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Old 07-07-2010, 04:20 PM   #11
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Re: Keep the bus? Or too many problems?

Here are some pictures for everyone:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/mustard...7624243126758/
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Old 07-07-2010, 08:14 PM   #12
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Re: Keep the bus? Or too many problems?

The trans leak sounds minor...pan gasket is simple enough & that's probably what it is. A bottle of seal conditioner couldn't hurt.

However...what color is the engine smoke, especially at full throttle? My wife has a 6.2 (1986 Blazer), and with no turbo, these engines smoke. Black is fuel (may need the injector pump re-timed...or just a lighter foot on the pedal), blue is oil (worn rings)...but white is steam & may be a from head gasket. If it has ever been boiled over, you might have popped a head gasket. I have no idea if they can be done with the engine in the vehicle, but I'd bet not. Valve cover gaskets look pretty easy, especially the passenger side. Maybe try tightening the cover bolts...that may stop the leak.

Any good shop can do the U-joints...I doubt it would cost more than $100 or so, this isn't a big job for any shop that can work on a bus. The kingpins, however: these are a potential SERIOUS SAFETY HAZARD! Do NOT put this off! A failed kingpin can mean loss of control! This is a pretty big job. Does this bus have independant suspension (control arms & coils, looks like something on a pickup) or a straight axle (big I-beam-looking thing on leaf springs) in front?
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Old 07-08-2010, 11:08 AM   #13
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Re: Keep the bus? Or too many problems?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jarlaxle
The trans leak sounds minor...pan gasket is simple enough & that's probably what it is. A bottle of seal conditioner couldn't hurt.

However...what color is the engine smoke, especially at full throttle? My wife has a 6.2 (1986 Blazer), and with no turbo, these engines smoke. Black is fuel (may need the injector pump re-timed...or just a lighter foot on the pedal), blue is oil (worn rings)...but white is steam & may be a from head gasket. If it has ever been boiled over, you might have popped a head gasket. I have no idea if they can be done with the engine in the vehicle, but I'd bet not. Valve cover gaskets look pretty easy, especially the passenger side. Maybe try tightening the cover bolts...that may stop the leak.

Any good shop can do the U-joints...I doubt it would cost more than $100 or so, this isn't a big job for any shop that can work on a bus. The kingpins, however: these are a potential SERIOUS SAFETY HAZARD! Do NOT put this off! A failed kingpin can mean loss of control! This is a pretty big job. Does this bus have independant suspension (control arms & coils, looks like something on a pickup) or a straight axle (big I-beam-looking thing on leaf springs) in front?
seconded
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Old 07-08-2010, 12:49 PM   #14
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Re: Keep the bus? Or too many problems?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jarlaxle
The trans leak sounds minor...pan gasket is simple enough & that's probably what it is. A bottle of seal conditioner couldn't hurt.

However...what color is the engine smoke, especially at full throttle? My wife has a 6.2 (1986 Blazer), and with no turbo, these engines smoke. Black is fuel (may need the injector pump re-timed...or just a lighter foot on the pedal), blue is oil (worn rings)...but white is steam & may be a from head gasket. If it has ever been boiled over, you might have popped a head gasket. I have no idea if they can be done with the engine in the vehicle, but I'd bet not. Valve cover gaskets look pretty easy, especially the passenger side. Maybe try tightening the cover bolts...that may stop the leak.

Any good shop can do the U-joints...I doubt it would cost more than $100 or so, this isn't a big job for any shop that can work on a bus. The kingpins, however: these are a potential SERIOUS SAFETY HAZARD! Do NOT put this off! A failed kingpin can mean loss of control! This is a pretty big job. Does this bus have independant suspension (control arms & coils, looks like something on a pickup) or a straight axle (big I-beam-looking thing on leaf springs) in front?
It's the I-beam 5,000lb axle. My jack isn't strong enough to get the front end off the ground, so I can't confirm how wiggly things are. The mechanic wrote "king pins marginal," so I don't know whether that means they're near failure or just more wiggly than they should be. I take it that ANY wiggliness should be addressed ASAP?

We'll do the U-joints ourselves, cuz it seems fun and relatively easy.

As for the smoke color, we're going to assess it again tonight. Every time I've seen the smoke it's appeared sort of greyish-brown. I don't remember it being steamy or sweet-smelling. It's about the same color as what happens if I downshift in my Mercedes 300D which definitely doesn't have a cracked head gasket. It's definitely NOT oil smoke, as I know what that looks like. The smoke is only very barely visible at idle.
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Old 07-09-2010, 12:42 PM   #15
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Re: Keep the bus? Or too many problems?

Sooo... I asked the first mechanic we took it to for a quote on the king pins. They said "oh, we can't give you a book number, but probably $1200 or more." I called around to several other mechanics, including Les Schwab, who all gave EXACT estimates of precisely half that much, for both sides. The folks at Les Schwab said their estimate was the absolute most it would cost, less if the bushings weren't bad.

So we took it to Les Schwab for them to assess how bad the king pins were. I watched them try to torque the wheels exactly as I've seen described for checking the KPs. They brought a couple guys out to try. Their verdict was the KPs are fine, but could use a little grease. And the tie rod ends could use a little grease. They said one of the KPs was a teeeensy bit wiggly, but only barely perceptible, and that we should come back in a year to have them check it again.

So good news!

I'll see if there are zerks on the ball joints. Is that what he meant by tie rod ends?
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Old 07-09-2010, 02:51 PM   #16
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Re: Keep the bus? Or too many problems?

Look at the long steel tube either in front or behind the steer axle. That's the tie rod. On either side the ends of the tie rod hold the tie rod ends. This is a part of how the front end is aligned with toe-in or toe-out.
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Old 07-09-2010, 10:36 PM   #17
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Re: Keep the bus? Or too many problems?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Smitty
My bus sucked-up over 2 tubes of grease.

Smitty
My old M109 sucked up four tubes. One of many reasons as to why I got rid of it.
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Old 07-10-2010, 12:57 AM   #18
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Re: Keep the bus? Or too many problems?

Hi there, I sent you a PM with my mechanics name and phone number..... Leslie
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Old 07-10-2010, 12:32 PM   #19
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Re: Keep the bus? Or too many problems?

Well it turns out when you clean off every fitting and joint under the front end, little zerks appear everywhere! We got them all greased!

Then we turned our attention to doing the U-joint. The [not that great] mechanic told us the middle u-joint was bad. I am doubting that now. I don't hear or feel any driveline vibrations when driving, there is NO play in the joint when trying to turn the shaft in front of and in back of the joint (put the trans in neutral to test), and there is a fresh red grease coming out of the clearly intact cap bearing seals.

The middle u-joint is the only u-joint that is a re-greasable one, so that's probably why it's exuding grease and maybe why they said it was bad? Also, the mechanic couldn't give me an exact quote on the u-joint, just that it would be "several hundred," which sounds high.

So should we bother replacing it if it shows no signs of degradation? Just grease it and keep an eye on it?
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