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Old 03-01-2019, 09:22 AM   #1
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Driving a bus home that hasn't been driven for 2 years...

Hi all, I'm sure many of us have wittingly or unwittingly driven buses that sat parked for at least a year or more back to their new homes, I'm curious if there's a consensus on whether that's a terrible idea or not.

Here's my situation:

Bus is about 150 miles from my house. It has been parked for the better part of 2 years in a parking lot. Apparently it only has about 1/4 tank of fuel. I'm assuming the last time it was serviced was when the current owner bought it from the school district about 2 years ago.

I know I need to check the tires for cracks and bulges, check all the fluid levels (transmission fluid when warm, oil when cold), make sure the air system holds pressure, do a leak test, etc. I can pick up some extra oil and maybe even some filters (if I can figure out what kind I need) before I head home.

Is this advisable or should I just drop the bus off at a local shop and come pick it up when it's been fully serviced? None of the shops in the area can get to it until next week.

I'd appreciate your thoughts, I have to make a choice really soon (by this afternoon)!

-Dan
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Old 03-01-2019, 09:32 AM   #2
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2 years is tricky. The tires tend to deform after just a few weeks, but they generally recover after a heat cycle or three. At some number greater than that, they don't recover. I don't know that that length of time is. Fuel may have water contamination, keeping the tank full is recommended for storing for any length of time. Consider the oil and transmission fluid as being time to change them as those fluids degrade over time not just from use.

With that said, i try to avoid paying shop rates for anything I can do myself, even if I have to buy a tool or two to do the job. If the fluids are full I'd expect after 2 years that they will work well enough to do the job to get you home.. provided the rest of your checklist looks good of course.
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Old 03-01-2019, 09:32 AM   #3
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Fuel filters would be my biggest concern, so bring( get) some spares if you can.

This is assuming it starts and builds air, and all else looks to be good.
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Old 03-01-2019, 09:33 AM   #4
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Fuel filters would be my biggest concern, so bring( get) some spares if you can.

This is assuming it starts and builds air, and all else looks to be good.
Would some place like Napa be likely to have the right filters?
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Old 03-01-2019, 09:35 AM   #5
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The ones that sell truck parts yes they should.
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Old 03-01-2019, 01:41 PM   #6
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Microbial Bacteria (often incorrectly referred to as Algae) can pose an issue in stagnant diesel fuel. Make sure to check your fuel tank and filters.
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Old 03-01-2019, 01:43 PM   #7
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Microbial Bacteria (often incorrectly referred to as Algae) can pose an issue in stagnant diesel fuel. Make sure to check your fuel tank and filters.


Yeah, I plan to look into the tank as much as possible. Are the fuel filters usually “wet” or can I pull them off with the bus not running and stay relatively dry?
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Old 03-01-2019, 02:11 PM   #8
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Need to know chassis manufacturer and motor to be able to answer that.
Different things were done over the years but most diesel fuel filters are wet.
If you can reach it from the top you can probably stay dry if you have to pull it from underneath then there's always the chance of dropping it,having to tilt it to get it out, or it being mounted on a tilt which all meen that's it's better to be prepared to get wet.
Good luck
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Old 03-01-2019, 02:14 PM   #9
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Sorry, it's an IC (IHC?) bus, International DT466e engine, model year 2003.
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Old 03-01-2019, 02:23 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dbsoundman View Post
Hi all, I'm sure many of us have wittingly or unwittingly driven buses that sat parked for at least a year or more back to their new homes, I'm curious if there's a consensus on whether that's a terrible idea or not.

Here's my situation:

Bus is about 150 miles from my house. It has been parked for the better part of 2 years in a parking lot. Apparently it only has about 1/4 tank of fuel. I'm assuming the last time it was serviced was when the current owner bought it from the school district about 2 years ago.

I know I need to check the tires for cracks and bulges, check all the fluid levels (transmission fluid when warm, oil when cold), make sure the air system holds pressure, do a leak test, etc. I can pick up some extra oil and maybe even some filters (if I can figure out what kind I need) before I head home.

Is this advisable or should I just drop the bus off at a local shop and come pick it up when it's been fully serviced? None of the shops in the area can get to it until next week.

I'd appreciate your thoughts, I have to make a choice really soon (by this afternoon)!

-Dan

Me...

I would make sure there are no visible cracks, pressure is correct, start driving slowly, let tires warm up. So if speed limit is 40, run 25-30mph. You might feel or hear thumping from any flat spots on the tire but once tire heats up it should diminish or even go away.

Once you get on the highway, I would keep it 10-20 mph lower until I was confident tires warmed up and any thumping noises are gone. I would also stop and check tires 5 or 10 miles down the road, do a visual to make sure no cracks or bulges appear.

Drive it slow and normal, 150 miles is not that bad. Got to remember that most all busses that are sold after taken out of service will easily sit for 6 months to a year before they are sold.

Fuel issue....

I would put in some diesel conditioner with algacide, new filter and top off with clean fuel. Once you get home you can decide on what to do next.

Good luck!
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Old 03-01-2019, 02:26 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by ewo1 View Post
Me...

I would make sure there are no visible cracks, pressure is correct, start driving slowly, let tires warm up. So if speed limit is 40, run 25-30mph. You might feel or hear thumping from any flat spots on the tire but once tire heats up it should diminish or even go away.

Once you get on the highway, I would keep it 10-20 mph lower until I was confident tires warmed up and any thumping noises are gone. I would also stop and check tires 5 or 10 miles down the road, do a visual to make sure no cracks or bulges appear.

Drive it slow and normal, 150 miles is not that bad. Got to remember that most all busses that are sold after taken out of service will easily sit for 6 months to a year before they are sold.

Fuel issue....

I would put in some diesel conditioner with algacide, new filter and top off with clean fuel. Once you get home you can decide on what to do next.

Good luck!
Thanks! I'm siding toward this path as well. There's a NAPA that's equipped for truck parts not too far from the bus, so I can pick it up, fuel it, go to NAPA, put in some additive and grab filters, etc., change the fuel filter in the NAPA parking lot (which is conveniently also not far from an International truck shop), then carefully get on the road. Only issue with fuel is I'm not sure I'll be able to clean the pre-filter ("rock filter") right there.
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Old 03-01-2019, 04:19 PM   #12
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I would do all of that that I possibly could, it'll save you $100's at a repair shop. Farm out what you don't want to handle. Once on the road and maintaining a set speed puts very little stress on the bus.
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Old 03-01-2019, 10:06 PM   #13
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If it's a blue bird, believe it or not, O'reilly Auto parts now lists Blue Bird in their vehicle list. How extensive in parts they carry I don't know.
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Old 03-01-2019, 10:23 PM   #14
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If it's a blue bird, believe it or not, O'reilly Auto parts now lists Blue Bird in their vehicle list. How extensive in parts they carry I don't know.
O'Reilly's stocks all my DT466 filters. I imagine they carry BB ones also. My last fuel filter came from Advance Auto Parts.
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Old 03-01-2019, 10:31 PM   #15
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Go through the brake process (static check, bleed down, lock 'em up) and make sure that's all good. Breaking down in a bus kinda sucks; losing your brakes while it's in motion, that's a kind of suck you never want to experience.
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Old 03-02-2019, 03:34 PM   #16
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Thanks all, great comments. Ended up not purchasing a bus today, but I’m going to continue researching and now I have some great advice to look back on next time!
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Old 03-06-2019, 08:41 PM   #17
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I would be concerned about old diesel in the tank. Is there a way to pump it out and refill with fresh fuel? You could save the old stuff in a separate container, treat it with algicide, filter it and use it mixed with new stuff. There is also a filter-funnel (Mr. Funnel) available that removes water as you pour fuel through it. I have one and it works well.
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