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Old 09-17-2019, 09:04 PM   #1
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Late Model EPA Issues

So we all talk about the problematic EPA/EGR issues on the 04 and newers models and how expensive and hard to diagnose they are. Are they really? Does anyone have any personal experience dealing with these issues to say how expensive. When do the issues usually occur? Since it's a known issue I would imagine it raises it's ugly head early inlife, so would a bus 15 years old be a safe bet, or a mine field waiting to be walked?
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Old 09-17-2019, 09:30 PM   #2
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So we all talk about the problematic EPA/EGR issues on the 04 and newers models and how expensive and hard to diagnose they are. Are they really? Does anyone have any personal experience dealing with these issues to say how expensive. When do the issues usually occur? Since it's a known issue I would imagine it raises it's ugly head early inlife, so would a bus 15 years old be a safe bet, or a mine field waiting to be walked?
I keep seeing this from various board members. I think that itís good and bad. For instance the ODB2/CAN is great because it has sensors that can tell you whatís up with your engine. And if you ar properly equipped you can reprogram your diesel to for instance, get rid of that pesky EGR valve.

The other side of that sword is that check engine light. Itís told me that the variable vane solenoid on the turbo canít move the vanes in the turbo the full range and throws the light. Thatís bad since it means Iím pulling the turbo. The good news is that it told me of a condition that exists that I wouldnít be able to detect otherwise.

Still wish I had a 100% mechanical engine.
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Old 09-17-2019, 09:44 PM   #3
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I'd go with mine field.
My little 2005 Isuzu turbo diesel has all the EPA fixins except the regen system. If the check engine light came on I'd have to go to the dealer to get it read--lots of proprietary info not readable with anything less than a dealer level scanner. Each read was about $100. This was particularly annoying when the code was for a bad PTO switch. I didn't care about a PTO when I built my bus so I just didn't bother wiring it in. A hundred bucks later that CKENG warning meant nothing-- I wired the switch in and stuffed it under the dash and the code cleared itself.

The operative phrase here is "proprietary". This will become more and more common as mfg's seek ways to stay in business. For me, the answer (expensive at about $1,500) was a dealer level computer with access to all engine, trans, electrical, ABS, smog, wiring diagrams and a through diagnostic system. I sleep real good now knowing that when my bus gets towed to the nearest garage out in BF Nowhere, Bubba will be able to scan for the problem using my computer and get me back on the road.

If you have a post '04 bus with all the EPA stuff, a family or pets or a dedicated time line you better hedge your bet against the word "proprietary" Bubba and the parts houses won't have a clue and your OBDII scanner won't hook up!
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Old 09-17-2019, 09:57 PM   #4
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I'd go with mine field.
My little 2005 Isuzu turbo diesel has all the EPA fixins except the regen system. If the check engine light came on I'd have to go to the dealer to get it read--lots of proprietary info not readable with anything less than a dealer level scanner. Each read was about $100. This was particularly annoying when the code was for a bad PTO switch. I didn't care about a PTO when I built my bus so I just didn't bother wiring it in. A hundred bucks later that CKENG warning meant nothing-- I wired the switch in and stuffed it under the dash and the code cleared itself.

The operative phrase here is "proprietary". This will become more and more common as mfg's seek ways to stay in business. For me, the answer (expensive at about $1,500) was a dealer level computer with access to all engine, trans, electrical, ABS, smog, wiring diagrams and a through diagnostic system. I sleep real good now knowing that when my bus gets towed to the nearest garage out in BF Nowhere, Bubba will be able to scan for the problem using my computer and get me back on the road.

If you have a post '04 bus with all the EPA stuff, a family or pets or a dedicated time line you better hedge your bet against the word "proprietary" Bubba and the parts houses won't have a clue and your OBDII scanner won't hook up!
Jack
My Chevy Express cutaway has an ODB2 port. I kind of figured that itís standard. I use the ODB2 reader I bought years ago for working on gas engines. It works great mostly. I have found however that there are some extended codes that contain letters that donít read right, but I found that itís easy to discern anyway.
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Old 09-17-2019, 10:11 PM   #5
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Danjo, good luck with Bubba in BF Nowhere.
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Old 09-17-2019, 10:28 PM   #6
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Danjo, good luck with Bubba in BF Nowhere.
Jack
Thanks

(Wait...I’m Bubba!)
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Old 09-17-2019, 11:25 PM   #7
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Danjo, Ha, made me laugh. I'm trying not to be my own Bubba.
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Old 09-18-2019, 03:47 AM   #8
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Expensive and hard to diagnose? That's really decided by the manufacturer. Because these vehicles are designed for fleets which have service techs on staff, most of the time the driver gets nothing more than a Check Engine Light. It requires a diagnostic computer to determine what's really causing the fault and then depending on how forward-thinking the manufacturer was will determine how expensive the fix will be.

In the Class 8 world (that's semi trucks) there are usually a couple of indicator lights relating to the exhaust treatment system. There's a regen notification, a regen temp warning, and a DEF gauge just like fuel gauge. Beyond that, CEL just tells the driver "you can't fix this, go to the shop" and either their fleet or the dealership will address the issue.

Most of the systems I'm used to are DEF systems and in Class 8 these usually function for about 500k miles before they get terribly expensive. If the manufacturer didn't expect school buses to last that long, this system may have lower life expectancy than in a semi which averages 500k within 5 years versus buses which don't have half that in 15 years. Chances are age effects the system's reliability and performance before mileage takes its toll.

The only non-DEF system I am aware of is the EGR system which International tried in their MaxxForce series EPA-compliant engines and which was so abysmal it killed the entire line. Unfortunately, I think a lot of this technology is what we are finding in many of our buses which is why we have a jaded opinion of exhaust after treatment systems in general.
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Old 09-18-2019, 09:17 AM   #9
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Experience, I do this for a living so I have quite a bit.

Not only are the emissions systems adding in more **** to break and fix, the engines themselves are "updated" and have modern components added to them that are more costly as well.

Think of all the egr valves to plug up, egr coolers to leak, dpf filters to plug, dosing valves to ruin, def pumps to fail.

We just replaced a turbo on a 2014 because the internal acuator broke. That turbo was a couple grand alone. We had to also install a new actuator because the old one was so crusty and fragile from the heat that we couldn't install it on the new turbo.

In the old days, turbos never went "bad". They simply wore out and you replaced the cartridge with a new one and were back in business.

Now take a look at fuel injectors. In the old days, injectors were mechanical with a fixed pop pressure. That meant they were cheap, and you could swap in a new or a refurbished set with new nozzles for a few hundred bucks. Heck you could even "rebuild" your own in house with the right tools, which is what a lot of places did. The average joe was also capable of pulling and installing them.

Now a new piezoelectric injector cost a few hundred per injector. And they aren't serviceable but by only a few places. And installation typically requires a scan tool with OEM software that requires a subscription.

In the last 20 years, they've taken diesel engines from being stupid reliable and simple to fix, to something that requires constant maintenance and advanced training to repair.

All the above are reasons why we're now seeing gas engines coming back in medium duty service. Less maintenance, cheaper fuel, no def, etc.
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Old 09-18-2019, 09:26 AM   #10
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Oh, and in that turbo scenario, the check engine light was turned on, and power was derated to the point it would only idle. A 5 year old box truck that has been turned into something essentially useless until 5+ thousand dollars were spent on fixing it.

And the last set of injectors I installed weren't done because the bus ran rough, it was because the face of the oxidation catalyst would be plugged full of soot after only 2 weeks of use. That caused a check engine light and a power derate, bringing the bus back into the shop.

Meanwhile, the 20 year old buses that have worn seats and are rusting out just keep plugging on every day like they're supposed to.
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Old 09-18-2019, 09:29 AM   #11
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You want to buy a newer bus? Go for it. But most people on here $hit their pants when they have to spend 1000 bucks on tires, I can only imagine what they'll do when they need to spend more then double that to get back on the road. Especially when you consider the average purchase price of a few grand for a bus.

I'll stick with the old models that can be worked on with hand tools and a test light.
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Old 09-18-2019, 09:45 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by ol trunt View Post
I'd go with mine field.
My little 2005 Isuzu turbo diesel has all the EPA fixins except the regen system. If the check engine light came on I'd have to go to the dealer to get it read--lots of proprietary info not readable with anything less than a dealer level scanner. Each read was about $100. This was particularly annoying when the code was for a bad PTO switch. I didn't care about a PTO when I built my bus so I just didn't bother wiring it in. A hundred bucks later that CKENG warning meant nothing-- I wired the switch in and stuffed it under the dash and the code cleared itself.

The operative phrase here is "proprietary". This will become more and more common as mfg's seek ways to stay in business. For me, the answer (expensive at about $1,500) was a dealer level computer with access to all engine, trans, electrical, ABS, smog, wiring diagrams and a through diagnostic system. I sleep real good now knowing that when my bus gets towed to the nearest garage out in BF Nowhere, Bubba will be able to scan for the problem using my computer and get me back on the road.

If you have a post '04 bus with all the EPA stuff, a family or pets or a dedicated time line you better hedge your bet against the word "proprietary" Bubba and the parts houses won't have a clue and your OBDII scanner won't hook up!
Jack
I agree with this method of being able to troubleshoot on your own. Where were you able to find the computer? Do you have a name?
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Old 09-18-2019, 11:01 AM   #13
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I found mine on ebay. The guy I bought it from would probably be able to give you info. Here is his site:
https://www.ebay.com/sch/chrisbaran/...72.m2749.l2654.

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Old 09-24-2019, 05:59 AM   #14
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I am a manager for a bus company. I deal with this daily. We run thomas, MCI, and Champions (freightliner chassis). They all very depending on the year from just having egr coolers, to egr and particulate filters, to egr, particulate filters, and def systems. All are cummins engines except the MCI which is a detroit.

A number of repairs require the use of Cummins InSite software to calibrate or diagnose the issue. Example is new turbo actuators require calibration otherwise immediate failure. Which i have happen to me due to a bad shop not doing proper work. Just to do emissions work and diagnosis you need it. Its not cheap software and it is subscription bases. Renewed once a year.


To give an idea just a rebuilt egr from cummins for 6.7 is 1200 not including install. Particulate filters if completely plugged and cores are no good run about 6k or with good cores is about 4.5k. Again no labor added in. There are shops that specialize in cooking out plugged filters and its a lot cheaper than replacement but if they cant cook them out get ready to open your wallet. DEF systems that become contaminated with water can be costly to fix about 1000. Plus associated parts are not particularly cheap for that system as well.

If you properly maintain the emission systems they will generally be fine and trouble free and the newer systems installed by at least cummins in 2016 I have seen vast improvements on emission system reliability. earlier systems are still more problematic.
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Old 09-24-2019, 07:07 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by Danjo View Post
My Chevy Express cutaway has an ODB2 port. I kind of figured that itís standard. I use the ODB2 reader I bought years ago for working on gas engines. It works great mostly. I have found however that there are some extended codes that contain letters that donít read right, but I found that itís easy to discern anyway.
You own more of a van than a bus. At least mechanically speaking its a van.
Medium duty is a whole 'nother animal. Getting the parts or service you need isn't quite as easy.
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Old 09-24-2019, 07:11 AM   #16
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You want to buy a newer bus? Go for it. But most people on here $hit their pants when they have to spend 1000 bucks on tires, I can only imagine what they'll do when they need to spend more then double that to get back on the road. Especially when you consider the average purchase price of a few grand for a bus.

I'll stick with the old models that can be worked on with hand tools and a test light.
Anyone thinking of buying an EPA bus- just go to your local BIG Navistar/Cummins dealer and ask the service guys if its prudent. I did just this. They told me to avoid this newer stuff like the plague.
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Old 09-24-2019, 10:17 AM   #17
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Anyone thinking of buying an EPA bus- just go to your local BIG Navistar/Cummins dealer and ask the service guys if its prudent. I did just this. They told me to avoid this newer stuff like the plague.
To be fair though their perception is skewed by the fact that all they see are problem vehicles because no one stops by the dealer shop just to say, "Hey, Everything's Swell!". It's the same principle I apply to online reviews because for every positive comment there's probably 99 others satisfied but just didn't post but most people are all too eager to let the internet know how dissatisfied they are so negative comments only count 1-for-1.
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Old 09-24-2019, 10:38 AM   #18
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To be fair though their perception is skewed by the fact that all they see are problem vehicles because no one stops by the dealer shop just to say, "Hey, Everything's Swell!". It's the same principle I apply to online reviews because for every positive comment there's probably 99 others satisfied but just didn't post but most people are all too eager to let the internet know how dissatisfied they are so negative comments only count 1-for-1.
They're up to their ears in VT365's and Maxxforce. Its well known these are ridiculously problematic and its due to the emissions stuff.
Back in the days of mechanical DT's I don't recall them having quality control and engineering issues that put customers out of business with repairs and failures. The class action lawsuits came about because Navistar refused to remedy the situation with their emissions engines.
Nowadays if you buy a new IC and want a diesel you get a Cummins under the hood. The navistar shop is now also a Cummins shop.
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Old 09-24-2019, 12:17 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by Booyah45828 View Post
You want to buy a newer bus? Go for it. But most people on here $hit their pants when they have to spend 1000 bucks on tires, I can only imagine what they'll do when they need to spend more then double that to get back on the road. Especially when you consider the average purchase price of a few grand for a bus.

I'll stick with the old models that can be worked on with hand tools and a test light.
Preach it brother! There is a reason that the older mechanical diesel skoolies are getting harder to find. Im pretty sure it has less to do with milage and age, and more to do with the fact that no one wants to get rid of them because they just keep going.Ę2
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Old 09-24-2019, 01:01 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 81dzlcaddy View Post
I am a manager for a bus company. I deal with this daily. We run thomas, MCI, and Champions (freightliner chassis). They all very depending on the year from just having egr coolers, to egr and particulate filters, to egr, particulate filters, and def systems. All are cummins engines except the MCI which is a detroit.

A number of repairs require the use of Cummins InSite software to calibrate or diagnose the issue. Example is new turbo actuators require calibration otherwise immediate failure. Which i have happen to me due to a bad shop not doing proper work. Just to do emissions work and diagnosis you need it. Its not cheap software and it is subscription bases. Renewed once a year.

http://www.skoolie.net/forums/newrep...eply&p=350363#
To give an idea just a rebuilt egr from cummins for 6.7 is 1200 not including install. Particulate filters if completely plugged and cores are no good run about 6k or with good cores is about 4.5k. Again no labor added in. There are shops that specialize in cooking out plugged filters and its a lot cheaper than replacement but if they cant cook them out get ready to open your wallet. DEF systems that become contaminated with water can be costly to fix about 1000. Plus associated parts are not particularly cheap for that system as well.

If you properly maintain the emission systems they will generally be fine and trouble free and the newer systems installed by at least cummins in 2016 I have seen vast improvements on emission system reliability. earlier systems are still more problematic.
Thank you for this post, finally some numbers to back the claims. Seems the issues are much more expensive than I expected and absolutely cost prohibitive. But good to know the issue is lessened if proper maintenance s followed.
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