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Old 12-03-2020, 05:49 AM   #41
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And GM is known for bulb sockets getting flaky with time.

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Old 12-06-2020, 03:20 PM   #42
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Coachwork: Blue Bird (Shortbus 4 window)
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Rated Cap: 20 passengers
Hey all, I want to thank you again for your support and ideas to try and help me solve the electricity issues.

It turns out its a little problem we used to refer to in my tech support days as, PEBCAC, or problem exists between computer and chair.

There is indeed a switch on the...switch cluster? Panel? The only thing Id been using it for was to turn the fan on and off. I knew the button for the identification lamps was there before, but I forgot about it at some point along the way.

Its a weird feeling to be sinking with shame and buoyed by success at the same time. Not unlike holding a weight in water while wearing a life jacket, I suppose.

I recognize that I owe some people a beer and I look forward to the time when that can happen again. If yall ever find yourself in Minneapolis, hit me up.

So the lights work and weve been working our way down to Mesa, AZ for the last three days and its been fun. And not so much. Its definitely been a learning experience.

So were headed into mountains for the first time with this lil rig that could, and I wanted to see if anybody had hints on how to handle that? We have no RPM gauge, so were limited to sound, mostly. And smell, I guess. Any tell tale warming signs I should be aware of, like if this is happening pull over immediately?
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Old 12-06-2020, 03:53 PM   #43
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Without a tachometer to monitor engine RPM's, temperature gauges will be your best indicator on how the engine and/or transmission are doing on the open road.

Assuming there are functioning gauges on your bus to monitor those details?

The next best thing to ensure your voyage goes without any roadside assistance, is simply take it slow. Pushing an aged bus in undetermined mechanical condition above its "happy zone" could lead to an early demise underhood.
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Old 12-06-2020, 04:20 PM   #44
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Yeah, we have oil pressure, engine temp, and a volt gauge.

She seems to have a happiness range up to appx 68, so we haven’t been pushing past 65 on flat portions. Anything after that and it goes from a more fun Linda Belcher “Wah” to a kind of sustained Wario “WAAAHHHHHH” which does not feel like we’re doing the engine any favors.
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Old 12-06-2020, 04:46 PM   #45
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Also, the bus is struggling on significant inclines. It isnt quite taking pushing the pedal to the floor to maintain speed, but its close.

Plus, just after the crest of the hill, its shifting into a higher with a noticeable jerk. Is this you need to stop bad?
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Old 12-07-2020, 04:38 PM   #46
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Just take it easy on the mountains and don’t race the engine. Pretend you’re a tractor trailer and stay to the right.

You can get aftermarket tachometers, the easiest would be one that plugs into the obd2 port on there. (Usually under the dash but search for a picture if you don’t know what that is) I have a blue driver which is mainly a scan tool but it has a feature to display the engine rpm’s. It connects to your smart phone. Then you’ll have a good scan tool too!

https://www.bluedriver.com/products/...iver-scan-tool
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Old 12-07-2020, 04:41 PM   #47
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It’s not good for a transmission to jerk. If you ease off the gas before it shifts then it shouldn’t be so bad if a jerk. Almost always bad transmission problems require a rebuild, but if you baby it it could still last a long time.
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Old 12-07-2020, 04:56 PM   #48
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My bus has a 2000-series and I've always felt it to be pretty jerky. This is the only school bus I've ever driven so I have nothing to compare it to, but all three mechanics who have done work on it and test driven it have told me it's normal. It's definitely smoother on flats and jerkier going up hills.
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Old 12-10-2020, 07:05 AM   #49
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So were headed into mountains for the first time with this lil rig that could...

If you're in AZ, which mountains are you headed into? If the Flagstaff area, let us know. We would be happy to offer local info and support...plus a bit of welding/mechanical assistance (no charge for a bit...) if you need. Ross and Kara 928-554-5219
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Old 08-03-2022, 06:35 PM   #50
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Hey all, long time no update. Hasn't been a lot of activity lately, but last summer we managed to build a bed inside the bus with the help of my partner's woodworking father. It's pretty sweet, there's a lot of storage under the thing, including a section for our water tank and it disassembles to allow us to continue to haul 4x8' pieces of whatnot. We also installed rails on the roof as a base for a rack and potentially deck. But at the very least, somewhere to attach solar panels.

We just drove it out to Bozeman from Minneapolis in June. Aside from losing a little more oil than I was comfortable with, the bus was a champ. Fast forward through a wedding and a bit of Covid and we headed back on a Saturday night.

We didn't get far before realizing the brakes didn't feel right. Truthfully, they felt bad. Checked the fluid and it was almost empty. Found a mechanic open on Sundays in nearby Glendive, Montana, so we opted to stay the night.

Next day, the mechanic, George, informs us that our brake cylinders were bad. Indeed, he showed me where one side was leaking terribly. The other side was covered in a dark grease, which he guess was coming from bad seals in the brake drums or something.

Fast forward five ridiculous days of some of the worst customer service and mechanic performance I've had the displeasure of experiencing, in addition to a tour de local hotels, and the brakes are done. They assured us that they took it out for a spin to make sure everything works. I believed him, too, as I quickly found his greasy handprints all over the steering wheel, door handle, etc. It was not a great experience, but the brakes were fixed and we were so ready to go.

We almost got to Fargo when the bus started acting funny again. This time it started to fishtail on the highway, so we quickly pulled over, and began calling tow companies. Being a Thursday night, I thought it would be easy to find one, but it took almost three hours to find somebody who agreed to tow us to a local mechanic in Casselton, ND.

One INCREDIBLY hairy and wildly unsafe maneuver later, we are back in another crappy hotel waiting for mechanics to look at our bus. Thankfully, the mechanic shop has a pretty lax policy with their loaner cars and we were able to get back home. But our bus is still in ND.

The prognosis from Earl's Repair: The rear differential is shot, needs replacing. Can either get a used one with a 90 day warranty for $3200 or a remanned one with a 2 year warranty for $6000. These prices included installation.

But it isn't just the differential. The wheel bearings on one of the rear wheels are bad, too. Both the differential and the bearings seized up at the same time, which is odd to a person with very limited mechanical experience. Is it also odd to somebody who knows more?

So the cost to get the bus back to a rolling state is at least $3200, not including the wheel bearing replacement.

To save you the trouble, it's a 2001 GMC Savana 3500 with a Bluebird body, appx 210,000 miles. Just had transmission rebuilt two years ago, at which point they said the rest of it looked like it was in good shape. When we had the vacuum pump replaced last winter, they said as much. The current mechanic at Earl's will not say one way or the other until they can get it into their shop.

How do you know when to walk away from a rig? If I get the differential fixed, am I likely to have to fix something else next? I know this is a difficult thing to answer because nobody can see the bus, but I guess I'd like to know if you have any experience in walking away or sticking it out and how it panned out for you down the line. Any and all advice is very much welcome.
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Old 08-03-2022, 06:36 PM   #51
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Know when to fold them?

Hey all, long time no update. Hasn't been a lot of activity lately, but last summer we managed to build a bed inside the bus with the help of my partner's woodworking father. It's pretty sweet, there's a lot of storage under the thing, including a section for our water tank and it disassembles to allow us to continue to haul 4x8' pieces of whatnot. We also installed rails on the roof as a base for a rack and potentially deck. But at the very least, somewhere to attach solar panels.

We just drove it out to Bozeman from Minneapolis in June. Aside from losing a little more oil than I was comfortable with, the bus was a champ. Fast forward through a wedding and a bit of Covid and we headed back on a Saturday night.

We didn't get far before realizing the brakes didn't feel right. Truthfully, they felt bad. Checked the fluid and it was almost empty. Found a mechanic open on Sundays in nearby Glendive, Montana, so we opted to stay the night.

Next day, the mechanic, George, informs us that our brake cylinders were bad. Indeed, he showed me where one side was leaking terribly. The other side was covered in a dark grease, which he guess was coming from bad seals in the brake drums or something.

Fast forward five ridiculous days of some of the worst customer service and mechanic performance I've had the displeasure of experiencing, in addition to a tour de local hotels, and the brakes are done. They assured us that they took it out for a spin to make sure everything works. I believed him, too, as I quickly found his greasy handprints all over the steering wheel, door handle, etc. It was not a great experience, but the brakes were fixed and we were so ready to go.

We almost got to Fargo when the bus started acting funny again. This time it started to fishtail on the highway, so we quickly pulled over, and began calling tow companies. Being a Thursday night, I thought it would be easy to find one, but it took almost three hours to find somebody who agreed to tow us to a local mechanic in Casselton, ND.

One INCREDIBLY hairy and wildly unsafe maneuver later, we are back in another crappy hotel waiting for mechanics to look at our bus. Thankfully, the mechanic shop has a pretty lax policy with their loaner cars and we were able to get back home. But our bus is still in ND.

The prognosis from Earl's Repair: The rear differential is shot, needs replacing. Can either get a used one with a 90 day warranty for $3200 or a remanned one with a 2 year warranty for $6000. These prices included installation.

But it isn't just the differential. The wheel bearings on one of the rear wheels are bad, too. Both the differential and the bearings seized up at the same time, which is odd to a person with very limited mechanical experience. Is it also odd to somebody who knows more?

So the cost to get the bus back to a rolling state is at least $3200, not including the wheel bearing replacement.

To save you the trouble, it's a 2001 GMC Savana 3500 with a Bluebird body, appx 210,000 miles. Just had transmission rebuilt two years ago, at which point they said the rest of it looked like it was in good shape. When we had the vacuum pump replaced last winter, they said as much. The current mechanic at Earl's will not say one way or the other until they can get it into their shop.

How do you know when to walk away from a rig? If I get the differential fixed, am I likely to have to fix something else next? I know this is a difficult thing to answer because nobody can see the bus, but I guess I'd like to know if you have any experience in walking away or sticking it out and how it panned out for you down the line. Any and all advice is very much welcome.
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Old 08-03-2022, 10:26 PM   #52
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If the gears in your differential got so bad that the rear end locked up there would be metal filings in the gear oil which would have ruined the wheel bears on both sides of the axle.

You will have to decide if it's worth fixing. That would depend on how much time and money you have into your build. $3200 would go quite a ways toward something else.

Ted
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Old 08-03-2022, 10:59 PM   #53
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welcome to world of

heavy use medium/light duty vehicles.

I am not shocked, surprised over your description. Unfortunately I would ask, When did you have the rear end gear oil changed? When did you have a total inspection done?

It takes a two hour minimum to visually inspect just about any vehicle. Gear oil in an ideal situation would be changed every year. Differential/bearings inspected every 30,000 miles or so. Is this done? very rarely. Many European vehicles should get the brake fluid flushed once a year according to the owner's manual. Is that done here in the USA. not very often.

There are a few people on skoolie.net that are deep into preventive maintenance. not many. I bought a bus back in october... I am just getting around to greasing the chassis and I already put more than 3,000 miles on it. I really need to get the wheels off and inspect all the brakes and wheel bearings. I have no maintenance records at all. I am pretty sure it really is 60,000 miles since 1994. All of it in a parking lot five miles long. The throttle linkage is a completely worn out wobbly mess to the point I only have 85% of full throttle. I have never seen a street car with linkage any where near this bad at 60,000 miles. The kind of wear I see is like stuff i have seen on tractors made in the 1950's and havd been in used on the farm since then.

Yup, the cost is going to suck. You might be able to do it your self cheaper but, HOW much time can you afford to work on it? I do most of my own work and it is work. I am so out of touch about what shops charge because I have not had anything except paint and body work done by other people in about 35 years. You can do this your self but it will take time to do it...

call me if you wanna talk about this used rear end you are thinking of having put into the bus... seven eight five two zero seven seventy six hundred

william
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Old 08-04-2022, 01:47 PM   #54
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But it isn't just the differential. The wheel bearings on one of the rear wheels are bad, too. Both the differential and the bearings seized up at the same time, which is odd to a person with very limited mechanical experience. Is it also odd to somebody who knows more?
If the rear diff goes out in a way that causes the rear end to shake more than as originally engineered, then yeah, it could/would (eventually) cause the rear wheel bearings to wear out prematurely.

The rear diff is something that honestly, most people and places have a tendency to ignore these days, as 'modern' vehicles are "lubricated for life (of the vehicle)" (LOL!)--which is basically a way of saying, when this **** starts to break, we just want you to buy a whole brand new one. Realistically, the rear differential should be drained and refilled periodically based on the kind of lube that is used in it, normally every 90K miles and/or 2-3 years or so... The only exception to this is if you put in some very expensive SynLube oil, and maybe some hexagonal boron nitride as a treatment (according to the directions) which would allow you to push it up to something like 300K-1M miles.

Regardless of which lube juice you decide to go with, or whether you walk away from this project, I, personally, would recommend that you change out the wheel bearings on both sides of the back axle at the very least, since you know they have been subjected to some extreme abuse to the point of causing failure on one side. Ideally, you would just replace ALL the wheel bearings, and keep everything nice and fresh.

Quote:
Originally Posted by frankles View Post
How do you know when to walk away from a rig? If I get the differential fixed, am I likely to have to fix something else next?
You walk away from a rig when you're done with it.

This is not an 'investment' like a real house is, it is a machine with lots of parts, a bed, and a port-a-potty inside it. Machines require maintenance, and neglecting that maintenance will only cause you headaches, pains, and wallet-aches later on down the line. Yes, you will have to fix something else down the line, especially considering the mileage on it. The upside to taking care of as much as you can, and ensuring that it is done right, is that you won't generally need to worry about things later on down the line. I've had a 2003 vehicle that I put several thousand into preventative maintenance starting around 190K and going up to about 210K, and for years afterwards, the only thing I had to do was oil changes, and the only major issue that popped up was when the camshaft position sensor went out, which caused my oil pump to stop working, and was quickly remedied for under $100 in parts, with me doing the work.

You will not EVER make a 'profit' off it, nor should you expect to.
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Old 08-04-2022, 03:29 PM   #55
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if you go with a used one i would stick want the bearings and seals replaced and the gear cover opened up for an inspection before the bearings and seal.
single rear wheel or dual rear wheel?
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Old 08-04-2022, 05:24 PM   #56
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Albatross View Post
If the rear diff goes out in a way that causes the rear end to shake more than as originally engineered, then yeah, it could/would (eventually) cause the rear wheel bearings to wear out prematurely.

The rear diff is something that honestly, most people and places have a tendency to ignore these days, as 'modern' vehicles are "lubricated for life (of the vehicle)" (LOL!)--which is basically a way of saying, when this **** starts to break, we just want you to buy a whole brand new one. Realistically, the rear differential should be drained and refilled periodically based on the kind of lube that is used in it, normally every 90K miles and/or 2-3 years or so... The only exception to this is if you put in some very expensive SynLube oil, and maybe some hexagonal boron nitride as a treatment (according to the directions) which would allow you to push it up to something like 300K-1M miles.

Regardless of which lube juice you decide to go with, or whether you walk away from this project, I, personally, would recommend that you change out the wheel bearings on both sides of the back axle at the very least, since you know they have been subjected to some extreme abuse to the point of causing failure on one side. Ideally, you would just replace ALL the wheel bearings, and keep everything nice and fresh.



You walk away from a rig when you're done with it.

This is not an 'investment' like a real house is, it is a machine with lots of parts, a bed, and a port-a-potty inside it. Machines require maintenance, and neglecting that maintenance will only cause you headaches, pains, and wallet-aches later on down the line. Yes, you will have to fix something else down the line, especially considering the mileage on it. The upside to taking care of as much as you can, and ensuring that it is done right, is that you won't generally need to worry about things later on down the line. I've had a 2003 vehicle that I put several thousand into preventative maintenance starting around 190K and going up to about 210K, and for years afterwards, the only thing I had to do was oil changes, and the only major issue that popped up was when the camshaft position sensor went out, which caused my oil pump to stop working, and was quickly remedied for under $100 in parts, with me doing the work.

You will not EVER make a 'profit' off it, nor should you expect to.

I fix stuff on my busses all the time... I also get a LOT of trouble-free and enjoyable miles out of them... the experiences of meeting people, seeing the road from a new perspective.. bus-meet groups, the work i get done from my DEV bus.. the smiles on adults faces when they ride on a 45 year old bus like they went to school in... it all creates a Value..



if you buy a set of tickets to a concert.. you obviously will never get any "investment" back from them.. you use them, you go.. you have fun(hopefully).. and create a memory, a smile, an experience... when do you walk away and not buy tickets to a concert anymore? when that fun, excitement, smile, experience is not that of an overall positive in your life...



I have blown rear ends, wasted transmissions, Locked up A/C compressors, had tires wear out, injectors and oil pumps go weak and the list goes on.. each repair becomes a challenge and a learning experience to UPGRADE and LEARN... thus the Value is very much there even though my AMX card would probably beg to differ..


I once did cars before (got back into) busses... the Value went away when carshows and cruise-ins became cut-throat cliques of people trying to line up trophies rather than share war-stories or invite you to their garage to have a beer.. friendly track-nights turned instead into dangerous street-races or car-meets ending with ricers doing donuts and drinking... so for me the Value of restoring / resto-modding cars was gone.. so I quit.. hung it up..



I did make $$ on One car... i acquired a 1976 caddie convertible (one of the special last 100 built).. no one knew what it was.. not even me... to the seller it was a money pit that didnt run right and almost nothing electrical worked.. to me it looked like an old worn out cadi that was dreaming of a better life.. so I got it cheap , brought it back to glory then learned of its special serial number.. so when I sold that one (hoping to start a down payment savings for a house).. i ended up with a whole down payment large enough to get me into a nice New-build home with all the uogrades... thats the Only car i ever sold where I got more than what I had in it.. a *LOT* more...
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Old 08-04-2022, 09:12 PM   #57
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life is a bitch sometimes

If you had a black streak running down or out of the rearend the brake guy should have addressed that when doing the brakes. You leaked all the rear end grease out a wheel bearing sounds to me and it cooked it. That's history now. Put the rearend in with new seals at least and chock it up to life in a skoolie. Once you get through this and the dust settles then it will be another thing next, it's inevitable as all things deteriorate down around our ears here on earth. You have a new transmission so now you will have a new/used rebuilt rearend. Ahhh look at what you are learning....education is not free and that's what we have credit cards for. It will work out in the long run but now you will be diligent on checking all fluids, scanning for fluid on the ground etc. I blew the engine in my bus and had a $1500 tow job just to get it home where I could fix it myself. Didn't stop me and that was 2007.
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Old 08-05-2022, 11:50 AM   #58
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Quote:
Originally Posted by frankles View Post
How do you know when to walk away from a rig? If I get the differential fixed, am I likely to have to fix something else next? I know this is a difficult thing to answer because nobody can see the bus, but I guess I'd like to know if you have any experience in walking away or sticking it out and how it panned out for you down the line. Any and all advice is very much welcome.
How much to have it towed roughly 4 hrs home? Then you would have time to decide to have repaired locally or sell.
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Old 08-05-2022, 03:55 PM   #59
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Originally Posted by musigenesis View Post
My bus has a 2000-series and I've always felt it to be pretty jerky. This is the only school bus I've ever driven so I have nothing to compare it to, but all three mechanics who have done work on it and test driven it have told me it's normal. It's definitely smoother on flats and jerkier going up hills.
It's funny, I'm now a school bus driver driving brand-new C2s and IC CEs for work, and the transmission on my own skoolie feels like driving a car compared to these new buses.
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Old 08-05-2022, 04:21 PM   #60
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Rated Cap: 7 Row Handicap
Ok if you want a Cadillac go buy a Cadillac , this is a bus. If your trans is sliding into every gear smooth as silk it might very well be on its way out…

The new busses use SEM which reduces engine power during shifts , they feel clunkier but are easier on the transmission.

Allison’s are clutchcto clutch , like a stick , you have to take a clutch off and engage another. And not skip them in the process , when they slip they feel smoother and wear out faster , if they clunk ultra hard and jerky then something is misadusted / Miisprogrammed and it will break…. But some notch type feeling is a healthy Allison. Esp when it goes in and out of lockup and on downshifts
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