Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
 
Old 04-09-2019, 02:03 PM   #1
Bus Nut
 
Join Date: Mar 2017
Location: Greenwood, Indiana
Posts: 623
Year: 1999
Coachwork: New Flyer
Chassis: D45HF "Viking"
Engine: 11.1L Detroit Diesel S60
Rated Cap: 51,600
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.?
MarkyDee is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-09-2019, 02:30 PM   #2
Bus Crazy
 
Join Date: May 2016
Location: Georgia
Posts: 1,297
Year: 2001
Coachwork: Blue Bird
Chassis: IH
Engine: T444E
Rated Cap: 14
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 .....
Brad_SwiftFur is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-09-2019, 04:32 PM   #3
Bus Nut
 
Join Date: Mar 2017
Location: Greenwood, Indiana
Posts: 623
Year: 1999
Coachwork: New Flyer
Chassis: D45HF "Viking"
Engine: 11.1L Detroit Diesel S60
Rated Cap: 51,600
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....
MarkyDee is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-09-2019, 05:30 PM   #4
Bus Geek
 
Tango's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: Houston, Texas
Posts: 8,442
Year: 1946
Coachwork: Chevrolet/Wayne
Chassis: 1- 1/2 ton
Engine: Cummins 4BT
Rated Cap: 15
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.
Tango is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-09-2019, 05:34 PM   #5
Bus Nut
 
Jolly Roger bus 223's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2017
Location: Swansboro,NC
Posts: 747
Year: 86
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: Ford B700
Engine: 8.2
Rated Cap: 60 bodies
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
Jolly Roger bus 223 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-09-2019, 05:52 PM   #6
Bus Nut
 
Jolly Roger bus 223's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2017
Location: Swansboro,NC
Posts: 747
Year: 86
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: Ford B700
Engine: 8.2
Rated Cap: 60 bodies
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?
Jolly Roger bus 223 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-09-2019, 06:46 PM   #7
Skoolie
 
Join Date: Jun 2018
Location: Pennsylvania
Posts: 136
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!
Kinson is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-10-2019, 11:25 AM   #8
Skoolie
 
Join Date: Jun 2018
Location: Pennsylvania
Posts: 136
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!
Kinson is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-10-2019, 12:04 PM   #9
Bus Crazy
 
Join Date: Jun 2013
Location: Picton,Ont, Can.
Posts: 1,532
Year: 1997
Coachwork: Bluebird
Chassis: GMC
Engine: Cat 3116
Rated Cap: 72
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
__________________
Question everything!
BlackJohn is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-10-2019, 03:19 PM   #10
Bus Crazy
 
Join Date: May 2016
Location: Georgia
Posts: 1,297
Year: 2001
Coachwork: Blue Bird
Chassis: IH
Engine: T444E
Rated Cap: 14
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.
Brad_SwiftFur is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


» Featured Campgrounds

Reviews provided by

Powered by vBadvanced CMPS v3.2.3

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 05:48 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 4
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.