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Author Topic: Engine Coolant Problem - Need Help!  (Read 4968 times)
rv_safetyman
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« on: June 24, 2009, 07:43:54 PM »

I think I have a major problem related to my cooling system and need advice!  Since I think I am in trouble, I am posting this to both the BCM  and Eagle International boards.  I know both boards have members with great technical knowledge.

Ever since I got the bus running with the Series 60  (over 50K miles ago), I have had to add coolant to the surge tank at about 1500-2000 miles.  Usually had to add about 1 gallon.  I assumed I had a small leak somewhere.  On my last trip I installed a temporary catch bottle on the hose coming from the surge tank pressure valve.  It filled up in a few hundred miles (1 quart).

I had been wanting to convert the Eagle system to from the over-center locking cap with the remote pressure valve to a typical automotive radiator cap.  I blocked off the pressure valve opening and adapted an after market radiator filler.  I installed a 7 pound cap and a temporary 1 gallon catch bottle. 

On our trip today, I checked early for leaks and then sat back to enjoy the trip.  Less than 100 miles into the trip, the check and stop engine lights came on.  Turned out to be low coolant level.  I checked the catch bottle and it was nearly full.  To make matters worse, I had only filled the surge tank about ¾ full, so expansion was not an issue – besides the surge tank had emptied itself regardless of the amount of fluid in the tank.

To make matters worse, the antifreeze was gray in color.  That can't be good Angry Angry.  Tonight I drained a bit of antifreeze from the bottom of the radiator and it was gray as well.

I have no other signs of problems.  Engine runs cool, no water in the oil, power seems reasonable.

My guess is that I have a bad head gasket.  What do you folks think?
 
Is this a show-stopper?  I can nurse the situation by emptying the catch bottle back in the tank, but I wonder what the bad antifreeze will do to the engine. 

I think the situation is worst today because of the 7 pound cap.  I suspect that pressure valve had a higher pressure release.  I don't want to put a higher pressure cap on the system unless you folks think that is the thing to do.  However, that will only mask the problem.

I should add that after the first event, I checked the bottle quite often.  I would go for quite a ways with no significant filling.  Then after some long pulls in the Wyoming hills on I-25, it would all of a sudden be pretty full.  I pulled into Douglas tonight and the bottle had very little in it (refilled about a bit less than 100 miles ago.

I welcome any thoughts!!

Jim
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Jim Shepherd
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’85 Eagle 10/Series 60/Eaton AutoShift 10 speed transmission
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« Reply #1 on: June 24, 2009, 07:55:26 PM »

I can't help you with the loss of coolant issue Jim and what I have to offer is anecdotal and likely irrelevant but here goes anyway.  We had a 3406E in a Freightliner that started putting coolant into the fuel tanks.  The injectors, the common rail fuel system and the water jacket were separated by o-rings and the coolant was going by the o-rings into the fuel return.  We never had trouble with our S60s and I don't know how the fuel rail is set up on them but it might be worthwhile putting a bit of your gray coolant in a glass jar and letting it sit overnight. 

I tell you what - our fuel dealer lit right up when I told him we had mixed coolant and fuel in the truck.  We both initially thought it had come from the dealer's tanks that way and it took a while before we figured out what was actually happening.
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« Reply #2 on: June 24, 2009, 08:08:01 PM »

Jim, your engine oil cooler is going bad and leaking ,I checked the Eagle manual and it calls for 7# for the 2 stroke or the 60s series     good luck
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« Reply #3 on: June 24, 2009, 08:37:32 PM »

Clifford, I wish you were correct.  That would be fairly easy to fix.

The anitfreeze does not have an oily appearance.  It sort of looks like exhaust soot to me.  Almost like someone added a gray dye.

Thanks, Jim
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Jim Shepherd
Evergreen, CO
’85 Eagle 10/Series 60/Eaton AutoShift 10 speed transmission
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« Reply #4 on: June 24, 2009, 08:43:12 PM »

Jim, let it set over night it will start turning oily. Jim you may know this but Interstate Diesel has locations in Casper and Gillette and they are good folks to deal with.        good luck
« Last Edit: June 24, 2009, 08:52:50 PM by luvrbus » Logged

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« Reply #5 on: June 24, 2009, 09:11:35 PM »

Hi Clifford.  I pulled a sample tonight and will take a close look at it tomorrow.

Bob, thanks for the phone call!!!

Jim
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Jim Shepherd
Evergreen, CO
’85 Eagle 10/Series 60/Eaton AutoShift 10 speed transmission
Somewhere between a tin tent and a finished product
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« Reply #6 on: June 24, 2009, 10:01:32 PM »

   Taste the oil if it has a sweet sweet taste then there is anti freeze in the oil. Not to be grimice but that
 will ruin your bearings. If your gut feeling is a head gasket then it won't matter what # cap you put on it.
 
   I have seen people change out the anti-freeze for straight water and run it to a more conveinent place
 to have it worked on. (ran a ford 460 that way for 6 months ymmv)

   oil in the coolant can be grey.....it will have a greasy feeling (more than straight anti-freeze).
    (if you can air pressurize the radiator then listen to the oil cooler for air leaking into it(no more than 15 #))
   Good luck to you.
 Skip
« Last Edit: June 24, 2009, 10:04:35 PM by poppi » Logged

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« Reply #7 on: June 24, 2009, 10:06:58 PM »

I'm with the oil cooler camp.
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« Reply #8 on: June 24, 2009, 11:15:39 PM »

About oil cooler problem getting oil in coolant…that mean it would be coolant in oil as well whenever the is shut down. Pressure from cooling system will force coolant into the oil as well.

Also Jim quoted this….

I think the situation is worst today because of the 7 pound cap.  I suspect that pressure valve had a higher pressure release.  I don't want to put a higher pressure cap on the system unless you folks think that is the thing to do.  However, that will only mask the problem.

I should add that after the first event, I checked the bottle quite often.  I would go for quite a ways with no significant filling.  Then after some long pulls in the Wyoming hills on I-25, it would all of a sudden be pretty full.  I pulled into Douglas tonight and the bottle had very little in it (refilled about a bit less than 100 miles ago.

I welcome any thoughts!!

Jim
Which is more likely that the higher combustion pressure cause more leakage thorough head-gasket or very fine crack in the combustion chamber to add micro bubbles mix into coolant raise coolant level to exit.

I could be wrong but that my take on this.

Sojourn for Christ, Gerald

BTW…you can still oil in the coolant with combustion leaking…so have the oil sample chec

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« Reply #9 on: June 25, 2009, 05:30:51 AM »

I think it might be his water pump starting to go south on him. Smiley  No water in the oil, doesn't look like oil in the water, i think i had a car that had gray stuff in the water and it was from the water pump starting to fail if i remember right. Ain't armchair diagnosis fun? Can't wait to see what the cause is. Hopefully nothing major or expensive.
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« Reply #10 on: June 25, 2009, 06:17:10 AM »

60 series blow head gaskets very seldom they have to be run hot for a long period and knowing Jim that didn't happen. FWIW the engine has 36 head bolts 6 for each cylinder for comparison the 8v92 has 10 on each head and the 6v92 has 8.The 60s did have head bolts problems at one time Jim proably has the new style.     good luck
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« Reply #11 on: June 25, 2009, 07:07:31 AM »

Hi Guys.  Thanks again for giving me your thoughts.

Ed, thanks for the call last night.  We are not in the best cell phone area.  I think I was on the phone with Bob Evans.

When I installed the engine, I replaced some of the typical parts that might fail.  Installed a new air compressor and water pump.  That does not mean that after 50K miles, the WP could be going bad. 

Clifford gave me the name of a Detroit repair shop in Gillette and I will contact them today.  I just looked and I don't see any separation of oil and antifreeze. 

On the other board, Van asked if there is any water in the exhaust.  I don't see any and there is no white smoke.

I did check the engine oil last night and no sign of water/antifreeze that I could see.  Just straight black oil.  When I changed oil this past spring, I did not see any signs of a problem.  Sample still sitting on shelf for analysis.

My engine has never gotten hot that I know of.  It runs about 190 to 195 on a hot day with the AC on.  However, recall that I do have CAC problems and I know that I the charge air has been as high as 250 degrees a few times.  I now have the ability to read the inlet temperature with the SilverLeaf, and I keep it under 170 degrees, but that is still high.

Someone asked about miles.  I think it has about 670K miles when I bought it.  Had rod and main bearing rolled in.  For what it is worth, it is a '96 with serial number 06R0297730.

I have my Series 60 service manual on my computer and it looks like there were two designs.  Mine should be the newer style.

Keep the ideas coming!!!

Jim

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Jim Shepherd
Evergreen, CO
’85 Eagle 10/Series 60/Eaton AutoShift 10 speed transmission
Somewhere between a tin tent and a finished product
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« Reply #12 on: June 25, 2009, 07:14:12 AM »

   Just 2 cents...........

   I would get it looked at in Casper... Gillette is al lot farther off and out of the way (unless you go up 59 to wright)
  There is a lot of nothing between Douglas and wright(gillette) BTDT not fun


   Sorry I didn't realize Gillette was your destination.   (still nothing inbetween you and there)

   Be safe

   Skip
« Last Edit: June 25, 2009, 07:47:30 AM by poppi » Logged

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« Reply #13 on: June 25, 2009, 08:45:33 AM »

Jim, someone may have already mentioned this but anyway have You smelled the coolant to see what it smells like?  Perhaps draw a sample from the system and get away from the bus and see what it smells like.  If there is soot in the coolant it should smell like diesel.  Hope You get up and running quickly. Regards John
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« Reply #14 on: June 25, 2009, 09:29:55 AM »

Hello:
       First my experience is limited but I will add my thoughts in FWIW..
    Think about what is happening.  1 using coolant.   2 at a later time oil or fuel getting back into antifreeze.
   problem one the coolant is going somewhere and if you cannot find it in the oil or fuel it must (may) be getting into a combustion chamber and released thru combustion???   make sense?   
   problem 2 whatever is going on with problem one is now going the other way fuel or oil is getting back into a coolant passage.
    I suspect something in the head which may be an injector O ring or a head gasket or  Huh.  Hopefully it is an o ring or something trivial but Huh
   Since the coolant system surrounds the engine and ancillary devices all is suspect.
    During the troubleshooting process you need to consider what pressures you have at what particular time. Fuel rail pressure is probably high in that head so that would account for the fuel getting into a coolant passage passing by a nicked o ring.. coolant pressure is usually lower than the other systems so that accounts for the flow into the coolant. When the engine shuts down then it is over time what system remains pressurized the longest to see which way the leak will flow.
      You may want to check your records to see what was done when to try to figure if an  oring or seal could be leaking.  AN oring is very easy to nick whilst installing.
    Just a few thoughts and I hope your troubles are small..
       My one experience with an L10 I bought at an auction turned onto  nightmare when I dropped a valve on the way home and a mechanic told me it was ok to drive   50 miles later I had to find a landall to get home..
     Not a cheery thought but take care ...    And I really hope your experience is better than mine.
    Regards and happy busssin   mike
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« Reply #15 on: June 25, 2009, 09:59:42 AM »

So what ever happened to the CO detection kit?  That used to be the "final analysis" for a exhaust leak into the coolant.  I have so much respect for you guys, all of you, that my question is academic: why doesn't this test work on diesels?

CO in coolant: blown head gasket.  Only a little coolant being forced out:  only a little leak.  Only forced out when engine under heavy load: very small leak.  No overheating: small leak.

NO CO in coolant:  Quit even thinking about the head gasket.  Knowing where not to look for sure is a step forward....right?

That may not even be 2 cents worth so please be gentle.

John
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« Reply #16 on: June 25, 2009, 01:49:07 PM »

Jim,

I don't know how to diagnose these things when they just start out and they can go on for some time before you can make a good diagnosis. So what I do is pull the antifreeze and switch to water so the bearings are protected no matter what. Also pull the pressure cap and put it in your tool box.

Then I run them until the problem grows enough to where you can find it. If I am guessing, I have seen liners do this when they first fail. They get a pin hole and compression bleeds into the water side first, then if you run them for a thousand or more miles they will start to drop coolant into the pan.

You sit so far in front of the engine that I doubt you could hear a head bolt chirp, but its easy to pull the covers and check all the head bolts to be sure that one didn't pop a head off, otherwise I would just set it up for protecting the bearings and run it until it something is a little more obvious.

If it is a head bolt, I have had pretty good luck just replacing the bolt if they haven't run a lot of miles. They usually just pop the head off and its not real hard to extract the bolt and drop another one in there .

Injector coppers could also be the culprit, no easy fix there.

My first guess was oil cooler, but they don't have the ability to pressurize the coolant a great deal so....

As long as it has antifreeze in it, you may want to at least pop the pressure cap when you park it so if it goes that direction you don't push it in the pan.

If you don't give it a chance to run awile, most shops are going to sell you a complete rebuild, a set of liners and a rebuilt head and a lot of other new parts to go with it. Some shops will pressurize your head and just repair what is bad if that is where the problem is, but they are hard to find and you have to be willing to roll out without a guarantee on anything except the work they do. Thats how I do it anyway though, I just want to get her back into the wind most times unless I know my engine is really worn out.

Since you have all the extra instrumentation, I would unhook the coolant level sensor to avoid the shutdown at inconvienent times and just top it off when the temp starts climbing, it will cut the power or shutdown if it gets hot anyway.

You usually can run without a pressure cap and the air will escape from the expansion tank without pushing all the water out, allowing you to keep running as well and I'd try that first.

If it doesn't show up in the pan after some miles, then pull the head and have it pressure tested.
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« Reply #17 on: June 25, 2009, 03:59:13 PM »

OK, update time. I took a sample of the antifreeze into Interstate PowerSystems (thanks for the recommendation Clifford).  Seem like very straightforward people.  They are very sure that it is a head gasket issue.  DD had an update on both the head bolts and the gasket.  My engine probably did not have those updates.  Without them, they say this often happens on an engine with my mileage.

They wanted to pull the engine and I just did not want to go to that length.  We did some brainstorming and then the mechanic came out to the bus.  We are pretty sure we can take out the RV window and use a fork life to get the head up and out.  I guess this is the nice part of having to build a bed rise for the Series 60 – lots of room to climb in and work on the engine.

Don't have the estimate yet.  Does not matter, we can't afford it, but what choice do we have?

This might put us in jeopardy of making the Eagle Rally.  We are trying to see if they can work on it over the weekend (mechanic missed some work this week and think he can get overtime charges waived.

Will keep you posted.
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Jim Shepherd
Evergreen, CO
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« Reply #18 on: June 25, 2009, 05:59:39 PM »


 Sounds like a plan..........now head over to Camplex and sell sell sell!

 I think your friends attending Ennis will be more than understanding. I can only make a quick
 down and back visit (only 1.5 hrs away short time)

  Heck if you get too far behind come up here and relax for a week and
 if you are still here on july 12 +-a couple there might be a surprise. Fishing is good
 weather is survivable. I PROMISE not to ask you help pick up hay either Smiley

 Skip
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« Reply #19 on: June 25, 2009, 06:19:00 PM »

Skip, I would love to spend a ton of time in your beautiful state.  I can only dream of fly fishing some of the beautiful streams (did bring my fly rod). 

This trip is very tightly scheduled.  First the Fleetwood rally here, on to the Eagle rally (about 500 miles) then back across county to the Converted  Coach rally in Ohio and finally the big FMCA rally in Bowling Green.

I can only dream of selling enough to pay for part of the repair Shocked

Thanks for the good thoughts and offer.  Would like to take a rain check on it.

Jim
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Jim Shepherd
Evergreen, CO
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« Reply #20 on: June 25, 2009, 07:23:51 PM »

It sucks when these beasts let us down Jim but it's always better to know what the problem is.  I hope that tomorrow brings more certainty for you in that regard - more certainty and less expense if that is possible.
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« Reply #21 on: June 26, 2009, 08:30:51 AM »

New Update 6/26

I just got off the phone with the Interstate folks and they are telling me $6-8K to pull the head and replace the gasket.  They are saying 60 hours of labor.  I simply can't imagine those kinds of numbers.   Sounds like they either don't want to do the job, or that they are trying to take advantage of an out of town person in trouble.

Looks like we will probably head back to Denver after this rally.  I  will pull the engine and take it to a local shop.

Would still welcome thoughts if you have them.

Jim
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Jim Shepherd
Evergreen, CO
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« Reply #22 on: June 26, 2009, 08:48:51 AM »

Jim,

Whewww! on that.

I am with you, head on home where time and control of costs is on Your side.

Safe travels,

Cliff
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« Reply #23 on: June 26, 2009, 08:54:12 AM »

  I guess there pride of there time.....really hurts.

  I went back and looked at your bed frame set-up
  ? if all they are going to do is replace the gasket and bolts then why pull the thing out of the bus at all?

    Put a timber accross the bed frame pull the head up clean and replace the gasket. One may have
  to use a come along to lift up on the side of the head so as to get to the face to clean but leave as much as possible
   on the head. (a whole lot quicker).

  Just a thought..........on cats it was regular to leave turbo, exhaust etc on the head.

   Skip
  
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« Reply #24 on: June 26, 2009, 09:00:45 AM »

Jim, they gave me a high estimate on a repair also but it turn out to be about 1/3 of the quote.Talking to Cole he said that was very high time wise but he did say it takes about 20 to 30 hrs depending on the bus and the upgrade if you need it will be over 1000 bucks, he said to take a close look at your counter bores on each cylinder with the head off. Also your going to need some special tools and Monaco has the best prices 541-689-8579 also on the web. Good luck and if you need help just call mountains are sounding good to us about now.FWIW he has always told me they were expensive to work on to reach that million miles mark, bus engines have around a 500 to 600 thousand life span according to him
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« Reply #25 on: June 26, 2009, 06:43:09 PM »

Jim,

I'd run it home and give it some time to worsen. The nightmare here is if you have someone pull the head and you expect a $6000 limit and the head gasket does not have a flaw, then your 6 grand down and no repair is in sight. They may even demand to pull the engine.

60 hours is 60 hours, so why don't you just pull the head yourself. Its not rocket science.

The head is available in LA as a recon for $999 if yours is not cracked, to give you an idea of whats fair to spend. Aftermarket liner kits, (not premium DD,but acceptable for your use), rods, mains and all the gaskets are $1999.

9 times out of 10 it likely is a bolt or gasket, (per Interstate). Luvrbus says the gaskets never fail on the 60 series... If you tear it down away from home and its not then you are really going to spend the big bucks for a rebuild. If you find a broken bolt, just replace the bolt first and see if the gasket won't hold. That's probably a $30 repair if you do it yourself..

The problem here is that I don't think you have ran it far enough to know for sure its not a liner and maybe since it hasn't put coolant into the pan its to soon to be able to pick a liner by pressurizing the coolant. This would need to be done before you pull the head, or you are into a complete rebuild again and maybe pulling the head twice. Once its apart, you can't stop spending until its fixed for sure.

Low mile 14 liters @ 515 HP are available for $10,000 complete, so its hard to spend over $15,000 for a rebuild job. 600,000 mile ones are going for $7000 or less.

If you take Interstates word that its a gasket and go the $6000 route, make them put in writing that a head gasket and some new bolts will fix it, or you leave, with the new gaskets, no charge, bet they won't....

There ain't nothing in that engine you can really hurt by doing your own work. Get the book and do it yourself. You can always call DD out for a $100 an hour service call to set up the overhead if you want after you get it back together.

I think you can rule out that the engine ever got hot. DDEC parameters just don't let that happen. Weather or not the coolant additives were kept up with leads another direction....

I have an old 855 small cam Cummins here in the shop you can have. It has a head over each pair of pistons so one man can take it apart and put it back together all by himself. It also has non press fit liners, so one man with not much more than a hammer can do a complete rebuild in about 20 hours, (I do them in 16). It needs a front main seal, but you can run it forever and it won't use as much oil as an 8V71 even with the seal leaking. It has a 14 inch Lipe double disc clutch and the bellhousing fits any of the Fuller transmissions w/2 inch input shafts.
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$1M in $1000 bills = 8 inches high.
$1B in $1000 bills = 800 feet high.
$1T in $1000 bills = 142 miles high
luvrbus
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« Reply #26 on: June 26, 2009, 07:14:03 PM »

I agree before spending 6 grand on 12.7 L I would go with the 14L engine also,Jim is creative and thrifty he will figure this one out.  Pat will be busy also taking him to emergency  LOL  
FWIW Jim I bought a complete Dina conversion a roll over with  66,000 miles with a 12.7 and a B500 tranny for 3800.00 bucks. 
Someone here on the board has a 60s with 300,000 miles for 5 g's I don't remember who

     good luck
« Last Edit: June 26, 2009, 07:24:56 PM by luvrbus » Logged

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« Reply #27 on: June 26, 2009, 07:33:56 PM »

NJT5573.

Great input,

Jim, I would do exactly what NJT sudjests, get it home with no antfreeze and get the oil and water anolised when you get home.

John
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« Reply #28 on: June 26, 2009, 08:11:59 PM »

Jim, I can't add to the expert opinions of those before me, cause I'm not an expert! I just hate this for you guys! Whatever you end up doing, I'm sure it will get fixed properly. I'm following, reading and learning.

Paul
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« Reply #29 on: June 26, 2009, 08:31:22 PM »

You never know what your going to get into with a engine seen it to many times budgeting 4,000 bucks for a in frame and final cost will 10,000 happen to me on my 8v92.
I could have bought a good takeout for 5,000. 
When I got into it a main bearing was spun and I should have stopped there but kept going and had to buy a new crank that 4700.00 bucks plus a line bore, you can soak big bucks into a engine before you know it. A high mileage engine I would replace it   good luck
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« Reply #30 on: June 26, 2009, 08:48:37 PM »

I just wanted to say I don't think it would hurt to add Alumiseal to the coolant system. (It looks like like an aluminum powder, most auto parts stores carry it) The reason I use it in an emergency situation is because years ago I worked for Honda as a mechanic and all of their training instructors disapproved of any additive until one of their engines had a porous cylinder head casting. Honda actually recommended using Aluminseal as a repair. I thought if it was good enough for these additive hating people it must be OK. I've used it several times and have recommended it many times. It usually works. There are many types of products like this, use your own judgment or maybe someone has a suggestion for a better product. My advice is drain the antifreeze, refill with plain water, add some type of coolant system sealer and come on home where you have control of the repair.

Ken
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« Reply #31 on: June 26, 2009, 11:03:32 PM »

I have no experience with this....for openers.  If head bolts are the problem and replacing them is the fix....why can't you R&R each head bolt separately and torque it to max?  The adjoining bolts should be set and doing one at a time wouldn't allow the head gasket to shift....I don't think.  Hope that think part isn't the operative word.  If they are studs that wouldn't change much as I see it.  Good idea...bad idea....what?

Thanks,

John
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« Reply #32 on: June 27, 2009, 06:46:19 AM »

Again, I want to thank all of you great folks for your written responses and phone calls!

With your help, I kept from going crazy (or is that crazier Cheesy). 

As noted, we will have to miss some commitments as both an attendee (Eagle Bus Rally in Ennis MT and Converted Coach Rally in OH) and Vendor (FMCA in Bowling Greeen, OH).  That is troublesome, but not the end of the world.

After this rally (First Fleetwood Factory rally) here in Gillette, we will head home.  As a side note, they were not sure this rally would take place because of the Fleetwood Chapter 11 filing).  There are over 400 coaches here and the vendors area opens today. 

The first order of action I will take when I get home is to have two oil samples (one from my last change that I never got to the lab and one I will pull when I get home) and antifreeze analyzed.  I will then start pulling the engine.  That is not a huge task, since I am the one that put it in there .

I will start studying the service manual while I am here (have an electronic version on my computer), to see if I want to tackle the head gasket replacement myself.  Hopefully, it does not take too many special tools.

I plan to update this thread as I progress.  I will probably turn it into an article for BCM 

As a side note, I have been pouring my sole into an engine conversion article for BCM.  I am about 80% done.  It is long enough that Chad and I think it well be published in installments.   I will have to see how this "adventure" fits into that article Huh.

This group of "crazy" folks is beyond description.  Your thoughts and support mean more than than you can possible imagine.

Jim
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Jim Shepherd
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’85 Eagle 10/Series 60/Eaton AutoShift 10 speed transmission
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Bus Project details: http://beltguy.com/Bus_Project/busproject.htm
Blog:  http://rvsafetyman.blogspot.com/
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