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Old 06-09-2019, 11:41 PM   #1
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Picking up a thatís T444E been sitting a long time,

Well, I finally won a bus! Itís a 2003 international 6 window dognose shorty with only 160k on the t444E with Allison 2000 tranny. She looks great in pics, but sheís been sitting over a year. Even when she was active, she was a reserve bus, not driven daily. Those low miles come at a price I guess.

So, I will likely need to give her a little love before she fires up for me and takes me home (from Austin, TX to Eugene, OR) 2000 miles of break in

Hereís what I know so far from talking to diesel friends and this forum and others:

1. If water has condensed in the tank, it will be at the bottom and I can drain off a little fuel and see how it looks/smells. Not sure exactly what Iím looking/smelling for, but maybe it would be obvious.

2. If air has leaked into the lines, I can crack the seals at the injectors and crank the engine until fuel comes out and then seal em up tight again to bleed the system. Iím wondering if I should just do this, or if I should only attempt if its not firing well on start up?

3. Maybe this should have been 1, but I should check my glow plugs with a voltmeter first thing once battery is charged.

4. I can use Diesel starter fluid, 3-4 cans and just crank until it starts or the battery dies, then maybe even recharge the battery and try again

If I make it through this list, Iíll probably tow it. I just bought a good Sam roadside membership and a stop at the mech is in the budget, maybe even worth it before the drip to make sure its running right and is gonna get me home. Could even pay for itself in fuel mileage if I can get it into an international shop who can unlock 6th gear in my Allison 2000 series tranny and tune it for highway speeds.

Thoughts on my plan? Iíll be flying (with loads of metal for the rock climbing Iím going to be doing on the way), so I need to keep my tool kit minimal. What would you bring in my position? Anyone know the sizes of wrenches involved? What about socket sizes for removing seats?

Hereís the bus for reference: https://m.publicsurplus.com/sms/auct...ew?auc=2348060

Any help is greatly appreciated, Iíve already learned tons on here and canít wait until the carpentry part where I can maybe impart a little knowledge of my own. the build along will be started shortly in the short bus section, cheers! Wish me luck!
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Old 06-10-2019, 12:39 AM   #2
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You're JWilliams


We were 'TheBus'


Glad you scored your ride. We got #3509.



Thanks for posting this thread. I had the same questions and was getting ready to do the same! So.... tag.
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Old 06-10-2019, 12:45 AM   #3
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You're JWilliams


We were 'TheBus'


Glad you scored your ride. We got #3509.



Thanks for posting this thread. I had the same questions and was getting ready to do the same! So.... tag.


That’s awesome! Glad you scored one as well, we were for sure bidding against some pros too! It was an adrenaline rush for sure. It would have been easy to overbid, luckily the pros stopped at my budget. Where is yours gonna live?
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Old 06-10-2019, 01:02 AM   #4
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I don't know anything about the T444, but in general,using a siphon hose, siphon fuel from the lowest part of the tank, after it's been sitting, into a clear jar. Water and fuel don't mix and it will be obvious in your test sample. If there is water in there, drain the whole tank and change filters and put fresh fuel in. I would not even think about using 3-4 cans of starting fluid. If it hasn't started with just a little of one can you need to address the issue. Too much fluid could cause damage. I don't know if that motor has a hand primer or not, but if it does, when you think you've pumped enough, pump some more. Cost me $125 to find that out.
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Old 06-10-2019, 01:18 AM   #5
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I would not even think about using 3-4 cans of starting fluid. If it hasn't started with just a little of one can you need to address the issue. Too much fluid could cause damage.
Just too be clear, i wasnít thinking of emptying all the cans at once. I think it was on a thread here where someone said to keep using small doses of starter to make the engine fire until the cycling of the engine pulls enough real fuel to clear out the worst of the gunk/old fuel. Still not saying its a good idea, but I believe that was their thought process. My understanding is that diesel can get condensation, and even mold scum, but that the chemistry doesnít really degrade like gas, since its a much less volatile fuel. Iíve read accounts online where diesels sitting for 5+ years had no water and no scum and after a quick prime, fired right up. I hope to be so lucky.
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Old 06-10-2019, 02:10 AM   #6
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Thatís awesome! Glad you scored one as well, we were for sure bidding against some pros too! It was an adrenaline rush for sure. It would have been easy to overbid, luckily the pros stopped at my budget. Where is yours gonna live?
That really is awesome! Two members here getting buses from the same auction while bidding against resellers. They are good looking buses too!
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Old 06-10-2019, 04:22 AM   #7
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Ok first off there are no glow plugs on that year there is a intake heater and if you you use starting fluid the heater can ignite it and destroy your motor secondly there are no "lines"to crack in order to bleed the fuel the it sounds like your being told about a idi injection system where as the t444e is a direct injection hydraulic controlled injection system
As for fuel just drain the tank there is usually a bolt on the tank to allow it .as for the fuel remaining in the system get it started and run it out but if there is water/debris that's made it past the filter it's probably already done it's damage and will have to be dealt with regardless but if you really need help starting it I've had good luck with a gas soaked rag over the intake as opposed to starter fluid but if you use starter fluid disconnect the heater grid first .
And get some kind of scan tool that can read live data a scan gauge d is the cheapest I know of .
Congratulations on your new bus
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Old 06-10-2019, 04:26 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tawdbb View Post
Well, I finally won a bus! Itís a 2003 international 6 window dognose shorty with only 160k on the t444E with Allison 2000 tranny. She looks great in pics, but sheís been sitting over a year. Even when she was active, she was a reserve bus, not driven daily. Those low miles come at a price I guess.

So, I will likely need to give her a little love before she fires up for me and takes me home (from Austin, TX to Eugene, OR) 2000 miles of break in

Hereís what I know so far from talking to diesel friends and this forum and others:

1. If water has condensed in the tank, it will be at the bottom and I can drain off a little fuel and see how it looks/smells. Not sure exactly what Iím looking/smelling for, but maybe it would be obvious.

2. If air has leaked into the lines, I can crack the seals at the injectors and crank the engine until fuel comes out and then seal em up tight again to bleed the system. Iím wondering if I should just do this, or if I should only attempt if its not firing well on start up?

3. Maybe this should have been 1, but I should check my glow plugs with a voltmeter first thing once battery is charged.

4. I can use Diesel starter fluid, 3-4 cans and just crank until it starts or the battery dies, then maybe even recharge the battery and try again

If I make it through this list, Iíll probably tow it. I just bought a good Sam roadside membership and a stop at the mech is in the budget, maybe even worth it before the drip to make sure its running right and is gonna get me home. Could even pay for itself in fuel mileage if I can get it into an international shop who can unlock 6th gear in my Allison 2000 series tranny and tune it for highway speeds.

Thoughts on my plan? Iíll be flying (with loads of metal for the rock climbing Iím going to be doing on the way), so I need to keep my tool kit minimal. What would you bring in my position? Anyone know the sizes of wrenches involved? What about socket sizes for removing seats?

Hereís the bus for reference: https://m.publicsurplus.com/sms/auct...ew?auc=2348060

Any help is greatly appreciated, Iíve already learned tons on here and canít wait until the carpentry part where I can maybe impart a little knowledge of my own. the build along will be started shortly in the short bus section, cheers! Wish me luck!
I've bought a few like yours. I'll bet you throw some new batteries in and its A-OK.
My bus was a reserve bus and its a cherry, man.
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Old 06-10-2019, 04:27 AM   #9
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Ok first off there are no glow plugs on that year there is a intake heater and if you you use starting fluid the heater can ignite it and destroy your motor secondly there are no "lines"to crack in order to bleed the fuel the it sounds like your being told about a idi injection system where as the t444e is a direct injection hydraulic controlled injection system
As for fuel just drain the tank there is usually a bolt on the tank to allow it .as for the fuel remaining in the system get it started and run it out but if there is water/debris that's made it past the filter it's probably already done it's damage and will have to be dealt with regardless but if you really need help starting it I've had good luck with a gas soaked rag over the intake as opposed to starter fluid but if you use starter fluid disconnect the heater grid first .
And get some kind of scan tool that can read live data a scan gauge d is the cheapest I know of .
Congratulations on your new bus
The 444E has glow plugs. They did till the end of production.
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Old 06-10-2019, 04:34 AM   #10
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The 444E has glow plugs. They did till the end of production.
My mistake
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Old 06-10-2019, 07:32 AM   #11
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Do *NOT* use starter fluid or anything volatile over the intake! The glow plugs will give it a backfire!


I'm betting you fly in, plan on a couple batteries, a fuel filter, crank on it a bit, and off you go. You may not even need batteries, at least to get going. Fuel that's only a year old, I wouldn't even bother draining unless there was a specific reason to, and I'm betting you won't be allowed to wherever the bus is sitting. The fuel filter/water separator will handle any water in the system (do get some extra fuel filters before leaving town, learn how to and plan on possible changes during the trip).


I didn't get into tires - if they hold air after a year and have tread, especially on a shorty, they'll likely get you home. Check the pressures. One company I worked for considered tires "FLAT" at 85 PSI.
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Old 06-10-2019, 09:08 AM   #12
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That really is awesome! Two members here getting buses from the same auction while bidding against resellers. They are good looking buses too!
3, actually. Another member here got one too!

As to batteries, is there a standard in terms of battery dimensions and post type/location? I'd like to purchase batteries ahead of time so I can charge them properly.
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Old 06-10-2019, 09:10 AM   #13
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3, actually. Another member here got one too!

As to batteries, is there a standard in terms of battery dimensions and post type/location? I'd like to purchase batteries ahead of time so I can charge them properly.
All mine have had stud-type terminal group 31's.
I get em for $75 at Rural King.
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Old 06-10-2019, 10:06 AM   #14
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Congrats. Bidding is always fun, as long as you stick to your prices and aren't afraid to walk. Sounds like you got a good one though.

1. If the tank has a drain, do it that way. A lot of your larger buses will have a plug at the bottom that's either hex or square drive. Fuel and water don't mix, if you're catching it in a container you should easily see the separation.

2. You're not going to be cracking any lines at the injectors. This is a HEUI engine. The fuel feed to the injectors is an internal passage in the cylinder head. I doubt you'll have air in the fuel system, and if you do, it will purge by cranking.

3. No need to worry about the glow plugs, it's warm enough out that they're operation shouldn't be necessary.

4. Don't use starting fluid.

My method?

1. Arrive at the bus and do a pre trip. Check fluid levels and check for water in fuel.
2. Attempt to start the bus. If it doesn't crank, head to the parts store for whatever you need(batteries,starter, etc.). While you're at the store, purchase and then install new fuel filters.
3. Reattempt to start. If it cranks but won't fire, figure out why. Whether it be a call to a mechanic or coming back here.
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Old 06-10-2019, 12:30 PM   #15
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All three buses that I have bought had been sitting for over a year.

Fresh batteries and all of them started right up.

It's good to be prepared for the worst and hope for the best.

Are these buses from Austin? T444&Allison 2000?
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Old 06-10-2019, 01:17 PM   #16
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Are these buses from Austin? T444&Allison 2000?

Yep. Those are the ones.
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Old 06-10-2019, 01:20 PM   #17
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As to batteries, is there a standard in terms of battery dimensions and post type/location? I'd like to purchase batteries ahead of time so I can charge them properly.

Typical and common Group 31 batteries, most likely. Usually there's 2 of them. My bus started and ran home on the batteries that were in it but they told me "batteries may be questionable but we'll make sure they'll at least get you started and home". I had to replace them about a year ago.


Batteries should come charged, and "charging properly" consists of installing them and driving the bus, assuming the charging system has no problems.


Batteries are best replaced as a set. A weak battery will drain a good one, shortening its life. They should be "matched" as closely as possible in terms of age, CCA, and all that.
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Old 06-10-2019, 01:37 PM   #18
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I appreciate the advice guys, as I'm sure does the OP. Since are interests are the same I don't consider this a thread hijack


Regarding batteries, first - thanks for the info! Regarding charging, however, as a former owner/operator of a motorcycle repair business, I've learned not to trust the state of charge, nor the initial battery prep, of off-the-shelf batteries. When the option is available, I always purchase them dry then fill & charge them myself. Those two steps can have a significant impact on the overall life of the battery. And it's far too common for people who pull & stock the batteries to either not fill them properly and/or w/ the correct acid concentration, and/or not charge them properly (or at all... a lot of times they just fill them and that's it, which is NOT bueno).


Of course, it's also common for shops to receive batteries pre-filled, and you often don't have the option of purchasing them dry (nor do they have the option of messing them up in prep, which is a good thing lol). Regardless, however, it's best to have them fully & properly charged before being put into service.


And that's the REALLY LONG way of explaining why I'd like to purchase the batteries ahead of time, and why I really appreciate you telling me what batteries we'll likely need
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Old 06-10-2019, 07:02 PM   #19
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So on the dash pic that shows mileage, there is also a battery gauge that says just shy of 14 volts. Think that it’s worth replacing batteries?
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Old 06-10-2019, 07:22 PM   #20
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Engine's off, so the gauge may be stuck...
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