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Old 01-13-2009, 08:16 AM   #1
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Re: Whoa Cheese Wagon!!! (BRAKES)

I know this post is old, (I'm reading all the old posts trying to learn) but I have a question:

I'm looking for a bus and I have heard that Ford has some sort of brake system that has a lot of problems. I emailed someone on craigs list with a bus (not a Ford) for sale and mentioned I didn't think I wanted a Ford bus because of whatever this brake issue is. He replied to my email that this is just a rumor and that he has sold lots of Ford buses with no brake problems whatsoever and his father has been selling buses for 35 years. Am I avoiding a good bus just on a rumor? The guy has a website with LOTS of different buses for sale so I think he might know what he's talking about???

His company is called BGA sales and the bus I saw was on the Cincinnati, OH craigs list.

I would appreciate it if someone knows for sure. I don't want to not buy a good long-lasting bus just because of a rumor.
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Old 01-13-2009, 11:50 PM   #2
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Re: Whoa Cheese Wagon!!! (BRAKES)

Mr. Cheese Wagon,

Thank you for your advice. I decided against buying a bus from the BGA Sales guy on craigs list. He sent me a really nasty email about another member on this site and I'm just afraid of him. I found another bus on the St. Louis craigs list site. It is a Bluebird with a Carerpillar engine. I called the owner and he says it has air brakes. it is only $2500 and he said he might negotiate on the price since it is for a scout troop. that's pretty faw away from us so I may just keep looking. We're not camping out right now because of the cold so there's no hurry. I will continue to read everything I can on this site and keep looking for us a bus. Thanks again.
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Old 01-14-2009, 12:23 AM   #3
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Re: Whoa Cheese Wagon!!! (BRAKES)

You're close, Cheesewagon. The brakes use power steering fluid to release the spring loaded parking brakes. The disadvantage there is that if you throw a belt or the engine dies your brakes lock up RIGHT now. At least with airbrakes you stand a chance of being able to coast/use the service brakes to come to a stop. Also, like you mentioned, the central line is prone to rotting, but I think that really is a secondary concern. The biggest problem can just be with finding parts. Most MDT parts are pretty generic...except for the L-G brake system parts. Couple that with the fact that Ford was the only company to use them AFAIK and the fact that...hey...it's a 20 year old system and you can see how that can be a problem. They're also kind of a pain to take apart...but I think that's just par for the course on anything with a blue oval on the grill.
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Old 01-14-2009, 07:34 PM   #4
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Re: Whoa Cheese Wagon!!! (BRAKES)

It's a 1994 with a 3116 Caterpillar front-engine. 40 passenger but the seats aren't like school bus seats, only 2 people per seat with high backs. The bus has A/C and seller says it works. It has 237,000 miles on it though. Is this too high mileage?
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Old 01-15-2009, 06:26 PM   #5
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Re: Whoa Cheese Wagon!!! (BRAKES)

I don't think the seats are van seats. Here is a link to the ad with photos of the bus:

http://stlouis.craigslist.org/cto/987343049.html

I've heard of the 3208 engine before. Never heard of a 3116 though. I'm pretty ignorant about all of this.
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Old 01-18-2009, 11:41 AM   #6
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Re: Whoa Cheese Wagon!!! (BRAKES)

Quote:
Originally Posted by CHEESE_WAGON
Quote:
Originally Posted by JesuitLarson
I know this post is old, (I'm reading all the old posts trying to learn) but I have a question:

I'm looking for a bus and I have heard that Ford has some sort of brake system that has a lot of problems. I emailed someone on craigs list with a bus (not a Ford) for sale and mentioned I didn't think I wanted a Ford bus because of whatever this brake issue is. He replied to my email that this is just a rumor and that he has sold lots of Ford buses with no brake problems whatsoever and his father has been selling buses for 35 years. Am I avoiding a good bus just on a rumor?
I own one of these - it's not a bad bus, believe me. The engine options are rather nice, 3208 Caterpillars, 429-4V V8s... the only engine you don't necessarily want is the 370. It's not a bad engine, but I hear they have valvetrain problems with high mileage.
*smack, smack, smack, smack*

The 370 is a 429 with a smaller bore, no more and no less. I'd much prefer the 429 (not for reliability, but because a 370 is pretty underpowered in a bus), but the 370 is plenty tough. Also, they were available with 370's and 429's with 2bbl carbs. 3208's were pretty rare...most diesels were Brazilian New Holland 6.6 or 7.8's, some had Cummins 5.9's, a few had 8.2 Detroits.

Quote:
The Lucas-Girling brake system you speak of is pretty common on the Fords.... If memory serves, from what I've read these use coolant to engage the parking brake. The line supplying this mechanism can rot or wear, and they are somewhat difficult to service. From what I hear, it's not a bad system, just expensive to fix when it needs it. In my experience, I don't particularly like the feel of the pedal or the way it stops, feels a bit spongy to me..... but I've driven an F650 box truck that was the same way, I guess heavy trucks just aren't meant to have a solid pedal.
The pedal in my B700 (hydraulic brakes) is rock-solid. The Lucag-Girling system is awful...it's cranky, extremely finicky (especially in wet, snowy, or cold weather), and heart-stoppingly expensive to fix. It can also fail with the E-brakes LOCKED. The only way that bus is moving if it does is hoisted from behind on a semi wrecker.

Quote:
If you can find one with air brakes, you might be better off, but you will need a CDL. But I don't think the LG system is junk, just pricey to fix. However, I don't really drive mine on a regular basis yet. Just my $.02 worth.
You won't need a CDL (if used as a motorhome), but may need an air endorsement on your licence, depends on the state (and the bus's GVWR).
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Old 01-18-2009, 11:54 AM   #7
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Re: Whoa Cheese Wagon!!! (BRAKES)

Quote:
Originally Posted by JesuitLarson
It's a 1994 with a 3116 Caterpillar front-engine. 40 passenger but the seats aren't like school bus seats, only 2 people per seat with high backs. The bus has A/C and seller says it works. It has 237,000 miles on it though. Is this too high mileage?
That sounds (and looks) like a TC2000, best as I can tell from the seller's poor photography. Can you pop him an e-mail and ask if it says "TranShuttle" above the rear bumper? It seems to be set up as a suburban transit, not a skoolie. This is a GOOD thing: A/C, highway gearing, MT643 instead of the AT545, storage space, better seats, maybe a stereo, quite likely rear air suspension. Set up as a skoolie, that would probably be about a 66-passenger, meaning it's a fullsize bus.

The 3116 Cat is the 3126 and C7's baby brother (nothing like the massive 3406 semi truck engine)...6.6 litres, not a bad engine. I'd rather have a 5.9 Cummins, but would be fine with a 3116.

My only concern would be the transmission with 237K...I know the MT643 is plenty tough, but 15 years and a quarter-million miles can kill one if neglected or overheated. If the fluid is clean & red, I wouldn't give it a second thought.

Also, a 1994 probably won't have it, but later TC's (the one I drove was a late-199 used a bizarre electronic dash cluster. It had a speedo, a tach, a digital bar-graph air gauge (which also had the odometer display), and one central gauge with a switch to cycle it between fuel, volts, oil pressure, and temp. All in all, a pretty weird design, and extremely cranky. I wouldn't pass up a bus with that setup (BB's are excellent buses), but would certainly figure on adding aftermarket gauges for oil, volts, engine temp, transmission temp, and probably air pressure.

It may well have a tilt & telescoping column...BB has it set up backward compared to almost everyone else: you PUSH the lever to tilt it and PULL it to telescope it.
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