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Old 08-17-2018, 12:21 PM   #1
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Cost of airbrake repairs

I am curious about how much getting brakes worked on may cost. I realize there are many factors that affect costs. Do full sized school bus use industry standard rear drums (if there is a standard size)?
I have looked but cannot find reference to brake pads or drums for my bus (BB All American A3FE). Most frustrating!! Found wiring diagrams but the mechanical info is scarce!
Or am I just old and lacking reading comprehension? (You gotta be younger than 3 to call me old, btw)
So I am curious as to your experience. My bus is at a shop to be checked out...
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Old 08-17-2018, 03:54 PM   #2
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If the bus is already at a shop, why don't you call and ask them for a quote?

As far as standards go, there isn't a standard brake shoe or drum for all busses/trucks. With that being said there also isn't thousands of different options like what you see with automotive brakes. What parts you need is based off the axle manufacturer, and the weight capacity/design of the axle.

You could call a bluebird dealer with your body # and get the part numbers/cost from them. But once again, if it's already at a shop, why not just let them do it?
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Old 08-17-2018, 04:14 PM   #3
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I think he's looking for something to compare to with what that shop is going to hit him with.
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Old 08-17-2018, 04:15 PM   #4
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What you say is true Booyah.
Was trying to get a "feel" of what it will cost. The shop has trucks ahead of me and they don't normally deal with school buses... dump trucks, tractor-trailers, etc. are their fare. They may have to take tire off and track parts down.
My first time to this shop and very new to dealing with a bus. Crash course on diesel and airbrakes can be a bit much. Thank goodness for this forum and the fine members here who do share their knowledge and experience.
I "might" be able to do this myself... but them tires look pretty heavy.
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Old 08-17-2018, 04:18 PM   #5
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o1marc, you are correct! When I tell the BOSS what it may cost.... have to figure how much groveling I hafta do...
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Old 08-17-2018, 04:18 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oldntired View Post
What you say is true Booyah.
Was trying to get a "feel" of what it will cost. The shop has trucks ahead of me and they don't normally deal with school buses... dump trucks, tractor-trailers, etc. are their fare. They may have to take tire off and track parts down.
My first time to this shop and very new to dealing with a bus. Crash course on diesel and airbrakes can be a bit much. Thank goodness for this forum and the fine members here who do share their knowledge and experience.
I "might" be able to do this myself... but them tires look pretty heavy.
Wait till you have to deal with those brake drums. The tires are about 150lbs, but they roll after you drop them 1" off the studs. Those drums are bulky and heavy.
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Old 08-17-2018, 05:18 PM   #7
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Having had the drums off on both a '99 and a '00 Blue Bird this summer, I can tell you everything is similar in concept, but pieces will vary. For example with those two buses: on the rear axle one had a cast iron drum while the other had a steel drum. This caused me trouble when I went to replace a wheel stud -- I measured the stud on the bus that was convenient to get to, but I needed a stud for the other one. It turns out the thickness of the face of those drums differs by 1/2" and the stud length has to be chosen accordingly -- my first try was too short. Not a huge deal; when I finally found the right store they had both sizes. The lesson is just that some parts aren't going to show up in an application guide the way they do for passenger cars so you'll do best if you can take the old parts with you to match them up.

o1marc is right, the drums are heavy. Maybe 50-70 pounds for the rears I was working with.

What I came away with is that if you feel competent doing drum brakes on a passenger car or light truck, you can manage it on a bus too (so long as you don't have weight lifting restrictions). Might have to watch a youtube video to learn how to adjust, and thus back off, the brakes for easier removal of the drum.

You'll need about 4 feet of leverage to deal with the lug nuts by the way. I bought a 3/4" breaker bar with 24" handle and made an adapter to connect the end of my 24" torque wrench to it. In my case the assembly is 4 feet long and its torque is 2.1x whatever the torque wrench is set to.
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Old 08-17-2018, 05:58 PM   #8
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As a rule, large air-brake vehicles don't have a great variety of parts as smaller vehicles do. Yes, there are various sizes and options, but the vast majority use reasonably standardized parts which are commonly and easily available. Most parts places should have what you need "on the shelf" and I would expect to see generic parts available for it.


Keep in mind that most school bus shops buy their buses with low maintenance costs in mind and specify brakes accordingly. And there's many thousands of buses on the road, and they go through brakes with all the stop-and-go they do, so replacements should be easily and widely available.
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Old 08-17-2018, 07:39 PM   #9
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All depends on what is needed. Not always just shoes and drums. You might need s-cams and bushings if those are worn out. Could find a bad brake chamber or slack adjuster too.
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Old 08-18-2018, 07:43 AM   #10
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Everyone, Thank you very much for giving a reply.
I may pay a premium at the shop for brake service then , but I should have a safe bus to drive.
This is going to be expensive for me; a few meals at a Tex-Mex place THE BOSS likes, vacuuming, dusting and dish washing...
Keep in mind, I ain't got no money, it's all hers
So, in summary:
Buses is big and heavy.
Brake parts are common in size with other large trucks.
Depending on make, model, and year; drums, pads etc may vary and there is not an easy reference source to glean the specifics for one's bus...
You all are great!!
Booyah!! I will call a Bluebird Shop and see if I can get the part numbers.
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