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Old 12-27-2021, 11:18 AM   #1
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How to care for your engine?

Hello everyone!
I have a 1997 DT466 international with a very well taken for engine. I wanted to know a good maintenance schedule to follow and how to care for diesel.
The diesel has been sitting for 5 years with a few rounds of Stabilizer in it.
Should I empty the 1/2 tank of fuel and clean it with Algae Cleaner, fill it all the way back up, and keep it like that?
Am I suppose to turn it on for 1/2 hr every month?
I just want to learn as much as I can and feel you have the answers!

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Old 12-27-2021, 12:26 PM   #2
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Welcome to the forum.

There are some members here that have professional experience as diesel mechanics who may provide input. I have opinions but they aren't as good as the advice of a professional mechanic.

Do you intend to start it and run it for a couple minutes then shut it down or are you planning to run it to operating temperature? That decision would lead me to make different decisions about what I would do before the initial start.

I'm not sure about the wisdom of running an engine for a half hour a month. A bus/truck is more than an engine and idling a diesel engine for half an hour wouldn't be my choice for any intent. If there is insurance on the bus I'd suggest you drive it with some frequency for the sake of the driveline.
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Old 12-27-2021, 01:31 PM   #3
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I wince every time I hear owners of the RVs in the storage yard where I keep my bus start their RVs' engines, rev them a bit for a few minutes, then shut them off without driving one inch. Every time I ask one of those folk why, they give me the expected answers: "I'm charging the batteries", or "I'm circulating the oil so the top end doesn't dry out", or some other similar codswallop.

I never start the engine unless I'll be driving the bus for at least 30 minutes, enough time (just) to thoroughly get everything to full operating temperature: engine, transmission, differential, tires. It takes quite a while to get one and a half tons of metal up to their designer's intended operating temperatures!

At some point I'll be installing a block coolant heater to lessen the load on the starter motor and batteries, but the real benefit will be when I also install a Reverso 302 lubricating oil pump to move oil at full pressure throughout the entire engine before it cranks. All large diesels use pre-oilers, so why not also in small diesels like those in our buses?

John
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Old 12-27-2021, 03:18 PM   #4
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Maintenance?

Hey! Thank you both for responding to my post! It means a lot that a stranger would help me out!
So thereís no need to start and idle every now and then just keep the disconnected batteries tendered. Iíve been converting it these past years and donít have insurance on it.
What should I do with the diesel sitting in the tank?

Whatís the maintenance schedule?
Like for my truck itís 5,000 miles for oil change, air filter (20,000), transmission fluid (80,000), tire rotation, fuel filter, coolant replacement, power steering fluid, timing belt etc. Thereís prob different things to maintain on a school bus.
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Old 12-27-2021, 03:53 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Muchee View Post
Hey! Thank you both for responding to my post! It means a lot that a stranger would help me out!
So there’s no need to start and idle every now and then just keep the disconnected batteries tendered. I’ve been converting it these past years and don’t have insurance on it.
What should I do with the diesel sitting in the tank?

What’s the maintenance schedule?
Like for my truck it’s 5,000 miles for oil change, air filter (20,000), transmission fluid (80,000), tire rotation, fuel filter, coolant replacement, power steering fluid, timing belt etc. There’s prob different things to maintain on a school bus.

I don't think either John or I said it wasn't necessary/desirable to periodically start your diesel engine, but your bus should be DRIVEN, not just have the engine engine started and idled. I was forced to not drive my bus because I couldn't get insurance. It wasn't good that I didn't put it over the road. NOT driving a vehicle causes issues that will eventually catch up with the mechanical health of your vehicle. John did a good job of spelling out WHY you need to drive your bus ( is it a bus?). Whatever it is is, drive your vehicle regularly.

You should,at least, have the engine service manual and the maintenance manual for the DT466. There is probably someone on here that can provide a source you can download it from.
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Old 12-28-2021, 01:37 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Muchee View Post
Hey! Thank you both for responding to my post! It means a lot that a stranger would help me out!
So there’s no need to start and idle every now and then just keep the disconnected batteries tendered. I’ve been converting it these past years and don’t have insurance on it.
What should I do with the diesel sitting in the tank?

What’s the maintenance schedule?
Like for my truck it’s 5,000 miles for oil change, air filter (20,000), transmission fluid (80,000), tire rotation, fuel filter, coolant replacement, power steering fluid, timing belt etc. There’s prob different things to maintain on a school bus.
Diesel fuel doesn't deteriorate like gasoline does, so unless it's contaminated with water and/or algae it should still be good. I suggest getting some spare fuel filters in case there's algae, and if there is you need to polish or replace the fuel, and then add a suitable biocide to the fuel. Always keeping the fuel tank full will help reduce water contamination, especially in winter or in humid weather; if there's no water in the bottom of the tank, algae cannot grow there.

For determining engine oil changes (and also for transmission fluid changes) you can have a sample analyzed instead of changing it at some arbitrary mileage, then you'll not be wasting money on unnecessary oil changes. If the oil's age is unknown, just change it for now, then you'll have a suitable base level for future analyses. Just remember, fluid analyses only tell you about trends, so you have to start with a known quantity. The engine's, transmission's, differential's, and everything else's manufacturers are your only reliable source of service information, so ask Mr. Google to help you there. If you have belt-driven accessories, you should keep spare belts for all of them, plus the tools to replace them on the road. It's also prudent to have all the filter wrenches you'll need, then you can change filters on the road if necessary.

Make sure that all the gauges work and are accurate and reliable. They are your first warning if something's amiss, so you need to be able to trust them completely.

Good luck, John
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Old 12-28-2021, 12:10 PM   #7
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Hi, thank you for you’re awesome reply! I’ll get insurance on it. How often should I drive it for 1/2 hr? It’s been driven once, five blocks in the past 5 years. I also live in GA where it’s very humid so that might increase my likelihood of algae/condensation in the 1/2 full tank, idk just thinking. How can I tell if the fuel is contaminated with algae/water? Thanks
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Old 12-28-2021, 05:04 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Muchee View Post
Hi, thank you for youíre awesome reply! Iíll get insurance on it. How often should I drive it for 1/2 hr? Itís been driven once, five blocks in the past 5 years. I also live in GA where itís very humid so that might increase my likelihood of algae/condensation in the 1/2 full tank, idk just thinking. How can I tell if the fuel is contaminated with algae/water? Thanks

You haven't told us anything about your vehicle beyond the engine. Adding specific information about what you're working on will allow responders to provide better advice. For example, knowing what kind of brakes (air or hydraulic) will help a responder to give specific advice about how to prepare your vehicle for a first drive.

You should drive it long enough to get it up to operating temperature. The time required will vary depending on whether you're putting down a side road at 20 mph or rolling down an interstate at 65.

In my mind being safe is job one and that starts with brakes.
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Old 12-29-2021, 09:07 AM   #9
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My school bus is a 1997 International DT466 with air brakes, 7.6L, 77 gallon tank, 146,000 miles. Bus was completely refurbished in 2014. Transmission replaced at 83,612 miles. New front brakes and drums 2016. New starter 2017. New alternator 2013. Good tires on front with good ones matched.

I live in Savannah GA downtown city so itís hard to coordinate with the people on the street to take it out of the driveway with their parked cars. I know it has to be done I just donít want to inconvenience anyone. I live 3 min from a highway so how often should I drive it on the highway?

Thank you for your reply Hope yíall had a great Christmas!
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Old 12-29-2021, 09:10 AM   #10
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If it was truly well taken care of it wouldn't be sitting with 5 year old fuel in it. just sayin.
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Old 12-29-2021, 11:57 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Muchee View Post
My school bus is a 1997 International DT466 with air brakes, 7.6L, 77 gallon tank, 146,000 miles. Bus was completely refurbished in 2014. Transmission replaced at 83,612 miles. New front brakes and drums 2016. New starter 2017. New alternator 2013. Good tires on front with good ones matched.

I live in Savannah GA downtown city so itís hard to coordinate with the people on the street to take it out of the driveway with their parked cars. I know it has to be done I just donít want to inconvenience anyone. I live 3 min from a highway so how often should I drive it on the highway?

Thank you for your reply Hope yíall had a great Christmas!
Do you know what transmission it has? The length? Given that it's got the DT466 I'd assume it's a 35 of 40 footer.

Yea, a 35 or 40' bus can be a handful to maneuver in tight places. Hopefully you have a good relationship with you neighbors, or maybe you just hop in it when you see there's enough room to get out. Interesting comparison though, you have yours in your driveway but it's a PITA to get it in and out. Mine is out in the country where traffic and obstructions are essentially non-existent but I have to drive 70 miles round trip to get to it.

Air brakes. Someone else is going to have to speak to this one, mine has hydraulic.
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Old 01-01-2022, 03:33 PM   #12
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In answer to the thread title:
  1. Drive.
  2. Lubricate.
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Old 01-01-2022, 04:13 PM   #13
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Care for your engine

Quote:
Originally Posted by Muchee View Post
Hello everyone!
I have a 1997 DT466 international with a very well taken for engine. I wanted to know a good maintenance schedule to follow and how to care for diesel.
The diesel has been sitting for 5 years with a few rounds of Stabilizer in it.
Should I empty the 1/2 tank of fuel and clean it with Algae Cleaner, fill it all the way back up, and keep it like that?
Am I suppose to turn it on for 1/2 hr every month?
I just want to learn as much as I can and feel you have the answers!
If you drive it much, change your oil and filters and do a complete PM(Preventative Maintenance) fuel filters, and grease ALL fittings from the front to the back at least once every 10,000 miles.
If youíre a weekend warrior as they say, do the same PM once or twice a year and youíll be fine
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Old 01-01-2022, 04:17 PM   #14
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I am a bit ocd obsessive when it comes to maintenance. LOL
With the exception of one or two times when testing or doing repair work I only start my bus when I will drive it and reach operating temperature. If you are not going to drive it just let it sit. I change my oil once a year regardless of miles. And my orther filters every two years. I use T6 5-40 to help with the dry starts. I also have a shop do chassis lube on it once a year
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Old 01-03-2022, 04:05 AM   #15
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Get service manuals for the engine and transmission at least.
A conventional school bus is a medium duty truck. There should be a service available for the chassis.
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Old 02-01-2022, 08:43 PM   #16
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For a DT466 the general rule is to service the lube oil, filter and fuel filter every 10,000 miles or 300 hours. These rarely coincide. If you intend to start the bus it is best to get it up to operating temperature to boil the moisture out of the oil and dry the moisture out of the engine. Diesel engines really need to work to get up to temperature, especially if it's cold. I live in the great white north, so my bus sits most of the winter with the batteries on a charge maintainer and awaiting the warm weather, but when I do take it out I make sure it gets to full operating temperature and stays there for a while before I park it in its spot again.
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