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Old 06-17-2015, 06:56 AM   #1
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better ride?

Anyone figured out how to get a softer ride with there bus and not having to spend thousands of dollars?, I weighed my bus and lowered the tire pressure, that helped a bit, I've been reading up on koni shocks lots of good reviews about them, suppose to really improve ride, but not really sure it would do any good with a bus suspension. Putting in a air ride would be nice, but way to much $$ for me. Any ideals on this?
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Old 06-17-2015, 08:49 AM   #2
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School buses all seem to have notoriously stiff springs and little if any in the way of shocks.

You can remove a few spring leafs but it can be tricky to balance softness against bounce. If you do remove a few leafs, stiffer shocks will help. Other than that, replacing them with less stiff leaves or air bags are among few choices. Personally, I have never been a fan of air bag rides. They all seem to "wallow" around too much for me.

I replaced all my springs with new ones from Eaton Detroit...very knowledgeable folks. I reduced the rating on the rear by 50% and added another 350 lbs. to the front (to compensate for the weight of the diesel engine). Also added modern shocks all around. Yet to drive it still, but I am prepared to add or subtract more as needed.

Anyone else have any thoughts
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Old 06-17-2015, 08:53 AM   #3
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On bigger school buses, broken springs seem to be an issue, so I'd hesitate to remove any.
That said- I have one air spring on its way out.
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Old 06-17-2015, 02:01 PM   #4
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I would also try removing a few leafs.

At the shop, we remove the older packs with up to 10 thin leafs in them, and replace them with thicker 3 leaf units.

Much better ride.

Removing leafs will not cause broken leafs. Bad bumps, wheel hops, time, ect are what causes broken springs.

If full air ride is to costly, you can still add helper bags like they do on pickup trucks after removing the unneeded leafs from the pack. That way you can pump them up when full of water, fuel, ect.

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Old 06-17-2015, 02:33 PM   #5
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Suspension Specialists, Technical Bulletin Number 4
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Old 06-17-2015, 03:20 PM   #6
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I would bring it to a real spring shop, instead of guessing what the outcome of removing leafs would be. Tell them what you want and have them build you some springs...new. Problem solved correctly.
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Old 06-17-2015, 03:27 PM   #7
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I would bring it to a real spring shop, instead of guessing what the outcome or removing leafs would be. Tell them what you want and have them build you some springs...new. Problem solved correctly.
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Old 06-17-2015, 04:30 PM   #8
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I changed my leafs over to Air rides. not a easy job and you have to add the compressor and tanks but in the end the ride quality was so much better it was worth it, and the money i saved from having to replace things that bounced out of cabinets we took another trip.
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Old 06-17-2015, 04:34 PM   #9
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I bought a donor bus same year make and model as my bus even the same engine and trans the difference was it had air brakes and air rides where i have hydraulic and springs. parked them side by side and jacked them up and swapped the air rides to mine spring to donor and the compressor and tank. sold donor bus for more than i paid for it to a friend that wanted a new project. he did have to replace the compressor and tank for his brakes but that was cheap at a truck junk yard.
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Old 06-17-2015, 05:07 PM   #10
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I think a visit to a spring shop will be in my future, I have been reading great things about koni shocks for motor homes, but I don't know how well they will change the ride with those big leaf springs. I will do more research about them.
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Old 06-17-2015, 09:24 PM   #11
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following.... my bus is way to stiff in the back
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Old 06-17-2015, 10:04 PM   #12
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A note to all of us:
Shocks control rebound. That is all they do. They do not soften the ride. If the ride is harsh, have appropriate new springs made. Don't waste your time and money trying to fix your harsh ride with shocks. If you buy "load leveler" shocks,it just means your original suspension isn't up to what you need--so fix it right. Sure your skoolie rides rough. It was meant to be full of 54, 150 pound third graders and now it isn't. Just say'n. Jack
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Old 06-17-2015, 10:10 PM   #13
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Quote:
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A note to all of us:
Shocks control rebound. That is all they do. They do not soften the ride. If the ride is harsh, have appropriate new springs made. Don't waste your time and money trying to fix your harsh ride with shocks. If you buy "load leveler" shocks,it just means your original suspension isn't up to what you need--so fix it right. Sure your skoolie rides rough. It was meant to be full of 54, 150 pound third graders and now it isn't. Just say'n. Jack
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Old 06-18-2015, 01:09 AM   #14
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Quote:
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I would bring it to a real spring shop, instead of guessing what the outcome of removing leafs would be. Tell them what you want and have them build you some springs...new. Problem solved correctly.

I agree.

But be prepared to pay $500 to $800 per side.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ol trunt View Post
A note to all of us:
Shocks control rebound. That is all they do. They do not soften the ride. If the ride is harsh, have appropriate new springs made. Don't waste your time and money trying to fix your harsh ride with shocks. If you buy "load leveler" shocks,it just means your original suspension isn't up to what you need--so fix it right. Sure your skoolie rides rough. It was meant to be full of 54, 150 pound third graders and now it isn't. Just say'n. Jack
And since most of our buses run only 50% to 75% full, we remove leafs or replace the spring with New, more modern spring packs containing fewer, but thicker leafs.

This is not some back yard shop I work at. Edmonton truck and spring are the ones that advise and build our new spring packs for us.

Nat
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Old 06-18-2015, 06:13 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ol trunt View Post
A note to all of us:
Shocks control rebound. That is all they do. They do not soften the ride. If the ride is harsh, have appropriate new springs made. Don't waste your time and money trying to fix your harsh ride with shocks. If you buy "load leveler" shocks,it just means your original suspension isn't up to what you need--so fix it right. Sure your skoolie rides rough. It was meant to be full of 54, 150 pound third graders and now it isn't. Just say'n. Jack
150 pound third grader yikes!
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Old 06-18-2015, 11:01 AM   #16
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My bus rides really nice, even when it had seats with no kids. I think RE buses inherently ride better because of all of the weight behind the rear axle.

At the bus rally last week end I had a chance to get individual wheel weights after the conversion. The results are a little puzzling. I wish I would have had the wheel weights pre conversion as it is I only got axle weights. This bus has two 50 gal fuel tanks one on each side with an equalizer pipe.

Here is a diagram of the weights.

I am well under the weights both per axle and total. What puzzles me is the difference from side to side. My fresh water tank is mounted between the frame, in front of the belly boxes, that explains the transfer of weight to the front axle. The gray tanks are alike and mounted on each side at the rear of the belly box, they were empty. The black tank is on the left under the left gray, it too was empty. I have a fairly heavy 4 drawer tool box on the right. On the right is the fridge (not more than 200#) and computers and printers (again not more than 200#) My house battery bank is on the right (four 12V) The rest is pretty much even from side to side. The only conclusion I can come to is that it wasn't even from the factory.
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Old 06-18-2015, 11:54 AM   #17
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i am curious how many leaves you all have in your leaf springs.

the bookmobile rides rough....this is worth looking into for me

from the manufacturer the plate says:

gvwr - 25,600#

front axle 12,000# (8 leaves)

rear axle 19,000# (9 leaves + helper leaf)

i weighed pre-construction for my plates and the empty truck was 18,000#

no weights since but im guessing 3-4k for the conversion

how many leaves do you have?
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Old 06-18-2015, 01:37 PM   #18
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I'm afraid none of the figures I have will do you any good. Too many variables

GVWR 36,200

front GAWR 13,200

rear GAWR 23,000

I think, although not positive that your bookmobile is built on the TC2000 chassis which is lighter weight chassis than the All American. I know that Bluebird built their own rear engine buses, again I'm not sure about the front engine TC2000

There are also so many variables in leaf spring design,arch,leaf thickness,leaf length, length of each individual leaf.

cowlitzcoach has probably driven more different buses than all of the rest of us put together, I am convinced that the rear engine buses ride better mainly because of the rear engine.

All of that because it's been raining for a week and it's too wet under there to get my lazy a** under it and count the leaves, but I really don't think it would do you any good.
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Old 06-18-2015, 03:28 PM   #19
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after reading this thread, i emailed a spring company for a quote. told them my weights, and that i want to soften the ride. here is the email response from spring company:

To "soften" a vehicle of that size is almost impossible with out damaging the integrity of the springs. This is not something we can do here. Anytime you "Soften" a ride usually we would take a spring out of the pack, however due to the size of your bus doing this could seriously damage the vehicle. We therefore unfortunately cannot help you with the springs on your bus.

http://www.denverspringandsuspension.com/index.htm

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Old 06-18-2015, 03:39 PM   #20
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Thank you!
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