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Old 11-10-2013, 11:48 PM   #1
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Another Skoolie!

Hello all - Thanks for creating and participating here. I love to read about the projects. Speaking of projects, I am the new owner of a great little bus. I have a lot to learn and I have already learned a lot in the last 3 days of owning it.

I have attached a photo and the information that I have on it. I was hoping that people can tell me as much about it as they can. I plan to do a complete overhaul and enjoy as long as it can be enjoyed.



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1991 Blue Bird Short Bus. Less than 40,000 miles on engine. Makes an excellent toy hauler, project vehicle, or just use as is for whatever.

I was told it has a 350. Can you tell me about that.

It has 2.75 inch exhaust pipes. As I was driving it home, Green Bay to Madison, the muffler broke off from the pipe (at the seam) I lost significant power and needed to pull over. The muffler just dropped and rubbed on the ground, but did not fall off. Does this bus require that back pressure to run? I need to drive back up there to fix it due to all the local stores being closed.
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Old 11-11-2013, 10:16 AM   #2
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Re: Another Skoolie!

If it is a gas burning Chevy 350 it oughta' run better sans muffler. The only engines I am aware of that "require" backpressure are gas burning 2-strokes. Must be something else bud.
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Old 11-11-2013, 10:31 AM   #3
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Re: Another Skoolie!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tango
If it is a gas burning Chevy 350 it oughta' run better sans muffler. The only engines I am aware of that "require" backpressure are gas burning 2-strokes. Must be something else bud.
Agree and X2

If you can look at the numbers on the drivers side rear of the block, there is a pad about 3/4 in x 3 inch long the number will be something like "3970010" this would indicate a 350 ci (4.00 bore) more or may not be a 4bolt main block

take whatever numbers you find and google them

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Old 11-11-2013, 11:43 AM   #4
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Re: Another Skoolie!

Assuming no one has swaped motors, that should be a 350. There is a slight chance that it would be a 366 (the same basic engine GM tried to go diesel with) as they were prevalent in GM mid size trucks of that vintage. In either event it will have throtle body injection (TBI) which is computer operated (OBDII) and easily scaned for fault codes which will give you a clue where to look. The bus should have a check engine light--is it on? Many parts outlets will scan your vehicle for free or you can buy a scaner for about $50. Most of GM's vehicles back then had the fuel pump in the tank and they were prone to failure (often lost power followed by restored power followed by pump failure and a PITA pump replacement). Hope that helps.
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Old 11-11-2013, 12:41 PM   #5
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Re: Another Skoolie!

Thanks everyone. I know the question was way out there and I am working on finding more answers. I found a mechanic that can lift the bus and take a look in that area. I am not going to replace the muffler and hope that fixes it. It is most likely something else that happened at the same time. It was just strange to have that happen at the exact same time. I did see something when I was looking under the bus yesterday. I have attached a photo. I know that the mechanic will see this later and let me know, but if you have an idea, let me know.

This is going to be a long project bus...

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Old 11-11-2013, 02:30 PM   #6
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Re: Another Skoolie!

Welcome!
I'd bet its a plain ole 350. Thats a good thing-cheap-plentiful and nearly bulletproof.
Just a wild ass guess-when the muffler fell,it somehow folded the pipe-restricting the exhaust flow.
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Old 11-11-2013, 03:18 PM   #7
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Re: Another Skoolie!

Quote:
Originally Posted by ol trunt
The bus should have a check engine light--is it on?
Yes. The light is on and I will look for the codes from the mechanic. Thanks!

Quote:
Originally Posted by sdwarf36
Just a wild ass guess-when the muffler fell,it somehow folded the pipe-restricting the exhaust flow.
No. I checked for that when I was strapping the muffler to the frame and off the ground. It was a clean break right at the muffler. ---[]-- break []--- (assuming you can tell that is a picture of the pipe to the cadillac converter --- pipe to muffler and break. It appears to have been welded in the past at the same location.

The purpose of my questions was to try to fix the problem so I could get the bus to my shop in Madison, WI. I have all the tools and space to look over everything, top to bottom. Its currently sitting 2 hours up the road and only able to do 35-40 mph tops. My plan on Sunday was to get the muffler off the ground and just go ghetto muffler all the way home. But, that didn't work. The power issue remained. My plan was then to cut out the old muffler and replace it, then clamp properly. All things that can be done in a parking lot with few tools. I am learning that the issue is most likely not just a back pressure problem, but something else may have happened. I assumed it was the muffler because it drove fine for 45 min prior to the muffler falling and losing power. (engine power)

Instead of driving back and forth (4 hour round trips) I found a mechanic who can get it on their lift 10 miles from where its at. It will drive, just slow and loud. Ill see what he can find and let you guys know. I have only spent 45 min with this bus total.

Thanks again for the ideas. I am hoping that its a quick and inexpensive fix. But we all know that's not why we want to work on buses. ha ha
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Old 11-11-2013, 03:25 PM   #8
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Re: Another Skoolie!

Would that sensor in the picture earlier belong here? Would that cause the engine power issues?

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Old 11-11-2013, 03:37 PM   #9
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Re: Another Skoolie!

"If modifications cause the engine to run moderately lean, there will be a slight increase in fuel economy, sometimes at the expense of increased NOx emissions, much higher exhaust gas temperatures, and sometimes a slight increase in power that can quickly turn into misfires and a drastic loss of power, as well as potential engine damage, at ultra-lean air-to-fuel ratios."

This is from an oxygen sensor description. This may have a HUGE part in the problem. I just saw this yesterday and the exhaust pipes were to hot to examine. This will be the first thing I check tonight.
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Old 11-11-2013, 05:26 PM   #10
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Re: Another Skoolie!

Yea-that pic you added-sure looks like an O2 sensor hanging. It would "think" the engines lean while its hanging out in the breeze like that--and try to make the engine richen up. Or confuse the computer enough by reading out of spec + go into "limp home mode".
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