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Author Topic: A story of my stupidity that involves fire, frustration, near panic and repair.  (Read 972 times)
zubzub
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'53 4104. Roadworthy but rough around the edges.


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« on: November 29, 2007, 05:19:36 PM »

I was doing a shake down run on my bus.  I had adjusted the hand brake just right (I thought) but I second guessed the manual, and set it  at 2 clicks instead of three cause I'm paranoide about not having spring brakes. So I went for my drive, and was heading for a truck tire garage that happened to be at the bottom of a very steep winding highway that I did not want to drive down.  In fact I had planned to leave Duluth by driving and extra 30 miles to avoid this hill as it was the steepest grade between Duluth and Montreal and I saw no reason to have my first outing tested so thoroughly.  But as luck would have it, all the industrial stuff was at the bottom of the hill so I had no choice.   I have read pretty much all the stuff here and elswhere on descending grades so I kept things slow  and in 2nd and tootled down the hill with my flashers blinking away.  Well that engine sure was holding up the bus nicely, by the time I got to the bottom of the hill I had maybe touched the brakes twice.  I had decided maybe I was being way to carefull and as I pulled on to a side street I noticed the bus seemed underpowered (remember I had  all of 1 hour driving experience at this point).  Suddenly I was way underpowered and the bus stalled in the middle of the street (conveniently it was a quiet side street).  Well I didn't know what was wrong, but figured it was time to look at the engine.....went on back, opened the back,  uh oh! fire !  on the greasy stuff adhered to the outside of the hand brake.  I had scraped most of it off when I did the adjustment but there was enough there to make some wicked 8" flames.  So...no big deal, I have a fire extinguisher right?  Sure I do.... in my van.  I look around Saturday afternoon, no businesses open, no one around, I need a fire extinguisher.  So instead I went forward and grabbed a sound blanket (moving blanket) that I use to make lying around under stuff more comfortable, I ripped open the trans door, and stuffed the blanket around the fire. The fact that this worked is amazing as the blanket is pretty much all polyester and plastic infill.  But it got most of the flames out and an enthusiastic blow (never blow on a fire!) from me took care of the last few flames.  Whew,  I tidied up, started the bus and drove round the corner to a good spot, pulled out the manual, readusted the hand brake as per spec., and was back on the road on my way to the tire store, which of course was closed on a Saturday afternoon, just as I thought it would be, but the guy in the tire garage at the top of the hill had assured me they would be open, and who am I to second guess an authority .  Never did get that rear wheel off.  Patrick.
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gus
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« Reply #1 on: November 29, 2007, 08:01:13 PM »

Zub,

A very close call. If your 4104 has as much oil/grease back there as mine I don't see how you ever got that fire out!

You don't have spring brakes, that drum you adjusted is a manual parking brake. Spring parking brakes are part of the air brakes at the rear axle.

Your hand brake was never meant to stop the bus and probably won't, it is strictly a parking brake.

You should have an "ICC" brake button or lever that when pulled out will lock the rear  air brakes only if you have enough air and the brakes are properly adjusted. However, this won't work unless there is enough air pressure so don't use it as a parking brake.
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PD4107-152
PD4104-1274
Ash Flat, AR
zubzub
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« Reply #2 on: November 30, 2007, 03:57:19 PM »

I know that I don't have spring brakes.  But I will one day!  The handbrake actually works pretty well, I think the PO had it rebuilt, nice thick pad and smooth unscored drum.  I'm totally surprised I got the fire out,  and also totally surprised i left the fire extinguisher behind.  All my vehicles have one and I basically won't  drive without one.  Going too fast i guess.  I had a friend lose a very nice VW bug from an engine fire years ago, that rig was cherry and not anymore.  I have also seen real nice new cars go up in smoke, a classic in montreal is someone is stuck, spins the wheels like crazy, things get too hot, a fire starts, the reason they're stuck is the snow so the fire department is a long time away, so long car.  ICC brake button doesn't impress me much, loss of pressure is loss of pressure, I wan't something that doesn't need air pressure.
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