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Old 05-16-2013, 03:15 AM   #1
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Checking a new Bus t444e Turbo Seals?

I'm going to go look at a 6 window Thomas / IH short bus this weekend. It has the t444e engine and an auto - I'm guessing a 545.
The good news is that it has 80K on it milage wise. The bad is that the seller says it smokes when it's first started up but then clears up when it's warm. They think it's a turbo seal. I know it's not much to go on. But does this sound possible? How serious is fixing a seal? Do you have to rebuild the whole turbo charger? Also is it the kind of thing one could put off for a while if one wasn't going to be driving much?

And now I'll wait for the jokes about the fast aquatic critters.

But thanks for any advice in advance - benjamin
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Old 05-16-2013, 09:36 AM   #2
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Re: Checking a new Bus t444e Turbo Seals?

A bad turbo seal can make it smoke, but so can a worn injector pump, bad injectors, or simply a tired motor. How bad is it? Most diesels smoke a little on startup. If it was a turbo seal, I wouldn't have expected it to clear up after it warms up. If it is a turbo seal, they are pretty easy to rebuild. A note of caution...yes, you can ignore it for a little while if you don't drive it much, but if a turbo seal blows out completely and starts dumping oil into the intake, the engine can take off on you. Cutting fuel won't shut it off. Search "runaway diesel" on youtube What year is it?
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Old 05-18-2013, 02:16 AM   #3
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Re: Checking a new Bus t444e Turbo Seals?

Hi, thanks for the advice. That runaway diesel business makes me definitely think a chunky CO2 extinguisher would be a nice cuddly travelling companion. The bus is a Thomas, 1995, with the low roof (one strike against it). I got a chance to look at it today and am not sure what to think. I'm going to go back to drive it on Tuesday to see how it handles, shifts etc. The frame looks good (not that I'm an expert) but there wasn't any serious rust and it appeared to be straight. It has hydraulic brakes which also seemed ok. I think it may have it's original tires on it. Is this possible @ 80,000? - They didn't have deep tread, but they weren't bald and they weren't gouged either.

Smoke-wise I couldn't tell whether it was oil or fuel - mostly whitish not that thick, maybe a bit of a blue hue in there too, almost mor of a haze than something puffy. There was some smoke coming out of the breather and a little from the dipstick as well. Unfortunately the bus is at a scrapyard and they don't seem to have any information about its background. While I like air brakes (inherently trust them more) the fact that it's hydraulic and under CDL weight makes me think that it would be hard getting in too much trouble with the 5-oh driving it to a diesel shop etc. pre-conversion. I mean you either have 50 kids, humans, or labrador retrievers on there or not right?

Anyway without having driven it yet, the bus seems like it might be an ok deal? They're asking $2800. If you have any advice whether this is a good deal or not I am completely all ears. And very much appreciate it. Very glad to know about the runaway diesel thing too - that's new to me. I'll file it next to "dread-fear of widow-maker tires!" Which the bus has as well.

anyway thanks! -Benjamin
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Old 05-18-2013, 04:59 PM   #4
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Re: Checking a new Bus t444e Turbo Seals?

not sure about the whats smoking, I would think if it was a turbo seal it would smoke all the time, one thing about the 444 there is lots of parts around for them, I really like mine, its smokes blue every now and then, I think its oil, but Im not worried about it.You have to figure out if its fuel, or oils I may be wrong but blue is oil black is fuel and white is antifreeze, others here should correct me if im wrong .
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Old 05-18-2013, 07:25 PM   #5
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Re: Checking a new Bus t444e Turbo Seals?

White smoke is often unburned fuel due to a bad injector. Black smoke is too much fuel. If you want to talk about a smokey cold diesel start up, my example would be a Cat 3208. Stinky, too.
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Old 05-18-2013, 09:13 PM   #6
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Re: Checking a new Bus t444e Turbo Seals?

I would agree, my guess is an injector as well.
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