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Old 03-01-2020, 10:09 PM   #1
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Pulled the trigger on a Bus

After a couple of weeks, my wife decided to pull the trigger on a 1996 Bluebird TC2000 with 155K miles on a 5.9 Cummins engine.

We looked at the bus several times, started it, drove it etc. We decided to make the deal on Saturday, and 10 miles into my trip home the "engine warning" light and alarm came on and shortly after that I began to lose power, it started sounding different, and white smoke bellowing out of the blowby tube. Immediately exited the freeway, and luckily found an empty parking lot to park.

Got back up to where it was parked this morning and started looking into the problems after some research the night before. It looks like this engine has significant blow by / high crank case pressure. All indications are that this will require a rebuild of the power plant..........fairly deflated after an extreme high of getting started on our conversion.

Does anyone have stories of this sort? What kind of costs am I looking at for a rebuild? Do I take my loss and use it as a lesson and find a better bus.

Any encouragement would be appreciated. This will be my first used vehicle that I've purchased that has failed on me, I either have been lucky over the years, or have pretty good knowledge of mechanical things.

A little bummed in Tulsa, OK
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Old 03-02-2020, 03:54 AM   #2
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My condolences. I do hope you can find some help here. do not have any adviceat present, but I am sure someone will.
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Old 03-02-2020, 04:19 AM   #3
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If it needs a rebuild and you're paying someone else to do it I'd expect it to cost 8-12 grand minimum.
Probably cheaper to swap a used engine.

Church buses don't get half the maintenance or care that school buses get.
Good luck and stay positive.
My 4th bus had a ten thousand dollar problem. I sold it and moved on. The buyer is a buddy of mine and was fully aware of the problems.
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Old 03-02-2020, 08:26 AM   #4
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engine warning light on those is either temperature or oil pressure if i remember right.. (someone else can chime in to vewrify) check your coolant and oil.. . almost sounds like you got it hot and it blew the head gaskets.. testing will determine for sure but it is a concern if that warning light is temperasture related..
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Old 03-02-2020, 09:32 AM   #5
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engine warning light on those is either temperature or oil pressure if i remember right.. (someone else can chime in to vewrify) check your coolant and oil.. . almost sounds like you got it hot and it blew the head gaskets.. testing will determine for sure but it is a concern if that warning light is temperasture related..
If the engine warning light comes on, is it best to get over immediately and stop - like right there on the side of the road? Did OP miss an opportunity to prevent more-serious damage by continuing to drive until the power loss and white smoke?

Not trying to bring OP down any further, just trying to make sure I know what to do in a similar situation.
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Old 03-02-2020, 09:43 AM   #6
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engine warning light on those is either temperature or oil pressure if i remember right..
This is correct, on a TC2000 with a mechanical 5.9 the engine warning light is only connected to an oil pressure sensor and a water temperature sensor.

https://wanderlounge.net/1996-tc2000-wiring-diagram/
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Old 03-02-2020, 09:43 PM   #7
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If the engine warning light comes on, is it best to get over immediately and stop - like right there on the side of the road? Did OP miss an opportunity to prevent more-serious damage by continuing to drive until the power loss and white smoke?

Not trying to bring OP down any further, just trying to make sure I know what to do in a similar situation.
Yes, I believe this was temperature related. When I did get it stopped and started checking things out, there was coolant coming out on the ground from mid point on the bus and it was cold. I spoke to the previous owner and he had removed all of the heater cores for the interior and re-routed some of the hoses. I am almost certain now, that the engine was not circulating coolant in the block, therefor it blew the engine.

Went back that next morning for additional troubleshooting, removed hoses, added three gallons of coolant, still no flow.

I'm going to scrap this bus, and do a better job choosing the next one.
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Old 03-02-2020, 10:35 PM   #8
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Well, at least you learned about it EARLY in the process.
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Old 03-02-2020, 10:47 PM   #9
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If you bought it at an auction have you tried contacting the seller? I drove one away in OKC and turned around and said it was not as advertised. Check engine light on, in limp mode. They gave me all my money back , no questions asked. Give it a try, who knows, you might get lucky.
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Old 03-18-2020, 08:43 PM   #10
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Whoa, sorry, that’s a expensive event. With the engine at the rear one is very dependent on gauges and engine lights to monitor the engine. Better luck next time.
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