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Author Topic: What to do about major oil leak - Series 60  (Read 4548 times)
belfert
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« on: October 07, 2006, 08:45:16 PM »

For background, I have a Dina with a Series 60 11.1L.  Engine has never burned oil and leaked a few drops now and then, but I've only had it for maybe 2,500 miles now.

I drove down to Ron the Busnut's place today.  While there, I noticed oil all over the back of the bus.  The engine looked clean and the oil was still at full after over 2,000 miles since last oil change.  I checked oil about 150 miles down the road after sitting 15 or 20 minutes and I was down almost three quarts!  I figure I'm down at least a gallon after driving the last 70 or 80 miles home.  Also, my oil pressure is down to 25 PSI at freeway speeds where I was at 40 PSI or better on the freeway.  At full throttle, it was not unusual to see well over 50 PSI and now I'm lucky to get 35 or 40 PSI at full throttle.  Could the engine be blown?

After I backed into the driveway at home, I noticed oil drops every few inches down the entire driveway.

Any suggestions on where to start with this oil leak problem?  I suppose a Detroit dealer would be best, but they will probably be the most expensive.  They quoted me around $1,200 to fix my leaking rear main seal, not including labor to pull the engine.  (Do they really need to pull the engine for a rear main seal?)

It looks like my bus might be sitting for a long, long time until I can afford to get it repaired.  I can't afford thousands to repair the bus right now after spending so much on the conversion so far.  My trip to BK's rally appears to be out of the question unless I drive my car down instead.

I'm wondering if I should just write this bus off as a learning experience and wait a few years until I can afford something else.  It might be throwing good money after bad since I also have an overheating problem yet to solve.

Brian Elfert
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Ace
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« Reply #1 on: October 07, 2006, 09:11:30 PM »

Brian not to sound rude but since you already knew you have an overheating problem, why in the hell would you drive your bus in the first place? Diesels don't like to run hot. NONE of them! That only causes MORE problems!

As for your motor being blown? Is it still running? It must be since you drove it home! That tells me that's it's NOT blown! An oil leak could several different things. Could be a simple valve cover or an oil line! Might be the filter! Have you checked any of the simple things or are you giving up again? You said you figure it's down about a gallon after the last 70-80 miles home. Did you check it or assuming? You really can't take these beast for granted! You HAVE to check them regulary and the proper way! It's definitley NOT like your passenger car where you might be able to ovedrlook them for a while longer. They need to be checked each and every time you run them.

As for your oil pressure? Are you running the proper wt. oil?  Some multi wt. oils are not for diesel motors. When they get hot, they will show a lower oil pressure. It IS common for the pressure to drop when idling! My dad, a retired truck driver with mucho knowledge of diesels always said that ANY oil pressure is better than NONE at all even as low as 5 lbs.

Do you notice any excessive smoke? What color is it if any?

When you checked the oil level, were you sitting level. A bus on a hill will give a false reading on the stick!

You best bet for the oil leak would be to clean everything and check each hose, bolt, filter, nut, gasket, ah, well, you get the point! It really should be that hard to find!

As for getting it repaired? Yes Detroit mechanics can cost an arm and a leg but once fixed, you know what you have. There's no guessing from that point on. Spend the money and get a warranty unless it's a simple thing you can fix yourself.

As for your leaky rear main? If your transmission is mounted on the rear of the engine, the trans has to come out to fix it. Not sure on the motor coming out!

In my opinion, it sounds like every time something happens that your not sure about, your trying to talk yourself out of having a bus. If it's that much of a problem, maybe you should just go tot some rallies without your bus to gain some valuable knowledge!

That's MY opinion and I'm sticking to it!

Ace
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belfert
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« Reply #2 on: October 07, 2006, 10:04:33 PM »

Brian not to sound rude but since you already knew you have an overheating problem, why in the hell would you drive your bus in the first place? Diesels don't like to run hot. NONE of them! That only causes MORE problems!

It is only running about 200 degrees around Minnesota/Iowa/Wisconsin where I live where it is mostly flat.  My concern is overheating on any grades.  I didn't have any overheating today, but I didn't hit any grades either.  I was running 70 MPH into a stiff headwind and the temp never moved once it hit 200.  (I know I know, I probably should have slowed down with the wind.)

I wasn't worried about overheating taking the bus where I did today.  I'm worried about what happens when I hit the Rockies next year.

Quote
As for your motor being blown? Is it still running? It must be since you drove it home! That tells me that's it's NOT blown! An oil leak could several different things. Could be a simple valve cover or an oil line! Might be the filter! Have you checked any of the simple things or are you giving up again? You said you figure it's down about a gallon after the last 70-80 miles home. Did you check it or assuming? You really can't take these beast for granted! You HAVE to check them regulary and the proper way! It's definitley NOT like your passenger car where you might be able to ovedrlook them for a while longer. They need to be checked each and every time you run them.

Okay, technically the motor is not blown.  It may have very serious internal problems since the oil pressure is lower than normal.  I'm much more worried about the low oil pressure than it leaking.  If the motor needs an overhaul, it might as well be blown.

Quote
As for your oil pressure? Are you running the proper wt. oil?  Some multi wt. oils are not for diesel motors. When they get hot, they will show a lower oil pressure. It IS common for the pressure to drop when idling! My dad, a retired truck driver with mucho knowledge of diesels always said that ANY oil pressure is better than NONE at all even as low as 5 lbs.

Do you notice any excessive smoke? What color is it if any?

When you checked the oil level, were you sitting level. A bus on a hill will give a false reading on the stick!

You best bet for the oil leak would be to clean everything and check each hose, bolt, filter, nut, gasket, ah, well, you get the point! It really should be that hard to find!

I would assume that the Detroit dealer used 15W40 oil when I had the oil changed back in April.  The oil level was right at full when I left home today and I have never added any.  I didn't notice any change in smoke color.

Since the leak is worse than ever, I just assume I lost at least another quart of oil in the past 70 to 80 miles since I lost approximately three quarts in 150 miles.  I haven't checked since I got home since it is dark out.  I will check for sure in the morning.


Quote
As for your leaky rear main? If your transmission is mounted on the rear of the engine, the trans has to come out to fix it. Not sure on the motor coming out!

In my opinion, it sounds like every time something happens that your not sure about, your trying to talk yourself out of having a bus. If it's that much of a problem, maybe you should just go tot some rallies without your bus to gain some valuable knowledge!

Opps.  I forget the engines are opposite of a truck so the rear main seal is not really at the rear.  Still, I don't think they have to pull the engine in a truck to fix this.  Now it makes perfect sense why they would have to pull the engine to fix this.  From service advisor's description, pulling the engine will cost almost as much as the repair.

My issue right now is money.  My money tree is starting to run out of leaves as this bus conversion is costing more than I planned on.  I already know the main seal is going to cost around $2000 and that may not even fix the oil leak problem.  I wasn't worried about the main seal earlier as it leaked maybe a drop every few days and the Detroit dealer said not to worry about it.

I really do want to have a bus, but I also need something that will be reliable long term.  I was hoping by spending extra money on the Series 60 in a relatively low mileage bus that I could avoid major engine repairs for a long time since I know lots of Series 60s with a million miles and no overhaul. 

I wouldn't have as much a problem spending the bucks on having the engine overhauled (if necessary) if I wasn't still worried about overheating.  I've haven't seen any major overheating since I got my air intake unplugged and the exhaust pipe replaced.  I have seen the temp start to rise somewhat on a few grades locally, so I'm not sure what will happen on a real grade like in the Rockies.  Maybe it will be fine, but I somehow doubt it.  I'm thinking about a radiator rebuild, but nobody can say for sure that it will help.

Like I said in my original post, I am still considering going to BK's rally with or without a bus.  The other rallies are just too far away no matter if I take the bus or my car.

Brian Elfert
« Last Edit: October 07, 2006, 10:06:45 PM by belfert » Logged
gumpy
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« Reply #3 on: October 08, 2006, 07:47:30 AM »

Won't do any good to speculate on your oil leak until you determine where the oil is coming from.

I suggest you pressure wash the engine well, and then figure out where it's leaking from and get back to us. There are so many different places your engine could be leaking oil.

I had a main filter hose rub through on a trip to FL, and by the time I got there, I had put over 3 gallons through the engine and it all ended up on the back of the bus and on the toad.  It was a fairly simple fix but it sure made a mess.

craig
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Craig Shepard
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« Reply #4 on: October 08, 2006, 08:34:16 AM »

Brian, from your post I couldn't tell if you ever added the oil back into the engine. If not, that would explain your lower oil pressure. A leak in itself can cause some oil pressure loss.

As has been said here, clean the engine, and start looking for leaks. Chock up the wheels (to be safe), then have a buddy mash on the throttle or pull on the rack while you use a light and creeper to see where the leak(s) might be coming from. Oil pressure at idle might not show you the leak(s). Something is probably just loose from the sitting while converting.

Most of my DD knowledge comes from the 2-stroke variety, as would a lot of us here. I know that 200 is an alarming temp. for a 2-stroke. If the Series 60 runs more water system pressure, though, it might not be as alarming... pressure systems in cars and light trucks can routinely go over 220. Better find out for sure, though. Overheating will sure burn up an engine faster than oil leaks.

But get those little leaks fixed before they turn BIG.

Keep after it and keep us posted!
Brian B.
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Brian Brown
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« Reply #5 on: October 08, 2006, 08:36:26 AM »

Brian, Fill oil level, wash it, find the leak.
Don't stress over it. it's really a simple process. We will help you make the repair or give you our suggestions.
Lots of talented folks out here, glad to be part of it.
Best of luck.
Sammy  Cool
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belfert
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« Reply #6 on: October 08, 2006, 09:18:40 AM »

I am going to go out and look at it right now.  I was supposed to clean out the garage today, but radar is showing that rain will probably hit in the next two hours and I don't want everything sittting outside getting wet.

Brian Elfert
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« Reply #7 on: October 08, 2006, 01:14:19 PM »

my 12.7 series 60 runs at 195 by the thermostat, and up to 198 going up big hills - the temp when the secondary fan kicks in.  OIl temp is always right at 200 when warmed up.
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belfert
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« Reply #8 on: October 08, 2006, 02:08:40 PM »

my 12.7 series 60 runs at 195 by the thermostat, and up to 198 going up big hills - the temp when the secondary fan kicks in.  OIl temp is always right at 200 when warmed up.

I wish I was running those kinds of temps.  I'm running the 195 to 200 range on flat ground.  After I fix my oil leak, I'm probably going to do some runs up one fairly steep stretch of highway in town here to see if the temps skyrcket or not.  I sure wouldn't mind having a secondary fan like your Prevost.

From folks I've talked to, 200 is fairly normal for a Series 60 in a bus so my flatland temps are fine.  BK said another charter outfit he is friendly with has a number of Series 60s in Dinas and MCIs and they all run around 200 degrees.  I did talk to my buddy with a Series 60 in a semi.  He never runs over 195 on the worst day and is usually in the 180s.  He does have a truck that is easier to cool.

Brian elfert
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belfert
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« Reply #9 on: October 08, 2006, 02:16:07 PM »

Back to my oil leak.  I pulled the panels off on the oil filter side of the engine and there is oil everywhere around where the oil filters screw on.  The oil filters are completely black instead of white.  I sprayed on engine cleaner once and got lots of oil off, but I put another layer of cleaner on again and will go clean it off in a moment.

Oil has always dripped slowly from the bottom of the oil filters since I got the bus.  I took the bus to a Detroit dealer the day I bought it and they found a leaking rear main seal and one other leak, but they said not to worry about them.  Until yesterday, the oil level never moved from full.

I'll probably wait until tomorrow to run the engine as I need to top it off first and I only have a quart or two on the shelf.  I need to run to Walmart this evening for a few gallons of Rotella 15W-40..

Brian Elfert
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« Reply #10 on: October 08, 2006, 02:49:23 PM »

Brian,

I'll bet a buck that you don't have a real problem.  A bad filter, perhaps overtightened on installation, bad gasket, cracked filter housing, etc.

DON'T PANIC
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belfert
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« Reply #11 on: October 08, 2006, 03:00:11 PM »

Brian,

I'll bet a buck that you don't have a real problem.  A bad filter, perhaps overtightened on installation, bad gasket, cracked filter housing, etc.

DON'T PANIC

I'm not panicing, but I am worried about what this could cost if it is more than just an oil leak.  The lower oil pressure than normal is my big worry.  I guess I'll find out more when I run it tomorrow to see if I can find the leak.  I'll take it to the local Detroit dealer later in the week if I can't find something simple.

I may end up having the engine overhauled at some point for peace of mind, but not right now unless necessary.  Unfortunately, Detroit won't warranty work on engines over 10 years old.

Brian Elfert
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« Reply #12 on: October 08, 2006, 05:04:57 PM »

Brian,

Is Detroit the only reputable shop which can do engine work in your area?  I know that after a year or two of searching around chicago / michigan area I was able to find a couple three other shops with excellent reputations who could do some good work.  Maybe the same is true in your area ?  I was able to find a couple of shops with good reputations and save major $$.  But it did take a while to find them.

Hope this helps, Phil
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« Reply #13 on: October 08, 2006, 05:07:42 PM »

Brian, you will not know anything until you remove the thermostats and check them. For all you know they may be 195 or 200. Quit worrying so much about these little things until you find out what or if there is a problem.
Richard

my 12.7 series 60 runs at 195 by the thermostat, and up to 198 going up big hills - the temp when the secondary fan kicks in.  OIl temp is always right at 200 when warmed up.

I wish I was running those kinds of temps.  I'm running the 195 to 200 range on flat ground.  After I fix my oil leak, I'm probably going to do some runs up one fairly steep stretch of highway in town here to see if the temps skyrcket or not.  I sure wouldn't mind having a secondary fan like your Prevost.

From folks I've talked to, 200 is fairly normal for a Series 60 in a bus so my flatland temps are fine.  BK said another charter outfit he is friendly with has a number of Series 60s in Dinas and MCIs and they all run around 200 degrees.  I did talk to my buddy with a Series 60 in a semi.  He never runs over 195 on the worst day and is usually in the 180s.  He does have a truck that is easier to cool.

Brian elfert
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belfert
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« Reply #14 on: October 08, 2006, 05:20:17 PM »

Brian,

Is Detroit the only reputable shop which can do engine work in your area?  I know that after a year or two of searching around chicago / michigan area I was able to find a couple three other shops with excellent reputations who could do some good work.  Maybe the same is true in your area ?  I was able to find a couple of shops with good reputations and save major $$.  But it did take a while to find them.

Most of the shops charge $90 to $100 an hour around here regardless if they are a Detroit dealer or not.  I would think just about any big heavy diesel shop could fix the leak if it is external and doesn't require tearing down the engine.  There is one shop that charges a bunch extra for RVs and buses.  I think they charge $120 an hour.  I am not going there.

I'm going to ask a few people I know if they have ideas where I should I take this.  I don't think C&J Bus Repair does stuff like this, but I will ask.  (C&J isn't any cheaper than the Detroit dealer.)

Brian Elfert
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