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Old 09-20-2017, 04:56 PM   #1
Join Date: Jul 2017
Location: Mainland Mexico
Posts: 125
Year: 2006
Chassis: IC bus
Engine: VT365
Rated Cap: 35C24A
Starter issues on 2006 international

So I picked up my new school bus a week ago and am about to drive it 2000 miles home.
2006 IC bus International 6.0l with 105k miles.

The last few days, it has had trouble starting. Sometimes it starts fairly easy (with a good step on the gas pedal), other times I have to try several times (sometimes to the point of worry). I took it in to be looked at and the mech wants to change the starter at a 850 dollar part price plus labor. Does that sound correct?

Is there a trick to starting it that I don't know about? Is there maybe something that I have been doing that is rough on the starter?

This is my first bus and first diesel, so... any thoughts are appreciated.

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Old 09-20-2017, 05:09 PM   #2
Bus Geek
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Join Date: Dec 2016
Location: Weeki Wachee, FL
Posts: 3,056
Year: 1997
Coachwork: Bluebird
Chassis: TC2000 FE
Engine: Cummins 5.9
Rated Cap: 72
When you say the starter is having trouble, is it having trouble spinning or is it spinning and just not starting? Those are very different things. If it's having trouble spinning, it could be a failing starter or battery.

If it's spinning but the ending just isn't starting right up, there are a few things to look at. Diesels are pretty simple engines, so there aren't a ton of areas to look at.

I'd start by looking at the glow plug system. I've been doing that a lot actually as mine has been acting up! But if they don't glow, you may have trouble starting, and those troubles get worse as the temperature drops! Your "WAIT" light on the dash is supposed to meet up with how long the plugs should be given to get to a starting temp based on the actual temperature, but the light being on doesn't mean the plugs are being powered.

The second thing I would be investigating is the possibility of a fuel pressure leak. If your bus has an electric fuel pump, you may be able to overcome a little pressure loss just by waiting a few more seconds before hitting the starter. If it's mechanical, filling an empty line is a pretty tough job!
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Old 09-21-2017, 01:47 PM   #3
Join Date: Jul 2017
Location: Mainland Mexico
Posts: 125
Year: 2006
Chassis: IC bus
Engine: VT365
Rated Cap: 35C24A
Thank you Brokedown.
Yes, If I cycle the glow plugs a couple of times, It seems to start just fine. With 105k on the engine my guess is that it is time for a plug replacement.
I am on the road with a 2 year old and not comfortably set up yet so I was hoping to get home... But home is 2500 miles away, NYC to Mexico. Is this something I can get away with in your opinion? Do I need to take care of this immediately or just see if it gets worst as I make the trip? If I keep driving, should I try to have some glow plugs on hand? What about the Harness or relay? I am not a mechanic but maybe having parts on hand would make it easier for a mechanic on the road.
I have roadside service with good sam.
Any and all opinions are appreciated?
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Old 09-21-2017, 01:59 PM   #4
Bus Crazy
Join Date: May 2016
Location: Georgia
Posts: 2,264
Year: 2001
Coachwork: Blue Bird
Chassis: IH
Engine: T444E
Rated Cap: 14
I'm not sure about the 6.0 but I am aware that on the 7.3 a common failure item is not the actual glow plugs, but it's the glow plug relay. I don't think they are expensive and a fairly easy fix. Another issue on the 7.3 commonly attributed to the glow plugs is actually the injectors (age, wear, and mileage causes difficult cold starts), worn injectors also causes decreased power, fuel economy, and black smoke.
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Old 09-21-2017, 02:55 PM   #5
Join Date: Dec 2015
Location: Mud Lake, Idaho
Posts: 136
My first guess would be the glow plug relay. Sits on top of the passenger valve cover. If the contacts inside of it get dirty it might several cycles of it to get it to make contact and actually energize the glow plugs. Easy to change if you have a few hand tools, just be careful with the big posts, try and use a wrench on top of and underneath the terminals when you tighten the nuts. Its easy to break the big terminals out of the plastic body by over tightening.
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