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Old 04-18-2018, 02:55 PM   #1
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Dec 2017
Location: Everywhere.
Posts: 28
Year: 2004
Coachwork: International / IC
Chassis: IC Corporation/Blue Bird
Engine: Navistar DT466E
Rated Cap: 19 + wheelchair capacity
Words can't express my anger.

Hello. I have nowhere else to turn to, so please bear with me while I get all of this out.

So, a month-and-a-half ago my perfectly good Altima conked out on me. Forced into a corner, and having just enough savings, I splurged on a school bus. I had been planning on getting some sort of minibus for a couple years.

A co-worker of my mother, both of them working at the Louisiana Department of Transportation, said he would do the maintenance necessary to get the bus up to snuff ,for my road trip from Louisiana to the Calgary area. The man is a professional Napa mechanic.

Fortunately, I made it here with no issues. After 2 days of being parked in the extremely cold weather, leaks were everywhere. George, a fellow skoolie here, who happened to live relatively close, came to look at it. He gave me a lot of good, no, ..great insight.

I had the bus towed to the nearest town, which cost 500 DOLLARS, to see what they could do.

I just spoke to the mechanic, who told me that the oil cooler needs to be fixed/replaced, the radiator needs to be replaced because of leaking, and the rear oil seal needs to be replaced.

Minimum, $4,000. I believe he said that was just for the radiator. He's going to try to find A way to replace it with a spare, or something along those lines.

I'm so angry and defeated right now I don't even know what to say. I had about $12,000 saved for this. The bus itself costs about $5,600. Everything I've spent has gone down the toilet.

I'm so shocked and unsure of what to do at this point. I have about $3,000 left to work with.

Oh, I forgot the best part. The mechanic in Louisiana did not do any thing.

Nothing.

Did not change the oil, did not change the fluids, no hoses or belts.

Nothing. And now, all of those things are broken and have caused major damage.

I'm ready to give up. A year's worth of savings, gone.

Thank you for letting me vent.

Michael
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Old 04-18-2018, 09:42 PM   #2
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Join Date: Dec 2017
Posts: 971
Quote:
Originally Posted by mrmchoohaa View Post
Hello. I have nowhere else to turn to, so please bear with me while I get all of this out.

So, a month-and-a-half ago my perfectly good Altima conked out on me. Forced into a corner, and having just enough savings, I splurged on a school bus. I had been planning on getting some sort of minibus for a couple years.

A co-worker of my mother, both of them working at the Louisiana Department of Transportation, said he would do the maintenance necessary to get the bus up to snuff ,for my road trip from Louisiana to the Calgary area. The man is a professional Napa mechanic.

Fortunately, I made it here with no issues. After 2 days of being parked in the extremely cold weather, leaks were everywhere. George, a fellow skoolie here, who happened to live relatively close, came to look at it. He gave me a lot of good, no, ..great insight.

I had the bus towed to the nearest town, which cost 500 DOLLARS, to see what they could do.

I just spoke to the mechanic, who told me that the oil cooler needs to be fixed/replaced, the radiator needs to be replaced because of leaking, and the rear oil seal needs to be replaced.

Minimum, $4,000. I believe he said that was just for the radiator. He's going to try to find A way to replace it with a spare, or something along those lines.

I'm so angry and defeated right now I don't even know what to say. I had about $12,000 saved for this. The bus itself costs about $5,600. Everything I've spent has gone down the toilet.

I'm so shocked and unsure of what to do at this point. I have about $3,000 left to work with.

Oh, I forgot the best part. The mechanic in Louisiana did not do any thing.

Nothing.

Did not change the oil, did not change the fluids, no hoses or belts.

Nothing. And now, all of those things are broken and have caused major damage.

I'm ready to give up. A year's worth of savings, gone.

Thank you for letting me vent.

Michael
Micheal...I'm so sorry this has happened to you...plz be assured not of us are thieves...I wish I could help...
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Old 04-19-2018, 12:17 AM   #3
Bus Crazy
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Winlcok, WA
Posts: 1,796
I can't tell you how sad and angry your experience makes me.

Unfortunately there are a lot of shops out there who turn a small job into a major expense without ever really tackling the original complaint or request.

Due to a lot of politics (for lack of a better definition) one of the buses our church owns went to the local Peterbilt dealer to have the oil changed and a couple of air leaks fixed. Over $4,000.00 later we got the bus back with the wrong oil in the sump and the original air leak not repaired. And a month later the belts that were replaced had to be replaced because the wrong belts were installed.

You don't say how old the bus is, which chassis it has, or what engine it has. There are some special characteristics of certain engines that can make some of your issues more or less of a major problem.

When it comes to radiators, particularly on an IC/IHC chassis that has a radiator that incorporates an intercooler for the turbo, it is more cost effective to bite the bullet and get a new radiator. Unless it can be rebuilt. Most newer radiators are made out of aluminum and rebuilding is difficult and more expensive than replacement. Older radiators made out of brass and copper with metal top and bottom tanks can be rebuilt which can save some $$$. Depending upon the size of the radiator $4K may not be out of line. I just this week purchased a new radiator for my 1997 K2500 Suburban with the big block and it cost me $280.00. Last fall a new radiator for my 1995 K1500 Suburban with the small block cost me $180.00.

Sometimes the leaks are caused by using the wrong oil. If the viscosity is too light it will tend to leak out everywhere. Or it could be that all of the nuts and bolts need to be snugged up a little bit. The first thing I would do would be to clean everything up shiny new clean and then run the bus to see where the leaks are occurring. Sometimes the drip will drip from a location that has nothing to do with where the leak originated.

Some of the issues may just be due to the fact the bus has lived in LA and is now freezing in Canada. I ran into some problems with a bus that had lived in southern CA where it was dry and it really didn't like living in the wet NW.

The issues you described didn't sound like it warranted a $500.00 trip on the hook to a shop. But, just like the tow bill, parts and pieces for a bus come with bus sized prices. And if you can't do the work yourself it is going to get really expensive really fast.

Again, I am sorry you have had such a bad experience.

Good luck and happy trails to you!
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Old 04-19-2018, 01:03 AM   #4
Bus Crazy
 
Join Date: May 2016
Location: Georgia
Posts: 1,041
Year: 2001
Coachwork: Blue Bird
Chassis: IH
Engine: T444E
Rated Cap: 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by cowlitzcoach View Post
You don't say how old the bus is, which chassis it has, or what engine it has. There are some special characteristics of certain engines that can make some of your issues more or less of a major problem.
This info was shown in the profile. DT466E engine in an '04 IH bus.
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Old 04-19-2018, 01:51 AM   #5
Bus Crazy
 
Join Date: May 2016
Location: Georgia
Posts: 1,041
Year: 2001
Coachwork: Blue Bird
Chassis: IH
Engine: T444E
Rated Cap: 14
The oil cooler on these engines is a known failure point but as often as not, there's no easy way to know if or when they will fail. It's not a terribly difficult fix, though it can take some time. I would not replace the radiator unless it was leaking. You may have water in the oil and oil in the coolant, since both these fluids go through the oil cooler. The rear-main seal leak - I would ask how bad is it? We talking 1-gallon-every-5000-miles, or 5-gallons-a-mile? That may be something you can live with in the interim until finances allow a fix.

I would also ask about the coolant itself. While diluted coolant will provide sufficient anti-freeze protection in the relatively mild southern temperatures, going far north will require much better freeze protection. Was this checked? It should have been.
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Old 04-19-2018, 03:07 AM   #6
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Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Winlcok, WA
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brad_SwiftFur View Post
This info was shown in the profile. DT466E engine in an '04 IH bus.
Silly me.

I know I had seen the info somewhere but read back through the post multiple times and didn't see it.
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Old 04-19-2018, 03:14 AM   #7
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Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Winlcok, WA
Posts: 1,796
I too would not be in a big hurry to swap out a lot of expensive parts.

A gallon in 5000 miles is not a big deal. A gallon in 1000 miles is starting to be a big deal. A gallon in 500 miles or less starts to get very messy and very expensive.

Determining what is leaking, where it is leaking, and how much it is leaking can only be determined by cleaning everything up and then driving it around. Before driving and after cleaning going around the engine and snugging up any fasteners will go a long way towards eliminating possible leak sites.

Oil coolers are trouble prone and are a known to leak over time. The main reason why I am swapping out the radiator on my 1997 Suburban is the transmission cooler is leaking into the coolant. I now have a bunch of pink gobs in my coolant.
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Old 04-20-2018, 12:37 AM   #8
Skoolie
 
Join Date: Feb 2018
Location: Pendleton Indiana
Posts: 197
Year: 2010
Coachwork: IC
Engine: MF DT466
Rated Cap: 81
Man this sucks. Prices seem high but prob on par for a heavy shop. Did the mechanic walk you through and show you all these problems and give you an estimate for it? Also if not have you looked all these things over to see if you recognize the problems stated?
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Old 04-20-2018, 01:05 AM   #9
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Dec 2017
Location: Everywhere.
Posts: 28
Year: 2004
Coachwork: International / IC
Chassis: IC Corporation/Blue Bird
Engine: Navistar DT466E
Rated Cap: 19 + wheelchair capacity
Thank you everyone for your responses. After a cooling-off period, and some thinking, I'm not nearly as defeated as I was. It's still not great, but I'm going to figure it out.

The bus is about 40 minutes away from me, and I really want to go have the mechanic walk me through the issues. By phone is just not enough. I think I'm going to do it tomorrow if possible.

It's funny. When I crossed the border into Canada, as is typical, their concern was that I am not trying to take jobs away from Canadians. What they didn't realise that I was giving them all of my money. Quite the opposite!

😱

Michael
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Old 04-20-2018, 05:52 AM   #10
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Join Date: Sep 2014
Location: Eustis FLORIDA
Posts: 13,735
Year: 2004
Coachwork: IC
Chassis: CE300
Engine: DT466E
Rated Cap: 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by mrmchoohaa View Post
Thank you everyone for your responses. After a cooling-off period, and some thinking, I'm not nearly as defeated as I was. It's still not great, but I'm going to figure it out.

The bus is about 40 minutes away from me, and I really want to go have the mechanic walk me through the issues. By phone is just not enough. I think I'm going to do it tomorrow if possible.

It's funny. When I crossed the border into Canada, as is typical, their concern was that I am not trying to take jobs away from Canadians. What they didn't realise that I was giving them all of my money. Quite the opposite!

😱

Michael
Sorry bout your luck. FWIW my 2004 has a lot of leaks. Shop quote to fix my front cover leak was $9k.
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