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Old 01-30-2018, 10:04 PM   #1
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Join Date: May 2017
Location: Mableton, GA
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Year: 1997
Coachwork: Blue Bird
Engine: 3116 CATERPILLER
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Would you pay ???

Hello All,

I have a 1997 Bluebird with a 3116 Cat with 137K miles, her name is Brooklyn. Brooklyn was towed into a shop in Atlanta, GA, she lost power on I-20 the week of Thanksgiving.

Several thousand dollars, the mechanic says the trouble is with the copper diaphragm and the local Cat dealer would have to do the work. According to the mechanic, his friend at the Cat dealer says it would cost at $5K, but to plan to spend up to $7k.

This would bring the spend on the engine tp about $10K, which is four times the cost of the bus.

Knowing everyone life experience is different, would you make this investment? I'll take pros and cons.

Oh, and if you know of a reputable mechanic in the Atlanta area, I'm open to an intro.

Thanks,

Future Nomad TekelG2
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Old 01-30-2018, 10:27 PM   #2
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I did a quick Google search on this model of engine and symptom ... various people mentioned replacing the copper injector seats. The very sudden power loss was a common symptom.

Most agree it is a dealer/shop fix which involves specialized tools and procedures to remove, install, seat, and adjust everything. $5K seems like a lot of money and could about cover half the cost of an engine rebuild. Worth it? Hard to say. Is the bus more or less as it came from the school district? Or have you put a lot of time and money into it that can't be recovered if you get another bus?

If it's pretty much as-is when the school retired it, you may be better just picking up another bus. On the other hand, if you've done a lot of unrecoverable work, paint, roof-raise, etc., and you plan to run it a *LOT* of miles and years in the future, then some major engine work could be justified.

Since my bus is essentially stock, if it suffered a major failure, I wouldn't even have to ask. Buses hit the auction block every day, and I could cannibalize mine for parts. Once I've tied up $20K in various upgrades, mods, improvements, paint, and such, then refurbing it can begin to make more sense.

Railroads do the same thing, but they expect their equipment to have 30+ year life expectancies and when you consider a $250K locomotive rebuild compared to a $3M replacement ... well ... you can see why they get rebuilt a number of times before they are retired. Even very heavily damaged wrecked ones are often rebuilt.
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Old 01-31-2018, 05:12 AM   #3
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The injectors/cups are the bane of the 3116.

Cats aren't the only expensive buses to fix. Navistar are probably just as bad. Any bus is gonna be big money to fix if you can't do it yourself.
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Old 01-31-2018, 10:39 AM   #4
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Sorry about your woes. Sending good vibes your way.



This is what EC mentioned, but you mentioned diaphragm...sounds like injection pump.

Please post the mechanics diagnosis verbatim.
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Old 01-31-2018, 07:33 PM   #5
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Year: 1997
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Hi Brad Swift_Fur,

Thank you for your response and thoughts on the subject. Brooklyn is pretty much the same when it was picked up from the Ohio school district, less the seats, cost of the professional driver to get it into Atlanta and its two tows.

I would like to travel the US and Canada in the future. Maybe I should look at a different rig that doesn't need a huge investment before its conversion, heck my first road trip that's longer than moving it from the storage yard to my home.

Thank you again for sharing.

TekelG2
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Old 01-31-2018, 07:37 PM   #6
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Hi EastCoastCB,

Thank you for sharing. I am a newbie and learning. I'll be dependent on a mechanic to do the work, at least until I learn some more.

Thank you for sharing,

TekelG2
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Old 01-31-2018, 07:47 PM   #7
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Hi Rusty,

Thank you for the good vibes and the video. I believe this is the work Cat dealer would have to perform. Here are the exact words, "Cat Dealer is telling us they are thinking about $4900 for the injector cup replacement- that's with the truck being at their shop".

"They said there is a good chance the price will grow since this is an older vehicle and there may be some discovery items- I would plan on an additional $5500-$7500 in repairs to be safe."

It looks like I'll going shopping. Now how does one get rid of an undrivable bus?

Thank you again,

TekelG2
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Old 01-31-2018, 07:49 PM   #8
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Risty, I forget to mention I like what you do when there is nothing on TV. Let's not get weird.
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Old 01-31-2018, 11:20 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tekelg2 View Post
Risty, I forget to mention I like what you do when there is nothing on TV. Let's not get weird.
I can't stand tv- there is NEVER anything on. I don't really watch movies, either. I do love youtube educational videos- you can become an expert in anything in a few hours.

I like to learn- teaching myself to TiG weld now. So far, I am a Modern Metal Sculpture Artist, but I was trying to make a bracket. The whole affair is Jodi's fault. He is one of those Masters who makes it look like child's play- curse him.

So, is the bus good, other than the motor? Tires? Good Trans? Shoot. Maybe somebody will read this in Georgia...

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Old 01-31-2018, 11:22 PM   #10
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Join Date: May 2016
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There's a bus "dealer" who advertises fairly regularly on the Atlanta Craigslist; he's out of the Loganville area. I've talked to him a couple times over the phone; seems like the kind of guy who was willing to negotiate. Maybe he'll work a trade?

I live not far from Atlanta, if you'd interested in talking or getting my feedback on a prospective bus. Or driving, since that's what I do for a living. PM me if interested.
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