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Old 11-14-2013, 12:01 PM   #1
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checking engine before you buy a bus

When you were going to buy a bus, who came with you to check if the engine was mechanically sound?
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Old 11-14-2013, 02:45 PM   #2
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Re: checking engine before you buy a bus

I was lucky, I bought my bus from the school distric. I walked through all 14 with the matenance manager and looked over the records. They even gave me a paper copy back six monthes. he was very staright forward on which ones he would stay away from and the ones he thought would keep on running. I picked one of two he said he would buy.
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Old 11-14-2013, 04:42 PM   #3
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Re: checking engine before you buy a bus

I looked at oil spread thin on a pc of white paper (looking for shiny particles), smelled the oil for traces of excessive fuel blow by etc...looked at and smelled the coolant [it was bright clean and didn't smell like a "burnt rag" (could indicate head issues)]

looked at the exhaust mounts top/bottom were the exhaust bolted to head (on 5.9's traces of coolant indicate bad things) I actually saw coolant on one of the other buses I looked at

Make sure engine is cold when you look at it

at start up look at exhaust for smoke (I knew I should see a very, very small grey wisp at the most

oil pressure came right up and was steady, after driving I rechecked oil level and smell etc

I also noted oil pressure while hot at idle(it wasn't low)

other than paying a shop to dig deeper or doing your own compression check, not much more you can do

smell exhaust looking for a sweet burnt rag smell, too see if coolant is being burned (DO NOT breathe in a lot from close...a few feet away at standing ht should be fine)
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Old 11-14-2013, 06:26 PM   #4
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Re: checking engine before you buy a bus

I'm my own mechanic. Oil sample is the first thing I do. Thats the best way to learn whats going on with the engine.
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Old 11-14-2013, 07:09 PM   #5
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Re: checking engine before you buy a bus

We went the luck route.... Checked a few basic items like you would a car and rolled the dice. 10k miles later and she's still purring. No thanks to me though, just dumb luck.

And school district maintance records, that helped shed a little light into the situation. The bus had a PM done a few hundred miles before we bought it.

I should probably do an oil sample like opus mentioned.
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Old 11-14-2013, 07:35 PM   #6
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Re: checking engine before you buy a bus

Quote:
Originally Posted by syke

I should probably do an oil sample like opus mentioned.
$25 for great piece of mind. http://www.blackstone-labs.com/free-test-kits.php
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Old 11-14-2013, 07:55 PM   #7
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Re: checking engine before you buy a bus

Quote:
Originally Posted by opus
Quote:
Originally Posted by syke

I should probably do an oil sample like opus mentioned.
$25 for great piece of mind. http://www.blackstone-labs.com/free-test-kits.php
Or an addiction to tums if it comes back "sketchy"
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Old 11-14-2013, 08:03 PM   #8
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Re: checking engine before you buy a bus

Exactly! At least it wouldnt be on the side of the road at someone elses mercy.
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Old 11-15-2013, 01:26 AM   #9
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Re: checking engine before you buy a bus

Quote:
Originally Posted by syke
We went the luck route.... Checked a few basic items like you would a car and rolled the dice. 10k miles later and she's still purring. No thanks to me though, just dumb luck.
Ditto here for the most part. The guy we bought her from manages a bus depot and offered to take it to a 3rd party mechanic for a 38 point inspection and fluids top off in prep of driving it back to NC. He also gave us the info for a couple other bus places he worked at (one in tx, one in louisiana - they buy and transport buses all over the country), so if we broke down anywhere he'd either rescue us himself or send someone to get our sorry asses. I figured with that plus coach-net, we'd be alright.

He wasn't lying either, when I called him from bakersfield with a flat, he called me right back with a phone number of someone that worked at a local school district that might have a tire or be able to change the free spare he gave us (we didn't need it, happened to pull off the highway right by a truck stop that changed it for $20).

We had also looked up what to look for when buying a diesel, and after some fantastic info from LuckyChow we were pretty confident it was a good motor.

We got lucky!
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Old 11-16-2013, 03:39 PM   #10
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Re: checking engine before you buy a bus

So, if I get the oil checked and there is either metal in it, fuel in it, or even coolant if some other substance in it, are those things pricey to get fixed?

This bus is an ex school district bus, but it got sent to some sort of used truck dealership and the guy is now selling it from his house. It sounds nice because it was a district bus, but I don't know the history between leaving the district and ending up at the dealership.
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