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Author Topic: tag axle update  (Read 3134 times)
busshawg
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« on: August 19, 2009, 07:39:51 AM »

Just a small update. I think I finally have some movement!! Maybe all that running around helped this summer. I took the tag wheel off, took the shock off and placed a jack between the shock mounts and started applying pressure. It was getting late and dark last night but I just had to try. To my surprise the tag started moving down. Not smoothy by any stretch of the imagination but never the less it moved several inches. I placed the jack underneith to try to jack it back up but it did not move, only the bus itself started jacking up. That's when I called it a day. So I do believe (hope) I will have this problem resolved within the next few evenings.

Grant
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« Reply #1 on: August 19, 2009, 11:42:07 AM »

Congratulations. I hope that you can get it completely resolved soon.

Thanks for the update.

God bless,

John
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« Reply #2 on: August 19, 2009, 02:12:14 PM »

Thats great news, maybe it's like my left hip in the morning.  Cheesy
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busshawg
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« Reply #3 on: August 19, 2009, 02:26:32 PM »

I hope it not like my right hip! ha ha, it never seems to let up. I have heard these tag axle frames are prone to cracking, do you guys know exactly where to look?
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« Reply #4 on: August 20, 2009, 06:51:32 AM »

Ours craked where the upper mount attaches to the main bus frame.  I did not get any photos before I did the repair, but here is a photo of the finished repair before the undercoating was applied.   Jack
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« Reply #5 on: August 20, 2009, 10:24:10 AM »

Thanks Jack, pics speak a thousand words, mine look pretty good so far.
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« Reply #6 on: August 20, 2009, 07:37:49 PM »

Grant,

There was a KNUT on here that had a similar problem.  Maybe a year ago but I don't do dates very well.  He had his stick in the up position and he overfilled the air bags and it stayed right there.  I never heard how he resolved it.  It would seem obvious that the main support arm bushing was frozen.  I don't think that would be a job for anything but a fully equipped shop.  But what do I know?  Maybe luvrbus knows how to resolve this with a 7/16 ths box wrench and a condom.  I hope you get more advice from those that know.  Search for tag ax. and see what comes up.  Try the GM board, also.


Is there any way to inject PB Blaster into the bearings/bushings on the tag suspension arm?  Maybe remove a zirc, fill the chamber with PB and then shoot grease in and repeat?  I think this can only happen if the bearings are DRY.

Wish I could be of more help.

John
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« Reply #7 on: August 23, 2009, 08:22:49 AM »

I have an idea  Huh.  Strictly off the top of my poor head, no experience here.

How about if you replace the Zerk with the appropriate fittings and connect some air line tubing to it.  Fill the tubing with the solvent of your choice and connect it to an air compressor.  Just leave it hooked up at 100 psi or so for hours or even days. Repeat as necessary. Might help to break it free.
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« Reply #8 on: August 24, 2009, 08:27:21 AM »

Sounds like a real good idea Len , but it is now starting to take grease. Therefore I think it would all just drain through the portion that isn't seized, as there is grease coming out around about half of the clamp section now. But at this stage of the game I may just give it a try. I have had it up and down about 30 times or so and it is starting to get easier, Thanks for the brain storming Len, I sure to appriecate it and will probably try something like what you have mentioned, would help flush it.
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« Reply #9 on: August 24, 2009, 07:41:37 PM »

On tag structure failure points, did some looking on the weekend, no camera....

The shock mounting points rip out, same with the chain hook mount, the tag assembly cracks where they mount to the frame/airbeam surface, the sideways crook on the corner where they start to aim down on the angle rots out...

Pretty much anywhere and everywhere needs some reinforcement. Not the best design or execution, from a historical viewpoint. Perhaps a thicker gauge of metal to start out with? oh well...

To give you an idea, the big truck and coach body shop near here calculated that they used to keep 3 men employed full time doing tag axle rebuilds, it was a sad day as those vintage coaches ended their commercial days, as one by one, those budgeted jobs vanished. It was a good money maker.

My parts bus suffered a tag structure collapse while under way, sewer grate on a city road crumpled it up into the wheel well, on a road test with the mechanic!  Tire rubbing on the inner fender, alignment all off. Pull the wheel, shut off the tag suspension air to that side, service truck and jack forced the scrap high enough to chain it, sort of,  to get it back to the shop, and cut it all off, pull the tag axle out, and throw it in the baggage bin, where it still resides.

happy coaching!
buswarrior
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« Reply #10 on: August 25, 2009, 06:00:50 AM »

One thing I would try at that point, if your conversion is complete, is to remove the tag wheels and weigh the bus.  You may well find that you don't need them at all.  I know that it was done with Eagle buses at one time.
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« Reply #11 on: August 25, 2009, 06:07:28 AM »

Don't know what would happen if the tag axle was removed from an MCI, but I can say that with the air released from the tag axle air bgas, the handling is much worse.  Jack
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« Reply #12 on: August 25, 2009, 06:12:03 AM »

Unfortunately removing the tags isn't a good choice for an MCI.
The tags increase pressure on the steering axle, and without the tags ( or with no air in the tag axle bags) the steer axle is lighter than normal and there can be a lot of wandering. I experienced this when the air was inadvertently let out of the tags before our May trip. I thought something in the steering had gone to crap over the winter, but when I realized the tag bags weren't inflated and corrected that, the steering improved immensely.

Since the bushing is gradually taking lube, it may be OK once the lube gets worked around.

Regards.

Mark
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« Reply #13 on: August 25, 2009, 07:03:50 AM »

Thanks once again guys, I don't believe removing the tires or axle is a option for me. The drivers side works perfectly, and the passenger side is SLOWLY getting better. It seems the rear half of the clamp area just isn't taking much, if any grease. Because the other half is greasing very well the applied grease just wants to squeeze out at the portrion. I did apply some heat last night, not alot, just enough to heat the grease up and the axle moved quite easily, still needed to use a jack but it had very little resistance. Enough to get me all excited, haha. After cooling back down it was back to the way it was. The progress is, when I first started I actually broke a chain trying to pull the axle back up, this was with a jack underneith holding a good portion of the buses weight! Now it shows some movement with only a jack, not full movement but never the less movement. I believe when the rear portion of the clamp is flushed with new grease it will operate as it should. I very thankfull the frame looks good. That is where I had the chain hooked onto to pull it together when the chain actually broke.
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« Reply #14 on: August 25, 2009, 07:43:45 AM »

busshawg...to get grease work it ways around the moisture & dried grease (dirt) faster. Is to back up over & return over a 2x4 a few times. Now try 2x4+1"wood a few times. When working well it should be able to over 4x4 with out sticking up.

Keep greasing after 3 time until clean grease shows.

Sojourn for Christ, Gerald

BTW...drive both the dual & tag over the bump that will give double action to the tag.
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« Reply #15 on: August 25, 2009, 08:54:06 AM »

Thanks Sojourner, I am am maybe taking too big of a bite. As you mentioned maybe small increments rather than full movements back and forth might be the answer, I'll give it a try tonight.
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« Reply #16 on: August 25, 2009, 05:41:59 PM »

Grant,

What caused the problem in the first place?  No grease in the tag suspension?

I have installed supplemental zirks in bushings in the past.  The drilling isn't complicated as the parts are so large and the drilled hole isn't a problem.  I just drilled to the depth needed to lube the bushing and threaded the hole to accept the zirk pipe thread.  Worked for me.  In your case it would provide a port for you to inject the rust buster.

If you have hardened grease and rust packed into the bush I am concerned that you will never get straight grease to move past that jam.  You have no choice but to do what you Are doing now..at least...as far as I can see.

Good luck on this,

John
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« Reply #17 on: August 26, 2009, 06:46:28 AM »

Thanks John, yes I believe it was a lack of grease and use from the previous owner. Thank goodness I was able to get everything else working , greased properly. I am actually taking the pancake clamp apart so I can get in there and clean it up with some solvent or something. The idea of an extra grease zerk is a good one I believe. Especially while I have it apart, easy to do on the work bench. I started last night and with a little heat I was able to get all the bolts to break free. The only one that required heat was the large bolt that is bolted to the axle, top centre.

Grant
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« Reply #18 on: August 26, 2009, 10:06:49 AM »

Grant,

What caused the problem in the first place?  No grease in the tag suspension?

I have installed supplemental zirks in bushings in the past.  The drilling isn't complicated as the parts are so large and the drilled hole isn't a problem.  I just drilled to the depth needed to lube the bushing and threaded the hole to accept the zirk pipe thread.  Worked for me.  In your case it would provide a port for you to inject the rust buster.

If you have hardened grease and rust packed into the bush I am concerned that you will never get straight grease to move past that jam.  You have no choice but to do what you Are doing now..at least...as far as I can see.

Good luck on this,

John
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What caused the problem in the first place?  No grease in the tag suspension?

The real problem is not grease often enough to flush out the road grime & water.

A farmer have to grease his single or double disk or anything that get the fine dust and dirt out every morning before to the field.

After a day or 2, you the bus owner usually will see water & rust compound coming out while greasing.

In other words, if see water or unwanted compound leak out...keep pumping grease in until it is OK. At least if you never see anything not bad coming out...you know it properly lube for the next dusty and heavy rainy day.

Sojourn for Christ, Gerald
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« Reply #19 on: August 26, 2009, 02:36:04 PM »

Yep , I agree and understand this, the problem is that the tag axles in general don't have a lot of travel. Therefore the grease only seems to come out clean at the point of least resitance, leaving at least half of the bushing with old dirty grease in it. I have already pumped about 15 tubes of grease through it, and it does not appear to travelling around the bushing area. I really don't think I have any other choice that to take it a part and clean it properly, that way hopefully I can get new grease into all of the vital areas. It will also give me a chance to inspect it for abnormal wear, and place another zerk in the problem area. I picked up an air nozel for my compressor that will also blow what ever chemical one chooses, I picked a 5 gallon pail of solvent, we'll see what happens tonight. I hope at least some of you after reading about these problems have gone out and greased all the points on your tag axles. I also believe there are several buses running around out there with seized tags without the operator being awae of it. I think when greasing the tag axles a person should always  do as  Sojourner has suggested below.

busshawg...to get grease work it ways around the moisture & dried grease (dirt) faster. Is to back up over & return over a 2x4 a few times. Now try 2x4+1"wood a few times. When working well it should be able to over 4x4 with out sticking up.

Keep greasing after 3 time until clean grease shows



This will allow the grease to travel around the shaft better, before someone else has this problem, it will also make you aware of any travel issues in the tag axle.

Grant
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« Reply #20 on: August 27, 2009, 05:09:32 AM »

Grant,
  You mentioned the pancake assembly. Are you also greasing the zerks on the  cross-over tube?  Jack
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« Reply #21 on: August 27, 2009, 06:11:00 AM »

Yep , I sure am, the grease comes out of the vent immediatly and I believe I have flushed all the old grease out as there is clean grease coming out.

After working on it last night I believe I will have to pull the axle. I took the pancake clamp right off to find old dirty grease. I cleaned it all out using a scraper, solvent etc. Arount the round ring that is located at the pivot point was espeacially dirty. The ring is now moving freely and I have it quite clean. However there is no improvement to the movement. So I guess it's the foot long bushing in the axle tube that is giving me grieve. My question is now what all is involved in removing this axle. I believe the pancake clamp that I have already removed is to prevent the axle from sliding out. So I will remove the air bag and air line for the brakes. I beleive this is all that needs to be done to get it out?? Is there any other clips etc. that will prevent the axle from sliding out? I did hook a chain to the axle and secured it to a tractor and trying winching it out, but it never moved. Although I didn't put  alot of pressure on it nor did I try too hard as I wasn't sure if there is something else holding it in. I imagine after I apply pressure to the chain to pull it out I will also need to heat the axle tube to get it out. Any advice pls???

Grant
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« Reply #22 on: August 27, 2009, 06:31:31 AM »

Grant,
    If you have removed both halves of the clamp that fits on the end of the crossover tube, the axle should come out (with air lines, air bag, and shock absorber removed). Removing the brake shoes and brake spider assembly reduces the weight you have to hande when the tag axle comes out, but it is still very heavy.  Jack
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« Reply #23 on: August 27, 2009, 06:37:33 AM »

VERY HEAVY!!! Like over the borderline young man foolishness heavy.

Jack's right, strip as much as you can. Depending on what's left of your guts, you may need some props and supports to manhandle it. Or a bit of hydraulics, a forklift, tranny jack, etc.

happy coaching!
buswarrior



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« Reply #24 on: August 27, 2009, 06:43:36 AM »

Thanks a bunch guys, I have a front end loader on my tractor that will use. Any tricks to cleaning the inside of the tube when I do finally get it out? I presume I'm right about possible needing heat on the tube? I won't damage anything internally?

Grant
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« Reply #25 on: August 27, 2009, 06:57:15 AM »

Grant,

I think from remembering old posts on the subject, you will need to replace the bushing.

John
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« Reply #26 on: August 27, 2009, 07:03:25 AM »

Thanks John
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« Reply #27 on: August 27, 2009, 07:42:32 AM »

One more question, where is the movement, between the axle and the bushing or between the bushing and the tube, supposed to be.

Grant
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« Reply #28 on: August 27, 2009, 08:30:55 AM »

Movement should be between the tag axle and the bushing.  The bushing is a press fit (freeze the bushing before installing it) into the crossover tube.  Jack
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« Reply #29 on: August 27, 2009, 09:00:13 AM »

Thanks once again Jack, that's what I thought but I've had surprises before. I will attempt this tonight. I heard you have done this before, a lot of trial and error? or how did you find out about the trick of freezing the bushing. Great idea , How the hec did you get the bushing out?
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« Reply #30 on: August 27, 2009, 11:43:55 AM »

My problem was not a frozen tag axle, but an axle with way to much play, so removing the tag axle was pretty easy. Removing the bushing was accomplished with a saws-all and a 12" blade. I cut several slots in the bushing and went to work with a long cold chisel. After removing the old bushing, I polished the inside of the cross-over tube with a cylinder hone. I put the new bushing in the freezer overnight and left it in there until I was ready to install it. I coated the inside of the crossover tube with light oil, grabbed the bushing out of the freezer, aligned it in the opening, and with a friend holding it in place with a gloved hand and a piece of oak over the end of the bushing, I drove it in place with a sledge hammer. Make sure everything is in alignment and have everything ready. Once you start driving it in place, there is no starting over.  Jack
PS: this procedure was explained to me by a friend that changed a bushing on his MC-7
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« Reply #31 on: August 27, 2009, 12:28:39 PM »

excellent description, make sense. I take it, it must have been a good friend, haha. Not sure if anyone will trust me with a sledge hammer. Must have been quite a job getting the old one out. I'm not sure if I'll have to replace it yet, I suppose it all depends how things look when I finally get it apart.

Thanks
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