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Old 10-12-2016, 12:59 AM   #1
Skoolie
 
Join Date: Aug 2016
Posts: 107
Back again...now with bus!

Howdy folks,

Last time I posted I was still on the lookout for a bus, well by pure luck I won an auction that I submitted a ridiculously low bid on. I guess nobody at the farm equipment auction was looking for a skoolie

Anyway, The bus is an 2003 RE3000 with 135k miles. 84 passenger so nice and long, just like I wanted! It was listed in auction as having a DT466, although pulling up the VIN shows it as having a T444, so not sure whats going on there.

Otherwise I dont really have much more information! The bus is located in Maryland and I am in Louisiana, so I will try and drive over this weekend to try and figure out if it will make the 1100 mile drive back here. The auction company tell me "it runs" but wont commit to anything further.

Anyway...fingers crossed this works out!
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Old 10-12-2016, 02:20 AM   #2
Bus Nut
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Winlcok, WA
Posts: 994
The vast majority of First Student RE buses have the smallest available engines with low HP ratings. They do this to keep the original investment down.

In reality, when the majority of the miles driven by a school bus during the service life is at 30 MPH or lower there is no need for HP and gearing to go 80 MPH with a full load.

In many states the smaller contractors and schools follow the same formula. If you can save $10K per bus that means every 9th or 10th bus is free.

So while your new-to-you bus was purchased at a really good price, don't expect to much out of that T444E. It is a great little engine but it does much better in a Ford pickup than in a bus that is rated at over 20,000 GVW.
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Old 10-12-2016, 11:03 AM   #3
Bus Geek
 
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Columbus Ohio
Posts: 3,079
Year: 1991
Coachwork: Carpenter
Chassis: International S3800
Engine: DT360
Rated Cap: 7 Row Handicap
Quote:
Originally Posted by cowlitzcoach View Post
The vast majority of First Student RE buses have the smallest available engines with low HP ratings. They do this to keep the original investment down.

In reality, when the majority of the miles driven by a school bus during the service life is at 30 MPH or lower there is no need for HP and gearing to go 80 MPH with a full load.

In many states the smaller contractors and schools follow the same formula. If you can save $10K per bus that means every 9th or 10th bus is free.

So while your new-to-you bus was purchased at a really good price, don't expect to much out of that T444E. It is a great little engine but it does much better in a Ford pickup than in a bus that is rated at over 20,000 GVW.
my latest bus is a shortie with a T-444E in it, the mid grade at 190 HP.. with an AT545, it moves that little short bus decently, that bus is only 17,500 GVWR..

the DEV is a DT-360 with (according to jasper) 185 HP, and an AT545.. that bus is rated at a GVWR of 27,500..

both busses max out top speed at about 68 MPH at 2600 RPM.. the new one might be a couple MPH faster..

the DT-360 being an I-6 has More brute off the line than the 444.. though once my revs are up, the seat of my pants feel is that the 444E will run faster than the DEV..

that 2003 Bus likely has a 2000 series allison so you wil have 5 gears ad a Lockup converter.. and you may have the 210 HP version in an 84 passenger bus.. im not sure ive seen one rated at the mid or low grade in that large chassis...

I dont think you'll have a hard time with it...

NOW as mentioned in various threads.. Dont get your 444 Hot..

BOTH of my Busses have come with bad fan clutches.. I jyst fixed the new bus yesterday and now it runs nice N cool..

you may be lucky and have a horton Air-electric fan clutch which have much lower failure rate than viscous clutches do..

many schools dont realize this because the fans run at the minimum rated speed all the time which in stop N go / idle traffic will cool a 444E 210 or below..

444's LOVE to get hot on the freeway if the fans dont turn on or if the radiator fins are clogged..

wheb you fly up and bring your bus back pay attention to your oil pressure and your temperature.. a temperature of 190-200 is optimal.. 210 is pushing it.. 230 and its time to take action.. in fact most of them have the computer programmed to turn on the temperature alarms and set a code at 230 or over..

you are bringig it from up north past the heat of the summer which will help but just pay attention..

if it slowly starts to get hot as your driving, turn on your heaters.. they will help dissipate engine heat.. on my new bus coming from houston to florida in mid 90s heat I had one stretch of time where I ran the rear heater on high to keep my temp at 210-215..

just something to pay attention to closely.. esp when you first start out on a long highway trip..

be sure your heater valves are open (if the yare closed when you buy the bus, open them and check for leaks by driving around for a while in town and then sniffing for coolant smell around the heating units..if they dont leak leave the valves open.. this gives you more coolant to circulate as well as a way to dissipate heat if you should need to)..

yours may be fine but theres been a few bad fans on here and ive now gotten 2 busses with bad fan clutches. hopefully yours has the nice Horton clutch that engages.. they go bad a Lot less than the viscous.

-Christopher
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Old 10-15-2016, 05:33 AM   #4
Skoolie
 
Join Date: Aug 2016
Posts: 107
Quote:
Originally Posted by cadillackid View Post
my latest bus is a shortie with a T-444E in it, the mid grade at 190 HP.. with an AT545, it moves that little short bus decently, that bus is only 17,500 GVWR..

the DEV is a DT-360 with (according to jasper) 185 HP, and an AT545.. that bus is rated at a GVWR of 27,500..

both busses max out top speed at about 68 MPH at 2600 RPM.. the new one might be a couple MPH faster..

the DT-360 being an I-6 has More brute off the line than the 444.. though once my revs are up, the seat of my pants feel is that the 444E will run faster than the DEV..

that 2003 Bus likely has a 2000 series allison so you wil have 5 gears ad a Lockup converter.. and you may have the 210 HP version in an 84 passenger bus.. im not sure ive seen one rated at the mid or low grade in that large chassis...

I dont think you'll have a hard time with it...

NOW as mentioned in various threads.. Dont get your 444 Hot..

BOTH of my Busses have come with bad fan clutches.. I jyst fixed the new bus yesterday and now it runs nice N cool..

you may be lucky and have a horton Air-electric fan clutch which have much lower failure rate than viscous clutches do..

many schools dont realize this because the fans run at the minimum rated speed all the time which in stop N go / idle traffic will cool a 444E 210 or below..

444's LOVE to get hot on the freeway if the fans dont turn on or if the radiator fins are clogged..

wheb you fly up and bring your bus back pay attention to your oil pressure and your temperature.. a temperature of 190-200 is optimal.. 210 is pushing it.. 230 and its time to take action.. in fact most of them have the computer programmed to turn on the temperature alarms and set a code at 230 or over..

you are bringig it from up north past the heat of the summer which will help but just pay attention..

if it slowly starts to get hot as your driving, turn on your heaters.. they will help dissipate engine heat.. on my new bus coming from houston to florida in mid 90s heat I had one stretch of time where I ran the rear heater on high to keep my temp at 210-215..

just something to pay attention to closely.. esp when you first start out on a long highway trip..

be sure your heater valves are open (if the yare closed when you buy the bus, open them and check for leaks by driving around for a while in town and then sniffing for coolant smell around the heating units..if they dont leak leave the valves open.. this gives you more coolant to circulate as well as a way to dissipate heat if you should need to)..

yours may be fine but theres been a few bad fans on here and ive now gotten 2 busses with bad fan clutches. hopefully yours has the nice Horton clutch that engages.. they go bad a Lot less than the viscous.

-Christopher
Thanks for all of the info! Information like this is what makes this site so valuable.

I actually am in the middle of the long drive up to MD and should see it for the first time today. Will give it a good going over to make sure it is fit to make the 1200mile drive next week!
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Old 10-16-2016, 01:19 AM   #5
Skoolie
 
Join Date: Aug 2016
Posts: 107
Ok, so I made the drive up from Louisiana and spent the morning giving the bus a going over...

It has the T444 as expected, not the DT466 as advertised. It is also a 78 seater. No rust anywhere on the bus, great tires (although didnt check the dates) and fired right up after a jump start. Not too bad for a $150 purchase!!







The only issue I can see is that there is some white smoke from the exhaust. Nothing much at idle, but under acceleration it is quite a lot. However it is not down on power (from what I could tell driving around the yard) and doesnt appear to miss. I spoke with the driver who brought it in (an auction employee) and he informed me it smoked the whole way, however in the 150mile drive it ran fine and used no oil. I also checked and could find no evidence of oil in coolant or coolant in oil. The only thing of note in the engine compartment was that it has an apparently new turbo fitted.

Would I be right in thinking a bad injector could be the issue? If so, how would I go about identifying which one it is? I may start a separate topic in the technical section to discuss. Would it be safe to drive it home like this other than what I assume will be reduced MPG?
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Old 10-16-2016, 04:17 AM   #6
Bus Nut
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Winlcok, WA
Posts: 994
Before I started throwing $$$ at the engine I would first give it a good hard run of 300-500 miles. If it has been sitting any length of time the rings may not be seating properly any longer.

A little wear and a little heat can make a world of difference on smoke.

Back in the day at the ski areas drivers used to sit and have the buses running all day long. By the time the started to head down hill the buses were putting up smoke screens. By the time they all got to the bottom of the mountain after several miles at speed most of the smoke was eliminated.

If you really think an injector is bad, I would pull all of them and take them in to be tested. They can clean up the dirty ones and rebuild the faulty ones.

And if you only paid $150.00 for it then you ought to be ashamed of yourself for stealing it from someone!
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Old 10-16-2016, 08:19 AM   #7
Bus Geek
 
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Columbus Ohio
Posts: 3,079
Year: 1991
Coachwork: Carpenter
Chassis: International S3800
Engine: DT360
Rated Cap: 7 Row Handicap
this is an HEUI engine... first thing to do is check for engine codes... bad injectors do happen on these.. as do a lot of electronic issues...

I just bought a 444E, ive spent a lot of time reading up and learning about them... I also have one that works right that we can use as a reference to look at sensor values and what not, if you need help with it..

-Christopher
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Old 10-16-2016, 09:06 AM   #8
Skoolie
 
Join Date: Aug 2016
Posts: 107
Quote:
Originally Posted by cowlitzcoach View Post
Before I started throwing $$$ at the engine I would first give it a good hard run of 300-500 miles. If it has been sitting any length of time the rings may not be seating properly any longer.

A little wear and a little heat can make a world of difference on smoke.

Back in the day at the ski areas drivers used to sit and have the buses running all day long. By the time the started to head down hill the buses were putting up smoke screens. By the time they all got to the bottom of the mountain after several miles at speed most of the smoke was eliminated.

If you really think an injector is bad, I would pull all of them and take them in to be tested. They can clean up the dirty ones and rebuild the faulty ones.

And if you only paid $150.00 for it then you ought to be ashamed of yourself for stealing it from someone!
Well the ride home is 1200 miles, so hopefully that's enough

And yes, I won it at auction for $150. Someone consigned it to a farm auction and I guess the farmers didn't want a skoolie So thanks to my favorite website (proxibid) I am the new owner!
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Old 10-16-2016, 09:09 AM   #9
Skoolie
 
Join Date: Aug 2016
Posts: 107
Quote:
Originally Posted by cadillackid View Post

I just bought a 444E, ive spent a lot of time reading up and learning about them... I also have one that works right that we can use as a reference to look at sensor values and what not, if you need help with it..

-Christopher
Sounds like we are about to become best friends

What tools are people using to read the codes? Heavy diesels do not use OBDII right?
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Old 10-16-2016, 10:03 AM   #10
Bus Geek
 
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Columbus Ohio
Posts: 3,079
Year: 1991
Coachwork: Carpenter
Chassis: International S3800
Engine: DT360
Rated Cap: 7 Row Handicap
you can read the 'flash codes' typically by turniungthe key to on... engine off... then pressing the diagnostic button on the dash next to the circular gray diagnostic connector... and ti will flash out the codesio n a sequence.. (remember the old GM's flashing the codes on their check engine light? )..

the International software for the 444E is free now.. its called Servicemaxx J1708.. but you need a hardware interface.. i have a NEXIQ USB link 2 but its a pricey device.. there may be dvices that are cheaper.. hopefully thats the case.

I took some baseline runs with my engine so when it breaks i have a reference...

white smoke can be a lot of things on a diesel..

it sounds like an injector might be dumping fuel in since it happens well after the engine warms up.. it coulkd be compression also..

does the engine run smooth? or does it have a noticeable 'skip' like it may be missing on one or more cylinders? is the 'WARN engine' light come on at any time while driving? does the engine temperature come up to normal? these engines were known to run hot so some people took the thermostats out altogether thinking it would make them run cooler..

-Christopher
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