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Old 10-26-2022, 10:54 PM   #1
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Jun 2018
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BlueBird 5.9L Cummins Rebuild

I recently- through a series of perfect connections- acquired a free 28’ BlueBird with the 1992 12-Valve 5.9L Cummins. Now, I know this to be one of the best Diesel engines ever made, but it appears as I was driving it from point A to point B (work space) it leaked and burned all the oil. She stopped running and limped off the road to the shoulder, tried turning over a few times, I changed out the battery and then she wouldn’t try and turn anymore. Got a tow.
I’m waiting to learn whether or not the engine is seized up when my mechanic friend comes to help me take a look at it tomorrow.
My question is, how hard is it to rebuild these engines if nothing is warped? Is it worth it to rebuild, and worst case scenario is it worth it to buy a new engine altogether? The body is in great shape, and the thing was free. Please help! I’m lost and almost homeless as my other rig is in the process of being sold!
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Old 10-26-2022, 11:54 PM   #2
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If you ran out of oil to the point that the engine seized up and stopped running, you certainly need an out of frame overhaul and your journal bearings are gone. If you did all the labor yourself, you might be able to get by reusing hoses and parts that aren't completely shot. You'll want a forklift or a nice concrete pad and an engine hoist to tear it out of the front end. An overhaul kit will be around $1500 and machine shop will be somewhere between $500 and $1k. Its possible that you do all the work to break the engine down to the block and discover damage that cant be machined away. You got a free full size short bus with a 12v Cummins, so maybe things will go your way on an overhaul.
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Old 11-06-2022, 02:35 PM   #3
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Thanks for your response; the engine isn't seized which I suppose is good news. It'll crank, but won't turn over completely. The shifter is also stuck in drive which is a head-scratcher to me.

I found a local mechanic who will help me do a full rebuild, which seems like my only option. He wanted to run some diagnostics to see if a rebuild can be avoided, but the bus is too big to get towed into his shop. So, I'm going to remove the engine myself and just transport it to him, I think. That way, I know the engine has been gone through entirely which will offer some peace of mind. All in all I'll be spending maybe $5k which is not too bad for a new bus!
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Old 11-06-2022, 03:01 PM   #4
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[QUOTE=HotDonnaTheBus;483593]Thanks for your response; the engine isn't seized which I suppose is good news. It'll crank, but won't turn over completely. The shifter is also stuck in drive which is a head-scratcher to me.
[\QUOTE]

Hmm. You have a neutral safety switch that won’t allow you to start in anything but N.

Maybe you can bypass the switch and jump the starter with a screwdriver bf you spend $5K. Or maybe someone else knows how to unstick your shifter.

Dave
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Old 11-06-2022, 10:11 PM   #5
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Old 11-09-2022, 06:10 PM   #6
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Very interesting…. Do you know where this switch is? Is the only way to bypass it by jumping the starter? The key is currently missing so I have to Hotwire it to (try to) start it every time any way. I have no idea who I could turn to (pun intended) to help me fix that issue…
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Old 11-22-2022, 12:28 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HotDonnaTheBus View Post
Very interesting…. Do you know where this switch is? Is the only way to bypass it by jumping the starter? The key is currently missing so I have to Hotwire it to (try to) start it every time any way. I have no idea who I could turn to (pun intended) to help me fix that issue…

I don’t know. I was hoping somebody would jump in.

Just saying, my bus won’t start in anything but “N”. Do you get the ignition sequence on your dash when you turn the key to “I”?

Sorry, I can’t speculate and call it advice. I know somebody here knows what to do. (and maybe I’m all wet)

Dave
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Old 11-22-2022, 01:46 PM   #8
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Neutral safety switch will be on the side of the trans.

I'm confused by you saying that "It'll crank, but won't turn over completely" Like it cranks a half a rev and then stops? If so, what you're likely seeing is the result of running it out of oil. See if you can bar the engine over 360°+ with a breaker bar and go from there. If you can, then you might just have weak batteries that are dying halfway through cranking.

If you can't go a full rotation, and it stopped running while going down the road, and there is no oil on the stick, you can about count on the engine being junk.

As far as why your shifter won't get into N, maybe the mechanism is jammed, the cable is broke, or you have something that is blocking it from moving underneath on the transmission.

BTW, if you can't bar the engine over, and feel it's time to replace it, seperate the engine and trans and try again. I've seen dead vehicles pulled off the road and replaced the engine, only to find out the engine was fine and it was the transmission that was seized. Pretty big miss on their part when that happens, and not particularly cheap either.
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