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Old 12-03-2010, 01:06 AM   #31
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Re: The Lucinda Lowdown

Smitty and Busbozo--the vaporizing transmission fluid is the mechanic's theory. They say they've found evidence of vapor leakage. I have no idea what the heck that might mean.

I don't think they're saying it's leaking *into* the radiator, but rather it's leaking because it's getting so hot because of the faulty radiator, so that the fluid is vaporizing.

This mechanic is the local Blue Bird dealer, they sold the bus and have serviced it for, literally, 30 years. Should I still get another opinion, and if so, how, given the bus is now not drivable (no radiator!)?

The radiator was taken out, brought to a radiator shop, and that shop said it could not be bored out and re-cored, the metal was too old and fatigued. Hence the new radiator idea. I am definitely interested in the old new radiator, and would thing about a salvage yard instead of a new one. I have heard they are expensive!

As for the engine and the black smoke, it's running like a top. Not rough, loud (well, beyond what the 555 is known for) or otherwise problematic. The transmission has also been performing well, and it's been taxed hard over long and steep grades on interstates and smaller state highways. Even with having to fill it regularly, it was shifting smoothly, and making no unusual noises.

oooh, the mystery. if it wasn't my wallet on the line (and my favorite vehicle) this would be way more fun. Thanks, guys!
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Old 12-03-2010, 05:45 PM   #32
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Re: The Lucinda Lowdown

I'm late to the party in this thread... Another Washington guy here... I'm south of Tacoma...

I talked to a lady at our local DMV and told her that Wa doesn't require a WSP inspection anymore and she told me to go get it emission tested and she'll do my paperwork...

I haven't made it down to do the testing yet, still have to finish up the lights...

If you guys don't mind me asking, what was your total for getting the title done???
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Old 12-03-2010, 07:05 PM   #33
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Re: The Lucinda Lowdown

I just did mine an hour ago and it cost me $533 (!!!) A "vehicle weight fee" of $155 seemed fishy to me...
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Old 12-20-2010, 07:09 PM   #34
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Re: The Lucinda Lowdown

Thanks, all. Other posts on this thread have been placed in the mechanical area for Cummins:
viewtopic.php?f=50&t=9332&p=68462#p68462


Still no answers, looking at $1200 for a recore, though the transmission cooler part wouldn't be included and I'm concerned that given the age it'll need work, too.

Thinking OEM old stock somewhere for this radiator? The front engine and cummins 555 don't leave much room for a radiator.

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Old 12-20-2010, 07:10 PM   #35
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Re: The Lucinda Lowdown

Quote:
Originally Posted by willem
I just did mine an hour ago and it cost me $533 (!!!) A "vehicle weight fee" of $155 seemed fishy to me...
yeah, I'm paying something like that, too. maybe a little less. tough to argue when i check my weight on the scales... she's a big girl.
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Old 12-21-2010, 05:45 AM   #36
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Re: The Lucinda Lowdown

Quote:
Originally Posted by dirtygoat
I'm late to the party in this thread... Another Washington guy here... I'm south of Tacoma...

I talked to a lady at our local DMV and told her that Wa doesn't require a WSP inspection anymore and she told me to go get it emission tested and she'll do my paperwork...

I haven't made it down to do the testing yet, still have to finish up the lights...

If you guys don't mind me asking, what was your total for getting the title done???
well in down in southeastern washington and i had it done back in 08 for i think it was $155 title, plates and tabs cause my skoolie was from montana i did it at the walla walla court house. got to love SMALL towns that you do NOT have to have smog tests!!!
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Old 12-21-2010, 06:14 PM   #37
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Re: The Lucinda Lowdown

Quote:
Originally Posted by jak
I believe the trans cooler is an external piece (kinda like a radiator that trans fluid goes through) and you should find out if that is the case,,,, if it is you can deal with it later they rarely go bad,,, if its internal and it fails it will put trans fluid into your cooling system and visa versa, coolant in your trany fluid can wreck your trans .....
I wish I had more knowledge of your specific bus so I could be more helpful
good luck
JAK
Thanks JAK, the t cooler in this case is internal to the radiator and doesn't seem to be failing now (no ATF in the coolant now). Their concern is that once they get in there to recore the radiator, they'll have to deal with the cooler, and the potential for it to be broken (perhaps in the process).

I'm wondering about finding the part number and ordering a new one, from a place like this:
http://radiatorgroup.com/bluebirdbusrad ... spx?page=2

But finding a suitable radiator for a 30 year old vehicle might be tough, especially if the mechanic can't find the part number. Of course, I have part numbers for all the body and interior equipment in catalogs, but not the engine. I'm thinking about buying an engine parts manual for the 555, but it's so old I don't know if it's worth the 30 bucks. Anyhow, I don't have parts numbers for the radiator/engine.

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Old 12-21-2010, 10:16 PM   #38
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Re: The Lucinda Lowdown

Branden: there are a couple of things I want to chime in on. First I have seen quite a few transmissions lately that puke out their fluid from overheating because the cooling system couldn't handle the extra heat from climbing a hill or pulling a trailer, it's not evaporating. Second I had my radiator re-cored for $850 and it's as big as a kitchen table. Also the cooler didn't need replacing and it's from 1976 but of course each job has to be judged separately so yours could be junk. If all you need is for your tubes to be cleaned up there are some acids you can put in there to take care of the mineral deposits. If it's been repaired a couple of times then it's probably wore out. You know BB can probably get you one if you call and ask, they priced me a new one for $1200. And lastly do you have a turbo on your motor? Low compression gives you lots of unburned fuel hence the black smoke. If you have a turbo then your boost may be low so get that checked too. Sportyrick
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Old 09-02-2012, 02:23 AM   #39
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Re: The Lucinda Lowdown

Hi all,
Branden with Lucinda (1981 bluebird All American, Cummins 555, Alison 545 (I think)) here, on the road home to Seattle from Burning Man. We've made it to Klamath Falls, Oregon and *may* be able to find a truck repair shop on Sunday. Here's the problem:

I'm losing power, and the engine feels like it is skipping, or missing, but I'm not sure that's actually what is happening. Given the dusty environs, I thought clogged air filter, but it's clean. I took off the filter anyhow to remove the air feed system as a potential problem.

I thought that maybe we'd gotten some bad diesel, but others at the same station seemed to not to have problems, but who knows if someone added other fuel from a gas can or something...though it seems unlikely.

I had about half a tank and filled up with fresh diesel a half mile after I removed the filter. That half mile with no filter was no better than when we pulled into Cedarville. On a road I'd normally be going 45-50 in Drive, I was having trouble maintaining 40 in 3rd. With the added fuel and sludge and fuel power treatment additives (as normal), we made it up the pass at 13 mph, usually it'd be about 15. We were in 1st and sputtering all the way up.

Once the demand on the engine diminished, I was able to stutter my way to 45, about the right speed for the roadway--and the sputtering feel is reduced with the less torquey higher gears.

We made it to Klamath like that. It's definitely better than 100 miles ago when we pulled in to Cedarville, but we still lose power dramatically on grades.

I'll put another 10 gallons in to dilute the potentially bad fuel, but I'm wondering what else this could be, and what I should do about it on the Sunday of labor day weekend.

There is no leaking at the fuel filter, and fuel taken from there seemed clean and without water.
The bus was serviced a month ago, all new filters.

Fuel pump? Injector? Can I limp back to Seattle or do I NEED to have this fixed now? With the slightly improved performance, does it sound like a bad fuel problem?

Any suggestions much appreciated, we are headed for bed now but will check back tomorrow. I can also be reached by cell: 206-718-five-seven-six-nine. I'm only slightly mechanical, and probably know just enough to be dangerous

Thanks, all.

Branden
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Old 09-02-2012, 12:16 PM   #40
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Re: The Lucinda Lowdown

It certainly sounds like a fuel supply problem given the fact that you said it worked better after removing the filter.
And, just because a service station said they had good fuel doesn't mean that they do. I only fill at stations that have high fuel volume sales.
One thing we have done with the Raco filters if we think we have a gummed up injector is to drain the filter and put a bottle of the cleaner in the fuel filter and refill it with diesel and run it through the engine... and do it more than once if necessary...
just my 2 cents.
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