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APR 2013

The Exclusive Maintenance Resource for the Transit and Motorcoach Indust r y !


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maintenance letter

APRIL 2013

By Joe Diaz

Maintenance Technical Coordinator, VIA Metro Transit San Antonio, TX

Use the Three A’s to hire the best Finding and retaining good employees is a major challenge for maintenance supervisors. Maintenance supervisors and shop foremen not only need a competent team of mechanics who can get the job done safely and in a timely manner, but also trustworthy employees who have a positive attitude, come to work on time and meet their schedule. At VIA Metro we employ a system we call the Three A’s to help us identify the best candidates for employment: Aptitude — Mechanics with aptitude possess an innate ability to diagnose a problem and get it fixed. They are quick learners. Attitude — The best mechanics approach their job and the work with a strong, positive attitude. Attendance — When an employee is habitually absent from work, or demonstrates a pattern of showing up late for no apparent valid reason, someone else in the shop is picking up the slack. Aptitude and attitude is lost on a persistently absent or tardy employee. Any mechanic who simply works according to our Three A’s can expect to do well in this industry. BRM





April 2013

This do-it-yourself method from Coach Glass means no subletting By Jamie Glazebrook

OEM or aftermarket parts? What service managers need to know By Tony Molla

Time to repair and prepare Spring weather requires a blended

approach for HVAC heating and cooling

By Steve Johnson

7 2

Remove and install windshields in-house

Products and Services Purolator, Kafco International, Fumoto Engineering of America BUSRide Maintenance

This do-it-yourself method from Coach Glass means no subletting By Jamie Glazebrook Not everyone enjoys working with over-sized pieces of glass. But bus windshield removal and replacement is something a company can complete successfully in-house with a little care and finesse and a few special tools. Here is a step-by-step primer for a bus windshield installation: Be safe - Always wear cut-resistant gloves and safety glasses. Remove the wiper arm and blade – Take note of its position before removing; reattach at the same angle after windshield installation. Release the gasket – Use a radiator hook to penetrate beneath the lock bead and pry upward. Gently pull the bead out by hand, especially if the lock bead is weathered. Release the gasket from the windshield – Break the gasket free from the glass by using a radiator hook or bone. Insert the tool between the windshield and the gasket and push the bone around the perimeter of the windshield. Remove the windshield – Once the seal is completely push the windshield out from the interior of the bus. Start in one of the upper corners and work across the top, then down the sides.

Adjust the windshield – Once in place, the windshield may need moving left or right. Moisten the gasket first. Using a sandbag, lightly strike the windshield in the direction the glass needs to move and pull the glass with the suction cups. Apply sealant – Apply urethane sealant to both the windshield and body-side of the gasket by inserting the nozzle of the urethane tube under the lip of the gasket and apply at a steady rate. Simson ISR 70-08 is the recommended sealant. Lock the gasket and windshield into place – Using a lock bead tool reverse the procedure for removing the lock bead. Clean up the urethane ooze from under the gasket with a plastic putty knife. Follow up with solvent and rag. Use glass cleaner to put the final touch on the glass. Re-install the wiper arm and blade – Return it to its original position and tighten adequately. These steps cover the majority of bus windshield installations. BRM __________________________________________________ Jamie Glazebrook serves as marketing director for JAJ Enterprises, LLC, and its Coach Glass, A-1 Auto Glass and Premier Auto Glass divisions.

Station a technician outside the coach to help pull the windshield out with vacuum cups. Keep the bottom of the windshield in the gasket until the windshield can be handled safely. Clean the gasket and windshield thoroughly – Remove the windshield from the bus and remove all debris from the gasket. Wipe the gasket down with glass cleaner or other evaporating cleaner. Clean the new windshield as well. Install the windshield – Using vacuum cups, set the bottom center post corner of the windshield in the gasket about one-inch from the center post. Insert the top center post corner of the windshield in the same manner. Using water or glass cleaner, moisten the gasket where the center windshield corners and the center post gasket. Slowly slide the windshield into the center post gasket. Move the windshield into position using a bone to manipulate the gasket and water or glass cleaner as a lubricant. Do not use petroleum based lubricants as the sealant will not adhere. Install the widest portion of the glass last first. Typically, this means installing the upper outer corner of the windshield before the bottom outer corner. With the center post corners installed work the bottom of the windshield into the gasket, then the top. Alternating between the top and bottom of the windshield, gradually work the windshield into the gasket including around the curve of the glass until entirely installed.

BUSRide Maintenance

April 2013


or aftermarket parts?

What service managers need to know

Parts purchasing is a primary consideration in every fleet service as nearly every operation involves a part of some sort. Some parts are safety-related, others control emissions, others are rather large composite material constructs that improve the look of the bus and protect the passengers. Every part is important for getting peak performance and maximum service life from the fleet. There are a few major points to consider in making parts purchasing decisions. The first is to determine whether the job requires an original equipment part from the vehicle manufacturer (OEM), or if it can be performed using aftermarket-manufactured replacement parts. A big factor in the equation hinges on the type of part needed. Is it a mechanical part like a water pump or turbocharger, or a body part such as panels, front and rear facias or seats? Is the part safety-related? Does it have a specific durability requirement? Once the maintenance crew hones in on how they must to handle the job, they can decide which supplier they’ll use to fill the order.

Think it through

By Tony Molla


April 2013

Safety is the number one consideration in any public transportation endeavor. After that, it’s really up to the organization to prioritize the rest. Presented in no particular order, the rest of the equation includes availability; where to obtain the parts and how quickly they can be delivered; cycle time; how long the vehicle will be out of service for maintenance; and, of course, OEM vs. aftermarket costs. Balancing these factors will help to determine the correct course of action for the safest and most cost-effective repair. Purchasing OEM parts is generally the most expensive way to go, but it comes with the assurance of quality. It may be the most viable option for an operation that’s sensitive to liability concerns. If an OEM part is not available, however, there are alternatives. These include not only parts manufactured by aftermarket companies, but also rebuilt parts and OEM parts taken from salvage and recycling centers. In either case, understanding the supply chain helps to determine where the parts are coming from. When purchasing aftermarket parts, operators may find their sources offering the option of certified or non-certified parts. Such certification is typically an independent, third-party assessment that confirms a certified component meets strict standards for form, fit and function.

BUSRide Maintenance

It may also ensure that the component meets OEM specifications and provide a warranty. When it comes to collision and structural components in medium and light vehicles, there are currently two organizations providing certified body parts: The Certified Auto Parts Association (CAPA) and NSF International. CAPA, Washington, D.C., is an ANSI Accredited Standards Developer focused on passenger car parts and lighting standards. NSF International, Ann Arbor, MI, offers parts and distributor certification programs. NSF is also an ANSI Accredited Standards Developer. Both offer quality control and traceability advantages, but NSF tests a much broader range of products than CAPA. Both organizations focus primarily on the light vehicle market but serve as an example of what might be out there. Ask aftermarket parts suppliers if such certified alternatives are available when sourcing replacement options.

Beware of counterfeits

The more expensive the part, the more likely an unscrupulous individual is to take advantage of the situation by manufacturing and distributing counterfeit parts. This is a serious problem in the aerospace industry, but can apply to any operation where the parts are relatively expensive to replace.

BUSRide Maintenance

It’s especially problematic in the automotive industry where offshore suppliers may produce widely used products that too closely mimic their OEM counterparts in appearance, but not in durability or function. The problems associated with the failure of a critical part range from expensive to tragic. It is all the more reason to be totally secure in the supply chain from beginning to end. The final consideration in any service operation is the people. If a company is taking the time to verify the integrity of the parts it purchases, it should take the same care to ensure the maintenance staff has the knowledge necessary to do the job right the first time. Technician certification is a given in any fleet operation today. The National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) offers certification credentials for medium and heavy truck technicians and transit bus specialists. Take advantage of the value certification provides, be it for parts or people. BRM _______________________________________________ Tony Molla is vice president, communications, for the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE), Leesburg, VA.

April 2013


Time to repair and prepare

Spring weather requires a blended approach for HVAC heating and cooling

The shoulder season between winter and spring presents a unique set of challenges for transit bus and motorcoach technicians who need to ensure both the heating and air conditioning systems are working properly. With warmer weather coming, this is an ideal time to perform periodic heating, ventilating and air conditioning maintenance aimed at getting bus fleets ready for the summer cooling season ahead. A proactive approach to fleet maintenance contributes to an operator’s ability to meet scheduled commitments, prevent breakdowns and service disruptions and reduce total cost of ownership.

By Steve Johnson

A blended HVAC maintenance approach

The most convenient way for transit and motor coach operators to perform HVAC unit maintenance is to use the same service intervals the engine and chassis. Thermo King has found that a blended approach that considers both mileage and hours of operation delivers the best results over the total life of the HVAC system. This sensible approach recognizes that heating and air conditioning units run when the bus is not in motion. In fact, HVAC components often work hardest when the bus is idling in traffic or stopping to let passengers on or off. Thermo King recommends operators consider both mileage and time intervals when they develop an HVAC maintenance schedule. With this in mind, the company has developed recommended service schedules calling for certain inspections and actions to take monthly or every 6,000 miles, quarterly or every 18,000 miles and annually or every 48,000 miles.

Operating conditions impact maintenance

Operators should consider this recommended inspection and service schedule as a baseline for building their own preventive maintenance program. In designing their program, operators need to consider specific operating conditions and requirements. For example, cross-country motorcoach operators obvi-


April 2013

ously have different needs than rural school bus operators or urban transit authorities. Sunbelt operators may want to inspect and test air conditioning systems more often than those in colder climates. More frequent air filter changes may be necessary in areas with high levels of airborne particulates. Spring is probably the best time for the annual inspection. Operators should consider these points as part of their spring-summer quarterly or annual service interval:

Inspect evaporator and condenser coils for dirt, debris and build-up and check drain hoses for blockage. Visually inspect the climate control system for evidence of refrigerant or oil leaks. Ensure that all protective caps are installed on valve locations. Inspect all air filters and wash or change if necessary. Visually inspect compressor clutch for excessive wear, overheating and proper air gap. Check compressor sight glass and make sure oil is present and is either clear or amber in color. Visually inspect the belts for excessive wear and check for proper tension. Start the bus engine and run at fast idle, turn on climate control system and operate for 15 to 20 minutes, then check outlet air temperature, return air temperature, refrigerant level and oil level to make sure the cooling system is operating properly. Spring is also an ideal time for operators to make sure that their current preventive maintenance model meets the organization’s needs. A proactive maintenance strategy can help reduce operating costs, increase reliability and create a better experience for passengers, drivers and maintenance professionals. BRM

____________________________________________________ Steve Johnson serves as product manager for large bus and rail heating, ventilating and air conditioning (HVAC) solutions for Thermo King,

BUSRide Maintenance

Purolator Synthetic filter boosts benefits

Purolator says synthetic motor oils now have a filter to match. The Purolator Synthetic oil filter is custom-engineered to allow maximum benefits. According to the company, in order to take advantage of the extended life offered by synthetic oils, operators also need an oil filter that has the ability to continue to capture and hold the tiny particulates that accumulate over time. The Purolator Synthetic with pleat support technology contains wire backing that is engineered for today’s high-tech engines for substantially more capacity than conventional oil filters. Purolator Fayetteville, NC

BUSRide Maintenance

Oil Eater non-electric brake washer

Oil Eater says technicians can clean brake parts without using electricity with its new air-powered professional brake washer. The cover functions as a catch basin. For use on lifts or on the floor, it can serve as a portable parts washer. Made of industrial-grade HDPE plastic, the brake washer features a heavy-duty air pump with adjustable regulator; flow-through brush with adjustable solution valve; dual filtration systems and four swivel casters. The product comes with noncorrosive, non-flammable and biodegradable Oil Eater original cleaner/degreaser. Kafco International Skokie, IL

products & services

Snap-on elbow for nipple-type drain

The Fumoto snap-on plastic elbow converts straight nipples to 90-degree L-shaped nipples for improved hose connection. It’s ideal for tight areas where clearance is a problem. The company says the 90-degree bend prevents the connected hose from kinking to insure full flow of oil from the oil pan with a simple flip of the lever. The engine oil drain valve replaces the conventional drain plugs to simplify oil changes. Fumoto Engineering of America, Inc. Redmond, WA

April 2013



April 2013

BUSRide Maintenance

BUSRIde Maintenanace April 2013  

Art Director: Dominic Salerno

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