Once the engine block is cracked on any engine you’re out of luck. Can it be fixed? I wouldn’t want to take a chance because of the heat and pressures that goes on during normal operation. In our case the cost in U.S. dollars would have climbed close to $50,000 dollars Canadian. The shipping from state side and losing a 10,000 dollar core charge made this step impossible. The original problem was coolant pushing out of the coolant fill reservoir / surge tank because of engine compression getting in to the cooling system.
The first attempt to fix this problem involved removing the cylinder head and checking it out for cracks along with replacing the head gasket. Unfortunately the compression in the cooling system did not go away so that’s when we went deeper and found the crack in the block. A cracked block isn’t common and the first one we’ve experienced in our fleet. Finding a good used engine block was our first step to salvage the engine. There were plenty of older engine blocks around that were pre-emissions but no luck with finding a block that was 2007 and newer and could accommodate emission components.
The availability of a new block or short block from the dealer was non existent. It didn’t help when these diesels went out of production back in 2010. The engineers could not develop it enough to meet emissions. It’s an immense and very expensive challenge to keep up with emission levels expected by the EPA. So in the end after exhausting all of the possibilities we parked the bus and went to the ministry who handles transportation and got the green light to order a replacement bus.
Scrapping or you could say salvaging parts off this bus was the last resort. Anything that could be used on the other nine Thomas pusher buses has been removed, stored, inventoried and taken over to one of our warehouse. The Allison 3000 series transmission will be kept on hand as well for a spare or maybe we’ll try and see if it will sell for a decent price.
The Allison transmissions have been performing brilliantly for years. The bus itself which is running on rejected tires will be towed over to the fire dept. training facility in town to be used for training on possible scenarios that could happen. I for one hope nothing ever happens to this level requiring the fire dept to arrive on scene.