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Old 03-28-2018, 09:06 AM   #1
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Mar 2018
Location: Ontario Canada
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Mercedes engines??? Good or bad?

Hello and sorry if this isnít the right place for this.
Im trying to buy a school bus this month to start our Skoolie adventures and Iím in Ontario Canada,
24 busses came up for sale up here as company lost a bus route contract and only 8 are left.
Are the Mercedes engines good? Is there bad models to watch out for? Any info is much appreciated! Iím waiting on a call back from a the company to get more details.
Here is a pic of whatís left. Iím open to any of them except the $87k one.
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Old 03-28-2018, 11:58 AM   #2
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Someone will chime in I know there are some issue's with them. One problem is finding people to work on them.
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Old 03-28-2018, 01:31 PM   #3
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THat was my worry as I have heard nothing about them.
Going tonight to look at them and see what itís like.
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Old 03-28-2018, 03:07 PM   #4
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Expensive to maintain and expensive to repair. Not too bad as far as reliability goes.
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Old 03-28-2018, 03:08 PM   #5
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Kinda like Cats...great when they are running...realllly expensive when they don't.
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Old 03-28-2018, 03:08 PM   #6
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I have know a couple of folks with Mercedes powered trucks & RVs.

They were relatively happy with the performance of the engines but did have the same comments that I have heard on this board. Parts are expensive and at times hard to get (had to be ordered). Also, qualified Mercedes mechanics are harder to find than those that work on Navistar or Cummins.

No firsthand experience. Just passing on what others have told me.
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Old 03-28-2018, 04:26 PM   #7
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Join Date: Dec 2015
Location: pa
Posts: 2,456
Year: 98
Coachwork: 1. Corbeil & 2. Thomas
Chassis: 1 ford 1998 e350 4x4 7.3 2 mercedes 2004
Engine: 7.3 powerstroke & MBE906
We have a 2003 MBE906 300HP in our bus. That is the last year without EGR. 430000 miles, no oil consumption, no leaks, no smoke.

Mercedes and in general european diesel engines are more sophisticated because of the higher diesel price. Europe is full of diesels, They just have more experience. .

On our last trip we had a coolant leak but the newer buses have low coolant alarms so before damage could occur we were on the side of the road. Repaired the rubber hose, filled up a gallon of water and were back on the road.

I paid for a WIX oil filter $15 free ship.
I paid for a serpentine Dayco belt $22 free ship.
A fuel filter is about $ 25
A water pump assembly $ 170 free ship ( internet price)
Only that mercedes motor oil, yeah , now you are talking.

Not sure what maintenance people are thinking about ??

Running used engines $ 4000 to $ 5000 but you could by another old bus and pull the engine out for less.

I am not sure where these hear say high price stories are coming from?
May be people that get stuck on the side of the road always pay a super premium.

In my opinion to talk about maintenance prices of used and written of $3000 to $5000 buses and then put a brand new $$$ turbo on an old engine instead of good used $ turbo makes no sense.

On our last trip with dory we did well over 10 mpg.
With elfie our van based shortbus (150000miles) with a 7.3 powerstroke I can hardly get 14 mpg.

Good luck, later J
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Old 03-28-2018, 10:33 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joeblack5 View Post
We have a 2003 MBE906 300HP in our bus. That is the last year without EGR. 430000 miles, no oil consumption, no leaks, no smoke.

Mercedes and in general european diesel engines are more sophisticated because of the higher diesel price. Europe is full of diesels, They just have more experience. .

I am not sure where these hear say high price stories are coming from?
May be people that get stuck on the side of the road always pay a super premium.

Good luck, later J
THANK YOU for your input! Love to hear this as it confirms what the fleet mechanic just takes to me about(has over 30 years working on diesel buses and trucks) . Really honest guy showed me where everything is and what everything is and how much different parts are and what to watch for and how to maintain he has all the records on this bus with many new items done: some new windows, new alternator, has a programable device that warms the fluids when itís cold out (canít remember the name, said itís a $2000 extra they put on all their buses), two 11000 cold cranking Batteries, and more.
As of right now Iím putting down a deposit as this is still an active bus until July 1st. They are also able to drive it to my build site and give me time to sort out the title transfer and insurance and ownership. Just feels right so Iím going for it!
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Old 03-29-2018, 06:42 AM   #9
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Chassis: 1 ford 1998 e350 4x4 7.3 2 mercedes 2004
Engine: 7.3 powerstroke & MBE906
Hi Whitespace, Wow, I am impressed that not more people responded with real world experience. Their are probably not so many mercedes engines on this forum so that might be why.
As with every used engine, .. keep your wits about you. Or take someone along that has the right kind of wits. Any fresh leaks under the bus, how much does it smoke on startup, what color of smoke, does it run without vibration and noises. Did it start easily and at what outside temperature. What is the oil pressure cold and hot. Does it run warm.
In 2004 Mercedes came out with EGR , that is a good thing since we all want to live on this planet together and yes when it breakes it costs money to fix.
If you can then check the maintenance records and ask if they took oil samples and had them analyzed, With these records you can see what these engines went thru and pick the best one.
It seems that the fleet mechanic is nice so may be you can take him or her for lunch and learn something more.
These engines came with a throttle control that tends to get dirty with multiple cold starts, it is easy to clean but the proheat diesel heater takes care of that ( the cold start). I took my proheat out and tried a cold start at 10F or so, i think I documented in Dorys build thread, and it started fine. My powerstroke is much less happy to do that and the old idi 7.3 that i used to have even less so.

Good luck
later J


Are these rear engine buses or FE's, check what kind of multiplex system they have
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Old 03-29-2018, 08:41 AM   #10
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Year: 2010
Coachwork: Thomas B2B
Chassis: 281TS
Engine: MBE 926 7.2L 211HP
Rated Cap: 29,000 LBS
I have a Thomas B2B (C2) with a MBE 926 and Iím happy with it so far!! I bought it up in Ohio and made the 600 drive with no issues back home.

Iíve only taken one trip so far out to Texas and during this 16 hour drive, I did have an issue with losing power climbing hills dropping down to 45-50 mph. I changed the EGR valve ($220) and now Iím back up to maintaining about 68 mph on level ground and dropping down to about 60 mph climbing hills. I just chalked it up to 210 hp wasnít made to speed up hills with 50 gallons of water in the tanks, towing a 4,000 lb car behind it and everything else that is in our Skoolie.

Mercedes generally have good diesel engines as they were the first to build diesel engines but I have seen on some forums to be careful about the 906. With one of the previous posts from joeblack, with over 430K, it seems like a pretty good engine to me!

Good luck with your purchase!!!


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Old 10-11-2020, 12:17 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joeblack5 View Post
We have a 2003 MBE906 300HP in our bus. That is the last year without EGR. 430000 miles, no oil consumption, no leaks, no smoke.

Mercedes and in general european diesel engines are more sophisticated because of the higher diesel price. Europe is full of diesels, They just have more experience. .

On our last trip we had a coolant leak but the newer buses have low coolant alarms so before damage could occur we were on the side of the road. Repaired the rubber hose, filled up a gallon of water and were back on the road.

I paid for a WIX oil filter $15 free ship.
I paid for a serpentine Dayco belt $22 free ship.
A fuel filter is about $ 25
A water pump assembly $ 170 free ship ( internet price)
Only that mercedes motor oil, yeah , now you are talking.

Not sure what maintenance people are thinking about ??

Running used engines $ 4000 to $ 5000 but you could by another old bus and pull the engine out for less.

I am not sure where these hear say high price stories are coming from?
May be people that get stuck on the side of the road always pay a super premium.

In my opinion to talk about maintenance prices of used and written of $3000 to $5000 buses and then put a brand new $$$ turbo on an old engine instead of good used $ turbo makes no sense.

On our last trip with dory we did well over 10 mpg.
With elfie our van based shortbus (150000miles) with a 7.3 powerstroke I can hardly get 14 mpg.

Good luck, later J
Hey JoeBlack5 we also have a 2003 MB906 in our bus. Would you happen to know what type of coolant is recommended for that engine can’t seem to find an my info? Thanks!
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Old 10-11-2020, 12:33 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Whitespace Lifestyle View Post
THANK YOU for your input! Love to hear this as it confirms what the fleet mechanic just takes to me about(has over 30 years working on diesel buses and trucks) . Really honest guy showed me where everything is and what everything is and how much different parts are and what to watch for and how to maintain he has all the records on this bus with many new items done: some new windows, new alternator, has a programable device that warms the fluids when itís cold out (canít remember the name, said itís a $2000 extra they put on all their buses), two 11000 cold cranking Batteries, and more.
As of right now Iím putting down a deposit as this is still an active bus until July 1st. They are also able to drive it to my build site and give me time to sort out the title transfer and insurance and ownership. Just feels right so Iím going for it!
Sounds like a win to me!
And preheat as well is a great feature for you.
Keep us informed and good luck.
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Old 10-11-2020, 01:55 PM   #13
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Europe is full of diesels because of high fuel taxes that push gasoline prices north of the equivalent of $8 a gallon. Also generally uncorked From an emission standpoint because there are largely no emission laws there. Mercedes Benz more or less build some of the best deevil's in the world because of the fact that they have designed and built far more of them than many manufacturers out there. However, as has been mentioned, they are high maintenance, and getting parts for certain engines in the US can be a nightmare.
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Old 10-11-2020, 06:29 PM   #14
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Join Date: Dec 2015
Location: pa
Posts: 2,456
Year: 98
Coachwork: 1. Corbeil & 2. Thomas
Chassis: 1 ford 1998 e350 4x4 7.3 2 mercedes 2004
Engine: 7.3 powerstroke & MBE906
Sbofill7,


Our bus was filled up with the pink / red coolant, so that is what I would get.


Cheese wagon, you are right that the diesel price is high, that is why people want their diesels to be more fuel efficient. In general that requires more sophisticated designed engines and better fuel injection systems.
Unfortunately that requires better trained diesel mechanics. In the US where diesels are hardly common good , well trained, experienced mechanics on high end diesels are rare.

The emissions standards are about on the same level as in the USA , only they do a lot more testing for soot , CO, blow by and so on.



Here in PA there is no emission testing for diesels.



in europe older diesels are banned from the large cities because they are so polluting that they are thought to give people health problems.



I know some people love to repeat the high maintenance part of mercedes diesels, and love to hold on to their engines of the past.. ( nothing wrong with that, i love steam engines but not in my car ). Modern technology and poorly trained operators / mechanics that still believe in the good ol days OF ROLLING COAL and if it does not leak then there is no oil in it,... a good diesel needs to mark its spot.... do not go together very well. Some do not like or know how to work with / on sophisticated equipment and sometimes make things worse resulting in high repair bills. With not enough know how.... repair attitude can be; "lets starts replacing parts till it works again."



I am not sure what parts you are talking about are so hard to get. Give some examples,
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Old 10-11-2020, 06:50 PM   #15
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The reason parts are harder to find / comparatively expensive for class 7 Mercedes Benz diesels in the US is because they're so uncommon compared to the American engine manufacturers. As far as I know MBEs only showed up in Freightliner chassis vehicles and therefore at least there's someplace to start your search for parts or diagnostics but again don't expect it to be cheap.
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Old 02-12-2023, 09:03 PM   #16
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Do you know anyone that has the MBE 924? I just got my 2007 Thomas Freightliner, 6 window this afternoon. Drove home from Northern GA to NOrthern SC, was a pretty smooth ride. Wasn't able to get above 50mph though and I wondered if I should have been using the other drive gear, the one with a d in a circle above the regular d.
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Old 02-12-2023, 11:30 PM   #17
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Doh

Quote:
Originally Posted by sigreddasparks View Post
....Wasn't able to get above 50mph though and I wondered if I should have been using the other drive gear, the one with a d in a circle above the regular d.
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Old 02-19-2023, 10:39 AM   #18
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20 buses where I work (yes i'm a driver there) and All buses newer than 2008 have Cummins power, about 5 have 7.0L Cats, 2 Are MB powered.
MB makes VERY good diesels. They WERE great at one time. (NOW is not that time!!)
Our mechanic preys for our 2 MB buses to burn (with no one on board)
The MB engine have a Centrifuge built into the valve cover. It is for emissions. It is $700 and it MUST be there working.
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Old 02-19-2023, 03:15 PM   #19
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Well said
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Old 02-19-2023, 04:16 PM   #20
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Well said
I had a similar "d'oh!" experience last year driving my school bus for work. I crossed a set of railroad tracks after stopping and then putting the transmission into first gear (what you're supposed to do according to our training but which doesn't totally make sense for an automatic transmission), then put it back into D (our buses don't have a circled D) and got onto the Interstate. On the highway I floored it but couldn't get above 45 mph; I radioed in to base to report the problem and then noticed that I had actually put the transmission into 4 rather than D after the tracks.

I did not own up to this - I just told base it had magically fixed itself.
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