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Author Topic: What to do when going to the shop  (Read 2799 times)
BG6
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« on: January 22, 2009, 06:59:49 AM »

They hammered mine in from the head while impacting the nut against washers and spacers on the front, NOT the best way to do that, by any means.  They should have been pressed in.  I did this 8 years and 50k miles ago and all is still well, but I recommend you have them pressed in.   

This brings up a good point -- if you know how something is supposed to be done, and the shop starts to do it a different way, STOP THEM and get an explanation!

Sometimes you will learn a new way to do the job, but sometimes you discover that they don't know what they're doing.

Something else to do is NEVER NEVER NEVER leave the coach unlocked if you aren't there, and don't leave the key with them when you leave.   If it needs to be started or moved, they can call you (you're not going to be very far away anyhow).

A good shop will let you go past the "Employees Only" signs, or will have a place where you can watch the work being done.   They will understand your concern -- after all, your family rides in there.

Anyone else got any hints?
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« Reply #1 on: January 22, 2009, 07:29:50 AM »

Had to remove the drive duals this week to replace air bags on the hockey team's bus. The wheel nuts were so overtorqued from the tire shop, we had to heat them to a bright red to get them off! ! They put them on with the biggest air gun they have, then they "torque" them with the torque wrench untill it cliks at 500 ft/lbs. The wrench doesn't even move, it just clicks, so they think they've torqued them. I'm concerned about stretched studs and damaged Alcoa wheels. I've watched them do it and told them how to put the nuts on by hand and then use the torque wrench, but no, they know it all... I do my own on my own bus and cars. I wouldn't let them touch them...

JC
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JC
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« Reply #2 on: January 22, 2009, 07:56:50 AM »

I know there are good Wrenches out there, but there sure are a lot of hacks as well.  With my smaller vehicles, pretty much everytime I need a lift to do something I go into the garage, and even then things go wrong or protocols are not followed.  So it goes, I like to "f" things up all by myself, I learn more than watching someone else break my rig.  That being said watching a good mechanic work is a huge education, and if you have the time to watch the work you can learn things (good and bad). There are all sorts on this site and as I usually do everything I can myself, I can only suggest that you know what and how the work needs to be done and make that clear before you go to the shop.  If you have no idea what needs to be done/what's wrong try not to make it too obvious!  Just my 2 cents.
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junkman42
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« Reply #3 on: January 22, 2009, 08:20:28 AM »

JC, just My two cents worth.  If You had to heat the nut/stud cherry red to remove it I would be very nervous as to the strength of the studs.  Heating the studs to a temp that causes a visible light and then allowing it to cool has most likely tempered, read changed the tensile strength of the stud and nut dramatically.  The proper word is most likely annealed the stud.  I would probably not be concerned about the wheel but would be very nervous about the stud.  I have not stayed in a holiday inn express but did work in the turbine industry as a welding engineer and have a working knowledge of the results of heat treating even when not intended to be a process.  Regards,John
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« Reply #4 on: January 22, 2009, 09:49:27 AM »

Thanks Junkman, we are replacing the studs and nuts. The wheel looks fine, although I will keep an eye on it for cracks around the holes.

JC
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JC
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« Reply #5 on: January 22, 2009, 10:54:06 AM »

Junkman John,

You are right on with the annealing, it happens when you cool it fast from those elevated tempretures. I have worked on many cracks on turbine casings in P.P.s due to the cyclic duty they put them though, and they are insulated, which should have them cool slower, but hitting the case again and again with superheated steam, Wow.

John
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bubbaqgal
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« Reply #6 on: January 22, 2009, 11:46:11 AM »

Being on the mechanics end I have a question about some responses here.  Why would you take your bus to a mechanic you don't trust?  If you know enough to tell the mechanic how to do the work then why are you paying him to do it for you?  If you don't know how to do the work then why are you standing over his shoulder watching and doing the back seat mechanic's?  I understand if you want to watch but unless you are asking your mechanic to teach you how to do some of the work then you don't need to be breathing down his neck.  Many shops have pricing signs as a joke that say they charge more if you watch.  When you are hanging over him, asking him things and giving directions you are disturbing his train of thought and also making the job take longer and this really can run your costs up. 

We do the best job that we can and don't mind teaching you or you teaching us but when you hire us to do the job for you we are there to do it and do it right. Please don't second guess us or question our abilities.
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« Reply #7 on: January 22, 2009, 02:10:55 PM »

hey bubbagal, it's not as black and white as that.  I don't own a lift, so sometimes I use the garage.  I've learned   from mechanics and also had to tell them not to do something that would have caused a failure later on (rolling my van without the 1/2 shaft stub end supporting the hub bearing for example).  The deal with buses is you don't always have a choice who is doing the work so diplomacy is in order.  Also while I'm sure you know what your doing there are definitely some mechanics out there who don't; I know I've met some of them.  BTW never said I asked questions while I watch, the only question I usually ask is "do you mind if I watch".
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Sean
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« Reply #8 on: January 22, 2009, 03:07:37 PM »

Cat, I have to chime in on some of your comments...

...  Why would you take your bus to a mechanic you don't trust?


Because I live on the road and can't really control where I break down or when I will need critical work done.  I definitely use the resources available to me, such as this board, to find qualified mechanics ahead of time.  But sometimes it isn't possible, and so the mechanic is having to earn my trust on the very first job he is doing for me.

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...  If you know enough to tell the mechanic how to do the work then why are you paying him to do it for you?


Because I don't have a lift, I don't have a pit, I don't have an impact wrench large enough to remove wheel lugs, I don't even have a bucket large enough to drain all the coolant or oil out of my engine, even if I had a pit or a lift to do it.  I also don't have tire irons, a balancing machine, an alignment rack, a headlight aimer -- I could go on, but I think you get the picture...  And, yes, I know I could own at least some of these things, like a large impact wrench, but I have to balance the cost of that and the space needed to store it (and the extra weight) against how many times I will need to use it.

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...  If you don't know how to do the work then why are you standing over his shoulder watching and doing the back seat mechanic's?


Two reasons.  One, I might not know how to do the work, but I know more about my weird bus than any mechanic I've ever met save for two or three.  And I can tell, even if I don't know the specifics of what he is doing, when he is running into issues having to do with the weirdness of my bus.  More than once, I've had to stop someone from doing something that seemed normal to them, but would have had devastating effects had they continued.  And two, because I want to see how it's done, so the next time, I will know.

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...  Many shops have pricing signs as a joke that say they charge more if you watch.  When you are hanging over him, asking him things and giving directions you are disturbing his train of thought and also making the job take longer and this really can run your costs up.


When I'm paying by the hour, I feel it is my prerogative to do exactly that.  If my questions, or my direction to stop work or do the work a different way adds time to the job, that's my own fault, and I am happy to pay the price.

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We do the best job that we can and don't mind teaching you or you teaching us but when you hire us to do the job for you we are there to do it and do it right. Please don't second guess us or question our abilities.


Well, OK, but that's how I've been driving around on a bent axle for nearly two years.  Oddly, the idiot that caused that was on flat-rate work (tire rotation), and so I did not feel like I could be interrupting them with questions and directions.  Now, I won't let anyone touch the tires without watching every move they make, flat rate or no.

Then there was the time that an alignment shop insisted that only they could drive the bus on and off the rack, and smashed up my bodywork that I had just repaired to the tune of $600.  He didn't offer a dime for the damage he caused, and the best I got from them was a few bucks off a $230 alignment.  Now, nobody drives the bus but me.

Even people I trust get caught by the weird factor.  Luke's shop replaced my tie-rod ends, and the pinch clamp got put back on in such a way that I had a near-fatal steering bind hundreds of miles later.  Luke's probably done hundreds if not thousands of tie rods, but never on a bus where this problem could even come up.

I understand what you are saying.  But Caveat Emptor is always good advice.  I cost myself enough money with my own bone-headed errors.  But errors by mechanics have cost me thousands of dollars that I will never see again, and I generally will not leave them alone with my bus.

-Sean
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« Reply #9 on: January 22, 2009, 03:42:04 PM »

Fellows I would watch here is a story for you in the last 2 years Prevost came up with idea to let the Volvo Truck shops do the mechanical work on the buses to make a long story short it cost Volvo over 27 k to repair and replace the damages to the interior of my coach and I still need some finish work to be done by who ever owns Featherlite Vantare now forgot their name.Moral of the story if I would have been there watching the dealer would not have damaged my coach because I would have put a stop to it


David
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gus
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« Reply #10 on: January 22, 2009, 05:21:47 PM »

My understanding of annealing steel is that it is done by slow cooling in a controlled temp oven. Rapid cooling hardens steel, like quenching in water or oil.

I agree that heating it to cherry red probably removed some of the temper and weakened it a bit I don't think it is annealed.

However, heating it while it is over-torqued certainly stretched the lug bolt.

Heating truck lug nuts to cherry red seems to be a time-honored method of removing them but I don't see the reason for heating the lug bolt any more than necessary. The idea is to make the nut stretch and easier to remove, stretching both makes no sense. Obviously the lug bolt is going to get a lot of heat from the nut but it doesn't have to get cherry red.
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« Reply #11 on: January 22, 2009, 06:16:01 PM »

Gus, heating heat treated steel until it appears cherry red usually means about 1300 degrees, allowing it to cool without quenching it will result in steel that is much softer than it should be.  Heating most high temperature alloys, stainless steel etc and quenching will generally soften or anneal them.  Opposite of ferrous metals.  Heating high tensile strength bolts such as grade 5 and grade 8 bolts and fasteners is a invitation for disaster.  Also to harden annealed high temp stainless alloys in general You heat them to a specific temp and hold them for a length time to age them which has the same effect as quenching ferrous alloys.  Not a accurate description but in the ball park.  John
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David Anderson
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« Reply #12 on: January 22, 2009, 06:35:10 PM »

They hammered mine in from the head while impacting the nut against washers and spacers on the front, NOT the best way to do that, by any means.  They should have been pressed in.  I did this 8 years and 50k miles ago and all is still well, but I recommend you have them pressed in.   

This brings up a good point -- if you know how something is supposed to be done, and the shop starts to do it a different way, STOP THEM and get an explanation!

Sometimes you will learn a new way to do the job, but sometimes you discover that they don't know what they're doing.

Something else to do is NEVER NEVER NEVER leave the coach unlocked if you aren't there, and don't leave the key with them when you leave.   If it needs to be started or moved, they can call you (you're not going to be very far away anyhow).

A good shop will let you go past the "Employees Only" signs, or will have a place where you can watch the work being done.   They will understand your concern -- after all, your family rides in there.

Anyone else got any hints?

To my credit or detriment, I was a newbie and didn't know this was NOT the best way or even A way to do this.   However, I've had no problems in the past 8 years and I know more now thanks to this board.  I'd do it differently now. 
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skipn
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« Reply #13 on: January 22, 2009, 06:54:28 PM »


  If you want to play mechanic then get the tools and do it. (excuses don't cut it) The sad fact is there are
 good and poor employees out there and one doesn't know just by looking. Doesn't really
 matter what trade you are talking about mechanics included. If wish to hear how silly
 customers can be that mechanics have had to put up with because the customer thinks they know
 more than the mechanic then I have a few for you. The street goes both ways on this.

   Wasted thread and bravado.

   Skip
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NJT 5573
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« Reply #14 on: January 22, 2009, 08:02:51 PM »

I just take my German Shepard everywhere I go. They ask me to move my equiptment and I can just leave the keys in the ignition.

There is a fine line between making someone mad and getting your work done. I had a very seasoned mechanic, (my shop) setting valves and injectors last summer on one of my trucks and I stopped him from setting the exhausts tight and the intakes loose, he had them backward. We both laughed. If you want it done right the first time, do it yourself!

If the tire gun says Ingersol Rand and the lugs won't come off its time for a new Ingersol Rand. I can look at a guys tool box and get a damn good idea if he is a wrench or not. Good shops always have good people, if your not comfortable, move on. If the shop foreman and mechanics aren't friendly, move on.

Alot of mechanics plain don't like working on a bus. They get tired of banging their heads and elbows! Good mechanics get to pick the jobs they do and the new guy may always get the bus job. Alot of shops charge extra for a bus.

What to do when going to the shop? Bring alot of money!

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« Reply #15 on: January 23, 2009, 08:44:31 AM »

Being on the mechanics end I have a question about some responses here.  Why would you take your bus to a mechanic you don't trust? 

The first time you go to any mechanic, you have no basis for trust.  If you are in the middle of nowhere and need repairs, and that's the only shop in town, for instance.

Quote
If you know enough to tell the mechanic how to do the work then why are you paying him to do it for you? 

Because most of us don't have all of the tools, the pit, etc., or because some jobs need more than one set of hands and eyes or specialized training and certification.


Quote
If you don't know how to do the work then why are you standing over his shoulder watching and doing the back seat mechanic's?  I understand if you want to watch but unless you are asking your mechanic to teach you how to do some of the work then you don't need to be breathing down his neck.  Many shops have pricing signs as a joke that say they charge more if you watch.

I used to be a truck driver, owner operator with a company who would pay over half of the repairs done by a shop, but nothing for repairs I did myself.  I got into maybe a dozen shops for repairs over a couple of years.  The only time I had a shop refuse to let me watch the work (blown turbo), I ended up having to have it done over within 3 months because they didn't clean the galleys out and the debris got into the new turbo and screwed up the bearings.

Quote
  When you are hanging over him, asking him things and giving directions you are disturbing his train of thought and also making the job take longer and this really can run your costs up. 

Good point.  Which is one reason that I didn't "hang over" them or ask a lot of questions. 

Quote
We do the best job that we can and don't mind teaching you or you teaching us but when you hire us to do the job for you we are there to do it and do it right. Please don't second guess us or question our abilities.

Sorry, I will ALWAYS question the abilities of someone I don't know, when I hire them to do a job for me.

Now that I'm setting up my fulltime home, one in which the people I love more than the whole rest of the world will ride in, it's even more important to me than when I made my whole living with what the shop was fixing.

One thing that I used to do was alternate DOT inspections (my company required an annual every 4 months) between the two shops in my town, and told them that anything they found would be fixed either by me or by their rival.
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BG6
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« Reply #16 on: January 23, 2009, 08:53:30 AM »


  If you want to play mechanic then get the tools and do it. (excuses don't cut it)

"Play mechanic" . . ?  So, that means your interest in coaches is so that you can "play Greyhound bus driver". . ?

But please, post pics of your portable service pit, that being one of the few tools I often need but don't have.

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skipn
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« Reply #17 on: January 23, 2009, 11:16:13 AM »


Quote
"Play mechanic" . . ?  So, that means your interest in coaches is so that you can "play Greyhound bus driver". . ?

   Probably a little bit.........To the moon Alice:)
Quote
But please, post pics of your portable service pit, that being one of the few tools I often need but don't have.
    When I was turning wrench fulltime I never worked in a shop with a service pit. We must not have done it right.
    Since then working on my own tractors (85 to present) I still won't have a pit. Maybe when I'm old and in a wheel
    chair I may need to build one that is ADA compliant.

    To put it in perspective someone graduates from medical school at the bottom of their class
    every year...........may you always be healthy.

   Skip
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Gary '79 5C
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« Reply #18 on: January 23, 2009, 12:10:26 PM »

Watch the over tightening and damage to steel wheels.

Here is a recent failure of mine, but not of over tightening, at least not to my knowledge.

for what its is worth, it was a inner.

Gary
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