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Old 10-07-2017, 06:09 PM   #1
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New member looking for help identifying engine's/tranny's

Hi all,

I'm a new member looking to create a Skoolie for use as an Airbnb near Charleston SC until it's paid for itself and my daughter grows up a little bit so that we can hit the road for some long trips.

After some research I know almost exactly what I'm looking for: 30-35 foot rear engine school or activity bus with a Cummins 8.3, DT466, or Cummins 5.9, but I plan to avoid the Allison AT545 and AT542.

I've sourced some bus auctions and here is my main question at the moment. Has anyone found a way to determine a bus's body style, engine, and transmission from a VIN number alone? If so, could you please enlighten me?

Thank you for your help.
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Old 10-07-2017, 06:18 PM   #2
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Coachwork: BlueBird
Chassis: TC2000
Engine: 5.9L Cummins
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You can find some info here.
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Old 10-07-2017, 07:52 PM   #3
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Amazing!! I've discovered everything I need to know except for the transmission just from that site. Is the VIN ever able to determine the transmission? Thanks Rusty.
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Old 10-08-2017, 01:36 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Juicifer View Post
Amazing!! I've discovered everything I need to know except for the transmission just from that site. Is the VIN ever able to determine the transmission? Thanks Rusty.
I haven't found a way to id trans from the VIN yet. Usually, the auctions post a picture of the build sticker on the front of the bus and that'll tell you.

Transmissions are usually matched to the weight of the bus and engine power. Each district orders their buses dpec'd based on their terrain, as well. If are able to crawl under and read the silver tag on the side of the trans, that'd be another way to id.
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Old 10-08-2017, 08:27 AM   #5
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Okay tomorrow I'll see if I can get the school district to send me a photo of the build sheet for that last bit of information. Problem is I'm considering several different buses from several different districts in this state.

I've found a lot of Blue Birds with a front engine Cummins 5.9 and they were often paired with the AT545.

The buses I'm finding now are rear engine Thomas Saf T Liner's with a Cummins 8.3. Is there a transmission typically found with this particular line of buses?
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Old 10-08-2017, 09:36 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Juicifer View Post

The buses I'm finding now are rear engine Thomas Saf T Liner's with a Cummins 8.3. Is there a transmission typically found with this particular line of buses?
What year is the bus i question?
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Old 10-08-2017, 10:15 AM   #7
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Sorry should have mentioned that. 1998.
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Old 10-08-2017, 10:20 AM   #8
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I have seen more MD-3060's behind 8.3s than any other transmission. Look at the build plates and look for any transmission information. You may get some clues. A serial number may be looked up on Allison's website.
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Old 10-08-2017, 02:03 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rusty View Post
You can find some info here.

Wow! Thank you for this!
(I'm a newbie, too)
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Old 10-10-2017, 11:29 AM   #10
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Quote:
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The buses I'm finding now are rear engine Thomas Saf T Liner's with a Cummins 8.3.
On this forum, in the "Skoolie General Forums" section, there is a sectoin called "Classifieds | Buy, Sell, Swap". In that section is a thread named "Non-affiliated buses for sale". If you could post your findings there, I think there would be a lot of people, myself included, thanking you for it.
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Old 10-12-2017, 08:53 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PNW_Steve View Post
I have seen more MD-3060's behind 8.3s than any other transmission. Look at the build plates and look for any transmission information. You may get some clues. A serial number may be looked up on Allison's website.
A good clue to the trans type is: if it has the electronic shifter it will most likely be a 2000 or 3000 trans, both can handle the hp and torque from an 8.3, but I think the 3060 is most likely. If it is a "t" handle and an 8.3 it is likely but not definitely a 643 (should read D-3-2-1) I am pretty certain a 545 won't handle the power of an 8.3.

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Old 10-12-2017, 09:33 AM   #12
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ive never seen a 545 on an 8.3, the info in that last post is what i have experienced, that a T-handle is most often a 643.. and the electronic shifter is at least a 2000, usually a 3000..

if the busses are bluebird or international or thomas you can call a dealer with the VIN and they can tell you what was built into it.. rear gear ratio is another thing you want to get..
a nice overdrive MD-3060 doesnt do you much good if the bus has a rear gear ratio of 6.13 (and some do)...

-Christopher
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Old 10-12-2017, 06:40 PM   #13
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I seem to be wrong, maybe my VIN decoder messed up or I misinterpreted it. These buses so far have only been Cummins 5.9 with AT545 after all.
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