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Old 05-01-2019, 11:25 AM   #1
Bus Nut
 
Join Date: Dec 2017
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Year: 1998
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Air Ride Suspension Seat

So, I recently set fire to my air ride driver seat with a spark from my angle grinder.

I want to replace it with another air ride suspension seat. These seats are commonly installed in big rigs and occasionally in buses. Unfortunately, Fairbanks, Alaska doesn't have the biggest selection... none of the junkyards around here have any heavy trucks. I haven't driven to Anchorage (6-1/2 hours each way) but it doesn't look like there are a lot of options there either. The nearest cities other than Anchorage are 2000 miles away (Vancouver and Edmonton).

Options:
1. There are high-back "tractor seats" for $400-600 that look the same as truck seats, except they have a lap belt instead of a shoulder belt. I'm sure there's a reason for the price difference (doesn't meet crash protection, smaller than appears in photos, etc.), but I haven't figured it out yet. Some of these places seem to offer shipping to Alaska.
2. There are used air ride truck seats on Ebay for $300-600, but shipping is either not allowed to Alaska or is $600+.
3. There are new truck seats for $700-1500, but they generally won't tell shipping prices until the end of the order process (or unless you call).
4. New air ride seat bases are $300-400. I could get one and find a seat at the junkyard. Shipping on these seem more reasonable.
5. I posted a "want to buy" ad on craigslist, and I've been asking around the community. I have a couple leads but I'm not overly optimistic so far.
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Old 05-01-2019, 11:52 AM   #2
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Are there any reapolstery shops in your area? Should be an option unless you burned up the air parts.
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Old 05-01-2019, 12:24 PM   #3
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The seat itself is completely done - the flames were licking the roof, and it was metal only. I threw it out.

The air ride base is damaged but possibly repairable. The power connection is melted mid wire and the travel stop nylon is gone. I'm not sure if I want to take the time to try to fix it because it was overly "bouncy" before being damaged (jolting my back when it hit the travel stop).
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Old 05-01-2019, 02:01 PM   #4
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Not to make you feel bad, but we just picked up an air base and seat from our local International dealer who deals with all the school buses in the area. Find out who maintains your local school bus fleet and see who deals with them when they sell or scrap them. Even if the seats are worn, you could at least score an air base and get the seat re-upholstered as somewhereinusa mentioned.
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Old 05-01-2019, 05:47 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Biscuitsjam View Post
So, I recently set fire to my air ride driver seat with a spark from my angle grinder.

I want to replace it with another air ride suspension seat. .......

Options:
.........
4. New air ride seat bases are $300-400. I could get one and find a seat at the junkyard. Shipping on these seem more reasonable.
.......
I like #4 Surely you can find a nice seat out of something. (I have a nice pair of 88 Pontiac seats in my basement just for this sort of thing)
these are earmarked for my F-700
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Old 05-01-2019, 07:57 PM   #6
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Go to a smaller independent truck repair shop and tell them what you want.
Somewhere close to you is a wrecked truck with the seat you need.
Look behind trucking and construction company shops, it's there somewhere.
Be creative.
You know as well as anyone that nothing gets thrown out in Alaska!
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Old 05-01-2019, 08:21 PM   #7
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I'm going to look at a seat from an old semi that's been in someone's yard. Looks like I'll get a working seat base and a worn but decent seat for really cheap.
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Old 05-01-2019, 08:30 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Biscuitsjam View Post
So, I recently set fire to my air ride driver seat with a spark from my angle grinder.

Have you tried Six Roblees yet? A few years ago I put a highback truck seat in a 40T forklift down at the port in Anchorage. I think it was somewhere in the vicinity of $400. It was way more comfy than the standard bus seat. Of course we used the stock base in the lift. Anyway, I think there is a Six Roblees in fbnks.
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Old 05-01-2019, 08:45 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alan N View Post
You know as well as anyone that nothing gets thrown out in Alaska!
Very true... when I go to people's houses, it's like I get to go shopping in the front yard. Little known fact: Alaska has the highest per capita number of junked cars sitting in yards in the world. Take that, Appalachia...

Typical conversation with an Alaskan:
"Hey, is that for sale?" (Pointing to an tow dolly that hasn't moved for 5 years that's blocking the driveway).
"What?" (Looks confused, as if he's forgotten it existed) "Oh, I've been meaning to fix that. I got it for a project I've never gotten around to..."
"What about that RV with the rust?"
"My cousin said he might want to buy it, but if I could get it working again, it made a great hunting rig."
"Any of that sheet metal for sale?"
"No, I'm building my own garage. I'm half done. I started it three years ago."
"Is that a dredge?"
"Yeah, I have a gold claim, but neither of my boats work right now to get out there. I would work on them, but the silvers have been running. We're heading down to Kenai for berry picking then closing the business for the month to hunt in the white mountains. I'm going to use my PFD money to buy a new UTV. I'll fix up this old trailer to put it on - my buddy has an awesome cabin up in the Hoodoos that he's been building for 5 years and the only way to get there is by plane or four wheeler. His plane's broken right now."

There's a pretty good chance he'll follow that up with an offer to help you with a project or an invitation to do something fun.
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Old 05-01-2019, 09:25 PM   #10
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If you are looking for a new seat you can check with Peterbilt, KW or CMI all located on or just off Peger. If they don't have them in stock they can get them for you. Another possibility is P&T truck parts on Van Horn.
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Old 05-01-2019, 10:09 PM   #11
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Great advice. I haven't checked out Peterbilt, KW, or CMI yet. I've bought stuff from P&T in the past - nice folks. I'll have to check out Six Roblees too.

I've found the businesses in Fairbanks to be good places to do business - they'll take the time to help you solve your problem and if they don't carry what you need, they'll send you to a competitor. There's a reason they call this the Golden Heart City.
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Old 05-02-2019, 09:01 PM   #12
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At this point this may not be needed: Seats Inc.
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Old 05-02-2019, 10:33 PM   #13
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I have started many things on fire by many different methods in various and sundry inconvenient and sometimes embarrassing places. But I have never managed to set a seat on fire with an angle grinder. Tell us this story please.
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Old 05-03-2019, 12:09 AM   #14
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I had a few screws that wouldn't come out of the ceiling panels. Three were stripped on the last panel, so I set the drill down on the seat and ground the heads off the screws. I put the angle grinder on the floor and started prying the panel off with a tanker bar when I smelled smoke.

At first, the flame was tiny and I thought I could blow it out. It suddenly engulfed the whole seat when I tried... I grabbed the fire extinguisher about five feet away and... nothing... it didn't work.

So, I ran to the door off the house, stopped, took a deep breath, and nonchalantly walked inside. I casually told my wife and her friend "the bus is on fire" and calmly asked if they knew where to find a fire extinguisher. My wife (a former volunteer fire fighter) grabbed the extinguisher under the kitchen sink, raced outside, and put it out in one blast. Her friend seemed quite confused.

The seat was totally destroyed. The seatbelt is also a total loss. The steering wheel is melted but useable. The electrical wiring to the rear lights is inoperable but intact enough to trace and splice in new wire. I moved the drill on the seat before it was destroyed - although it looks like a van gough painting, it works perfectly. A couple windows also cracked from the heat. Other than that, all I had was some soot to clean up.

Overall, I'm very lucky. I also learned a few things.
1. Have more than one fire extinguisher handy. Know where they all are and how to use them.
2. Watch where your sparks go
3. I could have smothered it when I first saw it, but didn't think of it in time.
4. My wife is awesome.
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Old 05-03-2019, 12:56 AM   #15
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Thank you for the story. Lessons for all of us.


She's a keeper!
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Old 05-03-2019, 11:14 PM   #16
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Wow! That was a near disaster!
Take good care of that number 4
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Old 05-03-2019, 11:32 PM   #17
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Air Ride Suspension Seat

Did you find a seat yet? If you havenít already...Trailer Craft is another spot Iíd call for one. I think thats actually where I got the seat I originally mentioned getting from SixRoblees...
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