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Author Topic: Tradeoffs: 35ft vs 40ft, Manual vs Automatic  (Read 8611 times)
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« Reply #30 on: May 11, 2011, 09:00:59 AM »



Except for making the bus harder to steal, there is no advantage to a manual transmission in an RV (unless shifting gives you joy). 

  No advantage? How about the excess heat of the auto you need to disapate? Which on an MCI with an already marginal cooling system pushes temps right to the edge. How about the approximate 40 HP you lose feeding an automatic? Or perhaps the sheer cost of replacement, I doubt youll find HT740's anywhere around for peanuts like most of the standard gearboxes ($thousands vs %hundreds), and that B500 is, what did I hear, over $20K? For a transmission?  Then you have the manual gearboxes almost unbreakable reputation.

  In all my searches and research, on this board as well as others, the consensus is a 2 mpg hit, across the board, running an auto vs a manual. There certainly are exceptions, but those exceptions run both ways, from some not seeing any drop in fuel economy, to others seeing 4 mpg or more loss. With fuel now over $4 gallon, any drop in economy is rapidly noticed in our pocket. And in no case have I come across an auto offering "better" economy. Not saying there isnt one, just saying I havnt seen any. 

  I certainly have nothing against anyone wanting an auto, and fully understand the reasoning in wanting one, sore knees being one, but there are many advantages to a manual that reach far beyond the competence of a thief, not the least of which is the joy of mastering the shift, and feeling like a real Bus driver from days gone by.
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Lin
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« Reply #31 on: May 11, 2011, 09:43:06 AM »

Art,

As mentioned "if shifting gives you joy."  I meant that seriously.  It appears that you enjoy shifting, so that is a positive for you as opposed to a negative.  I have changed to an Allison 647, and it is great.  My Spicer did once get me stuck halfway up a hill with a car on a tow dolly attached.  The 8v just did not have the power to push the bus in that high first gear on that particular incline.  I don't think that will happen with the auto.  If one gets caught in stop and go traffic on a 6-8% grade like the Grapevine, not only is the clutch going to be seriously challenged, but you will have to constantly worry about the idiot in the Smart car, whom you can't see, that insists on keeping a gap of 2 feet to your rear bumper each time you stop.

I am also not convinced about the large difference in fuel mileage.  I have found that my mileage now is sometimes less and sometimes more than I used to get with the Spicer, so I tend to think of it as a wash.  However, I can't be totally sure since we went from C60 to N65 injectors at the same time as the transmission swap, so instead to have less power, I have more.

Cost of replacement is definitely different.  However, comparing the cost of a beat up 5th hand manual to a rebuilt Allison is not fair.  A rebuilt Spicer would cost almost as much, and a used Allison can be had for almost as little.  However, the time to choose which you want is before you buy.  These days, a fully converted bus with either is going to be in the same range.  Doing the switch after buying, as we did, is a costly idea.

I still contend that the real advantage of a manual is in the personal preference of the driver (just like the ownership of a bus over a good, manufactured motorhome is); most of the justifications are really after the fact.  I know a highly competent busnut that is very happy with his "S&S".  You out there?
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« Reply #32 on: May 11, 2011, 09:46:29 AM »

If it was just me, I would've got a bus with a manual again. I have shifted gears in buses all my life and I don' mind. As a matter of fact, I enjoy a stick, and shifting properly brings a certain satisfaction... A well done shift is as smooth or smoother than an automatic.

Looking for a newer bus last year, we decided that it had to be an auto, so Valerie my wife can drive it. And she does now, quite well too. She would not even consider double clutching a straight cut. Not that she couldn't learn, but she is just not interested. She reasons: why bother when you can put an auto in D and push the right pedal. I've got her to shift it manually and she does it well.

I like the automatic too. (HT740). So easy to drive, especially around town. And I've become better at smooth shifts.

Oh and you can control what gear it is in just as well as in a manual.

Yes it might use a little more fuel to run, and it does put out heat which you have to watch going up hill on a hot summer day. I hope I don't have to replace it some day, $$.

But in our case, similar to a lot of other bus nut couples out there, it seems to be the better choice.

Keek in mind that some day, you might become hurt or sick, and your wife will have to drive the bus, even if she doesn't do it regularly now.

JC
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JC
Invermere, BC
1977 MC5C, 6V92/HT740
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« Reply #33 on: May 11, 2011, 10:31:16 AM »

I can buy rebuilt 740's with a nation wide warranty all day long for 2500 bucks you replace the clutch in a bus the right clutch can cost over 1500 bucks just for parts and who wants the reverse gear on a 4 speed nothing but problems with the solenoid and the shift tower and you don't give much mileage with a 740 the mistake people make they don't match the torque converter with unit.
A Allison FS 740 will get you the same mileage and most of the time better than a manual tranny same as the  ice cream deal all is  what prefer.
Allison gets blamed a lot from the MCI people for heat it's not all their fault the old MCI cooling system is a joke to start with JMO



good luck
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Barn Owl
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« Reply #34 on: May 11, 2011, 04:21:34 PM »

It also depends on the manufacture. V730 for a GM is $1200 from NIMCO. Not all that expensive. For my father to get his bus home requires backing it up a long steep driveway. Not possible with a manual. My driveway is 7/10ths of a mile long and it is not a "get a running start at it" ordeal. Simply put, if you want to go where most others cannot, you have to go small and go auto, or go skoolie if you plan on traveling on unimproved roads. Real experience talking.
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L. Christley - W3EYE Amateur Extra
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« Reply #35 on: May 11, 2011, 06:44:39 PM »

As you can see, there is no shortage of opinions. I have a 4104, which is a 35' bus with a manual transmission. I wouldn't have anything else at this point in my life. However, that doesn't mean as I get older, and hope to fulltime, that my desires won't change. We are blessed to have a bus, so I wouldn't ask for anything more right now. I know that you will make the correct decision for you and your wife. Whatever road you take, make the most of it and take a little time to enjoy yourself.

Good Luck,
Mike
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Mike Everard
1960 GMC PD4104-4520
Antioch, CA
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« Reply #36 on: May 11, 2011, 09:10:02 PM »

Well I ought to add a nickels worth here.
My main concern ( and yours should be too) is heat, I would not buy,build,or own a coach with a stock cooling system.
OK maybe that was only 2 cents worth.
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Donald PH
1978 Model 05 Eagle w/Torsilastic Suspension,8V71 NA, DDAllison on 24.5's 12kw Kubota.
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TomC
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« Reply #37 on: May 11, 2011, 11:38:20 PM »

Simple solution-if you want the efficiency of a manual transmission with the ease of automatic shifting-then use either the Autoshift (clutch pedal used only to start and stop), Ultra Shift (automatic centrifugal clutch), or the Ultra Shift Plus (electronically controlled automatic clutch).  The Ultra Shift Plus is available in 10, 11, 13, 18spds.  I would have used one in my truck, but for best operation, the electronic transmissions should be run with an electronic engine.  Good Luck, TomC
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Tom & Donna Christman. '77 AMGeneral 10240B; 8V-71TATAIC V730.
RJ
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« Reply #38 on: May 12, 2011, 01:10:29 AM »

I would not buy, build, or own a coach with a stock cooling system.

Hold on a minute here. . .

Only on the bus conversion bulletin boards does this seem to be an issue.

Greyhound, Trailways and other buses have been pounding the pavement for years equipped with the stock cooling system.  They don't seem to have major problems, and they run far more miles in a month than a busnut RV does in several years.

90% of the time, when a bus overheats, it's DRIVER ERROR!  The other 10% is component failure, usually due to lack of proper preventative maintenance.

This from someone who spent over 25 years in the bus business. . . but feel free to DIYW!

FWIW & HTH. . .

 Wink

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RJ Long
PD4106-2784 No More
S13406 Now
Fresno CA
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« Reply #39 on: May 12, 2011, 01:15:08 AM »

I have three buses all transits.  One is my favorite that is my 35 foot 96 inch wide RTS these country roads with no shoulders is enough for a 96 wide bus.  I have a 40 foot 96 wide Flxible Newlook and the length is a bear getting in and out of my driveway. I love the cornerstones to much to remove.  And I have a 40 foot by 102 inch Flyer that is huge.  That RTS I have has that special place in my heart just love the looks the way it drives,   They all have their good and bad.  I am just one person and not married (unfortunatly) no kids (unfortunatly) so i don't need 45 feet.  If I was rich yeah I would love to have an MCI J4500.  But till then I am happy with my three different size buses and the automatics.  Don't like the speed of most transits but better than being busless.  My opinion. Mike.
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Barn Owl
Roanoke, VA
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« Reply #40 on: May 12, 2011, 04:27:29 AM »

There is a disadvantage of a low bay bus that needs to be mentioned. The low bay height makes storing bikes or scooters a challenge. You might have to get the types that fold up for storage unless you have a way to transport them on the outside. Being on the outside has its own problems like theft, dirty, in the way, etc. Every thing is a trade off. Finding a small inexpensive car or trailer to pull would be an easy fix.
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L. Christley - W3EYE Amateur Extra
Blue Ridge Mountains, S.W. Virginia
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« Reply #41 on: May 12, 2011, 05:25:33 AM »

Simple solution-if you want the efficiency of a manual transmission with the ease of automatic shifting-then use either the Autoshift. . .
. . . for best operation, the electronic transmissions should be run with an electronic engine.  Good Luck, TomC

Isn't an electronic engine mandatory for any of the Autoshift types.
After all, isn't the control constantly bumping throttle and brake to synchronize shifts?
Or is there a way around it?

Ted

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« Reply #42 on: May 12, 2011, 05:31:23 AM »

The problem conversion people have is they want more hp on a stock cooling system Greyhound and others never changed injector size the 245 to 270 hp range on the bus was fine with hp comes heat,the 8v92TA in a MCI Greyhound Bus was 355 hp fwiw  

good luck
« Last Edit: May 12, 2011, 05:45:28 AM by luvrbus » Logged

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« Reply #43 on: May 12, 2011, 05:43:11 AM »

Hold on a minute here. . .

Only on the bus conversion bulletin boards does this seem to be an issue.

Greyhound, Trailways and other buses have been pounding the pavement for years equipped with the stock cooling system.  They don't seem to have major problems, and they run far more miles in a month than a busnut RV does in several years.

90% of the time, when a bus overheats, it's DRIVER ERROR!  The other 10% is component failure, usually due to lack of proper preventative maintenance.

This from someone who spent over 25 years in the bus business. . . but feel free to DIYW!

FWIW & HTH. . .   Wink

I agree! My MCI is STOCK. 8V71/4 speed manual. The cooling system is stock. It has been all over the US including out west , Arizona, Washington, Montana, and the Rockies. Never been hot. Slow, yes. Hot, no.

If you want to modify the engine to make to run faster, or not maintain the mechanicals so you can buy the flat screen, you're gonna have problems.

My Dad used to say, "If you dance to the music, you're gonna pay to the piper"!

TOM
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'82 BlueBird WanderLodge PT40 being rebuilt
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« Reply #44 on: May 12, 2011, 06:12:45 AM »

RJ,

Thank You for your clarification. It's funny that most of these busses exceed a million miles in their lifetime. It's obvious that no common ground will ever be reached where opinions are at stake. We all have our likes and dislikes. However, when it comes to performance issues, the proof is in the pudding.

Mike
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Mike Everard
1960 GMC PD4104-4520
Antioch, CA
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