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Old 03-27-2021, 11:54 PM   #1
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Location: michigan
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Year: 2003
Coachwork: Bluebird
Chassis: Allison
Engine: 3800 466e international
Rated Cap: 35
Maintenance Schedule help

Besides changing oil and buying tires what other maintenance should I be doing?

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Old 03-28-2021, 10:57 AM   #2
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Posts: 1,219
Year: 1999
Coachwork: BlueBird
Chassis: TC1000 HandyBus
Engine: 5.9L 24V-L6 Cummins ISB
Rated Cap: 26 foot
Best would be if someone chimes in with an official "maintenance schedule" for your motor that lists the complete list and the frequency to do them.

But, off the top of my head, and as I like to do them (likely more often than the factory says):

●check tire pressure often

● diesel fuel filter (at every oil change)
● diesel water/fuel separator (drain water or replace - don't know how often)

● check coolant level and specific gravity and color. Flush system if needed: if the color is murky/rusty or the S.G. is incorrect. I usually do this when I need to drain the cooling system for some other reason.
● replace coolant filter, if installed.

● check power steering fluid level, and color. Flush system if needed: if the color is murky/rusty

● check drive belt(s) and replace when you see any cracks (they might be small, look closely at the whole belt), or on a serpentine belt, if it is missing any ribs at any spots. If you see other "wear and tear", replace, and check the new one for wear; this likely means a pulley is bad or something (not common). Serpentine belts are basically "flat" and wide, and the "ribs" run the length of the belt parallel to its sides. The ribs run on the drive pulleys, but the opposite (smoother) side of the belt may (likely will) run on "idler pulleys". A "V" drive belt is actually trapezoidal in shape, and sits down into a "V" in the pulleys. On my bus these "V" belts are for the add-on A/C systems, and the serpentine belt is the main belt for the fan and the alternator and water pump.

● drain the water out of the air-brake system at least once a week, or once a day in humid weather.

● lube your U-joints (with a grease gun) on the drive shaft at every oil change if you are towing, jackrabbiting from red lights, or driving in dusty dirty conditions. Lube them every 10K-20K for other conditions.

● lube various different suspension and steering components with a grease gun. Once you understand what this grease gun is, you can check the suspension and steering and look for spots that are "greasy" and look close there for the "grease nipples" where you connect the grease gun. The gun pumps grease into the nipples, and then into the "joints" that are internal to these systems' parts. Again, depends on driving conditions: rough roads, dirty dusty roads need it more often. Same as U-joints.

● service the tranny (every 12K-24K miles - more often if you are towing or driving a lot of mountains - especially with an AT-545 if you have it). I personally recommend you give it a "full service" when you first get the bus: remove the pan, clean the magnet inside on the bottom of the pan and the pan itself, replace the filter in there, and reinstall with a new gasket and all new fluid. This also gives you an idea of the condition of the tranny. if your bus has an external spin-on tranny filter, replace it also at this time; in the future, you only need to replace this spin-on filter with every motor-oil change. If there is no "spin-on" filter, you need to drop the pan and clean it and install a new internal filter every time you change the fluid; but I think this is rare in a full-sized bus like yours (van-cut outs may not have them).
Check the tranny fluid often. If it is dark or smells "burnt", drain it and refill. There should be a drain-plug in the bottom of the pan.
Never over-fill the tranny fluid. Measure what comes out, and add most of the volume back (with the motor off). But go slow with the last quart and keep checking the fluid level (with the motor running).

● clean battery terminals from time to time. On an old bus (nearing 20 years) maybe even think about tracing all the main power cables and cleaning their ends, and also the ground connections.

● windshield wiper fluid top-off

● lube door hinges (as necessary). My BlueBird even has grease nipples in the rear-door hinges.

● look for leaks from the hubs on the inside of the wheels.

● check brakes

● with hydraulic brakes, check for leaks, check that all rubber hoses are not cracking or brittle. Flush the brake fluid every 60K miles, especially in humid conditions (not that I ever do).

What did I miss...I'm sure there is something...

Aloha, meow, and have a purrfect day. (I'm a cat-guy too)
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Old 03-28-2021, 02:39 PM   #3
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Rated Cap: 26 foot
I forgot the power steering fluid filter. Not sure how often to replace that, but definitely do when you flush the system.


Also:


windshield wiper fluid
windshield wiper blades
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Old 03-28-2021, 02:49 PM   #4
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Engine: HT570 / 3500SP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mountain Gnome View Post
Best would be if someone chimes in with an official "maintenance schedule" for your motor that lists the complete list and the frequency to do them.

But, off the top of my head, and as I like to do them (likely more often than the factory says):

●check tire pressure often

● diesel fuel filter (at every oil change)
● diesel water/fuel separator (drain water or replace - don't know how often)

● check coolant level and specific gravity and color. Flush system if needed: if the color is murky/rusty or the S.G. is incorrect. I usually do this when I need to drain the cooling system for some other reason.
● replace coolant filter, if installed.

● check power steering fluid level, and color. Flush system if needed: if the color is murky/rusty

● check drive belt(s) and replace when you see any cracks (they might be small, look closely at the whole belt), or on a serpentine belt, if it is missing any ribs at any spots. If you see other "wear and tear", replace, and check the new one for wear; this likely means a pulley is bad or something (not common). Serpentine belts are basically "flat" and wide, and the "ribs" run the length of the belt parallel to its sides. The ribs run on the drive pulleys, but the opposite (smoother) side of the belt may (likely will) run on "idler pulleys". A "V" drive belt is actually trapezoidal in shape, and sits down into a "V" in the pulleys. On my bus these "V" belts are for the add-on A/C systems, and the serpentine belt is the main belt for the fan and the alternator and water pump.

● drain the water out of the air-brake system at least once a week, or once a day in humid weather.

● lube your U-joints (with a grease gun) on the drive shaft at every oil change if you are towing, jackrabbiting from red lights, or driving in dusty dirty conditions. Lube them every 10K-20K for other conditions.

● lube various different suspension and steering components with a grease gun. Once you understand what this grease gun is, you can check the suspension and steering and look for spots that are "greasy" and look close there for the "grease nipples" where you connect the grease gun. The gun pumps grease into the nipples, and then into the "joints" that are internal to these systems' parts. Again, depends on driving conditions: rough roads, dirty dusty roads need it more often. Same as U-joints.

● service the tranny (every 12K-24K miles - more often if you are towing or driving a lot of mountains - especially with an AT-545 if you have it). I personally recommend you give it a "full service" when you first get the bus: remove the pan, clean the magnet inside on the bottom of the pan and the pan itself, replace the filter in there, and reinstall with a new gasket and all new fluid. This also gives you an idea of the condition of the tranny. if your bus has an external spin-on tranny filter, replace it also at this time; in the future, you only need to replace this spin-on filter with every motor-oil change. If there is no "spin-on" filter, you need to drop the pan and clean it and install a new internal filter every time you change the fluid; but I think this is rare in a full-sized bus like yours (van-cut outs may not have them).
Check the tranny fluid often. If it is dark or smells "burnt", drain it and refill. There should be a drain-plug in the bottom of the pan.
Never over-fill the tranny fluid. Measure what comes out, and add most of the volume back (with the motor off). But go slow with the last quart and keep checking the fluid level (with the motor running).

● clean battery terminals from time to time. On an old bus (nearing 20 years) maybe even think about tracing all the main power cables and cleaning their ends, and also the ground connections.

● windshield wiper fluid top-off

● lube door hinges (as necessary). My BlueBird even has grease nipples in the rear-door hinges.

● look for leaks from the hubs on the inside of the wheels.

● check brakes

● with hydraulic brakes, check for leaks, check that all rubber hoses are not cracking or brittle. Flush the brake fluid every 60K miles, especially in humid conditions (not that I ever do).

What did I miss...I'm sure there is something...

Aloha, meow, and have a purrfect day. (I'm a cat-guy too)
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Old 03-28-2021, 03:58 PM   #5
Bus Crazy
 
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Join Date: Oct 2017
Posts: 1,219
Year: 1999
Coachwork: BlueBird
Chassis: TC1000 HandyBus
Engine: 5.9L 24V-L6 Cummins ISB
Rated Cap: 26 foot
● Air brake air-drier/filter
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Old 03-29-2021, 12:00 PM   #6
Bus Crazy
 
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Join Date: Oct 2017
Posts: 1,219
Year: 1999
Coachwork: BlueBird
Chassis: TC1000 HandyBus
Engine: 5.9L 24V-L6 Cummins ISB
Rated Cap: 26 foot
How could I forget?


Check all your coolant hoses: heater hoses, radiator hoses, hoses to the reservoir, etc. Squeeze them in your hand. If they are soft and flexible, they are OK. If they are hard in any spots (including where they connect at the ends), or you feel a cracking/crunching inside (this is the re-enforcing nylon threads in the rubber tearing), or if you see any swollen spots, or any other visible damage, replace them. In an older (near 20 year old) vehicle, I would consider replacing all of them at once (I did, including all the way back to the rear-wall heater).



Coolant hoses are critical, and if you overheat, that can kill your motor dead dead. Or even kinda dead, or mostly dead. I wouldn't put this off.



Also check the tranny oil hoses to/from the cooler and external spin-on filter housing. You won't be able to do the squeeze test, just make sure they are flexible and not leaking. If they blow, you're stuck, but it won't kill your bus. So you got time on this one. If they are hoses with screw-type fittings at the end, they are likely high-pressure hoses and the system is low pressure. They will leak eventually, just usually slowly, not catastrophically. These are expensive. You will need to have them custom made. I would bet your bus has these. If they are just rubber hoses over a nipple with a hose-clamp, they will be much more affordable, and easy to find the right hose and just cut it to size.


If you have a gas-powered vehicle, also check to see if there are any rubber gas lines, and replace them, if, and only if, you can find OEM quality fuel hose. If they are bad and leaking, well, then get what you can find. My experience has been Gates brand rubber fuel hose does not last; they have almost a monopoly now-a-days at the parts stores.
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