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Old 04-09-2019, 03:03 PM   #1
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Best Way To Jack Coach Bus?

Ok, I'm getting "psyched up" to jack my coach bus, get under it, and get the starter replaced that welded closed last winter. Problem is, I've never jacked such a beast before. Oh, and crawling under 20k to 30k lbs of metal that can crush me leaves me a bit, well, concerned.... I'd love to have the Mythbusters guys come out and show me how to do it....



However, I highly doubt that they'd show up even if I asked, so I've got to do it myself. I understand the theory behind chocking, jacking, and cribbing, but I've never actually done it. So, anyone out there that has done something akin to this, please give me some info.



One item that seems like a good thing to do is to pressurize the pneumatic system to get the bus up on its airbags. However, after thinking about it, that also releases the service brakes (so less stability).



If pressurizing the pneumatic system really is the first thing to do, what size compressor would be best? I have a little 6 gallon pancake compressor (goes to 165 psi), but I can't believe that it would have the flow rate to fully pressurize it. Also, what kinds of air connectors do I need (and where do I plug in the supply)? Is that what the schrader valve back in the maintenance area off the engine is for?


Any other pointers, advice, warnings, etc.?
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Old 04-09-2019, 03:30 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MarkyDee View Post
Ok, I'm getting "psyched up" to jack my coach bus, get under it, and get the starter replaced that welded closed last winter. Problem is, I've never jacked such a beast before. Oh, and crawling under 20k to 30k lbs of metal that can crush me leaves me a bit, well, concerned.... I'd love to have the Mythbusters guys come out and show me how to do it....



However, I highly doubt that they'd show up even if I asked, so I've got to do it myself. I understand the theory behind chocking, jacking, and cribbing, but I've never actually done it. So, anyone out there that has done something akin to this, please give me some info.



One item that seems like a good thing to do is to pressurize the pneumatic system to get the bus up on its airbags. However, after thinking about it, that also releases the service brakes (so less stability).

Merely airing up the system should ABSOLUTELY NOT release the parking/service brakes!!!! That's what your parking brake knob is for.


Quote:

If pressurizing the pneumatic system really is the first thing to do, what size compressor would be best? I have a little 6 gallon pancake compressor (goes to 165 psi), but I can't believe that it would have the flow rate to fully pressurize it. Also, what kinds of air connectors do I need (and where do I plug in the supply)? Is that what the schrader valve back in the maintenance area off the engine is for?


Any other pointers, advice, warnings, etc.?

First and foremost, you have the right idea about chocking the wheels. Level ground, chock all wheels on the ground, front and rear. Overkill? Perhaps, but I will *NEVER* fault you for being overly cautious. Air up the system. Since you mentioned starter replacement, I'll assume running the engine for this is not an option. Some have Schrader valves for this purpose - but before you start blindly running air in it, I've seen similar valves on fuel lines for purging air, so trace the line and make sure it's actually an air line. You may also undo one of the fittings on the air tank (purge valve, maybe?) and put a temporary adapter in. Wrecker drivers do this a lot.


If you're jacking it up, you'll need a pretty stout jack for the purpose, and *NEVER* rely on the jack as the sole means of support, especially if you need to get under it. Jack stands are recommended, but make sure they are rated for the load (And keep in mind, sometimes pairs are rated "as a pair", so each stand is only rated for half that rating). Putting boards under tires works too (but let the bus down to actually rest on them) as a "next best thing" measure. Don't use concrete blocks, they break too easily. Lastly, there's always "dig out the dirt under the bus" to accomplish getting under it. Hey, I'm just throwing this out there, not actually saying to do it .....
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Old 04-09-2019, 05:32 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brad_SwiftFur View Post
Merely airing up the system should ABSOLUTELY NOT release the parking/service brakes!!!! That's what your parking brake knob is for.
On my bus the service brakes are different than the emergency/parking brakes. Just pressurizing the system certainly does release my service brakes (every time I've started the engine and the pressure has built to about 90-100 psi, I feel the service brakes release and the bus roll forward a smidgen before stopping - kinda like bumping into a curb from a few inches away). Once that has occurred I can push the yellow knob to release the emergency/parking brakes to allow my bus to roll freely.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brad_SwiftFur View Post
First and foremost, you have the right idea about chocking the wheels. Level ground, chock all wheels on the ground, front and rear. Overkill? Perhaps, but I will *NEVER* fault you for being overly cautious. Air up the system. Since you mentioned starter replacement, I'll assume running the engine for this is not an option. Some have Schrader valves for this purpose - but before you start blindly running air in it, I've seen similar valves on fuel lines for purging air, so trace the line and make sure it's actually an air line. You may also undo one of the fittings on the air tank (purge valve, maybe?) and put a temporary adapter in. Wrecker drivers do this a lot.


My bus is on gravel slightly sloping towards the rear of the bus. With the way the service brakes release, there's no way I'm not going to chock the wheels - both fronts, plus the outer wheels on the two axles on the street-side of the bus. I'll jack mostly on the curb-side of the bus as that's the side the starter is on.


Also, it seems my rear air tanks can only be reached from underneath as well. They all have purge valves at the end of hoses that are an easy reach under the bus. Furthermore, I'm sure the schrader valve that is in the maintenance area is for air, as the main DC fuses are located right next to the valve, and the batteries are located underneath the valve. (If it was for bleeding air off of the fuel system, its in a very dangerous place...).



Quote:
Originally Posted by Brad_SwiftFur View Post
If you're jacking it up, you'll need a pretty stout jack for the purpose, and *NEVER* rely on the jack as the sole means of support, especially if you need to get under it. Jack stands are recommended, but make sure they are rated for the load (And keep in mind, sometimes pairs are rated "as a pair", so each stand is only rated for half that rating). Putting boards under tires works too (but let the bus down to actually rest on them) as a "next best thing" measure. Don't use concrete blocks, they break too easily. Lastly, there's always "dig out the dirt under the bus" to accomplish getting under it. Hey, I'm just throwing this out there, not actually saying to do it .....

I have one 20-ton air-powered bottle jack. That should be enough to lift the bus, but there's no way I'd trust just it with my life - especially being on gravel. One shift, jack goes sideways, bus comes down on top of me - yea, no thanks.


My idea thus far is to (in order):
1. Chock front tires.

2. Pressurize air system to get the bus far enough up to get one bottle jack underneath.
3. Power the jack with air to lift the bus.
4. I may need two jacks as I don't know if the reach of one jack is enough to lift the bus enough to get under it. Basically alternate lifting with one jack, then the other, while placing boards/cribbing under the jack that isn't in use to raise its height.

5. Crib as many other places along the frame as I can as the bus is being lifted by the jack(s).
6. If I have jack stands that are big/tall enough, put them in strategic places along the frame after the lift to further stabilize the bus.
7. Let the active jack down just a bit to rest the bus on the stands and cribbing.



Then, to let the bus down, jack it up a bit to remove the stands and cribbing, then follow the process in reverse order.


Please tell me what you guys think....
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Old 04-09-2019, 06:30 PM   #4
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Just a qwik note regarding cribbing...


NEVER use cinder blocks! They will crumble in a heartbeat.


Best bet for really big rigs (like buses & coaches) are railroad ties if you can find'em.
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Old 04-09-2019, 06:34 PM   #5
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I do a lot of mechanic work in a gravel driveway?
Make some plywood pads to go under the jack,the jack stands and maybe even level the ply bases for what is needed.
I put the stands far enough apart in the area I need to work that I can slide a piece of ply in between then and not lay on gravel or dig/look for tools lost in gravel cause you rolled over on your missing whatever.
Jack it up stick the stands under there.
Put your jacks on blocks and jack it up (6"s more) or whatever block size fits and raise the jack stands.
Once you personally question your stand height is when I would add cribbing?
A lot of work for replacing a starter.
The jacks and cribbing is for safety.
If the jacks are not losing pressure and holding then I would use stands and or cribbing for safety but let the jack or jacks hold it?
That way if the jacks are leaking or can't do it you know? But you have the safeties(stands higher than the cribbing) to see if they hold? And cribbing/blocking is your safety.
Or?
Dig a hole into the spot you need to be?
First choice? If it was me cause I live in dirt almost for a living so I ain't scared of a shovel?
Use a tarp or something to seperate the gravel from the dirt and use your busses tires to pack it back once the starters replaced
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Old 04-09-2019, 06:52 PM   #6
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Don't want to re-post your entire comment?
But the whole brake after up to pressure/ rolls a smidgen thing is weird to me?
The parking brakes should hold regardless of where are how your parked?
Are you parked on an incline?
That smidgen could be in the driveline?
U-joints , center support bearings or a transmission with slack in it?
It could be a tiny leak in the air line somewhere that still retains enough pressure?
Is there a check valve on the outlet side of your air compressor?
Just throwing out thoughts?
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Old 04-09-2019, 07:46 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jolly Roger bus 223 View Post
I do a lot of mechanic work in a gravel driveway?
Make some plywood pads to go under the jack,the jack stands and maybe even level the ply bases for what is needed.
I put the stands far enough apart in the area I need to work that I can slide a piece of ply in between then and not lay on gravel or dig/look for tools lost in gravel cause you rolled over on your missing whatever.
Jack it up stick the stands under there.
Put your jacks on blocks and jack it up (6"s more) or whatever block size fits and raise the jack stands.
Once you personally question your stand height is when I would add cribbing?
A lot of work for replacing a starter.
The jacks and cribbing is for safety.
If the jacks are not losing pressure and holding then I would use stands and or cribbing for safety but let the jack or jacks hold it?
That way if the jacks are leaking or can't do it you know? But you have the safeties(stands higher than the cribbing) to see if they hold? And cribbing/blocking is your safety.
Or?
Dig a hole into the spot you need to be?
First choice? If it was me cause I live in dirt almost for a living so I ain't scared of a shovel?
Use a tarp or something to seperate the gravel from the dirt and use your busses tires to pack it back once the starters replaced
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jolly Roger bus 223 View Post
Don't want to re-post your entire comment?
But the whole brake after up to pressure/ rolls a smidgen thing is weird to me?
The parking brakes should hold regardless of where are how your parked?
Are you parked on an incline?
That smidgen could be in the driveline?
U-joints , center support bearings or a transmission with slack in it?
It could be a tiny leak in the air line somewhere that still retains enough pressure?
Is there a check valve on the outlet side of your air compressor?
Just throwing out thoughts?
Holy question marks Batman!
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Old 04-10-2019, 12:25 PM   #8
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I don't have any heavy duty Jack's yet. When I was thinking about getting under the Viking, I was going to dig or make ramps to drive onto. Also, there was an iffy moment during the tow. When they stuck the baffle under the front to lift for clearance, it seemed to sink a bit as it was lifted. After they were done, they told me there was "previous" frame damage that I then checked out. The monocoque frames may not handle jacking well in certain places, so pick wisely. I also seem to remember reading somewhere that some coach models would pop out a windshield or window if jacked in the wrong places. You should be fine with the advice given, though. Good luck and report back!
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Old 04-10-2019, 01:04 PM   #9
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Hi Marky, your project came to me when I woke up last night and wouldn't let me go back to sleep. Not an easy task ahead for you. Lots to think about.
First, I think the starter diagnosis is correct and not totally sure it has to be removed totally or in part, but getting to it is the issue. That is a heavy bus in an awkward spot if I remember correctly. Any chance of some pics of the site and surroundings, even a drone shot would be of great help. That bus got in there so it should be able to come out with a bit of persuasion.
I say this because it might be better to get it into a proper shop that has all the tools and insurance. They know how to lift properly or can drive it over a pit and work from underneath. That starter will be heavy and very hard to change in your driveway. You have to get it right but have a lot of physics working against you.
I see a ton of blocking required for the lift to work out. One jack might be fine but adds a lot of work and shuffling to get it up in the air and STAY there!
I have moved several houses in my time so got to thinking. Those companies have the right stuff, blocking, hydraulic jacks, I-beams of different lengths and sizes that would make life easier for you. Let them give you some prices on a lift, then do your thing if you have the right tools etc.
They can probably use beams and lift it in in 3 or 4 spots simultaneously and up she goes without much danger. That is one way.
A second way is to get an experienced wrecker to wiggle it out and get it to a service depot that can do the work right. I know you are cramped for room but they can wiggle that bus out with swivel dollies and winches etc.
A third method might be to get a mobile crane and swing it out where it can be towed or put on a lowboy flatbed for transferring it somewhere. I was thinking a spot at a marina if any available near you where the hoist used for yachts could straddle it and lift for blocking etc. They can handle that weight easily and rigged with slings that won't damage anything.
All these ways will cost a few bucks but you can't avoid it I don't think. Basically you are renting the equipment needed to do the lift wherever you are able to do it. Labour will vary but will be considerable in your driveway without mechanical assistance.
That starter may take some powerful impact gun to remove and the torque on those bolts must be determined to re-install. This might be the time to do other work under there like starter cable replacement, exhaust etc, who knows what you will find when she gets lifted.
So there are other methods as you can see, none will be inexpensive, but must be done.
I think I would dig first to get a better look at the starter. Crawl under and make some decisions. Get pics too and show us.
If you get it fixed and are going to remain living in that house I would be thinking about putting a permanent pit in and park the bus over top so you can do this maintenance without jacking. Something to think about but probably better suited to a level driveway, no incline at all. Maybe a move is in your future to do this. Big toys are fun but present bigger issues to work around.
Just some thoughts man but wish you all the best. Keep us up to date and stay safe. No chances taken, be certain of every move with that baby.
See why it kept me awake all night?


John
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Old 04-10-2019, 04:19 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MarkyDee View Post
On my bus the service brakes are different than the emergency/parking brakes. Just pressurizing the system certainly does release my service brakes (every time I've started the engine and the pressure has built to about 90-100 psi, I feel the service brakes release and the bus roll forward a smidgen before stopping - kinda like bumping into a curb from a few inches away). Once that has occurred I can push the yellow knob to release the emergency/parking brakes to allow my bus to roll freely.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jolly Roger bus 223 View Post
Don't want to re-post your entire comment?
But the whole brake after up to pressure/ rolls a smidgen thing is weird to me?
The parking brakes should hold regardless of where are how your parked?
Are you parked on an incline?
That smidgen could be in the driveline?
U-joints , center support bearings or a transmission with slack in it?
It could be a tiny leak in the air line somewhere that still retains enough pressure?
Is there a check valve on the outlet side of your air compressor?
Just throwing out thoughts?

The *MOST* likely thing is the air ride suspension. Since most air-ride suspensions have a pivot point forward of the rear axle, when the air bags inflate, it "rolls" the axle forward a couple degrees. The brakes are still locked but that little bit of tire rotation is enough to match the behavior described.
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Old 04-10-2019, 05:11 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tango View Post
NEVER use cinder blocks! They will crumble in a heartbeat.
Noted.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tango View Post
Best bet for really big rigs (like buses & coaches) are railroad ties if you can find'em.
I was thinking 4x4s as they are easier to handle.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jolly Roger bus 223 View Post
I do a lot of mechanic work in a gravel driveway?
Make some plywood pads to go under the jack,the jack stands and maybe even level the ply bases for what is needed.
I put the stands far enough apart in the area I need to work that I can slide a piece of ply in between then and not lay on gravel or dig/look for tools lost in gravel cause you rolled over on your missing whatever.
Jack it up stick the stands under there.
Put your jacks on blocks and jack it up (6"s more) or whatever block size fits and raise the jack stands.
Once you personally question your stand height is when I would add cribbing?
A lot of work for replacing a starter.
The jacks and cribbing is for safety.
If the jacks are not losing pressure and holding then I would use stands and or cribbing for safety but let the jack or jacks hold it?
That way if the jacks are leaking or can't do it you know? But you have the safeties(stands higher than the cribbing) to see if they hold? And cribbing/blocking is your safety.
Or?
Dig a hole into the spot you need to be?
First choice? If it was me cause I live in dirt almost for a living so I ain't scared of a shovel?
Use a tarp or something to seperate the gravel from the dirt and use your busses tires to pack it back once the starters replaced
Yes, I'm expecting the jacking to be a lot of work. How can it not be a lot of work? I'm trying to get 20k-30k lbs. into the air so I can crawl under, without falling and crushing me. I'm pretty sure the 20 ton bottle jack I have doesn't leak, but I'm not about to test that theory - too much risk....

Quote:
Originally Posted by BlackJohn View Post
Hi Marky, your project came to me when I woke up last night and wouldn't let me go back to sleep. Not an easy task ahead for you. Lots to think about.
First, I think the starter diagnosis is correct and not totally sure it has to be removed totally or in part, but getting to it is the issue. That is a heavy bus in an awkward spot if I remember correctly. Any chance of some pics of the site and surroundings, even a drone shot would be of great help. That bus got in there so it should be able to come out with a bit of persuasion.
I say this because it might be better to get it into a proper shop that has all the tools and insurance. They know how to lift properly or can drive it over a pit and work from underneath. That starter will be heavy and very hard to change in your driveway. You have to get it right but have a lot of physics working against you.
I see a ton of blocking required for the lift to work out. One jack might be fine but adds a lot of work and shuffling to get it up in the air and STAY there!
I have moved several houses in my time so got to thinking. Those companies have the right stuff, blocking, hydraulic jacks, I-beams of different lengths and sizes that would make life easier for you. Let them give you some prices on a lift, then do your thing if you have the right tools etc.
They can probably use beams and lift it in in 3 or 4 spots simultaneously and up she goes without much danger. That is one way.
A second way is to get an experienced wrecker to wiggle it out and get it to a service depot that can do the work right. I know you are cramped for room but they can wiggle that bus out with swivel dollies and winches etc.
A third method might be to get a mobile crane and swing it out where it can be towed or put on a lowboy flatbed for transferring it somewhere. I was thinking a spot at a marina if any available near you where the hoist used for yachts could straddle it and lift for blocking etc. They can handle that weight easily and rigged with slings that won't damage anything.
All these ways will cost a few bucks but you can't avoid it I don't think. Basically you are renting the equipment needed to do the lift wherever you are able to do it. Labour will vary but will be considerable in your driveway without mechanical assistance.
That starter may take some powerful impact gun to remove and the torque on those bolts must be determined to re-install. This might be the time to do other work under there like starter cable replacement, exhaust etc, who knows what you will find when she gets lifted.
So there are other methods as you can see, none will be inexpensive, but must be done.
I think I would dig first to get a better look at the starter. Crawl under and make some decisions. Get pics too and show us.
If you get it fixed and are going to remain living in that house I would be thinking about putting a permanent pit in and park the bus over top so you can do this maintenance without jacking. Something to think about but probably better suited to a level driveway, no incline at all. Maybe a move is in your future to do this. Big toys are fun but present bigger issues to work around.
Just some thoughts man but wish you all the best. Keep us up to date and stay safe. No chances taken, be certain of every move with that baby.
See why it kept me awake all night?


John
Yes, getting to the starter is the big issue. I tried opening up all of the hatches - even the davenport in the floor of the passenger compartment. No joy. There's just no way to get to the starter from the side or top that I can see. I'll take and post pictures of the situation when I get another clear day; right now its cloudy and rainy in grand Indianapolis.

As for the starter diagnosis - that was from one of the more knowledgable people on this site. Sorry, I'd have to look back at my build thread to remember who.

As for getting it to a shop - yea, that's not an option. I don't currently have the thousands of dollars it would take to (1) tow the beastie, or (2) get a shop to even look at it. Besides, right now I don't even have a shop. The last shop tried really hard to rip me off after they simply didn't put a belt on tight enough and it burnt to a crisp (the belt was for my hydraulic pump that feeds the cooling fan, power steering, and who knows what else - they wanted to pull the pump and ship it to a hydraulic shop and they couldn't give me an upper bound on how much it was going to cost). Since they couldn't own up to the failure, I told them to "get lost - I don't do business with someone who can't own up to their mistakes." I haven't found a replacement. I might engage Rush Trucking right up the road from me, but that's going to be a story for another day. As for towing, you are correct that I can get the bus in and out, but I am off of a very narrow road with power pole, telecom box, various front yards, etc., around and road and housing construction just 200ft from me. Plus they'd still have to jack to get the drivetrain disconnected from the wheels - on gravel. I'm sure the situation would take time and quite a bit of dough to execute (and the construction people wouldn't be very happy, either).

The service manual for the bus shows hoist and jack points on the suspension. I'd like to have cribbing at various locations for safety, but the service manual doesn't go that far.

The whole starter is 58lbs. I'm hoping that I can refurbish the solenoid without removing the whole starter, but I'll cross that bridge when I come to it.

The lifting companies are an interesting idea that I hadn't considered. The problem there is there is very soft ground where they'd have to set up. Seems like a recipe for disaster.

As for digging, probably not a good idea as my septic pipe runs under that gravel driveway. Plus I have a high water table and the soft ground to the side of the driveway floods in moderate rain (as does my basement).

Finally, John, I appreciate you thinking so seriously about my predicament. I wish I had known the starter was so close to failure....

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brad_SwiftFur View Post
The *MOST* likely thing is the air ride suspension. Since most air-ride suspensions have a pivot point forward of the rear axle, when the air bags inflate, it "rolls" the axle forward a couple degrees. The brakes are still locked but that little bit of tire rotation is enough to match the behavior described.
Ah, that's probably it. I learn something new about this bus every time I post here....

Thank you all! I'll get pics posted about my predicament.

Regards,
Marky
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Old 04-13-2019, 01:44 PM   #12
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Cribbing basics:


Wooden Cribbing Basics – Boron Extrication
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Old 04-13-2019, 03:47 PM   #13
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Ok, I promised you guys some pics. The first is standing at the garage end of my gravel driveway looking towards the road.



The next one is at the front of the bus look towards the road.


This one is at the power pole looking back towards my house. Yea, I know I have some repair work to do. This past winter's wind has been brutal. I'm actually surprised my tarp survived (its actually two tarps duct-taped together...).



------------------


Now, back to the bus. The next three pics are standing at the back of the bus with the lens of the camera about 3" off the ground, right-to-left:







This pic is from the street-side (driver's side), behind the tag axle wheel(s), looking partially forward. I'm sorry for the bungee cords and paracord - The bungees were holding the tarp by the eyelets, and the paracord was my attempt to hold down the outside of the tarp so it wouldn't fly off in high winds. It did come about 2/3rds the way off at one point in December when I was on vacation - peeled back like a banana peel from the back to the front.


This one is also from the street side (driver's side), looking crossways, between the dually (left side of pic) and tag (right side of pie) axles.



This one is street side (driver's side), in front of the dually, looking partially rearward.


Last one ... about the same position as the last pic, but looking more cross-wise. Part of the tarp on the curb side (passenger side) has folded under the bus due to the high winds shifting the tarp - rotating it upwards on the street side (driver's side) and downwards on the curb side (passenger's side). If you follow the speckled bungee cord on the right of the pic, you can see where it is hooking to the tarp by the wheels on the far side of the bus.




Finally, here is the service manual's depiction of this bus' jack and hoist points:
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Old 04-13-2019, 04:33 PM   #14
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Location: south east BC, close to the Canadian/US border
Posts: 2,265
Year: 1975
Coachwork: Chevy
Chassis: 8 window
Engine: 454 LS7
Rated Cap: 24,500
looks quite rust free under there - needs some road time though, as in 'rolling stones ( Skoolies?? ) gather no moss' - lol
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Old 04-13-2019, 06:51 PM   #15
Bus Nut
 
Join Date: Mar 2017
Location: Greenwood, Indiana
Posts: 669
Year: 1999
Coachwork: New Flyer
Chassis: D45HF "Viking"
Engine: 11.1L Detroit Diesel S60
Rated Cap: 51,600
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sleddgracer View Post
looks quite rust free under there

Yup, a southern bus!



Quote:
Originally Posted by Sleddgracer View Post
needs some road time though, as in 'rolling stones ( Skoolies?? ) gather no moss' - lol




Needs a new starter solenoid at least - the very reason why I'm trying to jack the bus.


----


Found a pair of 22 ton jack stands. Many of the reviews were saying that they were using the jacks on 40,000lbs motorhomes and 50000lbs buses. The things weigh in at 40lbs. each....



Also found 8"x8"x4" chocks. Biggest ones I've seen. Ordered two pairs of them. I really don't want my bus to move when I'm under it....
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Old 04-13-2019, 06:59 PM   #16
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Join Date: Jun 2013
Location: Picton,Ont, Can.
Posts: 1,786
Year: 1997
Coachwork: Bluebird
Chassis: GMC
Engine: Cat 3116
Rated Cap: 72
Thanks Marky for the great pics..you are sure up against it.

Good diagram on the jacking points if you can get to them.
I totally get trying this when funds are low.
Hopefully work and time will get you safely up where you need to be.
Better get a few beers in the fridge for your breaks.
Looks like two 4" Ibeams across the width on the jacking points will do the trick of lifting and then you can set some cribbing up to hold it.
Good luck and be safe for sure.



John
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Old 04-21-2019, 03:46 AM   #17
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Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Winlcok, WA
Posts: 2,135
My first thought is to remind you and everyone else the you NEVER, EVER, NOT FOR ANY REASON EVER get under a bus with full air suspension without first blocking the bus up. It is really hard to breathe with 20 tons of bus on your chest.


Your diagram shows very clearly the ONLY places you can jack your bus up. Any other location under the bus will be mostly luggage compartment supports and can NOT support the weight of the bus.



Charging the air system will raise the body making it easier to reach the jacking points. But don't crawl under the raised body to place the jacks. Any cribbing you put under the luggage compartments or any other point of the body will not stop the bus from coming down on top of you. The cribbing will just smash up through the body.


Every year the news will report some bus technician was only going to spend a minute or two under the bus to inspect something and didn't live to tell what they found under the bus.



Please stay safe while under your bus!
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Old 04-25-2019, 01:25 PM   #18
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Join Date: Oct 2015
Location: Tampa Fl
Posts: 31
Year: 1989
Coachwork: MCI 96A3
Engine: DD 8V92TA
When I need to get under the Bus I use Cribbing.

I have a stack of pressure treated 4x4x36 that I stack to support the bus.

My usual method is to get the bus completely aired up, drive it up on the ramps and then crib it up under the jacking points and let it settle down on the cribbing.

The first time I did this, I was nervous about crawling under 26,000 pounds, so I let it sit for two days just to make sure before going under.

The one time I was not able to drive it up on the ramps, was when the air drier purge valve failed, and I could not get enough air pressure to release the brakes, the air drier is just above the front axle in the center.

I used the 20-ton bottle jack and slowly jacked the bus up cribbing and jacking in stages until I was able to get under.

I was able to put 2 of the 4x4 side by side under the bottle jack to support it while jacking it higher, this could make a base for you to jack on.

Getting the bus up to work under usually takes me a few hours, I usually get it jacked up and cribbed on one day then do the work the next.

I got the idea to use the Cribbing after watching a FEMA video about supporting damaged structures.

I keep the 4x4s stacked in one of the luggage bays, they come in useful for many things including leveling the bus in uneven campsites.





Peter
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Old 04-25-2019, 02:02 PM   #19
Site Team
 
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Join Date: Feb 2017
Location: The West
Posts: 1,006
Year: 1998
Coachwork: MCI
Chassis: 102 EL3
Engine: DD 60
Hey Marky, that looks like a good "situation" to me. At least in terms of jacking/blocking.

If it were me, I'd air up the suspension first. That connector is typically at the rear/right of the coach in the engine bay. Mine is accessible from the side panel. There is also a connector at the front - for towing purposes. I can't remember the details now but that one didn't work as I expected on my coach (maybe brakes only?? - can't recall). I often use the rear connector to re-air when I've been sitting for a while and start listing to one side.

Once you've added a good bit of air (to pressurize all the tanks), you may have to turn the ignition on (I do). This allows the computer to figure out that it needs to open some valves.

If you have a "high ride" option - I would set it to that to get the coach as high as possible - as easily as possible (then go to work with the jack). That may not be possible without the engine running - depends on the computer I suppose.

The shops I've been at have always used BIG air/hydraulic bottle jacks. The air does all the work and makes pretty short work of the task. I keep thinking that one day I'll buy one of the 20 ton versions but I just haven't had a reason/motivation to get that far under my coach.
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Old 04-25-2019, 03:02 PM   #20
Bus Nut
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Virginia
Posts: 536
Quote:
Originally Posted by peterbylt View Post
When I need to get under the Bus I use Cribbing.

I have a stack of pressure treated 4x4x36 that I stack to support the bus.

I used the 20-ton bottle jack and slowly jacked the bus up cribbing and jacking in stages until I was able to get under.

I was able to put 2 of the 4x4 side by side under the bottle jack to support it while jacking it higher, this could make a base for you to jack on.

I got the idea to use the Cribbing after watching a FEMA video about supporting damaged structures.

I keep the 4x4s stacked in one of the luggage bays, they come in useful for many things including leveling the bus in uneven campsites.


Peter
Cribbing is how it's done for any safe lifting operation to solidly secure a vehicle or structure. This is how we did it in the fire dept. You can also use air bags to lift a vehicle (properly rated for the weight of course), but you add cribbing as you lift, just like you would using as jack.
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