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Old 03-10-2019, 10:12 PM   #1
Bus Nut
Join Date: Apr 2018
Location: NorCal
Posts: 342
Year: 1995
Coachwork: Girardin
Chassis: E-350
Engine: 7.3L Powerstroke
Problems and Troubleshooting for the 7.3L Powerstroke

- 1995 Ford E350 with a 7.3L Powerstroke
- Manufactured into a bus by Girardin of Canada in 1996
- Unknown automatic transmission

1. After buying it a year ago, I've put about 900 miles on it. I checked the oil level, both warm and cold, and it was below the fill line, which tells me that it was burning oil or something like that. Well, sure enough, I bring it in for an oil change, and they find a leak. They fixed the leak, but I'm wondering if this thing just burns oil, and that's a fact of life I'll have to live with. What concerns me is that, with the oil leak, it went below the fill line with only 900 miles. Now that it's fixed, hopefully it'll be good, but do you guys have any pointers for oil maintenance? Like routinely adding a quart or two every few months?

2. The transmission seems to struggle. I'm new to diesels and notice there's a rough transition when the transmission shifts accelerating past 10-20 mph. Do these transmissions run better if I press the pedal a little more, or if I take it easy and accelerate slowly?

3. The "Overdrive Off" light on the shifter handle will start blinking while driving. Typically, this happens while I climb a hill, and will stay blinking until I pull over and restart the engine. Are there any concerns about this? Does it just mean the transmission can't tell when to automatically shift into overdrive?

4. My last concern is that my bus is an empty metal shell right now, which is pretty lightweight compared to a fully loaded bus. All the wood and vinyl floors are out, along with the walls, ceiling, and all insulation. Literally a tin can. Is driving around super light weight like this a potential problem for the transmission? Is this what's causing the blinking overdrive light?

Thanks everyone for helping out, I'm new to this kind of mechanics and am eager to learn.
TheArgobus is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-10-2019, 10:30 PM   #2
Bus Nut
Join Date: Jan 2016
Location: Greater Boston
Posts: 504
Check the oil, add as needed.
Rinse, repeat.

If you're worried about it, check it every 300 miles for a bit, and if it doesn't seem to be burning oil, then decrease your frequency to every 500 miles, and eventually drop it back to a normal frequency. (I think normal might be at every fuel fill-up, or do a quick check of the dipstick in the morning. Pop the hood, take a quick glance at the engine, check the oil, off you go again in a minute or two.)

Simple as that. If it's not burning very much, don't worry about it. As long as its only burning a little oil, just keep putting more in and don't worry about it.
(FYI, It should hold about 15 quarts).

As to the transmission. . . I'm not sure. I highly doubt that removing the seats is causing you any problems. It's light(er), but the steel shell still isn't "light." Sounds like something else might be going on with it.
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Old 03-10-2019, 10:30 PM   #3
Bus Nut
TJones's Avatar
Join Date: Jul 2017
Location: Rapid City, SD
Posts: 517
Year: 2001
Coachwork: Blue Bird
Chassis: CS RE
Engine: ISC 8.3 L 260 hp
Rated Cap: 36
If it's a higher mileage engine it will use some oil. Hopefully less since you got the leak fixed. The blinking overdrive off light is indicating a problem with the transmission which is related to your hard shift problem. I'm not sure what scan tool is needed to read the transmission codes. An auto trans shop would be able to tell you more. I had this problem with an 01 f350 and it was a bad solenoid.

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Old 03-27-2019, 02:38 PM   #4
WARGEAR's Avatar
Join Date: Mar 2018
Location: Fingerlakes region NY
Posts: 195
Year: 1999
Coachwork: AmTran/Wolfington
Chassis: 3800
Engine: International DT466E 190HP variant
Rated Cap: 72 pax 29500 GVWR
x2 on what Ted said about it being a problem. Think of that lamp as you “Check Engine” lamp but for the transmission. It’s the transmission’s way of telling you something is out of normal operating parameters. Being a 1995 model you probably won’t have OBD2 but instead OBD1. You might be able to trigger the codes to flash in a certain way through that lamp, thus being able to read them. In regards to the oil level, I find it’s good practice to check oil levels on my vehicles once a week. I daily drive a Land Rover Discovery 2 and a Pontiac Safari wagon. Both leak oil (the Landy more so). It’s just a good habit to check frequently.
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