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Old 03-24-2021, 07:39 AM   #21
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Mar 2021
Location: Maryland
Posts: 12
Year: 2003
Coachwork: Corbeil
Chassis: E 450
Engine: 7.3
Between you and the mechanic you'll get it sorted out!

With my bus I've been playing with the trans air roof top unit and can't get it to kick on. I replaced the digital thermostat and chased down the wiring with no avail. Looks like I'm going to pull the unit (which was the original plan) but I wanted to try and get it going prior to removal. Ahead of pulling I've talked to another skoolie owner local to me and found where to source sheet metal to patch the roof and for my window deletes. One good thing is that after I remove the roof top unit the bus will fit through my 10' shop doors. Then I'll be able to work on it regardless of weather!

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Old 03-24-2021, 10:23 AM   #22
Almost There
 
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Join Date: Dec 2020
Location: N.E. Texas
Posts: 83
Year: 2008
Coachwork: Aerotech
Chassis: E-450
Engine: 6.8/415 Ford
You may want to consider this (link) to cover the AC vent. It will work better than sheet metal and preserve the vent if you ever change your plans. There are many ways to install it with no more drilling holes in the roof.



https://www.etrailer.com/RV-Vents-an...xoCzGMQAvD_BwE
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Old 04-09-2021, 08:16 PM   #23
Skoolie
 
Join Date: Dec 2019
Location: Rhode Island
Posts: 186
Year: 2002
Chassis: Ford e450
Engine: 7.3 Powerstroke
An update, although, sadly not much new: my e450 has been at the diesel mechanic for over a month now. They called me late last week saying they only have one lift that can lift my bus and they had an ambulance come in that needed major work. They finished that job and said they'd call me early this week. It's now Friday.
Am I doing something wrong? Why is this the second mechanic to take forever to look over my bus? Is it, honestly, because I'm a girl, or maybe because it's not my work truck? Feeling very frustrated. I really just want to know what the damage is so I move forward.
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Old 04-10-2021, 01:18 PM   #24
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Jan 2021
Location: Truckee, CA
Posts: 38
Year: 2000
Coachwork: Diamond
Chassis: E450
Engine: 7.3L
Quote:
Originally Posted by awilder View Post
An update, although, sadly not much new: my e450 has been at the diesel mechanic for over a month now. They called me late last week saying they only have one lift that can lift my bus and they had an ambulance come in that needed major work. They finished that job and said they'd call me early this week. It's now Friday.
Am I doing something wrong? Why is this the second mechanic to take forever to look over my bus? Is it, honestly, because I'm a girl, or maybe because it's not my work truck? Feeling very frustrated. I really just want to know what the damage is so I move forward.
So I can't say what is wrong with your bus, although I wish I was closer to look at it for you, but I have been working on E-450 shuttle busses, relatively consistently at least once or twice a week, for a little over 2 years now... I am a vehicle mechanic at a ski resort and we use them to shuttle skiers... and I have never not once needed a lift to work on them, especially a no start. I'm super curious what the circumstances are that they want to use the lift that bad. I excited to see your project and I hope your mechanic gets you sorted quickly!
But I wouldn't hesitate to give them a call and nicely ask about the progress.
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Old 04-10-2021, 01:52 PM   #25
Bus Crazy
 
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Join Date: Sep 2017
Location: Swansboro,NC
Posts: 1,660
Year: 86
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: Ford B700
Engine: 8.2
Rated Cap: 60 bodies
the shops are lazy these days?
they dont want to crawl under a damn thing?
they want it raised up so they have to break there neck to look at anything.
will bite them in the ass when they get older? trust me i know? overhead work for a living hurts.
they think its easier and some stuff it is but not everything.
and sometimes being nice isnt an option and calling everyday could push them but showing up everyday and go straight to wherever your bus and act like you want to do something ? will show them that you are getting pissed and walk into the office and inquire about status.
some times over the fun doesnt work and when you make a showing you might get a different answer.
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Old 04-12-2021, 02:49 PM   #26
Skoolie
 
Join Date: Dec 2019
Location: Rhode Island
Posts: 186
Year: 2002
Chassis: Ford e450
Engine: 7.3 Powerstroke
Thanks, Lasagna Dave and Jolly Roger.
Well, the mechanic called this afternoon. He went over the issues and is going to get me an estimate tomorrow.

Four injectors are out, two on one side and two on the other. He said basically they would replace everything under the valve cover gasket, glow plugs, wires, injectors, etc. Up to me if I just want to do the four injectors or all eight. He said it would certainly run better with the four replaced, obviously all eight, even better. Any opinions on doing them all or not? He said the Reman injectors are about 100 more and that would be another choice.

Needs a new alternator. Serpentine belt.

The pipes that go from the exhaust to the turbo are leaking.

As for the broken fuel gauge, which perpetually says it's empty, he said in order to save some money, as that could be another costly repair, I could figure out how many miles it can go and just keep track of the fuel.

So, that's what I know at the moment.
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Old 04-12-2021, 05:05 PM   #27
Bus Crazy
 
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Join Date: Dec 2015
Location: pa
Posts: 2,141
Year: 98
Coachwork: 1. Corbeil & 2. Thomas
Chassis: 1 ford e350 2 mercedes
Engine: 7.3 powerstroke & MBE906
Did you drive it and for how many miles, how often did you start it before it died.
How did it run before?

Did the shop get it running and did tests on it?
What temperature was it when it did not want to start?
Did it crank or were the batteries dead?

If you go with their proposal it is going to be very expensive. At 160000 miles injectors might get a little tires but it should run fine. 4 injector's sounds more like one bank failed. Can be bad connection or valve cover harness..
Broken alternator??
They must have had it running to determine that..
Look in your area for a diy diesel person thru ford powerstroke websites.

Careful that you are not be stuck with a several thousand $$ bill and it still an old engine.

At that mileage an unreputable shop would like to replace about everything.

Good luck
Johan
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Old 04-13-2021, 09:25 PM   #28
Skoolie
 
Join Date: Dec 2019
Location: Rhode Island
Posts: 186
Year: 2002
Chassis: Ford e450
Engine: 7.3 Powerstroke
Hi joeblack5, I bought the bus last August and the seller drove it to me from three hours away. He had no service records but a prepurchase inspection just brought up minor things.
The timing of the period of time between then and now is a little blurry, but I basically only drove it twice, once a minute down the road at which point it had a rough start, and then about 5 minutes down the road, after purchasing a new battery which got it to run but it still ran roughly - and was hard to get up to speed - to go from first to second if you may. It then was at a mechanic for three and a half months while he didn't work on it. He had to move it now and then and said sometimes it would start, sometimes not, that when it got going down the road it seemed fine. It was his opinion that the injectors were fine as sometimes it started, but he didn't do any tests, just a theory.
Then it couldn't be started when I wanted to get it out of there, and I had it towed to the current reputable ($99/hr) diesel mechanic.

Did the shop get it running and did tests on it? Yes they got it running and did tests.
What temperature was it when it did not want to start? It was cold, then a bit warmer.
Did it crank or were the batteries dead? It cranked sometimes, sometimes not.

That's a good idea to look for someone through powerstoke websites. I do trust these guys and they understand I am not made of money but maybe someone else could get it going well for less. Although, I asked on some group if anyone knew an affordable diesel mechanic and someone asked if I knew how much goes into being a diesel mechanic and that their work is worth every penny...fair enough?
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Old 04-14-2021, 08:22 AM   #29
Bus Crazy
 
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Join Date: Dec 2015
Location: pa
Posts: 2,141
Year: 98
Coachwork: 1. Corbeil & 2. Thomas
Chassis: 1 ford e350 2 mercedes
Engine: 7.3 powerstroke & MBE906
Ok that is good to hear.. the engine you have can be a great engine in a small bus.. it is relative hard to work on in a van body style just because of the space constraints.
I hope you will be carefully not to get sucked into replacing parts that are not really required to get it running ok as a 160.000 mile vehicle can run ok.

Depending on your interest and inclination it would be good to get a bluetooth scanner and download the torque app. Find someone that runs a 7.3 powerstroke and likely they have a scanner and can show you how it works. 4 cyl out sounds a lot like a valve cover wiring issue or the idm. The idm has some humidity related issues.. rebuild/ used $50-200.. valve cover wiring can be damaged by oil and heat but just might need a good cleaning and inspection.
if you read up on it then it is not hard to measure and figure it out , nor is it expensive to fix.
Many more here but better on a powerstroke forum can and will help you out.

When you have your conversion ready and are on the road it will get very important that you have a good clue about your engine and drive train.
The small busses are much more able to get to interesting remote areas but if you have a malfunction you will not be able to be towed out or have aaa help you....a tow out of death valley is far over a $1000 for a car.
Diesel mechanics are very highly rated and specialist.. better to use them for specific complicated rebuilds that require specialist tools and knowledge.


Good luck, johan
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Old 04-14-2021, 09:20 AM   #30
Skoolie
 
Join Date: Dec 2019
Location: Rhode Island
Posts: 186
Year: 2002
Chassis: Ford e450
Engine: 7.3 Powerstroke
Thanks Johan, that is a lot of good information. I'm wondering, when I call for the estimate today, what might you say to the diesel mechanic regarding if the injectors are out or not? They say four are out - should I question them on that and if so how would I put it, or would you just take it out of this shop and find a diy diesel mechanic?
My plan at the moment is to call, get the estimate, and say I'm going to think it over.
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Old 04-14-2021, 09:53 AM   #31
Bus Crazy
 
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Join Date: Dec 2015
Location: pa
Posts: 2,141
Year: 98
Coachwork: 1. Corbeil & 2. Thomas
Chassis: 1 ford e350 2 mercedes
Engine: 7.3 powerstroke & MBE906
Have you physically been to their shop and talked to them? My question would be not what could be replaced but what exactly caused it to not start..

A story.
I have two1998 powerstroke. Drive them onc a month. In deep winter and with my second hand 3 year old batteries they crank slow and sometimes that result in a no start.
I could get two new batteries... $220.. replace them and be good for a year or two. I choose to put a 150 watt solar panel on for $75 and now the batteries are always top charged..
With that mileage everything is getting older.. starter , glowplugs,. Cable connections... Compression..injectors.

All if them combined with colder weather might create an issue.
You can replace all of that..$$$$$.. or plug the vehicle in at night and in the morning it will be nice and warm and fire up in a jiffy.

If the shop says ..alternator bad..caused low battery..older injectors...result no start.
Fix alternator.

I would stop by and talk with them before getting a written estimate..it will be very high..no use letting them go thru that trouble and you not doing it not any how.

Depending on their workload they might even spec it that high just to have you leave or abandon the vehicle.

Better talk in person..get to the bottom what is the general status AND the specific reason for not starting.
Depending on the shop take some donuts.

Good luck.
Johan
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Old 04-14-2021, 10:10 AM   #32
Skoolie
 
Join Date: Dec 2019
Location: Rhode Island
Posts: 186
Year: 2002
Chassis: Ford e450
Engine: 7.3 Powerstroke
Thanks very much. That makes a lot of sense, about pinpointing why it doesn't start.
Is there a way to actually diagnose that the injectors are kaput or does one just guess that? In other words is there something I can ask that he's done to diagnose the injectors NEED replacing?
One thing I may not have mentioned was a couple mechanics now have said there is a 'skip', which I read is a sign of faulty injectors.

Unfortunately I am in New York state and the bus is in Rhode Island, so, I can't just swing by today, and I imagine they're expecting me to call back for that estimate. Maybe there's a donut delivery service.
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Old 04-14-2021, 10:29 AM   #33
Bus Crazy
 
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Join Date: Dec 2015
Location: pa
Posts: 2,141
Year: 98
Coachwork: 1. Corbeil & 2. Thomas
Chassis: 1 ford e350 2 mercedes
Engine: 7.3 powerstroke & MBE906
A skip can be a faulty wire, dirty engine oil, low compression, valve problems, bad fuel.

With 150.000 mile my bet would be wire.
This goes back when you got the bus.. did it run right when it arrived. You mentioned a purchase test.

An injector can get " suddenly" clogged by bad fuel/ bad or no fuel filter.
For that you do a buzz test where the computer activates each injector.. they are supposed to make the same sound. Different sounds means something..
Bad injector..bad wiring..bad idm.

It is all in the skip..that can range from $20 seafoam or other injector cleaner to 150 for a used idm or to $1500 to replace the injector.

That the shop does not specify what it is out of these three possibilities does not sound good..

Your problem is going to be one injector is $1500.. 4 injector's is $2200.. so you get sucked I to doing them all 8 and pay $ 3000 to just make the problem go away.

Others here might have a better price estimate.

Check out the drive train thread on the forum to find more expertise.

Johan
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Old 04-18-2021, 09:19 AM   #34
Skoolie
 
Join Date: Dec 2019
Location: Rhode Island
Posts: 186
Year: 2002
Chassis: Ford e450
Engine: 7.3 Powerstroke
I talked to the diesel mechanic on the phone (would have liked to have gone in person but am in another state) and asked if the injector issue could be a wire or idm issue. He was firm that the four injectors are out. Given I don't have someone else to work on this and can't at the moment diagnose or repair it myself (hopefully next time I will be able to!), I am having him go ahead and do the work. He is going to install 4 certified quality remanufactured injectors, gasket harness, glow plugs, exhaust up pipe kit for exhaust leak, factory Ford alternator, serpentine belt, oil change and fuel filter. It is what it is.

I also asked him to check on the ball joints and brakes as the local school bus mechanic that gave the bus a cursury look had said that in his opinion it needs front brake rotors and pads, front seals and a set of rear brake pads.
Diesel mechanic said indeed that on the front there is a tie rod loose and it needs ball joints.
But is going to first get into the injectors and alternator stuff.

So I think what I'll do is call back the local bus mechanic and ask if he'll do the brake, ball joint work and get a quote. My guess is he can do it for less than the diesel mechanic. He had said last summer that if I went online and ordered the parts, he'd do that work. (He also told me to ditch this bus because of all the work it seemed to need and find a gasser on craigslist for $1,500 - where?)

I'm feeling a little sensitive/anxious about going forward with these big repairs right now but feel I'm doing the best I can with my current skill level and resources. I am reading up and definitely plan to know more about my bus, have a scanner, etc so that I'm not so dependent on a diesel mechanic next time around.

On the flip side, I'm excited to have the bus mechanically in order and start my conversion work on it.

Also excited to get my second vaccine today.
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Old 05-11-2021, 10:53 PM   #35
Mini-Skoolie
 
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Join Date: May 2021
Location: NJ
Posts: 20
Year: 1993
Chassis: E350 7 window
Engine: 7.3 idi na
Rated Cap: 16
I have a shop and I struggle myself with other people's project vehicles, even when they're in for a simple service. There was another thread that talks about how we get paid (or in my case bill) and when all is said and done, if I can bang out 30 hours in a day vs struggle with someone's bus that didn't give a deadline, that person sometimes does get shuffled to the back. Due to Covid and me being the only one staying open and being a female owned/operated shop, I got slammed beyond belief with work. I have changed entirely my way of working so that people that bring me their pet projects don't get shoved off my mental to do list for the day.
It has not been easy changing the habits!!!
I don't think they brushed you off because you were a woman, but I do think they found your job overwhelming and were intimidated by it.
There's a TSB for those PSD (power stroke) engines for the injector harness that runs under the valve cover. It's an awful design. It could have shorted out that whole bank?

In other forums I am in, usually I am encouraging to other women to get in there, just for the sake of sanity when going to a shop. But these buses we have all fallen in love with are big pigs. I can't even get mine off my trailer haha. There's a special place in heck to the engineer that designed the doghouse short snout van style of engine mounting!!! So annoying to work on!

But if you ever need help working on it yourself and you need somewhere to do it or teach you, I am right in Jersey. Diesels are scary at first but once you learn a lot of the stuff for yourself you will not just save a ton of money but get a lot more power in the situation.

Right now my AC machine is at a shop getting diagnosed and repaired and it is killing me! I don't know anything about it so when they call with the diagnosis... it will be all greek to me! I am so scared to hear the bill!
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Old 05-13-2021, 07:57 AM   #36
Skoolie
 
Join Date: Dec 2019
Location: Rhode Island
Posts: 186
Year: 2002
Chassis: Ford e450
Engine: 7.3 Powerstroke
Quote:
Originally Posted by IDIaddict View Post
I have a shop and I struggle myself with other people's project vehicles, even when they're in for a simple service. There was another thread that talks about how we get paid (or in my case bill) and when all is said and done, if I can bang out 30 hours in a day vs struggle with someone's bus that didn't give a deadline, that person sometimes does get shuffled to the back. Due to Covid and me being the only one staying open and being a female owned/operated shop, I got slammed beyond belief with work. I have changed entirely my way of working so that people that bring me their pet projects don't get shoved off my mental to do list for the day.
It has not been easy changing the habits!!!
I don't think they brushed you off because you were a woman, but I do think they found your job overwhelming and were intimidated by it.
There's a TSB for those PSD (power stroke) engines for the injector harness that runs under the valve cover. It's an awful design. It could have shorted out that whole bank?

In other forums I am in, usually I am encouraging to other women to get in there, just for the sake of sanity when going to a shop. But these buses we have all fallen in love with are big pigs. I can't even get mine off my trailer haha. There's a special place in heck to the engineer that designed the doghouse short snout van style of engine mounting!!! So annoying to work on!

But if you ever need help working on it yourself and you need somewhere to do it or teach you, I am right in Jersey. Diesels are scary at first but once you learn a lot of the stuff for yourself you will not just save a ton of money but get a lot more power in the situation.

Right now my AC machine is at a shop getting diagnosed and repaired and it is killing me! I don't know anything about it so when they call with the diagnosis... it will be all greek to me! I am so scared to hear the bill!

Um, yes, I would LOVE that! Will send you a pm.

Hope the AC diagnosis is kind to you!

<3
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