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Author Topic: A hopefully respectful followup from Brian Evans (Bevans6)  (Read 3871 times)
bevans6
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« on: September 01, 2010, 08:18:17 AM »

As I said in my earlier now-infamous post, I left the board to go away, lick my wounds, and try to get to the facts about air compressors on buses.   Right off the bat, I apologize to people who were offended by the vigour of my defence.  I agree that it's not my place to tell others what they should or should not do in any situation.  Each has to make their own decisions about everything that life presents them.  I felt that I knew what was right and legal and appropriate in this situation, and my passion got the better of me.  This note is mostly in explanation of where my position came from, and I'm not trying to offend anyone with it, just lay out whatever facts I was able to uncover.

My training in this is from the Military and from commercial operations, so my background is maybe a little rigorous.  While my time driving for pay ended many years ago I have to hold a commercial license, including air brake certification, to drive my bus (as does any bus conversion owner living in Ontario, it applies to all vehicles with air brakes and over a certain weight), and as it happens I had re-certified for air-brakes just a few weeks ago (In Ontario you have to re-certify every three years).  The question of continuing to operating a vehicle that develops a major defect on the road (which losing a compressor is) was actually a question on the test.  So my position came from my understanding, background and training, and that obviously reflects the laws of Ontario, as does this discussion.  I’m not saying this applies to where you are, where you might drive (unless it’s in Ontario), and I’m not saying you should or even need to comply with the things that I might discuss here.   I’m just saying that this is what I was able to find out about the laws that govern converted buses in Ontario.

 I found it remarkably hard to find  the facts, since the regulations are written in legalese and are subject to interpretation.  The first group of people who interpret the regulations are the enforcement officers, here where I live they are Ontario Ministry of Transportation Enforcement Officers.  The have the power of inspection, and can issue immediate penalties including loss of drivers license for a period of time, impounding a vehicle, putting a vehicle out of service until required repairs are complete, fines up to $20,000, and so on.  At the end of the day I was unable to find the answers on-line, so I called my local enforcement officer and chatted about the issue.  More on that later.

What I did find on-line is that new motor vehicles have to be built to a standard, for air brakes it’s FMVSS 121.  All OEM equipment, both as supplied on the vehicle and as supplied as parts, is supposed to comply with that standard, and a bunch of referenced standards.  But aftermarket parts don’t really have to comply with anything.  There are industry standards but they seem to be  voluntary compliance.  For the purposes of this issue, the key factor seems to be “as equipped”.  A vehicle is supposed to be maintained in compliance with how it was originally equipped.

Commercial vehicles need to be inspected on a daily or monthly basis and the driver needs to have documentation with the vehicle at all times.  As non-commercial vehicles and motor homes, we are exempt from that requirement, we don’t have to do daily inspections.  The kicker is that we are still subject to the same requirement that the vehicle be able to pass the inspections at all times that it is in operation.  Our vehicle don’t need to be inspected, they just have to be able to pass all the time.  One part of the under-chassis inspection for buses and highway coaches is that the compressor, “as equipped” (words from a different part of the regulation that apply to this part)  needs to be functioning properly.  Failure is a major defect and the vehicle is to be placed out of service until rectified.  “As equipped” in this context means as manufactured, or upgraded with equivalent or improved parts, basically.

So having failed to find a rule about using a non-automotive compressor in an air-brake vehicle ( I did find a rule that any air lines and fittings used in a brake system, which would obviously include lines feeding from a compressor to the tanks, have to be DOT compliant to FMVSS 106), I went to the experts at the enforcement office.  I called and asked the officer “what about using a normal electric air compressor to replace the air compressor in a motor home or converted bus”.  I got put on speaker phone and actually talked to two officers, combined experience over 50 years.  They said they had never heard of such a thing and never been asked the question before, and I started to get worried - they have call display, they know my name, my phone number, and my address…  I might be getting in some trouble here just asking the question!  The answer is that it is completely illegal, and if caught, they would impound the vehicle, take the plates off it, suspend the drivers license of the driver, the driver would be charged with operation of an unsafe vehicle (which actually can be a criminal charge here) and the fines could be up to $20K.  They said that if the worst happened, and a fatal accident occurred, the driver would undoubtedly be charged with vehicular homicide and potentially go to jail.  In short, they basically said they would go up one side of the drivers head and down the other, and throw the book at him.  They were not very amused by my questions.

So putting this to bed, that’s what I was able to find out about the issue of running a bus, on any public road in Ontario anyway, with the normal air brake compressor not functioning and using an electric compressor as a replacement.  I asked about emergencies.  They allowed as how you might do that electric air compressor thing under the specific direction and supervision of an Officer to move the vehicle to a safe place.

So in answer to what I would do if my air compressor failed?  I would call Coachnet and deal with it, whatever "it" turned out to be.

Brian




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« Reply #1 on: September 01, 2010, 08:47:50 AM »

Brian
 Glade to see your account still works. I was on the other side of the  now-infamous post. We all get passionate at times. I have thought you provide good content to this board. The delivery of said content will depend on the the mood of the others posting. I get caught in BS myself at times. Not sure what is your beverage of choice is but find myself needing to go get a beer or glass of wine before I post on some of the threads that deal with controversial subjects. My hope that all can take it for what it is and give good input then walk away smiling when other don't agree. If this happens for me I feel I have done all I can do.

Thanks John
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« Reply #2 on: September 01, 2010, 09:17:03 AM »

Brian, glad to see you back I have a friend and a past member of this board that has 5 KW dealerships and has a heavy hauling co and I mean heavy hauling like 20 axles lowboy and every one of his trucks have 1 or 2 12v compressors to help supply air(12 cfm) 90% duty cylce and he says they are legal and the lowboy manufacture requires it fwiw he was going to sell me one at his cost over 900 bucks.
 He has lost compressor before and came back from Mexico using only the electric compressors,he said he knows nothing about the DOT in Canada and has no plans of finding out or hauling there.

good luck
« Last Edit: September 01, 2010, 09:40:44 AM by luvrbus » Logged

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Lonnie time to go
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« Reply #3 on: September 01, 2010, 09:22:11 AM »

There are many who would agree with you myself being one of them. You made some great points on safety do or don't and "only if you have too". Admittedly I don't know much about buses and maintenance but have logged lots of hours on here to learn. Several definitions of what a temporary fix is or how long to use. You could say some may not fully understand the danger a decision may pose for themselves or to other traveling families.


Now I speak only for me as my ability to learn, understand and/or retain information is greatly enhanced when the tone is of friendship.
While I do not agree with how your information was presented. I have no bad feelings toward you.  Actually I can say I wish you the best.


Lonnie
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« Reply #4 on: September 01, 2010, 09:27:46 AM »

Brian,

It's good to have you back...

Rick
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« Reply #5 on: September 01, 2010, 09:39:39 AM »

I have not checked, but I was told that even though RV's are not required to have periodic inspections, they can be inspected on the road by the CHP if they believe something is unsafe.  I seriously doubt a CHP officer would let you continue on your way with only your electric compressor operating.  Further, the only reason we are not subject to the same laws as commercial vehicles is because of a strong RV lobby.  Truthfully, allowing someone to drive one of our buses with only the same license/training as for a compact car is questionable.  That said, I will maintain and drive my coach in to a safe standard.  I may read the CDL manual, but I am not going to test for it if I do not have to.  It is even possible that I would use my aux compressor to get us to a safer or more serviceable location if I had to.  I am not talking about driving for hours, or at highway speeds, or mountainous terrain.  I am not even saying I would surely do it.  My aux compressor was installed for airing up the bus, tires, etc.

Welcome back.  A lessor person could not have done it.
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« Reply #6 on: September 01, 2010, 09:58:54 AM »

I agree with Lin and Lonnie so...what they said. It was just about the message delivery,I just don't like being battered about the head and shoulders though I certainly understand the passion and urgency for safety with these things. As I said before, no harm, no foul. Things happen, things are said in the thick of things but in the end we cannot afford to drive away or lose valuable members from either camp if we can help it and everyone is valuable, we are a small community. It takes a big man to come back after all of that and I'll buy a round at the same table for both you and Moose who was the hapless soul who inadvertently began it all.

It's over, can we all get back to playing ball again now? (feels like we're playing neighborhood ball again as kids)

-Dave
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« Reply #7 on: September 01, 2010, 10:24:16 AM »

Luvrbus, what I got from this is that if the vehicle has electric compressors as original equipment, that means it has passed FVMSS 121 with those compressors and they are what it should have.  They would be manufactured and rated as automotive compressors, presumably (automotive meaning used on vehicles generally).  There is no rule against electric compressors per se, there just seems to be a rule against replacing an approved compressor with some other random compressor that isn't rated or designed or installed in a proper way.  Lots of air brake vehicles use electric air compressors, I think that trolley cars often do.

Brian
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« Reply #8 on: September 01, 2010, 10:39:27 AM »

I know this is going to sound a bit goofy but if not for the ticked off tone of the "I'M GONE" post it may not of caught my eye and I would not of learned some very valuable info.
I've seen some pretty bad accidents and I think the passion behind ANY safety concern is completely excusable, if not entirely expected.
Seems to me your whole life as you know it can change so drastically with a suddenness that is staggering all stemming from one little absence of thought for safety and completely unintentional, yet once done can NEVER be undone.

Thanks Brian for your passion.
I'm certainly thinking more on safety after reading your posts.
Eli.
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« Reply #9 on: September 01, 2010, 11:22:20 AM »

I'm glad to see you back too Brian and not just because of your last name.

I have held a Class 1 license with an air endorsement for close to 30 years now.  When we operated our business we were a certified shop doing vehicle inspections which I signed as the shop manager.  In Saskatchewan those inspections require 2 signatures - one from the technician who actually did the work and one from the shop manager so they have somebody to sue if something goes wrong. 

I believe our coaches are one dead cute girl carrying a kitten away from a full blown DOT inspection regime.  That would put many of the current members of this forum off the road.  Our coach would stay on the road but it could become a royal PITA to operate if we were required to maintain log books and cross scales.  When I see people openly joking about Rube Goldberg fixes and borderline safety violations I have very little patience.
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« Reply #10 on: September 01, 2010, 11:24:06 AM »

Paladin hits the mark perfectly. I always felt the info put out on this topic (original one by BG6) was excellent to know, but, I for one was also insulted by the tone. As I have said earlier, it's human nature to push back. But if we keep it civil, it's all good. NO ONE likes to be talked down to.

Glad you are back and THANK YOU for the extra information in this thread.

Regards,
  Chaz
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« Reply #11 on: September 01, 2010, 11:34:46 AM »

Brian, I too very much welcome you back.

I have appreciated the fact that you speak either from direct experience or good research.  I recall your contribution on the alignment thread, and it was great to get someone with good experience.  

I also appreciate that you came back with very thorough and objective research.  That is what we need here.  

How a person presents his case can always be problematic.  First, we don't have the dimensions of voice inflections and body language.  Sometimes that makes a difference.  How words are chosen and presented makes a heck of a difference.  When one has a strong conviction, it is even more difficult to present his case in a format that others think is non-confrontational.  Some times we do and sometimes we don't.

One wonders what highway patrolman would think about a bus as modified as mine is.  I think it is safe and do an approximation of the DOT inspection at least once a year.  I do have a CDL and do a reasonable daily inspection as best I can (much harder on a bus than a truck).

One thing I got to thinking about in the infamous thread was a comment BK made about compressor size.  I think he said that most buses have a TF750.  I just looked at the one on my 6V92 that I removed from the bus and it is a TF700.  When I stuck the Series 60 in the bus, I replace the air compressor as a preventative measure.  I just looked and it is a TF550.  It does a fine job.  On my Eagle, I don't have to address air springs, so my demand is relative small.

BTW, I am going to list the 6V92 air compressor for sale.  It has virtually no miles on it.

Jim
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Jim Shepherd
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« Reply #12 on: September 01, 2010, 11:43:17 AM »

. . .. NO ONE likes to be talked down to. . . 

True dat.

But it is also true that some won't pay any attention until then.  Shocked

I've seen some that made me want to slow way down so I wouldn't be in front of a questionable vehicle.
 
Then there are some I want to be in front of so I don't have to concern myself with falling parts or the debris field that they are sure to create.  Roll Eyes
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« Reply #13 on: September 01, 2010, 11:51:34 AM »

Jim, try selling your compressor to a Eagle guy those are hard to find and bring good money last one I bought was 500 bucks and waited 3 weeks for it they are not the standard 700 and the 700 was OEM compressor for the Eagle since 1975 but their version.
I don't put much faith in the DOT look at the trucks from Mexico that Canada and the US exempts old wore out trucks shipped over to Mexico from the US,there is a lot more to a DOT inspection besides the brakes one cracked weld will get you that sticker on the windshield been there done that on a brand new truck.
I still don't have a problem with a electric compressor with all the tanks buses have it will build air I wouldn't worry about myself.
I still wager a cold one if you pull into a check station like the one in Boise Id your bus won't leave there   the only way will be on a wrecker


goo d luck
« Last Edit: September 01, 2010, 12:12:35 PM by luvrbus » Logged

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« Reply #14 on: September 01, 2010, 01:03:04 PM »

Thanks Clifford.  I posted the Tu-Flo 700 on this board and the Eagle board as well.

In my previous post I was trying to say that the Series 60 out of the truck came with the TF 550 and that is what I replaced it with.  Never gave a thought about a bus having a larger compressor.

Like others, I have mulled over the thought of driving with a 110 V compressor.  I think I would do it for a short trip so that I could get it to a location where I could work on it and get a replacement.  Question is, what is a short trip?  Don't have a good answer.  For sure I would have an Eagle (pun intended) eye on the pressure gauge.

Jim
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Jim Shepherd
Evergreen, CO
’85 Eagle 10/Series 60/Eaton AutoShift 10 speed transmission
Somewhere between a tin tent and a finished product
Bus Project details: http://beltguy.com/Bus_Project/busproject.htm
Blog:  http://rvsafetyman.blogspot.com/
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