Offered as a part of ABA’s BISC & BusMARC 2021 Digital Safety & Upkeep Collection

The American Bus Affiliation’s Bus Trade Safety Council (BISC) and Bus Upkeep Restore Council’s (BusMARC) 2021 Digital Safety & Upkeep Collection provided a sequence of instructional webinars early this yr, masking quite a lot of industry-related subjects.

This panel was moderated by BusMARC Chair Mike McDonal, Director of Regulatory Compliance and Trade Relations at Saucon Applied sciences. 

Panel members included specialists Derek Brown of TEMSA, Dany Landry of ABC Corporations, Robert Hitt of Prevost, Steve Kiner of Motor Coach Industries (MCI) and New Flyer Industries, and Ben Kopp of Coach USA. 

The panel lined subjects together with upkeep of unused autos, elevated pre-trip inspection and stocking processes, particular gasoline issues, efficient storage strategies, and altering and sustaining automobile gear. It’s introduced right here in an abridged format:

With the best way issues have modified, the wheels haven’t turned almost as a lot as they did the earlier yr. What sort of changes have you ever made in your PM scheduling?

Ben Kopp: Our largest adjustment has been transferring to a extra day-focused schedule. COVID compelled us to not less than take a look at all of our buses each so many days relying on the place they’re and the kind of bus. That varies. We make sure that we aren’t forgetting to recheck our fluids and issues like that each so many days as an alternative of simply counting on mileage intervals. Adopted by ensuring our fluids are fully full on a regular basis. Particularly anti-freeze, after we might need a bus that lives within the South instantly come to the North for one thing. You do not need to catch it off guard and find yourself with frozen pipes.

Ought to corporations be taking a look at any sort of interim inspections? 

Derek Brown: I’d advocate exercising the coach – not simply beginning it, however really transferring it. Test for electrical operation of lights. Ensure that every thing continues to be in working order. I see a whole lot of points with corrosion and sitting within the car parking zone does simply as a lot hurt if no more than day by day operation. I see a whole lot of DEF cylinder failures from sitting. It’s a good suggestion to verify your freeze level in your coolant so it’s secure in chilly climates. Ensure that your windshield washer fluid is just not filled with water and freezing up. Totally cost the batteries or take away them.

Steve Kiner: Corrosion can do as a lot harm to the coach whereas it’s sitting nonetheless as if you find yourself operating down the highway. Regulate that battery submit, for instance. The coach is sitting nonetheless, and you’re dropping a few amps an hour simply from reminiscence energy. Regularly examine these batteries. Stick a charger on them to ensure they’re topped off. One of many objects that now we have seen over the summer time from the coaches being parked is an algae bloom within the gasoline. Clients are calling in with frequent gasoline filters being plugged up. 

For autos which have had fluids in them which aren’t being circulated, what sort of shelf life would they’ve inside these autos?

Dany Landry: That may be a large factor you wish to verify: shelf life. I see a whole lot of issues with DEF when nobody is definitely checking that DEF or ensuring that urea focus is right. Particularly after sitting for winterization or sitting throughout our COVID spell, we had a whole lot of DEF that went dangerous as a result of urea focus failed. 

Additionally, verify fluids and coolants. One other large factor with checking your seals is ensuring these seals usually are not beginning to crumble. Test your seals similar to your AC compressors. AC compressors can have what is named a weeping seal. If we aren’t exercising our elements or engine and truly beginning the automobile up and ensuring issues work, that seal tends to dry out. What finally ends up occurring is the seal begins to leak as soon as the automobile is put again into operation.

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With belts not being pushed as regularly, are there any various kinds of inspections we must always introduce? What in regards to the engine?

Robert Hitt: That is a superb level. We’re excellent at checking belts. What we aren’t so good at is getting our mechanics to spin these loafer pulleys as soon as the belt is eliminated and even eradicating the belts for the inspection. That may be a key merchandise on our facet that now we have actually careworn in any respect our areas. Additionally, in your alternators, there could also be a useless spot in that bearing. Any time you’ve got the chance to truly take away that belt – not simply twist it over and search for cracking or any issues – and spin these alternators and loafer pulleys, that’s actually what you wish to do.

What have you ever performed to maximise your on-hand inventories and what, if any, protocols have you ever put into place to watch these for viscosity, and so on.?

Ben Kopp: For our customary fluids, now we have probably not modified our typical coverage. We’re going by means of much less fluid, so we’re simply not shopping for as usually. Possibly a few of the bigger retailers that aren’t operating have lowered their amount on-hand of oil. We’ve got not modified something with our anti-freeze, partly due to how we order anti-freeze and the way we get it delivered. It stays in a sealed container till it’s poured into our models. With DEF, our largest precedence is lowering the majority on-hand. 

Dany Landry: One thing for everybody to consider for once you do have these bulk containers or bulk fluids: every thing has a shelf life. If oil is within the unique container and is correctly sealed, engine oil shelf life is about 5 years. Underneath related situations, DEF’s shelf life is just a few yr. Whether it is out within the daylight or climate situations, it’s going to degrade extra quickly. Coolant can keep indefinitely, so long as it’s saved appropriately within the unique container. When you begin mixing coolant, or if you happen to purchase coolant pre-mixed, it should final for an excellent 5 to 10 years. Nonetheless, many individuals combine coolant incorrectly by utilizing faucet water as an alternative of distilled water. That coolant will degrade a lot quicker. 

Are there any particular issues within the wintertime, by way of gasoline components or gasoline blends?

Derek Brown: I’d go to my gasoline vendor and ensure the gasoline is handled based on what I would like and for the environmental situations that I’m working in. I’d additionally advocate getting that gasoline within the automobile and working the automobile, so it’s within the traces, the engine, return line, pre-heater, and so on., so all these elements have handled gasoline reaching them. I’d additionally like to the touch on what you have been discussing earlier with the belts and pulleys. I discover it to be a good suggestion, if a automobile has been sitting for a very long time, to have the engine began from the rear. Then if an alternator or pulley is seized or partially seized and would wipe out a belt, you’re proper there to see it instantly and may shut the engine off earlier than it causes extra harm.

Over the previous a number of months with COVID-19, varied kinds of safety have been added to autos. How would you counsel including these to your typical PM program for the short-term and the long-term?

Derek Brown: Ensure that no matter techniques you’ve got in place are operational. When you have a UV gentle that comes on with the evaporator motor, for instance, guarantee that it does come on and that the sunshine does work. Make sure that filters and ionization techniques are functioning. After a visit is accomplished, carry the automobile into the store and function these units on a trip-by-trip foundation. Ensure that these techniques work for if you find yourself able to put the automobile again in service.

For coaches which are parked, is maintaining them fully dry the best choice? 

Robert Hitt: Sure, maintain them empty and maintain them dry. Many alternative producers have water shut-off valves. We use the coolant from the engine to guarantee that we maintain the fluid thawed. In numerous areas, now we have seen that really be the reason for a coolant leak that the client couldn’t discover. He couldn’t determine the place a gallon of anti-freeze was going each time a bus went out. The place it was going was really to that heater loop in the bathroom tank. It had a small pinhole in it, inflicting his coolant leak. 

Ensure that these valves are open if you’re exercising and working the coach. Regardless that we would not have any fluid in there, we wish to maintain them within the loop and maintain it circulating. 


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