Episode 23:

Expensive hood repair

I own a dog nose, 35 foot long Thomas Built Freightliner FS-65. It’s shown below as it was before I started making any changes to it. On dog-nose buses the hinges are in the front, above the bumper. The hood opens like this. After owning my bus for about 10 months I started noticing that the hood was sagging on the driver’s side when I opened it. The gap between the hood and the bumper was smaller on the driver’s side than the passenger’s side. On the inside of the hood around the hinge I saw a gap between two pieces of fiberglass. I shopped for the strongest glue I could find, thinking the biggest challenge would be how to clamp the pieces together. No such luck. The fiberglass around the hinge on the driver’s side failed so badly that I could no longer open the hood, even to check fluid levels. There was no alternative but to find a body shop that works on such large vehicles (not that common) and pay them to remove the hood and do a thorough repair. With tax it came to about $4,000 Canadian or $3,000 USD. Of course, after such an extensive repair they’d have to paint the hood. Painting the bus a blue-green colour was on my summer to-do list, and I was delighted to have them tackle the hood. They did a great job. Click the image below to see episode 23 on my YouTube channel. The video includes tips on what to look for when shopping for a bus to avoid this expensive repair, and maintenance tips once you own a bus to keep the fiberglass healthy. And while you’re there, click the Subscribe button so you don’t miss subsequent episodes.
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