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Old 09-03-2015, 02:20 PM   #1
Bus Nut
Join Date: Jul 2013
Location: Maryland / Boulder
Posts: 309
Year: 1999
Coachwork: Thomas Built
Chassis: Saf-T-Liner MVP ER
Engine: CAT 3126b Rotella-Chugger
Rated Cap: 72
Anybody ever do any suspension work?


So after returning from our 9,000 mile US trip this summer, we collectively determined one thing about my bus: the suspension and ride quality is HORRIBLE! I know it is a leaf-sprung school bus, but it is seriously unbearable, especially in Michigan and any rough roads.

The front leaf spring bushings (where the bolt goes through) are completely shot, the front ones are heavily worn and the rears are just GONE. Completely disintegrated and fell out, so there is no "cushion" over bumps and it is probably a leading cause as to why there is so much play in the steering, and why it wanders so badly. I am not sure about the shocks, but those are cake to replace and if I find the parts and they aren't crazy expensive I'll do so.

I doubt I would tackle this myself, but has anyone ever replaced leaf spring bushings on a truck this size, or had a shop do it? I have never messed with truck suspension (straight axle / leaf) only macpherson or semi-trailing arm car-style suspension. The front axle bushings seem easy enough to get to, and are in by far the worst shape. I doubt the leaf would even need to come off the bus / off the axle.

I appreciate any advice. Thanks!
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Old 09-03-2015, 02:31 PM   #2
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Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: MNT CITY TN
Posts: 4,824
It takes bigger tools and that is easy part

HARDEST PART IS SAFETY when I work on the bus I use solid steal and aluminum blocks as cribbage, also the big oak cribbage blocks work good after blocking make sure bus frame is on the blocking and can't drop onto it

Nat has some pictures that show his cribbed up ask him if you need help with it

be prepared to cut nuts and bolts incase they are seized and or worn oval etc

take pictures and be safe, the job is fairly easy, just big heavy parts and tools
Our build La Tortuga
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Old 09-03-2015, 08:25 PM   #3
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Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: Houston, Texas
Posts: 4,376
Year: 1946
Coachwork: Chevrolet/Wayne
Chassis: 1- 1/2 ton
Engine: Cummins 4BT
Rated Cap: 15
Most buses have leaf springs seriously over rated for their max load of passengers and ride like tanks. You can usually lighten the spring rate by as much as 50% (depending on your final build weight) but need good shocks to control the rebound. Plenty of sources for springs but Eaton Detroit has the best knowledge/service I have run across.
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Old 09-04-2015, 10:24 AM   #4
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Join Date: May 2010
Location: Montana
Posts: 1,614
Year: 1995
Coachwork: Blue Bird
Chassis: All-American R/E
Engine: 8.3 Cummins
Rated Cap: 72
Bring it to a GOOD spring shop, tell them your desires and let them have at it!
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Old 09-04-2015, 11:27 AM   #5
Bus Geek
Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: Stony Plain Alberta Canada
Posts: 2,939
Year: 1992
Coachwork: Bluebird
Chassis: TC2000 FE
Engine: 190hp 5.9 Cummins
Rated Cap: 72
We change out springs at the bus shop all the time.

Not hard, you just need 20 ton bottle jack, big blocks of wood, Big hammer, big tools, angle grinder with cutoff blade, and time.

Shocks are usually harder to get off than the springs. Some buses have 4 per front wheel. Adds up to big $$ to replace them all.

For us to pass the commercial safety ( CVIP) All original equipment must be replaced. No parts can be removed and not replaced.

Watch some videos on you tube about your air brakes and they are a walk in the park too compared to some of the work you did on your engine.

"Don't argue with stupid people. They will just drag you down to their level, and beat you up with experience."

Patently waiting for the apocalypses to level the playing field in this physiological game of life commonly known as Civilization
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Old 09-07-2015, 05:38 PM   #6
Bus Nut
Join Date: Jul 2013
Location: Maryland / Boulder
Posts: 309
Year: 1999
Coachwork: Thomas Built
Chassis: Saf-T-Liner MVP ER
Engine: CAT 3126b Rotella-Chugger
Rated Cap: 72
Cool, thanks guys. I will look into doing this...eventually.
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