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Old 06-18-2021, 11:22 PM   #1
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Jun 2021
Posts: 10
Have bus will ROCK!

Hello!
My name is Leroy Miller, I'm a touring Blues/Rock musician from Montana.
I've been reading the forum for about a year and finally bought a bus and registered!
I picked up a BIG 1993 International Bluebird with a DTA360 @190HP 2700RPM and a AT545 with a 5.11 gear ratio in great shape for $3000. Its starts up and seems to run great. I am having some issues with over heating the engine and trans at speeds over 40. My speedo doesn't work but I've clocked it at 65MPH @ 3000RPM for a few miles but it will run the temp gauges up to the max!!! The bus at 2600RPM will go 55MPH but still over heat. I haven't driven much due to this.
My goal is to first deal with the heat issues then convert it into a touring bus for my band. I need to get the cruising speed as fast as possible and keep the heat in check.
I've read some post on mods for the DTA360 / AT545 combo but I'm not really sure what my best options are as far as touring around the USA with a little load (band gear) in it. I play in Texas a lot and it's 100+ down there and I need to keep the show on the road!
Any advice would be greatly appreciated!

Thanks,
Leroy
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Old 06-19-2021, 12:01 AM   #2
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Location: Florida
Posts: 348
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Welcome Leroy. Not the Smash Mouth LM, from WA, right?
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Old 06-19-2021, 02:18 AM   #3
Mini-Skoolie
 
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Welcome Leroy. Not the Smash Mouth LM, from WA, right?
Thatís me!
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Old 06-19-2021, 06:44 AM   #4
Bus Geek
 
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Columbus Ohio
Posts: 15,196
Year: 1991
Coachwork: Carpenter
Chassis: International 3800
Engine: DTA360 / MT643
Rated Cap: 7 Row Handicap
3000 RPM!!! dont do that to a DTA360!! anything over 2800 is written in the book to shorten the engine's life.. someone altered the governer on that thing if its really turning 3000.



on my DT360 the fan clutch was weak when I got the bus.. changed it 5 years ago never looked back even in texas heat it runs 195-200 max with both air conditioners on..



5.11 is a low gear, 55 is all you are going to get pretty much and you will burn a ton of fuel doing it.. the 360 much would rather run in that 2300-2500 range.



mine has a 4.78 and I ditched the POS 545 for a 643 and its pretty happy now..
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Old 06-19-2021, 07:56 AM   #5
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Thatís me!
Small world. Your work precedes you.
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Old 06-19-2021, 08:15 AM   #6
Mini-Skoolie
 
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Originally Posted by cadillackid View Post
3000 RPM!!! dont do that to a DTA360!! anything over 2800 is written in the book to shorten the engine's life.. someone altered the governer on that thing if its really turning 3000.



on my DT360 the fan clutch was weak when I got the bus.. changed it 5 years ago never looked back even in texas heat it runs 195-200 max with both air conditioners on..



5.11 is a low gear, 55 is all you are going to get pretty much and you will burn a ton of fuel doing it.. the 360 much would rather run in that 2300-2500 range.



mine has a 4.78 and I ditched the POS 545 for a 643 and its pretty happy now..
Hi cadillackid thanks for your reply!
Thankfully I didn't run it for very long at 3000rpm!!!
I'm still having issues over heating at 2600rpm (55mph). Do you think if I replaced the thermostat and a oil cooler it would stay in the 200 degree zone?

What would I need to get this bus cruising at 65mph without overheating?
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Old 06-19-2021, 08:17 AM   #7
Mini-Skoolie
 
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Small world. Your work precedes you.
It's a small world indeed! I'm looking forward to getting back on the road, I miss playing...
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Old 06-19-2021, 08:25 AM   #8
Bus Crazy
 
Join Date: May 2016
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Montana Minimalist View Post
Hi cadillackid thanks for your reply!
Thankfully I didn't run it for very long at 3000rpm!!!
I'm still having issues over heating at 2600rpm (55mph). Do you think if I replaced the thermostat and a oil cooler it would stay in the 200 degree zone?

What would I need to get this bus cruising at 65mph without overheating?

You have one of 2 ways to increase your cruising speed, you can either swap the transmission to one with overdrive (expensive and difficult) or you can swap the rear end gear ratio (I did this with mine. I went from a 5.38 to a 3.91 ratio).
Don't just start putting parts on and hope the problem goes away. Many of us on this forum speak from experience, we've had the same problems and did the same thing. Learn from what we did, and what didn't work for us.
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Old 06-19-2021, 08:54 AM   #9
Bus Geek
 
Join Date: May 2009
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Year: 1991
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Chassis: International 3800
Engine: DTA360 / MT643
Rated Cap: 7 Row Handicap
with your 360 do you hear the fan making a roaring sound when the temp is high? if you overheat quickly and even in town id suspect thermostats but if you only overheat at cruise speed id suspect either clogged radiator / fins or the fan clutch.



in my case my bus would run at 180-200 even on the hottest days in town but when I got on the highway it would head up over 210 almost 220 then id slow down.. (a trip to 230 a time or 2 can ruin the engine or at least blow the liner seals which cause the coolant to leak in the oill).


a transmission cooler will surely make your AT545 happier.. I ran my 545 from ohio to florida ad back and up into the mountains of new york a few times and after a couole years of that it said no more and blew up.. in my case I upgraded to the MT643 which handles the mountains like a champ. but in your case a cooler will help it last and will take some of the heat load off of the engine.



on one of my other busses my radiator was somewhat clogged on the inside.. so I had it steamed out at a shop and lots better flow.. its also important to make sure there is no debris in the fins.. ie bugs, dirt, etc..doesnt take much to lose cooling efficiency.



the fan.. when the bus is cold and you first start up you should hear the fan roar for a minute or so when the engine revs go up as you leae your parking space.. then it will quiet down.. then the fan should ramp up again as it warms up.. for sure by 205-210 you should hear that thing rippin on the highway.. if you pull over when its hot and rev the egine but see the fan just kind of spin slow and not move tons of air id suspect the clutch is weak or dead..
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Old 06-19-2021, 09:10 AM   #10
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Jun 2021
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brad_SwiftFur View Post
You have one of 2 ways to increase your cruising speed, you can either swap the transmission to one with overdrive (expensive and difficult) or you can swap the rear end gear ratio (I did this with mine. I went from a 5.38 to a 3.91 ratio).
Don't just start putting parts on and hope the problem goes away. Many of us on this forum speak from experience, we've had the same problems and did the same thing. Learn from what we did, and what didn't work for us.
I think I need to swap the rear end gear ratio. 5.11 is not going to cut it...
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Old 06-19-2021, 09:12 AM   #11
Mini-Skoolie
 
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Originally Posted by cadillackid View Post
with your 360 do you hear the fan making a roaring sound when the temp is high? if you overheat quickly and even in town id suspect thermostats but if you only overheat at cruise speed id suspect either clogged radiator / fins or the fan clutch.



in my case my bus would run at 180-200 even on the hottest days in town but when I got on the highway it would head up over 210 almost 220 then id slow down.. (a trip to 230 a time or 2 can ruin the engine or at least blow the liner seals which cause the coolant to leak in the oill).


a transmission cooler will surely make your AT545 happier.. I ran my 545 from ohio to florida ad back and up into the mountains of new york a few times and after a couole years of that it said no more and blew up.. in my case I upgraded to the MT643 which handles the mountains like a champ. but in your case a cooler will help it last and will take some of the heat load off of the engine.



on one of my other busses my radiator was somewhat clogged on the inside.. so I had it steamed out at a shop and lots better flow.. its also important to make sure there is no debris in the fins.. ie bugs, dirt, etc..doesnt take much to lose cooling efficiency.



the fan.. when the bus is cold and you first start up you should hear the fan roar for a minute or so when the engine revs go up as you leae your parking space.. then it will quiet down.. then the fan should ramp up again as it warms up.. for sure by 205-210 you should hear that thing rippin on the highway.. if you pull over when its hot and rev the egine but see the fan just kind of spin slow and not move tons of air id suspect the clutch is weak or dead..
Great info! I'll check on the things you mentioned here.
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Old 06-19-2021, 09:39 AM   #12
Bus Crazy
 
Join Date: May 2016
Location: Georgia
Posts: 2,261
Year: 2001
Coachwork: Blue Bird
Chassis: IH
Engine: T444E
Rated Cap: 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by Montana Minimalist View Post
I think I need to swap the rear end gear ratio. 5.11 is not going to cut it...

I don't know what tire size you're running, I'm on 10R22.5 tires. By the math, with that size tires, a 1:1 top transmission gear (the AT545 has a 1:1 top gear as well), the 3.91 gives me around 75 MPH on the freeway at 2600 RPM. In hindsight I could have gone with a 3.78 ratio to lower cruising RPM at 65.
Do be aware that the faster gears will give the transmission a bit more work at speed, so you'll definitely want to consider cooling, and perhaps a trans temp gauge - heat kills transmissions with a quickness.
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Old 06-19-2021, 11:06 AM   #13
Mini-Skoolie
 
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Originally Posted by Brad_SwiftFur View Post
I don't know what tire size you're running, I'm on 10R22.5 tires. By the math, with that size tires, a 1:1 top transmission gear (the AT545 has a 1:1 top gear as well), the 3.91 gives me around 75 MPH on the freeway at 2600 RPM. In hindsight I could have gone with a 3.78 ratio to lower cruising RPM at 65.
Do be aware that the faster gears will give the transmission a bit more work at speed, so you'll definitely want to consider cooling, and perhaps a trans temp gauge - heat kills transmissions with a quickness.
My tires are 10R22.5.
I just noticed this sticker on my dash and it says I have a AT500 trans!??? I've never heard of it. I looked under the bus and then noticed I have a Alma remanufactured trans from 2013... I don't know what to think, what trans does this bus actually have and what kind of performance can I expect?
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File Type: jpg Trans.jpg (323.8 KB, 7 views)
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Old 06-19-2021, 11:08 AM   #14
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Jan 2015
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Do you have enough room to run a taller/wider tire? That alone might be enough.
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Old 06-19-2021, 11:11 AM   #15
Mini-Skoolie
 
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Do you have enough room to run a taller/wider tire? That alone might be enough.
I believe I do have room. I've got a buddy that has some larger tires. I'm not sure how much or the condition but I'm going to find out!
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Old 06-19-2021, 01:13 PM   #16
Bus Geek
 
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Columbus Ohio
Posts: 15,196
Year: 1991
Coachwork: Carpenter
Chassis: International 3800
Engine: DTA360 / MT643
Rated Cap: 7 Row Handicap
My rims were large enough that I switched from 10R to 11R, I went with an aggressive drive tire as I live in Ohio but I’d never do that again. The wider tire can make the bus a little more squirly and they are noisy as crap. When I wear them out I’ll be going with an all position tire.

The AT500 is the series. They made 540 through 545. So it’s an AT545. It’s reman which is nice as any updates and TSBs that Allison released for those trans should’ve been applied by the shop if they are reputable.
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Old 06-19-2021, 01:51 PM   #17
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Join Date: Feb 2019
Location: New Hampshire
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Year: 1990
Coachwork: Thomas 4 window w/lift
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Engine: 5.7/350 Chevy Vortec
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I cringe inside when I hear an engine was "overheated".
There are many variables in an actual overheat condition.
None which are good for the longevity of said engine.
Luckily it sounds like you are cognizant of the issues in running in an overheated state, and hopefully didn't hurt the engine or trans by running it too hot.

Has the oil taken in any coolant/water? It will look milky on the dipstick when the engine is cold if it has.

Hopefully nobody before you did any damage in running the bus hot?

Definitely want address this issue before it costs you an engine or transmission rebuild or replacement.
Good luck on it and your entertainment career going forward...
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Old 06-19-2021, 04:15 PM   #18
Bus Geek
 
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Columbus Ohio
Posts: 15,196
Year: 1991
Coachwork: Carpenter
Chassis: International 3800
Engine: DTA360 / MT643
Rated Cap: 7 Row Handicap
the DT360 seems to like a tad more RPM than a T444E.. I find that the 2300-2500 range on the 360 is a happy place. . the 360 isnt a fast engine to begin with... you can turn it up some to get a little more power.. like brad says the trans works harder with taller rear gears.. you also lose some of your torque so your ability to climb hills and accelerate quickly is reduced..



while my DT360 will drive 65 i dont push it there.. I run it at 55-60.. if i need to get somewhere quick ill drive something else.. my red bus is a T444E and has a tuned engine, transmission so he will go 65-70 without even thinking about it but there is a lot that has gone into that build to make it work..
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Old 06-19-2021, 05:17 PM   #19
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Wouldn't that be ready to ROLL?

A school bus typically doesn't even go more than 40mph hauling kids around.

You should also know that they are VERY expensive to fix, a new radiator $800, etc,
I would suggest you sell it and get another vehicle more suited to highway travel, like a shuttle bus. Or even the smaller Ambulance when you need to get there asap.
Or just a truck and trailer.
Looks like you got a good deal, so no loss to sell it.

If you want more 'funk' all the cool kids have vintage step vans,
or better yet a REO Speedwagon Fire Truck.

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Old 06-19-2021, 05:29 PM   #20
Bus Geek
 
Join Date: May 2009
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Year: 1991
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Chassis: International 3800
Engine: DTA360 / MT643
Rated Cap: 7 Row Handicap
Quote:
Originally Posted by BeNimble View Post
Wouldn't that be ready to ROLL?

A school bus typically doesn't even go more than 40mph hauling kids around.

You should also know that they are VERY expensive to fix, a new radiator $800, etc,
I would suggest you sell it and get another vehicle more suited to highway travel, like a shuttle bus. Or even the smaller Ambulance when you need to get there asap.
Or just a truck and trailer.
Looks like you got a good deal, so no loss to sell it.

If you want more 'funk' all the cool kids have vintage step vans,
or better yet a REO Speedwagon Fire Truck.




my school bus cruises the highway just fine.. I dont drive a bus when I want to get someplace fast but the red one will go 70 and not even bat an eye..
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