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Old 01-25-2015, 12:18 AM   #1
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Join Date: Nov 2014
Location: Los Angeles
Posts: 35
Year: 1998
Coachwork: International
Chassis: Thomas
Engine: 5 speed Manual
Rated Cap: 35
oil leak

I think I have an oil leek on my 1999 Thomas school bus. We drove it from Chicago to the Bay Area with no hiccups at all. We were working on it today and noticed a small pool of oil near the front . Wasn't pouring out or anything but it was a small pool and when we looked under the body there was some oil pooled up on the lines.

We are pretty new to this stuff so we dont really know where to start. Any advice about thing to checks like lines or possibly loose plugs.

Is an oil leek a very bad thing?

Also, anyone know any good bus mechanics in the bay area, we wanted someone to give it a once over and tell us about any potential issues we may be encountering soon.
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Old 01-25-2015, 12:54 AM   #2
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Location: Eustis FLORIDA
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Year: 1992
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Depends on the severity, but these diesels usually seep a bit.
Mine does, and it doesn't bother me too much rt now, but I do plan on getting the leaking minimized a much as possible.
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Old 01-25-2015, 03:42 AM   #3
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An oil leak is never a good thing.

Having said that, some leaking can be expected.

You need to first determine what exactly is leaking.

It could be ATF from the transmission, one of the transmission lines, or from the transmission cooler.

It could be power steering fluid coming out of the steering box, lines, or pump.

It could be fuel from a cracked fuel line.

Or it could be engine oil from any of a number of places.

Your first task should be to steam clean or pressure wash everything so that when it starts to leak again you can pinpoint the leak.

Many times the leak could be coming from something as simple as a loose fitting.

Good luck and happy trails.
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Old 01-27-2015, 01:33 AM   #4
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oil leak

We checked on it in the morning and the level wasn't really changed at all on the dipstick and the leaking had stopped.

Maybe it was just some loose fittings.

Thanks for the advice.
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Old 01-27-2015, 04:10 AM   #5
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Maybe it seeps some at higher pressure.
Mine hasn't dropped on the dipstick. But these things hold gallons of oil.
Best to clean it up and keep an eye on it just to be sure.
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Old 01-28-2015, 12:45 PM   #6
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Location: Salt Lake City Utah
Posts: 1,328
Year: 2000
Chassis: Blue Bird
Engine: ISC 8.3
Like EastCoastCB says these things hold gallons of oil: my 5.9L holds just under three and the 8.3L holds about five. It'd take a long time and make a real nasty mess (can you tell I really dislike working on dirty engines?) to leak enough to show a drop on the dip stick.

You can possibly determine the kind of oil based on its color. Find a spot where you can wipe just oil with a white paper towel. Avoid picking up dirt etc that would affect the color; if there's a pool or a drip someplace that's perfect. If it's a midnight-black color then it's engine oil; if it has some red hue it's probably ATF; it it's a lighter color like honey that's more likely power steering, hydraulic brake, air conditioning, etc. Does yours have A/C? If that might have been running you'd be likely to have condensed water dripping out from the evaporator.

There are additives for each of the various oils that will fluoresce in UV light. The two-AAA UV pen light and yellow glasses kit works well for spotting (do it in the evening/night and it'll really pop). If you can get a good idea about which oil is leaking and approximately where, you can put in the UV additive, start the engine, and immediately crawl under and start looking (and hoping it's willing to manifest at idle). Oh.. and it might be a good idea to have a look with the UV light before doing the additive so you have a baseline to compare against. There'll be some things that seem to glow just on their own.

If you're headed eastward again and pass through Salt Lake City, feel free to give me a shout.
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Old 01-31-2015, 01:59 PM   #7
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This could also be a gasket issue. I've seen it happen on both gas and diesel engines: if there is a bad gasket, then oil will leak out once the pressure(i.e. engine runs for a while and gets hot) gets high enough. Most of the time the gaskets wear out between the head(s) and block and cause leaks. It can also be between the block and oil pan. Just my two cents though. I worked in a machine shop for five years or so(focused on gas engines, rarely diesel, though I did know a diesel mechanic for a while).
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Old 01-31-2015, 05:32 PM   #8
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Chassis: B3800 Short bus
Engine: T444E
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What engine are we dealing with?
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Old 02-01-2015, 08:37 AM   #9
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On another post they stated it is a T444e.
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Old 02-01-2015, 11:01 AM   #10
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Chassis: B3800 Short bus
Engine: T444E
Rated Cap: 36
Ah. Then look around the turbo pedestal. Mine was puking oil out of the actuator for the exhaust back pressure valve (EBV). It's a common issue for this engine. Search "power stroke ebv leak" and you'll find a lot of info about it.

Check the valley of the engine. If it's all goopy with oil and dirt up there then it's probably either the high pressure oil pump (HPOP), or the EBV actuator, though the EBV is more commonly the cause.
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