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Old 02-18-2012, 11:36 PM   #1
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Ready to try again! But need advice on air brakes.

Well... It's been 2 years since I finally admitted I just wasn't in a financial position to keep BOB (Big Old Bus), and sold him to a nice young man for a tailgater.

Since then, my financial situation has improved a bit and I'm ready to try again.

I'm looking at this guy:


Everything seems to be on the up and up. He looks incredibly nice. Runs like a champ. Has the 12 ft. "short bus" wheel base I love and plenty of "good" that make the deal seem sweet.

Only thing that makes me wonder is the air brakes. After a short ride (maybe 15 minutes), the wheels seemed a little hot. Is that normal? If not, is it a major repair, or is it a quick fix?

Any help would be greatly appreciated!
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Old 02-19-2012, 05:40 AM   #2
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Re: Ready to try again! But need advice on air brakes.

does the bus roll back and forth in neutral and with air valve released?
2. is one wheel hotter than the others?
3. did you look at the s cam to see if they were over camming? Still should have some angle left.
4. brake shoes, n drums... grooved, etc.
you can check stuff with flashlight
good luck
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Old 02-19-2012, 07:46 AM   #3
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Re: Ready to try again! But need advice on air brakes.

Thanks for replying chev49.

We were on flat ground so I couldn't tell if it rolled with the air valve released.
The front driver's side wheel was slightly warmer than the others the first time we stopped. The second time we stopped, I only checked that one wheel and it was almost too hot to touch.
I have no idea what an "s cam" is or how to tell what camming is. Would you know a good website with pictures I could go read?
Unfortunately, the bus is 2 hours away, so popping up there for a secondary inspection wouldn't happen again until next week.

So... if the brakes are a problem because they are too grabby, how big of a deal is that to fix?
I've changed the brakes on my truck, but that's A) a smaller vehicle and B) the brakes are hydraulic.
Are the mechanical bits the same and only the trigger different (air vs hydraulic)?
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Old 02-19-2012, 11:19 AM   #4
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Re: Ready to try again! But need advice on air brakes.

Chev49 has it right on all the things to check first. Sounds like maybe just an adjustment is needed which is pretty simple by adjusting the slack adjusters at each of the wheels. If it is releasing and the wheels are rolling freely, dosen't sound like too much of a big deal.
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Old 02-19-2012, 11:26 AM   #5
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Re: Ready to try again! But need advice on air brakes.

the s cam is the sorta s shaped metal piece that twists the brake shoes apart. if the brakes are too worn down, it will travel too far and the brake will grab, so if your wheel is hot, it might be that.
i don't have a particuliar web site, you might look on busconversions.com bb or join the other bb. I imagine you can google something like "air brake pictures, or diagram and easily find a picture, or maybe google s cam, etc.
My neighbor recently got a tandem axle dump truck to fix, and all axles except for one front brake had the above problem... not safe...
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Old 02-19-2012, 12:37 PM   #6
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Re: Ready to try again! But need advice on air brakes.

Too hot to touch is too hot, unless you had been using them very hard. The hubs shouldn't be more than warm after driving hundreds of miles. Air brakes aren't any harder to work on than hydraulic if you have the ability to work on big stuff. The hardest part is getting the wheels off.
Here's a link to the Bendix air brake manual (pdf)

http://www.wsafc.org/WSFMA/Shared%20Doc ... ndbook.pdf

If you get the bus,and don't want to try it yourself, drive it straight to the nearest truck shop to make sure the brakes aren't dragging. I don't think it would be a deal breaker if everything else is what you want in a bus.
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Old 02-20-2012, 07:41 PM   #7
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Re: Ready to try again! But need advice on air brakes.

Thank you so much for the extra info guys! I really appreciate it and have saved the PDF to my computer for reading.

I've made an offer on the bus with a contingency that it passes a state inspection.
Now I must 'wait and see' if he accepts.
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Old 02-21-2012, 09:53 AM   #8
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Re: Ready to try again! But need advice on air brakes.

I really like the shorter buses with flat faces - and this one is already painted something other than yellow - bonus! And may even have a high roof? Extra bonus! I hope you get it!
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Old 02-21-2012, 11:02 PM   #9
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Re: Ready to try again! But need advice on air brakes.

I made a quickie video of the bus.
Go Here: http://www.youtube.com/user/TygerCub...e=results_main

I would like to document the entire rebuild process much like I did with BOB. Just can't wait to get it home!!!
I think this one's name is Blue. That color just stuck in my head and even though I plan to repaint it, "blue" will remain part of the color scheme.
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Old 02-22-2012, 09:25 PM   #10
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Re: Ready to try again! But need advice on air brakes.

Great news! The bus passed inspection. I have to wait for the finance check to come in, but as soon as it does, I'm making the trek back up to Richmond to pick up my new project!
<does the happy snoopy dance>
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