Tuesday, July 14, 2015

School Bus Photos 1997 Thomas Pusher

Thomas School Bus Photos from John Whelan on Vimeo.
Oh the memories....this 1997 Thomas school bus pusher is long gone but the photos tell it all. Back then our fleet had 13 Cat 3116 diesel engines. From new they were nice and shiny without any problems until suddenly several of them experienced an intermittent transmission shift episode.

We searched high and low for the fault and scratched our heads and even got the dealer involved thinking ...warranty?? Well what it ended up being was a corroded battery supply wire from the battery to the shift module and transmission control unit.

There was a butt splice half way down the frame which wasn't sealed with heat shrink or soldered at all. The crimped connector was blue with corrosion and caused the battery feed to cut in and out or it would totally cut out and our bus was dead in the water.

 The transmission shop would not give us warranty because the harness was OEM from the factory. So there was some discussion on who pays but it all came out fair at the end. The wiring was all hard wired (no multiplexing) and searching for problems in wiring took a lot of time.

If I had a second chance at this mishap the first thing I would check is "the source"! There was obviously a huge voltage drop between the battery and the TCU. I already mentioned that the ground and battery feed are fed directly to the TCU using #10 wiring and then they break down to #18 wires running into the interface module and TCU.

Step one is check for voltage drop... hindsight is easy after the fact but the time we spent along with the dealer on this issue was excessive. The problem always gets fixed it's a matter of how many hours it takes. In the video you can see the dash and interior layout.

The fit and finish was very good on these models. We've had Cummins power as well in these buses .... official model >>>> ER Saf T Liner. They handled nicely and gave us a lot of miles without trouble. However the Cat 3116 engines did have valve problems and required a few rebuilds. Normally our buses stick around our fleet for 12 to 15 years depending on the mileage.

If there is premature rust sometimes we retire them early considering the cost it would take to repair properly. Thanks for hanging out...please leave a comment and/or share this post if you liked it. Until next time take'er cool :)

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