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Author Topic: what I learned and did not learn about my bus today.  (Read 3536 times)
Adarian
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« on: September 13, 2009, 08:50:21 PM »

1988 Flxible Metro B
Photos of bus, I don't have  editing software to reduce the size of the photos. I have just included a link to them
http://www.palofitness.com/images/bus/sideview1.jpg notice how low bus is.
http://www.palofitness.com/images/bus/frontview.jpg
http://www.palofitness.com/images/bus/passside.jpg notice how high bus is.
http://www.palofitness.com/images/bus/rear_control.jpg
http://www.palofitness.com/images/bus/front_view.jpg
http://www.palofitness.com/images/bus/rear_seat.jpg
http://www.palofitness.com/images/bus/drivers_area.jpg
http://www.palofitness.com/images/bus/airtanks.jpg secondary, closest to you, and primary air tanks.
http://www.palofitness.com/images/bus/mainair.jpg
http://www.palofitness.com/images/bus/airtank.jpg another air tank

If you start the bus from the rear controls and the bus has enough air pressure, the doors will close on you, basically locking you out of the bus.
I learned today to put the doors on manual when starting it with the rear controls.

The standard seat is pretty good when hooked up properly.
Still haven't learned to raise it or lower it.

The bus has a self kneeling feature. I left the bus and it was at normal height, I returned to it 6 and 1/2 hours later and I hear air being discharged from the front left and right side. Right behind the front tires. I don't know why.

Nothing really works on the bus until the air pressure comes up.

Most of the electrical system runs off of 24v.

The overhead lighting runs off of 110v, I was wondering why the box said warning 110vac on it.
How I don't know.

If the doors are open, the throttle doesn't work.

The bus has a lot of micro switches for safety purposes.

The speedometer and odometer are electronic.

I think I have 8 air tanks.

The only thing I have found not to work is the horn and the wheelchair lift.

I still don't know what the foot switch is for that looks like a sewing machine pedal. It is next to the steering column on the left side. I have three other switches in the area, two are for turn signals and one is for high beams.

The water tank has five fittings and I have no idea how to hook them up. One on top and four on the side. 3 of the four on the side are female and the fourth is a male fitting.

When buying a bus that the P.O. has started to convert, I learned to ask where was he going to mount the propane tank? Two furnaces and one how water heater, all hooked up and no regulator valve to be found.

I also learned to ask, why do you have two holes in the floor where the kitchen sink was suppose to be installed and how hole for where the shower was to be installed but no hole for where the toilet was to be installed. Along with no vent for the black tank and the grey and black tanks are already mounted under the bus.

I also learned to ask, why are these wires cut and what do they go to?

The dash wiring diagram and the rear engine control diagram are on the back of the panels.

This was the first day of really checking the bus over since bringing it home a week ago.



« Last Edit: September 15, 2009, 08:45:18 AM by Adarian » Logged

1978 Gillig 636D
CAT 3208 Allison MT 643
NLAAF Fitness Bus
Fair Oaks Ca
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« Reply #1 on: September 13, 2009, 09:07:19 PM »

You can bypass the door lockout for the throttle. I would suggest taking the wheel chair lift out-that's at least 500lbs worth.  The sewing machine pedal might be the transmission retarder control. Although most transit buses had the retarder hooked directly into the brake pedal. Good Luck, TomC
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Tom & Donna Christman. '77 AMGeneral 10240B; 8V-71TATAIC V730.
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« Reply #2 on: September 14, 2009, 03:23:37 AM »

sewing machine pedal could be a now bypassed dead man's pedal.
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Bob Gil
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« Reply #3 on: September 14, 2009, 05:42:17 AM »

I know the feeling I too bought some one else's project.

Only mine had a little engine fire, all engine wiring, air duct, and inverts etc.. chared.  The person I got it from had bought it from the insurance company and he did not know much more than I did when I first looked at it. 

It has been 18 months and I think if all goes well I might make it to TBR this year with it.  Hopinh any way.

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Fort Worth, Texas where GOD is so close you don't even need a phone!

1968 GM Bus of unknown model 6V53 engine (aftermarket) converted with house hold items.

Had small engine fire and had no 12 volt system at time of purchase. 
Coach is all 110 w 14KW diesel genrator
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« Reply #4 on: September 14, 2009, 06:05:46 AM »

I also bought a mystery novel in the form of a bus that the PO did not let me in on the end of the story.

Kinda fun to rewrite it the way you want it to end.

My novel isn't finished yet but I am having a ball solving the mysteries and finishing up what I can the way I want.

Good Luck and Have Fun

Melbo
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mikelutestanski
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« Reply #5 on: September 14, 2009, 07:52:53 AM »

Hello:  The wheelchair lift usually has 2 switches that the driver has to move and in addition limit switches on the device that cycle it properly.. DOnt try to cycle the unit unless you understand the operation because sometimes the thing will hang up whilst partially extended and you have to know which switch to hit or how to manually retract the unit.. I spent a fair amount of time trying to get one back into its travel position. And some phone calls to the bus companies mechanic who knew the operation..
    If you have no use for the working device you might find some value in some of the steel as supports etc..
    The 110 volt sign may possibly refer to the fluorescent voltage on the pins which is usually high out of the ballast or maybe they did not have the proper warning sign and used what they had ...  you may find a voltage/ capacitive device that can jack the voltage up on the incoming side to match what the ballast requires for input voltage.   DOnt know without inspecting your setup..
    If the bus has an air throttle and a valve in the feed to the throttle the throttle wont work until the air is up and the psi switch is satisfied and a valve lets air to the throttle pedal.  My transit works that way.
   Mine is an 89 orion 1 and has most of those features including the door lockup when the air is up unless the door is in manual.. ALso mine had a feature that would not let the transmission out of neutral unless the door safeties were satisfied.Usually you will find over the doors a switch that bypasses the door safeties for maintenance use but not always..
   A good set of prints from the bus company would really help you understand the safety features.  An operators manual would also help.. 
    FWIW
        Regards and happy bussin   mike
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Mike Lutestanski   Dunnellon Florida
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Adarian
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« Reply #6 on: September 14, 2009, 09:03:42 AM »

I also learned that small gauge white wires provide grounds and black wires supply power.

The Cummins L10 engine seems simple enough. Mines has an oil leak that looks to be coming from the front seal.

I also learned the extra generator is for a DD motor. That thing is heavy.

I also learned the layout is going to work. These things are roomy. The bus will have a treadmill in the rear and one along the wall in front of the rear doors,  a 7 x 8 workout area, 6 x 3 bathroom area with shower and a 8 x8 office space.

I hope the lift will work as to make loading of equipment easier, since I can't figure out if the kneeling feature still works or how to operate it.

Still waiting on a manual to show up.

I have a Flxible ops manual, but is doesn't cover all of the features for my bus. But it is close and will do for now.

I contacted the previous bus company but they no longer had any info on the bus.








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1978 Gillig 636D
CAT 3208 Allison MT 643
NLAAF Fitness Bus
Fair Oaks Ca
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« Reply #7 on: September 14, 2009, 09:35:17 AM »

Treadmills inside the bus? Reminds me of this - supposably a Honda concept for a vehicle powered by people running on treadmills:




Jeremy

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« Reply #8 on: September 14, 2009, 09:43:40 AM »

...
I hope the lift will work as to make loading of equipment easier, since I can't figure out if the kneeling feature still works or how to operate it.

...


Try airing it up then see if it works when the door opens,  may be a switch to turn it off though  hope it is simple Smiley
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« Reply #9 on: September 14, 2009, 12:10:28 PM »

Treadmills inside the bus? Reminds me of this - supposably a Honda concept for a vehicle powered by people running on treadmills:




Jeremy




It would take a lot of people to move a bus! LOL
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1978 Gillig 636D
CAT 3208 Allison MT 643
NLAAF Fitness Bus
Fair Oaks Ca
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« Reply #10 on: September 14, 2009, 12:18:05 PM »

I have a treadmill in my bus

It folds up for storage

Glad to hear I am not the only one

Melbo
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Adarian
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« Reply #11 on: September 14, 2009, 12:30:12 PM »

I didn't learn what the trans check switch is for?
There is no light next to it.
I understand why you don't get under a bus without proper support. They get pretty low when the air lets out of the suspension and on my bus, the front will start kneeling by itself after sitting for a short period.
I learned that it takes a lot to drain all the air tanks.
Just glad that filling them up is easier.

The steering was stiff when turning left requiring two hands, but returned to center easily, while turning to the right was a one hand affair. The PO said that it was normal. Learned that was not true. The bus turns left or right  now with little effort.

When someone tells you the tires are good, be sure they are talking about the whole tire and not just the tire tread.

All in all having a great time discovering. More fun than a car.
 
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1978 Gillig 636D
CAT 3208 Allison MT 643
NLAAF Fitness Bus
Fair Oaks Ca
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« Reply #12 on: September 14, 2009, 12:33:59 PM »

I have a treadmill in my bus

It folds up for storage

Glad to hear I am not the only one

Melbo

I use them for demonstrating running and fitness exercises. I plug it into the generator. I use the bus to help market products from my fitness company. It is hard not to attract attention when pulling into a parking lot.
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1978 Gillig 636D
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Fair Oaks Ca
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« Reply #13 on: September 14, 2009, 04:52:36 PM »

Our treadmill is for personal use only

We just like to run and don't like to do it in the rain or cold or hot

That is the cool thing about a bus

YOU DO IT YOUR WAY

Melbo
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« Reply #14 on: September 14, 2009, 05:34:20 PM »

Welcome to the board, and we value that you stay on the board.

If you are working on the bus underneath the bus, make sure at all times it is blocked, with heavy timber, etc. The aired up bus can settle in a heartbeat crushing anything underneath.

Good Luck, explore learn and report back.
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« Reply #15 on: September 15, 2009, 12:24:17 AM »

Adarian -

The wheelchair lift on your coach is manufactured by Lift-U, a division of Hogan Industries, and they're built in Escalon - off Highway 120 east of Manteca, not too far from you! You might even be able to order a shop manual for it!  http://liftu.hoganmfg.com/support/manuals.aspx

Thousands of these things are out there, and they're actually very dependable (one of the main reasons they're the most popular).  Having trained a LOT of drivers on their use, I can probably thoroughly confuse you about it's operation.  So here goes the basics (main coach engine must be running, parking brake set, transmission in N, fast idle on):

1. Lift's controls are on the RH side of the dashboard.  Push the white button in the center row to turn on the power.  If there's power to the lift, the button will light up.  If it doesn't light, either the bulb's burned out or there's no power to the lift.  Figure out which.

2. The lift operates in a simple L > R then R > L pattern of the toggle switches along the bottom row. If the light's on, press and hold down the toggle switch below the red button.  If the lift is working, this will extend the platform out from it's hiding place under the 2nd & 3rd steps

3. Once the platform is out, move the center toggle switch down to lower the platform to the ground, or up to raise it to floor level.

4.  If you lower the platform to the ground, then move the RH toggle switch down to lower the outer barrier/ramp.

5.  To stow the lift, reverse the sequence - barrier up, platform up to floor, platform back to steps.

(If you'll notice, the toggle switch action is actually intuitive: pressing down takes the platform to the ground, pressing up brings it to the floor.)

6.  Once stowed, press the red button to turn off the lift's power.

7.  Sometimes, especially on rough roads, the lift may wiggle out from it's parking place.  When it does, the yellow button's light should come on.  If that happens, simply stop, turn the power on and re-stow the lift.  You might have to extend the platform all the way out first, depends on how it hiccuped.

Now, outside the coach, in the compartment above the RF headlight (that's held shut with duct tape in the photo), is the remote controls for the lift.  Basically the same as the bottom row on the dash, same order, same function.  Often these will work when the dashboard's doesn't.  Depending on the coach, you may also have a hydraulic pump in there.  If so, it's to help you re-stow the lift should there be an hydraulic failure.  Note that if you have to use the pump, you must also hold the appropriate switch in the direction you want the lift to go.

Fuses or circuit breakers for the lift are in the panel to the left of the driver.

Whew!

Now, about the driver's seat and a couple other things:  There should be a push/pull knob under the LF corner of the seat.  Pushing it in adds air and raises the seat, pulling it out releases the air.  That's if it's an air-ride seat, of course.  If you are close to or over six feet tall, you may or may not end up with the seat literally against the driver/passenger shield.  If so, you'll find this bus terribly uncomfortable for anything other than short drives - look at how the driver's area is suspended & framed to better understand.

Standing in the vestibule area, looking out the windshields, look up to the upper RH corner of the coach.  You'll find a small rectangular "trap door."  Inside that door is a on/off toggle switch for the rear door interlock system.

Air release for the front door is a 90o valve located either near the floor on the LH side of the driver's seat, or on the front of the side electrical department.  It's usually mounted so that if you had a stick shift, it would be to the L of the ball of your foot when placing it on the peddle.

Droopy eyelids, enough for now.

FWIW & HTH. . .

 Wink
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« Reply #16 on: September 15, 2009, 01:13:42 AM »

maybe it's jsut me but in this pic
 http://www.palofitness.com/images/bus/mainair.jpg
the air chuck that someone (po?) put on the main tank seems very exposed to anything on the road, and if it gets snapped off (easy as it's brass) you will loose all air.
 Also it looks like it is where the tank drain should be (disregard this if there is a tank drain on this tank elsewhere).
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« Reply #17 on: September 15, 2009, 06:56:21 AM »

Adding just a little bit to Russ' explanation of the wheelchair lift.  When extending/lowering, you want to be on reasonably flat ground.  In transit, we've had a heck of a time with drivers using the lift around crowned roads, curbs, etc.  There should be a limit switch, (under the platform when extended, outer edge), that allows the anti-roll barrier to deploy.  Without a flat surface to contact, all kinds of havoc can break out. 

If you can find the specs for the lift, check the weight rating.  In the early days of fixed route wheelchair lifts, we took a coach out for a test, in response to a passenger complaint.  She had one of the early motorized wheelchairs (300-400 pounds), and she weighed about the same.  Her complaint was that we were wheelchair accessible, she could access the fixed route, but we wouldn't let her ride because of the combined weight.

I took our maintenance manager and a mechanic, and took a bus out to see if we could get her on.  We did, but really strained the hydraulics.  Fortunately, once she knew she could ride if she wanted to, she didn't call (if I remember right) - knowing that she could was enough for her.

The pedal you're mentioning (sewing machine) baffles me.  Since the bus came from Portland, I would suspect it does modulate the retarder ... as someone else suggested.  In response to the "deadman" suggestion, I've never run into such a thing on a bus.  PCC cars do, indeed, have a deadman pedal - about where the clutch would otherwise be.  That pedal would match your description.  For buses, the deadman is usually a nearby telephone pole (when we're lucky, and it's not oncoming traffic). 

Why not call Tri-Met, ask to speak to the Maintenance Director, and ask him(her) for a way to contact of some of the older mechanics who worked on them. 

Arthur
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Arthur Gaudet    Carrollton (Dallas area) Texas 
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« Reply #18 on: September 15, 2009, 07:16:34 AM »

Wow! great information thanks!
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1978 Gillig 636D
CAT 3208 Allison MT 643
NLAAF Fitness Bus
Fair Oaks Ca
Adarian
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« Reply #19 on: September 15, 2009, 07:21:42 AM »

maybe it's jsut me but in this pic
 http://www.palofitness.com/images/bus/mainair.JPG
the air chuck that someone (po?) put on the main tank seems very exposed to anything on the road, and if it gets snapped off (easy as it's brass) you will loose all air.
 Also it looks like it is where the tank drain should be (disregard this if there is a tank drain on this tank elsewhere).


I don't think there is a drain for that tank on the other side but will check to be sure.
I also thought the set up was strange. It is covered by the skirt when he bus is traveling. But still it seems out of place. Also the bus is kneeling in that photo. Ground clearance is much higher when the bus is not kneeling.
Any other Flx  Metro owners out that could check their bus?

As soon as I find the tank for the air starter, I will look into it more.
I have 7 or 8 tanks on the bus.

« Last Edit: September 15, 2009, 07:32:09 AM by Adarian » Logged

1978 Gillig 636D
CAT 3208 Allison MT 643
NLAAF Fitness Bus
Fair Oaks Ca
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« Reply #20 on: September 15, 2009, 07:43:25 AM »

On the subject of the 110 volt wires in the dash and side panel areas.

There used to be a 110 volt micro-inverter located forward under panel where the door
operator controls are located. forward of the fuse-buss. There are wires that also go to the switch and control panels on either side of the instrument panel.

This provided the 110 volt power to light up the "backlit" instrument panels. ( Glow at night ) or EL panels. On Most of the buses that I have seen the panels were no longer functional or basically dead. They look like engraved plastic panels and have the markings for switch functions and such.

Hope that helped clear up some confusion... Basically if you havent' worked on or owned a Grumman-FLX you are just guessing inthe dark.
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« Reply #21 on: September 15, 2009, 08:17:04 AM »



The pedal you're mentioning (sewing machine) baffles me.  Since the bus came from Portland, I would suspect it does modulate the retarder ... as someone else suggested.  In response to the "deadman" suggestion, I've never run into such a thing on a bus.  PCC cars do, indeed, have a deadman pedal - about where the clutch would otherwise be.  That pedal would match your description.  For buses, the deadman is usually a nearby telephone pole (when we're lucky, and it's not oncoming traffic). 


Arthur
At this point we are in pure trivia land but when I was a kid in Ottawa the buses had deadman's on them.  I guess I've been into engineering etc...my hole life because I remember asking a bus driver what it was and he told me it was a deadman's switch and the bus would not roll if it was not depressed.  For years afterward I would watch the busdrivers and they would always step on it before anything else, sounds like a PITA but it was Ottawa the nation's capital and we had all sorts of stuff the rest of the country never had.
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« Reply #22 on: September 15, 2009, 08:44:51 AM »

Next time I go to the bus, I will take a picture of the switch.
I will also take a picture of the 110 box and any other oddity.
Exploration is fun.
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1978 Gillig 636D
CAT 3208 Allison MT 643
NLAAF Fitness Bus
Fair Oaks Ca
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« Reply #23 on: September 15, 2009, 10:41:30 AM »

I know nothing of your bus but some buses had a 110 volt external connection to plug into for "station lights" or "cleaning lights".
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« Reply #24 on: September 17, 2009, 11:26:19 PM »

Learned today that the sewing machine like pedal is to turn on the microphone.
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NLAAF Fitness Bus
Fair Oaks Ca
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« Reply #25 on: October 22, 2009, 04:07:45 PM »

maybe it's jsut me but in this pic
 http://www.palofitness.com/images/bus/mainair.JPG
the air chuck that someone (po?) put on the main tank seems very exposed to anything on the road, and if it gets snapped off (easy as it's brass) you will loose all air.
 Also it looks like it is where the tank drain should be (disregard this if there is a tank drain on this tank elsewhere).


I don't think there is a drain for that tank on the other side but will check to be sure.
I also thought the set up was strange. It is covered by the skirt when he bus is traveling. But still it seems out of place. Also the bus is kneeling in that photo. Ground clearance is much higher when the bus is not kneeling.
Any other Flx  Metro owners out that could check their bus?

As soon as I find the tank for the air starter, I will look into it more.
I have 7 or 8 tanks on the bus.


The air tank in the photo is for the air starter. The device on the back with wires is a solenoid for the air starter. I am not sure this tank is supposed to be drained.
« Last Edit: October 22, 2009, 04:53:47 PM by Adarian » Logged

1978 Gillig 636D
CAT 3208 Allison MT 643
NLAAF Fitness Bus
Fair Oaks Ca
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