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Old 10-17-2019, 12:50 PM   #1
Skoolie
 
Join Date: May 2019
Location: Lake Geneva, Wisconsin
Posts: 210
Year: 2008
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: Saf-T-Liner HDX
Engine: CAT C7 300hp w/retarder
Rated Cap: 46 + 1 36,200 lbs
First 1000 Miles in the New Bus

I just brought the bus home from Colorado to Wisconsin. A trip of roughly 950 miles. It was an interesting experience. It took me a bit longer than I expected. But now with the benefit of hindsight I can see that this was to be expected. This being my first trip ever driving a nearly 40 foot bus, of which I am the owner, brought a lot of different requirements into play.

First off, at some point after I had purchased the bus I observed that the coolant overflow tank on this bus was empty and the inside of the tank was dirty. Embarrassing that I didn’t catch that before committing, but that’s the way things go sometimes . I knew that this could be an indication that the engine was consuming coolant, which could indicate a bad head gasket or a cracked head. At least before I committed to buying the bus, I had done an extensive test drive and not noticed any overheating issues. So as I was setting out on my journey I was thinking that I could have wasted my money on a bus that was in need of thousands of dollars of repairs. About halfway into the trip I discovered what Is almost certainly the problem. The overflow tank has a pressure cap on the top and a filler cap near the end that are separate. I had been mainly concerned with topping off the coolant via the filler cap. About 500 miles into my trip, I checked the pressure cap and noticed that it was not seating properly. Upon further inspection I discovered that the plastic ears on the neck that secure the cap to the tank are broken or rather degraded to the point were the cap was not sealing. This would cause a condition where the cooling system would never be able to hold pressure and was basically open to the atmosphere. I think this explains the slow loss of coolant. I was under the impression that these engines are supposed to run hot, but I never saw any any temp over 200 indicated and never saw any indication that coolant was boiling off. In any case it will be good to get a new tank, one that is not opaque, so that I can easily monitor the level.

Secondly, I was dealing with a dysfunctional fuel gauge that could be reporting any level of fuel at any given moment. Not knowing how much fuel the engine would be consuming and not 100% certain that the engine was running properly, I stopped frequently to check the coolant level and top off the fuel tank. Towards the end of the trip I gained enough confidence to cover 350 miles between fueling’s, which would draw down what I think is my 60 gallon tank by 50 gallons. I will use a tape measure to get the dimensions of the tank and calculate its capacity to get a more definitive answer.

All in all, I am quite happy with the results of this first trip. I wish the fuel mileage was a little bit higher, but the bus ran strong and went down the road well. I want to look into the operation of the front air bags asI think the bus is sitting a little bit low in the front and should’ve had a little bit more cushion as I was traversing Illinois’s cratered interstate 39
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Old 10-17-2019, 02:09 PM   #2
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Join Date: Sep 2014
Location: Eustis FLORIDA
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Year: 1999
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Funky fuel gauges are just par for the course. Glad you got it home and figured out your cooling system's issue.
My wife's miata recently had a similar problem. Just got done fixing it.
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Old 10-17-2019, 03:27 PM   #3
Skoolie
 
Join Date: May 2019
Location: Lake Geneva, Wisconsin
Posts: 210
Year: 2008
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: Saf-T-Liner HDX
Engine: CAT C7 300hp w/retarder
Rated Cap: 46 + 1 36,200 lbs
I wonder if I will have to buy the overflow tank from Freightliner or if there will be aftermarket options.

Thanks for the kind thoughts about getting home safely.
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Old 10-17-2019, 04:05 PM   #4
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Location: Dawsonville, Ga.
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Year: 1999
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wrenchtech View Post
I wonder if I will have to buy the overflow tank from Freightliner or if there will be aftermarket options.

Thanks for the kind thoughts about getting home safely.
Look at all the connections on the existing tank, should be able to find an aftermarket that will work and save a few bucks.
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Old 10-17-2019, 06:40 PM   #5
Skoolie
 
Join Date: May 2019
Location: Lake Geneva, Wisconsin
Posts: 210
Year: 2008
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: Saf-T-Liner HDX
Engine: CAT C7 300hp w/retarder
Rated Cap: 46 + 1 36,200 lbs
The stock installation is on really nice brackets. I wouldn’t want to have to reinvent that. First I need to see what the dealer has. I am wondering if the steak is specific to this application or if it’s a tank that used on a number of different applications. If it’s the latter, it may be possible to find one from the aftermarket.
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Old 10-17-2019, 06:47 PM   #6
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Join Date: Jun 2013
Location: Picton,Ont, Can.
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Year: 1997
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Chassis: GMC
Engine: Cat 3116
Rated Cap: 72
Scrap yards should have something similar.


Well done getting that bus home!


John
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Old 10-17-2019, 10:51 PM   #7
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Location: Rapid City, SD
Posts: 429
Year: 2001
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Chassis: CS RE
Engine: ISC 8.3 L 260 hp
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Good work! Isn't it a relief to make it home and not have the stress of wondering if you might have to make a roadside repair?

Ted
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Old 10-17-2019, 11:17 PM   #8
Skoolie
 
Join Date: May 2019
Location: Lake Geneva, Wisconsin
Posts: 210
Year: 2008
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: Saf-T-Liner HDX
Engine: CAT C7 300hp w/retarder
Rated Cap: 46 + 1 36,200 lbs


In my neighbor’s driveway.
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Old 10-19-2019, 01:35 AM   #9
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Join Date: Dec 2016
Location: Calgary, Alberta
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Engine: Cummins ISC 260HP/660Torque
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I'm sure I've seen that neighbor's bus on here somewhere.
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Old 10-19-2019, 01:36 AM   #10
Skoolie
 
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Join Date: Dec 2016
Location: Calgary, Alberta
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Year: 2001
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I'm sure I've seen that neighbor's bus on here somewhere.
or is that your bus in your neighbor's driveway?
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Old 10-19-2019, 04:39 AM   #11
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Join Date: Sep 2015
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Year: 2002
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Engine: Caterpillar 3126E Diesel
Rated Cap: 71 Passenger- 30,000 lbs.
Quote:
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or is that your bus in your neighbor's driveway?
iI believe he meant that his bus is parked at his neighbor's house.


Sure is a nice looking machine!


Your neighbor has a huge driveway!
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