School Bus Service Calls Mechanic Advice

Service calls are unpredictable most times. You can win or lose depending on how much you know about the problem. Someone calls it in and tells you all about it so you base your strategy on that information. With all due respect drivers are not mechanics so there are times when the story does not match the actual problem. One of my favorite service calls which took place years ago (I have lots of stories) the driver told the foreman at the time that he was 10 miles up a logging road and the bus had no power.

So after getting the details on a Thomas rear engine school bus that had no power I stocked up on boost hoses and clamps since blowing a turbo boost hose was a common occurrence. I know assume means make an ass out of you and me but you have to go for it and take what you think you’ll need based on the driver’s story. So after loading up my tools and parts I drove for an hour to reach the broken down bus.

The area was called Turtle Valley which was a logging road located near the Shuswap Lakes near Chase B.C. When I arrived the driver confirmed that he had no power but it wasn’t engine power it was electrical power. Well this was a real pickle since I wasn’t equipped with electrical tools and parts. After doing some investigative troubleshooting I found a 12 volt clock that the driver had wired into the system that was drawing a heavy load of amperage from the electrical system cutting out the ignition battery voltage.

It was surprising to witness this much amp draw from a cheap little clock but sure enough when I unhooked it from the electrical system the heavy draw disappeared. So the lesson learned with this trip is get the correct story and ask for an many details as you can. The cost of a tow truck isn’t cheap and I got lucky that it wasn’t a major breakdown. The service call in this video was a definite tow truck call out. The driver called me Friday night and told me he ran over a pipe sticking out of the ground in a parking lot which made a gaping hole in the engine oil pan.

With all 26 liters of oil on the ground my job was to call the tow truck, take some clean up supplies for the Exxon Valdez oil spill in someone’s parking lot and take a spare bus out to the driver so he could bring home the sport team he was transporting. It happens and you never know what could fail from one day to the next. I just hope common sense prevails and the next service call we carry out is something we could not prevent.