77 Newell Repower? - Luxury Coach Lifestyles
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Old 12-22-2012, 04:45 AM   #1
rellick
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Default 77 Newell Repower?

Hello, its great to see there is a few of these classic coaches still on the road. I am just starting to dive into mine and making plans on what to do with it as far as powertrain, the rest it pretty decent, a few glitches with electrical and a few other things. I have only owned it for a week, drove it home about 500 miles and it worked suprisingly well for its age. The engine is a 555 cummins with about 190,000 miles, I have heard mixed reviews on these engines. I am going to cut apart the oil filter on it and take a look for any filings and take an oil sample in for analysis just to see if I should spend any money on it (injectors, tune up etc.) my mechanic buddies figure if the oil and filter checks out I should just run it,or should I just repower it with a newer engine. I was thinking an 8.3 cummins. I am a welder and machinist by trade so any bracketry or mods shouldnt be too much trouble. Any thoughts or opinions on witch way to go with this?
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77 38' Newell Coach Repowered from Smokin' V555TA To 325hp 8.3 inline 6 cummins, Allison 3000 series trans
87 40' Newell Coach 475hp 8V92 DD(sold)
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Old 12-22-2012, 05:27 AM   #2
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Keith, I have been involved in a repower on a '76 Newell that originally had 555 and it was not all that hard to convert. I made mounting brackets and moved the radiator to the side bay. I had help from a couple of other guys whom hotrod a lot of newer Cummins engines. I considered the 8.3 Cummins, they came in a lot of school buses and could be made to work. They are a great engine. Transmission usually reguire changes in the process to match the right gearing and torque requirements. The tripple nickle is an okay engine, just under powered and that is why the 903 is the easiest change over. The blocks are pretty much the same. The 903 with turbo is real equivalent in power to the 6v92T. I do know where their is a lower mileage (375hp+) 6v92T DD Silver Series with Allison 5 speed for sale, if ever of interest?

If a guy plans on keeping a Classic Newell for a long time, it would be well worth the money to upgrade. It is a whole lot less money than what someone would have invested compared to doing something similar in a bus conversion. Because you already have a dynamite coach in a Newell.
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Old 12-22-2012, 05:38 AM   #3
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I have never run a 6v92, I have heard them running and have heard opinions on them, I am sure they are a good engine. I was thinking if I am going to upgrade I would like an inline 6 4stroke. I was told we could turn up the ponys on the 555 as well, but that makes me leary as well
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77 38' Newell Coach Repowered from Smokin' V555TA To 325hp 8.3 inline 6 cummins, Allison 3000 series trans
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Old 12-22-2012, 05:55 AM   #4
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I'm with ya on the inline 6 4 Stroke idea. The 8.3 can be a sweetheart setup and parts are readily available. That is the biggest problem with the 555, they are bummer to round up good parts. They were used in marine applications and that is where most of the core parts can be obtained from. The 903 cousin was used a lot by the US military and in a lot of dump trucks. If someone can do the 8.3 for a reasonable cost, which when I checked, the running gear could be had reasonable, there will be a few others standing in line for the same set-up. In my search I ran across at least two retired rear engine school buses that had super low remans in them crying for a Luxury Coach Lifestyle. We are on the same page here. I'm really surprised many others have not done this. It just takes someone to show it being done and it becomes an infection.
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Old 12-22-2012, 06:54 AM   #5
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What I was told by a vet diesel guy (started 1970 ) unless maybe a little senile in his age, the 8.3 runs the same rpms as the triple nickle and the bell housing is the same, he told me those old allisons are bullet proof, if he is right I shouldnt have to mess around with my gearing. Im not to up on the diesels my experience has been mostley with gas engines. When in doubt I like to talk to the guys with some experience, no sense in trying to reinvent the wheel. And I really dont want to end up with an expensive can of worms. Another reason why I posted this thread!! I know you guys have been messing around with this sort of thing for a while!
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77 38' Newell Coach Repowered from Smokin' V555TA To 325hp 8.3 inline 6 cummins, Allison 3000 series trans
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Old 12-22-2012, 05:10 PM   #6
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My 77 coach originally had the 555 with 230hp which for a 29000 pound coach is pretty meager. It was replaced with a 350 hp 6V92T and has rather spritely performance. Since I don't know all the particulars of the change I can't say why it was done.

If I was in your situation, as I understand it, I would have an engine oil, engine coolant and transmission oil analysis done before I did anything drastic. If you find the engine is doing at least OK then you buy time to figure out what to do when you finally decide to do the change. Figuring it all out can be fun and finding parts in very good condition at a reasonable cost probably will take awhile.

Unless you plan to go with with a side radiator I doubt an inline 6 will fit.

I love our coach and the attention it gets when we are parked.
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Old 12-23-2012, 05:19 AM   #7
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Thank for the input Jon, I think I will end up running this one for a while, as long as it checks out ok. I am pretty sure injectors are fairly cheap for the 555, If it runs good enough I could probably sell it to a farmer or something. There is a surplus of 8.3 s around, Ill get some measurements and make a plan as to how it will all fit in there. I also enjoy figuring out this sort of thing. I plan on keeping it for a while and I think it would be worth the effort.
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77 38' Newell Coach Repowered from Smokin' V555TA To 325hp 8.3 inline 6 cummins, Allison 3000 series trans
87 40' Newell Coach 475hp 8V92 DD(sold)
22' 350hp Jet Riverboat
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Old 12-23-2012, 02:59 PM   #8
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I had a '78 35' with the 555. It ran great...My mechanic "turned it up" a bit. I didnt notice much difference. The only time it seemed underpowered was in the hills. It would run 70mph all day long on the flat. If it blew up I would have considered a Duramax engine/trans. That would not require a radiator move or final drive change.
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Old 12-23-2012, 04:15 PM   #9
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I have a duramax in one of my welding trucks, I love it. How would you run the injector pump? is there an aftermarket ecm for those? Hmmm? My mechanic figured I wouldnt have to do any changes to my gear ratio with an 8.3. He doesnt have anything good to say about v-engine diesels, I think the duramax is an amazing engine performance wise. They are an Izuzu engine, the japanese know how to build engines!
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77 38' Newell Coach Repowered from Smokin' V555TA To 325hp 8.3 inline 6 cummins, Allison 3000 series trans
87 40' Newell Coach 475hp 8V92 DD(sold)
22' 350hp Jet Riverboat
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Old 12-23-2012, 05:02 PM   #10
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Another motor that you could repower your coach with and not have to relocate the radiator is the Detroit Diesel Series 50. It's a inline 4 cylinder 8.5L spinoff of the Series 60 that was produced from 1993 to 2004.
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Old 12-30-2012, 02:23 AM   #11
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Hello all, looking at buying a 97 thomas bus with an 8.3 cummins and a B300 allison trans to repower my coach. Anyone know anything about this model of transmission?
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77 38' Newell Coach Repowered from Smokin' V555TA To 325hp 8.3 inline 6 cummins, Allison 3000 series trans
87 40' Newell Coach 475hp 8V92 DD(sold)
22' 350hp Jet Riverboat
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Old 12-30-2012, 02:54 AM   #12
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The only problem I have heard of with the B300 Allison trans is coolant in the trans, and that came from the radiator/trans cooler combos that developed crack between the two and allow coolant into the trans-fluid. The cure is to replace the cooler. Some sealed the radiator and then put a separate trans cooler on to keep the cost down. Radiator trans cooler is very pricey.
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Old 12-30-2012, 03:17 AM   #13
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Keith, I believe the 8.3 would work. I have a guy down my way who has been doing conversions on all types of buses for about 40 years now. A friend of his used to do suspension upgrades on the 70's Newell's. This guy is really good at what he does and could tell me right away what will work and what not. I will call him on Monday and ask about the 8.3 Cummins and report back to you. I already got the run down somewhat on the 50 and Series 60 Detroit's and the newer Cat and Cummins models. He did say that converting a DDEC engine to a Series 60 was one of the easiest to do. I recently seen a newer Wanderlodge that they pulled the brand new Cummins out of, because the owner wanted a Series 60. A lot of people would think this sounds crazy but the Wanderlodge owner likes the 2 additional mpg and maintenance cost of the 60 Series. Very interesting information for sure. Lots to grind our teeth on.

Myself I would like to do this upgrade on a Classic and on a 90-95 Series 2000. With the right group of folks around here, we could revive some Newell's like thousands have been doing with the bus-conversions.

I also started another thread on engine upgrades. Maybe, we'll have to think about combining the info? See how it goes.
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Old 12-30-2012, 04:56 AM   #14
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Sounds like a radiator issue, transmission oil usually flows to and from the rad to cool the oil. The only way coolant could get into the transmission would be from a cracked cooling tube in the rad. Yes it would not be good to have coolant in the transmission, but wouldnt be the fault of the transmission.
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77 38' Newell Coach Repowered from Smokin' V555TA To 325hp 8.3 inline 6 cummins, Allison 3000 series trans
87 40' Newell Coach 475hp 8V92 DD(sold)
22' 350hp Jet Riverboat
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Old 12-30-2012, 05:03 AM   #15
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Hello, yes any info would be great, people that have been doing these mods for a long time are the best to talk to about unforseen problems. I did find a pretty sweet deal on this bus, and I think the engine trans will work great in my coach. If you like to combine the info on these threads great! I am new to forums so I wouldnt know how to do that. I am more mechanical literate than computer!lol
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77 38' Newell Coach Repowered from Smokin' V555TA To 325hp 8.3 inline 6 cummins, Allison 3000 series trans
87 40' Newell Coach 475hp 8V92 DD(sold)
22' 350hp Jet Riverboat
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Old 12-30-2012, 03:02 PM   #16
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I am in agreence with you all on the idea of this type of upgrade. The wife and I have been looking at lots of later model luxury coaches, mainly being Newells and my brother plans on taking the '86 we currently own off our hands and further down the road plans on upgrading the old girl with a later model power plant. Like my brother has told me, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to accomplish the task of an engine upgrade, that it's only time and money. Many trucking companies order their fleet vehicles with a choice of multiple engine options and there is a reason for this.
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Old 12-30-2012, 03:40 PM   #17
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Newer engines are alot more efficient, and less trouble. I like the classics, there can be issues when repowering with newer stuff, the more info the better it sometimes is not easy, but if someone else has already done it thats the people to get info from to do this sort of thing. It can save alot of headaches!!
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77 38' Newell Coach Repowered from Smokin' V555TA To 325hp 8.3 inline 6 cummins, Allison 3000 series trans
87 40' Newell Coach 475hp 8V92 DD(sold)
22' 350hp Jet Riverboat
79 Ford F250 4x4
Many others to list
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Old 01-04-2013, 11:34 PM   #18
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Keith, I have a call into the mechanic and should here back shortly. He was taking a breather during the holiday. Do you know the horsepower of the 8.3L in the '97 Thomas Bus? When I was looking in the past at using this engine, a lot of them were 330hp. I know they can be pumped from there.

Here's an interesting video of an 8.3 running out of the bus. Pretty quite and smooth compared to the old DD 2-strokes and without muffler etc.

[video=youtube;xYggFNrfMYU]http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=xYggFNrfMYU[/video]
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Old 01-05-2013, 01:34 AM   #19
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Hi Ken, thanks for the reply, right now the engine is only 210hp they must have it detuned because its a transit bus, maybe they didn't want people falling into the back of the bus? We will be turning it up to around 330hp. I will also have to reprogram the transmission for 6speed. Its only 5 now.
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77 38' Newell Coach Repowered from Smokin' V555TA To 325hp 8.3 inline 6 cummins, Allison 3000 series trans
87 40' Newell Coach 475hp 8V92 DD(sold)
22' 350hp Jet Riverboat
79 Ford F250 4x4
Many others to list
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Old 01-08-2013, 07:25 PM   #20
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Does anyone know what gear ratio(s) they were using in the 77 diff's?
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77 38' Newell Coach Repowered from Smokin' V555TA To 325hp 8.3 inline 6 cummins, Allison 3000 series trans
87 40' Newell Coach 475hp 8V92 DD(sold)
22' 350hp Jet Riverboat
79 Ford F250 4x4
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