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Old 10-16-2020, 11:18 AM   #1
Mini-Skoolie
 
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The OBX Bus

So, the bus I was mentioning here, it's in my side yard now.


A little late after buying, but before they brought up storage fees, I got it home Monday in a dark, moonless, steady rain.


A few observations:
1) Smells nasty, but not so much musty. Leaks appear to be minor and associated with windows that don't want to stay up, and a visibly bad seal on a roof EmerExit.
2) Total rattletrap, immense travel on suspension and soft, nevertheless, windows kept on shaking open, 6 or 8 of them will not stay latched when in motion. Two of them had to be propped up with sticks when not moving, latches are shot.
3) The headlights are dismal. Couldn't tell in the sunlight when I started driving, but wow are they dim. Those need changed ASAP, any recommendations for lighting up the road ahead? Brands? Allowed uprating?
4) Mileage could not be calculated from the limited trip, appeared to have a 60gal tank. I'll leave room to uprate that to 100.
5) Seems to have plenty of power until it hits the governor. Governor is low. 53mph on the level. 51mph up most hills, 56mph downhill.
6) Need 6th on the MD3060 unlocked.
7) Likely need differential with better gearing for interstate travel.
8 ) Need it re-governed for 80, in the likelihood I get it on the flat out West.
9) Not sure of the significance that on the substantial grades climbing the ridge to Skyline Drive, it dropped to the low 40's in mph? These are 6~8% grades, if I recall.
10) Freakin' door latch is missing! Had to get a bungee to hold it shut enough the mirror on that side was even vaguely useful, or air pressure kept swinging the doors open to block it.
11) Seats look easy to remove. Bolts/nuts to wall appear accessible from each side, and if the nuts turn with the bolts on the floor, grinding a slot in the head and hitting it with a cold chisel should pop the heads off, and a punch/sledge will drive it right out.


My destruction phase commences tomorrow. Will get pics up as soon as I can.
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Old 10-17-2020, 02:08 PM   #2
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Can a skoolie make it on beach sand?

RE ground pressure and clearance? If so, I'll put rod&reel mounts right up front.
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Old 10-17-2020, 03:16 PM   #3
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sand.. depends on how deep and the type of tires and how much you air down.. wet beach sand is a tough go for a heavy vehicle with a small amount of footprint on the ground.. really easy to burn up the transmission if you get it buried in sand.



what was your engine RPM at the governed 53 MPH? 6th gear can definitely help you out for cruising speed but also spounds like the engine may be low-spec horsepower.. although dropping down into the law 40s on 6-8% grade yep its what I expect of any stock school bus that hasnt been hot rodded...
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Old 10-17-2020, 04:15 PM   #4
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11) Seats look easy to remove. Bolts/nuts to wall appear accessible from each side, and if the nuts turn with the bolts on the floor, grinding a slot in the head and hitting it with a cold chisel should pop the heads off, and a punch/sledge will drive it right out.
It seems the easiest way is to have a partner on the underside holding a wrench on the nut while you turn the bolt out from the inside. I did two of my seats with a vice grips on the underside and the bolts came out with no problem even though everything was badly rusted. An ordinary wrench and a hammer got them started and then a ratchet took them the rest of the way, didn't even need power tools.

I should have done all of my seats this way but I plunged into grinding off the bolt heads since I didn't feel like crawling under my bus 88 times. It kind of didn't occur to me that I could have just bought more vice grips.
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Old 10-17-2020, 04:56 PM   #5
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One can not have too many vice-grips!
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Old 10-17-2020, 05:26 PM   #6
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About 2250rpm on the level at 53mph. Thank you.


Cat # R31E26B210 engine.
MD3060 transmission, will not go 6th.
Differential unknown right now.
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Old 10-17-2020, 05:36 PM   #7
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Pretty low geared. 6th gear will take you from 0.75 to 0.65 so I’m guessing your top speed will be someplace around 65 after opening 6th and removing computer governor. and thats running flat out
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Old 10-17-2020, 06:22 PM   #8
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It's low geared for sure, but 2,250 rpms seems rather low for the 3126. Both of mine rev to 2,600 RPM. I know some scan tools program the governor in kilometers for whatever reason and 53 mph equates to 85 km. You can verify this by limiting the transmission to 3rd with the arrow keys and floor it until the engine stops accelerating.

If you want to cruise at 80 mph, I would expect to swap the differential gears as 6th gear alone will only give you another 10 mph. My HDX, which I believe is from the same county as your bus, is geared around 6.25 on 10R22.5 tires and does only about 74 mph flat out at 2,600 rpm in 6th gear. This is not the engine's happy spot and well past peak torque and peak horsepower which are much closer to 2,000 rpm.

Depending on your location, I can potentially help you with getting your transmission unlocked and the speed governor raised.
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Old 10-17-2020, 06:32 PM   #9
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I believe it came from Loudoun Co., VA. (fairly certain) And I'm in Clarke Co. I have a few calls out about the governor, transmission, and differential. No replies yet but it's early.
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Old 10-17-2020, 06:34 PM   #10
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Is 80mph at 2000~2200rpm...

...even a possibility on the level ?


I am supposing the 210 in ER3126B210 is the horsepower?
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Old 10-17-2020, 06:48 PM   #11
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yeah in that bus a 210 is a common number..



2600 on a 3126 is piushing it hard.. I like a "virtual" redline of 2400 on them. however you can run it where you want.. (after the governor removal).



6th gear will gain you sometime but i dont see an 80 MPH cruiser out of that bus unless it had a significant HP bump and regear..
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Old 10-17-2020, 06:49 PM   #12
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oh yeah all school bus headlights suck.. I swapped to LED headlights in 2 of my busses ... scary to think those crappy lights are what bus drivers had to see school kids in dark clothes in the rain in the dark..
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Old 10-17-2020, 07:23 PM   #13
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I have Truklite LEDs on my HDX, they make a huge difference. I'll be swapping to LEDs on my MVP when I'm ready to start making long distance trips with it. Not all LED lights are created equal, and high quality beam patterns are typically expensive.

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I believe it came from Loudoun Co., VA. (fairly certain) And I'm in Clarke Co. I have a few calls out about the governor, transmission, and differential. No replies yet but it's early.
Oh that's perfect! I'm just over on the other side of Loudoun.

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yeah in that bus a 210 is a common number..



2600 on a 3126 is piushing it hard.. I like a "virtual" redline of 2400 on them. however you can run it where you want.. (after the governor removal).



6th gear will gain you sometime but i dont see an 80 MPH cruiser out of that bus unless it had a significant HP bump and regear..
Yes 2,600 rpm is indeed pushing it hard. I actually decided to reset my governor to 70 mph because I didn't like running it that hard. At 70 mph my engine turns about 2,400 rpm. I just recently did a trip down 81 to Clintwood, VA. I ran 70 mph pretty easily except on the hills. At worst, iirc, I slowed to 55 mph but that was only a couple of places.

To go faster definitely requires a regear, but a 210 hp bus gets its grunt from the low gearing. It will lose quite a bit of acceleration and require more power to make up the difference. I cannot clearly say if uprating the engine will be necessary. I can say as far as CAT is concerned, if the engine is already rated for 210HP, its not possible to uprate it without an engine rebuild with new pistons as the 210HP and under models use different pistons than the higher ratings. The turbocharger and injectors also have to be changed according to CAT. It will be extremely expensive to do it this way, also the cooling system may not be able to effectively handle a higher rated engine as is. I was warned by a former tech for Loudoun County that the belt driven cooling fan setups were not the greatest and to use caution on hills, I've not had issues but still.

I'm not trying to scare off the OP from the idea, but make them aware that it will not be easy or guaranteed to make the bus do 80 mph. Can still try, much of technological progress involved ignoring someone who said it couldn't be done.
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Old 10-17-2020, 07:45 PM   #14
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the cooling systems on these is adequete, they sold these in 250 HP models and from what ive seen the cooling system isnt any different.. I know the fan runs on high speed more on the 250 HP models vs the lower ones..



im not sure what kind of ratings you can get out of the stock internals.. I know the guys with the mechanical predecessor to these (3116) would turn the injection pumps up on the stock low HP internals and not blow them up.. ive not tried to hack the computers on these for more Horsepower like I have the internationals...


of course there is risk in cranking up the HP on any older engine.. its spent its whole life in a certain RPM range, a certain amount of rod stretch, bearing pressure, etc and now you go and blast it with a lot more Juice its possible to get in troiuble (though not likely as diesels are pretty hardy engines).. running up the RPM limiters is what really gets people into trouble..



in my IH books, the maximum factory RPM for my DTA360 is listed as 2800 RPM loaded, 2900 RPM unloaded.. in there is listed the maximum Safe RPM as 3200. (meaning you wont float the valves or crash the pistons).. in fine print it says that running the engine for long periods at 3200 RPM may reduce its expected lifespan before overhaul by 50%..... just something to keep in mind as you spin your diesel faster to get a higher top speed..
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Old 10-17-2020, 08:46 PM   #15
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the cooling systems on these is adequete, they sold these in 250 HP models and from what ive seen the cooling system isnt any different.. I know the fan runs on high speed more on the 250 HP models vs the lower ones..
I'm sure driven reasonably they are fine, after all I've not had trouble with mine, but they must have had enough troubles with them that he brought it up when I was purchasing a new fan belt. I think the problem was airflow as the fan isn't up against the radiator, instead it pulls air through the radiator and through a duct at a right angle. The county went to hydraulic fan drives in about 2002 or 2003 and I haven't yet seen a 250 HP bus with a belt fan. All the 250HP buses I've seen have hydraulically driven fans. Notably, the new HDXs are using a belt drive again, but through a gear box to put the fan up against the radiator.

Honestly there's only one way to find out if pushing horsepower necessitates cooling system improvements and that's to do it.

Quote:
in my IH books, the maximum factory RPM for my DTA360 is listed as 2800 RPM loaded, 2900 RPM unloaded.. in there is listed the maximum Safe RPM as 3200. (meaning you wont float the valves or crash the pistons).. in fine print it says that running the engine for long periods at 3200 RPM may reduce its expected lifespan before overhaul by 50%..... just something to keep in mind as you spin your diesel faster to get a higher top speed..
I'm not surprised that they say it will reduce engine life. Honestly if I were to keep my HDX longer, I would regear it. But I like my 250HP MVP more, which cruises at 70 mph/2,200 RPM after unlocking the transmission. So once I get the MVP to a spot where I can swap my nice seats in, I'll sell the HDX. I'll probably still regear the MVP much further down the line.
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Old 10-17-2020, 08:49 PM   #16
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isnt the OPs bus a hydraulic fan? I didnt notice a fan belt but maybe its there.. for sure the units ive seen or worked on with the 250 HP engines are hydraulic fan drive..



not that those hydraulic setups dont have their own issues but when in working order they seem to do a good job..
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Old 10-17-2020, 08:51 PM   #17
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got it.. yep belt fan.. i found the pic with the fan.. somehow I missed it previously
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Old 10-17-2020, 09:07 PM   #18
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Great so far, thank you all.

On the presumption the governor is actually set in RPM, sounds like I ought to consider 2600 as a maximum, and try to run it no more than 2400, maybe 2500 on rare occasions. I can accept a faster gear differential will lower my acceleration. Don't really have to get to 80, I'd just like to a lot if I get out West. Going 70mph is kind of a must if I don't want to be a slow rolling roadblock.


So, aftermarket, non-OEM headlights are my only bet for seeing well? Current ones seem to be Wagner models "2B1"? If anyone is familiar with a good replacement for those, I'll get't'em.
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Old 10-17-2020, 09:16 PM   #19
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Oh that's perfect! I'm just over on the other side of Loudoun.

Bluemont? Or tucked up against Fairfax?


If Bluemont, what do you think of the More Better restaurant? If you've been there? I wish they were more trad. German, but they have Kostritzer and parking space for a bus...
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Old 10-17-2020, 09:33 PM   #20
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On the presumption the governor is actually set in RPM, sounds like I ought to consider 2600 as a maximum, and try to run it no more than 2400, maybe 2500 on rare occasions. I can accept a faster gear differential will lower my acceleration. Don't really have to get to 80, I'd just like to a lot if I get out West. Going 70mph is kind of a must if I don't want to be a slow rolling roadblock.
The engine has an rpm limiter to avoid self-destruction, but it also limits RPM in accordance with a speed limit set in the engine computer.

I'm pretty sure we can get it to at least 65-70 mph through reprogramming, but as mentioned before a regear would be heavily recommended.

Quote:
So, aftermarket, non-OEM headlights are my only bet for seeing well? Current ones seem to be Wagner models "2B1"? If anyone is familiar with a good replacement for those, I'll get't'em.
Those headlights are what are called "sealed beam". Each assembly is one big glass piece with a non-replaceable element inside. When the element burns out you have to change the entire assembly. IIRC the size for yours are 5x7. Just search up 5x7 sealed beam headlights.

Here's a comparison picture I took a few months ago when I was converting mine to LED, which is really as simple as plug and play. I did this in a school parking lot so I could aim them against a wall, so there's some ambient lighting especially on the right. I have a couple more before and after pictures if you'd like.



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Bluemont? Or tucked up against Fairfax?


If Bluemont, what do you think of the More Better restaurant? If you've been there? I wish they were more trad. German, but they have Kostritzer and parking space for a bus...
I'm in the urban sprawl sadly. I've actually never been to Bluemont, driven by plenty of times but never actually went and stopped there.
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