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Old 05-03-2019, 09:37 PM   #11
Bus Geek
EastCoastCB's Avatar
Join Date: Sep 2014
Location: Eustis FLORIDA
Posts: 17,710
Year: 1999
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: Freighliner FS65
Engine: Cat 3126
Rated Cap: 15
The timing cover job on a DT466E would be a huge nightmare in a FE layout.
The injection pump is also a PITA to get at on a mechanical injection FE bus.
I've owned both and the CE is by far easier to repair and service.
Nothing against FE but definitely not as easy to get at the engine. Its like van vs pickup truck but an even more extreme difference due to the entire front bodywork tilting.
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Old 05-03-2019, 11:00 PM   #12
Bus Nut
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Join Date: Oct 2017
Posts: 382
Year: 1999
Coachwork: BlueBird
Chassis: TC1000 HandyBus
Engine: 5.9L 24V-L6 Cummins ISB
Rated Cap: 26 foot
I went to the BlueBird dealer today to get a mud-flap. Part # changed 3 times, new one doesn't fit. Made for a full-size bus!

Got to get close to a couple of full-sized dog-nose buses parked for maintenance. Been since before I bought my bus 2 years ago that I've been that close to a full-sizer.

First, I have to say I can't begin to compare my bus to them. Mine is a low-rider: a TC1000 Handy-Bus. It has smaller wheels, and a lowered suspension with what seems less up-down travel. I measured my clearance under the front the other day: 17" on the driver's side, and maybe 11"-12" under the front cross-member and oil pan. The rear has similar clearance. The Full-size dog-nose I saw today had what looked like 2' of clearance in the rear.

A TC2000 would likely have the same space between the frame rails but more space below.

I also remembered today what I saw 2 years ago when I was looking to buy my bus. The full-size dog-nose buses I looked at had a full-front-end bonnet that included the wheel wells. You had me confused a bit, Booyah, but now I understand what you mean by "turn the wheels and stand right next to it". The top of the bonnet of the ones I saw today were as high as I am tall. But the motor sits much lower. The ones I saw 2 years ago, however, I don't remember having that close access to the motor (both had International L6s in them). I would have needed a step-stool or small ladder, but I'm a small guy (except in Hawai'i). I don't remember who made them (BB, IH/IN, Thomas).

And I couldn't look under the hood today. So in thinking about all this, I came to believe that the FE flatnoses use the Cummins 5.9L motor for a reason: it is made to fit in the small space (the Dodge Ram pickups, also). The air-compressor is gear-driven right off the crank or cam (I forget, I think cam) so it ain't gonna mount high up on the side or over the top.

What I would like to understand is how an International branded bus could use an International L6-type motor in a flatnose FE. If all that stuff mounts high up on the motor, and as wide as I vaguely remember seeing it in the ones I looked at 2 years ago, how do they shoe-horn that in? Is that why ECCB says they are harder?

In the end, I guess what I should say is that with all the fuss about flatnose FE buses being "harder to work on," I think that is really relative. My first car was a 1976-7-8 Honda Accord (built from 3 junk cars) and changing the spark plugs was simple: Pull the wire right on the top of the motor, spin out the plug, reverse to assemble. Then I got my 1984 Nissan Pickup with its 2.4L L4, and I had to remove the air-filter housing to change the spark plugs. I thought that was ridiculously hard! 2 bolts, and 3 hoses. Now as a tech, I laugh at my old self. Several of my clients have called for a tune-up, and told me they were going to do it themselves, but there was a plastic cover over the motor, so they gave up before trying. Turn the cover-retainers 1/4 turn and it comes off, and there are the sparkplugs! Thanks for the $90/hour job! Steve said he wouldn't attempt the fan-clutch on an FE-flatnose, but it is just removing some extra stuff to get to it (on mine). Hard?

Again, I want to bring up the issue of what model? Just saying flatnose vs. dognose is not enough. Is a mini-van with a traverse motor harder to work on than a full-size pickup, and easier than a full-size van? really depends on the model. Some of those Chevy mini-vans like that are nightmares. My Nissan was sweet. My friend loves his full-size Ford pickup - used to be a Chevy guy. "I don't have to do anything to them except a tune up" he says; but he pays a shop $450 to change the plugs because you have to disconnect the motor-mount, jack the motor, and remove the driver's side fender to get to one of the plugs. He drives his truck into the ground, and buys another. Try to fix it, and it is not merely extra steps, but can be hard.

What is "hard"? For me, disconnecting the motor mount, jacking the motor, and pulling a fender is nothing. Getting the fender to re-install and line-up properly after just a small front-end bump can be real tricky, and if it sits 1/8" too far back, the door will bend it when open. Hard is working on a Ford Ranger: gotta pull the whole transmission to change the clutch slave cylinder. That is real WORK under the truck if you don't have a lift and a tranny-jack and extra hands. Did ball-joints on a 4x4 Ranger. Hours of beating on the spindle with a hammer and chizzel to get it to separate (the guy felt so bad for me, I was like, yea, my job is work. That's why you pay me). Pulled the gas-tank off a Ranger to do a fuel-pump once. The quick-disconnect fuel line had dirt built up in the plastic squeeze-tabs to disconnect it, and it would not disconnect. Meanwhile, I'm a twisted pretzel under the vehicle, straining to reach up between the exhaust, frame rail, and gas tank, trying to see using a mirror. The whole thing had to be torn apart, and a new fuel-line end needed to be secured. Removing the bed would have been more steps, but easier in the long run - 20/20 hindsight.

Or the Toyota Four-runner gas-tank with the rusted solid fuel line fittings. They installed it at the factory with the body off the vehicle, and placed the filler-hose-retainer band facing where the screws to tighten it was convenient for the installer - but from under the vehicle, I could not get to it without very fancy socket sets that most people don't have. Either that or risk tearing the (irreplaceable) filler hose where it mounted to the body, and it was so packed with dirt in there, it was a whole nother project.

Both of these tanks were full of gasoline, also. Those were hard jobs in my opinion. Not because of extra steps, but because of the PITA it was to do some of the steps. Drilling out a bolt is not hard, IMO. Others will call that a nightmare. Drilling out an exhaust bolt broken off in a head from under the vehicle, where the height is just above where you can comfortable reach while lying flat on your back, in a tight space where only a 90 angle-drill will fit, where you can't see the bolt strait-on (yet drilling strait is absolutely critical to not drill into the water-jackets in the aluminum motor-head) - I called that a bit hard; hard on the body and finesse of hand and mind. But it saved me the time from pulling the entire head off.

But change my oil? Harder than a dognose? Too low to crawl under? I'm a caver, so the crawling factor is not a fair comparison. As a caver, my best vacation is your worst nightmare! But changing the oil on my bus is easier than any other vehicle I've ever owned or serviced. No jack required. Seems I would need that stepladder to fill the oil on a dognose. But again, I'm short. And skinny.

I had to change the treadle valve for the air-brakes on my bus within 3 days of driving it. That was a "hard" job because it was accessed from under the bus, way up in a tight spot, and I was doing the pretzel twist dance thing to get my hands in the spots needed to loosen/tighten all the air line nuts for 2-3 hours. Hard on the body. Finesse needed.

Is the treadle valve mounted under the floor on a dognose, or on the firewall in the motor compartment? There's more to the different styles than the motor.

Next will be changing the transmission lines. They feed from the top of the tranny, over the motor mount, and back down to the cooler. and there is a leak in one or both at the high-point where it feeds over the motor mount (I was hoping to tighten the fitting at the top of the tranny, but I just realized it is actually lower). I'm glad the front axle is behind the tranny, but maybe that wouldn't even matter in a dognose....????

Interesting comments from ya'll. More? Seems like I had more to say, but I never got it all fully organized in my head. Maybe more will leak out later and I'll share the thoughts with you then... Been a long week and I'm tired. Aloha to all!
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Old 05-04-2019, 12:03 AM   #13
Bus Geek
o1marc's Avatar
Join Date: Dec 2017
Location: Dawsonville, Ga.
Posts: 6,322
Year: 1999
Coachwork: Genesis
Chassis: International
Engine: DT466/3060
Rated Cap: 77
Ya, it's a bit more work to pull the front off to access removal of the radiator, but everything is fairly exposed at that point.
Here's my DT466 in an International FE.
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Old 05-04-2019, 11:57 AM   #14
Bus Crazy
Join Date: May 2014
Location: West Ohio
Posts: 1,063
Year: 1984
Coachwork: Bluebird
Chassis: International 1753
Engine: 6.9 International
Rated Cap: 65
Gnome, anytime you have a question about what I say just ask. What I routinely consider obvious isn't always so if the person has never seen it before.

When I said turn the wheels and stand next to it. I meant you could turn the wheels, shimmy your legs between the bumper and tire, and stand with your thighs touching the frame rail. The alternator would be right at your stomach, essentially in the same position as you would be if you were working at it on a work bench. The air compressor is in the same spot on the other side of the engine.

I changed the front brake chambers on my bus a few weeks ago. I lifted the hood, leaned over the tire, removed old chamber, installed new one, cut the shaft to length, installed clevis, adjusted the brakes, and I was back in business. Maybe 30 minutes tops for both sides. Way easier then on a transit type bus.

To check my coolant or power steering, I stand on the tire and look down into it, doing that and changing wiper blades is the only real reason I have to get off the ground.

My treedle valve is on the firewall, so I could essentially stand behind the axle, between the tire and frame and work on that with it a chest height.

I hear you on the pretzel routine you have to do to change one on an fe. We have lifts in the shop so I can stand upright and do it, which makes it easier. The hard part is trying to access the bolts from the top side laying on the seat/doghouse.

When I say harder, I don't mean that it is impossible and you need to avoid it. It's just it takes more effort/time to do things in an FE vs a dog nose.
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Old 05-04-2019, 02:41 PM   #15
Join Date: Aug 2018
Location: Philadelpiha Pennsylvania
Posts: 170
Year: 2007
Coachwork: IC
Chassis: FE Bus
Engine: DT-466 7.6L Turbo Diesel
Rated Cap: 77
My ic fe300 is easily accessed from the dog house, but anything on the front of the motor is a nightmare. You're supposed to take the bumper and front plate and radiators out to access the front. Took me 2 days to replace the water pump. Needless to say the front stayed on. Love the flat nose look and room but really wish i had got a dog nose to start. May swap this for one eventually.
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Old 05-09-2019, 07:25 PM   #16
Bus Nut
Mountain Gnome's Avatar
Join Date: Oct 2017
Posts: 382
Year: 1999
Coachwork: BlueBird
Chassis: TC1000 HandyBus
Engine: 5.9L 24V-L6 Cummins ISB
Rated Cap: 26 foot
Been workin on gettin the apparently 20-year-old original tranny cooler lines out to replace them. They snake from the top of the tranny to the frame rail, over the motor mount, rub against the hot-coolant tubing (which feeds from the back of the head though the frame on the way to the front heater), next to the exhaust manifold, and down to the cooler. Thought it might take an hour. Took 4.

Getting to the fittings on this low-rider bus, sitting cross-legged on the ground behind the tranny and front axle, back to the exhaust pipe, chest to the driveshaft, head twisted 90 to see, I could then easily reach the fittings, and they came loose with no problem.

Getting the hoses out of the spaces they were in without destroying them was another thing. They had become stiff as an oak branch, and you could hear them cracking if you tried to flex them. No wonder they were leaking in the middle, at the high-point next to the hot exhaust. I wanted them intact, to make suitable replacements. (Then I decided now IS the time to update)

That was a "hard job."

I'm adding a cooler
and it will mount in front of the air-filter, behind the bumper. My tranny oil-temp stays low (like under 140F - usually 120F), but that is the pan temp. And who knows if that old gauge is correct (I'll replace it soon enough) and that just does not seem correct to me (but I need to scope it with my heat-sensor one day). With the Allison AT545's non-locking torque converter, going over mountain passes was pushing up the engine temp. Seems advice here on other threads say it's the tranny doing the heating more than the motor.

I'm replacing the sections of hose that feed along the frame-rail with steel tubing. Original style hoses with -8AN screw-on fittings will feed from the tranny to the steel lines. A steel line also will feed from the new cooler to the original stock, since both are frame-mounted. That will eliminate the PITA to deal with this system, allow for tighter bends necessary to mount the new cooler, as well as allow more room on the frame rail when dealing with the AC lines coming off the compressor just below (and have no other routing options) and the 3 battery cables that run that same route. The tubing will simply install from the front strait though the frame rail channel, no hassles now or later. Then I'm gonna heat-shield that route from the exhaust manifold.
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