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Author Topic: small soft spots, bus is partially resting on frame  (Read 3396 times)
Adarian
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« on: January 11, 2010, 11:15:31 AM »

I went to move my bus today as a storm is coming. Wanted to move it to firmer ground.
I parked it in one spot and the front wheels started to sink. As I was backing up to move it again the right rear wheel sunk.
It took all a matter of maybe 30 seconds before I knew what was going on.
The right rear wheel is also the drive wheel. I tried at first to dig around the sunk wheel. After digging the wheel out, I notice that the frame was sitting on the ground. I need to figure out how to raise the wheel up to put boards underneath it, so that I can get the frame off the ground.


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« Reply #1 on: January 11, 2010, 11:25:26 AM »

You are in a bind..   Do you have any steel drop decking to create a stable jack point under the bus?

With the wet ground you might need to wait awhile for the ground to stabilize.    The other option is to get a tractor or tow truck.

With the frame on the ground it is going to be tough to get enough room under the bus to "safely" support/block the jacks.

The risk of injury is very high with wet soil.   
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Jerry32
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« Reply #2 on: January 11, 2010, 11:29:00 AM »

True! you will hsve to dig a hole under the frame to put a jack and but some good support under the jack to get it up.  Otherwisse as stated befor a tow is the only other way out. Jerry
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« Reply #3 on: January 11, 2010, 11:36:59 AM »

Adarian,
OK raising the wheel up is not going to be an easy task! But what I have done in the past is gotten to the air leveling valve and disconnected it. Then pushed up on the valve which will make it think that side of the bus (not wheel) is low and put more air in the bags. (if yours is the single rear valve set up it will still work by raising the whole rear up) Then you can get something jammed up under the wheel that it can grab as you drive onto it. (or if you can find sturdy blocking points you can block the body/chassis and deflate the bags taking pressure of the axle to jam something under the wheels) Either way unless you can get a jack under the axle itself on firm enough ground or support it's next to impossible to "raise" the wheels!
FWIW HTH.
Other option is to get a tow truck, tractor, backhoe, bobcat or other heavy unit to give it a tug a few feet untilyou can get traction. Or leave it until things dry up and get it unstuck! (don't ask me how I know about the last suggestion, or anyone that made it to our last little rally in September here! Wink)
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« Reply #4 on: January 11, 2010, 12:04:59 PM »

I've rigged a lot of things, but in this case i wouldn't even start.  There is nothing good that's gonna happen with a guy trying to jury-rig a bus up on shifting ground.  Call a wrecker.  A big wrecker.

Brian
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« Reply #5 on: January 11, 2010, 12:24:52 PM »

Adarian -

Doesn't sound like the bus is blocking anything? If there's no emergency, just leave it be. Much safer, much less chance of doing damage. BTDT, Got the T-shirt.  Huh

Nellie Wilson

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« Reply #6 on: January 11, 2010, 01:36:17 PM »

My experience. TWICE I have been stuck. 1st at Texas music fest when campground became lake. Large  tractor hooked on front and pulled up to road where traction was available.  The 2nd time, I bought another bus 4107, and it had sank in the years it had been parked. Called my local wrecker and told him I needed a big one. He did not think I did, and brought a small one. He 2 parted
the cable , blocked his his wheels and pulled me right out. Cost about $100.
The tractor was free. Go see you neighbor.
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« Reply #7 on: January 11, 2010, 02:18:05 PM »

You are going to think I am silly on this BUT.  Ever heard of a "snatch strap"?  Well the 4X4 wheelers have a ton of stories and I know that all my Bud's have one in their rig.  It is a nylon strap for towing and you must know that nylon stretches mightily.  The trick is that you hook up the strap to each vehicle and then, with a lot of slack mind you. you floor the towing vehicle, bus or truck or car, and let that strap s t r e t c h and when the vehicle stops moving you lock the brakes and sit there.  If your truck weighs 5,000 pounds it puts 5.000 plus pounds of pull on the stuck guy.  You can't get that many pounds of traction pull but you can easily get that much energy stored up in that strap.  They make many different ratings of straps and , obviously, a 50,000 bus would snap that little 5K strap if you weren't careful.  It works beyond reason.

Just my 2 cents worth,

John
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« Reply #8 on: January 11, 2010, 02:42:01 PM »

Adarian -

As you know, your Flx has a big "A" frame for the rear suspension that attaches to the rear of the fuel tank.

If this frame has sunk into the ground, you've got a bigger challenge than simply attempting to block up the wheels, or, for that matter, even jacking up the body.

(For those busnuts unfamiliar with a Flx Metro, the coach is a transit-style monocoque that has been, literally, "snapped" together.  The wooden floor is the strongest part of the coach.  It requires a $pecial jig fixture that keeps the back end together just to remove the powertrain cradle.)

Because of it's construction, I'm not sure if the two big towing eyes located under the panel between the headlights would work in this situation.  I'd be afraid of it actually pulling the front end cap off the coach completely, if it's that stuck.

What you might be able to do is dig down beneath the rear air bellows sufficiently enough to get an air-over-hydraulic 20-ton jack underneath, sitting on something sufficiently large enough to spread the load over a wider area than the jack itself.  Since the bellows is attached to the very end of the "A" frame, jacking at this point might give you the room to slip some plywood or similar under the drive axle tires.

The front is a conventional "I-beam", all the normal caveats apply at that end.

Another thought:  Since Sacratomato RTD ran a bunch of Metros, you might wander over to one of their garages and ask for a shop foreman.  Tell him the problem, and see if he thinks one of his guys might be interested in helping you out.

JohnEd's comment about the "snatch strap" is valid.  The late Richard Bowyer (Driving Miss Lazy) used them, or was familiar with them, can't remember which.  An archive search should come up with more info.

FWIW & HTH. . .

 Wink
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RJ Long
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Adarian
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« Reply #9 on: January 11, 2010, 03:15:36 PM »

Amazing how fast a bus can sink. It is supposed to rain here for the next two days. I was hoping to be able to get it unstuck before it sinks more.
I guess the greatest concern is the A frame sitting twisted for too long as the wheel is hanging in the air.
The part the frame that is resting on the ground is on compacted gravel, very hard to dig under it.
I thought that I would be able to raise the sunk wheel using a forklift and raise it just high enough to stick a board underneath it.
As I was able to dig two foot in front of it and one foot to the side and to the rear of the wheel.
I figured when the forklift sat the wheel down the frame would raise up off the ground and I would regain enough traction to move it.
I guess I will wait for the rain to pass and then call a big wrecker.

Thanks for all of the ideas.
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« Reply #10 on: January 11, 2010, 03:44:27 PM »

If you try to raise it with a  fork lift, the fork lift is going to sink in.  If you put a board under it, the board will break, unless it's rail-road tie in it's essential board-ness.  I get things stuck in my back 40 every year, I just wait till my neighbour with the tractor gets home and he pulls me out...  One time I may even realize all the things I'm gonna try while I wait for him won't work, and save myself a lot of time and stress...   Grin
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« Reply #11 on: January 11, 2010, 03:48:27 PM »

In 2005 Ian Woofenden dropped the right rear wheel of his 04 off the side of the road. He was able to jack up the wheel and block it so he could move it onto the road...Cable
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« Reply #12 on: January 11, 2010, 04:00:48 PM »

Ha I was just there
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« Reply #13 on: January 11, 2010, 04:01:13 PM »

see
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« Reply #14 on: January 11, 2010, 04:03:54 PM »

In 2005 Ian Woofenden dropped the right rear wheel of his 04 off the side of the road. He was able to jack up the wheel and block it so he could move it onto the road...Cable

That is what I was thinking of doing with the forklift.
The funny thing is how I just missed parking on that firm spot right behind and right in front of the soft spot.
The part the frame is resting on.
« Last Edit: January 11, 2010, 04:09:36 PM by Adarian » Logged

1978 Gillig 636D
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« Reply #15 on: January 11, 2010, 04:12:07 PM »

Ha I was just there

That is about how deep my wheel is. If I had a tag axle I wouldn't be stuck.
That must bite to have two wheels stuck.
That is one big wrecker. Time to call road side assistance.
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« Reply #16 on: January 11, 2010, 04:31:06 PM »

In 2005 Ian Woofenden dropped the right rear wheel of his 04 off the side of the road. He was able to jack up the wheel and block it so he could move it onto the road...Cable

Now that there is some Yankee Enginuity
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« Reply #17 on: January 11, 2010, 04:47:46 PM »

I went to move my bus today as a storm is coming. Wanted to move it to firmer ground.
I parked it in one spot and the front wheels started to sink. As I was backing up to move it again the right rear wheel sunk.
It took all a matter of maybe 30 seconds before I knew what was going on.
The right rear wheel is also the drive wheel. I tried at first to dig around the sunk wheel. After digging the wheel out, I notice that the frame was sitting on the ground. I need to figure out how to raise the wheel up to put boards underneath it, so that I can get the frame off the ground

CALL A BIG-RIG WRECKER!!!!!!!

Your coach is on DANGEROUS ground.  There is NO WAY to SAFELY jack, fill, etc., and ANY ATTEMPT MAY KILL YOU.

Think about this. The ground is soft enough that a large, flexible support sank into it.  Where are you going to put a jack that will be any firmer?

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Slow Rider
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« Reply #18 on: January 11, 2010, 05:52:26 PM »

Hey Ed,

That isn't Bruce's place by any chance is it?

Frank
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« Reply #19 on: January 12, 2010, 06:47:33 AM »

I sunk in an area where there was no getting a forklift, tow truck etc in!!  This took lots of time, patience and scrap wood.  The bus would move a few inches in the rut it was in.  I dug out behind the wheel's and put short 2x4's crosswise behind the sunk wheel's and scrap plywood under the unsunk wheels. Backed up on wood and repeated the process under the front of the wheels, except no or little digging this time. Took the bus forward and put more wood under rear of wheels, backed up and more wood under front. About now there is mud on the boards and the bus does not want to move so I found some crushed stone and put it on boards. I kept up the process untill bus was at ground level. Crushed stone could be used instead of wood, but I had lots of wood and little stone.
 Next I cut 4 sheets of 3/4 in plywood in half length wise and drove bus on strips and moved 8 feet at a time! which was fine till I hit a bit of a grade, the rear wheels would kick the plywood out. I nailed 2x2 to the underside of plywood to act as track's.  Now the plywood is wet and muddy and I'm on a grade so the wheels spin.  So a bit more crushed stone and I'm moving again.
 PIA but the only option I had was wait till summer.

ps Don't plan on reusing plywood for a future project Grin                     HTH  JIm
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« Reply #20 on: January 12, 2010, 07:26:57 AM »

I've had a lot of big stuff stuck over the years.  As others have suggested the absolute best bet is to wait until things dry up on their own but sometimes that isn't possible and other times you just don't want to wait that long.  If you decide to tow it out you need big rigging - really big rigging - and breaking something during the pull or shortly afterward is a definite possibility.  Often during an extraction you will overstress something and it will break shortly after the pull.  Farm tractors are about the worst bet for pulling - they are geared too high.  The best best, short of a highway wrecker, is something with an automatic transmission like a wheel loader.  As others have already pointed out, a big winch could actually pull the tow hooks off the bus or worse, there's a lot of suction when a big frame is sitting on muddy ground.
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« Reply #21 on: January 12, 2010, 11:26:28 AM »

Adarian;  It's gonna take quite a forklift to get it out. If your coach is 27,000lb like mine. I would figure about 10k front and 17k rear.That would be between 8k and 9k on each side. The lift of a forklift is based on it's capacity at the drive wheels. The length of the forks reduces the lift capacity by moving the load away from the fulcrum and can cause the upright to tilt forward as the steer wheels lift off the ground. I would estimate a need for a 10k lb. machine to guarantee no contact between the upright and your coach. Having seen the results of under estimating this. That's the kind of crap that keeps me awake at night...Cable
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« Reply #22 on: January 12, 2010, 11:55:07 AM »

Going to wait until the ground is dry at the least.
At the moment the mud around the wheel has been removed. May be a good thing or bad thing being that it is still raining.
It appears that when the air bag deflates the rear sub section is off the ground.
What appears to be the issue is the right side of the A frame.
That is why I thought that a forklift could be used just to raise the right rear wheel high enough to put 6 inches of wood underneath it.
My thought was that I would only be lifting the wheel and not the bus.
But a wrecker would be able to do it much easier.
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« Reply #23 on: January 12, 2010, 12:44:18 PM »

Truck repair facilities have a special pneumatic jack that grips the "tire" from the lower side.  The jack has a air bladder in it that is retained in a huge cylinder.  Four of these will elevate the bus 4 feet in the air in a shop.  I am not there and even the pics don't tell it all but I thought I would mention the jacks as a possible option.  Finding one to rent will be problematic.  Transporting them might be the big issue as if that thing isn't made from aluminum it must be extremely heavy. Tongue

I have seen air bladders on wrecker/recovery vehicles that are puncture proof, sorta, and they are 10 feet by 6 feet and can lift 4 feet.  They are less than an inch thick deflated.

I think your idea to wait till it drys out is a really bad one from an entertainment perspective.   For all of us, that is.  For you, it might be better, however. Grin

John
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« Reply #24 on: January 16, 2010, 10:47:08 AM »

Bus is unstuck. Lifted rear with a forklift high enough to put 6 x 8 post underneath frame resting on top 1/4 inch steel panel.
Then raised up the rear wheel 3 inches and slid a 5 foot long 6 x 8 post underneath wheel.
Due to digging out the mud around the wheel, the rear wheel didn't need to be raised as high to get the log underneath it.
Started bus and floored it. It rolled out. Now it has a new parking spot.
« Last Edit: January 16, 2010, 12:32:59 PM by Adarian » Logged

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« Reply #25 on: January 16, 2010, 11:12:04 AM »

Hurray! Good to hear you are outta the mud!
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« Reply #26 on: January 16, 2010, 05:55:28 PM »

I'm sure you are happy!!! Glad to see you got her out.
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