So, today's task was to change out the blown airbag in the rear suspension. Simple, right? Well yes, once you've linearized all your waterfowl...
I cleverly ordered the replacement airbag a few days ago, and got it on Thursday so there would be no delays once I started. The first stop today was to the local import tool purveyor, as I didn't have a bottle jack, stands, or a set of sockets I could leave in the bus. Credit card smoking, it was off to FamiLAB.
Since the bus has an air leak, it was already down on the stops, and ready to be jacked up. I quickly ran onto my first snag - the jack only had a piddly two-part handle that was going to wear out in a heartbeat. Luckily, the lab has a nice hydraulic press with a good jack handle, so I borrowed that for the day, and made a note to fab a proper handle later. I then discovered that the jack stands I bought were just a smidge taller than the highest level I could jack to. Argh. Drop the bus (gently), and back to HF to exchange the jack stands. (I thought I needed 12-ton stands; the service manual (thank you Gillig Service!) says 5-ton stands are ok.)
Ok, pump her up again, and get the stand in there. Other than some ominous creaks, this is no problem. A lot of pumping, but no problem.
Now to the main event. The manual says remove the air fitting, remove the nuts, compress the airbag, pull it, put the new airbag in, secure with the nuts, and connect the air fitting. For the most part, that's how it went.
See the air fitting? Yeah. Two lines and a tee to get them both to the airbag. So, what actually happened was I removed the 2 nuts I could get at, loosened the one around the air, slid the bag over a bit and removed the 2 air lines, then removed the tee, the nut, and eventually, the airbag. To compress the airbag, I put a ratchet strap around it and cranked it down. Even so, I ended up jacking the frame another inch to clear the bolts and stud.
Oh, and did I mention that the sockets I cleverly bought wouldn't go over the nuts? Yep, another trip to HF for deep well sockets.
Getting the new bag in was considerably easier, basically the reverse of the previous steps.
I didn't get any pictures of the completed repair because of the thundershower, but suffice to say I was wet and happy when I started the bus and she stood up straight on her new spring!
Now that I can get a good look at it, its easy to see why the bag failed; old age and exposure to oil and road gunk.
Next on the list; fluids & filters. I'm concerned about how much oil is getting into the wet tank for the air system.