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Old 06-23-2020, 11:18 PM   #21
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Here is a video of the signs of the problem...

https://drive.google.com/file/d/11jEXiqBLVNPEwCBp4nPG-rCWRyVQdU6c/view?usp=drivesdk


One injector is leaking, but the gist of the problem is that one of the #3 intake tappets has seized its roller, pitting the tappet against the cam lobe in a grind o' war.

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Old 06-23-2020, 11:26 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by CHEESE_WAGON View Post
Hey Cheese
You're a good man for sticking it out through all that.
I imagine there are driveaway guys that would of packed up and run.
Cheers to you.
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Old 06-23-2020, 11:46 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Oscar1 View Post
Hey Cheese
You're a good man for sticking it out through all that.
I imagine there are driveaway guys that would of packed up and run.
Cheers to you.
I feel I would be doing them a disservice by doing so, because they are in uncharted waters, and I feel this bus is a reasonably decent purchase that just needs some TLC. Unfortunately, some of it has to be done to get it home. Safety-wise, a couple other things need addressing to ensure long term roadworthiness, but I think the bus is worth fixing. I'm no expert, but I would say this engine has another 200k in it easy if fixed correctly and taken care of properly.

To its credit, it made it 1200 miles with a failing camshaft. A good chunk of that 1200 miles was run at 70 miles per hour, and it still managed 7.5 miles per gallon with a 3,100-lb car in tow. Yes, it sucks to have to spend 3 grand or more replacing a camshaft, but if it managed 7.5 mpg towing a car with a cylinder half down at 70 mph, I think that says a lot about the health of the engine. Fortunately, it seems to have been caught in time to prevent any serious damage. I knew when to shut it down and not push a bad position.
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Old 06-24-2020, 02:58 AM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Oscar1 View Post
Hey Cheese
You're a good man for sticking it out through all that.
I imagine there are driveaway guys that would of packed up and run.
Cheers to you.
Yes, he definitely is!


Cheese_Wagon, are you going to hang with the bus while it is being repaired?
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Old 06-24-2020, 06:38 AM   #25
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Yes, he definitely is!
Cheese_Wagon, are you going to hang with the bus while it is being repaired?
In the interests of reducing expenses, as it could be a week before completion, it was mutually agreed that It would be better if I return home in the interim, to save on hotel rooms. The bus is in Eastern PA now, and I live in Virginia, so it makes more sense at this point. Obviously this wouldn't be as viable if this had happened between IA and PA.

I will say, however, that this will likely be the only delivery I will be able to make myself available for. Not because of the issues that have cropped up, but because of health issues that make it difficult for me to be in public. They also make me quite high risk for contracting COVID-19 in the current pandemic. So I have had to be extremely careful.

Quite frankly, the only reason that I was able to do so in this case was that it was feasible for the new owners to have a hitch installed so that I could tow my car with me, as they plan to do the same themselves eventually. And dealing with UHaul in that situation has been an odyssey in and of itself.

I have been lucky thus far, but have had several close calls with people smoking cigarettes where they shouldn't be, as well as a few areas on the road where smoke from unknown sources was detectable. With the mechanical issues that have cropped up, if I had not had my car with me, I would have been in serious trouble from a health standpoint, and it has saved a ton of hassle and leg work with rental cars. It's just been easier to be able to unstrap and unload my car in event of an emergency, or if I need to go somewhere the bus cannot.
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Old 06-24-2020, 07:32 AM   #26
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This reminds me of my 2004 CE300 shorty from Cleveland TX. My homie shaun went out and got it for me. It got back to FL just fine. But by the time it got here an ugly problem has surfaced and the bus needed 10k+ thrown at it immediately.
Cheese Wagon you're a stand up dude. I owe you a round of beers or joints, your choice.
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Old 06-24-2020, 08:25 AM   #27
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Well, that solves that. It sucks but at least you found someone competent enough to dig to find the problem. It's pretty stand up of the seller to offer you some money back.

Plow through it. It will get better eventually. You have a good optioned bus here, so even with the problems you're ahead of the game compared to most.

A valvetrain adjustment is often skipped by lazy mechanics, because it will seldom change unless there are issues.
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Old 06-24-2020, 12:32 PM   #28
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Following this account I'm very much considering getting a semi and RGN flatbed trailer if I think skoolie delivery is a semi-retired activity for me. A bus in question doesn't even have to be running so long as it can be winched onto the trailer. Of course the new owner misses out on the shakedown drive but seems like it would be easier to price shop repairs once it's delivered than dealing with this during the maiden voyage. Cheers CheeseWagon for sticking with it! You have my respect!
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Old 06-24-2020, 12:47 PM   #29
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Following this account I'm very much considering getting a semi and RGN flatbed trailer if I think skoolie delivery is a semi-retired activity for me. A bus in question doesn't even have to be running so long as it can be winched onto the trailer. Of course the new owner misses out on the shakedown drive but seems like it would be easier to price shop repairs once it's delivered than dealing with this during the maiden voyage. Cheers CheeseWagon for sticking with it! You have my respect!
Not a bad idea. The only drawback to flatbed delivery is the shakedown run is likely to reveal any issues before the major expense of building. In this situation, it's probably better to get this expense out of the way before spending on the build, hitting the road, and then getting stranded with the entire family waiting for repairs. I do think it would be fun hauling busses all over the country for fellow skooile owners.
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Old 06-24-2020, 01:01 PM   #30
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Originally Posted by Sehnsucht View Post
Following this account I'm very much considering getting a semi and RGN flatbed trailer if I think skoolie delivery is a semi-retired activity for me. A bus in question doesn't even have to be running so long as it can be winched onto the trailer. Of course the new owner misses out on the shakedown drive but seems like it would be easier to price shop repairs once it's delivered than dealing with this during the maiden voyage. Cheers CheeseWagon for sticking with it! You have my respect!
Quote:
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Not a bad idea. The only drawback to flatbed delivery is the shakedown run is likely to reveal any issues before the major expense of building. In this situation, it's probably better to get this expense out of the way before spending on the build, hitting the road, and then getting stranded with the entire family waiting for repairs. I do think it would be fun hauling busses all over the country for fellow skooile owners.

From our perspective as the buyer, it has been semi-stressful and jarring seeing the problems pop up on the "shakedown" trip. However, obviously in the end, we do also feel like it is great to know what's going on with it that we would have otherwise found out on the road ourselves. But, what did make it especially stressful was spending at least $1500 just to get to the point, after multiple near breakdowns, where someone could tell us what was actually going on instead of just symptoms being patched up. It really taught us how hard it is on the road to randomly find a reliable mechanic who is willing to help and spend time on a problem, and not just rip you off and waste your time. That being said, the only way to see these problems crop up is on the road. We had 2 mechanics look at it before the trip and both said it was in great shape. So the chances that we would have been able to figure out these problems near the comfort of our local, known mechanic are slim. In the end, at this point, we just have to be glad we now know the problem and it is being taken care.

As far as the driver, I am so glad we went with the hitch because it certainly saved Cheese_Wagon way more hassle. But, if you wanted to do this regularly, I would have to say that trailer sounds like a damn good idea.
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Old 06-24-2020, 01:06 PM   #31
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I also want to emphasize one more time how fortunate we are that Cheese_Wagon was the driver. He was knowledgeable enough to know when to stop driving, and to give us some general ideas of what he thought was going wrong with the bus, he never abandoned the mission, sticking with it through the many hiccups and detours and annoyances, not to mention stayed incredibly good-natured and patient throughout the entire thing. We even shared a few laughs throughout it all, and you can't beat that.
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Old 06-24-2020, 01:24 PM   #32
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Originally Posted by Mandinee1 View Post
I also want to emphasize one more time how fortunate we are that Cheese_Wagon was the driver. He was knowledgeable enough to know when to stop driving, and to give us some general ideas of what he thought was going wrong with the bus, he never abandoned the mission, sticking with it through the many hiccups and detours and annoyances, not to mention stayed incredibly good-natured and patient throughout the entire thing. We even shared a few laughs throughout it all, and you can't beat that.
Great attitude you got there. As they say "this too shall pass"
Now carry on with the fun stuff and enjoy!
Cheers
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Old 06-24-2020, 03:13 PM   #33
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In regard to Mandinee's comments, I think I can safely say that if it this is the worst this bus is going to throw at you on the trip home, you've likely bought a good egg.

The technician pretty much spelled it out that 9,000 hours was about typical life expectancy of a camshaft for the 8.3L. This engine is very common in pusher RVs as well, and I have also read plenty online about this engine having similar troubles in such RVs at 100-150k miles as well, likely because such applications likely have more frequent start/stop cycles.

Also, some of these owners may be short-changing their engines by not using the recommended engine oil or doing required maintenance on time. As my previous post mentioned, the 8.3 needs a high-zinc content engine oil. Reading between the lines, all that tells me a few things:

1) The camshaft has not worn out prematurely.

2) #1 tells me the bus was maintained adequately or better.

3) At 259k and 9,000 hours, this bus was likely mostly highway miles, averaging almost 29 mph, higher than your typical route bus.

4) It was going to happen sooner than later, and better it happen before you trust your living arrangements and family to it. This engine was not going to safely run another 50 miles without damage, let alone 500.

That being said, hopefully the filter(s) caught any metal put in the oiling system from the failure, and hopefully I caught it before it did any damage. They'll know when they take it apart for inspection of the components.

Also, let me throw some number crunching into the mix here...

The bus had 258k when I picked it up, and not quite at 260k yet.

260,000 miles across 9,000 hrs is approximately 28.9 miles per hour average, much higher than I've seen on most, which came in anywhere from 9 mph to 19 mph. I've seen a few that averaged 25 mph, but I think these ran mostly highway, and could even have been an activity bus. It's a reasonable assumption yours saw similar service use, which is great because it means very little stop-and-go in comparison to most.

The bus had 258k at time of pickup. I'll presume the previous owner had it a few years, and likely auctioned off at around 15 years old. I'll further presume the previous owner put 3k or less on it.

255k across 15 years is around 17,000 miles per year, or just about 1,888 miles per month (9 month school year). That's 472 miles per week, or 94 miles per day... IF it was used 5 days a week, 9 months a year as a regular route bus.

But I don't see it. No route buses I've calculated the stats on penciled out to more than 50 miles per day, and most were less than 35. None of them averaged more than 15k per year in service. So I feel confident in saying this was probably a spare bus that was reserved for activity duty, or if it WAS a regular route bus, it had to have been a damned big county with a lot of cruise miles between stops. Possible, but not likely.

17,000 miles per year comes out more like a few occasional uses per month as a spare route bus, with more longer runs like track meets, football games, band competitions, field trips and the like. The original school agency likely did not want to relegate any one bus to purely activity duty, or possibly wanted to be able to put a bus reserved for activity duty into use as a spare route bus when necessary.

My gut tells me this bus was 85% highway mileage. So I think once properly repaired, the engine and transmission should give you years of trouble-free service if properly maintained. Just expect to have to do some fluid servicing, as you can't really be certain when they were last done. The oil honestly looked a bit oxidized to me, which means it was older than it should have been. One or two missed oil changes is not going to kill it, but it's not a good habit to get into with a diesel, especially at over 250k.

Therefore, I stand by my statement that if this is the worst this thing can dish out on the trip home, and it was caught before any real damage occurred, you've got a good egg if you take care of it. But as I warned you initially, there is no $30 oil change with buses. There is no $70 coolant flush or transmission service. Brakes can run $2000 - $5000 per axle, tires are $200-$300 each, and road service calls for blown tires start around $400 plus parts and labor.

In this situation, I do think that if I had known Sherwood Freightliner was going to pull the fast one that they did, I would have recommended the Cummins onsite to start with. Had they been able to directly tell me specifics the first time, I would have recommended having it towed to a shop right then. I had a feeling something was seriously wrong when I read the sheet indicating that the entire valvetrain was out of adjustment and that one cylinder was worse than the others. That's why I started researching this engine, which led to discovering the common issue of camshaft lobe wear at higher mileage.

That being said, as there has been metal-to-metal contact with the lobe and tappet, I might recommend another engine oil analysis in the future to determine if any metal has been circulated elsewhere in the engine.

However, I think you're past the worst of it once Engines Inc gets it running right again with a new camshaft and tappets, assuming no hidden damage is discovered, which I don't think likely, as coolant temp and oil pressure have been in the green across the board. And I am greatly appreciative of your willingness to facilitate the one thing that made this trip a lot less hassle than it would have been.

As to my tenacity in this time, consider that I've spent far more time than this waiting on repairs for semi tractors.

I once spent 12 days in Shreveport LA with Harvey fast approaching. When the truck was finally cleared for duty, I was dispatched to Campti (INTO THE STORM) for a quick drop-and-hook, driving back roads with 6-10 inches of water flowing across the roads, and rain so hard I couldn't see 10 feet at times. I was running hard from Campti with that load like my ass was on fire, only to arrive in Tupelo MS to hear tornado sirens and having to hunker down in the warehouse I was delivering to for over two hours.

I've also had to sleep in truck dealership service department waiting rooms when a hotel room was not available or the company was too cheap to pay for one. So, as you can see, I've dealt with a hell of a lot worse than this, and having my car right there with me made things a lot easier than they would have been.

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Old 06-24-2020, 03:53 PM   #34
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Having the sister to this bus, almost identical twin, right down to mileage, I am very grateful for your thoughts and insight. Also grateful to Mandy for being willing to air this part of their experience on the site for all us to learn from.

How are you finding the engine hours? I don't seem to have an hour meter.
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Old 06-24-2020, 04:35 PM   #35
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Having the sister to this bus, almost identical twin, right down to mileage, I am very grateful for your thoughts and insight. Also grateful to Mandy for being willing to air this part of their experience on the site for all us to learn from.

How are you finding the engine hours? I don't seem to have an hour meter.
This one has a remote start console in the engine bay, presumably with an hour meter. The tech may be speaking from reading the ECM. I am going by what the tech said. Also, some tachometers have an hour meter built-in.
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Old 06-24-2020, 04:50 PM   #36
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CHEESE_WAGON View Post
This one has a remote start console in the engine bay, presumably with an hour meter. The tech may be speaking from reading the ECM. I am going by what the tech said. Also, some tachometers have an hour meter built-in.
Dang, I have the console in the engine bay, and tach, but no meter. Does anyone know if I can get that info using the 6 pin Blue Fire reader?
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Old 06-24-2020, 08:05 PM   #37
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Your BlueFire adapter can read the ECM data. It is a great tool. I have used it on our CAT as well as my dad's Cummins.
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Old 06-27-2020, 04:30 PM   #38
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Bus trailer

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sehnsucht View Post
Following this account I'm very much considering getting a semi and RGN flatbed trailer if I think skoolie delivery is a semi-retired activity for me. A bus in question doesn't even have to be running so long as it can be winched onto the trailer. Of course the new owner misses out on the shakedown drive but seems like it would be easier to price shop repairs once it's delivered than dealing with this during the maiden voyage. Cheers CheeseWagon for sticking with it! You have my respect!
One of the trailers I have for my tractor is a landoll ramp trailer. It works by having the back axle slide forward 15 feet and the fifth wheel hitch raises up 8 feet forming a smooth ramp right down to the ground. I used it for transporting dead 40 foot transit buses to the scrap yard. It has a winch up front so you can pull up any rolling stock on the deck then lower it back down for transport. The great thing about it is you can also use it as a 48 foot step deck for any cargo. Mine is self contained with a 20 hp gas motor so it can be towed with any truck. It is much better than a rgn because you don't always need another piece of equipment to move equipment around in position and I think its hard to find a lowbed with a 40 foot cargo well. I use mine to deliver sea containers also.
If you have the means, I highly recommend picking one up.
For those of you that need to have a bus moved if you call a tow company and use the word landoll they will know what you are talking about.
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Old 06-27-2020, 04:52 PM   #39
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Indeed those are nice trailers and probably even more ideal for this application. A school bus wouldn't be a heavy haul at all but I wasn't sure how tall it would be once it's up on the deck. Of course a double-drop could pose its own problems trying to squeeze a 40-footer on or having to block up the tires so the tail will clear the hump.
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Old 06-27-2020, 05:38 PM   #40
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The cng buses i hauled were 11 feet tall and the deck was 3 feet so in california i was right at the limit for height without permits. When I took off the wheels they dropped down to 13' 6". I could handle about 35k lbs on mine. I got mine for $15k ten years ago. Pretty much bottom of the market and needed some modifications when I got it. Most modern ones will be at least twice that.
John
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