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Old 08-13-2020, 02:11 PM   #1
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8.2 L Detroit Diesel "Fuel Pincher" - running, but what to do with it?

Hello Skoolie folks. I've largely been a lurker on these forums, but as I move toward working on my skoolie project a little more seriously I figured I might as well ask a few questions about my engine.

I have a 1991 Bluebird B-series school bus with a 8.2 L Fuel Pincher(per the title) in it. The engine runs, though I have not ever driven it more than about 30ft...not since I got it, at least, and even then it was only a 15 minute drive home. The bus has been sitting in a field since May 2016, and I've been living in it since 2018. The interior is partially done, but I'll be finishing that up this fall(hopefully); the thing I'm not real sure on how to handle is the engine.


Shortly after I got the bus, I found a maintenance manual for the engine online and bought it($120 or so) in anticipation of working on it. I've done some research since then, and I'm not entirely sure which way to go with it...try to spiff up the old engine, or look for a replacement. Most of the forum discussions I've seen about the 8.2 say dump it; it appears that there are a number of design flaws and some not-very-available specialty tools that were needed to disassemble parts of it. I'm also not much of a Diesel mechanic(as in I've done almost no work on Diesel engines) so I'm not sure if this is a great place to start.

So far it doesn't seem to have any issues. I replaced the thermostats after I got it, which seems to have settled down a "Swelling" problem in the RPMs I was having. It's running pretty nicely right now - so far as I can figure.

I guess I'm just looking to solicit general thoughts on the engine and maybe get some ideas on potential replacement options, if it seems that I should replace it. Any takers?

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Old 08-13-2020, 02:47 PM   #2
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Location: Moved to Zealand!
Posts: 1,517
Year: 2002
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: Freightliner FS-65
Engine: 7.2L Cat 3126 turbo diesel
Rated Cap: 71 passenger 30,000 gvwr
1) What kind of mileage do you plan to start putting on the bus?

2) how tight is your travel schedule when you drive the bus -- ie: "life or death to get to point x by this date" or "I'll get there when I get there..." ?

3) Your budget:
a) estimate to fix up existing engine
b) cost to repower with different engine/transmission
c) cost of contingency plan for (see item 2 above)

3) What other costs are needed to make your bus truly road worthy?
a) brakes?
b) steering/suspension?

4) finding a shop or really good mobile mechanic that can /will do the work you can't. And what will the charge?
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Old 11-06-2020, 09:33 AM   #3
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Hello, I am looking at buying the same bus. I am wondering if this is a good engine? Have you had any trouble with yours? Have you got any answers to your inquiry about your engine? I dont have alot of money to be spending at mechanics. So I'm looking for some help before I go look at this tomorrow.
Thanks
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Old 11-06-2020, 10:48 AM   #4
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Okay engine, but not the best. Hard to find a mechanic who knows what to do with them.
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Old 11-06-2020, 02:03 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CHEESE_WAGON View Post
Okay engine, but not the best. Hard to find a mechanic who knows what to do with them.
And getting hard to find parts for as well.
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Old 11-15-2020, 12:27 AM   #6
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Make sure the engine and transmission are good. Check the final drive ratio on the differential tag. A 6.14:1.1 means you can't go over 55 mph, max engine speed 3,000 rpm. A 4 11 will let you go faster at a more pleasant engine speed. 2300 rpm for my bus.
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Old 11-16-2020, 05:35 PM   #7
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The 8.2 can be a good engine if properly cared for. Tuning the requires a "special" dial indicator for setting the injectors.
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Old 10-17-2023, 11:46 AM   #8
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Location: Colorado
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Year: 1990
Coachwork: GMC/Chevrolet
Chassis: S7 Flatnose
Engine: 8.2L DD
Quote:
Originally Posted by Johnthebusboy View Post
The 8.2 can be a good engine if properly cared for. Tuning the requires a "special" dial indicator for setting the injectors.
Hey All!

I also have a 8.2L DD and would love to connect with someone that has done a tune-up on this engine to get tool and parts recommendations and best practices if possible. I have already done fuel and oil filter replacement and a coolant flush, but it still struggles mightily on small hills and the turbo is pretty inconsistent while making a high metallic screech instead of a typical turbo spin up sound. Any and all recommendations or connections are highly appreciated!
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Old 11-02-2023, 09:14 AM   #9
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Engine: 6.9 International
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Swapping filters is most of the way to a "tune-up" that a diesel can get. You can do an overhead on this and finish it the rest of the way, but that takes experience to get right, and I wouldn't recommend you trying it if you don't have any.

Your turbo screech might just be the turbo itself. Pull the intake off and see if the wheel has any axial play or damage to the housing from it. Might be time for a new cartridge.

Stuggling on hills is something you'll have to get used to. At 180 horse, this will never be a hot rod, and they don't take too well to having more power thrown at them either. The 8.2 is called the fuel pincher, and not the hill gobbler, for a reason. So get in the right lane and enjoy the scenery.
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Old 11-02-2023, 02:09 PM   #10
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Location: Swansboro,NC
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Year: 86
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Chassis: Ford B700
Engine: 8.2
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my 86 8.2 is a naturally aspirated with no turbo and i cant add one because the heads dont have enough bolts to keep them from working.
my only upgrade was changing the governor spring and that was with guidance from an old diesel mechanic that knows the 8.2 very well and he had the tool to adjust the fuel rail for me.
i let him do that and just watched and listened because i have heard to many stories about getting the fuel rail out of adjustment fairly quick if you dont know what your doing.
the older mechanics that new these engines have aged out and didnt pass there knowledge down.
but the fuel pincher can run on just about any kind of oil you can put in it. i have ran mine on reclaimed fish fry oil, straight new fresh veggie oil and waste oil mixed with a little kerosene. without any modifications and straight back to diesel with a single hiccup between any of them just carry extra filters and yeah there is nothing fast about it but it runs like an old sewing machine as long as you take care of it.
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Old 11-02-2023, 02:26 PM   #11
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I learned how to do it in college. It was worth extra credit and the instructor was an old corporate detroit mechanic that was willing to show me and another guy. I wouldn't say it was difficult to do, just more of a "feel" thing that he was good at showing us. Getting it right vs wrong is night and day. Between "sewing machine" smooth, and some pile that lopes and bucks and needs scrapped.

Unfortunately I've never used it since.
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