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Old 07-02-2020, 03:06 PM   #1
Mini-Skoolie
 
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Pre 2003 Buses vs Post 2003 Buses

So I've recently learned that the 2009 bus I'm the high bidder on (Engine MBE926210) is not an ideal bus because of the expense that could come with repairs and such. Does anyone have any perspective on repairs and issues with buses pre vs post 2003? If I win this bus (23 hrs until the auction is over) I think it would be good to know what I could potentially be getting myself into when it comes to repairs and the like. Thanks for your input in advance. About my possible bus:

Year: 2009
Make: Thomas
Model: HDX
Mileage: 185,629
Engine: Diesel MBE926210
Transmission: Automatic (AD2500)
Body Style: Thomas
Brakes: Air Brakes
Chassis yard No: 84769
Front Axel: 19276F
Rear Axel: 22060SVDANA
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Old 07-02-2020, 03:32 PM   #2
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A 2009 will have the diesel emissions equipment which adds a little operating expense in the form of DEF but more importantly is an increased level of complexity both mechanically and electronically. If the unit is sound and roadworthy there shouldn't be a lot of concern about this for a while but eventually that system will need some rather expensive routine maintenance. If there is any problem, the electronics will throw up codes and perhaps derate or even disable the vehicle in the attempt to prevent it from bypassing the emissions requirements. These kinds or problems are not simply not cheap. Furthermore, the Mercedes engine is a bit of a unicorn here in the U.S. and while a Freightliner dealership can technically work on it since Thomas is a Freightliner or technically a Daimler brand that doesn't mean they see a lot of them so diagnostics will by foreign and parts may be rare and expensive. There's really nothing wrong with the MBE but it's just not that common.

I hope this helps. Also it's likely someone will come in at the last minute and outbid you if you're reconsidering and would rather not win the bid.
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Old 07-02-2020, 03:45 PM   #3
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What is DEF?
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Old 07-02-2020, 03:51 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Choc Lesnar View Post
So I've recently learned that the 2009 bus I'm the high bidder on (Engine MBE926210) is not an ideal bus because of the expense that could come with repairs and such. Does anyone have any perspective on repairs and issues with buses pre vs post 2003? If I win this bus (23 hrs until the auction is over) I think it would be good to know what I could potentially be getting myself into when it comes to repairs and the like. Thanks for your input in advance. About my possible bus:

Year: 2009
Make: Thomas
Model: HDX
Mileage: 185,629
Engine: Diesel MBE926210
Transmission: Automatic (AD2500)
Body Style: Thomas
Brakes: Air Brakes
Chassis yard No: 84769
Front Axel: 19276F
Rear Axel: 22060SVDANA
Its true the later model buses become very costly to run due to complexity and other reasons. The benz is one of the better epa engines. Just don't bid any higher and see if you can lower your max bid. If you get stuck with a late model bus at least let it be cheap to buy!
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Old 07-02-2020, 03:58 PM   #5
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Diesel Exhaust Fluid. Most diesels with 2007/2010 emissions use DEF to capture and break down the harmful exhaust compounds as required by the EPA. The only engine of which I know didn't use this is the much-maligned MaxxForce engines because instead of making you buy another fluid they tried to achieve the EPA requirements by recirculating exhaust back into the engine for additional combustion but that idea crashed and burned (pun intended). You'll see a small blue-capped fill point in the neighborhood of your regular diesel fuel cap. DEF is dispensed at the pump from a separate hose at most truck stops or you can buy it by the bottle but it's more expensive that way. My semi uses about 10 gallons of DEF for every 300 gallons of diesel (give or take) so even though it's about $3 a gallon U.S. it's not an enormous additional expense. In a Thomas which probably has the Freightliner dashboard there will be a small 4-LED bar embedded within the fuel gauge which is the DEF gauge. If you run it dry, the engine will derate (lose power and speed) until you're limping along under 20mph.
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Old 07-02-2020, 04:04 PM   #6
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FWIW if you do end up with this bus, you will in fact be producing a lot less emissions per mile than the rest of us - like, a couple orders of magnitude less. Only for NOx and particulate emissions, though, the culprits behind smog and acid rain. Greenhouse gas emissions are the same.
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Old 07-02-2020, 04:07 PM   #7
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I'm quickly learning how helpful this community is, and it gives me a warm and fuzzy feeling on the inside. Taking note of EVERYTHING you wonderful people are telling me. I can't wait to start my Youtube Channel chronicling my Skoolie Conversion. You better believe I will be giving free press to skoolie.net every chance I get.
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Old 07-02-2020, 09:23 PM   #8
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Don't be afraid of that Mercedes diesel, either. Everyone has horror stories about most any engine (even the legendary 12 valve Cummins has a dowel pin weakness that can grenade it, and is not simple to correct.)


That MBE is generally highly regarded by those who understand and take care of it. You will need to become one of those people, because there are so few of them in North America. It would be worth calling the school district to find out if they really did love and care for it, or it was just an oddball in their fleet they never understood and learned to hate.


If well-owned through its service, you'll wind up getting a good deal on this bus, because everybody else is afraid of the motor.
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Old 07-02-2020, 11:35 PM   #9
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2009 wouldn't have DEF. Only EGR.
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Old 07-03-2020, 03:36 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by WIbluebird View Post
2009 wouldn't have DEF. Only EGR.
Not being familiar with the MBE I will take your word on that. In fact I wonder if that's why it never took off I'm the U.S. market because people were seeing how much headache MaxxForce owners were having. I thought the Mercedes Sprinter vans with diesels used DEF though so thought it odd that a manufacturer would have two products take competing paths towards emissions compliance.

Back to the OP, I think the fact that this bus has 185k in ten years service says the school actually used it and it wasn't just a spare or spent as much time in the shop as on the road.
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Old 07-03-2020, 07:07 AM   #11
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didnt the sprinters go DEF in around 09 or 10? I was thinking they tried self regen the first couple years by shipping lots of fuel down into the exhaust to burn off the crap in the DPF.. i know IH tried to EGR everything to death which became the eventual demise of their reliability.. hello Maxxfroce 7 (aka ford 6.4 ) anyone?


in my Opoinion the Mercedes is a good engine.. even into the emission years they got it right.. and this comes from people who run fleets of newer thomas busses for a living..



the big caveat with mercedes is that parts can be expensive. . freightliner dealers can work on them however your average joe diesel garage cant.. mercedes software is expensive for anything other than the basic diagnostics..



if you like a newer bus for the driveability / creature comforts / less rust, etc look into the manufacturers that are still around.. cummins got it right with the 6.7, that engine runs great and has managed to live through emissions as the defacto standard diesel engine in school busses..



stay away from the internationals after 07 for sure.. in about 04 IH began to go down hill some .. however still workable up until their engines became named "Maxxforce":.. Maxxforce is a Maxx-farce! dont buy!..


the Cat C7 (pre 07) had some issues although I know quite a few still on the road with little to no issues..


-Christopher
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Old 07-11-2020, 06:32 PM   #12
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If the body is good you could always drive it until you hit a costly engine repair and then swap the mb engine for an older Cummins or international or Detroit or GM. Engines for my bus are a few thousand. My injectors are like $600 so it almost cost an engine to replace the injector set.
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