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Old 12-03-2015, 10:44 PM   #1
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Year: 1990
Chassis: Chevy Blue Bird Mini Bird (P30)
Engine: GM Diesel 6.2
Starting Up

I'm just about to acquire a school bus but it's been sitting for a few years. Not sure how long.

What happens if it doesn't turn over? What could be the cause and what will I need to do?
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Old 12-07-2015, 05:46 PM   #2
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Year: 2000
Chassis: International 3800
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Rated Cap: Your mom +1
Could be anything from a seized motor, bad starter, bad wiring, low oil, bad door switch, dead batteries, blown fuses.... etc. the list goes on. I would have a competent mechanic with you when you go check it out.
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Old 12-07-2015, 10:25 PM   #3
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Engine: Cummins 5.9TA
Try to jump start it. If it's not a dead battery then I'd pass it up.
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Old 12-07-2015, 11:12 PM   #4
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he best buses to buy have been just sitting

Almost all buses not used all the time will have low or dead batteries. Buy or make a good set of jumper cables. Number 2 welding cables about 8 feet are good to have with a bus. Get good cable end clamps for high amperage.
You can change up the bus batteries from your car/truck. Charging will probably need about 30-60 minutes. Crank engine for a full minute, rest for a whole minute, then crank engine again. The first crank makes heat and engine will probably start. Make sure fuel tank is at least 1/4 full. Starting fluid is a must for a nonactive diesel engine. I have started an old Greyhound that was sitting for about 8 years. Yep the start needed a couple cans of start fluid. Only use start fluid as engine is turning. Modern diesels have glow plugs that react to start fluid while at rest. Negotiate a good buying price with a not started engine. A multimeter will show 12.6 volts with a good battery.
Frank in Idaho
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Old 12-08-2015, 11:14 AM   #5
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Join Date: Nov 2015
Location: South Florida
Posts: 112
Year: 1990
Chassis: Chevy Blue Bird Mini Bird (P30)
Engine: GM Diesel 6.2
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Originally Posted by frank-id View Post
Almost all buses not used all the time will have low or dead batteries. Buy or make a good set of jumper cables. Number 2 welding cables about 8 feet are good to have with a bus. Get good cable end clamps for high amperage.
You can change up the bus batteries from your car/truck. Charging will probably need about 30-60 minutes. Crank engine for a full minute, rest for a whole minute, then crank engine again. The first crank makes heat and engine will probably start. Make sure fuel tank is at least 1/4 full. Starting fluid is a must for a nonactive diesel engine. I have started an old Greyhound that was sitting for about 8 years. Yep the start needed a couple cans of start fluid. Only use start fluid as engine is turning. Modern diesels have glow plugs that react to start fluid while at rest. Negotiate a good buying price with a not started engine. A multimeter will show 12.6 volts with a good battery.
Frank in Idaho
Thanks for the advice. I ended up buying the bus today, actually, and will have it towed to a friends yard tomorrow. It only cost me $425. What about checking the oil? How would I go about cleaning the fuel tank? What's the best way to do it to see if it runs?
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Old 12-08-2015, 03:46 PM   #6
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Unscrew the battery caps and check the water levels in the cells. If any are low, top them off with distilled water. Battery plates showing above water level is a bad sign (possibly shorted plates).

Put a charger on the batteries overnight if you can plug in where you are. My guess is that they won't take a charge after sitting that long but you may get lucky. Jumping off another vehicle can work but use good quality jumper cables. Thin, cheap cables may not pass enough juice to get you started.

While it's charging check your oil and coolant levels. Don't worry if levels are a bit low 'cause you'll need to change all fluids and filters anyway.

Once you get it started, pour some Power Service Clear Diesel (Walmart has it) into the fuel tank to remove any water or algae in the tank. If the fuel level is really low draining the tank is an option.

Basically, charge the batteries, turn the key and hope for the best. If it doesn't start let us know what happened and we'll go from there.
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Old 12-08-2015, 04:26 PM   #7
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Do not forget start fluid, about 4 cans. Hold the throttle down about half. There are different techniques for starting different diesel engines. Now tell all about the new bus, as, maker,engine,trans,length,year,and miles. Color is not important. Now ya can check tire birth dates. Any previous work on bus. Ah yes, another day in paradise, here in Idaho........ Frank
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Old 12-09-2015, 12:00 AM   #8
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Join Date: Nov 2015
Location: South Florida
Posts: 112
Year: 1990
Chassis: Chevy Blue Bird Mini Bird (P30)
Engine: GM Diesel 6.2
Quote:
Originally Posted by frank-id View Post
Do not forget start fluid, about 4 cans. Hold the throttle down about half. There are different techniques for starting different diesel engines. Now tell all about the new bus, as, maker,engine,trans,length,year,and miles. Color is not important. Now ya can check tire birth dates. Any previous work on bus. Ah yes, another day in paradise, here in Idaho........ Frank
It's a 2003 Blue Bird. Roughly 30-32 feet long, according to the VIN it weighs 26,000 pounds. The odometer is exempt. I believe the dashboard cluster is gone. I'll have to probably buy another and hook it up. It's only had one owner, my local school district.
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Old 12-09-2015, 11:25 AM   #9
Skoolie
 
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Join Date: Nov 2015
Location: South Florida
Posts: 112
Year: 1990
Chassis: Chevy Blue Bird Mini Bird (P30)
Engine: GM Diesel 6.2
Quote:
Originally Posted by roach711 View Post
Unscrew the battery caps and check the water levels in the cells. If any are low, top them off with distilled water. Battery plates showing above water level is a bad sign (possibly shorted plates).

Put a charger on the batteries overnight if you can plug in where you are. My guess is that they won't take a charge after sitting that long but you may get lucky. Jumping off another vehicle can work but use good quality jumper cables. Thin, cheap cables may not pass enough juice to get you started.

While it's charging check your oil and coolant levels. Don't worry if levels are a bit low 'cause you'll need to change all fluids and filters anyway.

Once you get it started, pour some Power Service Clear Diesel (Walmart has it) into the fuel tank to remove any water or algae in the tank. If the fuel level is really low draining the tank is an option.

Basically, charge the batteries, turn the key and hope for the best. If it doesn't start let us know what happened and we'll go from there.
Got some pictures. Doesn't look like there is a transmission... and there are no batteries.

http://s1075.photobucket.com/user/jacobszall/library/?sort=3&page=1
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Old 12-09-2015, 11:35 AM   #10
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Location: Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario
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Year: 1997
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Chassis: B3800 Short bus
Engine: T444E
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Quote:
Originally Posted by frank-id View Post
Do not forget start fluid, about 4 cans. Hold the throttle down about half. There are different techniques for starting different diesel engines.
Quote:
Originally Posted by jacobszall View Post
It's a 2003 Blue Bird
You best find out what engine you're starting before forcing ether down its throat. It can do damage to engines with heating elements such as glow plugs or grid heaters. Know FOR SURE that it's OK before proceeding.
Frank alluded to this previously, but didn't instill the importance of not creating an intake bomb.
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