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Author Topic: Rockwell, Spicer, Eaton, Roadranger, Meritor, Fuller... commonality?  (Read 589 times)

Elliot

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After 27 years of trucking, from 48 states to local distribution, driving 13-speeds, 9-speeds, and 10-speeds (and Super-10, best forgotten), I now "play" with two school buses (see my Intro thread).

They have the Cummins 5.9 engine, and Allison automatics (one MT643 and one AT545).

I'm no fan of automatics, and I also expect these Allisons to fail sooner or later. 

So I'm thinking of converting to a "real" transmission.

The 5.9 obviously does not put out much torque, but I want to allow for a future re-power to the 8.3 or even larger, since I intend to keep these buses another 20 to 30 years.

And I'm thinking 10-speed, since that would be easiest to teach others to drive, and I believe those are especially plentiful in salvage yards.

So....  I'm trying to learn what-is-what. 
Rockwell, Spicer, Eaton, Roadranger, Meritor, Fuller...  they all seemed the same to me when I was driving them.  And now, when I search for transmissions online, I wonder....  Are they all the same, just by different names because of corporate name-juggling? 

The model designations seem similar... RTO-something-10 and so on. 
The "O" means the top gear is an overdrive ratio.  And that would be good to have.  The "something" is torque rating, but the system is unclear to me.

Does there exist one chart or website or whatnot that explains it all?

Finally....  Obviously, I happily drive transmissions with no "car type" synchronization.  And my buddy who often shares the driving... he still owns a stock Model A Ford, so he can manage. 
But I seem to have read that some truck transmissions now have "car" synchronization?  That would allow us to put others at the wheel (with proper training otherwise).

Any and all guidance is appreciated!


Hank's Truck Forum


Paystar

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Re: Rockwell, Spicer, Eaton, Roadranger, Meritor, Fuller... commonality?
« Reply #1 on: March 14, 2017, 09:59:37 AM »
After all my years in the business I can say any driveline is a non-issue. I've never had a failure with Rockwell, Meritor, Eaton, Spicer, or Mack. The transmissions and rear axles are the lesser evil of anything in your truck. Only bad driving or maintenance ever kills them.

I wouldn't be scared of an Allison at all. Like I said above, only bad maintenance causes failures there.

As far as what you listed, Spicer and Eaton are the same now and Rockwell became Meritor.

And Mack rear axles used to be built by both Eaton and Rockwell to Mack's spec and design, but are now made in-house under the Volvo umbrella.
The New Generation: 'You have what we call an irrational sense of entitlement. It won't kill you, but it will cause you to believe that you deserve top pay for doing nothing.'

Wee Willy

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Re: Rockwell, Spicer, Eaton, Roadranger, Meritor, Fuller... commonality?
« Reply #2 on: March 15, 2017, 05:42:08 AM »
Howdy Elliot.

Payster is right, keep the fluids topped up, do regular maintenance, drive with a conscience, and the Allison shouldn't give you any trouble.

If you want a full synchro manual trans, a 6 speed should be plenty good for a school bus.
 Not sure if anybody even offers a synchronized 10 spd in the NA market.

If you're going to have a number of people driving the equipment over the years, I say live with what you got.
 It will last a long time if it's cared for and your drivers don't beat it up too bad.

Eaton, Fuller, Roadranger, all the same.
Spicer transmission is now Tremec.

Scroll down for how to read the tags.
Meritor
http://www.globaltransmissionsupply.com/pdf/transmissions/meritor-9-10-13-speed-transmissions-pb-94134.pdf
Roadranger
http://www.redramgear.ca/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/eaton-fuller-transmission-identification-guide.pdf

Tremec products.
http://www.tremec.com/lit_oem.php
The first rule of the road is:
"If anything can happen, at any time, it will!"

Paystar

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Re: Rockwell, Spicer, Eaton, Roadranger, Meritor, Fuller... commonality?
« Reply #3 on: March 15, 2017, 08:26:58 AM »
Spicer is Tremec now Willy?

Wow, if we wait another week or so, all the names and ownership may be different again, LOL.
How do you even keep track any more???
The New Generation: 'You have what we call an irrational sense of entitlement. It won't kill you, but it will cause you to believe that you deserve top pay for doing nothing.'

Wee Willy

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Re: Rockwell, Spicer, Eaton, Roadranger, Meritor, Fuller... commonality?
« Reply #4 on: March 15, 2017, 09:46:23 AM »
Spicer is Tremec now Willy?

Wow, if we wait another week or so, all the names and ownership may be different again, LOL.
How do you even keep track any more???

 I think Tremec and Spicer are one?
I don't keep track, I have random memory moments!

Was reading about past products at the website, never knew Spicer made an 18 spd.
 I knew about the 12 14 16 and 20 spd's, but not the 18 spd.
Learned something today, which means I'm not brain dead, yet! ;D
The first rule of the road is:
"If anything can happen, at any time, it will!"

willyboy

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Re: Rockwell, Spicer, Eaton, Roadranger, Meritor, Fuller... commonality?
« Reply #5 on: March 19, 2017, 01:25:40 PM »
MT 545 is a very old transmission, How old are these buses? These are both pure hydraulic, no electronics. If you change the oil and filter like you are supposed to they will out live the bus body. Even if they do fail the replacement cost is very reasonable. If you put a Clutch and a Mechanical Transmission in anything, you had better include a skilled operator. Stick with the MT's

Elliot

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Re: Rockwell, Spicer, Eaton, Roadranger, Meritor, Fuller... commonality?
« Reply #6 on: March 19, 2017, 10:13:06 PM »
I sure appreciate all this input!
Those links are wonderful. I have saved and bookmarked for more study.

Yes, those AT and MT Allisons are amazingly well made.  "Keep the fluid sparkling clean!" everyone tells me.  Dirty fluid will kill it, they say, and I believe them.  And I use TranSynd fluid.

And then there is temperature.  That's the other thing that will kill an Allison, I also keep hearing.

At least once a year I gross 38,000 pounds (pulling a trailer) over Donner Summit and other big hills with the MT643. 
This does not worry me much, since the MT643 is rated for 73,280 and has a lock-up torque converter.

But the AT545 does not, which generates more heat, so this one will soon have an extra cooler.  And I will keep the weight below its 30,000 pound rating.

I did say that I fear they will fail sooner or later, and my gut tells me this is a realistic possibility.  But I may be biased, since I much prefer to have personal control.

A skilled operator of un-synchronized manual transmissions is indeed available -- me.  I was famous for almost never needing clutch adjustment, nor wearing down shift forks and such (which some "drivers" go thru like candy).  (I was also known for fabulous fuel mileage, but that's a different department.)

The MT643 is in a 1992, which had 191,611 miles on her when I bought her ten years ago, and now has 252,070.

The AT545 is in a 1994, which I just bought with about 239,000 on her.

Yes, Willyboy, Sir, you are probably right that I ought to leave well enough alone.  But I still want to learn about the various "real" transmissions.

willyboy

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Re: Rockwell, Spicer, Eaton, Roadranger, Meritor, Fuller... commonality?
« Reply #7 on: March 20, 2017, 06:22:48 PM »
You can put almost any Fuller transmission in there, the limiting factors will be finding a #2 bell housing and a front input shaft for a smaller clutch, ( probably a Spicer 129 double plate) you can use a push or pull type clutch, finding the linkage would probably decide which. A number 2 housing for a full size roadranger will not be easy to find. There was a (Mini roadranger ) RTO /RT 610) 10 speed. Be pretty rare know but if you did find one it would work nicely with your 6.9

Elliot

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Re: Rockwell, Spicer, Eaton, Roadranger, Meritor, Fuller... commonality?
« Reply #8 on: March 20, 2017, 09:57:39 PM »
Thanks!  I'm copying all this info.
Most forums discussing the 5.9 are about the Dodge pickups.  But some of those guys are installing larger transmissions also. 

One source suggests that the 5.9, the 8.3, and the L10 all use the #2. 
The L10 isn't rare, is it?  At work, I never drove anything smaller than 12 liters.

And others mention that trucks like FL 70 and Ford 8000 series may have come with suitable transmissions. 

For a 10-speed, somebody used a Eaton Fuller RTO6610.

Another used a 6-speed -- Fuller FSO6406A.

So I keep learning.

Here is one thing I have not yet figured out:  Does the engine block itself have the SAE 2 bolt pattern? 
I'm seeing lots of mention of adapters.

My Allison MT643 is #2. 
But the AT545 is #3.  So... adapter there?

(It sure was easier to just hop in a new Volvo with ISX 500 and 13-speed and level those mountains right out.  ;-)  )

Elliot

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Re: Rockwell, Spicer, Eaton, Roadranger, Meritor, Fuller... commonality?
« Reply #9 on: April 22, 2017, 07:30:41 AM »
There are two transmissions for sale on a local Craigslist;

An RT910, serial number 80215214; and 11610, serial number 70253837.  (I assume he means RT11610.)  They come with bellhousings.

They came out of 1984 and 1985 Crown buses with 270 HP DD 6-71 under the floor, and thus have "side-loader shift cover", which is probably exactly what I want.  I'm guessing these are rare.  He's asking $300 each. 
I think my main question is... can these be converted to an overdrive gear set at sensible cost?
Thoughts otherwise?

Hank's Truck Forum

Re: Rockwell, Spicer, Eaton, Roadranger, Meritor, Fuller... commonality?
« Reply #9 on: April 22, 2017, 07:30:41 AM »

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