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Old 11-16-2019, 05:48 PM   #81
Bus Nut
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Virginia
Posts: 548
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mtrdrms View Post
Hey guys,
I am going to pick up an 89 MCI 96A in 6 days. It hasn't been run in a year. The bus is in Indiana and I am in CT so I can't get to it until then.
I've never had a DD but I'm mechanical enough. So, what do I need to do to get this thing running and driving? I will only have a few hours to get this done as my window for this trip is short. Help!
First thing to do is contact Bus Grease Monkey and see if he or his son can look over the bus and get it running. Then you just arrive and take it home, with an inspection list of items from coach experts. This would be my choice if I had the money and limited time like you. And they're local.

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Old 11-16-2019, 10:41 PM   #82
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Join Date: Dec 2013
Location: SoCal
Posts: 287
Year: 1989
Coachwork: Crown Coach
Chassis: 40ft 3-axle 10spd O/D, Factory A/C
Engine: 300hp Cummins 855
Rated Cap: 91
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mtrdrms View Post
Hey guys I've got an inner Tire on the tag axle that's off the bead won't take air any suggestions?

I replied already to the tire issue this morning. I have more time now for some further thoughts and cautions.

Assuming you're too busy (and really having fun now) to care about checking here.

I'll pass on some tips once you get the thing up and on it's feet with a tolerable air system holding enough air to keep the brakes off, and that you even got the brakes to release, and the air ride/bags raised up, and the tires are OK enough to drive that distance home, even though you won't know that for sure till you get it all the way home and parked.

I'm not going to whip you while you're struggling so I'll pass on some friendly operational tips on how to handle the bus while driving and how to take care of the engine so you don't break it.

The ferry trip home will be full of enough distractions anyway so don't overly worry about the niceties as presented here but you should definitely have your Spider Sense fully engaged for anything that doesn't feel or sound right......even though at this stage you can't know what that is...I know this.

Listen, Feel with your feet and butt, Smell, View anything that doesn't look right. Vibrations, steering wheel shimmy's, pulling to the left or right, uneven braking, take it easy until you get them fully checked out. Just take it as easy as you can and tippy toe the thing home and say your prayers. And, yes I know this feeling. Seriously, Good Luck.

Do your best to safely get it home and then learn to drive it correctly to get the most fun out of it and not cause inadvertent damage as you learn the right way to do things.

Just in case you notice the entry door not closing tightly with air leaking in and all that COLD air freezing your essential body parts, look around way below the curve of the dash near where the throttle pedal is. You'll find a little lever about 3" long with a little red knob. That controls the air actuated clamping/cam(ing) claw that grabs that massive and probably greasy attachment at the rear of the door. It pulls in the door and holds it tight with air pressure while you drive. That little red knobed lever is the air release for the clamping claw. If it's not in the right position, either up or down, I never can remember, it won't let the clamp grab the door and keep it sealed. Make sure the door handle on top is closed and shut all the way over center and CLOSED and LOCKED. Then play with the little red lever and see if the claw moves, you should hear the air escape when you move the lever and the escaping air means it's letting the claw relax. Normal operations are to leave the red lever engaged so the claw works when you manually close the door and when it is fully shut an electric switch is pushed which activates the air clamp claw. Upon opening the door with the handle you'll hear a whistling escape of air as the claws' air pressure is dumped and it moves rearward out of the socket and releases the door so you can continue opening it by hand. You may actually have the early style vertical manual door opening handle where it moves up and down. They didn't last long and the air clamping action works the same with them as well.

Normal and preferred driving technique with all Detroit Diesel 2-Strokes (notice I said 2-strokes) is to drive them like you're MAD at them. They thrive on being driven HARD with FULL throttle application, to the floor, as you are accelerating to road speed. What this means is that you're giving the engine full fuel when accelerating like an on-ramp to a freeway until you get to the desired speed and then of course you back off to hold your speed. The real point I'm making is to NOT baby them with partial throttle just ahead of where it's pulling as you accelerate. They need the heavy torque loads to keep the rings seated and proper oil control in the cylinders.

Remember the intake ports in the liners? You will learn. This is one of the reasons for the strict oil requirements. That's why they're called 2-strokes, because they really are. And NO you don't need to add oil to the fuel.....The fuel IS an oil. that's why it's called Fuel Oil.

Real simple rules for longevity and proper care and feeding of a DD 2-stroke is this.

NEVER let it lug down below about 1400 rpm with heavy (full fuel) throttle demands for very long. This is a bit tricky because the transmission will let it go that low before shifting to the next lower gear, as designed, with no problems. So the rule of thumb is to not lug it at low rpms for very long at all. I hesitate to say this but as long as you're not thrashing it with full fuel you can let it pull as long as it comes back up with a partial throttle until you get it into the power range of 1700-2200 where you can then hammer down on it.

No doubt you're panicking because you've noticed there IS NO tachometer (unless added as a factory/aftermarket option). That's normal for all coaches before about the mid nineties. They didn't have them and everyone relied on shifting and driving using the speedometer and with non-automatics listening to the engine and shifting by using the governor to help you. The shift points/speeds were all pretty standard.

The way you handle this is to drive the bus, and as it accelerates under full power with the engine/transmission doing their thing make CAREFUL note of the speeds at which it shifts to the next higher gear. Don't be fooled by the torque converter action. It'll feel like actually shifting when in fact it's shifting up with the torque converter still slipping until it locks up which is NOT another up shift in gearing, just the transmission locking up into a direct connection to that gear. It's most likely an HT740 which is a 4-spd with 2-3-4 locking up as it goes. Each time it might feel like another gear but it's not. Once you note the road speed of the up-shifts REMEMBER them because while driving and you start to climb a hill you may really want to manually override the transmission and start the downshift about 2-3 mph ABOVE where it up-shifted while accelerating. The Idea is to have the transmission go into the next lower gear with the engine maxed out at the top governed speed without over-speeding the engine(the trans. won't let you anyway if it's working correctly).

This is how you keep your road speed up and efficiently go up the hill. The Transmission may wait and lug it down pretty low(usually with no damage...but), so you should learn enough to take control and keep your engine rpms up and in the power range as much as possible. This is how you prevent lugging and take good care of the engine for the long term.

One thing an auto transmission will NOT do is to sense the water temp of the engine. So if you're pulling a long gradual grade at say just above the normal shift point in any gear and it's holding speed, but the engine is turning at the low end of it's power range,....This is potentially dangerous because the engine is maxed out probably at full fuel/throttle to pull the hill but it's not moving a lot of coolant around the engine and radiators, and yes there are TWO Radiators. This is how you overheat without knowing or seeing it coming unless you're feeling the gradual grade and noting the low rpms and gear you're in. You MUST be aware of all this and watch the engine water temp gauge for any tendency or trend to get hotter and go higher. If you even think it feels like it wants to go up and get hotter, just slow down and downshift into the next lower gear, and do it by hand and override the transmission. That's the gear you will have to use until you get to the crest.

This is how folks kill DD 2-stokes. Happens all the time and even more so now because they aren't as common and the skill-sets aren't being passed on by the old time drivers.

Key points are: Don't lug it below 1400 for long unless it will pick it back up with a partial throttle. If it doesn't increase in speed... immediately downshift and keep the rpms up in the 1700-2200 range.

Don't let it get HOT. There's many ways to get one hot and only experience and keeping the rpms up will prevent most of the nastiness. KEEP the RPMS up in the power range as much as possible. This circulates coolant and draws air through the radiators(2). MCI's are pretty notorious for having smallish radiators and limited cooling capacity for us here in the Western desert states. We always were watching for them to get hot...and so should you. Drive always with one eye on the temp gauge.

Sorry for going on but I'm drawn to your epic adventure.....actually more like hypnotized waiting for the punchline I guess. I'd like to see you succeed but fully understand the huge and serious challenge you've undertaken. I'm pretty sure I wouldn't want to try it without a mechanic with lots of tools and supplies, and a chase car with me, following me all the way home, oh and a whole lot of $$$$$$ in reserve. But that's just me. That's the biggest reason I don't have a coach yet......I know what I want but need much better financial resources before going for it. Even a real good one in great shape will always have issues.

Seriously, Good Luck and Happy Trails. Where Angels fear to tread indeed. May you get it home safely, and in one piece, before Senior Murphy (or the Devil) realizes what you're doing.
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Old 11-16-2019, 11:35 PM   #83
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Join Date: Feb 2019
Posts: 6
Have a 35’ Southwind RV 1997 42,000 original miles
Runs great. A lot less work than an 89 mci. Also closer. Inspected. Located in Troy, Call (51 210-3433 asking 12,000
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Old 11-17-2019, 06:24 AM   #84
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Join Date: Feb 2015
Location: Cincinnati, Ohio
Posts: 999
Year: 2000
Coachwork: Blue Bird
Chassis: International
Engine: TE 444
Rated Cap: 12
The door lock also releases when you apply the parking brake, so you might not hear it let the air out, there is a separate push pull on the lower dash that locks the luggage compartments, looks just like the brake valve, so do not get them confused
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Old 11-17-2019, 06:53 PM   #85
Skoolie
 
Join Date: Dec 2018
Location: Colebrook CT
Posts: 163
Year: 1989
Coachwork: MCI
Chassis: 96A3
Engine: 6V92
Well we made it. Home now. 1900 miles in 2 days. Some laughs, some tears, some questions but we made it. First impressions:

Handles like a 600' ocean liner
Brake and Throttle input are mere suggestions
DNA more closely resembles a steam train than anything modern

Had to summon help from a tire guy (don't know why I said inboard - see above) and replace 2 batteries but we made it. Hadn't been driven in over a year. Maybe 3. Owner flaked out on me. Will post more later and questions.

Crown guy, your input was critical. But its a manual transmission. Double clutch every shift. I can get it right half the time. I owe you a beer.
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Old 11-17-2019, 07:43 PM   #86
Skoolie
 
Join Date: Dec 2018
Location: Colebrook CT
Posts: 163
Year: 1989
Coachwork: MCI
Chassis: 96A3
Engine: 6V92
And, I did lug it alot going up long hills - darn. But at least it didnt get hot! The temp was pretty steady around 180 but occasionally it would drop down to around 100?

So here any questions:

The brake lights stay on when I have the ebrake on. Even when the bus is off. So I used the kill switch on the batteries last night so I didnt run them down. How do I correct this?

It smokes quite a bit when I'm at full throttle at either low or high rpms. Normal?

Ugh, the door.

I had 3 serious death wobble events. F--kin scary. It looks like the tires are smoked and that was my first thought but what else should I look for to correct this? When I have the wheels off to get the tires changed, I'll look closer.

When I hit the brakes, she pulls to the right. What should I look for to correct this?

Keep in mind I havent looked under this thing. Hell, I haven't even opened the engine access doors yet! Crazy, I know. I just like the adventure. Ever since i came back from Afghanistan I like the risk.
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Old 11-17-2019, 09:05 PM   #87
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Join Date: Jul 2017
Location: Rapid City, SD
Posts: 838
Year: 2001
Coachwork: Blue Bird
Chassis: CS RE
Engine: ISC 8.3 L 260 hp
Rated Cap: 36
Glad you made it back safely. Driving a vehicle in unknown condition without a pretrip inspection is a danger to both you and those you share and the road with. The death wobble is likely worn king pins or other steering components. The pull to the right is either worn out or improperly adjusted brakes. For your safety and those around you take it to a local truck shop and have a DOT inspection done. They can give you a list of needed repairs required for safely operating the vehicle. Anything related to steering or braking would be best to have the shop repair. Other items could be fixed yourself. For any repairs you do yourself look for manuals specific to your vehicle's components as proper assembly and having the correct torque specs are necessay.

Ted
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Old 11-18-2019, 01:56 AM   #88
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Join Date: Dec 2013
Location: SoCal
Posts: 287
Year: 1989
Coachwork: Crown Coach
Chassis: 40ft 3-axle 10spd O/D, Factory A/C
Engine: 300hp Cummins 855
Rated Cap: 91
I've been working/driving 14 hours the last few days and I'm beat and not done yet, but you need to know this. I'll do more after the trip tomorrow. But now you need to know about reverse. And how to get it. MCI's work by starting with it in NEUTRAL and then HOLDING the reverse switch while pushing in the clutch and pulling it back into 2nd gear position HARD, then release the switch. If all works you'll now be in reverse. To clear reverse push it all the way into 1st gear and then back to neutral. If all works as it should this should do it.

I meant to mention the extremely short stroke of the brake pedal but with everything else I figured you'd find it out on your own. The same with the throttle. I'm intrigued by your comment though. Are you referring to the small amount of actual control and response the brake and throttle offer you or are you merely experiencing the massive inertia and slow to respond to normal acceleration and braking of a very large and totally new to you vehicle. If that's the case welcome to my world and take your time and allow an extremely large amount of space for everything you do with it until you get it internalized and you are used to how long it takes for it to change any velocity vector in any direction. Remember it's Huge and Serious so take it easy until you catch up with it.

Remember how I said coaches were different?? Well now you're getting to see it first hand. They're heavier and more sluggish in response than any school bus.

I can imagine all the gears you mangled until you managed to get it down the road but with time and practice it'll get better and try to learn how to use the governor in your shifts and always run it up to almost bump the high end and then shift, it'll be easier and the timing will become like a dance routine and the sound of the engine will internalize as well so you can anticipate and get smoother. Try always to get smoother with your shifts and make it a point of pride and you'll find yourself enjoying the experience much more than merely herding an automatic transmission down the road. You'll have to learn the ins and outs of it but you'll be much better for it in the end. That's a real drivers bus and worth it to get good at it. It's a skill that will serve you well in the future. I much prefer a manual shift and the MCI"S and GMC's were true joys to drive. You always feel in control and the bus responds to YOUR wishes and not a pre-programmed transmission. Looking forward to more updates.

Now that you have it if you want more good in-depth info feel free to email me direct and I can reply better and include pics and such as needed. mikemcc2k@yahoo.com
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Old 11-18-2019, 05:46 PM   #89
Skoolie
 
Join Date: Dec 2018
Location: Colebrook CT
Posts: 163
Year: 1989
Coachwork: MCI
Chassis: 96A3
Engine: 6V92
Well interestingly, the reverse in this bus is not complicated. Where first usually is in a car - just in and up. Works great.
I can see how driving one of these would be endearing to some. Its not easy and takes skill. There's pride in knowing not many people can do it.
But I have a lot to learn about this thing. Check out what I found behind door #1
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Old 11-18-2019, 05:49 PM   #90
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Join Date: Feb 2015
Location: Cincinnati, Ohio
Posts: 999
Year: 2000
Coachwork: Blue Bird
Chassis: International
Engine: TE 444
Rated Cap: 12
overhead valve modern generators
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Old 11-18-2019, 05:55 PM   #91
Skoolie
 
Join Date: Dec 2018
Location: Colebrook CT
Posts: 163
Year: 1989
Coachwork: MCI
Chassis: 96A3
Engine: 6V92
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kubla View Post
overhead valve modern generators
Well, looks like I'm cleaning some carbs this week. So just regular ole oil for these babies, right? Looks like they have pretty common 1394 (toyota?) Oil filters. Would these normally be tied to the start batteries?
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Old 11-18-2019, 05:57 PM   #92
Skoolie
 
Join Date: Dec 2018
Location: Colebrook CT
Posts: 163
Year: 1989
Coachwork: MCI
Chassis: 96A3
Engine: 6V92
No lights or outlets work inside so I'm hoping when I get these running I'll have heat and power...
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Old 11-19-2019, 08:04 AM   #93
Skoolie
 
Join Date: Dec 2018
Location: Colebrook CT
Posts: 163
Year: 1989
Coachwork: MCI
Chassis: 96A3
Engine: 6V92
Here's the blue whale
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Old 11-19-2019, 12:58 PM   #94
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Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: fresno
Posts: 46
Year: Gill
Coachwork: Gillig
Engine: 636 c.i. CAT V8
Rated Cap: 33,700 GVWR
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Originally Posted by PatrickBaptist View Post
Why all the SPAM? You keep on posting this stuff on peoples threads and never actually address the topic being discussed or answer anyone's questions.
Very sketchy.
You know nothing about me. A little investigation would have shown you some obvious stuff. Leave me alone.

Patrick Young
I do NOT do this for a living, just for fun, and to support my non-profit.
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Wheelchair project
Fresno, CA
(559) 244-1042
(559) 251-3814
mailto:WheelchairBusProject@yahoo.com
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Old 11-19-2019, 12:59 PM   #95
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Location: fresno
Posts: 46
Year: Gill
Coachwork: Gillig
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Rated Cap: 33,700 GVWR
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You know nothing about me. A little investigation would have shown you some obvious stuff. Leave me alone.

Patrick Young
I do NOT do this for a living, just for fun, and to support my non-profit.
PatrickBaptist

Please block me from all replies, or posts that may reach you in the future.

Thank you

Patrick Young
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Wheelchair project
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Old 11-20-2019, 07:08 PM   #96
Skoolie
 
Join Date: Dec 2018
Location: Colebrook CT
Posts: 163
Year: 1989
Coachwork: MCI
Chassis: 96A3
Engine: 6V92
Ok, so, oil. I know this beast requires 40wt. I found some Traveller (tractor supply) brand SAE40 HD oil that's CF2 rated. Ok to use, right?
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Old 11-20-2019, 08:08 PM   #97
Bus Geek
 
Join Date: May 2016
Location: Eastern WA
Posts: 6,398
Year: 2002
Coachwork: Bluebird
Chassis: All American RE (A3RE)
Engine: Cummins ISC (8.3)
Rated Cap: 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mtrdrms View Post
Ok, so, oil. I know this beast requires 40wt. I found some Traveller (tractor supply) brand SAE40 HD oil that's CF2 rated. Ok to use, right?
Maybe.

It is the ash content is the issue. Take a look at http://www.tejascoach.com/tips.html
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Old 11-20-2019, 08:13 PM   #98
Skoolie
 
Join Date: Dec 2018
Location: Colebrook CT
Posts: 163
Year: 1989
Coachwork: MCI
Chassis: 96A3
Engine: 6V92
Thanks Steve. I'll have a look. Another couple for ya: what does this switch do and what does this hose go to? Both are back by the engine...
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Old 11-20-2019, 11:16 PM   #99
Bus Crazy
 
Join Date: Jun 2016
Location: Orange County, CA
Posts: 1,050
Year: 1990
Coachwork: integral
Chassis: Crown Supercoach II (rear engine)
Engine: Detroit 6V92TAC, DDEC 2, Jake brake, Allison HT740
Rated Cap: 37,400 lbs GVWR
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mtrdrms View Post
Ok, so, oil. I know this beast requires 40wt. I found some Traveller (tractor supply) brand SAE40 HD oil that's CF2 rated. Ok to use, right?
If you want to know the sulfated ash and TBN numbers, there should be a spec sheet published by the refiner or seller which you could maybe find online, and if not I think (but I'm not 100% sure) that the CF2 rating is for a maximum of 1% ash. Delo 100 (not 400) is about 0.7% ash so it's generally thought of as the best 2-stroke oil these days; however there are several other perfectly acceptable CF2 oils, such as Shell Rotella T1 (but not any other number T), Mobil Delvac 1240 which is favored by Luvrbus on the BCM forum, Conoco/Phillips 76 T5X which I use because ABC Bus used to have a drum of it for $5 a gallon!, and there are some marine and oilfield CF2 oils if you're near the coast or in oil country.

And if you're ever in really hot weather or if your engine is getting tired, it's OK to use straight 50-weight CF2. Just don't use any oils intended for 2-stroke EMD railroad engines!

John
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Old 11-20-2019, 11:50 PM   #100
Bus Crazy
 
Join Date: Jun 2016
Location: Orange County, CA
Posts: 1,050
Year: 1990
Coachwork: integral
Chassis: Crown Supercoach II (rear engine)
Engine: Detroit 6V92TAC, DDEC 2, Jake brake, Allison HT740
Rated Cap: 37,400 lbs GVWR
I see you're now in the cold side of the country, but it's still worth replacing the original MCI coolant temperature gauge with an accurate full-sweep stepper-motor gauge that will tell you exactly the engine's temperature. As Mike said, controlling the engine's temperature is critical to its longevity, and having a trustworthy gauge is the first thing you should do for that. I replaced some of my original quarter-sweep Teleflex gauges with Speedhut full-sweep gauges - you can order them with your choice of colors and scripts so it's possible to match the original gauges fairly well. I now have three Speedhuts for engine and tran temps and for oil pressure, a VDO turbo boost gauge to know how much heat the engine is creating, an AEM voltage gauge (with a 330-degree sweep for maximum resolution), and they all tell me EXACTLY and immediately what's happening. No more guessing or squinting at indistinct markings - I can now easily see if it's 190 or 188 or 192 degrees, or exactly what the voltage is going into the ECM. Forewarned is forearmed.

John
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