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Author Topic: driving unsafe vehicles  (Read 4790 times)
bevans6
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« on: May 18, 2010, 07:13:33 PM »

I confess I am stumped by one thing about our hobby.  How do we as bus nuts justify driving illegal, blatantly unsafe vehicles on public roads, just because we can and we probably won't have an accident and won't get caught?   I've read stories recently about driving buses with a missing brake chamber, stories that are almost legend about pulling a bus out of a field, getting it running and driving it a thousand miles home on 20 year old tires and who knows what kind of brakes, stories about air systems that leak so bad the air compressor runs almost constantly - how do we as a community justify that?

I just don't understand, I guess.

Brian

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bobofthenorth
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« Reply #1 on: May 18, 2010, 07:58:37 PM »

I hear you Brian.  I'm afraid we're one dead schoolgirl with a cute kitten away from having to follow a commercial inspection regime.  And that would mean that at least half of the coaches represented on this site would be off the road the next day.
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R.J.(Bob) Evans
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Chopper Scott
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« Reply #2 on: May 18, 2010, 08:01:25 PM »

I think you take things a little too far Brian. The moving of a bus 10 miles without one brake chamber is not that drastic especially when the driver knows he has a limited amount of braking. All he is doing is taking his bus to a safer spot. Lets put it another way. You blow out a  brake diaphram on the interstate. Can you cap it off and drive to the next exit or do you call a wrecker or landall to haul it to the next exit? I have read a lot of your posts and am aware of what you state as a limited budget. So are you going to pay a wrecker $500 to $1000 to get your bus to the next exit or are you going to pinch the line off and limp there? You know you are breaking the law and endangering lives. Your call!
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buswarrior
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« Reply #3 on: May 18, 2010, 08:41:37 PM »

a troubling topic, for sure!

You can be sure that posts from these boards will be read into the transcripts of a court eventually...
and not in the defense of a busnut!
And then the boards will go viral in a most unpleasant way.

perhaps the only difference is between premeditated and heat-of-the-moment? Murder or manslaughter?

Many of us have boldly gone with less knowledge than maybe we should have had?
Some of us continue to do so?

Stories of well planned, carefully repaired and compliant trips of new to us old coaches heading home come across as boring?

Bob's got it, after the sweep, we'll be up on blocks.

happy coaching!
buswarrior

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Melbo
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« Reply #4 on: May 18, 2010, 08:42:56 PM »

I agree with BOTN.  The whole world rotates around  one  dumb $hit and a lawyer.  Throw in a cute kitten and we would be completely out of business.

I am sure that we FEEL safe when we are driving (otherwise we wouldn't be doing it) but feeling safe and being in compliance are two different things

Melbo
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« Reply #5 on: May 18, 2010, 09:01:07 PM »

Yup, those commercial bus inspections are intense.  The Georgia DOT does a lot of their inspections here at the Choo Choo Garage so they can use the pit.  They check everything with a fine tooth comb and anything that doesn't pass must be repaired.  Even a cracked side window is enough to put it out of commercial service.
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luvrbus
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« Reply #6 on: May 18, 2010, 09:35:38 PM »

Last week at the Idaho DOT station on I 84 in Boise I saw 2 brand new H-45 there with those windshield tags where they failed inspection I told my wife sure glad we don't have to run the Eagle bus through that.
No way one of these old buses we drive would pass inspection.


good luck
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niles500
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« Reply #7 on: May 18, 2010, 10:51:24 PM »

Me thinks that if you get on a BB and ask if you should ...... you probably shouldn't ....
« Last Edit: May 18, 2010, 11:08:02 PM by niles500 » Logged

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bevans6
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« Reply #8 on: May 19, 2010, 03:47:07 AM »

Chopper Scott, I do a commercial level inspection on my bus before it rolls for a trip, although I do skip on the dailys if I am driving it every day for a while.  I comply with commercial regs as they exist in Ontario as far as under chassis inspections are concerned.  My bus passed a full DOT inspection by a licensed shop less than 10,000 miles ago.  I subscribe to a recovery service so that if I am disabled I can, with no financial penalty, be recovered off that freeway.

I guess I learned how to be a commercial driver, both in the Forces as a driver by trade and as a driver trainer, and as a school bus driver, so long ago that I forget not doing things the way I was taught.  I'm not under any budget limitations to any extent, if the bus needs it it gets it, or I just wait for a while for a trip.  I treat my bus as though it was a commercial vehicle in revenue service.  I feel quite bad if I am on a trip and one of the clearance lights burns out, for Pete's sake!  quite anal about it to be honest... Undecided

Edit - I'm not trying to be all  preachy, I'm just sharing how I seem to be doing things.  Maybe it's down to early training and maybe to my more current work building and preparing racing cars.  That's another area of mechanical endeavour where close enough sometimes doesn't cut it, you really do strive for perfection as opposed to good enough.

Brian
« Last Edit: May 19, 2010, 04:04:24 AM by bevans6 » Logged

1980 MCI MC-5C, 8V-71T from a M-110 self propelled howitzer
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« Reply #9 on: May 19, 2010, 04:51:04 AM »

It's a pretty weird area with old buses sometimes.  Before bringing my bus home, I adjusted all slacks, got all my marker lights etc working, went over a ton of stuff.  Drove it home, but my bus was made in '53 so it had no spring brakes/DD3s whatever.  I adjusted the hell out of my handbrake until I knew it could stop me from 60 mph (eventually).  Getting spring brakes on that puppy was definitely top of the list.  Could I have done more before the trip home?  Yes (change bushings, spring brakes, various small details) did I have enough time (=money) to do so?  No.
 So there was a risk, but I kept things slow, checked all systems continuously, and got home in one piece, and my gas milage was awesome!  Would I do it again? Yup, with one important caveat, I had a breaker trip and I lost my headlights in the middle of a moonless night for 5?-30? very long seconds.  I have no idea how long as it was terrifying.  If I ever do this again, I will hard wire the headlights to a known good circuit....that is never happening to me again!  BTW it was a worn bit of insulation shorting out the  lights, definitely didn't show up on pre-trip inspection.
  Would I drive 10 miles with one rear can missing?  Yup, but only after checking that all the other brakes were fully operational, and doing some test stops in a safe (ish) enviroment.  And not if there were any steep hills to navigate.  Oh yeah and I wouldn't drive back to the shop, I would change the can at my place.
  My 2 cents.....but then please note I also drove a 65 volvo for 6 years that had a single line hydraulic brake system and no warning light system for low brake fluid.   Brand new hard and flex lines all around and new e brake cables.....still was glad when I graduated to a modern ("68) with 2 line system.  These old rigs keep you on your toes.
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luvrbus
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« Reply #10 on: May 19, 2010, 05:06:06 AM »

Brian, here in the US DOT inspections vary from state to state.
I have had my trucks pass in OK only to fail in KS.I was told Idaho was very strict with the weights and length allowed there a truck pullling 2- 53 foot trailers loaded with 200,000 pounds of potatoes or sugar beets is a comman sight during harvest season.


good luck
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« Reply #11 on: May 19, 2010, 06:34:24 AM »

It appears I have upset several members of the board by driving my bus while it was a little handicapped. I was only trying to make sure there wasn't something that would cause the brakes to lock up or something  mechanical that I should know about with the can missing. I was not asking about your thoughts about the wisdom of doing it. After thinking about it, I realize it might be unwise for someone to recommend or even comment on driving a handicapped bus, because if something did go wrong then that would put you on the wrong side of the fence so I understand not getting too many comments.

But the truth be known, I still think most of us would have driven their bus home in the same situation. As I mentioned I had the bus in the shop to have the brakes checked and adjusted. The remaining 5 brakes are in great shape and I am guessing that gives me 70% to 80% of my full braking power and after driving it in the truck lot it was apparent it had plenty of stopping power for my 10 mile trip. I thought I had read of buses chaining up their tag axle for what ever reason and it seems like that would take away one axle worth of braking power and if that is correct it seems like that would be the same thing as I did as far as braking. If my logic is wrong it wouldn't surprise me but I am an old man and I am easily confused.

I hope that by being branded as foolish for driving the handicapped bus, I hope I don't get black balled when I have other questions as there is obviously many things that I don't know and have used this board in the past to get that valuable information.

Bob
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Bob Caddel, Las Vegas Nevada
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« Reply #12 on: May 19, 2010, 06:39:26 AM »

Bob,
No worries about being black balled! We have members here who've done much worse we still adore! (and are amazed they/we survived to tell it! Wink
Grin  BK  Grin
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« Reply #13 on: May 19, 2010, 06:43:20 AM »

I hope that by being branded as foolish for driving the handicapped bus, I hope I don't get black balled when I have other questions as there is obviously many things that I don't know and have used this board in the past to get that valuable information.
Bob

Bob,
   Don't worry about getting blackballed.  Post like yours stimulates a very good conversation among the many knowledgeable people on this BB.  Although you got many "answers", ultimately, it is your decision, based on information you received here.  Some topics always bring a lot of opinions (don't ask what kind of wire to use for AC wiring LOL). This is a good thing.  Jack
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« Reply #14 on: May 19, 2010, 06:44:50 AM »

You don't need much brakes in your part Nev anyway Bob not like driving in downtown Dallas or Houston  I never use mine there don't worry about it LOL


good luck
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