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Old 03-18-2020, 11:29 PM   #1
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Won an auction bus w/ shot transmission

Hi all. I won an auction a few weeks ago for a 1996 International 3800, automatic. It belonged to a school district in Georgia and passed inspection in December, 17k on the odometer (probably 217k?), no known issues. Ad said that it started with a jump but everything went smoothly on pickup from the fleet manager.

About 40 minutes into the 5hr drive home, I pull over to shut the emergency window. From that point on the bus refuses to shift past 1st gear. Hobbled it to a nearby diesel mechanic, where it's been ever since. Fluid was brown.

Most recent update: modulator works fine, might be metal inside the transmission
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Old 03-19-2020, 12:04 AM   #2
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Chassis: Freightliner FS65
Engine: Caterpillar 3126E Diesel
Rated Cap: 71 Passenger- 30,000 lbs.
It would seem that you are in for a fluid and filter change at a minimum. Perhaps the pan removed to examine the extent of damage.


Do you know what transmission is in it?
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Old 03-20-2020, 05:36 PM   #3
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It would seem that you are in for a fluid and filter change at a minimum. Perhaps the pan removed to examine the extent of damage.


Do you know what transmission is in it?
AT545...it still didn't shift after replacing the oil and filter. Metal shavings in the governor housing.

At this point, I'm not sure if it's worth going all-in and finding a refurb MT643 or trying to tow/crawl the remaining 250 miles home
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Old 03-20-2020, 07:31 PM   #4
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Year: 1954
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Chassis: old f500- new 2005 f-450
Engine: cummins 12 valve
Rated Cap: 20? five rows of 4?
where is the bus?

I am in Topeka. there are some 545's cheap used less than 500 one says rebuilt $800.... there is supposed to a 2000 series with pto ... for $800 that would be a five speed... maybe a six speed..... there is a 643 hangin off a cummins 24 valve for $1500


william
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Old 03-20-2020, 11:21 PM   #5
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Not only where s it at, but where is it heading?
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Old 03-22-2020, 06:55 PM   #6
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It's near Atlanta, GA now and heading up to Hendersonville, NC.
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Old 03-22-2020, 09:39 PM   #7
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Year: 1998
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Chassis: TC/2000
Engine: 5.9 Cummins 12-valve
Rated Cap: 1
Would it be worth it to pay for towing then pay for rehab work or would it be best to sell it where it sits and get another bus? If it breaks down on I-85 you would have no option other than to tow.
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Old 03-22-2020, 09:53 PM   #8
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I'm not too far north of Atlanta. Feel free to message me.
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Old 03-22-2020, 10:03 PM   #9
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Get a used transmission. Perhaps a better one than a 545.

Rent, buy or borrow the biggest transmission jack you can find.
Swap transmission in parking lot.
Continue to march.
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Old 03-22-2020, 11:56 PM   #10
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At this point I'd largely say it depends on how much money you have into it. If its like $1500 i would just start calling scrapyards nearby and seeing if they'd take it at minimal loss to you.

These sorts of buses don't really seem like they're worth fixing. Mid 90s buses with AT545s are dime a dozen. You do much better imo.
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Old 03-23-2020, 11:03 AM   #11
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At this point I'd largely say it depends on how much money you have into it. If its like $1500 i would just start calling scrapyards nearby and seeing if they'd take it at minimal loss to you.

These sorts of buses don't really seem like they're worth fixing. Mid 90s buses with AT545s are dime a dozen. You do much better imo.
About that. I was thinking it might be best to put a new tranny in, maybe even another 545, gut & floor it, and sell the shell. I'd want a shorter bus and it'll be a fun project in the meantime.

Really should've researched the drivetrain more before bidding...probably burned it out on the highway
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Old 03-23-2020, 11:59 AM   #12
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Engine: cummins 12 valve
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options

there are other transmissions out there..... you could make this bus shorter.... and stick in a transmission......

or abandon it...... or sell it......

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Old 03-23-2020, 12:16 PM   #13
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Chassis: old f500- new 2005 f-450
Engine: cummins 12 valve
Rated Cap: 20? five rows of 4?
rebuilt 545

facebook market place,,, hampton georgia...... slavage transmission that is showing to have been rebuilt

$300 545 transmission

I used "allison transmission" as a key word

this is the fastest cheapest way to go. Other transmission may be better in the long run, but this is already out and you dont need any wire harness or control modules to make it work.

there are other transmission with more gears and lock up converters.

william
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Old 03-23-2020, 02:41 PM   #14
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Rated Cap: 7 Row Handicap
first off what engine? a 643 swap into a DT466E isnt too bad.. a 643 swap into a T444E requires a flywheel adapter which is damn near impossible to get.



a 2000/3000 swap requires electronics.. lookat my redbyrd transformation thread and rolesvillemarina transmission options thread to see that goingfrom 545 to 1000 / 2000 / 3000 is quite involved...


LKQ parts in Marshfield missouri was and may still be selling remanufasctured AT545s for about $550 including torque converter.... thats the EASIEST swap as you just remove and replace with what was there..
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Old 03-23-2020, 08:52 PM   #15
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2002 IH buses are good donors to upgrade your Trans from AT545 to an A-2000

from what I learned with my swap there are quite a few IH chassis of that year that have Allison 2000 transmissions that the TCM has already been set up with adapters for the AT545 plugs. I was quite surprised that my Wire harness and the TCM etc was all pretty much a plug and play endeavor so far.




you can do it..

i just did this for basically 0 dollars...by myself (physically, but lots of Internet help sorting out the wiring )

I put an allison 2000 into a 1989 Thomas Vista
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Old 03-23-2020, 10:37 PM   #16
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just make sure you get the wiring harness out of the donor bus, I did not get it with mine, had to have a harness made, cost $750
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Old 04-10-2020, 07:44 AM   #17
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Update:

So the bus is stuck near Atlanta, 4-5 hrs from here.

Mechanic's quote for replacing it with a reman AT545 is "at least $4000"...tranny alone is $1700, but comes with a 2 yr warranty.

I'm not sure what the best route is. I can't perform any of the work myself, and have already dumped $2000 into the bus. It doesn't seem worth it to throw in another $4k for a T444E/AT545 combo...but I also can't really get it back home.

Any suggestions? Again, I can't do the work myself, let alone changing to a different transmission.

It's pretty stressful, I was hoping this could be a home but now it's draining all I can spare and more.
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Old 04-10-2020, 07:52 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brad_SwiftFur View Post
I'm not too far north of Atlanta. Feel free to message me.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Alan N View Post
Get a used transmission. Perhaps a better one than a 545.

Rent, buy or borrow the biggest transmission jack you can find.
Swap transmission in parking lot.
Continue to march.
Quote:
Originally Posted by cadillackid View Post
first off what engine? a 643 swap into a DT466E isnt too bad.. a 643 swap into a T444E requires a flywheel adapter which is damn near impossible to get.



a 2000/3000 swap requires electronics.. lookat my redbyrd transformation thread and rolesvillemarina transmission options thread to see that goingfrom 545 to 1000 / 2000 / 3000 is quite involved...


LKQ parts in Marshfield missouri was and may still be selling remanufasctured AT545s for about $550 including torque converter.... thats the EASIEST swap as you just remove and replace with what was there..
Quote:
Originally Posted by RolesvilleMarina View Post
2002 IH buses are good donors to upgrade your Trans from AT545 to an A-2000

from what I learned with my swap there are quite a few IH chassis of that year that have Allison 2000 transmissions that the TCM has already been set up with adapters for the AT545 plugs. I was quite surprised that my Wire harness and the TCM etc was all pretty much a plug and play endeavor so far.




you can do it..

i just did this for basically 0 dollars...by myself (physically, but lots of Internet help sorting out the wiring )

I put an allison 2000 into a 1989 Thomas Vista
Quote:
Originally Posted by ioalt View Post
Update:

So the bus is stuck near Atlanta, 4-5 hrs from here.

Mechanic's quote for replacing it with a reman AT545 is "at least $4000"...tranny alone is $1700, but comes with a 2 yr warranty.

I'm not sure what the best route is. I can't perform any of the work myself, and have already dumped $2000 into the bus. It doesn't seem worth it to throw in another $4k for a T444E/AT545 combo...but I also can't really get it back home.

Any suggestions? Again, I can't do the work myself, let alone changing to a different transmission.

It's pretty stressful, I was hoping this could be a home but now it's draining all I can spare and more.
YOu could sell it for scrap and put the transmission money toward a bus that's running and driving and doesn't have that 545.
I'd do ANYTHING else before dumping 4 grand on a 545. Don't do it.
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Old 04-10-2020, 11:55 AM   #19
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Engine: T444E
Rated Cap: 24000 lbs
OK honestly if your just trying to get it back home then I would prob attempt this for a plan as I am a tight bastard

find another AT545... there are a gazillion out there and very cheap.

to change the transmissions out of your bus and put in the new one is easier than you think. Especially an AT545

you can do it in a parking lot with a transmission jack, and at least 2 heavy duty ratchet straps... And a couple hand tools... literally a few sockets, a few spanners

the AT545 has a few plugs on top that just unplug... easy... and they only go back to whenst they came from as well so you can't mess it up.

You can find a decent mobile mechanic that is strong and has a trans jack to help you.

I literally laughed at how easy it was to do the physical part of the swap as I was doing it vs working on cars and those tight spaces.

there is an access hatch in the floor of your bus above the trans... remove it and there you are.

the rest is just remove and replace... should be able to do the whole shebang for under $1k easily with a used AT545

you CAN do an AT545 swap yourself, and in a parking lot, and in a day with a lad to help.

best luck
dave
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Old 04-10-2020, 12:03 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ioalt View Post
It's near Atlanta, GA now and heading up to Hendersonville, NC.
I had to google it... Henderson is an hour from us in Wake forest

but Hendersonville is many many hours... or I would lend a hand if you could get it to your place if you had been closer to me...

sorry mate

but I swear you can do a trans swap yourself...
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