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Old 12-21-2010, 05:48 PM   #1
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Skoolie Advice

So those of you who are on here have probably seen my bus conversion in the short bus section (RU Tailgate Bus) Well we took it out West Virginia road tripping 2 weeks ago. It was about 25 out and freezing. Long story short, about 4 hours in, the bus starts skipping as I'm driving, it felt like my foot was stuck on the gas and brake at the same time. Eventually we had to pull over and the bus stalled out and died right there. I got a truck mechanic out to take a look and he told me it sounded like the rod bearings. I did a little research and basically it seems that when the vehicle sits for a long period of time and then goes a great distance (exactly what transpired) it can cause the bearings to almost bend and melt lol. The guy basically told me I needed an entire new engine and it was a pain in the ass to fix because the engine is kind of buried in the back. Guy told me about 2k. My friend and I left it out there not knowing what to do. So I so I ask you guys for advice. Do I sell it for scrap (got ripped off) or do I pay to get it towed 300 miles (not sure how) then try to get it fixed or maybe 2k? Any and all advice welome from a upset skoolie owner
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Old 12-21-2010, 07:13 PM   #2
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Re: Skoolie Advice

So did it start to have a knocking sound when you started having problems? Do you know what the oil level was? Usually when you run an engine low on oil, it is when you will spin a rod/main bearing. But the lifters usually make some noise first. Then if you keep driving the bearings will go. Will the engine still run? The times I have seen the bearings go, the noise is a little bit quiter when the engine is cold, then as it warms up it gets louder(knocking noise). Either way it probably wouldn't make a 300mi trip back home limping it there. If it is the bottom end of the engine, that really suxs . You would have to decide for yourself if you want to put in the extra money for the tow and the repair. But if you did, you would know what you have. Rather than buying another bus with lots of unkowns.
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Old 12-21-2010, 07:24 PM   #3
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Re: Skoolie Advice

I don't remember a knocking sound but we really couldn't get it running for more than a minute or so when we re-started it. It didn't sound good that's all I remember. The oil was fine, we checked it, as a matter of fact all the levels were topped off before we left. I am guessing this happened because we pushed it so far in cold weather but it only had 41k miles on it. The guy did say it was at the bottom of the engine. Just said it was bad news, I don't pretend to know what this stuff means.
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Old 12-21-2010, 07:34 PM   #4
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Re: Skoolie Advice

I had an old plymouth once that spun a rod bearing. I decided to drop the oil pan a take a look. It was pretty obvious by moving the rods which one had the extra play. It was a real pain in the ass, but I ended up pulling the rod apart and slipping in a new bearing. Everyone told me how stupid it was to do that, but the damn car ran another couple years around town that way. I never felt good about driving it a long distance after that though. So I guess it would be how mech. inclined you are and the patience to try it. You have to drop the oil pan and look everything over.
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Old 12-21-2010, 08:39 PM   #5
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Re: Skoolie Advice

I wouldnt sell it. Someone will come up with an idea. 300 miles isnt that far.
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Old 12-21-2010, 10:01 PM   #6
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Re: Skoolie Advice

Well lets see. You have 3 somewhat independent systems in an internal combustion engine, the cooling system, the oiling system and the power system (carburator ignition, camshaft, etc). Each one works independently from each other and usually doesn't affect the other until they trespass on each other. You can have a rod knocking and the engine runs great. The cooling system overheats but it runs great till it gets hot and messes up the fuel delivery system. Or the oiling system and cooling system work great but the engine runs like ****. So the first question is does the block or oil pan have a big hole in it? If so then it will not run well because it's got a broken leg and it's created so much damage it's affecting the whole family. If your engine won't run well then it may not be a rod but something else. You need another opinion, it could be just a timing chain or ignition problems. If a rod was out it would sound like a sledge hammer trying to get out and if it gets out it will take all it's brothers out with it (engine replacement). If the chain jumped a few teeth then it would barely start and would not want to run long but it won't bother it's other brothers (sometimes). A couple of guys next to me bought an old Dodge pick up and it just wouldn't run very good and had no power. The timing chain had jumped 6 teeth because it was so stretched and after putting in a new chain it runs great. You need more information to make an intelligent decision. Sportyrick
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Old 12-22-2010, 06:20 AM   #7
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Re: Skoolie Advice

Sounds more like a fuel supply issue to me, very probably the fuel pump. Check your fuel pressure at the engine. If there is none, remove the fuel filter and turn the key to "run" and look for fuel flow. If there is flow, the filter was clogged, replace it either way. If there is no flow, time for a new fuel pump and sock.
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Old 12-22-2010, 09:05 AM   #8
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Re: Skoolie Advice

A question on topic, How often do most of you start your rigs when you not on the road? I tend to start mine up no less than once a month and let her warm-up and run a good 30 minutes then usually take a cruz around the neighborhood every 2 months. Any advice on keepin' things fresh and lubed?
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Old 12-22-2010, 10:59 AM   #9
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Re: Skoolie Advice

5.7 liter motor, gas, 3500HD series made by Chevy. I heard a re-built one with a warranty is about 2k. A guy quoted me 2k for labor, I told him I simply can't pay that. I'm not near the bus now, I need it towed home since I took my ass home. However, when we did re-start it it didn't want to run long and it sounded bad. It took a while to start it, but I remember it starting. It shutdown that night and the next morning it started when I guess the engine cooled. Maybe it was just a chain (fingers crossed) I know nothing about motors but I just cannot believe a rod bearing means an entire new engine. BTW - got a quote to tow it 240 miles for about $900. Seems like a good deal, keep the advice flowing fellas, I need it lol.
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Old 12-22-2010, 11:19 AM   #10
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Re: Skoolie Advice

Sorry to hear man that is not a nice situation. Keep us posted. Engines have their issues and I suppose were all at risk of loosing out on the road. Did you have any kind of AAA or Good Sam help? I do the Good Sam thing and their awesome about helping out and getting you deals. I have used them once and it was worth the small investment.
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Old 12-22-2010, 07:05 PM   #11
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Re: Skoolie Advice

Yeah the guy in PA said he was going to get a crate motor through Jasper ( I believe they come with 3yr/100,000 mile warranty) Because the engine is such a PITA to get to it's $600-$800 for labor. I'm thinking it's about a $2200 job. None of my friends are mechanically savvy. If he can give it to me for 2200 that I'll do it. (Plus what I owe him for the tow, he wanted to charge for 2 weeks of storage at 35 dollars a day but no way in hell I'm paying that). Then I will also never drive the vehicle out of the state of NJ again lol. Would strictly be a home game skoolie. I called places for re-built 5.7 liter motors and they all told me about 2k, so with another 1k labor plus 1k to tow it back to NJ. It looks like my best bet is having them fix it out in PA. Hoping for a Christmas miracle...Anymore tips? Jasper (check) not made in Mexico (check).
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Old 12-24-2010, 05:41 AM   #12
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Re: Skoolie Advice

It all depends on how complete your conversion is. If it's not really nice, I go get my good stuff out of it and have a local company haul it across the scrapyard scale. With the price of scrap metal up right now, that could be a good deposit on your next bus. But then again, I haven't seen your bus. But for 2 grand, you could buy yourself a fairly nice diesel bus on ebay. Good luck with whatever you decide.
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Old 12-24-2010, 12:27 PM   #13
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Re: Skoolie Advice

I disagree. You could scrap it, and lose your time, labor and cash investment. Then you go buy another one and it ends up needing an engine 3 months later. I say go for the engine, then you know you wont get another surprise.
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Old 12-24-2010, 03:57 PM   #14
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Re: Skoolie Advice

My $.02: In considering having the guy in PA do the job: think about what kind of warranty you will have, and if you'll have to take it back to him to have any warranty work done.

Not picking any sides here, but depending on current blood, sweat and $$ already invested, scrapping is an option and many good busses can be had for that kind of money (scrap $ + engine repair/replacement $). It is also quite possible that he could r & r the engine and you'll never have another major engine issue again. Your call...

Personally too, I'd be a little leery of someone taking advantage of the distance between you and the repair center regarding repair costs and warranty, it's not like he's just down the road fixing a smaller, more easily towed daily driver...
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Old 12-24-2010, 03:59 PM   #15
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Re: Skoolie Advice

Quote:
Originally Posted by mightybus
Sure disagree if you want. I don't care.
Heck, if I can disagree with my wife at times....you're a push over. lol!
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Old 12-24-2010, 06:41 PM   #16
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Re: Skoolie Advice

still think it is the fuel pump...
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Old 12-24-2010, 11:37 PM   #17
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Re: Skoolie Advice

get a 2nd opinion
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Old 12-25-2010, 07:20 AM   #18
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Re: Skoolie Advice

Never heard of bearings going bad 4 hours into a trip after a long storage, with clean oil. I suppose they could go from sitting, but I would expect the damage to take place at start-up when oil pressure is low and the bearings arent lubed well..

Best thing about a fuel pressure check is that it is free, and eliminates one variable in a no-start condition. Fuel filters are cheap, and fuel pumps are comparatively cheap {$100-$200} compared to the roadside diagnosis he got {and sounds suspicious to me}.

Probably been turning wrenches for fun and profit as long as the OP has breathed! Just last week I bartered a '99 F150 PU for 2 panels of paint n body work. F150 was said to have a seized motor...Put a battery in it and hit the key....CLANK! Removed the serpentine belt and hit the key again....SPIN!
Alternator locked up. $150 for new alternator and serpentine belt.

Still no start, check fuel pressure, none. Pulled fuel filter, not clogged. Checked fuses and relays, all good. Pulled the bed off, replaced the fuel pump, runs like a top. $130 for fuel pump.

Fuel pumps these days are in the tank. They rely on fuel to keep them cool, and some folks like to empty their tanks before fill-up, hot fuel pumps dont live as long as cool ones.
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Old 12-27-2010, 07:44 PM   #19
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Re: Skoolie Advice

Thanks for continued advice guys. Scraping is my last option, my buddy and I put at least...300-400 hours of labor into that bus. That alone is worth a great deal of money. If I ever did something again it'd be an ambulance. Also, I had 4 different people tell me it was rod bearings, so I'm going to take that data and confirm that's what it is. The engines the guy is looking at are Jaspers and I believe they have long warranty's. Scrap yards charge outrageous money for storage, if he wants to charge me that I won't pay for it and it'll have to be scrapped. I'm pretty screwed either way, you guys are right that he can do a shoddy job since I live far away. The funny part is the first quote he gave me was like 1,000 cheaper then NJ prices lol. He was talking to me about taking pride in his work and all this non-sense, meanwhile it's a week later and the guy can't even get me a damn quote. I'm sure he's trying to bleed time so he can say that the bus has been there for 4 weeks when it was really only 2. Meh, either way I give my bus a 10% chance of being rescued. Just too many things going against me, but I'll keep pestering the guy everyday until I get an answer. Guy told me the rod bearings were out and basically I need 3/4th of a new engine.
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Old 12-27-2010, 08:04 PM   #20
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Re: Skoolie Advice

I really hope it works out for you in the end. I for one could still believe it is the bottom end. The reason of it running terrible could be because a modern chevy 350 has push rods that uses hydraulic lifters. If the lifters are not getting the correct amount of oil pressure the valves are not going to open properly therefore running rough. With spun bearings the oil is not going to have correct oil pressure, because the bearings could be, partially at times, covering the oil galleries. My old plymouth had solid lifters which is not the case anymore. If it were the electric fuel pump it woudn't even try to start again, I know they can spit and sputter alittle as they are going out, but is usually only for a few seconds. It does seem strange to loose the bearings after running that long, and having enough oil though. Anyway I feel for you.
Best of luck.
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