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A Peculiar School Bus Service Call

A Peculiar School Bus Service Call

03/02/2014

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School Bus Service Call - Loud Bang Plus Coolant Leak

Sometimes listening to a description about a break down over the 2 way radio or phone is a complete mystery. This particular call involved one of our newest International conventional buses so I thought how bad could it be? The driver said there was a loud bang followed by a coolant leak. This was something I had to see for myself.

See the video below where I am at the bus investigating. Here I found out what the loud bang was solving the mystery.



Since this first occurrence there has been two more instances with the same bus model same year. The dealer will be replacing the radiator under warranty and the OEM representative has been notified. Out of three buses 2 of the radiators have been damaged requiring replacement.

Spring Load And Fatigue

The 2 bars that intersect are round stock metal material and flex quite a bit to take the weight of the engine hood. Under load The one bar snaps and springs forward towards the radiator with enough force to create a puncture in the core.

Warranty Is Good Except For Down Time

There are seven of these buses in our fleet with approximately three months left on the warranty. Since the radiators have to be ordered from the factory the down time is over a week long. There freight on top of that would be costly considering the size and weight of the radiator.

Sometimes The High Cost Of Freight Is Unavoidable

A while back we had a radiator fail on a Conventional Thomas Bus. The situation was urgent so we had to have it delivered via Memphis, Tennessee by Fedex air freight and the bill was $500. Too many buses down at the time forced me to make that decision since all the spare buses were being used and there was no choice.

Looking At A Solution To This Problem

Eventually I'm looking at some way of protecting the radiator from damage if the spring rod assembly happens to fail again on another bus. The radiators are not cheap and if there is a way to avoid replacement we will be diligent with safe guarding the radiator core from damage. A radiator guard or some kind of restraint device around the 2 bars comes to mind.

The Unexpected Is Always Around The Corner

You never know what could happen to these buses from one day to he next and it's always interesting to see new and strange failures. There are times that the same thing happens over and over because we purchase 6 to 8 buses every year. They come with the EXACT same specifications and it's uncanny sometimes when 2 or 3 of the exact same breakdowns happen to the same group of buses in a one month span.

I hope you enjoyed this story and I can assure you there will be more to come. A new day brings more unforseen situations and they will shared here at the Mechanics Hub blog. If you like this story or have a similar one please comment below. Join us here at the Hub where is a lot of Mechanic talk and interaction.

Also I would appreciate if you shared this post with the share buttons provided. One of the main reasons I blog about school buses is to spread the word on repairs and experiences that will help other Mechanics save time and possibly some frustration :)

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