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Old 04-16-2013
Bearmtnmartin Bearmtnmartin is offline
Senior Member
Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: Agassiz
Posts: 597

I have had Cats, Cummins and International and every one of them has been reliable. I only ever ran into trouble when I kept them too long and put off major servicing. If you start getting close to the B50 life and you have not inframed or rebearinged to the manufacturers specs then every day you fire it up is a **** shoot. But its hard to pin the eventual failure on the design if its just the owner trying to squeeze a few more miles out of it.
I have a 3208 in a work truck that we bought very used a few months ago. I don't think the valves have ever been set and I cringe in the morning when I hear it hammering away when the driver fires it up. But its my fault if it drops a valve, not Cats. I need to get it in the shop and I know it.
Martin Sparkes
Agassiz, B.C.
1981 Bluebird Wanderlodge FC
Side Bath
3208NA (for now....)
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Old 04-16-2013
patticake's Avatar
patticake patticake is offline
Senior Member
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Ponchatoula
Posts: 1,763

If a rebuild is required for a 2 stroke DD(in a bird), usually it is done "inframe". Warranty is same, either way, if done by an authorized DD shop.

By the way, mine has over 200k on it, and I just had the valves and injectors checked for clearances(first time it was done). The valves were perfect, and the injectors were a little off. My techs shop is in Sequin, Tx.
Just remember, the info you are getting is one persons opinion.
Steve Gureasko
90WBWL40 "Jus Chillin"
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Old 04-16-2013
MRPutz MRPutz is offline
Burnin Up in Az. :-)
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Mesa
Posts: 4,183

Originally Posted by chasbeen View Post
I asked the central power shop manager about the different series DD, he advised to only go with the 50 or 60 series, he said in five of his shops he only had one person who worked on the older engines and that most of the reman engines are done in china then shipped back.
This is where I have heard the concerns from
Cliff; Here's some Detroit service centers near you.

Central Power Systems & Services
625 E. 10th St.
Tel: +1 316 792 1361 Fax: +1 316-792-1364

Central Power Systems & Services
1150 East Highway 54
Tel: +1 316 624 7274 Fax: +1 316 624 7277

Central Power Systems & Services
1944-B N. 9th St.
SALINA, KS 67401
Tel: +1 785 825 8291 Fax: +1 785 825 8282

Central Power Systems & Services
4501 W. Irving
Tel: +1 316 943 1231 Fax: +1 316 943 4560

Central Power Systems & Services
1920 Thielen Ave.
COLBY, KS 67701
Tel: +1 785 462 8211 Fax: +1 785 462 8286
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Old 04-16-2013
WTarrier's Avatar
WTarrier WTarrier is offline
Senior Member
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Ann Arbor
Posts: 461

When we started our search for a Bird, the part I knew was that I wanted a coach with an S60 and an Allison Tranny.
Having been on a fire department for 30 years, our apparatus have S60 and Allisons and they are often run very hard. They go from sitting to running hard in a very short period of time. They can sit for a week at a time then run full out for hours at a time.
I figured that if that combination works for a fire engine then a properly maintained power system in a coach should last me for my lifetime.
A BB owner in New York retired from being a trucking company owner and he said he routinely put 500,000 on his trucks with DDs before needing major work.
Obviously, there is no guarantee that nothing will go wrong, but if properly maintained I figure there is a lot better chance of one of these power systems
going a long time withot a problem.
Bill & Ann Tarrier
1996 WB WL
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Old 04-16-2013
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Bumpersbird Bumpersbird is offline
Senior Member
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Fayetteville
Posts: 2,187


There is always a sob story, my Series 60 ate the cam just after I bought my coach, cost me $5000 bucks to fix it and a few roller bearing on the valves. The motor only had 130,000 miles on it, their are several stories about Birds and their motors going bad before their time, There are several reasons for this, poor maintenance, sitting for months or years at a time, you never know what you will end up with or how a previous owner or mechanic treated the motor, but that applies to any used motor home. The Detroit motors are just fine so are the Cats and Cummings, My personal choice was made after many years as a wanna be and lots of research, and some good old fashioned dumb luck ,I think and this is my opinion and the opinion of several old time BB employees, their choice was consistently the '95 to '97 model PT 42 and PT 43, this will stir the pot and that's OK, but when it came time to spend my money I went with this model, the prevailing thought behind this was, the tried and true proven body style with the modern power plant DD S-60 and drive train Allison 4060, having said that and ticking off several of my friends saying so, I think you should look for the model body that suits you and just deal with the motor that's in it, you really can't go wrong with any Blue Bird after all their are at least a 19 models to choose from FC baby, 30', 33', 35', BMC 38', 40', SP 36', PT 36', 38', 40', 42', 43' LX 40', ?', LXI 41', 43', with SS, DS, M 450 I'm sure I missed a few.
Kurt Horvath
95 PT 42
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Old 04-17-2013
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peteaeonix peteaeonix is offline
Former Bird Owner
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Ridgefield
Posts: 2,010

When I was looking, I eventually settled on having a DD S-60 engine. My concern was that the last of the 2-stroke engines was phased out in the mid-1990s -- leaving a roughly 18 year period for experienced mechanics to fade into retirement.

That said, there are a LOT of DD 2-cycle engines on the road, especially in RVs and bus conversions. The military is still using them (so there are military-trained mechanics still entering the job market). And, they continued to be used for watercraft long after pollution controls forced their retirement for commercial highway vehicles.

When I bought my 1995 42' coach, I "preferred" the S-60 -- but I did not rule out the 8v92. Condition of the coach is more important than the specific engine it uses. In my case, my budget, the appealing coach I found (at a reasonable price), and my other requirements all came together on the particular coach I bought.

I purchased the coach with just under 100,000 miles and drove another 36,000 miles over 40 months. I had no troubles with the engine at all. However, almost any used Wanderlodge is going to need some work. Generally, the advice is to hold out about $10,000 from your purchase budget to cover unexpected problems and needed upgrades (to make the coach entirely satisfactory to you).

I had an unexpected need to have radiator work done ... I ended up replacing the radiator core. I elected to have some work done on the chassis AC system... cost for all that work exceeded $4,000 (at California labor rates). In retrospect, I would not have invested in the chassis AC repairs. It faded out again after winter non-use ... and even a recharge would have cost hundreds... The roof ACs proved adequate. And installation of a small electric fan solved the problem of sitting in the "fishbowl" with the giant windows. I also spent a few thousand (spread over a couple of years) on some redecorating, a new bamboo floor, and some custom made cabinets and desk to allow me to work on the road. I spent, perhaps, $12,000 total on repairs and upgrades.

The most common reason for an RV (any brand, not just Wanderlodges) to have a rebuilt engine is lack of preventive maintenance and/or overheating. As noted, the 2 cycle DD engines are very unforgiving of overheating. From reading this list, I've learned that the 2-cycle engine has one particular hose that's very difficult to inspect/replace -- that provides cooling water to the air compressor on the back side of the engine (opposite from where you look into the engine compartment from behind the coach. There have been cases reported on this list where failure of that hose resulted in a sudden loss of coolant and consequent overheating of the engine. With the 2-cycle DD engines, a sudden loss of coolant is almost guaranteed to cost you $20,000 for an engine rebuild.

Of course, all engines will be damaged by overheating. Fortunately, most are a little more forgiving than the 2 cycle engines... but poor maintenance and failure to inspect all components of the engine and cooling system can lead any engine to a failure situation. These engines in commercial service rarely have serious problems before their time. But most commercial operations handle maintenance on a very regular schedule -- plus the engines are usually operated at rates that rack up the miles fairly quickly.

With an RV, sitting for a long time can be a killer for even a very low mileage unit. The birds that get used regularly are often a better choice than one that has sat for months at a time (ending up as a very low mileage coach for its age). Exposure to sun, air pollution, and changing seasons can be very hard on a vehicle that isn't moved.

In the end, each engine used in the many Wonderlodge models over the years has its good points and its bad points. (Everything in life is a compromise.) It's truly just a matter of being aware of the specific needs of the 'bird and engine you happen to buy.

My 'bird was sufficiently reliable that I was shut down only a couple of times by the side of the road ... and I had one service call for a loose ground (one of the most common problems of all) and one service call for a tire blow out. In both cases, better knowledge on my part might have avoided both service calls. (Hint: put a wrench on the ground posts (in the engine compartment), an inspection/wire jiggling isn't enough to expose a problem. As for the blow-out -- I'd made a bad guess that the blow out tire "had one more trip" -- it didn't.)

Pete Masterson
(former) 95 WBDA 42'
(now) 2011 Roadtrek RS-Adventerous
Ridgefield, WA
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Old 04-17-2013
Mallie Lennon's Avatar
Mallie Lennon Mallie Lennon is offline
1995 WB 42’ Series 60
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Eufaula
Posts: 4,952

I have been around, owned and work on many Detroit's 2 cycles, and Still own two today. They are probably one of the longest running engine series. Been many improvement over the years but basically the same engine design. And without a doubt one of the most reliable engine every built. But whether we want to admit it or not, the 2 cycle mechanic that works on these every day, is getting to be a scarce. That said, I would not hesitate to own one. However, I would pay considerably more for a 60 series.
Mallie & Karen Lennon
Eufaula, Oklahoma
95 42' Wanderlodge
Please use e mail instead of Private Message
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Old 04-22-2013
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pairodice pairodice is offline
Senior Member
Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: Las Vegas
Posts: 1,570

I now love my DD8v92 and expect it to last a long time into the future without problems. I have never had a problem finding mechanics, it's finding a good, honest mechanic that usually is the problem. As others have said, save $10k back for ANY coach you buy regardless of age and you will save yourself alot of heartache when your new coach is sitting and not drivable...
Karen & Adrian Abshire - Current coach: 1998 double slide 45' Newell
Prior: 1985 Foretravel ORED 35, 1988 38' Foretravel U280, 2000 Foretravel 42' U320, 1990 WB40 'Mauvelous'(sold)
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Old 04-28-2013
Larry True Larry True is offline
Senior Member
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Versailles, Ky.
Posts: 155

Has anyone replaced the injectors in their 6v92 with larger ones to increase the horsepower? If so which injector did you use and what issues did you encounter? Heat, smoke, etc.? I'd like to get mine up to 375 hp if the engine can take it?
Larry & Leaffie True
1983 PT-40 - sold
1995 WLWB 40
Versailles, Ky.

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Old 04-28-2013
Randy Dupree's Avatar
Randy Dupree Randy Dupree is offline
Forum owner
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Port St Joe,Fl
Posts: 36,574

Originally Posted by Larry True View Post
Has anyone replaced the injectors in their 6v92 with larger ones to increase the horsepower? If so which injector did you use and what issues did you encounter? Heat, smoke, etc.? I'd like to get mine up to 375 hp if the engine can take it?
Don meyers has,and so has Terry in Vegas.
I don't know how big of a jump they did,but maybe they will speak up.
We once had a bird owner in Fl with a 6V92 and he had his engine turned way up,claiming 500hp.it did smoke on take off!
Rick Davis has a hotrod 6V93 also,and theres an 82PT40 here that has a hotrod tune up in it.
So,its been done.
email me at randy@randydupree.com only.

Randy Dupree
2000 LXI 43
Port St Joe Fl.

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