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Old 04-25-2007, 01:28 AM   #1
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rough ride!

i was prepared for something pretty rough, but my blue bird is a little much. it's not bad for me as the driver with an air ride seat, but i can see all the bouncing, jarring, vibrations, etc. being very uncomfortable for passengers.

any suggestions for improving the ride or comfort? would some fresh radials make a difference? it still has tubed bias plys on the rear. anyone tried pulling a few leaves out? i certainly don't expect a cadillac, but there's got to be some room for improvement.
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Old 04-25-2007, 02:35 AM   #2
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When you get some weight in it -- furniture, appliances, a few hundred gallons of water
and so forth -- you will notice improvement.

Also, the noise makes it seem rougher than it really is. Insulation, carpeting,
upholstry and what-not will help.

You may also be suffering from a touch of "this is all new and very different".

I don't think I noticed much change when I took the old tires off and put modern
ones on. (Just the same, you do want safe, reliable tires.)

I've juggled spring leaves on cars, sometimes successfully , and I suppose it
could be done on a bus. But I would consult a specialist first.

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Old 04-25-2007, 02:58 AM   #3
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a bus is new for me, but i'm not new to driving medium duty trucks, which is basically all a bus is. i can't say i've ever been in one so rough!

good point about the noises probably making it worse than it is, i thought about that being a possibility. i've got some carpet and padding to go in, along with some insulation for the dog house.

as i mentioned, the driver seat is fairly comfortable with the air ride. good luck if you want to catch a nap on the couch or something though.

unfortunately, i hadn't planned on much in the way of adding alot of stuff to it that's not already there. that might have to change to get some weight though.
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Old 04-25-2007, 03:04 AM   #4
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I know what you mean about rough ride, well my girlfriend does. She learned that there will be no sleeping on the air mattress in the back of the bus as we go down the road. She was bounced 8-10" in the air while she was trying to sleep. Go figure.

A smoother ride is what we all want, but we have to remember they are school buses and smooth they are not. Although some are not as bad as others.
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Old 04-25-2007, 10:37 AM   #5
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rough ride

mine rides like a cadillac and it's a bluebird too. I do have radials and keep them a little on the underinflated side. See what your air pressures are and adjust them down a little. I run mine @ 90-95. The rating on a tire is for MAX load not max ride. Things will improve with weight additions, mine is now at 23,000 with a MVW of 30,500#. sportyrick
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Old 04-25-2007, 10:40 AM   #6
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Quote:
A smoother ride is what we all want...
Maybe it's time one of us contacts a commercial spring shop for some advice? I sure don't
have time myself. But with only half the max weight on the rear axle, obviously the
springs could be softer for our use.
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Old 04-25-2007, 11:28 AM   #7
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been looking into it

I talked to the mechanics at Gibbs who sold my bus originally and they refered me to a local spring shop in Bakersfield. I talked with the proprieter for a while about my options. He reccomended that I get the springs repacked to a variable rate spring, the other options mentioned were to reduce the carrying capacity of the spring packs and install airbags between the leafs and the frame to add an airride capability the other option is to install an aftermarket air ride kit for medium duty busses. i.e. http://www.ridewellcorp.com/RAD241H.shtml that last option is in the $10, 000 price range. the first option will probably run about $2000. I asked about taking some air ride suspensions from scrapped medium duty trucks and was informed that the ride would get harsher, not smoother, but if you swapped airbags and shocks you might be able to get there. I did lower the air pressure in my tires to that reccomended on the bill of lading inside the engine compartment, (someone had filled them to their max recomended pressure of 120 psi) and I noticed a marked difference in ride quality. Also, if I keep the speed between 60 and 65 mph I seem to hit the sweetspot for the shock spring combination, and the ride is tollerable. keep in mind I am driving a 25 foot dog nose ward/international that's fairly empty, weight wise, so the ride is going to be harsh due to short wheel base and too much spring, but my wife gets somewhat vocal about abusing our kids if she feels the ride is too harsh; so I know, due to spousal feedback, that the ride can be made acceptable with some small adjustments. I really want to hook up the full air ride kit though, just need to take out another second mortgage, yeah that will do it.
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Old 04-25-2007, 01:19 PM   #8
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All right, I am NOT suggesting this. It's just a brain storm. Just a mental excersise, all right?
And this would not be reversible without major expense. But this would cost two dollars
and ninetyfive cents. How about cutting the short leaves with a cutoff blade in an
angle grinder. (Being very careful not to nick the next leaf.) I don't want you to try
that! It would definitely change the stress on the remaining leaves, possibly
leading to catastrophic failure. But I'd like to hear opinions.
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Old 04-25-2007, 02:49 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Elliot Naess

When you get some weight in it -- furniture, appliances, a few hundred gallons of water
and so forth -- you will notice improvement.

Also, the noise makes it seem rougher than it really is. Insulation, carpeting,
upholstry and what-not will help.
That is EXACTLY what I thought. Once I added the small amount of weight from the conversion and all the bulkheads, carpet, etc so stop the noise it seemed to ride much better. I also have a very soft couch for my passengers to sit in and it's approximately half the distance between the front and rear axle putting it at the center of rotation or so. That theoretically makes the ride better. Monster truck driver's are located at the centroid and axis of rotation of their trucks for that exact reason.

As for spring modifications....without really digging into the SAE Spring Manual I can tell you a few things I know. Short leaves will make the ride more rigid than full length leaves. Thins leaves also work better, even in great numbers. If you want proof you need only to look at a set of Deaver (or other name brand) springs for offroad applications. It's not uncommon to see 7 or more very thin, long leaves. Heck, the front springs in my truck have 6 leafs, 5 full length and one short.

If you wanted to improve the ride quality without sacrificing ride height (free arch really I guess) and without introducing a ton of axle wrap there is an easy solution. Cut the bottom leaf or two off a couple inches behind the axle, but leaf it intact in front. This will allow it to resist the torque of acceleration, but it will not affect the ride quality because the majority of spring flex actually comes from behind as the suspension cycles. Again, this all depends on the suspension set up.

You could also probably take out any of the overloads that contact those pads way up on the frame if you have them. Those will make themselves known on any serious bump.

I know the owner of a couple of Husky Spring shops as well as several of his employees so I will take some initiative and see what I can find out for the people on this board. There might be something we're all missing. It might be extremely expensive. It might be very easy to solve the problem.

To help me out can people who have scaled their buses give me a run down of their rear axle weights (not the ratings, but the actual weights)?
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Old 04-25-2007, 03:37 PM   #10
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Millicent weighed 9.500 on the steering and 9.700 on the drive when I drove her home from
the bus barn. (40 foot flat nose with engine in front.) The drive axle is rated for 19.000
(probably really 20.000), so obviously, with only half of what it is designed to
live with, it will ride hard empty.

Great if you can get us some professinal opinions about lopping off a leaf or two without
having to touch the U bolts or anything!
But I must repeat: this is not something to fool around with "just to see what happens".
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