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yellowroseoftexas53
Active Member

USA
23 Posts

Posted - 01/07/2014 :  12:07:27 PM  Show Profile  Visit yellowroseoftexas53's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Hello-I have a problem that I am sure someone out will be able to assist me with. The Special Needs bus is parked in an unguarded area-as are all of our buses. One of the route drivers finishes her first route and immediately parks her bus and starts the Special Needs bus. She can be at the school no earlier than 7:25 a.m.; however, the Special Needs bus needs to pick up a student at 7:40 a.m. to be able to arrive before 7:55 whenever the bell rings for class. Since I am the last one to leave on a route, I start the bus the same time that I start mine and then shut it off before I leave on my route. The problem is the teacher/aide complains the bus is too cold for the Special Needs student. I do not know what to do. I have looked into purchasing a small, cigarette lighter plug in type heater, but it would not heat the area properly. I have also looked into purchasing a D/C operated blanket or throw. There is absolutely no one that can be there to start the bus in ample time for the heater to be warm and have the bus warmed inside. I have read about those radiator hose mounted engine heaters that keep the antifreeze circulating and warm the whole time they are plugged in. I was wondering if something like that would be what I would need to purchase. Our district, like so many, has to monitor our funds and spend wisely. Any suggestions or experience out there would be very much appreciated. Thanks~

Thomas Ford 85-16
Top Member

USA
4163 Posts

Posted - 01/08/2014 :  5:59:03 PM  Show Profile  Visit Thomas Ford 85-16's Homepage  Send Thomas Ford 85-16 an AOL message  Reply with Quote
I do not mean to pick apart details, but if there is no one around to start the bus up 15 minutes before its first stop, then who is doing the pre-trip inspection?

So let's say someone is inspecting it... The options you have described would probably be too light duty to be of any use. The engine heater you are describing on the coolant hose would be the closest, but you should probably go the full step and recommend your district mechanics install a purpose-built engine block heater. These thread into a hole in the engine block and keep the coolant warm when they are plugged in. It is the same technology as the heating element in electric hot water heaters. They come anywhere from 700 to 1500 watts, so you can choose the one that is needed for your climate. These only warm the engine, however, so it would still need to be started ahead of time for the coolant to be circulated through to the heaters.

Another option is a fuel-fired coolant heater. They are made by companies like Webasto and Espar. These act like a furnace, burning diesel fuel or gasoline in a small combustion chamber in order to warm the engine coolant. You can identify them on some buses by the tiny little exhaust pipe routed under the skirt of the bus. These heaters usually are mounted away from the engine and have a coolant pump to circulate the coolant. What this means is that your heater cores and engine will EACH have warm coolant at the ready. Some models can even be wired to run an internal heater so that the cabin is somewhat warm by the time you get in. I have not seen school buses wired that way before, but I have wired them that way at work a few times.

I hope this helps!

Mike's Bus Yard - http://buses.zwebpages.com - Since 1999
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yellowroseoftexas53
Active Member

USA
23 Posts

Posted - 01/09/2014 :  1:40:52 PM  Show Profile  Visit yellowroseoftexas53's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Yes it does, and thank you! As for the pretrip inspection, well since I am starting the bus up the same time as mine-I do it then, and since I am not there whenever the driver takes off in the bus, I can only trust that they have done it again.
I have discussed this issue with the administration, and we are pretty much in agreement that the heating of the cab is more for the teacher/aide than the student herself. The student is wheelchair bound, and is transported from room to room all throughout the day. Therefore, she is in and out of the cold air. We are all in doubt that her comfort is the biggest issue here.
Thank you again~
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bwest
Administrator

United States
2176 Posts

Posted - 01/10/2014 :  07:44:29 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
You could post this on the mechanic's forum and see what you get. I think you have all the options from Thomas Ford 85-15 though. I would add that you might consider a propane bus the next time your district makes a purchase. They warm up much faster than a diesel.

Bryan
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steveinil
New Member

7 Posts

Posted - 01/24/2014 :  04:04:42 AM  Show Profile  Visit steveinil's Homepage  Reply with Quote
i have espar and pro heaters on my buses and when there working they are great both have timers so they come on and start warming the colant about an hour before the driver gets in so usually have hear right away even on the coldest days but just like anything elses one more thing to maintain and one more thing to break
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