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Old 06-27-2017, 10:43 AM   #1
bigskypc50's Avatar
Join Date: Dec 2016
Location: Anaconda,MT
Posts: 204
Year: 1995
Coachwork: Amtran
Chassis: International
Engine: DT466 Turbo
Rated Cap: 90
Has your bus every broken down?

Thought this might be a helpful thread for everyone and helps folks prep for the most common road side problems, and what to carry with them.

If your bus has every broken down, please give the details below. What the problem was, and what type of fix it was and the parts involved.

Also do you carry any spare bus parts on board, if you do provide details as to what and why.
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Old 06-27-2017, 11:22 AM   #2
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Join Date: Dec 2016
Location: St Petersburg, FL
Posts: 2,286
Year: 1997
Coachwork: Bluebird
Chassis: TC2000 FE
Engine: Cummins 5.9
Rated Cap: 72
I blew out both tires on one side on the back when beginning our first trip. Took several calls but I found a tire shop with roadside services that was able to handle the job.

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Old 06-27-2017, 11:22 AM   #3
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Join Date: Oct 2015
Location: Spring Valley AZ
Posts: 1,159
Year: 2000
Coachwork: Bluebird
Engine: 5.9 Cummins
Rated Cap: 2 elderly children, 1 cat
Last year our radiator blew it's top during a 1200 mile trip. I found the crack and sanded it rough and patched with 2 part epoxy. The repair held but we kept losing coolant from the area which was on the top tank. We finished the trip. The coolant would never get much lower than the leak so it never overheated.
Permanent repair= new rad. The old was really coming apart and not to be saved.
Don, Mary and Spooky the cat.
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Old 06-27-2017, 11:24 AM   #4
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: North of Detroit, MI
Posts: 56
Year: 1986
Coachwork: Bluebird
Engine: 8.2 Detroit Deisel
Rated Cap: 6 carbon units 1 drag car
I have broke 3 times.

First was an easy but expensive fix, 1 air line went away. I had 2 installed. $200 in labor, $50 to open store after it had closed, even through there was a 24hr on call number and 2 $18 lines.

Second was the fuel solenoid. Crapped out on my way home. Once cooled it worked. Bought one for $200, $250 for faster freight and it crapped out on first use. Rebuilt original and it works mostly.

Third was the alternator, that was a simple rebuild of it by a local shop, cost about $150.

I will be replacing all rubber hoses and carrying 1 or 2 spares. I carry the bought solenoid as it will be good for one start then needs to completely cool. I will be getting another spare just incase once funds are available. last I have no spares but carry a battery charger, extension cord and usually a generator.

Hope this helps some others.
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Old 06-27-2017, 11:27 AM   #5
Bus Crazy
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Winlcok, WA
Posts: 2,119
Over the years I have had all sorts of stuff come apart while going down the road.

It doesn't really matter how well you do preventative maintenance, how intensive your pre-trip might be, or the age of your equipment. If you drive enough miles you will have a problem somewhere along the way.

The last repair I had to make on the side of the road was a result of the rubber in one of the hoses finally stretching/sagging enough that the radiator cooling fan nicked the hose. A lot of duct tape and at least four gallons of mixed coolant later I was able to get the bus going to a location where it was safe and convenient to permanently fix the problem.

If you have no home base the list of spares to carry around is going to be different from the spares necessary with home base a relatively short distance away.

Stuff I would not leave home without:
  • I would always carry extra engine oil, ATF, and mixed coolant. The amount would be dictated by how much dribbling and drooling the engine, transmission, and radiator do when everything is working correctly. At a minimum I would say at least a gallon of each.
  • Duct tape is a must for any toolbox to keep from moving something that isn't supposed to move.
  • WE-40 is another must to make stuff move that won't.
  • Zip ties are one of the world's handiest inventions. They keep things from moving permanently.
  • When you change out any drive/'V' belts put the olds ones into your spares.
  • Replacement filters, particularly extra fuel filters, are a good idea. It is a particularly good idea if any of your filters are an oddball size and not normally stocked in most stores.
  • If you haven't updated to LED's carry extra bulbs for clearance lights, turn signals, brake lights, and tail lights.
  • If your bus has any fuses carry extra ones.
  • If you upgraded the turn signal flasher(s) keep the old ones, just in case.
  • Don't throw away any coolant hoses. The heater hoses when split make great protection to put around other hoses or wiring looms to keep things from rubbing. Radiator hoses when split can be used to seal up a leak duct tape won't seal up temporarily.
In regards to any hard parts I would hesitate suggesting any sort of shopping list. You could end up with so many spares there wouldn't be any room for living in your bus.

The best way in which to reduce your time spent by the side of the road with the hood up is to keep up on the Preventative Maintenance and do a good job of your pre-trip and post-trip inspections.

Good luck and happy trails to you!
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Old 06-27-2017, 11:34 AM   #6
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Join Date: Sep 2013
Location: Vacaville, Ca
Posts: 1,623
Year: 1988
Coachwork: Crown / Pusher
Engine: 8.3 Cummins
Carry a raw potato, If you get a leak in the cooling fins of your radiator shove the potato in there & the heat will make it swell & seal to get you to civilization, By no means is it meant to be a permeant repair.
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Old 06-27-2017, 11:37 AM   #7
Bus Geek
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Columbus Ohio
Posts: 11,359
Year: 1991
Coachwork: Carpenter
Chassis: International 3800
Engine: DTA360 / MT643
Rated Cap: 7 Row Handicap
TOOLS!!!! carry TOOLS!!

on my maiden voyage home with the carpenter I blew the air brakes compressor.. used a Truck-down service wit ha CLUELESS repair guy... if id have had tools with me i couldve limited my downtime from 3 days to overnight!

I carry coolant, oil, tranny fluid, water, duct tape, extra set of belts, A/C freon, tie wraps, tire inflation tools, wire, MONEY.. .. beyond that I dont carry many parts.. its hard to tell what will break when... I do keep my ipad and phone charged.. is a mobile resources for monbile repairs..
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Old 06-27-2017, 12:16 PM   #8
Bus Crazy
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Join Date: Dec 2016
Location: St Petersburg, FL
Posts: 2,286
Year: 1997
Coachwork: Bluebird
Chassis: TC2000 FE
Engine: Cummins 5.9
Rated Cap: 72
I have roughly the tools I would need to do jobs I'm capable of doing in the field....
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Old 06-27-2017, 01:32 PM   #9
Bus Crazy
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Join Date: Apr 2013
Location: Colorado
Posts: 1,594
Year: 1993
Coachwork: bluebird
Engine: 5.9 Cummins, Allison AT1545
Rated Cap: 2
i've had a few problems and this is what i carry:
2 tool boxes
a generator
a water tank with hose
electric cords
battery charger

most common problem are batteries issues for me. dead, dying alternator, and in need of power and a charge.

overheating, i felt smart having a water tank and hose to cool down on the side of the road.
Turfmobile Build Thread
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Old 06-27-2017, 01:34 PM   #10
Bus Nut
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Join Date: Jul 2016
Location: Central Florida
Posts: 881
Chassis: GMC or Chevrolet, I hope
Engine: gasser probably
thank you for this thread.
Really motivating me to buy something brand new with every possible guaranty and insurance.
the more i learn, the less I know what to buy . . .
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