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Old 02-16-2017, 10:59 PM   #41
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Jan 2017
Location: Austin, TX
Posts: 36
Year: 2001
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: Saf-T-Liner MVP ER
Engine: CAT 3126b 210hp, MT643
Rated Cap: 84
Quote:
Originally Posted by M1031A1 View Post
That's my Baby Girl! The blow-by tube is on the passenger side IIRC. She's always had that even after the in-frame. All the injectors are new as of 127K miles, new head gaskets, heads re-maned, new timing chain, new etc. In frame was finished February '14. Took TWO months to get her done. WHAT a pain that was. Just before Christmas Break she decided to just not start at the elementary school AFTER the kids were on board. Had to wait for a spare bus. Shop got her in and started tearing her down. One of the injector tips blew open and she had hydrostatic lock. From then on I pampered her. Other drivers would floor their engines when it was cold, but I intentionally let Baby Girl warm up on her terms. Everyone else thought I was crazy until they found out I've been an A.S.E. certified mechanic. The radiator mounts and company were starting to fail in '13. I BEGGED the shop to replace them, to no avail. The blow-by is why you need to keep an eye on the oil after driving her for a day on the interstate. I'd run her from Katy to downtown Houston and back on school trips, knowing she'd need a quart before putting her to bed for the day. Those trips were about 80 miles or so. In addition she HATES to run wide open throttle. She's happiest about 2200 to 2300 r.p.m. M.P.G. should be about 9 or so at that range. SIGNIFICANT fuel drop-off above 2400 r.p.m.s, down to about 6 or so. Trust me I've done the math with her.

You'll also need to replace the plastic fan as well, the blades have ground into the shroud to beyond repair and impacted cooling abilities. I swapped the thermostat to a 170* opener to help with the problem. For her sake, keep the cooler thermostat. She'll run very cool in the summer. That should help you avoid any over-heating issues. The shroud is fiberglass, so easy fix.

Once those issues are properly repaired she'll run forever with good maintenance.

Oh, I last drove her in May '16.

I sure do miss her! Take care of my Baby Girl!

Oh yeah, one last thing, the bay doors are VERY fussy IF you don't know what you're doing. There's one door where the upper latch on the coach work has only ONE screw holding the latch on. Be VERY gentle with it until y'all get the rusted/broken screw out and replaced. IIRC it's on the passenger side rear door. It's been a while since I've seen her, but that issue is there on one of the latches. The passenger side front cargo door prefers to be closed with the front edge first and then flex the rest of the door before turning the handle. The passenger side rear cargo door is missing the parts from the handle to the back of the door. Y'all will need to find those parts. Chalk's Bus Parts, namely J.T. in parts, can help you with all this. He's a good guy to work with over there. He knows that bus almost as well as I do.

M

BTW, I have some parts for that bus lying here on my computer desk. There's a couple of stories behind these parts as well........
Who did the in-frame? CAT or Katy ISD? Did they change the pistons and piston rings? Yeah the fan is really chewed up. It will be replaced. Also, I am so happy you changed the thermostat. She stays around 170-180 which is perfect and the highest I've ever seen her reach is 195 on a big hill at full throttle.

It's funny you mention the cargo doors. I have them figured out now and I am going to get the parts to fix the rear passenger door. I also noticed to screw missing on the latch for that door.

I think it is so cool that you know our bus!
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Old 02-16-2017, 11:59 PM   #42
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Jan 2017
Location: Austin, TX
Posts: 36
Year: 2001
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: Saf-T-Liner MVP ER
Engine: CAT 3126b 210hp, MT643
Rated Cap: 84
Quote:
Originally Posted by spenceronehalf View Post
By the way, this is the best threaded conversation I've read on this site! Super interesting and just so cool.
Also check out http://www.skoolie.net/forums/f11/sm...-mvp-8781.html. He has a really nice thread with lots of info.
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Old 02-17-2017, 12:01 AM   #43
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Jan 2017
Location: Austin, TX
Posts: 36
Year: 2001
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: Saf-T-Liner MVP ER
Engine: CAT 3126b 210hp, MT643
Rated Cap: 84
Quote:
Originally Posted by b12lewis View Post
Curious, why Diesel over a gas engine? I recently bought a Bus from the Dallas ISD 1988 72 passenger it has a 366....I'm wondering if that's going to be strong enough in the long run. May go look at one that is a 1999 454 Gas ...thoughts?
I prefer a diesel, plus most of the buses now are diesels. Gas engines are getting rare in full sized school buses.
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Old 02-17-2017, 02:44 AM   #44
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Originally Posted by b12lewis View Post
Curious, why Diesel over a gas engine? I recently bought a Bus from the Dallas ISD 1988 72 passenger it has a 366....I'm wondering if that's going to be strong enough in the long run. May go look at one that is a 1999 454 Gas ...thoughts?
The 366 Tonawanda Truck high deck big block truck engine is probably one of the best engines that GM ever made. It has to be THE best gas engine put in GM buses.

The 454 car/light duty big block engine is probably one of the worst engines in anything large. Which is why it never showed up in a medium duty truck or bus chassis from the factory.

In my experience the 366 was a great compromise between economy and power. The 427 had a lot more go but used 20% more fuel to do the same job.

A 366 in a full size bus with an automatic is going to get 3-5 MPG. The 454 2-4 MPG.

As far as strong is concerned, if it is geared to a top speed of 55-60 MPH it will go that fast on the flat but it will slow down big time on any big hill. Redline in a bus is 4000 RPM's. Any faster and it will trash the automatic transmission. And if you know GM V-8's you know they like to rev high and really suck the gas up if you lug them down.
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Old 02-17-2017, 04:40 AM   #45
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Join Date: Dec 2014
Location: Katy, TX
Posts: 940
Year: 1989
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: Saf-T-Liner ER
Engine: 3208 CAT/MT643 tranny
Rated Cap: 87
Katy did the in-frame. If I'm not mistaken Henry was the lead mechanic on that job. He knows that engine well. And yes, pistons, rings, sleeves, et. al. were replaced. The only thing they didn't do was to print the block itself. They stripped EVERYTHING out of that engine and replaced it all with new parts. IIRC, Henry wasn't happy with the tensioner, but I can't remember why. Oh yeah, the crank was re-machined as well. Henry was concerned the hydrostatic lock bent it. Apparently I saved them that expense.

The steering wheel "steers" left IIRC, but that's an easy fix with the linkage below deck before the pitman arm. It was a personal peeve of mine I wanted to get done but never actually had the chance. Alignment was rechecked at the same time the new steers went on. She was perfect.

The steer tires were replaced at 139K miles, the drives will need changing soon. She'll handle the regular 11R22.5 tires. You'll pick up about 3 m.p.h. or so just by doing that. Katy always goes with low-pro tires because they have a contract that "saves" them money.

I'm trying to remember all the details Baby Girl has that was on my fix-it list..... If I could remember where the heck I left the list I'd be able to be of more help.......

Funny you should say I know the bus, I've actually slept in it a number of times doing over-night prom trips and whatnot. I made my bed over the engine with a military sleeping bag, three pillows, and a sheet I figure at least eight times in Baby Girl. She's got good insulation for when she was built. However, I'd replace that stock stuff with better insulation available on the market today.

One other note. The kids I drove on that bus are the reason why I'm going back to teaching. That bus has very special meaning in my life. The stories I can tell about all the different kids, their families, and what life has put them through and how they convinced me to renew my teaching license happened, for the most part, on that bus.

M
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Old 02-17-2017, 06:42 AM   #46
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Location: Brazoria County, Texas
Posts: 266
Year: 1997
Coachwork: Carpenter
Chassis: International
Engine: T444E
Rated Cap: 32 Passenger
Quote:
Originally Posted by M1031A1 View Post
Katy did the in-frame. If I'm not mistaken Henry was the lead mechanic on that job. He knows that engine well. And yes, pistons, rings, sleeves, et. al. were replaced. The only thing they didn't do was to print the block itself. They stripped EVERYTHING out of that engine and replaced it all with new parts. IIRC, Henry wasn't happy with the tensioner, but I can't remember why. Oh yeah, the crank was re-machined as well. Henry was concerned the hydrostatic lock bent it. Apparently I saved them that expense.

The steering wheel "steers" left IIRC, but that's an easy fix with the linkage below deck before the pitman arm. It was a personal peeve of mine I wanted to get done but never actually had the chance. Alignment was rechecked at the same time the new steers went on. She was perfect.

The steer tires were replaced at 139K miles, the drives will need changing soon. She'll handle the regular 11R22.5 tires. You'll pick up about 3 m.p.h. or so just by doing that. Katy always goes with low-pro tires because they have a contract that "saves" them money.

I'm trying to remember all the details Baby Girl has that was on my fix-it list..... If I could remember where the heck I left the list I'd be able to be of more help.......

Funny you should say I know the bus, I've actually slept in it a number of times doing over-night prom trips and whatnot. I made my bed over the engine with a military sleeping bag, three pillows, and a sheet I figure at least eight times in Baby Girl. She's got good insulation for when she was built. However, I'd replace that stock stuff with better insulation available on the market today.

One other note. The kids I drove on that bus are the reason why I'm going back to teaching. That bus has very special meaning in my life. The stories I can tell about all the different kids, their families, and what life has put them through and how they convinced me to renew my teaching license happened, for the most part, on that bus.

M
I am afraid M, you could spend a day, story telling on this forum. I think Tango has about the longest thread on here. I can see this becoming the second longest thread. I'm pretty sure a couple of us will pick your brain. I SEE A BOOK DEAL IN THE MAKING !! GREAT STORY TELLING
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Old 02-17-2017, 07:07 AM   #47
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Location: Moving thru America
Posts: 525
Year: 2003
Coachwork: Blue Bird
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Woods took over my route when I went, albeit for a short period of time, to Houston Metro. I CAN CONFIRM that's my baby y'all have.

Some details that will need addressing:

M
Holy crap, can I get one of your buses?
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Old 02-17-2017, 11:44 AM   #48
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Join Date: Dec 2014
Location: Katy, TX
Posts: 940
Year: 1989
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: Saf-T-Liner ER
Engine: 3208 CAT/MT643 tranny
Rated Cap: 87
Quote:
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Holy crap, can I get one of your buses?
I have an '88 Ford B600 30 footer mostly converted. She has A/C both 12volt and shore power, 6.6 diesel, 545 tranny, hydraulic brakes, 180K miles on odometer, rust free, has a shore power electrical panel, kitchen, dual kitchen sink, king size bed, microwave, chest of drawers, closet, small pantry, insulated floor carpeting (light tan color), tub/shower combo, folding power bench seat (folds into a queen bed), overhead storage in the front, CD player from my favorite Ford P71 Interceptor, oversized front door, power everything captain's chair which is super comfortable. The bench and captain's chair came from the same Ford conversion van. I have a hot water heater, second A/C unit, fresh water tank, and some other goodies included with her. She needs and oil change, tires and batteries. Make an offer Dred!
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Old 02-17-2017, 12:00 PM   #49
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Location: Moving thru America
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Quote:
She needs tires and batteries. Make an offer Dred!
Missed it by a few minutes?

http://www.skoolie.net/forums/f11/co...tml#post186233
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Old 02-17-2017, 12:15 PM   #50
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Location: Katy, TX
Posts: 940
Year: 1989
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: Saf-T-Liner ER
Engine: 3208 CAT/MT643 tranny
Rated Cap: 87
I guess you got it?
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