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Old 11-26-2021, 12:16 PM   #1
New Member
Join Date: Oct 2021
Location: East Tennessee
Posts: 3
Year: 1998
Engine: 5.9L Cummins
East TN Intro

I just bought a bus and I'm diving into the forum in an effort to learn more about what I bought. Sure, I should have done that first. But I didn't, so here I am. Here's what I know so far:

'99 Flat nose, front engine Thomas
5.9L Cummins 24vj engine
Allison MT-643 Transmission
Dana J-230 rear axle
Starts and seems to run great.
Top speed is 53mph (according to gps app, the speedo doesn't work)
Rear heater(s) removed.
Small window unit AC unit installed in a hole above the rear emergency exit.

Soft spot passenger side floor aft of the front wheel well.
Rust along the bottom of the rear wall, especially in the corners.
Rust around wheel wells inside (can see daylight).

All seats except the driver's seat removed already
Exhaust leak can be smelled as I drive
Headlight switch has a short in it that makes the red and amber lights on the sides flicker as I wiggle it.

I have no idea how to find out if the combination of engine, trans, rear-end are ideal.

I have no idea if I can get it to hit 65 mph somehow, and I have not attempted to drive up any significant hills yet. I'm trying to figure out if it is governed, and if so how.

I'm trying to get answers to these questions, and I'll spend some time searching the forums before I ask them in a thread. But right now, I'm just trying to "get to know" the bus so I can speak and ask questions intelligently. Any insights about what I have is appreciated.

TeamLeach is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-26-2021, 03:29 PM   #2
Bus Crazy
Join Date: Feb 2019
Location: New Hampshire
Posts: 1,349
Year: 1990
Coachwork: Thomas 4 window w/lift
Chassis: G30~Chevy cutaway
Engine: 5.7/350 Chevy Vortec
Rated Cap: Just me and my "stuff"?
Welcome to the site.

The engine and trans are fairly common in busses and are generally decent running gear.
Your bus is more than likely governed mechanically through rear end gearing, but could also be computer controlled.
Either option can be tweaked to get higher MPH, lower RPM. Many threads on here on both.

Hopefully you knew about the rust issues before you pulled the trigger on it's purchase?
Not to be a Debbie Downer, but rust that is visible to the casual observer is 9 out of 10 times much worse than what you see without pulling back the curtain for a closer inspection.

Anyhoo, hopefully you can finish your project and post up pics of your handiwork.
Good luck...
peteg59 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-26-2021, 08:34 PM   #3
New Member
Join Date: Oct 2021
Location: East Tennessee
Posts: 3
Year: 1998
Engine: 5.9L Cummins
I saw the rust, so no surprise there.
I hope I can figure out the speed thing. I really want another 15 mph. 50mph will make me crazy.

I guess I can jack the back axle and count drive shaft revolutions, but I hope knowing what rear axle I have will narrow it down.
TeamLeach is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-26-2021, 08:59 PM   #4
Bus Crazy
Join Date: May 2018
Location: topeka kansas
Posts: 1,778
Year: 1954
Coachwork: wayne
Chassis: old f500- new 2005 f-450
Engine: cummins 12 valve
Rated Cap: 20? five rows of 4?
team leach

I would expect to find two tags on the differential. one - a plastic kind of sticker with a bar code above the driveshaft and about the 11 oclock position.

metal tag with rivets above the drive shaft at 12 o'clock to 2 o'clock position.

I expect to see numbers J-230-sb ## J series, 23,000 lbs, sb single reduction - school bus. Both of these tags should have gear ratio on them.

there are also tags on the axle housing facing the direction of the transmission... if this is a front engine bus then the tags for the axle will be on the right side axle tube. again should be plastic/paper tag and metal rivet on tag.


magnakansas is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-26-2021, 10:29 PM   #5
New Member
Join Date: Oct 2021
Location: East Tennessee
Posts: 3
Year: 1998
Engine: 5.9L Cummins
I just looked at the back of the axle and saw nothing. I'll look at the front in the morning. Thanks for the help.
TeamLeach is offline   Reply With Quote

cummins 24v, cummins 5.9, front engine flat nose, thomas 1999

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