A Rochester Trip

So, we had to go to Rochester, NY for the Science Exploration Day that St. John Fisher College hosted.  As we needed to be at the college campus at 9:00 for registration, as our son was going as part of a group of Rochester homeschool kids, and thus we could beat the crush of buses bringing in regular school kids.

We briefly looked at hotels to stay in overnight, as it’s an hour and a half drive from Buffalo, but even with the College discounts at local places, it was still pretty expensive.  Given that, I of course took a look for campgrounds.  And, only 20 minutes away from St. John Fisher College, I found Webster Park, which has some areas of shoreline on Lake Ontario.

Webster Park Location

The campground itself has 45 sites and is nestled back about half a mile from the shore, surrounded by light to heavy woods for all but the big motorhome sites.  All the sites have electric, and while only five have dedicated water, there are enough taps throughout that about the farthest you’d have to walk for water is two or three sites.  While the price per night was higher than we’d payed for any of the Erie County or State sites we’d been to, it was certainly worth it compared to the hotel costs (and proximity to Rochester and Lake Ontario probably causes a lot of demand for sites).

So, even with the bus still having the hot start fail, we decided that it would be a short enough trip that we wouldn’t need to stop the bus unless we were in a place where it could sit and cool before we needed to go again.  We would start in Buffalo and get to Webster Park, then stay overnight. Then we would go from Webster Park to St. John Fisher and shut the bus down for the classes.  Then, when we were ready, head out from the College and back home.

The trip to the park was fairly uneventful, though I did a horrible job of trying to stay out of the way of fast-paced cars on the Rochester expressways.  It seemed like as soon as I moved over into the right hand lane to travel at the speed limit, the lane was ending, becoming an exit-only, or the exit we needed was a left-lane exit.  And, for that I apologize to those inconvenienced drivers.

Irondaquoit Bay Bridge

But some of the drive was wonderfully scenic, like on the Route 104 bridge, some 45 feet up over Irondequoit Bay.  We found the campgrounds with no problem, though the stretch of Lake Road from Bay Road to the park is a lovely twisty, hilly section that motorcyclists must adore.

Checking in at the park was simple – since I had printed out my email confirmation of our reservation, all they had to do was see that and we were set.  Monroe County’s reservation site was nice, as it give pictures of the sites as well as the electrical, vehicle/trailer length capabilities, and such.  From that, while site 19 and 21 looked big and easy to back the bus into, I ended up choosing site 15, as just down behind it was East Creek, and I thought there would be a nice view downhill behind the site.

Settling in to Site 15

Site 15 ended up being even nicer when we got there.  It was easy to get the bus backed in, due to the curve of the loop at that point, and contained the end of a little geographical ‘finger’ so that at the north end of our site we could look down toward a swampy area, much like we could look down into a low valley to our east.

A better look at how Site 15 goes back along the finger

 

Lake Ontario from Webster Park

Down at the bottom of the ‘finger’ was a path that we could follow back along to the west and north, which brought us to the Kanatota Lodge which overlooks Lake Ontario.  It was a great sunny day to be there, with splashing waves and a nice breeze.  And the hike only took us about 10-15 minutes.

Part of the reason for a longer hike than it might seem for the distance was that there had been a windstorm that brought down a number of good-sized pine trees, so we had to pick our way around or over those.  But, since we could use fallen wood as firewood, we didn’t have to use any of our own wood for the fire.

And the galley stayed clean!

We had a nice meal of beans (pre-cooked from dry at home), peppers, and tomatoes all cooked up in cast iron over the fire and some home-baked sourdough bread, and were joined by a dear friend who came up from Rochester to spend the evening with us.  Marshmallows were toasted (or burned) over the fire on the telescoping prongs’ first use,

and scary stories were told in the red glow of the embers of the fire, accompanied by bourbon for those (adults) so inclined.

The morning’s view, east from Site 15
And the nature was ALL around the back of the bus.

We cleaned everything up just as a thunderstorm rolled in, and we all slept well.  The temperature had dropped, so it was a bit chilly, and the sky was a little overcast after the storm, but the bathroom facilities were a warm, and we were able to set out on-time to brave the morning commuters along our route to the College.

And we had to say goodbye to our friends the Window Trees.

I gave us an extra 20 minutes on top of what Google had suggested as travel time for us, and that all worked out – though again, I ended up facing the need to merge into a left-hand exit with rushing commuters doing the same.  My thanks to that pick-up who took pity on us and gave us space to merge!

The Science Exploration Day was a whirlwind of presentations.  The 40 minute presentations were followed by 10 minutes of trying to find the next one’s room.  Construction in one of the buildings, and different numbering directions in differing buildings made this a challenge, but our son got into some cool ones, and as I hung around outside the oft-packed classrooms, I overheard some good presentations.

We had parked in the back of one of the parking lots, and returned after the last presentation to our bus being surrounded by a myriad of national school bus chrome buses!  We stayed and ate some lunch while buses pulled out to pick up school kids, or loaded in the parking lots.  We got some looks, and had some homeschoolers come and take a look at our set-up.

One of the things we found was that the batteries for the linear actuator keychain remotes were dying or dead, meaning we only had one working.  But the batteries were easy to find, and replacing them was the job of a screwdriver and taking the keyring off, taking only a minute to do.  

4 Channel Remote Control Systems


List Price: $91.00 USD
New From: $91.00 USD In Stock
Used from: Out of Stock

A23 12V Alkaline 23-A replacement battery 23AE GP – 5 Pack (Electronics)


List Price: $4.95 USD
New From: $5.95 USD In Stock
Used from: Out of Stock

After all the buses were gone, we packed up our lunch and headed out.  Our trip was a bit slower than our trip out to Rochester, as we got stuck behind … school buses dropping off students!  But we all had a great trip, and would be happy to go back to the Webster Park Campground.

 

 

Post Script: As far as the bus engine, it ran flawlessly, even for long periods.  And on our trip out, the ambient temperature was in the high seventies, and the running engine temperatures on the highway were approaching 200, and it didn’t falter.  I did try starting it hot at the campground after we parked, and it still hot failed. More on this later.

Hot Start Fail

So, we had a nice day, and I decided to take the bus out for a test-drive.  Well, a test-start, really.  I figured that I should try and document what was going on, as I had read the last  service paperwork (where they couldn’t replicate the problem after it got towed) more closely while cleaning up on the bus.  The way it reads, they were looking for a hard start, but proved that the bus would repeatedly start when it was cold, and wouldn’t quit once running, which wasn’t the problem.

So, I videoed the cold start before a quick trip, and the attempt to start it hot that failed.  (Caution, it’s a bit jumpy at parts, as I had a webcam that I was holding in my hand to take pictures at times.)

This really shows the difference, and how the engine started/didn’t and how it sounded, mostly for my own reference, and to possibly take into the dealership to show them.

But in putting it together and watching it after I had uploaded it, I noticed how low the oil pressure was (I had been looking at the temperature, not the oil pressure).  While I had asked the mechanics at the dealership if the pressure was too low before, and they assured me that it was fine, this looks really low.  And since one of the things about that sort of non-start is the IPR (Injector Pressure Regulator) failing, so the injectors don’t get enough oil to function, that could be it.

Unfortunately, there’s also a possibility that it’s the whole High Pressure Oil Pump, which isn’t thrilling.  So, the next thing is to replace the IPR, and see what that does.

 

 

 

Swapping out IDMs and back again …

So, in my previous post, I talked about the bus not starting when the engine was hot (coolant temperature around 180 degrees), and I think the blame lies with the IDM (Injector Driver Module).  As such, I ordered one from Shop Injectors and went to replace it.

Searching on the internet, I had the vaguest of ideas where the IDM was in the 1995 T444E engine compartment, so I remembered to take pictures while I undertook the replacement.

The IDM in its natural habitat.

The IDM is located on the firewall above the engine, almost right up by the hood.  It is covered with a metal plate where some relays and positive cables are installed. The positive cables connect here and they’re live(!) so be careful about them touching anything.

Air Intake Sensor on the back of the intake line.

The cover is only held on by one screw, underneath the cover, so the easiest thing to do is remove the air intake line from the filter.  There’s a sensor just to port of the IDM case cover, so remember to unplug it before trying to move the intake.

Air Intake Line removed/swung out of the way.

As my bus has air brakes, the feed line for the compressor also comes off this air intake line, so rather than fully removing it, I just swung it back off to the driver’s side and out of the way.

Lower intake covered for safety!

Remember to cover up the lower end of the air intake so you don’t end up feeding gunk or spare screws and bits into the  turbo!

When removing the single screw holding the casing on (#3 phillips), be careful to try and catch the clip that the screw threads into.  Mine ended up on the transmission, but it could end up finding a place to hide there that would make your day miserable.

Casing removed and clipped to the radiator supports.

Once the screw is out, the top just needs to be lifted slightly, and the angles on the back of the top of the casing will come right off the back plate.  The two angles on the outer ends fit behind the plate, while the middle one rests in front of it, making it fairly secure.  I didn’t need to remove/unplug any of the wiring from the casing, as I was able to swing it also toward the driver’s side and hook the angles over the radiator supports.

The IDM, mounted on the firewall behind the engine, with the cover off.

The next step was to remove the plug from the IDM.  This requires a 10mm wrench or ratchet.  Given the voltages that this unit puts out, they don’t trust it to just clips, and the bolt is fairly long.

The IDM Plug that makes it all happen.

Once the bolt is loose there is one clip that you have to undo, but then the plug just slides out.  When I looked at mine, I saw some corrosion on the plug and the prongs of the IDM.  They are fairly easy to clean up with a pipe cleaner (since none of my files fit into the holes).

The back plate without the IDM in place. The bottom two screws dont need to come out.

All that remains after that is to undo the screws that hold the IDM to the back plate.  The top two need to come all the way out, and again have those clips that the screws fasten into.  The bottom two only have to be loosened up, as the IDM has grooves that they fit into, making the process (and that of inserting the new module in place) really painless.

Putting the new module in is as simple as reversing the process, making sure to snug but not over-tighten the bolt that holds the plug onto the IDM.

Unfortunately, after all that, the new IDM that I installed didn’t do anything!  The engine just spun when I tried to start it.  Swapping the old (now cleaned of corrosion) IDM back in, then engine started just like it always did (at least when it was cold).  I went back and forth between the old and new IDMs, and the new one just didn’t work.

I’ll now have to road-test the old module and see if it was a corrosion issue, and send the new IDM back to the company to have it tested.  The guy who I’d been in contact with before about the delivery was very helpful, so I don’t expect a problem.  But at least I now know how to make the change if I still have problems.

 

 

 

 

%d bloggers like this: