School Bus Makeover

This school bus looked pretty bad a few weeks ago. It got into a fender bender in one of the bus yards up north. Purely an accident that could have been avoided but it was humans at work and we weren’t born with eyes on the back of our heads. The lesson learned is always do a  walk around to check for obstructions and defects.

If you add up the cost of this repair it goes to show how pricey school bus parts are. The new hood was 3K alone (unpainted). You can’t patch certain components and the hood definitely needed replacing. The charge air cooler was rammed sideways as was the radiator so they both needed replacing along with the rad supports and various other accessories.

This diesel engine is a Mercedes 2005 version which means it isn’t emission controlled. These older Mercedes are very reliable and live up to the brand name. The horsepower is enough to push this bus up a hill in a snow storm which is all we need and gets the passengers to their destination.

In the downhill mode the exhaust brake is a single valve in the middle of each cylinder that opens up. This system is called a CTV (constant throttle valve) that has a piston on top of each valve that opens the valve to activate the engine brake.The solenoid that supplies the oil is activated by the operator using the engine brake control switch in the cab.

When we have a bus out of commission like this it takes a while to get the parts together since most of them come from the states. Using Fedex speeds up delivery with an extra fee but that works for us when a bus is down and there aren’t any spare buses available. We have spares ready to go when another regular run bus does down.

At this time of the year the field trips are very steady with 2 to 4 hour trips (one way) going on. June is the busiest time of the year for field trips being the last month of the school year. Our services increase because of the extra mileage put on from field trips. There haven’t been too many break downs (knock on wood) so if we can squeeze through this month things will look great.

This bus will be ready for operation by next week. It will be a welcome sight relieving the other buses from accumulating mileage. After some adjustments and a good road test it’s back to work.