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Old 02-15-2018, 11:05 AM   #1
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Maintenance Advice

Hello! New to the skoolie world, but wondering what everyone's advice would be on the first steps in becoming proficient in bus maintenance. What are the starting places? I don't know the first place to begin.
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Old 02-15-2018, 11:17 AM   #2
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Like most queries here, the best place to start is by reading as many related threads as possible. Folks here have encountered most of the more common issues which vary based on the type and brand of bus & engine. Each has it's own quirks that can vary widely based on the year even. Once you have a specific bus in mind, Google is your friend. Lots of info out there, but as noted, it is typically specific to a particular make & model of bus. If you decide to go diesel and are not familiar with them, you can also get quite a bit online or take a quick Community College course in basic diesel mechanics. Just depends on how far you want to get into it, but definitely read up here and take advantage of other peoples experiences and homework.

We were all Newbies at converting a school bus at some point. Dive in, learn and have some fun.

Welcome to the weird & wonderful world of Skoolies!
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Old 02-15-2018, 11:36 AM   #3
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It all depends on what bus you have. If you have air brakes you need to know how they operate and how to maintain them. With a diesel engine you will need to know how to change the fuel filter, and how to bleed air from the fuel rail. Also, the proper engine coolant treatment is important, you can destroy your engine if you run it without the proper additives. Make sure your tires are properly inflated, and that includes the inside dual tire.

Otherwise, it's a motor vehicle: bigger and more expensive to maintain and repair -- fluids, filters, belts and hoses.
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Old 02-20-2018, 08:01 PM   #4
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It all depends on what bus you have. If you have air brakes you need to know how they operate and how to maintain them. With a diesel engine you will need to know how to change the fuel filter, and how to bleed air from the fuel rail. Also, the proper engine coolant treatment is important, you can destroy your engine if you run it without the proper additives. Make sure your tires are properly inflated, and that includes the inside dual tire.

Otherwise, it's a motor vehicle: bigger and more expensive to maintain and repair -- fluids, filters, belts and hoses.
My oil cooler is getting fixed now and the radiator was already fixed. Do I need any additives to get the bus home 350 miles? It could be near freezing at night.

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Old 02-20-2018, 08:36 PM   #5
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My oil cooler is getting fixed now and the radiator was already fixed. Do I need any additives to get the bus home 350 miles? It could be near freezing at night.

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As long as you have a 50/50 anti-freeze mixture you are safe for the journey home.

You can test and adjust the additives later. You don't want to be without them for too long, especially if you have an engine with wet-liners.
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Old 02-20-2018, 09:08 PM   #6
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As long as you have a 50/50 anti-freeze mixture you are safe for the journey home.

You can test and adjust the additives later. You don't want to be without them for too long, especially if you have an engine with wet-liners.
You say that like I might possibly have any idea what a wet liner is and whether or not my engine has one or not. Must take deep breaths.....

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Old 02-20-2018, 09:17 PM   #7
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You say that like I might possibly have any idea what a wet liner is and whether or not my engine has one or not. Must take deep breaths.....

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You can figure all that out when you get it home.

What engine does it have?
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Old 02-20-2018, 09:34 PM   #8
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You can figure all that out when you get it home.

What engine does it have?
DT444e. It's a 1997 International 40' with 120k miles. it has air brakes which are being adjusted at the shop now and an AT 540 or 545 transmission, so apparently I will be going slowly over the 2 sets of mountains between the bus and my house and paying attention to something to see if I need to stop and let things cool down. But I can't think what it is now.

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Old 02-20-2018, 10:00 PM   #9
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DT444e. It's a 1997 International 40' with 120k miles. it has air brakes which are being adjusted at the shop now and an AT 540 or 545 transmission, so apparently I will be going slowly over the 2 sets of mountains between the bus and my house and paying attention to something to see if I need to stop and let things cool down. But I can't think what it is now.

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OK, I googled it, and while I still don't totally understand what it means, at least two sources say I do NOT have a wetliner engine. So I guess that's good. Seems like its one less thing to worry about?
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Old 02-20-2018, 10:10 PM   #10
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Your engine needs SCA (supplemental coolant additive) in the coolant to avoid cavitation which can eventually cause pinholes in the cylinder liners. The shop that's working on your rig should be able to fix you up if they haven't already.

Your engine and the Ford Powerstroke 7.3L are basically the same. Here's a how-to on maintain these beasts.

http://www.skoolie.net/forums/f34/th...sel-10607.html

Yours will have a different trans and fluid capacities may be different from the Fords but most of the stuff will apply.
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Old 02-20-2018, 10:33 PM   #11
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Your engine needs SCA (supplemental coolant additive) in the coolant to avoid cavitation which can eventually cause pinholes in the cylinder liners. The shop that's working on your rig should be able to fix you up if they haven't already.

Your engine and the Ford Powerstroke 7.3L are basically the same. Here's a how-to on maintain these beasts.

http://www.skoolie.net/forums/f34/th...sel-10607.html

Yours will have a different trans and fluid capacities may be different from the Fords but most of the stuff will apply.
wow, that's an amazing how to!! I wouldn't have known they were similar. Thanks.
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Old 02-28-2018, 12:20 PM   #12
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wow, that's an amazing how to!! I wouldn't have known they were similar. Thanks.
I talked to the mechanic this week and he told me it doesn't need SCAs. He drives a diesel and it's fine. He lives in Oregon at low elevation. It's colder where I live in the winter and driving over the mountains in the summer is going to be hard on this bus, so I think I may need SCAs but if the mechanic won't advise me, will Carquest be able to? I'm gonna stop there on the way home to get extra fuel filters etc.

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Old 02-28-2018, 01:46 PM   #13
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I just looked at your profile which says you have a 5.9L L6 Cummins. Your post says you have a DT444. I'm confused.

Not all diesels require SCA's but both of those do.

The SCA is added to your antifreeze to stop cavitation which will eventually damage the cylinder liners. You need both.

Regardless of your location or engine type, antifreeze is recommended to stop rust inside the cooling system.
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Old 02-28-2018, 04:54 PM   #14
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I just looked at your profile which says you have a 5.9L L6 Cummins. Your post says you have a DT444. I'm confused.

Not all diesels require SCA's but both of those do.

The SCA is added to your antifreeze to stop cavitation which will eventually damage the cylinder liners. You need both.

Regardless of your location or engine type, antifreeze is recommended to stop rust inside the cooling system.
It would be good if I were absolutely sure what engine I have.

Different VIN de-coders say different things! I really thought it was a T444e.

I just looked in the Kelly Blue Book VIN decoder and it says:
1997 International RE3000
VIN: 1HVBJABN4VA080712
Style / Body: City Transit Bus Engine: 7.3L V8 Diesel / NG

Other VIN decoders say RE 3800 and T444e. I have a short video of it on my phone I wonder if you could tell from looking at it? I don't know that I aimed the camera at the right parts to be able to tell. This is pretty embarrasing. For the record, my Subaru Outback is the 3.6 liter engine. I wanted that one because I like to zoom over the hills in my car. I know that I will not be zooming over any hills in this bus.

I kind of think the mechanic verified the T444e for me, but I would not swear to it because it was a couple of weeks ago.
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Old 02-28-2018, 05:14 PM   #15
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The T444E and the 7.3 are the same engine... A V-8 Diesel

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Old 02-28-2018, 05:15 PM   #16
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It would be good if I were absolutely sure what engine I have.

Different VIN de-coders say different things! I really thought it was a T444e.

I just looked in the Kelly Blue Book VIN decoder and it says:
1997 International RE3000
VIN: 1HVBJABN4VA080712
Style / Body: City Transit Bus Engine: 7.3L V8 Diesel / NG

Other VIN decoders say RE 3800 and T444e. I have a short video of it on my phone I wonder if you could tell from looking at it? I don't know that I aimed the camera at the right parts to be able to tell. This is pretty embarrasing. For the record, my Subaru Outback is the 3.6 liter engine. I wanted that one because I like to zoom over the hills in my car. I know that I will not be zooming over any hills in this bus.

I kind of think the mechanic verified the T444e for me, but I would not swear to it because it was a couple of weeks ago.
OK, I read the Wiki again on these and now I actually understand enough of the terminology to be able to feel fairly confident that my bus is a RE 3000 because it's a flat nosed, rear engine bus. The 3800 seems to be a dog nosed bus.

Also, I don't think Navistar even made a 5.9 L diesel engine in 1997. So I'm almost positive it's a T444e, which means it IS 7.3L engine, which is better than I thought for a while there. Still not a great tranny, but hey, I need to go slow in the bus anyway. I should stop and smell the flowers (while I wait for my transmission to cool down).
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Old 02-28-2018, 05:28 PM   #17
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Also, I don't think Navistar even made a 5.9 L diesel engine in 1997.
What, my engine doesn't exist in 1997?

Your engine is roughly equivalent to the 5.9 in power.
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Old 02-28-2018, 06:24 PM   #18
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What, my engine doesn't exist in 1997?

Your engine is roughly equivalent to the 5.9 in power.
Wait, is your engine Navistar also?

Clearly I'm clueless, but the last time I checked 7.3 was bigger than 5.9. Don't be dissin' my engine. I'm sure yours is *very* powerful. Apparently my tranny deserves a lot of dissing though. I'm learning!
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Old 02-28-2018, 07:00 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by 2martins View Post

Different VIN de-coders say different things! I really thought it was a T444e.

I just looked in the Kelly Blue Book VIN decoder and it says:
1997 International RE3000
VIN: 1HVBJABN4VA080712
Style / Body: City Transit Bus Engine: 7.3L V8 Diesel / NG
The 6th and 7th positions in your VIN (AB) denote the engine. Every decoder I've seen says that yours is a T444E.

AA is the DT466
AB is the T444E
AC is the DT408, etc...
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Old 02-28-2018, 07:01 PM   #20
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The 6th and 7th positions in your VIN (AB) denote the engine. Every decoder I've seen says that yours is a T444E.

AA is the DT466
AB is the T444E
AC is the DT408, etc...
Can you tell which transmission it has?
It's probaby an AT545 but could be a 540 in theory.
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