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Author Topic: Bus steering  (Read 4866 times)
loadera10
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« on: December 06, 2007, 02:42:09 PM »

My bus has a ross steering gear with a bendix hydraulic assist. After the holidays I'm having the steering box rebuilt. Has anyone with this type of steering setup ever converted to a true powersteering setup?
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Mike Chappell
1985 Eagle Model 10
8v71
Allison Auto
Bossier City La
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« Reply #1 on: December 06, 2007, 03:29:22 PM »

You'll probably find that a rebuild won't improve things as much as you hope. That box was deliberately designed with inbuilt wander as a safety feature. It kept the driver awake.

There is a kit to install full power steering and the instructions are available on the net for those able to DIY, or there are steering specialists that carry it out as well. Cost is between 2 and 3k$
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loadera10
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« Reply #2 on: December 06, 2007, 03:41:03 PM »

The bus has 7-8 inches of slack. I have been driving this bus off and on for 23 years. It has gotten this slack recently. King pins, tie rods,center link are all slack free.
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Mike Chappell
1985 Eagle Model 10
8v71
Allison Auto
Bossier City La
Dallas
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« Reply #3 on: December 06, 2007, 03:52:58 PM »

Try replacing the radius arm bushings in the rear, and make certain the front end bushings are all in good shape.

Steering wander usually doesn't show up all at once, but a bushing falling apart from age will cause the problem.

IHTH

Dallas
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NCbob
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« Reply #4 on: December 06, 2007, 04:20:33 PM »

My old MC5A has a conversion to Ross Steering, and while it has some leaks (it's oooooold version) it gets me from point A to point B.

Egad guys! Some of us armchair engineers would like to redesign some of these old road whores into something other than what they were designed to do...run the road without problems, as they were designed to do. But the reality of it is that we are sorely adept at understanding what the Masters had in mind for what we now think as treasures of history.

On this Board are many who have lived most of their lives behind the steering wheels of these gems and can tell us stories that would probably curl our toes!

There are Ross cores out there that we can buy for $100 bucks and rebuild, or have rebuilt by re builder's and be way ahead of most....and be safer than we might have thought.
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loadera10
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« Reply #5 on: December 06, 2007, 04:42:04 PM »

The bus started to get steering slop around 4 years ago. About 50,000 miles in that time. As I listed above some of the front end parts have been replaced .
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Mike Chappell
1985 Eagle Model 10
8v71
Allison Auto
Bossier City La
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« Reply #6 on: December 06, 2007, 06:47:33 PM »

load,

I have no idea if your steering is the same as my '54 GMC 4104 which is manual/hyd boosted. If it is it is very easy to adjust. All it takes is a screwdriver and about a 11/16" wrench.

Mine had aboiut 3-4" at the wheel rim when I got it and I adjusted it so there is 1/2 -1" now, quite a change and now a delight to drive.
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PD4107-152
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« Reply #7 on: December 06, 2007, 07:21:14 PM »

I had integral power steering installed on my 1967 Superior.  I am not sure what pump it has--maybe Ross, but he used a Saganaw power steering box.  We connected that to a steering column out of an old Cadillac.  Except for the fact that I could never get rid of a humming coming from the box (for which I have tried every get-rid-of the-air idea that was suggested), it works great and can be driven with one finger.  Since my MC-5a already has a pump, I had thought that if I ever wanted to change from power assist to real power steering, I would just have to get an adequate power steering box of any make and hook it up.  Am I wrong?

It will take some time to decide if I like the hydraulic power assist.  I still think that maybe I will get used to it.
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TomCat
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« Reply #8 on: December 06, 2007, 09:03:30 PM »

The bus has 7-8 inches of slack. I have been driving this bus off and on for 23 years. It has gotten this slack recently. King pins, tie rods,center link are all slack free.

My coach has several U joints on the steering column that each have just a perceptable amount of slack in them. Everything in the drag link is tight, but when I get on really rough road, the u joint slack shows up. I also have a Steer Safe stabilizer installed.

Got u joints in your steering shaft?

Jay
87 SaftLiner
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« Reply #9 on: December 06, 2007, 10:35:58 PM »

On my AMGeneral transit I had manual steering with air assist-which isn't so different than what you have.  I liked it at first because of the simplicity and the fact you could turn off the air supply if something blew and then just go down the road with manual steering.  But- with everything tight in the steering, the sensor for the air cylinder had built in slop that became very busy at highway speed-but was alright around town (remember a transit bus).  Also I got tired of the 8 1/2 turns lock to lock, and my wife was freaked by the sloppy steering.  I had full Sheppard power steering installed (integral-all in the steering box).  Now I have finger tip steering with only 4 1/2 turns lock to lock and love it.  Do yourself a favor and upgrade to full integral steering-it is truly an improvement.  Good Luck, TomC
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Tom & Donna Christman. '77 AMGeneral 10240B; 8V-71TATAIC V730.
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« Reply #10 on: December 06, 2007, 11:00:29 PM »

About those ujoints.  I had ujoints in my stearing in an old truck....a Land Cruiser is a truck, right?  Well that puppy was not easy to stear when i got her but she became progresively worse.  Tinkered with a lot of it and always came back to those ujoints that "had absolutely no play in them at all" that were "obviously" good.  In sheer desperation i took the stearing line apart and learned that those ujoints were filled with hardened tar like grease.  After cleaning and lubing them on a Sat afternoon they were loose as a goose and I replaced them for the GOAL!!!!  Is there a moral here?  Dunno!

John
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gumpy
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« Reply #11 on: December 07, 2007, 06:47:46 AM »

That box was deliberately designed with inbuilt wander as a safety feature. It kept the driver awake.


BULL!!!

There's no way you'll ever convince me that MCI deliberately designed play in the steering system of any bus they ever built unless you
can actually produce documentation from MCI stating such.

The first MC8 I purchased had a brand new steering box in it that had been installed before the PO purchased it. It was a new box, not a rebuilt. It was the non-integral system with the hydraulic assist ram. That bus drove better than my current MC9 with rebuilt integral box or any other bus I've driven, for that matter (though I've not driven that many). It was such a pleasure to drive that 8. I still sometimes wish I'd kept it
instead of buying the MC9.

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Craig Shepard
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Barn Owl
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PD4106-1063 "Wheezy Bus"




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« Reply #12 on: December 07, 2007, 07:16:36 AM »

I am replacing the tired Sheppard steering setup on my bus with a good used takeoff from NIMCO. They have the pump, reservoir, and steering box for less than $500 (That’s everything you would need). Hard to beat that deal. They have several different setups to choose from depending on your bus.

Nimco link:

http://www.nimcobus.com/

I have talked to several bus mechanics that have dealt with them and they say you will not find a better company to deal with and they stand behind their parts. They have been very good to me and are very generous with their time. My father picked up my parts Wednesday and his first comment was how nice they were. Worth talking to them before you make a decision. They also have engines, air compressors, transmissions, air dryers, etc…….HTH.

Laryn
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L. Christley - W3EYE Amateur Extra
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« Reply #13 on: December 07, 2007, 09:02:17 AM »

Laryn- Your present Sheppard (power?) steering will be alot cheaper to rebuild then to replace with a take out.  Good Luck, TomC
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Tom & Donna Christman. '77 AMGeneral 10240B; 8V-71TATAIC V730.
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« Reply #14 on: December 07, 2007, 09:20:52 AM »

Tom,

I had to get a new pump and reservoir because it was worn out and too small for the steering box (old 4104 unit, 1000psi; needed the larger pump, and my old reservoir isn't compatable with the larger one). I checked several places to rebuild the box and the least expensive was $450 plus shipping back and forth and I still would have to get a pump and reservoir. After talking to several "Old time GM Mechanics" and one re builder about my situation they talked me into going with NIMCO. I will post results when I get them. NIMCO scraps hundreds of buses and I am told by their rep that they only salvage a fraction of what is heading to the shredder, and keep only the best. If there was a better option out there I must have missed it. Oh well, we will see how this turns out.

Laryn
« Last Edit: December 07, 2007, 09:22:43 AM by Barn Owl » Logged

L. Christley - W3EYE Amateur Extra
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Nick Badame Refrig/ACC
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« Reply #15 on: December 07, 2007, 10:55:19 AM »

MOVED FROM "Re: BUSNUTS IN THE TECATE, CA AREA??? "


loadera10
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« Reply #3 on: Today at 11:07:16 AM »

I have tried to adjust the steering box, to no improvement. It is adjusted as far as possible. If you tighten the adjustment the steering wheel gets too tight to move...

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« Reply #16 on: December 07, 2007, 11:13:00 PM »

Loader,

In that steering unit is a very large gear like/ piston like item.  To that "gear" engages a arm with a gear on it.  I know this is vague...I have never laid eyes on your unit I am sure cause i have only worked on auto stuff.  I have a great big CAUTION for you, however.  That gear usually sits with its mesh point in the middle.  That is where road vibration and unevenness causes the most wear over time....in the center.  If you adjust for gear lash in the center you will have a bind situation at the ends of the movement which corresponds with a fully locked wheel in a hard turn.  As you turn the wheel away from center you move into parts of the gear that have minimal wear.  The leverage advantage is HUGE and a firm twist on the wheel can impart thousands of pounds of force on the internals of that box even without power steering.

The instructions for doing this adjustment call for the wheels to be off of the ground or the steering box to be on the bench.  This insures that when you rotate the steering box after doing the adjustment you will be able to feel/detect any bind.  I did this adjust on a VW and before it got to lock it bound up so badly it would have cracked/burst the steering box.  I finally figured out that I had to adjust the thing while it was at lock and then check it through it full range of travel.  That cracked or BURST steering box is the point I wanted to make.  It is a Chinese curse to wish that someone live in "interesting times".  I can think of no situation more "interesting" than driving a bus at speed when the steering box uncouples.

Sorry if this is wordy but it is so out of concern and my lack of skill with the mother tongue.

Your fellow bus knut,

John
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"An uneducated vote is a treasonous act more damaging than any treachery of the battlefield.
The price of apathy towards public affairs is to be ruled by evil men." Plato
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« Reply #17 on: December 10, 2007, 09:01:02 PM »

"There's no way you'll ever convince me that MCI deliberately designed play in the steering system of any bus they ever built unless you
can actually produce documentation from MCI stating such."

I've been told that Americans don't understand irony. Guess it's true.
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HB of CJ
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« Reply #18 on: December 14, 2007, 02:19:20 PM »

For whatever it is worth, my '74 Crown has the Ross (TRW) steering box with an unknown type power assist system.  Victors VT-42 right hand pump powered by two (2) Gates belts off the crankshaft.  The mechanic who inspected the old girl told me the steering box looked "very new" and was about "$2500.00".  I do not know if that was an $accurate$ value description or not.

Anyway, the point is that the Crown has about one-half inch of play in the steering wheel at rest and seemingly no play at all driving down the road.  Lucky I guess.  You can turn the wheel at speed the formentioned one-half inch and the coach changes lanes.  Turn the wheel the other way and she changes lanes in the other direction.  Very very tight with very powerful power assist.

Driving home, the power steering pump failed just South of Sacramento.  Since I had failed to bring along the proper tools, (!) I just cut both belts and drove her home with no power assist.  At speed I could hardly feel any difference.  Only driving slowly did the lack of assist become apparent.  With power assist, you can still safely drive the coach with no pump.  Your decision.  Smiley Smiley Smiley
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Utahclaimjumper
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« Reply #19 on: December 14, 2007, 03:11:25 PM »

Barn, I changed out the stock steering on my 06 with a NIMCO take out sheppard, been trouble free for 8 years and great to drive.>>>Dan  ( tip: use a flameing hacksaw to remove the old stuff and replace the 'U' bolts with new).>>>Dan
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Utahclaimjumper 
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« Reply #20 on: December 15, 2007, 09:02:04 PM »

Utah,

Good to hear that. I hope mine will work as well. I am planning a trip out your way with the bus sometime in 2010 to visit some family. We need to do lunch or something.

Laryn
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L. Christley - W3EYE Amateur Extra
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dparker
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« Reply #21 on: December 26, 2007, 12:55:46 AM »

For what it is worth -- not attempting to speak as an expert just relating the experiences that I encountered with my old MCI mc7 --

it had a Ross gearbox with a hyd cylinder for assist -- basically the box had 2 valves that basically told the cylinder how to help the steering, on my box these valves were activated by the main shaft moving up or down as the steering wheel turned due to the forces imparted by the drag link from the steering wheels, i had this "wander" or "mci shuffle" more than 120 degrees of travel before the wheels on the ground moved the other way - it was going to cost me (I called several shops between 600-900) $750 for a rebuilt box and most of these shops indicated that i was never going to get the "play" out of this type of box -- as it need that movement to operate the valves -- so I got an integrated box with a zero degree acting box (like on your car), steel, a machined mounting plate, new drag link, bushing, etc (~$1200 for all of it) -- the box was off a newer bus -- took a bunch of cutting - welding and structural stuff (my brother a mechanical engineer helpful here) -- in the end i would have paid the $2000-2500 as i had more than 12 hours of direct time in this project -- BUT the bus now drives like a big van -- i have less than 2-5 degrees of play and while not recommended one finger will drive the bus down the road -- my 8 year old son can turn the wheels parked with the bus idling with no noise and i kept the same pump in the old DD.  If needed I can find the name of the guy that i got the box and drag link from he was quite helpful and shipped it all to me on a truckline .... he was from the midwest ... super nice guy

david
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« Reply #22 on: December 26, 2007, 10:49:18 AM »

HB,

My '54 4104 steering is pretty much as you described yours except my pump is gear driven. I like your belt system  better because of the pump failure advantage.

I wonder what would happen if my pump failed, guess I could still drive it home as long as there were no clashing mechanical things in the pump?

Both our systems are just manual steering systems with hyd boosters so we can never completely lose steering due to power steering failure. The only thing we lose is easy low speed steering. This is a real safety feature.
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PD4107-152
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« Reply #23 on: December 27, 2007, 02:04:00 PM »

Gus, my Crown came that way I guess because they wanted to protect the kidds at all costs, plus the factory (or soosss I was told) would hang just about any type of steering the buyer wanted.  Specifically speaking, when the power steering pump failed there was no doubt about the matter.

You could hear the thing screaming from the drivers seat and I pulled over quickly and opened the side engine hatch.  Pancake mill admidships.  The heat from the pump blasted on my face from 3 feet away and oil was over everything.  No doubt the thing had failed.

Would a failed pump screw up a gear drive installation?  Dunno.  I did read here once that hydralic oil did get into an oilpan during a failure, but I don't recall if it was a seal failure or the entire pump.  Funny...I would like to have a gear driven pump myself sosssss the two (2) crankshaft pullys would be available

for a possible future dashboard/front coach airconditioning compressor like what theboggiecat did with his Crown.  Too much windshield glass area running West at sunset in August for a rooftop A/C(s) to properly cool me and my front passengers off.  Another subject.  Smiley Smiley Smiley
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