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Old 06-27-2017, 11:43 AM   #1
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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, 12:22 PM   #2
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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, 12:22 PM   #3
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Every?
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.
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Old 06-27-2017, 12:24 PM   #4
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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, 12:27 PM   #5
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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, 12:34 PM   #6
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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, 12:37 PM   #7
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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.. truckdown.com is a mobile resources for monbile repairs..
-Christopher
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Old 06-27-2017, 01:16 PM   #8
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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, 02:32 PM   #9
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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.
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Old 06-27-2017, 02:34 PM   #10
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thank you for this thread.
Really motivating me to buy something brand new with every possible guaranty and insurance.
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Old 06-27-2017, 02:59 PM   #11
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Soon after buying my bus, I had a high-pressure hydraulic hose split and jet hydraulic oil onto the exhaust pipe. Smoke everywhere, but fortunately no fire. A "22-hour emergency repair service" (I wonder what he does for the other two hours) made a temporary repair that lasted only 20 miles before it burst again, so I hose-clamped the heck out of it myself and got home. I replaced both high-pressure hoses, and a lot more other hoses that looked or felt questionable.

This last January after completely replacing my entire cooling system I had the brand-new custom-made hydraulic radiator fan motor split after only six miles. The same results as before - smoke everywhere as oil drenched everything in the engine room. I had a tow back to the storage yard because the bus wasn't drivable with no cooling and no power steering. No fun. Thank goodness for Good Sam emergency roadside service - the tow didn't cost me a penny.

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Old 06-27-2017, 06:37 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oricha1984 View Post
thank you for this thread.
Really motivating me to buy something brand new with every possible guaranty and insurance.

like I mentioned, theres definitely something to be said for new.. I always have new primary vehicles.. though I cant say they are always trouble free.. granted I have had a LOT of new vehicles.. but some of the issues ive had.

1. 2000 Silverado - 5 months old - EFI rail cranked - BOOM! - GM replaced it
2. 2008 Jeep Wrangler - numerous electrical issues - Lemon Lawed in first 8 months
3. 2012 Honda Civic - A/C issues, infotainment replaced 3 times, power eindow motor.. - sold it after 10 months
4. 2013 chevy volt - had for 2 years, took to dealer for recall.. the ruined the computers twice.. replaced the battery.. never was right after..
4. 2015 Silverado - PCM reflashed 3X in first week.. A/C freon leaked out first day.. been fine ever since..

-Christopher
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Old 06-27-2017, 06:46 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cadillackid View Post
like I mentioned, theres definitely something to be said for new.. I always have new primary vehicles.. though I cant say they are always trouble free.. granted I have had a LOT of new vehicles.. but some of the issues ive had.

1. 2000 Silverado - 5 months old - EFI rail cranked - BOOM! - GM replaced it
2. 2008 Jeep Wrangler - numerous electrical issues - Lemon Lawed in first 8 months
3. 2012 Honda Civic - A/C issues, infotainment replaced 3 times, power eindow motor.. - sold it after 10 months
4. 2013 chevy volt - had for 2 years, took to dealer for recall.. the ruined the computers twice.. replaced the battery.. never was right after..
4. 2015 Silverado - PCM reflashed 3X in first week.. A/C freon leaked out first day.. been fine ever since..

-Christopher
thats bad luck with your new vehicles, i guess.
Both of my new vehicles (nissan frontier & honda fit) had 0 problems to this day.
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Old 06-27-2017, 06:49 PM   #14
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Yeah - it is a gamble either way -
1993 Ford Ranger - 3 Master Cylinder replacements in first 3 months - Lemon.
2012 Subaru Outback - blown engine 6 months in - 7,000 miles...
1979 Honda Civic Wagon - 280,000 miles (I put on 120,000 miles and nothing but oil changes and new tires)...

Good Sam has a good road side assistance deal going - worth it.


Quote:
Originally Posted by cadillackid View Post
like I mentioned, theres definitely something to be said for new.. I always have new primary vehicles.. though I cant say they are always trouble free.. granted I have had a LOT of new vehicles.. but some of the issues ive had.

1. 2000 Silverado - 5 months old - EFI rail cranked - BOOM! - GM replaced it
2. 2008 Jeep Wrangler - numerous electrical issues - Lemon Lawed in first 8 months
3. 2012 Honda Civic - A/C issues, infotainment replaced 3 times, power eindow motor.. - sold it after 10 months
4. 2013 chevy volt - had for 2 years, took to dealer for recall.. the ruined the computers twice.. replaced the battery.. never was right after..
4. 2015 Silverado - PCM reflashed 3X in first week.. A/C freon leaked out first day.. been fine ever since..

-Christopher
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Old 06-27-2017, 07:36 PM   #15
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I bought my bus from my local school district although underpowered for my wants. I have passed every FULL DOT inspection since the day I bought it 6-years ago but it is time for tires not cause mine are wore out but because during my long conversion time they are starting to show there age. Weather cracking on the sidewalks is why the RV'ers cover them. And trust me I have looked. That's 1800$ to put new sneakers (6)on and I want bigger that goes to 1950$ just for tires. No break downs yet. But I have a special bin for everything I replace and several special boxes (in the back door for now ) for tools
My 17-year son is driving a 77 f-150 that we put on the road last month and guess what he has? A box of old belts,brake pad parts, fuel line tubing and anything salvaged that we/he replaced to put it on the road plus for now my toolbox.
My 16 yr. gets his license soon and wants a jeep?????
I hate anything jeep but I found one with a Chevy 350 in it that needs to be finished.
If that's what he wants then he's going to finish it (tuned down of course) ?
Imagine what his parts box will look like?
Sorry? Back to bus business which I ain't getting with teen age boys getting ready to run.
A box full of old belts or hoses or an old pulley that just started rattling stored in the underbelly or wherever can/will be a money/timesaver until you can get to solid/happy grounds?
There are many versions of a tool box and many can complain about mine but they are specific to the vehicle they are in and you will only find what you want in there if you know what you want out of there?
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Old 06-28-2017, 06:56 PM   #16
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Engine: DT466e
The first day I bought it my bus broke down. I had a 2 hour trip and broke at 1 hour 30 minutes in. The engine started loosing noticeable power, the dash started resetting on and off, it sputtered and crawled to a stop after a few miles but thankfully we got to the exit first. We opened up the battery tray and started sanding the wire contacts since they were really ugly looking, since the bus sat for almost a year. Powered right back up. Was scary, very scary. I put a battery tender on it too, took 4 days to recharge it!

Lesson learned, batteries are super important.
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Old 06-28-2017, 11:24 PM   #17
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We had a serpentine belt tensioner wheel seize then break off one sunday afternoon but with the help of a passing mechanic were able to fix it and go on our way in under an hour.

Two weeks ago we had a camshaft sensor go bad on the Powerstroke diesel but were able to limp home.

I carry tools, fluids, duct tape and the spare parts that often fail and that I'd be reasonably able to replace on the road. I'm slowly working on replacing or rebuilding all the stuff that normally fails on a 100,000 mile plus engine (hoses, fuel lines, o-rings, bearings etc.)

We have Good Sam towing but (knock on wood) have only had to use it for our cars so far.
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Old 06-29-2017, 05:49 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by oricha1984 View Post
thank you for this thread.
Really motivating me to buy something brand new with every possible guaranty and insurance.
You can buy ten used vehicles for the price of one new one. A base model chevy van with no options STARTS at 31 grand. That would buy you any used van or bus you want, a new engine, a new transmission, a new paint job, gas for several years, and a trip around the world.
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Old 06-29-2017, 05:51 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dog Rescuer View Post
Yeah - it is a gamble either way -
1993 Ford Ranger - 3 Master Cylinder replacements in first 3 months - Lemon.
2012 Subaru Outback - blown engine 6 months in - 7,000 miles...
1979 Honda Civic Wagon - 280,000 miles (I put on 120,000 miles and nothing but oil changes and new tires)...

Good Sam has a good road side assistance deal going - worth it.
My 2013 Subaru Crosstrek is the BIGGEST PIECE OF CRAP I'VE EVER OWNED!
Its been chugging oil since new. Bad oil rings. Some warranty, they just tell you its fine till the engine dies, hoping you're out of warranty. Worst. company. ever.
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Old 06-29-2017, 08:29 AM   #20
Bus Geek
 
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Columbus Ohio
Posts: 12,205
Year: 1991
Coachwork: Carpenter
Chassis: International 3800
Engine: DTA360 / MT643
Rated Cap: 7 Row Handicap
Quote:
Originally Posted by oricha1984 View Post
thats bad luck with your new vehicles, i guess.
Both of my new vehicles (nissan frontier & honda fit) had 0 problems to this day.
what you dont know is the number of new vehicles ive had with good luck..

ie ive had 8 wranglers brand new.. lemon lawed one.
my colorado was flawless, as is my malibu, the fiat was reliable I just didnt like it. smart car was no issues,


-Christopher
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