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Old 06-22-2006, 02:57 AM   #1
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Diesel engine questions. 8.2?

I am dead set on getting a diesel school bus, but I have some questions. One of the first things I will do is convert it to run on veggie oil. I have heard that the Detroit 8.2 is an excellent engine for veggie oil. Is this true? What other diesels are good for veggie oil?

Which diesel engines should I AVOID? I don't want a dog. I'd like to be able to cruise at 65 mph at least. I do a lot of highway driving, but it's pretty flat everywhere I go (Oklahoma). I realize my tranny and rear end has a lot to do with cruise speed as well.

I see buses that say T444 and 3208 or DT466. How do I know what size motors these are? Are these any good? I want to buy the perfect bus for me the first time. I don't want to do a conversion and wish I had a different engine or something like that.

Also, how many miles do you think is too many miles for a diesel bus? I see buses with 90,000 miles and buses with 250,000 miles.

Thanks for your thoughts! Matt
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Old 06-22-2006, 09:35 PM   #2
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If you don't want a dog, run away from the 8.2 Detroit as fast as you can. These engines are fragile & underpowered (the turbos are true hand grenades) best suited for sale by the pound as scrap. Even when running right, 65MPH is pretty much a pipe dream.

The DT466 (466 cubic inches, about 7.6 litres), built by International, is far any away the best medium-duty diesel ever built, bar none--500,000+ miles isn't that unusual in a big commercial truck. They came out in the mid-70's & are still being produced. It's a big, low-end grunt engine, happiest below 2000RPM; usually governed 25-2800. It willingly runs ion the governor all day, but is happiest a bit lower. If you can find one--ideally a pre-1994 mechanical version for WVO; 1995-present engines are DT466E, and are all-computerized--grab it. They are fully rebuildable (sleeved cylinders), direct-injection turbo diesels--it's a big inline-six. The DT408 is a smaller version--also durable, though kind of thin on power.

The T444E is a turbocharged diesel V8, also from International, 444 cubic inches (7.3 litres), essentially the Ford PowerStroke with different injection system. It ran, IIRC, 1995-2003. Moreso than the 466, this engine likes to rev--governed ~2800, seems happy to spin 2500 all day. They have their glitches (mainly, glow plugs & cavitation), but are pretty good, though not holding a candle to the DT466. The biggie is cavitation: without the coolant additive (easy to test for), the cylinder walls will get eaten away. This means new engine time--it's usually not even rebuildable. No SCA in the coolant? Walk away unless you're willing to repower. There were a few bad batches of thermostats floating around---not a difficult fix, though the result of ignoring it can be spectacularly bad (seized engine).

The 3208 is a BIG (~980ci, 16 litres) diesel V8, made by Caterpillar, usually seen in pushers (especially Thomas Saf-T-Liners). It was dropped after 1992. Not a BAD engine at all, but not as much power as you'd expect for its huge size. It's a very low revver--1900-2000RPM, IIRC, is about it. The higher the power, the more concern you need to excercise--they're tough, but neglect, excessive ether, or stupidity (or all three) will kill them. They're VERY smoky when cold, especially without a turbo. It's alarming, but normal. If it's running OK, but sounds like an athsmatic cow, the injection timing is off--not unusual. You need a GOOD Cat mechaniuc to set it...try hitting a Cat shop & asking to talk to the oldest guy there (this is an old-school engine).

Mileage? I wouldn't worry about any mileage on a 466--it is truly a million-miler in something as light as a school bus. I've seen several T444E's with 300,000+...maintainence is CRITICAL on this engine. Maintained, they could go 500,000+. Neglected, I've seen them killed in <100K. The 3208 is a crapshoot...some just keep going, some, well, DON'T. Ether will kill them--the rings are a bit fragile. Bottom line: the cash to have a truck shop look everything over (not just the engine) is worth it.
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Old 06-23-2006, 02:39 AM   #3
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Wow! Thanks for the lengthy reply! The info I am getting off of THIS website is what I'm using to make my decision. I really appreciate it! So you're saying that if I want to run WVO, a 1994 or older DT466 is better than the DT466E? I've seen buses for sale that say the engine is a 466 diesel. Is that most likely a Detroit DT466? Does anybody else make a 466? Again, thanks for the info! Matt
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Old 06-25-2006, 10:48 AM   #4
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The Detroit Diesel Series 40 is 466ci. It's an International DT466E painted green--identical to the rest of the 466E's.

Everything I've seen & heard about WVO says that mechanical engines are easier to adapt than electronic ones. Also, the 466 is usually cheaper than the 466E. Any big-truck shop can service either engine---it's probably the most common MDT engine in the country, by a very wide margin. Next time you see an International truck, look at the engine badge on the side. Probably 85-90% of them will say "DT466" or "DT466E". The 1979 IH S1700 wrecker at work runs a DT466--it's been around a LONG time (which also means parts are pretty cheap).

Seems they did pretty good with that tractor engine 40 years ago.
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Old 06-25-2006, 11:45 AM   #5
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Here is what Greg Archambault has to say about engines. He is by far the skoolie expert. If anybody would like to email him direct his address is mailto:gregarchambault@yahoo.com.

"The 8.2L is one of my favorite engines, and it is one of the safest to convert to vegetable oil. Why? NO INJECTOR PUMP! If something is going to go wrong with a diesel on veggy oil, it is generally the injector pump!

The 8.2L is not the most durable engine ever put in a school bus. Still, it is a very good engine! AND, just because it wasn't the most durable in a school bus doesn't mean it isn't a good engine for running down the highway. School bus use is unique... stop and go, lots of idling, etc. We don't use our buses like that! Heck, even a 5.9L Cummins was a good engine in a school bus... but I wouldn't want one for running up and down the highway all the time, and they have the worst injector pumps of any engine out there. I can change one with one hand tied behind my back in the dark! On veggy oil, they really fail you!!

The turbocharged 8.2 is completely different from the naturally aspirated. BOTH are very good engines! The natural will give better fuel mileage, in general, yet I just drove a turbocharged 8.2 from OH to FL and averaged 14.8 mpg towing my 5000 pound toad. I ran 50 mph faithfully (got honked at and and saw a lot of fingers), but saved a fortune in fuel. The turbos have the ability to burn lots of fuel if you use them fully, whereas the naturals can run wide open all day and still give 11 mpg on a full size bus. At 50 mph, I have gotten 14 mpg with naturals, too!!

I bend over backwards to purchase all the 8.2s I can get. I've NEVER made an enemy selling them. In fact, just the opposite... they seem to do a really good job for skoolie conversion folks.

I also like the 9.0L and the 3208 Cat. BOTH of these are old, dirty burners like the 8.2s. The 8.2 is a bit stronger than the 9.0L, but considerably less durable in school bus service. The 3208s are iron horses that often outlast the bus. Of all of them, remember this... OUR NEWEST CONVERSION PROJECT FOR OUR PERSONAL USE IS A DETROIT DIESEL 8.2T. I like them a LOT!!!"[/quote]
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Old 06-25-2006, 05:40 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by busone
School bus use is unique... stop and go, lots of idling, etc. We don't use our buses like that! Heck, even a 5.9L Cummins was a good engine in a school bus... but I wouldn't want one for running up and down the highway all the time, and they have the worst injector pumps of any engine out there. I can change one with one hand tied behind my back in the dark! On veggy oil, they really fail you!!
Well that’s not good to hear, I was thinking of converting my 5.9 Cummins equipped TC2000 to WVO. But I guess if the injection pumps are easy to change maybe I'll just risk it.

Why is it you say you wouldn't want one for running up and down the highway? Is there something I should know about this engine? I've been very happy with the highway performance of my engine.
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Old 06-25-2006, 06:38 PM   #7
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I was quoting what Greg sent to me in an email. He is usually on the road and has very little time to email let alone post on the boards. I suggest emailing him direct with any questions. Since he is almost always on the road it may be a couple of days until he has an internet connection.
His email address is mailto:gregarchambault@yahoo.com or you can try his cell (352) 442-2270.
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Old 06-26-2006, 06:30 PM   #8
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He said easy to change, not cheap I think I'm going to start the search for another IP for my bus so I can consider the veggie oil thing. We JUST got home from our maiden voyage (I'll post details and pictures later) and averaged right around 8 mpg at a measly 60 mph with the thing loaded down. 8 mpg isn't bad compared to some of the coaches we saw at the fest (they scoffed at the school bus until they heard little details like cost of operation and such) but it's still darn expensive!
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Old 06-27-2006, 12:16 AM   #9
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if you have a bosh inline injector pump you'll prob be ok when it comes to veggie. They are the most tolerant of injector pumps when it comes t o wvo. I burned over 1,000 gallons in my old 6.6 liter ford without injector pump failure. I did however have to replace an o-ring in the lifter pump, but i belive that was due to excessive pressure in the fuel line (40psi), and that problem didn't happen for thousands of miles.

I think a new ip would cost as much as a "new" skoolie.
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Old 07-01-2006, 12:43 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by phillbus914
Quote:
Originally Posted by busone
School bus use is unique... stop and go, lots of idling, etc. We don't use our buses like that! Heck, even a 5.9L Cummins was a good engine in a school bus... but I wouldn't want one for running up and down the highway all the time, and they have the worst injector pumps of any engine out there. I can change one with one hand tied behind my back in the dark! On veggy oil, they really fail you!!
Well that’s not good to hear, I was thinking of converting my 5.9 Cummins equipped TC2000 to WVO. But I guess if the injection pumps are easy to change maybe I'll just risk it.

Why is it you say you wouldn't want one for running up and down the highway? Is there something I should know about this engine? I've been very happy with the highway performance of my engine.
Greg is so far off the wall here I literally don't know where to start. The 5.9 Cummins is one of the best engines ever built. Period. Its only real weakness is the fuel lift pump--THIS IS NOT the injector pump! However, a weak LIFT pump will make the INJECTOR pump work much harder (something it isn't designed to do), and kill it. This is a well-known problem in the huge circle of Cummins people, and there are several fixes. The simplest is to get a pressure gauge to make sure the lift pump is working properly (and replace it if it isn't). The surest is to simply replace the pump with an upgraded design.

The 5.9 B-series may be the most overbuilt engine ever made. These things regularly see staggering amounts of miles pulling heavy trailers (IIRC, the Turbo Diesel Register has a million-mile club, and there are a number of members, to say nothing of the many over 500K), and are often used in competition trucks (racers, sledpullers) making stunning power (one guy claims 1050HP from an ISB) with massive boost levels (100+psi), nitrous oxide, propane, & huge fuel injectors. Many of these trucks double as the owner's only vehicle, and not a few are making double or triple the factory power on an untouched 100,000+ mile bottom end.

Other than the infamous 555 Cummins, there is no engine I have ever seen that is as universally hated as the 8.2 Detroit and the 9.0 International. The only good thing I've ever heard about either one is "they're cheap to replace when they let go". Detroit's record with any4-stroke smaller than a class 7 isn't very good. I'd rather have a gas engine.
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