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2008ThomasC2
Active Member

United States
13 Posts

Posted - 10/16/2008 :  07:42:34 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Our district has just one manual transmission 54-passenger bus left in the fleet - a 1997 Ford B-800/BlueBird/Airbrake/6-Speed/Cummins 230HP B-series, with only 87,000 miles that has to be retired at the end of next school year (NJ requires mandatory retirement for conventional buses at the end of their 12th year). Several of our drivers, including the coordinator, prefer to drive a manual transmission and we are searching for information regarding which manufacturers have actually produced a manual transmission bus recently.

From what I have learned, Thomas will still make a C2 with the Mercedes engine with a 6-speed, but I don't know of anyone that has actually gotten one. When I took a tour of Bluebird's Fort Valley Plant last year, our tour guide said he believed the could make a Vision with the manual trans, but our local sales reps tell us no. The local IC rep doesn't think International will provide one either.

Anyone have any information about this?

Thanks.

Rich
Top Member

United States
5768 Posts

Posted - 10/16/2008 :  12:09:48 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Thomas still offers manual transmissions in C2s. The recent Maine state bus bid has various manual transmission options listed, but I don't have the link handy at the moment. There is also a district in NY that has a C2 with a manual transmission, one of my counterparts saw it first hand. I will try and get some photos soon.



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NWCROWN
Advanced Member

USA
461 Posts

Posted - 10/17/2008 :  9:36:06 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I have to wonder if we will see manuals make somewhat of a comeback with the rapid rise in fuel costs. I doubt they will make a return to a transit-style bus though.

Then again, modern automatics with lockup torque converters, when properly equipped, can return MPG comparable to a manual.

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Girardin_71
Top Member

Canada
626 Posts

Posted - 10/18/2008 :  2:24:37 PM  Show Profile  Send Girardin_71 a Yahoo! Message  Reply with Quote
there's a company in Germany called ZF transmissions and they have a 6spd Automatic that shifts like a manual. its the AS Tronic Lite and it would be perfect for School Buses.

Girardin/Blue-Bird are my favorite school buses

http://www.g71bdpt.net
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03CV200
Top Member

United States
740 Posts

Posted - 10/18/2008 :  2:58:22 PM  Show Profile  Visit 03CV200's Homepage  Send 03CV200 an AOL message  Click to see 03CV200's MSN Messenger address  Reply with Quote
Eaton Fuller now has the Ultrashift transmission, which is a two pedal system and also shifts like an automatic. I saw one in a Mack Pinnacle (CHU613) tractor trailer a few weeks ago.


-Dave
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BusFreak
Top Member

USA
798 Posts

Posted - 10/18/2008 :  10:40:58 PM  Show Profile  Send BusFreak an AOL message  Reply with Quote
I drove an Eaton Ultrashift today infact, and it improved my mileage by 3 MPG throughout my 500 mile journey. The one disadvantage is the slower acceleration. I've also driven motorcoaches with the ZF ASTronic transmission (13 speed version), and again, although they accelerate slower, the safed fuel is well WELL worth it. I actually think that it is highly appropriate for the Eaton Ultrashift to make an appearance in the school bus industry. They do take some getting used to, but then again, so do air brakes.

And P.S., Virginia has the manual transmission deduct listed on the C2. Thomas was the only manufacturer to offer such deduct on the pricing schedule for bids for the state of Virginia.

=

Edited by - BusFreak on 10/18/2008 10:42:42 PM
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2008ThomasC2
Active Member

United States
13 Posts

Posted - 09/24/2009 :  10:47:13 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Here's an update on my manual transmission question originally posted last October: Our district had gone out to bid for a new 54-passenger (full size maximum capacity conventional bus in NJ) conventional bus and specified a 6-speed fully syncronized manual transmission with a 260HP or greater diesel engine. The only company to bid without exception to our specification was Thomas. BlueBird did not bid as they do not offer a manual transmission for the domestic market, but will build it for export. IC did not bid either - I even called their corporate headquarters to find out why they couldn't/wouldn't build a bus with a manual transmission and was told that they streamlined their IC lineup and that even though International offers a variety of manual transmissions in their trucks, IC would not build a manual in a school bus and we could only choose between Allison 2000, 2200, 2500 and 3000 series transmissions.

Our bus is expected to be delivered by the second week of October, so I will report back on the result.
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ltrain2001
Senior Member

139 Posts

Posted - 09/24/2009 :  3:55:15 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Why won't Blue Bird offer one for the domestic market but they would for export? That doesn't make sense to me somehow.
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Rich
Top Member

United States
5768 Posts

Posted - 09/24/2009 :  6:36:21 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by 2008ThomasC2

Here's an update on my manual transmission question originally posted last October: Our district had gone out to bid for a new 54-passenger (full size maximum capacity conventional bus in NJ) conventional bus and specified a 6-speed fully syncronized manual transmission with a 260HP or greater diesel engine. The only company to bid without exception to our specification was Thomas. BlueBird did not bid as they do not offer a manual transmission for the domestic market, but will build it for export. IC did not bid either - I even called their corporate headquarters to find out why they couldn't/wouldn't build a bus with a manual transmission and was told that they streamlined their IC lineup and that even though International offers a variety of manual transmissions in their trucks, IC would not build a manual in a school bus and we could only choose between Allison 2000, 2200, 2500 and 3000 series transmissions.

Our bus is expected to be delivered by the second week of October, so I will report back on the result.



A school district in NJ buying a manual tranny bus to this day? Wow, very impressive. I only know of one district in NY that still specs a manual transmission, and of course they can only buy the C2s. I don't think I would want a Vision with a manual transmission. Somehow, I don't trust Blue Bird installing a clutch pedal, would probably fall off on your way over a railroad crossing.

And may I add that, the only reason the C2 still offers a manual trans is because the chassis itself is actually made at the Freightliner Custom Chassis facility in SC. This same facility also does medium duty work trucks, so it is simple for them to swap the same components over to the school bus chassis.



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ltrain2001
Senior Member

139 Posts

Posted - 09/24/2009 :  7:05:48 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Any pics of the manual C2? I would love to see it.
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origcharger
Top Member

United States
619 Posts

Posted - 09/24/2009 :  7:19:02 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I will be happy when the last of our manual transmission buses are gone.
Manual transmissions won't even be available in Ford Super Duty pickups beginning with the 2011 model year.

Operating; Seven T444Es, One MaxxForce 7, One VT365, Four DT466s, One E-450 6.0 and one Mercedes in a C2.
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ltrain2010
New Member

7 Posts

Posted - 01/16/2010 :  11:09:35 PM  Show Profile  Visit ltrain2010's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Has anyone seen a manual transmission C2? I would really like to see that, and get behind the wheel of one someday.
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2008ThomasC2
Active Member

United States
13 Posts

Posted - 01/17/2010 :  3:21:43 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
We took delivery of the 2010 C2 with 260hp Cummins ISB 6.7 & Fuller 6-speed manual in late November. So far we've put almost 3,000 miles on it and it has been a great bus. The biggest problem we have is that the drivers have been fighting over driving it. It's been a terrific bus and we'll post a few pics soon. Our dealership, H.A. DeHart & Sons also did a great job with preparation and delivery.
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03CV200
Top Member

United States
740 Posts

Posted - 01/19/2010 :  1:08:28 PM  Show Profile  Visit 03CV200's Homepage  Send 03CV200 an AOL message  Click to see 03CV200's MSN Messenger address  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by 2008ThomasC2

We took delivery of the 2010 C2 with 260hp Cummins ISB 6.7 & Fuller 6-speed manual in late November. So far we've put almost 3,000 miles on it and it has been a great bus. The biggest problem we have is that the drivers have been fighting over driving it. It's been a terrific bus and we'll post a few pics soon. Our dealership, H.A. DeHart & Sons also did a great job with preparation and delivery.



Great to hear. Can't wait to see the pics!


-Dave
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acap03
Senior Member

USA
53 Posts

Posted - 01/19/2010 :  8:48:56 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I too cant wait to see the pictures. They seem to be very hard to come by, and there have been several "broken promises" (for lack of better terms) when it comes to actual photos.
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NWCROWN
Advanced Member

USA
461 Posts

Posted - 01/21/2010 :  09:38:24 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I want to see the pictures too. Don't let us down this time as others have.
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Jarlaxle
Senior Member

79 Posts

Posted - 01/23/2010 :  11:39:01 AM  Show Profile  Visit Jarlaxle's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Wow, still a few standard shifts around. Everything here went slushpump almost 20 years ago...my 1984 is one of the NEWER standards I've seen.

But geez...air brakes, 6-speed, Cummins, and a BB body?! I think I need one of those...
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acap03
Senior Member

USA
53 Posts

Posted - 01/27/2010 :  7:23:27 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Anything new on the photos..from anyone? Im anxiously awaiting, then again...thats nothing new.
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2008ThomasC2
Active Member

United States
13 Posts

Posted - 02/01/2010 :  10:57:13 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I have the pics of the manual transmission bus, how do I attach them to this post?

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03CV200
Top Member

United States
740 Posts

Posted - 02/01/2010 :  11:40:31 AM  Show Profile  Visit 03CV200's Homepage  Send 03CV200 an AOL message  Click to see 03CV200's MSN Messenger address  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by 2008ThomasC2

I have the pics of the manual transmission bus, how do I attach them to this post?





If you have them uploaded somewhere on-line, such as photobucket or flickr, click the "insert image" icon in the reply window and insert the image's link.
Or, if you want, you can email me the pictures and I'd be happy to post them for you.


-Dave

Edited by - 03CV200 on 02/01/2010 11:41:05 AM
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RichBusman
Advanced Member

451 Posts

Posted - 02/01/2010 :  11:41:51 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Upload them to a host then post the links here. WWW .imageshack.us is easy to use.
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2008ThomasC2
Active Member

United States
13 Posts

Posted - 02/01/2010 :  12:58:20 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Thanks Dave, I emailed you a word document with 4 pics (1 front, 1 back, and 2 inside).
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03CV200
Top Member

United States
740 Posts

Posted - 02/01/2010 :  1:25:11 PM  Show Profile  Visit 03CV200's Homepage  Send 03CV200 an AOL message  Click to see 03CV200's MSN Messenger address  Reply with Quote
Try sending it to my yahoo email, see it that works, I'm not sure why its kicking back from the hotmail one.


-Dave

Edited by - 03CV200 on 02/01/2010 2:28:42 PM
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2008ThomasC2
Active Member

United States
13 Posts

Posted - 02/01/2010 :  1:29:22 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Ok - so far, so good. Let's see what happens.
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03CV200
Top Member

United States
740 Posts

Posted - 02/01/2010 :  2:27:53 PM  Show Profile  Visit 03CV200's Homepage  Send 03CV200 an AOL message  Click to see 03CV200's MSN Messenger address  Reply with Quote
Here they are! Thanks 2008ThomasC2!






-Dave

Edited by - 03CV200 on 02/01/2010 2:29:15 PM
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RichBusman
Advanced Member

451 Posts

Posted - 02/01/2010 :  2:31:06 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Very cool! Although it looks like the shifter is quite a reach.
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Jarlaxle
Senior Member

79 Posts

Posted - 02/01/2010 :  2:42:36 PM  Show Profile  Visit Jarlaxle's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Not at all...it's in the same place in the Freightliner M2 I drive every day (though mine has a 250HP C7 ACERT). The furthest away (5th gear) has the shifter almost vertical...it's not a long reach.

(I want your stereo!)
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Tatum
Top Member

United States
606 Posts

Posted - 02/01/2010 :  2:51:22 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I'm surprised more manufacturers aren't doing this..You'd think they'd be willing to do anything for their customer's money.
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2008ThomasC2
Active Member

United States
13 Posts

Posted - 02/01/2010 :  3:25:43 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Thanks 03CV200 for helping post the pics - The shifter really isn't a far reach at all. It's Reverse all the way over to the left and up, with a Double-H for 1st - 6th. For around town we only go up to 5th, and use 6th exclusively for the interstate. 5th is good for up to 65 or 66 mph @ around 2,300 rpm, but when you drop it into 6th the rpms drop to around 1800 at 65.
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QuikSilver
New Member

United States
5 Posts

Posted - 02/01/2010 :  3:54:31 PM  Show Profile  Visit QuikSilver's Homepage  Reply with Quote
What NJ school district/contractor is this? Im curious since I live in NJ and C2s are rare where I live. That does look like a nice fleet there though.
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Jarlaxle
Senior Member

79 Posts

Posted - 02/01/2010 :  6:20:04 PM  Show Profile  Visit Jarlaxle's Homepage  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by 2008ThomasC2

Thanks 03CV200 for helping post the pics - The shifter really isn't a far reach at all. It's Reverse all the way over to the left and up, with a Double-H for 1st - 6th. For around town we only go up to 5th, and use 6th exclusively for the interstate. 5th is good for up to 65 or 66 mph @ around 2,300 rpm, but when you drop it into 6th the rpms drop to around 1800 at 65.



Wow, you're geared tall! Is that 4.10's and overdrive (my truck has 5.13's and OD--2000RPM is 60MPH), or is it direct in 6th and a taller (3.90?) axle?
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dem84skeeprollinup
Top Member

USA
888 Posts

Posted - 02/02/2010 :  10:13:51 PM  Show Profile  Click to see dem84skeeprollinup's MSN Messenger address  Reply with Quote
Very nice bus, and the same shift pattern as my 02 Jetta I would feel right at home behind the wheel of that C2. Lots of districts would probobly cosnider manuals agian if thomas advertised that they have them more.

Do the world a favor and bring back GMC and Ford conventional chassis......

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NWCROWN
Advanced Member

USA
461 Posts

Posted - 02/02/2010 :  10:43:34 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Thanks for finally posting the photos. Looks like a neat setup.
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acap03
Senior Member

USA
53 Posts

Posted - 02/04/2010 :  10:28:11 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Thank you, Thank you, Thank you!
Thanks Dave, for posting the pictures. Im actually impressed and would LOVE to get behind the wheel.
2008ThomasC2, do y'all plan on spec'ing anymore C2s with the manually tranny?
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2008ThomasC2
Active Member

United States
13 Posts

Posted - 02/04/2010 :  6:15:44 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
We probably won't be ordering any full-size buses for the next several years. The next possibility would be when we retire our 2000 TC1000 34-passenger (3 more years) - we would consider a "shorty" 39-passenger manual trans C2(8 row bus --NJ has 3-2 seating in all rows except the rear-most row which is 2-2 seating).

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hardybusman
Advanced Member

United States
470 Posts

Posted - 02/12/2010 :  4:11:51 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Why did you guys spec. a manual transmission? Are you in a rural area of NJ?

Mr. Courtney Hardy
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