7 Bus check list
We are always available to help you find a bus. However, if you want to do the chase by yourself here’s our quick 7 tips:
1) Engine Bay: Make sure oil is at operating range and is not thick and jet black. Make sure transmission fluid is bright red and doesn’t smell burnt. Look for leaks.
2) Tires: Look for a date code on the tire in the format MMYY (0811 is August 2011) it’s time to replace tires over 7 years old. Look for deep and even tread, uneven wear indicates problems in the suspension and/or alignment. New tires can easily cost up to $2,500 for all 6 so take a good look!
3) Rust: You’ll usually have light rust near the wheel wells, it just is a general problem area. Try and buy from salt-free and dry or desert climates. Always take a peep under the bus and if you get a bad feeling, don’t buy it.
4) Oil Pressure & Blow By: Upon starting the bus check your oil PSI. On a new cold start it should read near 50 psi. Once the engine is warmed up pressure at idle generally falls to 25 psi. If it falls lower, the pump may be wearing out, but what’s more likely, the engine is getting ready for a rebuild. Look under the bus where the oil pan is, there should be a “blow by tube” or “road draft tube”. Blow-by is the name given to combustion gases that make it past the piston rings and create pressure in the crankcase and valve cover. Make sure no oil falls from this and no heavy white smoke is present as excessive blowby indicates an engine that is again, ready for rebuild.
5) Brake Pressure: The bus should build up break pressure (120 psi) in less than 5 minutes. Once fully charged it should charge from 80 psi to 100 psi in 45 seconds. The emergency brake should engage when brake pressure is below 25 psi. Check this.
6) Electrical: Cycle through all of your lights, turn signals, wipers, and fans. All should be functioning correctly, otherwise you have a wiring issue
7) Run the bus on the highway: Once (if!) you reach 65 mph, check your rpm gauge. The best place to be is between 2000-2300 rpm at that speed. A 4 speed transmission will usually run higher and we never recommend an engine running over 2500 rpm. Overdrive transmissions will give you lower rpm at highway cruising speeds—reducing wear on the engine and improving fuel economy.