in the hands of a decent shop that understands the problem and your priorities. At the end of the day you'll have this issue sorted, and can build with confidence. Hang in there.


Its so much better to have hit this problem now than, say, 1500 miles into your first road trip with your fully kitted skoolie and all your money already spent, in a bad neighborhood and needing to be back at work on Monday...
TomA is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-02-2020, 03:39 PM   #18
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: May 2020
Posts: 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by TomA View Post
Nothing is either as good or as bad as it seems.


You have the right attitude, and sounds like you're in the hands of a decent shop that understands the problem and your priorities. At the end of the day you'll have this issue sorted, and can build with confidence. Hang in there.


Its so much better to have hit this problem now than, say, 1500 miles into your first road trip with your fully kitted skoolie and all your money already spent, in a bad neighborhood and needing to be back at work on Monday...
Thats exactly what I was thinking. Better now then later
Gambler936 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-02-2020, 04:04 PM   #19
Skoolie
 
Join Date: Mar 2020
Posts: 108
Oh, yeah, and definitely go with the 643 swap. I good used 643 is better than a rebuilt 545 every day of the year.

It will also allow you to easily make more power from your very good motor, which has been carefully factory detuned to keep the 545 slushbox alive.
TomA is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-02-2020, 04:07 PM   #20
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: May 2020
Posts: 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by TomA View Post
Oh, yeah, and definitely go with the 643 swap. I good used 643 is better than a rebuilt 545 every day of the year.

It will also allow you to easily make more power from your very good motor, which has been carefully factory detuned to keep the 545 slushbox alive.
Great Ill talk to the mechanic next week and 1. See what the issue is and what nerds to be done and 2 talk about the granny swap
Gambler936 is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Tags
broke, first bus, tranmission

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


» Featured Campgrounds

Reviews provided by

Powered by vBadvanced CMPS v3.2.3

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 01:17 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 4
Copyright ©2000 - 2020, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
×