A Southern Oregon rebuild you were lucky I saw a 8v92 in a MCI that didn't make it 535 miles home word of advice you better have your guy check the height on the liners David's guy was not very good at doing that if it fit the hole he never checked the height we had a few words over that on a 71 series and they were terrible about leaving the head support brace off the back of the heads
I have spent a scant hour talking with David, AKA "Southern Oregon Diesel". And that was over three visits. I have spent a couple hours talking to Bus Folk customers in his shop and at rallies. My impression at the start was that the guy had a sense of humor, knew DD and Cat and Cummings cause he was a service center. And no, I didn't press for certification and I can't give a single soul cred for being a D mech of any stripe.. And he seemed exceedingly honest BUT didn't suffer FOOLS well or easily or lightly. Impressions.
David, though busy as any businessman you might imagine, took the time to show me a couple of truly dismal wrecks of buses he had parked in his front lot next to I5 in Roseburg. One had a steering box so out of whack the the wheel turned a full 120 degrees back and forth without ever touching a gear tooth to a gear tooth. David said "we refer to that in the trade as "VAGUE" steering". He was letting the poor unfortunates that owned those buses leave them there in the hopes that someone with the confidence to repair them would pay some paltry fee to take them home as a project. I doubt that David even knew the Bus Knuts that owned them. Another, he shared with me, had lost the cam drive gear and in exaggerated mock seriousness and rolling his eyes he said "probably only needs a few valves". I laughed a lot with David that late evening summer day. He came out to intro himself to the two guys that were looking at the spent Prevo at the corner of his lot. Seems the boat manufacturer storage lot that lives next door had been burgled more than enuf and David just wanted to say "Hey". Just didn't seem to be the "RIP OFF" type.
I visited with one of his customers a week later. He had been there for 15 days on a three day repair. But, he, the customer, was cheerful. I was considering some way to feel the poor guys forehead when he explained himself. He said "when they got into the job they discovered other things wrong that you couldn't tell untill they got the engine opened up". Then, he went on, "the manufacturer sent the wrong part and David showed us all the paper work where they ordered the correct part but what came in had the wrong part numbers and that cost us more than a weeks time in shipping and David upgraded the shipping out of his pocket and the manufacturer still sent it "slow freight". David showed us his letter demanding payment for shipping and their agreement and apology." He said that shXX happens in the world and that this experience was a comedy of errors from the start but that David was not at fault and had let them stay in their bus for free the entire time and had pushed them into a bay after the first night. I think that gentleman was a loyal customer for life. Anothe Knut and his wife were "living" in one of his aux shops getting an out of frame on a 8V71. They had been there more than a month. They started out deciding on a re-man and had David procure and do the R&R. They chose the R-Man source. First engine that came to replace the 8V71 was a Cummins. Manufacturer has it shipped back to him and sends a 8V71 with apologies. Next engine was the wrong engine...theirs was a N and the factory sent a "T". Back to the factory and faith was lost in the Re-Man route. David was doing a rebuild, letting them stay for free and his price for the job was less than his original bid. That Knut shared that he thought David felt sorry for their bad luck and the owner had made calls and verified everything as he thought it suspicious that there could be that much bad luck. Free lodging, concern about them thinking the wrong thing and lowering his quote....had to be crooked, right?
David shared with me that he quit taking calls from Bus Knuts as they had aggravated him no end. His part of the story was that people call him from the east coast and parts unknown to ask him questions about DD engines and after he tells them what the problem might be they contradict him and argue. He said "I am a businessman and my time is valuable to me and that group seems to have more than it's share of idiots with phones and a bus conversion and the gall to contradict". He washed his hands of it. Couldn't have been the "hole" story as he has always taken my calls over the years and only his sectary asks "who may I say is calling".
NOW I have heard this story about the 535 MILE LIVED overhaul before. I thought it stunk then and I still think it stinks....emphasis on the "thought" part. The story goes that Mr. X , Clifford named him but I have forgotten and won't id him anyway. (Mr. X? Your views and recollections?) Mr. X contracted with SOD to do an out-of-frame and I hear that can run $13K. SOD completed the overhaul, was paid, and the customer left. A short jaunt down the road the engine failed catastrophically...rod, crank,
? Bus gets towed to a shop. They confirm that the engine is lunched. I never heard what was the exact cause of the failure but there has always been the inferrence, to me, that SOD was remiss at somthing and the destroyed engine was the result. David agreed to repeat the overhaul and pay for accomodations and reasonable expenses. That could have been thousands of dollars but I don't know. The owner, Mr. X, decides that he doesn't want David to do the overhaul, afer all and demands a Re-Man from a reputable dealer. David agrees though it will set him back much further than if he does the overhaul in house. So he installs the "new engine" and gets bad mouthed ever since.
Now here are my observations on this unfortunate tale. Mr. X was not an idiot and was bus savy and as an educated consumer he simply would NOT drop his $13K into the lap of an unknown shop. He had to have called around and checked out SOD and I can assume he got David coming under the tongue of good report. Somebody liked him or Mr. X just threw himself on the mercy of?
Stuff happens and even if David's Mech screwed the pooch and botched the job...well, stuff happens.
David offered to compensate, and most shops wouldn't and a court would not have supported a claim unless negligence could be proven, and doing that will vastly exceed your cost of paying your own Motel bill. He did pay for the lodging and food costs for the time it took to do the R&R and ship the engine. If it could be seen that my guy was responsible I would pay your expenses...only fair that I have some skin in the game.
Now, the contract was for an in house overhaul and not a spendy Re-Man. The owner insisted on a Re-Man because he said he lost faith in SOD's ability to perform.. Were it me and he was as obnoxious as has previously been inferred, I would have thrown him and his bus out in the street. But David isn't me and I ain't him. David caved and paid for everything Plus.
Now that all is said and done, David still enjoys being maligned as something less than honest and well intentioned. And, I don't think he deserves that. Mr. X got advice and I haven't heard anything about the "IDIOT THAT SENT ME THERE". He had expenses paid that he wasn't clearly entitled to....but I would hope... He got a Re-Man with a nationwide warranty that must be worth something and that was due to the generosity of SOD in placating an unfortunate irate customer. You know...."Good Will". This sounds like the sharp stick in the eye.
I never talked with David about this matter. All that I know I have gleaned from the posts of Clifford on the matter and those were inspired by a post i made that said "I know David a very little and he seems a good guy. I have asked others(not Clifford) and they say that SOD gets mixed reviews" and I don't really know all that that might mean. What I do know is that David told me "I won't ever work on another bus that isn't owned by someone I personally know. Commercial customers understand this business but bus owners can often be such jerks that it isn't worth the heartburn". I do seed his friends and acquaintances buses in there from time to time. he has many friends as he is very active in community affairs and projects as a volunteer and member of Rotary like orgs. He is also a past Pres of our NW FMC Bus org that puts on the Rickreal Bus-in
in June. He is easy to find, and easy to talk to and will give a cripple like me a ride anywhere in his souped up golf cart. No shop talk..... just "faster horses, younger women and older whiskey" sort of chatter.
David would probably have a difficult time remembering me. I can't imagine him considering me his friend. But, from what I have personally seen....were I to pay thousands of dollars for engine work that failed? I would thank my lucky stars if that happened in a shop where David was making the decisions. Same goes For Choo Choo.
I also know a guy that was traveling thru Palm Springs late on Christmas eve many years ago and his air compressor failed. He got on the forum and asked for advice. What he got was Mr. and Mrs, Clifford dropping off the compressor he needed and installing it for him. (he is a clutz
) That sent him on his way. Clifford lives near Phoenix and Palm springs is 100 plus miles distant. Christmas eve! And I have been hearing stories like that about Clifford ever since and I believe most of them. But even a small percentage would be more than enuf to endear the man and his wife to all of us. If it isn't possible to be objective or say anything that isn't a compliment....then what are complements actually worth?
Looks like David doubled or tripled his SOD floor space in the past few years. He has a good rep with somebody, that's for sure. No scarcity of independent D facilities in the area and the DD Dealer and Cummins coral is only 60 miles north of him. And this being a depression and all.