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Old 01-23-2017, 08:34 PM   #1
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Picked up my Thomas shorty today

Picked up this fella today from some guys who already did a partial conversion. Anxious to finish it out. Low miles, though not sure how trustworthy the odometer is. Took it 150 miles today. All good sans the caliper locking up on the last mile.
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Old 01-23-2017, 08:36 PM   #2
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Smile

NICE!
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Old 01-23-2017, 08:38 PM   #3
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Oh, I do have a question. As far as maintenance/service what kind of places should I be looking for? Being that it has the Powerstroke in it, I have an appointment set up with a Ford dealer to give it a once over and replace all the fluids. They seemed more than happy to have me bring it in.
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Old 01-23-2017, 08:44 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Shiftynick View Post
Picked up this fella today from some guys who already did a partial conversion. Anxious to finish it out. Low miles, though not sure how trustworthy the odometer is. Took it 150 miles today. All good sans the caliper locking up on the last mile.
You made it closer to home than me... I made it within 3 miles from home when I saw my smoking wheel

But, my trip was only 30 miles to start with
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Old 01-23-2017, 08:47 PM   #5
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I think any diesel mechanic will be able to fix you bus. the engine is in front no problem for them to get in.Call around you diesel shops and tell them you engine.
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Old 01-23-2017, 08:49 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Shiftynick View Post
Oh, I do have a question. As far as maintenance/service what kind of places should I be looking for? Being that it has the Powerstroke in it, I have an appointment set up with a Ford dealer to give it a once over and replace all the fluids. They seemed more than happy to have me bring it in.
It more or less is a "PowerStroke" but it really is not. It is an international T444e, which ford did include under their powerstroke lineup but only after changing the layout of some things.

Really, you should bring it to an international truck dealership as they will have the right parts for it.
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Old 01-23-2017, 08:58 PM   #7
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Thanks, I didn't know that.
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Old 01-23-2017, 08:59 PM   #8
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It more or less is a "PowerStroke" but it really is not. It is an international T444e, which ford did include under their powerstroke lineup but only after changing the layout of some things.

Really, you should bring it to an international truck dealership as they will have the right parts for it.
Thanks, I didn't know that.
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Old 01-24-2017, 05:56 AM   #9
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Thanks, I didn't know that.
I'd find a local diesel shop. A dealers gonna be PRICEY.

How much did you have to pay to get that pretty bus? Its a beauty!
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Old 01-24-2017, 08:41 AM   #10
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If you take it to a dealer, be sure to drop off a jar of Vaseline with your keys.

+1 on finding a good independent diesel truck shop.
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Old 01-24-2017, 10:38 AM   #11
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I'd find a local diesel shop. A dealers gonna be PRICEY.

Yeah, this....dealers are pricey. I don't know why I said dealership, I bring my crap to the local tractor place.....
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Old 01-24-2017, 11:01 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by Shiftynick View Post
Oh, I do have a question. As far as maintenance/service what kind of places should I be looking for? Being that it has the Powerstroke in it, I have an appointment set up with a Ford dealer to give it a once over and replace all the fluids. They seemed more than happy to have me bring it in.
If at all possible you should, at the very least, do the oil change/fuel filter change/coolant etc. at home. It's actually usually easier than working on a passenger car in that there is much more space to move around a bus engine.

You'll save alot of money doing it yourself and it really isn't any harder than removing a bolt and unscrewing filters then putting the bolt back in and screwing filters back in. I've heard of dealers charging $150+ for just an oil change, when in reality if you do it yourself it would be more like $50 for the oil and $10 for a filter and about half an hour of your time.

Plus you'll learn about your engine first hand. Which is always a good thing.
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Old 01-24-2017, 11:22 AM   #13
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Great Bus !! Looks a little like mine. Same engine. I like the color.
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Old 01-24-2017, 12:51 PM   #14
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Ah, those pesky calipers locking up! Nothing like that smell!
Husband just pulled both of the front tires off our Thomas shorty (the Chevy one) and got new calipers from NAPA, plus getting the rotors turned. Good times.

If it is any consolation, our bus actually caught fire during our test drive, thanks to locked up rear brakes. The original owner stood there dumbfounded, while I grabbed the fire extinguisher and handed it to husband, who rolled under there and put it out.
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Old 01-24-2017, 01:42 PM   #15
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Of course the Ford garage was happy to make an appointment for you. They know they will get the better part of $1K out of you for doing stuff you could do for yourself for under $300.00.

Even going to the truck shop at a truck stop would be a better place than the Ford garage.

Getting to know the basic systems in your bus will save you $$$$$$$ over time. If your bus is like bus most buses that get converted your bus will put on less miles in the next ten years than it averaged per year before it retired. With so few miles the fluids and filters will need changing simply because of all of the moisture that will accumulate over time.

I assume your bus has hydraulic brakes. You would be smart to purchase a pressure bleeder system so that you can change the brake fluid at least every couple of years. Brake fluid is hydroscopic--it attracts and absorbs water. Over time the water displaces the brake fluid and lowers the boiling point dramatically. It can get to the point where you might find yourself getting towards the bottom of a steep grade only to find out that you have boiled your brake fluid reservoir dry and you are only left with the hand brake. Not a fun way to make your way to the bottom of a hill.

Water in your brake system could be the reason why your caliper seized up. The water causes corrosion that plays havoc on pistons and seals in the brakes system.

There is nothing on your bus that is all that complicated other than the fact everything is larger and weighs considerably more than the parts and pieces on a Ford F-150 or Toyota Camry. If you can do basic maintenance and repairs on a Ford F-150 or Toyota Camry you can do the same on your bus.

Good luck and happy trails to you!
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Old 01-24-2017, 08:59 PM   #16
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Of course the Ford garage was happy to make an appointment for you. They know they will get the better part of $1K out of you for doing stuff you could do for yourself for under $300.00.

Even going to the truck shop at a truck stop would be a better place than the Ford garage.

Getting to know the basic systems in your bus will save you $$$$$$$ over time. If your bus is like bus most buses that get converted your bus will put on less miles in the next ten years than it averaged per year before it retired. With so few miles the fluids and filters will need changing simply because of all of the moisture that will accumulate over time.

I assume your bus has hydraulic brakes. You would be smart to purchase a pressure bleeder system so that you can change the brake fluid at least every couple of years. Brake fluid is hydroscopic--it attracts and absorbs water. Over time the water displaces the brake fluid and lowers the boiling point dramatically. It can get to the point where you might find yourself getting towards the bottom of a steep grade only to find out that you have boiled your brake fluid reservoir dry and you are only left with the hand brake. Not a fun way to make your way to the bottom of a hill.

Water in your brake system could be the reason why your caliper seized up. The water causes corrosion that plays havoc on pistons and seals in the brakes system.

There is nothing on your bus that is all that complicated other than the fact everything is larger and weighs considerably more than the parts and pieces on a Ford F-150 or Toyota Camry. If you can do basic maintenance and repairs on a Ford F-150 or Toyota Camry you can do the same on your bus.

Good luck and happy trails to you!
Agreed!
Have you seen some of the guys at the school bus garages?!?!
From what I've seen, they're usually either Old School Mechanics, Uneducated Mechanics, or someone that knew someone and were in the right place at the right time!

Even saw one school employee they couldn't fire, so they put him in the bus garage... When he's not working on buses, he mowing the school's grass! Guess why he's not driving routes any more... Too many accidents and the straw that broke the camel's back was when he ran into the newly installed automatic bus pen gate, while texting!

I even know a local public garage here that works on a lot of district's buses.... And not a single certified technician in the bunch!
I'm just waiting to see what happens when one of his repairs fails (because Bubba jerry rigged it) and someone gets hurt... I seriously doubt he's even got his insurance up to snuff. The districts send him buses, because he's the cheapest around... Cheapest isn't always best!
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Old 01-25-2017, 10:38 AM   #17
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I was speaking to my older brother and he said if you need parts check Freightliner dealerships. I am not sure, I leave the diesels to him.

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Old 01-25-2017, 11:20 AM   #18
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parts can be had a lot of places... in many cities there is usually one area of town that has a lot of trucking company yards, and warehouses.. many times you'll find a NAPA store nestled near by... THAT ONE Napa store often carries alot of commercial truck parts... ie belts, hoses, U-joints, air line and fittings, Diesel coolants, Oil filters in stock, etc.. I know here in columbhus its like that.. and when I needed a part on a trip last summer I found one in a town in PA the same way..

Going to a Truck dealer for parts may or may not be a good experience.. I have found here in Columbus that Rush truck (they are an IHC and Allison dealer) has many parts I need... even though im an individual I got them to set me up in their system and get some discount.. the parts i buy there seem to be comparable price to what I can find online, and they have lots of stuff in stock or get it quickly..

for any services i dont want to do myself, I found a couple Local independent truck garages that have treated me fair and done good work..

you can price shop around just like you do when looking for auto repairs.. commercial garages are used to it more than consumer garages as they are working with businesses that often set the purchasing departments out to get competitive quotes on repairs.. only time that doesnt apply is if you need a monbile repair.. at that point you are at the mercy generally..

it defimitely helps to get familiar wirth, read bout, and learn about what makes tyour skoolie function as much as you can.. regardless of whether you turn a wrench or not, knowledge is power even in picking a shop

-Christopher
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Old 01-25-2017, 11:22 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by milkmania View Post
Agreed!
Have you seen some of the guys at the school bus garages?!?!
From what I've seen, they're usually either Old School Mechanics, Uneducated Mechanics, or someone that knew someone and were in the right place at the right time!

Even saw one school employee they couldn't fire, so they put him in the bus garage... When he's not working on buses, he mowing the school's grass! Guess why he's not driving routes any more... Too many accidents and the straw that broke the camel's back was when he ran into the newly installed automatic bus pen gate, while texting!

I even know a local public garage here that works on a lot of district's buses.... And not a single certified technician in the bunch!
I'm just waiting to see what happens when one of his repairs fails (because Bubba jerry rigged it) and someone gets hurt... I seriously doubt he's even got his insurance up to snuff. The districts send him buses, because he's the cheapest around... Cheapest isn't always best!
True
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Old 01-25-2017, 11:36 AM   #20
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Originally Posted by cadillackid View Post
parts can be had a lot of places... in many cities there is usually one area of town that has a lot of trucking company yards, and warehouses.. many times you'll find a NAPA store nestled near by... THAT ONE Napa store often carries alot of commercial truck parts... ie belts, hoses, U-joints, air line and fittings, Diesel coolants, Oil filters in stock, etc.. I know here in columbhus its like that.. and when I needed a part on a trip last summer I found one in a town in PA the same way..

Going to a Truck dealer for parts may or may not be a good experience.. I have found here in Columbus that Rush truck (they are an IHC and Allison dealer) has many parts I need... even though im an individual I got them to set me up in their system and get some discount.. the parts i buy there seem to be comparable price to what I can find online, and they have lots of stuff in stock or get it quickly..

for any services i dont want to do myself, I found a couple Local independent truck garages that have treated me fair and done good work..

you can price shop around just like you do when looking for auto repairs.. commercial garages are used to it more than consumer garages as they are working with businesses that often set the purchasing departments out to get competitive quotes on repairs.. only time that doesnt apply is if you need a monbile repair.. at that point you are at the mercy generally..

it defimitely helps to get familiar wirth, read bout, and learn about what makes tyour skoolie function as much as you can.. regardless of whether you turn a wrench or not, knowledge is power even in picking a shop

-Christopher
Nice! info
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