On Monday the mechanic here in Billings did some initial diagnostics with us, and confirmed what we already pretty much knew – there’s considerable damage to the engine. The words ‘cheap’, ‘quick’ and ‘easy’ are officially out of the vocabulary.
(the above video was taken on the side of the road, after we refilled the coolant with water and tried restarting the engine.)
We’re down for at least a couple weeks, and will be cashing in our engine rebuild fund we put aside when we bought Zephyr two years ago (this week, ironically).
The lower bank of cylinders is where the damage is showing up – they are running 100 degrees cooler than the top bank, and oil flows freely into the blower drain and even into the exhaust. There is however no coolant getting into the oil, and the engine still has “good compression”.
We’ve decided to hold off on further diagnostics, as it really doesn’t change the outcome too much – we have some major repairs ahead of us. And we want to take this opportunity to carefully consider how we can end up with the most reliable setup possible.
We’ve been deep in research, and picking the brains of an array of bus friends. We are completely indebted to the bus community for so freely offering up advice. We’re considering a rebuild, a repower or a replacement.
Where are we at?
Well, the conversation we just had with our knowledgable bus friend JLV pretty much wraps it up:
JLV: If it were me, I’d repower with a 6v92TA.
Chris: blah.. blah..blah
JLV: Ya know, on second thought.. I’d keep it simple and rebuild the 8v71
JLV: Ya know.. if it were me.. I’d flip a coin.
JLV: Ya know.. let Kiki decide.
We’ll update more later with details and pros/cons of all the options we’ve considered when we have time.. and of course, with the decision Kiki makes. But for now.. back to the books, phones and interwebs.
And oh yes… overwhelmed with the options… but still positive!