Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
 
Old 07-31-2018, 09:24 PM   #1
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Jul 2018
Location: Rio Vista, California
Posts: 12
Thomas Built Air Bag Failure

Hello Guys, my name is Michael and this is my first post (hopefully of many!)

I am looking at purchasing my first skoolie. It is reported to be in good running condition however the rear air bag has a leak and the air brakes will not build pressure. Wondering how much of an issue this is to fix? Can the airbag be bypassed in order to build pressure in the air brake system? Basically I'd like to limp it home about 90 miles and have it fixed at my local diesel repair shop.

I realize messing with the air system/brakes isn't ideal, does anyone have any other suggestions?

Thanks in advance.
BusDriverMichael is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-01-2018, 12:46 AM   #2
Bus Geek
 
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Columbus Ohio
Posts: 11,651
Year: 1991
Coachwork: Carpenter
Chassis: International 3800
Engine: DTA360 / MT643
Rated Cap: 7 Row Handicap
those air springs are commonplace... you can disconnect the linkage from the air valve and tiw it back in the low posotion sop the system wont try to push any air into the springs.. you can get those replacxed cheaper at a treuck stop most likely than the dealer.. I replaced them myself on my DEV bus... most truck shops do these all the time.. they break on tractor trailers lots..



-Christopher
cadillackid is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-02-2018, 12:03 AM   #3
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Jul 2018
Location: Rio Vista, California
Posts: 12
After some research today I concur ! Currently looking for a local mobile diesel mechanic that can come to me because I can’t move the bus right now.
BusDriverMichael is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-02-2018, 11:58 PM   #4
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Jul 2018
Location: Rio Vista, California
Posts: 12
Auction ended today and I won! Proud owner of a 93’ Thomas WestCoaster!
BusDriverMichael is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-03-2018, 07:25 AM   #5
Bus Crazy
 
Join Date: May 2014
Location: West Ohio
Posts: 1,123
Year: 1984
Coachwork: Bluebird
Chassis: International 1753
Engine: 6.9 International
Rated Cap: 65
Congrats!

As said, air bags are commonly replaced. They're fairly easy to do and you can likely do it yourself if you have the tools.
Booyah45828 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-03-2018, 07:50 AM   #6
Bus Geek
 
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Columbus Ohio
Posts: 11,651
Year: 1991
Coachwork: Carpenter
Chassis: International 3800
Engine: DTA360 / MT643
Rated Cap: 7 Row Handicap
ill add a little more. Congrats on your bus!!!



even places like Truckamerica and Love's truck stops change them.. im away from my air ride busses right now or id take pics to show how you can disable the air suspension long enough to drive it ..



theres a valve on the back frame cross-rail with a lever arm that controls the ride height.. if you adjust that rod down so that the ride height is satisfied where the springs are flat then the air system wont try to pump any air into it and your pressure will build fully.. usually there is a rubber sleeve with a clamp on it you can loosen and lower that rod down.. just mark where it was so the shop can put it back when they replace the spring.



when one of my bags sprung a bad leak, I used this method and drove it home about 15-20 miles.. it rode really rough but I built full air pressure..


if you want to do it yourself replacement you'll need some good heavy jackstands (10 tonners) and some good jacks to raise the bus up high enough to replace the spring.. for the cost of them (I paid around $120 a piece for the air bags) I replaced both at the same time since they both looked a little dry rotted..



-Christopher
cadillackid is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-03-2018, 08:20 AM   #7
Skoolie
 
Huskerbus's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2017
Location: Nebraska
Posts: 168
Year: 2004
Engine: DT466E
Rated Cap: 31 w/4 wheel chair spots
Quote:
Originally Posted by cadillackid View Post
ill add a little more. Congrats on your bus!!!



even places like Truckamerica and Love's truck stops change them.. im away from my air ride busses right now or id take pics to show how you can disable the air suspension long enough to drive it ..



theres a valve on the back frame cross-rail with a lever arm that controls the ride height.. if you adjust that rod down so that the ride height is satisfied where the springs are flat then the air system wont try to pump any air into it and your pressure will build fully.. usually there is a rubber sleeve with a clamp on it you can loosen and lower that rod down.. just mark where it was so the shop can put it back when they replace the spring.



when one of my bags sprung a bad leak, I used this method and drove it home about 15-20 miles.. it rode really rough but I built full air pressure..


if you want to do it yourself replacement you'll need some good heavy jackstands (10 tonners) and some good jacks to raise the bus up high enough to replace the spring.. for the cost of them (I paid around $120 a piece for the air bags) I replaced both at the same time since they both looked a little dry rotted..



-Christopher
Here you are.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg 9A2843DB-EFC0-4F07-A6FA-6D9311C9DA90.jpg (300.4 KB, 29 views)
Huskerbus is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-04-2018, 08:09 AM   #8
Bus Nut
 
golfersmurf57's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2017
Posts: 386
Quote:
Originally Posted by cadillackid View Post
those air springs are commonplace... you can disconnect the linkage from the air valve and tiw it back in the low posotion sop the system wont try to push any air into the springs.. you can get those replacxed cheaper at a treuck stop most likely than the dealer.. I replaced them myself on my DEV bus... most truck shops do these all the time.. they break on tractor trailers lots..



-Christopher
Used to be stone heavy vehicle. I think its fleetpride or any truck parts place can get you the air bag. You might also try rock auto.
golfersmurf57 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-05-2018, 09:09 PM   #9
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Jul 2018
Location: Rio Vista, California
Posts: 12
Update! Thank you to all of those who helped me with the info. I located a mobile diesel mechanic who was willing to come out and replace the air bags. I gave the bus a ‘once over’ while waiting for the mechanic. I discovered the batteries were toast after attempting a jump. The mechanic arrived and began work and I went and got new batteries. Upon arrival when I got back I installed the batteries and the mechanic wanted to fire the engine to start to attempt to build some pressure to see where we were at on the leaks. The mechanic did exactly what everyone suggested and moved the leveling rods so that the air bags ceased to fill. It was all good after that or so I thought. We did discover a serious fuel line leak in the engine bay and upon discussion with the school district mechanic it was decided we could pull the part from another bus ! These guys went above and beyond at the school districts transport department.

It drove home about 125 miles with no issue and no airbags. ��
BusDriverMichael is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-05-2018, 09:30 PM   #10
Bus Geek
 
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Columbus Ohio
Posts: 11,651
Year: 1991
Coachwork: Carpenter
Chassis: International 3800
Engine: DTA360 / MT643
Rated Cap: 7 Row Handicap
that rocks!!!!! you will soon be good to go with new springs .. air ride is a worthwhile feature to have indeed!
-Christopher
cadillackid 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 06:00 PM.


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