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Old 01-02-2019, 05:37 PM   #1
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All these engines are swirling in my head now.

I am currently looking at a Bluebird all American with the Cat 3116 and Allison combo. All injectors have been replaced but the timing is a bit off on cylinder 5 so she smokes a little when at idle but perfectly fine on the highway. 59mph is her top speed which is going to be a problem for me. Does anyone have any insight on this engine? Should I spring for this one or wait for the bigger Thomas with the 3126 or cummins?
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Old 01-02-2019, 06:34 PM   #2
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Which transmission? They are nearly all Allison, but the model matters a lot. The 545 is generally agreed as the least desirable.

There are plenty of fish in the sea, so if you’ve just started looking don’t get carried away too fast.

That said, I sometimes wonder ‘what if’ about the first bus I test drove: an ‘02 Thomas pusher with a DT 466e, MD 3060, and air ride. I passed because the rear main seal was leaking bad enough to worry about.

I like my CAT 3126, MD 3060, and the leaf springs are nice and stable...but, that was a pretty nice bus I said ‘no’ to.

The other day I was getting diesel and happened to be across the pump from a pusher school bus fueling up for the day. We started talking drivetrain, and he said his last bus had a CAT and he never had any trouble with it. His current bus was the (his air quotes) “bulletproof DT 466e” and he said had given him trouble.

He didn’t elaborate further. Not sure the year, but this was recent and he said it was going to be retired soon, so maybe ‘02 thru ‘05 ish?

Who knows? All of this bus business is a gamble at some point, so do your homework, make your best guess and be ok with whatever the outcome is. Bumps are part of the ride, but they aren’t that big of a deal if you’re at peace with them before they come.
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Old 01-02-2019, 07:30 PM   #3
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every bus is some sort of gamble.. as the engines got newer things like using the incorrect coolant coulds damage it, or someone simply overheated it once and started the engine down the rabbit hole of a slow death .. some of that like over-heat events can be read from the engine computer.. but other things like poor maintenance cannot...



as far as david? I likely wouldve done what he did.. passed a bus with a major leak up for one that runs right... maybe not now since i know the insides and out of a lot of these engines.,. but before I did, definitely..



if you have a shop and have spent alot of time wrenching on various diesels over the years then you can probably score a deal by buying a bus with some defect (and is still driveable).. bring it home, fix it, and drive it.. otherwise its best to find something that at the time you drive it off is working properly to the best of your knowledge..
certain things are almost always going to cost lots of $$.. ie if you look at a bus and its throwing transmission limp codes or clutch slippage codes.. you know at that point its going to require a replace or rebuilt transmission.. not cheap with an allison 2000/3000 at any time..
-Christopher
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Old 01-02-2019, 07:45 PM   #4
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Timing does not go off on one cylinder. Keep looking.
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Old 01-02-2019, 07:49 PM   #5
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Timing does not go off on one cylinder. Keep looking.
That was something I thought maybe I hadn't learned about these diesels?
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Old 01-02-2019, 08:07 PM   #6
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That was something I thought maybe I hadn't learned about these diesels?

unless you have a HEUI engine (3126, 444E, 466E) with a Lazy injector.. then it will push the shot late and short... or sometimes sticks and causes a long shot which makes smoke.. but a 3116 is mechanical... probably just worn out..
-Christopher
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Old 01-02-2019, 08:53 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Desmondgibbs View Post
I am currently looking at a Bluebird all American with the Cat 3116 and Allison combo. All injectors have been replaced but the timing is a bit off on cylinder 5 so she smokes a little when at idle but perfectly fine on the highway. 59mph is her top speed which is going to be a problem for me. Does anyone have any insight on this engine? Should I spring for this one or wait for the bigger Thomas with the 3126 or cummins?
I have a Cat 3126 and I like it.
I'd hold off on a 3116 that isn't running perfectly though. The injectors are a total PITA I've been told.
But you didn't mention price. If the bus is totally cherry and yet totally cheap it could be worth it. I'd pass though.
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Old 01-02-2019, 08:55 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by david.dgeorge07 View Post
Which transmission? They are nearly all Allison, but the model matters a lot. The 545 is generally agreed as the least desirable.

There are plenty of fish in the sea, so if you’ve just started looking don’t get carried away too fast.

That said, I sometimes wonder ‘what if’ about the first bus I test drove: an ‘02 Thomas pusher with a DT 466e, MD 3060, and air ride. I passed because the rear main seal was leaking bad enough to worry about.

I like my CAT 3126, MD 3060, and the leaf springs are nice and stable...but, that was a pretty nice bus I said ‘no’ to.

The other day I was getting diesel and happened to be across the pump from a pusher school bus fueling up for the day. We started talking drivetrain, and he said his last bus had a CAT and he never had any trouble with it. His current bus was the (his air quotes) “bulletproof DT 466e” and he said had given him trouble.

He didn’t elaborate further. Not sure the year, but this was recent and he said it was going to be retired soon, so maybe ‘02 thru ‘05 ish?

Who knows? All of this bus business is a gamble at some point, so do your homework, make your best guess and be ok with whatever the outcome is. Bumps are part of the ride, but they aren’t that big of a deal if you’re at peace with them before they come.
I went to "the dark side" and bought a Cat because I can't afford to fix Navistar's crappy design and manufacturing.
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Old 01-02-2019, 11:48 PM   #9
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how can...

How is the timing off on only one cylinder? More smoke sounds more like an injector problem.... leaking injector. The last engine I had with a leaking injector-leaking into the cylinder.... burned that piston.

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Old 01-03-2019, 08:00 AM   #10
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How is the timing off on only one cylinder? More smoke sounds more like an injector problem.... leaking injector. The last engine I had with a leaking injector-leaking into the cylinder.... burned that piston.

william

its easy to burn a piston or dilute the oil to the point all your bearings are toast with a rogue injector
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Old 01-04-2019, 02:08 PM   #11
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I went to "the dark side" and bought a Cat because I can't afford to fix Navistar's crappy design and manufacturing.
Wait till the cat breaks
You can reman a 466 for a fraction
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Old 01-04-2019, 02:12 PM   #12
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Wait till the cat breaks
You can reman a 466 for a fraction
As long as you're not replacing expensive water pump covers.
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Old 01-04-2019, 02:15 PM   #13
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Wait till the cat breaks
You can reman a 466 for a fraction
I've been trying to find out what the general cost is to reman a CAT, but prices are a bit wild. Any guestimate you could give me?

I don't have a CAT, going with a 466e most likely, but trying to figure out overall cost of repairs and getting stuck on the darn cat.
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Old 01-04-2019, 02:45 PM   #14
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Wait till the cat breaks
You can reman a 466 for a fraction
The Cat is built better from the get-go.
I was pretty loyal to navistar till my 2003 DT466E had problems. The coolant ate the timing cover from the inside causing thousands in damage. The liners are most likely on their way to death too. I compared the price to fix this on a Cat and its cheaper, fwiw.
Navistar's parts cost as much or MORE than Cat. Check and see.
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Old 01-04-2019, 03:19 PM   #15
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I'm not sure a 466e is the choice I'd make for trouble free motoring. Gene
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Old 01-04-2019, 03:22 PM   #16
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Wait till the cat breaks
You can reman a 466 for a fraction
I disagree a CAT in most cases is a few percentage points higher at most a couple of hundred $$. Gene
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Old 01-04-2019, 03:49 PM   #17
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plus, correct me if im wrong, the 3126 is not a wet-sleeve engine? so if and when you wear it out its just done? well or rather its a pull and send to a machine shop rebuild..


I think the 3126 is a great motor.. I also have a feeling that more than 75% of the skoolies out there if the really "blew up" their engine would proibably just scrap the bus rather than spend the 10-15k plus to have a shop rebuild or replace one?



so that the CAT vs 466E discussion is more or less moot ?



obviopusly those with mechanical abilities, connections to mechanics, lots of money, and such are not the ones im thinking of.. but instead, the average skoolie buyer here..



there are obvious engines we have talked of that have blatant issues unless you have the abilities to fix them.. the DT-466E and CAT-3126 are not those engines.. grabted, there were some 466E's that exhibited timing cover issues in the later years, but dont confuse those engines from 2004+ with the many model years of previous 466E's which were damn bulletproof unless you foolishly ran the temp gauge off the dash..



and ultimately the repair of the timing cover on a broken 466E is only 8k+ if you replace both the inner and the outer.. and in 99% of the cases the outer cover is the only one actually damaged.. replascing it and installing the proper coolant and maintaining it will likely outlast most uses the average skoolie puts into the bus..



the inner / outer replacement TSB is obviously the High-usage last a lifetime repair to make.. and if i were in-framing a 2004 466E I'd change both since the ewngine is in pieces anyway..



in EC's case to me it sounds like ill-maintained improper coolant was used by the school in the first place.. which would account for the ruined timing cover and seemingly leaking liner seals too...



-Christopher
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Old 01-04-2019, 03:55 PM   #18
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plus, correct me if im wrong, the 3126 is not a wet-sleeve engine? so if and when you wear it out its just done? well or rather its a pull and send to a machine shop rebuild..


I think the 3126 is a great motor.. I also have a feeling that more than 75% of the skoolies out there if the really "blew up" their engine would proibably just scrap the bus rather than spend the 10-15k plus to have a shop rebuild or replace one?



so that the CAT vs 466E discussion is more or less moot ?



obviopusly those with mechanical abilities, connections to mechanics, lots of money, and such are not the ones im thinking of.. but instead, the average skoolie buyer here..



there are obvious engines we have talked of that have blatant issues unless you have the abilities to fix them.. the DT-466E and CAT-3126 are not those engines.. grabted, there were some 466E's that exhibited timing cover issues in the later years, but dont confuse those engines from 2004+ with the many model years of previous 466E's which were damn bulletproof unless you foolishly ran the temp gauge off the dash..



and ultimately the repair of the timing cover on a broken 466E is only 8k+ if you replace both the inner and the outer.. and in 99% of the cases the outer cover is the only one actually damaged.. replascing it and installing the proper coolant and maintaining it will likely outlast most uses the average skoolie puts into the bus..



the inner / outer replacement TSB is obviously the High-usage last a lifetime repair to make.. and if i were in-framing a 2004 466E I'd change both since the ewngine is in pieces anyway..



in EC's case to me it sounds like ill-maintained improper coolant was used by the school in the first place.. which would account for the ruined timing cover and seemingly leaking liner seals too...



-Christopher
Aye, mate. You're correct. The 3126 isn't a wet sleeve.
But good running used takouts are fairly cheap and definitely plentiful.
Speaking of that... If I manage to sell this house and make enough dough I'll likely keep the IC shorty too. I really want to swap that engine! The whole rest of the bus is nice.
IDK. We'll see how the year goes.
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Old 01-04-2019, 07:54 PM   #19
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Aye, mate. You're correct. The 3126 isn't a wet sleeve.
But good running used takouts are fairly cheap and definitely plentiful.
Speaking of that... If I manage to sell this house and make enough dough I'll likely keep the IC shorty too. I really want to swap that engine! The whole rest of the bus is nice.
IDK. We'll see how the year goes.



with as good a shape as your CAT is in, chances are by the time you wear it out you would wanrt a different bus anyway
-Christopher
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Old 01-04-2019, 11:58 PM   #20
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with as good a shape as your CAT is in, chances are by the time you wear it out you would wanrt a different bus anyway
-Christopher
Definitely. Its got LOTS of miles left in it. Barely broke in!
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