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Old 11-17-2017, 11:17 AM   #1
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Nov 2017
Location: Illinois
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Year: 2006
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Chassis: Saf-T-Liner HDX
Engine: 230 HP Mercedes, Allison 6 speed
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Our first conversion...

Hello to all! My wife and I are new to this but we've have been reading every post here on every subject we could find, the combined knowledge here informative and greatly appreciated. Taking the plunge on a Thomas Saf-T-Liner HDX, Mercedes 230 hp, Allison automatic...let the fun begin!
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Old 11-17-2017, 01:19 PM   #2
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Welcome. Just be advised the MB engines are outrageously expensive to maintain.
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Old 11-17-2017, 02:06 PM   #3
Mini-Skoolie
 
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Welcome. Just be advised the MB engines are outrageously expensive to maintain.
Where can I expect the problems to surface?
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Old 11-17-2017, 02:54 PM   #4
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Where can I expect the problems to surface?
On average .... between 400 and 500k, but it's never that simple.

It depends on how the engine has been used. School bus usage is hard on an engine, unless it was a trip bus that did highway miles.

If it's running well, and not smoking or blowing oil, then you might never have an issue with it.
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Old 11-17-2017, 03:13 PM   #5
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biggest thing ive heard with the MBE engines is to make siure you check the oil OFTEN.. once you get a baseline for if and howmuch oil your engine uses you can get a good idea of how often to check it..

the MBE engines are generally solid and reliable.
-Christopher
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Old 11-17-2017, 04:29 PM   #6
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Welcome to the site! Enjoy!
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Old 11-20-2017, 07:04 PM   #7
Mini-Skoolie
 
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Engine: 230 HP Mercedes, Allison 6 speed
Rated Cap: 76
Thank everybody for the warm welcome, greatly appreciated. We farm in Western Illinois and bus project will shake up the coffee shop and confirm their suspicions that we're different. . Those folks will be an amazing and fun resource, can't wait to get the bus home!
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Old 11-20-2017, 07:43 PM   #8
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We farm in Western Illinois
Where abouts? My wife is from around there so I've got inlaws in Hancock County. We live toward the west-ish side of Central IL.
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Old 11-20-2017, 08:45 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by AJH3212 View Post
Thank everybody for the warm welcome, greatly appreciated. We farm in Western Illinois and bus project will shake up the coffee shop and confirm their suspicions that we're different. . Those folks will be an amazing and fun resource, can't wait to get the bus home!
my experience has been that the people in every coffee shop i hang (and I hang in a **LOT** of them in many states.. ). have thought my skoolie is cool as heck and they want one too... even the guiys that ride the harleys and the mini van full of girls getting frappucinos all wanted a ride in the bus

-Christopher
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Old 11-20-2017, 09:12 PM   #10
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Engine: 7.3 powerstroke & MBE906
what age is your bus. We have a 2004 300hp mbe906 in our bus. 400000 miles, no leaks, no oil use, no blowby. Most school busses do not get that far. We had to replace the starter because a worn override clutch $ 240. These engines are very efficient and pretty quiet.

good luck, J
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Old 11-20-2017, 10:54 PM   #11
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Welcome to the crazies !!!!!
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Old 11-21-2017, 10:42 PM   #12
Mini-Skoolie
 
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Engine: 230 HP Mercedes, Allison 6 speed
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Hope to get our bus here in Quincy in a week or so, 134,000 miles on it. Found out the Allison transmission is locked out of 6th gear when placed in a school fleet, I had to get a letter from Thomas certifying that the bus was no longer in this service that it was being converted into an RV and Allison is reprogramming the transmission to its full highway capacity and altering the shift points to smooth out the pattern to reflect that there aren't 80 people on board. Cost from Allison is $500 they go to the bus, $300 you bring it to them after they receive the letter. I'm told it will cruise like a dream lower RPM, progress...
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Old 11-22-2017, 01:24 PM   #13
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PLEASE document your actions, the responses to them, and the eventual success or failure of this attempt to get your Allison transmission unlocked and reprogrammed. You might want to go to the effort of starting a thread dedicated to the subject. Many of us here have tried to get this done, and I only remember 1 instance of it working out and happening. (Who was that? Wmkbailey? Goat? Pork chop?) I know CK took out the xmsn computer, sent it off to an aftermarket performance shop with some cock-and-bull story, and got it done.

We're all REALLY interested in how this works out for you.
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Old 11-22-2017, 04:22 PM   #14
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I will be happy to help in any way that I can, details to follow.
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Old 11-29-2017, 06:43 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dan-fox View Post
PLEASE document your actions, the responses to them, and the eventual success or failure of this attempt to get your Allison transmission unlocked and reprogrammed. You might want to go to the effort of starting a thread dedicated to the subject. Many of us here have tried to get this done, and I only remember 1 instance of it working out and happening. (Who was that? Wmkbailey? Goat? Pork chop?) I know CK took out the xmsn computer, sent it off to an aftermarket performance shop with some cock-and-bull story, and got it done.

We're all REALLY interested in how this works out for you.
Here is the update. Looking at the world through Allison's glasses, the OEM manufacturer of the bus is their customer and at their request the sixth gear was locked out for safety reasons when the bus was built so; 1) the bus would not be able to exceed speeds any school district would be driving and 2) the top speed of the bus would not exceed the speed rating of the tires.

To unlock the transmission Allison requires a letter from the OEM of the bus (not a dealer) stating that they approve of the change with the VIN number of the bus and the VIN of the transmission. Allison will then issue a "Service Information letter" the last page of which is a release you sign holding them harmless against any liability if your bus breaks the land speed record. I have signed that release, paid them the $500 and have a technical service representative coming to the bus next Monday morning and we're done.
I hope this is helpful, lot's of paperwork, I'll report back with RPM and MPH in 5th and the newfound 6th speed next week.
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Old 11-30-2017, 07:52 AM   #16
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Thanks, AJ. Good info.

I need to get my bus down to the Allison tech to get the MD3060 2nd overdrive unlocked. He quoted me $300, but we shall see.
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Old 11-30-2017, 08:37 AM   #17
Mini-Skoolie
 
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Chassis: Saf-T-Liner HDX
Engine: 230 HP Mercedes, Allison 6 speed
Rated Cap: 76
$300 sounds right if you take it to them, I was under time constraints so they're taking a "field trip" and going to the bus...
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Old 11-30-2017, 12:50 PM   #18
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So, did Thomas give you a "release letter" easily? For free? Any notary involved?

Is the $500 you mention for the tech to make a house call, or just to get the paperwork lined up? $300 beats $500, but it _really_ beats $300 + $500.

Rusty, did you obtain that letter?

Enquiring minds......
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Old 11-30-2017, 03:56 PM   #19
Mini-Skoolie
 
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Location: Illinois
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Year: 2006
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Chassis: Saf-T-Liner HDX
Engine: 230 HP Mercedes, Allison 6 speed
Rated Cap: 76
I can only assume that they did, I bought the bus from a Thomas dealer and part of my purchase agreement was that the transmission would be reprogramed, I quit asking questions when I saw the work order for the Allison Tech rep to do the work. The two quotes were $300 all in I take the bus to Allison, $500 all in they come to the bus. I do have a copy of the "Service Information Letter" which is three pages of lawyerese and one page I had to sign releasing them of any liability.
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Old 12-07-2017, 07:15 PM   #20
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Nov 2017
Location: Illinois
Posts: 17
Year: 2006
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: Saf-T-Liner HDX
Engine: 230 HP Mercedes, Allison 6 speed
Rated Cap: 76
Quote:
Originally Posted by dan-fox View Post
PLEASE document your actions, the responses to them, and the eventual success or failure of this attempt to get your Allison transmission unlocked and reprogrammed. You might want to go to the effort of starting a thread dedicated to the subject. Many of us here have tried to get this done, and I only remember 1 instance of it working out and happening. (Who was that? Wmkbailey? Goat? Pork chop?) I know CK took out the xmsn computer, sent it off to an aftermarket performance shop with some cock-and-bull story, and got it done.

We're all REALLY interested in how this works out for you.
Here's the update. I thought I was good to go after signing the release from Allison, not so fast, I still had get the release letter from Thomas which was supposed to be issued today. As it stands now we should be ready to go next week?
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