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Old 10-19-2015, 08:05 AM   #1
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How often to start and run the bus?

DW's father spent over 30 years as a diesel mechanic in Seattle and Oroville, WA, and on his recommendation I've been starting up the bus and running it for at least 15 minutes once a week, then bleeding the air tanks when I'm done. I plan to do that while it's parked and I'm still converting it so it stays in running condition (one of the things I hate when looking at bus ads is "it ran when parked x years ago").

Just wondering, what do other folks do to keep your bus ready to go while it's parked?
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Old 10-19-2015, 08:16 AM   #2
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I start mine up about twice a month on average.
I let it warm up for fifteen mins or so, then i drive it around a little.
Draining the tanks afterwards is a good idea.
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Old 10-19-2015, 11:28 AM   #3
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Every two weeks she is fired up and tanks bled......
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Old 10-19-2015, 11:32 AM   #4
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From my own research and deductions it seems to be best to winterize the vehicle and then leave it alone. If you're worried about the batteries then take them inside and put them on a trickle charger. I leave mine connected and periodically charge the batteries throughout the winter. Make sure the coolant has an appropriate ratio of water to antifreeze and the necessary SCAs. Fill the fuel tank all the way. Put some stabilizer in it if it pleases you (again, I don't and have not had any problems. Diesel stores well).

Intermittently starting and idling a diesel does it no good. It will not get up to proper operating temperature and thus diesel and moisture from the air will condense on the cylinder walls (called cylinder wash). It will contaminate the oil and reduce lubrication in the cylinders. Many people run intermittently throughout storage, but it doesn't make it the right thing to do.
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Old 10-19-2015, 11:34 AM   #5
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Allow me to amend my post. Usually every two weeks I'm driving somewhere to get a quote on some work, so I kinda mis-led y'all. Sorry.
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Old 10-19-2015, 11:42 AM   #6
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99% of all engine damage is done in the first 30 seconds to 3 min of the engine running. This is due to expansion and contraction of internal components, and lack of lubrication.

To needlessly start a large diesel engine is just doing it damage.

15 min is not even enough to bring the large engine up to operating temperature.

Without bringing the engine to operating temperature, the oil never gets hot enough to evaporate the water accumulated from condensation. The condensation is caused by changes from hot to cold. Starting / shutting down.
So with repeated short runs of 15 min, the oil will just collect more and more water, leading to engine damage.

As jazty mentioned, it's best to winterize your engine, and leave it alone.

We run a fleet of 400 buses. We don't go around messing with the spares unless they are needed.

If I was to start all 5 Cummins engines I own, I would wear them out before they ever landed in a finished project.

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Old 10-19-2015, 11:53 AM   #7
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I know I'll not be that guy with a bus that "started when parked 5 years ago".
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Old 10-19-2015, 12:02 PM   #8
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I know I'll not be that guy with a bus that "started when parked 5 years ago".
No, you will be the guy with a messed up engine from short cycling it.

I would never buy a bus from someone doing so.

It's like buying a car from someone that only ever drove it to the store a block away. The engine would be toast, but the rest of the car would be low miles.

Far more damaging than leaving it alone.

I'm starting to see why your engine starts so easily from small 12 volt battery's. I wonder how much compression is left in each cylinder. Newer, factory compression engines take far more power to turn over when starting.
Your engine is likely has vary low compression.

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Old 10-19-2015, 12:21 PM   #9
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Great, another thread goes in the crapper from the Frick/Frack Bros.

Sorry I even asked.

Thanks to those that gave good information without sniping at each other. I'll take it all into consideration.

I'm outta this thread.
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Old 10-19-2015, 02:01 PM   #10
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I start my bus every couple weeks and DRIVE it....
This is the big thing: driving it. That's fine. If you need to move it around from time to time then go for it; let that engine spin by giving it a reasonable drive. That being said, I still wouldn't recommend starting it and driving it just because you don't want it sitting around. There's no reason for it.

- full tank of diesel;
- top off the oil;
- appropriate antifreeze/water ratio; and
- battery minder.

Then it can sit happily for many, many months.
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Old 10-19-2015, 02:14 PM   #11
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I like to leave a small radio in the engine compartment with the classical music station on. I find it keeps the engine much more inclined to start after sitting for months and months....
My goal is to only start the engine if I know Ill be able to get it under load and up to temp for at least 15 minutes. Of course, that doesnt always happen, but Im totally fine letting my girl sit for months and months. My ideal scenario would be to only start the bus if Im going on a trip of 10 miles or more. Ive seen 2 buses whos engines need new rings directly as a result of extended over idling and all the damage was done in a matter of 4 weeks while the buses were being rented to a tour company. They idled the buses to keep the heaters on for about 2 hours per day which means the engines sat there running with coolant temps around 120. They came back burning oil like crazy belching blue smoke. Two strokes are even more sensitive.
If ya got nowhere to go, id let it sit.
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Old 10-19-2015, 02:20 PM   #12
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Id also say that extended periods of warm up idling are also not a good idea unless it is very cold outside. The bus will warm up faster under moderate loads than idling for ages. The longest Id feel like letting a bus idle (high idle around 1200-1500rpm) would be 5 minutes on the coldest day before getting moving in it. Diesels need a load. No load idling is a waste of fuel and your engine!
The best solution to all of this is a diesel fired coolant heater to preheat your engine before starting. The next best would be a plug in block heater.
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Old 10-19-2015, 02:32 PM   #13
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Enjoying a Sunday drive in bus #50.
Not hurting anyone, or the bus.
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Old 10-19-2015, 02:44 PM   #14
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I miss the REAL Frick & Frack though.
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Old 10-19-2015, 02:49 PM   #15
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Not hurting anyone, or the bus.
Nope. And if you're enjoying yourself then have at it! No problem there. However, the point still stands that it isn't a necessity. Winterizing is fine. Cruising is fun, though.
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Old 10-19-2015, 05:10 PM   #16
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Totally agreed there, Jazty.
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Old 10-19-2015, 10:07 PM   #17
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Man, EastCoast, I didn't know a Ward Senator was the same as an Amtran Genesis, at least from the insides in the video. Down to the bolt!
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Old 10-19-2015, 10:15 PM   #18
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Yep, on the 92's and 93's the AmTran Genesis was labeled as the Ward Senator out here.
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Old 10-20-2015, 06:49 AM   #19
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The recommendation I got from a local truck driver who works with diesel engines for a living was to start her up at least twice a week and let her run for a half hour after she's been winterized. So is this recommendation wrong?
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Old 10-20-2015, 07:10 AM   #20
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Something to consider. From the reading I have done your tires need to be "exercised" regularly to get longest life out of them. They really don't do well just sitting and covering them up has no real value. Also, just starting the engine and getting it up to temp isn't long enough to dry out the exhaust system.
I recommend about once a month drive on the hiway far enough to get tires warm, ten miles out should be enough.
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