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Old 03-17-2013, 03:13 AM   #1
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Do your own repairs?

Who here does their own repairs, or at least some of their own repairs? I am interested in learning how to fix stuff that will go wrong with the bus and diesel engine. I am considering taking some diesel mechanic courses at my local community college to learn this stuff, but I feel getting an actual degree or certificate would be overkill since I don't plan to make a full time career out of fixing diesel engines. I just want to know enough to fix anything that can go wrong with my own bus. How many courses would I need to take to obtain this information, or would getting the entire certificate not be a bad idea?
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Old 03-17-2013, 08:01 AM   #2
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Re: Do your own repairs?

I do pretty much all of my own repairs for a couple of reasons.
A. I usually can't afford to pay someone else to do it.
B. I usually don't like the WAY someone else does it.

I grew up in a family where we pretty much did everything for ourselves. My son seems to be following in the family tradition.
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Old 03-17-2013, 10:40 AM   #3
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Re: Do your own repairs?

I think its a great thing you want to take on this project. As said diesel repair is EXPENSIVE so you can save your self a lot of money. I have a pretty good back ground in mechanical things but some of the more modern things that go over my head and I leave them to the experts. Example.... My 2006 duramax needed head gaskets....too many parts too many things I could do wrong so ..... 4200.00 later it was done.

You have to keep in mind that on bus.... car...or anything else there are always things to do or be done. You may want to invest that time in trying to find a mentor or somewhere that you can help. Since I am going through a program ( in HVAC) that can be for certification or a degree so they can be very long and drawn out. So that is why I suggested you find someone that works on them and see if they might be willing to help you work on your stuff and point out what to do and even better... not to do. I have done this very thing with my local bus barn. There is a guy who use to work on buses back in the early 80s so he said he will help me out for a nice exchange of beer and bbq if I get stuck with something I cant figure out.

Just food for thought. Good luck
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Old 03-17-2013, 11:12 PM   #4
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Re: Do your own repairs?

How mechanically inclined are you? Do you have the tools to do the job?

I do all my own scheduled maintenance as well as stuff like brakes, but mine is also on a ford truck chassis which makes repair parts and info much easier to come by. I learned about my drive train for free on Internet forums.

Diesels are hardy beasts but may need specific oils and coolants. My Ford Powerstroke diesel uses engine oil to fire the injectors so it likes fresh oil with anti-foam additives. It also needs specific additives in the coolant to keep the cylinders from springing tiny leaks. None of this is any harder than working on the family car but you just have to be aware of the quirks of your particular engine.

Most diesel maintenance is the same as any vehicle; you change the oil, check the belts and filters, flush and re-fill the coolant and tranny once in a blue moon. All your fluid capacities will be about 3 times what a car engine takes, but if you take care of them they'll run just about forever. On one of the Powerstroke forums a guy was soon going to reach a million miles on his engine without a rebuild.

A lot depends on how easy a given engine can be accessed. Dog nose buses seem to have the easiest access while the van-based buses (like mine) sadly are shoe horned in tighter than a tick.

It all comes down to your skills, how common your engine is and how easy it is to get at.
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Old 03-19-2013, 10:46 PM   #5
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Re: Do your own repairs?

I do all my own work, the only time I let some one else is if Im to busy, or dont have the right tools,
my bus build viewtopic.php?f=9&t=5931
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Old 03-20-2013, 11:35 AM   #6
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Re: Do your own repairs?

i do all my owen work on the bus,,,plumeing ,elec, driveline ,eng repairs,,i even do my owen brakes on the bus....jack of all trades,,and master of none. its fun to be old.....
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Old 03-20-2013, 01:44 PM   #7
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Re: Do your own repairs?

So far, knock on wood, no problems with the engine and it is 37 years old and at 318, 000 miles. But I do all the oil changes, filters, lube ect. It's a B-word getting under it to do an oil change, but I like getting dirty
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Old 03-20-2013, 03:32 PM   #8
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Re: Do your own repairs?

I do all my own unless is comes to brakes or something physically. Then I bring to a friend that has all the right tools and we do it there. Did have the front end checked by a shop the other day though.
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