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Old 10-29-2015, 08:45 PM   #1
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Test Drive Adventure, need advice HR Ambass 36PST

Hi all,

Sorry to come in hot needing help on a first post but I guess that's this happens sometimes.

We having been working towards the purchase of a 2002 Ambassador 36PST (Cummins 300HP 6BT) for about 3 months

The unit had a leaking head gasket which the dealer finally fixed so I took it about 60 miles down the road to Cummins today to have the engine checked out.

It threw the "code of death" for the injector pump (maxed out at 250 instances in the last 120 hours) but otherwise checked out ok. I plan on requiring the dealer to have this replaced prior to delivery.

BUT.... then this happened.

I thought on the way to Cummins that the unit was struggling on the hills. I don't know the grade but I do know that the level bubble was all the way to the front. The unit lost speed and I ended up with it on the floor. It didn't seem to gear down like I would think it would and then it would surge, miss - something and the warning light would flash once each time. It did this on about every steep hill. Speed would go from 65 approaching to 45 ish at the top (depending on grade / length) - all climbs about a mile say.

Temp was about 200, oil pressure around 60, RPMS about 2000, full boost. A/C was off. RPMs also went down as I climbed.

I tried to downshift using the buttons (Allison 6 speed) but didn't seem to react as I expected so I stopped.

Is this typical behavior? I mean surely the warning light isn't, but is the power where it should be? I know it's hard to say without knowing the grade. I have video if I can post it.

Thanks in advance!
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Old 10-29-2015, 08:49 PM   #2
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I'll add, I tried the transmission in both economy and regular modes...
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Old 10-29-2015, 08:50 PM   #3
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Power could be down due to the injector pump problem. Get it fixed, then test it again.
That's not a lot of engine too, but it should be adequate if you don't mind slowing down going up the hills. Our ISC 350/1050 with Banks (435/1200 then) would slow down on grades too.
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Old 10-30-2015, 08:55 PM   #4
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Allison transmissions will not downshift unless the TCM knows the increased RPM will not exceed the engine limit, regardless of what you do. The Allison TCM and diesel engine ECM "talk" communicate to prevent either the engine or transmission from exceeding the others limits. I know my ISC diesel engine will fall from 2,000 RPM to around 1,700 RPM(A/T in normal mode) before the transmission will downshift, again, this is to prevent over-revving the engine upon downshift completion.
The "surging and missing" was likely caused by the faulty injection pump. When the A/T is in economy mode RPM's will fall even further before allowing a downshift.
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Old 10-30-2015, 09:10 PM   #5
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With just the problems you encountered during the test drives, there would be no way in heck that I'd ever purchase that unit.
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Old 10-31-2015, 02:11 AM   #6
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I agree with the previous poster

If a dealer will show the unit in that condition I would not buy that unit or from that dealer.
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