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Old 10-19-2015, 09:05 AM   #1
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How often to start and run the bus?

DW's father spent over 30 years as a diesel mechanic in Seattle and Oroville, WA, and on his recommendation I've been starting up the bus and running it for at least 15 minutes once a week, then bleeding the air tanks when I'm done. I plan to do that while it's parked and I'm still converting it so it stays in running condition (one of the things I hate when looking at bus ads is "it ran when parked x years ago").

Just wondering, what do other folks do to keep your bus ready to go while it's parked?
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Old 10-19-2015, 09:16 AM   #2
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I start mine up about twice a month on average.
I let it warm up for fifteen mins or so, then i drive it around a little.
Draining the tanks afterwards is a good idea.
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Old 10-19-2015, 12:28 PM   #3
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Every two weeks she is fired up and tanks bled......
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Old 10-19-2015, 12:32 PM   #4
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From my own research and deductions it seems to be best to winterize the vehicle and then leave it alone. If you're worried about the batteries then take them inside and put them on a trickle charger. I leave mine connected and periodically charge the batteries throughout the winter. Make sure the coolant has an appropriate ratio of water to antifreeze and the necessary SCAs. Fill the fuel tank all the way. Put some stabilizer in it if it pleases you (again, I don't and have not had any problems. Diesel stores well).

Intermittently starting and idling a diesel does it no good. It will not get up to proper operating temperature and thus diesel and moisture from the air will condense on the cylinder walls (called cylinder wash). It will contaminate the oil and reduce lubrication in the cylinders. Many people run intermittently throughout storage, but it doesn't make it the right thing to do.
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Old 10-19-2015, 12:34 PM   #5
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Allow me to amend my post. Usually every two weeks I'm driving somewhere to get a quote on some work, so I kinda mis-led y'all. Sorry.
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Old 10-19-2015, 12:42 PM   #6
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99% of all engine damage is done in the first 30 seconds to 3 min of the engine running. This is due to expansion and contraction of internal components, and lack of lubrication.

To needlessly start a large diesel engine is just doing it damage.

15 min is not even enough to bring the large engine up to operating temperature.

Without bringing the engine to operating temperature, the oil never gets hot enough to evaporate the water accumulated from condensation. The condensation is caused by changes from hot to cold. Starting / shutting down.
So with repeated short runs of 15 min, the oil will just collect more and more water, leading to engine damage.

As jazty mentioned, it's best to winterize your engine, and leave it alone.

We run a fleet of 400 buses. We don't go around messing with the spares unless they are needed.

If I was to start all 5 Cummins engines I own, I would wear them out before they ever landed in a finished project.

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Old 10-19-2015, 12:53 PM   #7
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I know I'll not be that guy with a bus that "started when parked 5 years ago".
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Old 10-19-2015, 01:02 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EastCoastCB View Post
I know I'll not be that guy with a bus that "started when parked 5 years ago".
No, you will be the guy with a messed up engine from short cycling it.

I would never buy a bus from someone doing so.

It's like buying a car from someone that only ever drove it to the store a block away. The engine would be toast, but the rest of the car would be low miles.

Far more damaging than leaving it alone.

I'm starting to see why your engine starts so easily from small 12 volt battery's. I wonder how much compression is left in each cylinder. Newer, factory compression engines take far more power to turn over when starting.
Your engine is likely has vary low compression.

Nat
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Old 10-19-2015, 01:21 PM   #9
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Great, another thread goes in the crapper from the Frick/Frack Bros.

Sorry I even asked.

Thanks to those that gave good information without sniping at each other. I'll take it all into consideration.

I'm outta this thread.
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Old 10-19-2015, 03:01 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EastCoastCB View Post
I start my bus every couple weeks and DRIVE it....
This is the big thing: driving it. That's fine. If you need to move it around from time to time then go for it; let that engine spin by giving it a reasonable drive. That being said, I still wouldn't recommend starting it and driving it just because you don't want it sitting around. There's no reason for it.

- full tank of diesel;
- top off the oil;
- appropriate antifreeze/water ratio; and
- battery minder.

Then it can sit happily for many, many months.
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