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Old 04-05-2024, 11:18 AM   #1
Join Date: Apr 2024
Posts: 21
Cross-Country Delivery - Pre-Trip Checks


I'm purchasing a 2002 International DT466 with Allison trans and 200K miles. Came straight from a school fleet to my parents (they have a few buses). Only issue is that I live 2500 miles from them, so I plan to fly there and drive the bus back across country.

As far as I know, the bus is in good/great mechanical working order. We've driven it around their area to confirm it's functional, but that's a big difference from a cross-country trip. Curious if anyone has advice on what all I should check before making this trip? Currently I'm thinking the obvious:
  • Tire condition
  • Oil change
  • Fluid levels
  • Fluid leaks
  • Air system
  • Belt condition

I'm unfamiliar with these rigs, so wondering if there are bigger things I should check. It will be my wife and I on the road for 4-5 days, food/water, and an air mattress on primarily I-90 west.

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Old 04-05-2024, 01:08 PM   #2
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Join Date: Oct 2021
Location: Jacksonville, FL
Posts: 765
Year: 2003
Coachwork: BlueBird
Chassis: TC2000 28ft
Engine: Cummins ISB 5.9 24v, MD3060
Rated Cap: 14
I picked up my bus from the school in AZ and drove 4 days back to Florida. Those are the main things I checked. These buses are pretty durable and addition to your list, I would grease it before you go. If you want to be more thorough, you could check the axle seals/oil and lift it off the ground and check kingpins, airbags and spring bushings.
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Old 04-05-2024, 06:50 PM   #3
Bus Nut
Join Date: Aug 2020
Location: Alabama
Posts: 307
Year: 1996
Coachwork: BlueBird
Chassis: International 3800
Engine: DT 466 Mech. Spicer 5 speed
Rated Cap: 34

You can purchase an infrared heat gun to check the hub temperatures. Harbor freight has them for about $30.00. Maybe in the first 20 miles to see if they are similar. If one is a lot higher-- you have a problem that needs corrected before the wheel falls off. I would always check my hub temps at every fuel stop. You can also check engine temp at the head-- should be close to what the gauge shows.

Make a Walmart run-- tire air pressure gauge!-- I checked the tires every morning---wire cutters, a couple of adjustable wrenches, channel lock pliers, electrical tape, gorilla tape, zip ties, Phillip's and flat screwdrivers, needle nose, vice grips, and some kind of flashlight. If you have all this stuff you will not need it...

I had a slow leak in a tire, and rigged up a hose to the air brake system with AutoZone parts ($50) so I could air up my own tires until I could get it repaired. I also had one of two AC compressors lock up-- so I cut the wire to the bad one so I could continue to use the good one. 1/2 is better than nothing...

Igloo cooler and some ice, and you are ready to go. My wife and I flew out west and drove the bus back 2100 miles over 4 days. We are NOT spring chickens. It was a fun time. Wish we could do it more often. We started off in some very unpopulated areas in Nevada-- it was an adventure....
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Old 04-09-2024, 12:23 PM   #4
Join Date: Apr 2024
Posts: 21
Thank you all! Yeah we're actually picking up in Kentucky and driving it to Washington state where we live, about 2500 miles. My dad has checked out a few things but great call on the hubs, will take a thermometer with me. I think we'll plan on one day there to do all the check outs, maybe drive it 20-30 miles round trip and look for hot spots, leaks, etc. before actually committing to the long haul. I think the engine and trans is one of the more reliable configs so not terribly concerned there.
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Old 04-13-2024, 03:14 PM   #5
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Join Date: Nov 2023
Posts: 1
In addition to the aforementioned good advice:

Bring about 4 bottles of coolant, in case you need to top it off.

Do not trust your GPS for routes other than interstate highways. We ended up in a couple of tricky situations when attempting to follow secondary roads or turns onto rural roads due to GPS instructions.

Consider whether the route you choose involves long uphill segments. Travel the flattest route possible to avoid overheating of the engine or drivetrain.

Have a phone number of a diesel mechanic who knows the engine in your bus. It helps to know who to call in case you do have trouble. Many times they'll be able to tell you how to proceed while on the phone.

Have a great adventure! We drove our Bluebird with 215K miles from Richmond VA to Wisconsin.
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Old 04-13-2024, 03:19 PM   #6
Join Date: Apr 2024
Posts: 21

I guess another question that came to mind is life on the drivetrain. It's a 2002 DT466 setup with Allison trans (not sure of the number yet). From what I can tell this is one of the more long-lived setups. We're hoping it has at least 50K miles left on it before major issues (sitting at 200K). I know there are a lot of threads on this, anyone know of a resource that's helpful here? I do my own rebuilds and maintenance, not afraid of any of that, so I plan to keep it running well. There is a limit though to a system. I'm seeing a lot of people say 500K which is way more than we could put on it. Most of the time we'll be parked, I wouldn't see more than 10K per year.
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Old 04-13-2024, 03:44 PM   #7
Join Date: Nov 2023
Location: Thomasburg, Ontario, Canada
Posts: 11
Year: 2007
Coachwork: IC
Chassis: RE300 FLAT NOSE
Engine: 2006 DT466 HT, 260 HP
Rated Cap: 81
Travel after picking up

We picked our bus up November just South of Pittsburgh PA and brought it back to South Eastern Ontario Canada. About 500 miles. Did all the checks everyone has suggested. Rear engine bus, DT466 manufactured Mar 2006. Absolutely no issues with heat on the hubs or sounds in the engine. Decided to turn on the drivers heater and blew the coolant line under the front of the bus. It's a bus and something is gonna fail at some point. Take a few seconds to visually check the coolant lines you can see. We bought a bus that was used by a coach line for school trips so no governor. 2007 with 91K miles. Came out of service July 2023. Oil was changed June 2023 with all the batteries replaced Dec 2022. Got the full service history and all the original manuals for the bus including the build sheet showing all the options and part numbers. Our transmission is an Allison 3060HD and the mechanic of the coach line said with regular maintenance we are good for at least 500K. But of course something can fail at any point but its a number we will likely never see. That would be a lot of driving.
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Old 04-13-2024, 04:48 PM   #8
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Join Date: Mar 2024
Location: Massachusetts, Maine and North Carolina
Posts: 19
Year: 2011
Coachwork: Collins
Chassis: Chey express 3500
Engine: 6.0
As a cdl driver this is a cursory overview of things to check as far as the vehicle. If you don’t have any particular system listed then you don’t have to check it. it s&ia=images&iai=https%3A%2F%2Fdata.templateroller. com%2Fpdf_docs_html%2F231%2F2311%2F231135%2Fform-735-6892-cdl-pre-trip-vehicle-inspection-memory-aid-oregon_print_big.png

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Old 04-13-2024, 09:04 PM   #9
Bus Nut
Join Date: Oct 2018
Location: Central Alabama
Posts: 548
Year: 1998
Coachwork: Blue Bird
Chassis: TC/2000
Engine: 5.9 Cummins 12-valve
Rated Cap: 1
Don't expect to find the ability to charge a cell phone or any cup holders on this bus.
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