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Old 11-06-2017, 11:01 PM   #1
Skoolie
 
Join Date: Oct 2017
Location: Pensacola, Fl
Posts: 118
Year: 2000
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: not sure
Engine: Catepillar 3126B not Cummins
Rated Cap: not sure
The 8.3L L6 Diesel is now mine.

I know it's too late now to ask this question, the bus that I ended up getting is from Md. Before I made my decision on this bus, I tried to find out from the seller what was the idling hours, as well as, mileage which I knew to be 53000 miles. Never got an answer until I went to pick up the bus. I discovered it to be 17000 hours give or take. I took it anyway after spending time and money to get myself and my brother up there to begin with. My understanding the formula to translate hours to mileage is, one idling hour is equal to 25 miles ends up being 425000 miles. Is there any chance I could be wrong? If not what do I do to mitigate the wear and tear on the engine without actually replacing it? It broke down half way to Fl. While getting fuel, my brother became aware of something leaking underneath the bus. It was too dark to see what it was and my brother who was doing all the driving wanted to keep going. About 100? miles down the road, I got him to stop at a rest stop. He finally turned off the engine, he orginally was going to let it idle whenever it came to a stop. I decided to investigate the leak. I could see splatter mark on the hoses. I brought to his attention. It was now light enough to check the fluids. Discovered it was the oil. I googled, hoping to find someone who was open and could come by to see the condition of the bus. This 24 hr guy answered and when I told him the situation, he said the engine was problably blown. In order for him to come out it would cost me $200 on top of that it would be an additional 250 for the oil, and he would eventually show up to check out the situation. He basically left me hanging in the wind. During the interim, a bunch of brand new Thomases were being transported from the factory in N.C to S.C. After telling them the situation, one of them came to investigate the situation. he told me that thought the dipstick is coming up dry, it still has some oil in the engine. I called the 24 hr guy to get an update on his arrival, he told me that he probably couldn't do anything for the bus and he'd have to tow it to his garage. I started calling around again and found someone who was nearby and would come look at the bus. I told 24 hr guy sayanora. The new gentleman looked at the bus, said I didn't blow the engine, investigated further, said something about the air filter not having been replaced in a long time and caused a blow back ? of the oil. He said it would make it to Fl, but keep an eye on the oil. So here I am with a bus.
Now this is my question about a possible layout for the bus. It's based off of a gypsy wagon design BNB that was at least 10 ft wide. I had to play with it so it would work in the bus dimensions. One thing I found out is I can't use 2x4s because it'll takeup way too much space and in order to use a full size bed which is the only thing that will fit in there. I will have to use 2x2s instead. This is the Italian website's version, followed by my proposed layout. Please tell me what you think. The first few is from the Italian website, what I want to do is push back the bathroom so I could have access to the bed instead of just from the foot. The others are based off of other skoolies. The Adventure or Bust bus I like very much. The issue with it is, it doesn't have exposed wheel hubs in front or back. I have them in the front. So don't quite know what to do with that. I've also uploaded a updated layout of my own. The dimensions was originally mean't for a 27 ft bus and I have a 30 ft bus, but the layout remains the same. Forgot to mention, since the bus is only 90 inches wide. 2x2's will be used for the outside frame as well as the wall separating the bed from the bathroom. I can only use a full size mattress and the bathroom will be 30 inches x 74 inches.

bus layout.jpgCasa+mobile+-+Roulotte+in+legno.JPG

casa+mobile+gitana.JPG

Casa+mobile+-+salotto.JPG

layout 1.jpg

tiny-home-bus-interior.jpg

Adventure_or_Bust_BEDROOM_COUCHTOTV.jpg

Adventure_or_Bust_BEDROOM_INSIDEREARFORWARD.jpg
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Old 11-06-2017, 11:29 PM   #2
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Join Date: Dec 2016
Location: Anaconda,MT
Posts: 258
Year: 1995
Coachwork: Amtran
Chassis: International
Engine: DT466 Turbo
Rated Cap: 90
My bus has 6800 hours and 123,000 miles and I was told that is high hours to miles, at 17k hours I would guess 300k miles plus , To me it sounds like you guys ran a higher mileage engine out of oil. The only kind of blow by I know of is from worn piston rings, and if it’s spraying oil out of something it sounds like it has bad blow by. Did anyone check the oil before leaving and at first every 50-100 miles to see and get a feel if it’s eating anything like oil?

I like your vision, used all 2x2s and TG pine for mine. But I would have shop check out your engine for blow by and if it’s bad you might be in for a rebuilt unless you plan on parking it.
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Old 11-06-2017, 11:37 PM   #3
Skoolie
 
Join Date: Oct 2017
Location: Pensacola, Fl
Posts: 118
Year: 2000
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: not sure
Engine: Catepillar 3126B not Cummins
Rated Cap: not sure
I'm not sure to tell you the truth. I know nothing about these things, so I could of heard them wrong. I was also running on 3 days without sleep. So who knows for sure. All I know is I made it back to Fl. And after keeping an eye on the oil, didn't need to keep adding it.
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Old 11-07-2017, 04:39 AM   #4
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Join Date: Sep 2014
Location: Eustis FLORIDA
Posts: 18,484
Year: 1999
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: Freighliner FS65
Engine: Cat 3126
Rated Cap: 15
Always carry a gallon jug of oil with you. It costs $60 to change the oil on a bus, don't let anyone sell you oil for $250!

!7,000 hours is a lot, but at least your engine is worth it.
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Old 11-07-2017, 06:38 AM   #5
Bus Geek
 
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Columbus Ohio
Posts: 11,837
Year: 1991
Coachwork: Carpenter
Chassis: International 3800
Engine: DTA360 / MT643
Rated Cap: 7 Row Handicap
heres the thing about that 8.3, its pretty stout.. ands if you ran it out of oil, oyur oil P gauge wouldve been bouncing off of 0.. and likely an alarm sounding..

Blow-by.. a bad air filter can cause the intake to suck air.. if that bus has a RACOR crank case ventilation system on it.. then it would definitely suck oil but would burn it and not throw it on the ground..

throwing oil on the ground at high engine speeds is a sign (as noted in an easrlier post) of high amounts of Blow-by.. which is caused by worn piston rings. theres a draft tube coming off of the side of the engine which points at the ground, that tube will blow smoke under normal conditions.. if you are blowing lots of oil out of it at high speeds then the engine is worn. my guess is that you started out on the highway running and gunning.. and blew oil out of the draft tube.. filled it back up and then took it easier on it the rest of the trip (or by then you were out of the hills and on flat ground which would be easier on the engine)...

the 8.3 is a wet sleeve engine which means it **CAN** be rebuilt without being removed from the bus.. I realize you know nothing about diesels, but if it were mine id start learning about its health before making a conversion, and decide whether it really needs rebuilt or not. 17,000 hours on one of those would be into a territory where overhaul isnt out of the question.

glad you made oit back to FL safe and sound!!
-Christopher
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Old 11-07-2017, 09:42 AM   #6
Skoolie
 
Join Date: Oct 2017
Location: Pensacola, Fl
Posts: 118
Year: 2000
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: not sure
Engine: Catepillar 3126B not Cummins
Rated Cap: not sure
Thanks everyone for you feedback. I suspected that the engine would end up being the priority, but one could always hope. Is there any possibility I might be able to get the school district mechanics to look at the bus, since they are the most familiar with these buses?
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Old 11-07-2017, 09:54 AM   #7
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Join Date: Dec 2016
Location: Anaconda,MT
Posts: 258
Year: 1995
Coachwork: Amtran
Chassis: International
Engine: DT466 Turbo
Rated Cap: 90
Honestly don't know if it works like car nor have I ever seen an 8.3 in person but I would start the engine get it to running temp and take off the oil cap were you fill it and see how much smoke is coming out of there and also see if you can plug it with your palm if there is a lot of air/smoke then it's likely a blow-by problem, also find that blow by tube like caddy kid said and do the something if you can see how much smoke is coming out and if you can safely cap the end with your hand and feel how much air is coming out.

They at the bus barn would be happy to give you advice, but I don't think they are really allowed to work on it or anything, I maybe wrong on that one.
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Old 11-07-2017, 10:59 AM   #8
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Join Date: May 2009
Location: Columbus Ohio
Posts: 11,837
Year: 1991
Coachwork: Carpenter
Chassis: International 3800
Engine: DTA360 / MT643
Rated Cap: 7 Row Handicap
Quote:
Originally Posted by skytz View Post
Thanks everyone for you feedback. I suspected that the engine would end up being the priority, but one could always hope. Is there any possibility I might be able to get the school district mechanics to look at the bus, since they are the most familiar with these buses?
comtacting the original bus fleet manager and just asking questions might be a better bet, they would know why the paerticular bus was sent off to auction

school system mechanics usually wont work on anything thats not theirs unless you can snag one of them, pay them cash / beer under table after hours to give you a tour / assesment of your bus..

also.. drive it.. fill up the oil, then take it on a short ride.. warm it up, jump uop on I-10 and run it up to speed for 10 m,iles or so, then pull off into an exit and look under it.. see if theres is oil dripping all over or not..

the best way rto start learning about your bus is to get familiar with it.. if you dropped a couple gallons of oil on your trip, something is going to be greasy somewhere.. get your crappy jeans on and look around. and see whats wet and what is dry... try to get an idea of where it came from.. and if it looks like there is old and new grime.. if its all new grime. then it could be somethign like a seal broke from the bus sitting.. but if theres a lot of old and new thick grease everywhere then it indicates a long term issues.. ie blow-by that built up, a leaking seal, etc..
-Christopher

-Christopher
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Old 11-07-2017, 06:55 PM   #9
Skoolie
 
Join Date: Oct 2017
Location: Pensacola, Fl
Posts: 118
Year: 2000
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: not sure
Engine: Catepillar 3126B not Cummins
Rated Cap: not sure

Thanks so much guys, all this info is worth its own form of weight in gold. There are some physical restrictions that I can't bypass. Too many years of working in warehouse and yoyo effect from weight has caused my knees to lose a good amount of cartilage. But that won't stop me, that's why I'm pacing myself on this bus. Has anyone ever used metal studs instead of wood? I'm curious to see the difference between the two
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