PM Manual for Virginia School Buses

School Bus Specifications for Virginia School Buses

Purchasing School Buses in Virginia

Pilot Projects for Virginia School Buses

NHTSA Recalls, Defects, and Noncompliance Notices

Heads Up -  Watch Out for These Potential Problems

On-line Training Opportunities


Preventive Maintenance Manual for Virginia School Buses

The Preventive Maintenance Manual (PDF) includes daily pre-trip inspections, inspection schedules and guidelines, shop records and inventory control, and record keeping materials to assist local school divisions in meeting Board of Education transportation regulation 8VAC20-70-380.

School Bus Specifications

Virginia School Bus Specifications December 2013 (PDF) includes School Bus Specifications applicable for Virginia buses.

Purchasing School Buses

VDOE enters into contracts for the purchase of public school buses through a rigorous competitive bid process conducted by the Virginia Department of General Services (DGS).

·      To purchase school buses, use the eVA Web-based procurement system.

Pilot Projects

When a new technology, piece of equipment, or component is desired to be applied to the school bus, it must have the VDOE approval. It is the responsibility of the vendor to ask school divisions to participate in a pilot project. The pilot project will need to be tested and completed in multiple regions of the state before it can be forwarded to the specifications committee to be added to the bid list.

Procedures for Pilot Projects (PDF), revised September 1, 2007. Includes application process, guidelines, application form and reporting information.

NHTSA Recalls, Defects, and Noncompliance Notices

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration Office of Defects Investigation issues Monthly Recall Reports.


Heads Up Out There…

This is the area where we try to share maintenance problems identified by local maintenance staff. If you have a new or recurring problem or a fix for one to share, please contact Tim Parker.

Online training opportunities for technicians and parts personnel:


·       BENDIX On-line Brake School


·       WIX Filters, Filtration eLearning Center There are three levels of online training offered:


Tech Level (complete four courses)

Expert Level (complete seven courses)

Master Level (complete seventeen courses)

Older Instances: Occurring prior to 2009 

Bus Fire on 2006 IC Conventional Bus

Warren County reports that they had the battery cable and wiring harness melt which subsequently resulted in a fire in the battery box. For more information, contact Jerry Smith at 540-636-2600.

Bus Fire - 1998 Thomas Saf-T-Liner 78 Passenger School Bus

AmTram Side Door Issue PowerPoint

We have two 2004 International rear engine school buses that pulled one of the front shock absorbers through the upper frame mount.  The nut on the upper shock mount is actually cupping the washer and pulling the shock through the washer and bushing.  Kingmor is sending a UPS call tag for the defective shocks.  The shocks are branded 'International', with the part numbers : 203 549C1 RE C202W1

The only symptom has been a 'banging' or 'knocking' in the front end.   

R.C. 'Pete' Peterson

Bus Section Supervisor

Arlington, VA 22206

What's in Your Tank?

Fairfax has had a few of our brand new 2005 Amtran REs with less than 1500 
miles experience a problem with fine particles of some rusty substance 
clogging the fuel filters.


A picture of a new problem with 2000 model Thomas FE units. Fairfax has had a few fuel lines chaffing
near the frame rail as pictured.

 Again, as you come across tips that everyone can use, just write them down and either mail, e-mail, or fax them to Tim Parker


Fraime Rail PDF

You May want to check your lift door handles a little bit closer

Reason to Wear Eye Protection

The picture below shows a recent battery explosion. The mechanic who was attempting to jump start a school bus on a cold morning was very thankful that he was wearing his eye protection when the battery exploded in his face. The arrow points to the area where a portion of the battery casing now has a big hole.


Here is a recent example of a good mechanic who was trying to expedite getting a bus back onto the road, but apparently made a bad choice. The side window of the bus was broken and he was just trying to get it out to replace it as quickly as possible. The bus was outside and the temperature was cold and the caulking materials holding the window in place were stiff and not allowing it to release. So, he took his butane torch and tried to heat the outer edges of the window frame to soften the caulking material. He stopped, turned off the torch, took the torch with him and went back into the garage to get another tool. While he was gone the bus caught fire and you can see the results below.

Odor Issue in Certain THOMAS Buses

As you may be aware Chesterfield County has had a issue concerning an odor in their flat nose Thomas buses, this has resulted in drivers complaining of headaches and children getting sick. After consulting with several sources the odor was acknowledged but we could not come up with a solution. We took it upon our self to replace and flush all the coolant in the seven buses we have of this model, we had all the coolants sampled and it recommended sediment and to flush the systems. This did not help the odor, so we then proceeded with the replacement of the heater hoses in the internal part of the vehicle and that is the cure. We have done three of seven and had no complaints since.

We continue to here that Chesterfield is the only one that has these issues and we cannot continue to have these answers in the concern of the drivers and the students of Chesterfield County. We will schedule the remaining buses to have the repairs done. So, if you encounter this problem, suggest you replace the heater hoses and flush the coolant. Chesterfield would appreciate knowing if others are experiencing this problem.