Cold-weather checklist

Posted on January 1, 2002

To help avoid unnecessary damage to the engine in harsh winter weather, the International Bus Vehicle Center,, offers the following five tips: 1. Check all rubber parts (hoses, fan belts, etc.) on a weekly basis. 2. Check all electrical wiring and connections for any frays or damaged insulation. Try to keep batteries fully charged and warm. In severe cold conditions, use a trickle charger or an electrically heated wrap on the batteries . 3. Keep tanks as full as possible to prevent condensation on exposed tank walls. Fill fuel tank when engine will be shut off for eight hours or more. 4. Check air cleaners and air inlet daily. When driving in snow, look for accumulation of snow and ice in the inlet or air cleaner element. 5. Use winterized fuel or winter-blended diesel fuel, which is a mixture of diesel fuel No. 1 (DF1) and diesel fuel No. 2 (DF2). The cetane rating, which represents the ignition value of the fuel, should be at 50 for winter fuel. Higher cetane values tend to improve the engine’s cold-starting performance. Homegrown shop tool Brad Barker, head mechanic at Park City (Utah) School District, recommends his self-designed shop tool for removing spring bushings while the springs are still installed in the bus. It consists of an Enerpac hydraulic cylinder, a one-inch-wide threaded rod that is about 20 inches long and a couple of adapters. “We were breaking pullers and tools and endangering ourselves before this tool was created,” explains Barker. “Now we can do the job safely and in about a quarter of the time.” For more information or to have drawings of the tool faxed to you, contact Barker at

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