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Old 07-07-2019, 03:19 PM   #1
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Hello all,


I am new to this site and not sure if this is the right place to post. I am currently having a bus sourced but I don't know much about engines and transmissions. Any information will be very helpful.


I am looking at obtaining a 30ish' flat nose with a rear engine. I do want it for mountain driving and from what I have read, rear engines are better for that. What I really need help with is the type of engine and transmission that would be best for this type of travel.

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Old 07-07-2019, 05:17 PM   #2
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Welcome,

Unfortunately 30' RE's are a rare bird. A lot of them in the 37'-40' range. Most 30' "flat nose" will be front engine.
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Old 07-07-2019, 07:22 PM   #3
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Welcome to the site. We would need more info like engine, tranny, etc
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Old 07-07-2019, 08:17 PM   #4
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Thanx for the reply.


I'm not opposed to a bigger bus or a dog nose if necessary. I've read that a rear engine is best for mountain driving and is quieter. I do have someone sourcing a bus for me so I'm hopeful something I'm happy with will be found. I just don't know anything about bus engines or transmissions which is more important. Any info I can get on whats good would be a big help, that's where I'll start and basically find a bus around that.
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Old 07-07-2019, 08:18 PM   #5
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If I were looking for an RE, I would want either a DT466 or a Cummins 8.3. For a trans I would first look for an Allison 3060 (preferrable with 6th gear unlocked), or AT643, or a 2000.
I don't think an FE handles the mountains any differently than an RE. I guess the RE's usually have the bigger engines, so that's why they're good in the mountains, but an FE with the same drive train handles mountains fine.
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Old 07-07-2019, 08:20 PM   #6
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that's very helpful, thank you so much!
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Old 07-07-2019, 08:21 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by sued View Post
Hello all,


I am new to this site and not sure if this is the right place to post. I am currently having a bus sourced but I don't know much about engines and transmissions. Any information will be very helpful.


I am looking at obtaining a 30ish' flat nose with a rear engine. I do want it for mountain driving and from what I have read, rear engines are better for that. What I really need help with is the type of engine and transmission that would be best for this type of travel.

RE has a distinct disadvantage when it comes to cooling. For tough mountain passes its really hard to beat a rugged CE from a mountainous region.
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Old 07-07-2019, 08:29 PM   #8
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If I were looking for an RE, I would want either a DT466 or a Cummins 8.3. For a trans I would first look for an Allison 3060 (preferrable with 6th gear unlocked), or AT643, or a 2000.
I would have to agree with that.

I have a 37' RE with an 8.3 Cummins and MD-3060 in a Bluebird. It is my idea of the ideal skoolie drive train. One reservation. Most school buses with the MD-3060 have 6th gear locked out so you effectivley have a 5 speed. Owners of IC and Thomas buses have had some success getting 6th unlocked. Bluebird has not been cooperative. I have not seen a successful Bluebird 6th gear unlock YET. There are some third party vendors are beginning to support the MD-3060 and may be a good option for Bluebird owners.
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Old 07-07-2019, 08:39 PM   #9
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RE has a distinct disadvantage when it comes to cooling. For tough mountain passes its really hard to beat a rugged CE from a mountainous region.
I have owned two RE's and one FE.

There is NO doubt that FE's cool better.

My first bus weighed 42,000lbs. I did have some cooling issues on I-10 in AZ in August. I had to slow down and run with the slower semi's.

My current bus is not finished but I did pack it with my entire household and use it as a moving truck. Three mountain passes in mid to high 90's temp. No problem.

The RE's have been much more comfortable for me to travel in. Noise and heat are all 30-40' behind you.
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Old 07-07-2019, 08:45 PM   #10
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How is it that a bus manufacturer, (Bluebird), can dictate what performance options can be had on an Allison manufactured trans.?

Seems that should be something that could be hacked without a Rocket Scientist degree???
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Old 07-07-2019, 09:08 PM   #11
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I would have to agree with that.

I have a 37' RE with an 8.3 Cummins and MD-3060 in a Bluebird. It is my idea of the ideal skoolie drive train. One reservation. Most school buses with the MD-3060 have 6th gear locked out so you effectivley have a 5 speed. Owners of IC and Thomas buses have had some success getting 6th unlocked. Bluebird has not been cooperative. I have not seen a successful Bluebird 6th gear unlock YET. There are some third party vendors are beginning to support the MD-3060 and may be a good option for Bluebird owners.
I think all the brands have to have Allisons permission to inlock the trannys, Allison has been hard to work with.
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Old 07-07-2019, 09:10 PM   #12
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How is it that a bus manufacturer, (Bluebird), can dictate what performance options can be had on an Allison manufactured trans.?

Seems that should be something that could be hacked without a Rocket Scientist degree???
It takes software a lot of the dealers don't have and still need a letter from Allison authorizing the upgrade. Thwir excuse for me was my bus,a 99, was too old. Makes no sense at all. There are afew tricks to get around it.
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Old 07-07-2019, 10:36 PM   #13
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Welcome to the site. We would need more info like engine, tranny, etc
They are looking for info on which ones are best, and which ones to stay away from.
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Old 07-08-2019, 10:28 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by peteg59 View Post
How is it that a bus manufacturer, (Bluebird), can dictate what performance options can be had on an Allison manufactured trans.?

Seems that should be something that could be hacked without a Rocket Scientist degree???
While some folks outside of Allison are making inroads into programming the 3060 TCM you typically have to go to Allison to get programming done.

In order for the Allison shop to unlock 6th requires a unique file created by Allison corporate that is specific to your transmission.

Allison will not create that file unless you can get the bus manufacturer to provide you with an authorization letter.

Some folks with Thomas and IC buses have had luck getting the letter. Bluebird won't play ball.
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Old 07-08-2019, 12:04 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by PNW_Steve View Post
While some folks outside of Allison are making inroads into programming the 3060 TCM you typically have to go to Allison to get programming done.

In order for the Allison shop to unlock 6th requires a unique file created by Allison corporate that is specific to your transmission.

Allison will not create that file unless you can get the bus manufacturer to provide you with an authorization letter.

Some folks with Thomas and IC buses have had luck getting the letter. Bluebird won't play ball.
Thankfully I'm not faced with this issue. Else I might have to find a Thomas or IC bus with the same trans option, and harvest the ID info to work around BB's firewall.
After all Allison isn't likely to ask for a trans serial# when providing their "secret code", once the manufacturer's letter is in hand......
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Old 07-18-2019, 01:46 AM   #16
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If you’re still looking for info here’s some things to consider.
If you get a bus that’s pre 2004 or maybe including 2004 it won’t have emissions equipment so it’ll be a little simpler and little more reliable and likely a little more efficient. After 2004 is when they started to have equipment to reduce emissions.

Front engine cools better because the wind is blowing right through the radiator, rear engine have to work harder at sucking air through the rad.

I like the Cummins 8.3 in my RE; my old bus had the Cummins 5.9 and it was underpowered, especially for the mountains. From what I understand the cat 7.2?? can be problematic.

The Allison Md3060 was on both my buses. It’s a pretty robust transmission I’ve learned from talking with a couple mechanics. and I got 6th gear unlocked on mine. It brings the rpm down a little on the highway but if it doesn’t make your head spin trying to find everything you want you would be well to find a bus with a low differential gear ratio. Mine is 5.4:1 which is a little high some thing in the 4 to 1 might be better.
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