BUSRide Maintenance March / April 2016

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MAR / APR.2016



Midwest Bus rebuilds Texas A&M p4

Foundation brakes engineered p3 | All-electric bus maintenance p7


The best equipment matters

busridemaintenance.com VOL. 06 • NO. 3

Richard Tackett Editor in Chief rtackett@busridemaintenance.com

In this issue of BUSRide Maintenance, industry experts explore the durability and increased efficiency of operational and garage equipment. Highlighted topics include brake durability, vehicle rebuilds, preventative maintenance on vehicle lifts and maintenance on all-electric vehicles. Inside this issue: • On the cover: Texas A&M Transportation Services partnered with Midwest Bus Corporation to remanufacture its fleet, resulting in cost savings and greener operations.

David Hubbard Associate Publisher dhubbard@busridemaintenance.com Steve Gamble Art Director sgamble@busridemaintenance.com

• John Campo of Power Brake LLC explores how advanced engineering has resulted in major breakthroughs in brake durability for heavy-duty vehicles. The influx of electrical and software engineers in the field have made new levels of safety possible for rotors and drums. • Sam Fielden of MAXIMA lists the critical areas of preventative maintenance for heavy-duty lifts, with a special emphasis on ALI certification and routine inspections.

Judi Victor CEO & Publisher Director of Sales jvfly@busridemaintenance.com Kevin Boorse Business Manager kboorse@busridemaintenance.com Blair McCarty Sales & Marketing Coordinator bmccarty@busridemaintenance.com

• Finally, Ryne Shetterly of Complete Coach Works, makers of the revolutionary Zero-Emission Propulsion System (ZEPS), compares diesel fuel to electric propulsion – specifically, how do the two forms of energy break down for maintenance technicians? Which provides more savings and increased safety in the garage?


Thank you for reading this issue of BUSRide Maintenance. I hope your own maintenance operations are enhanced and made more efficient by the expert advice gathered here. Richard Tackett Editor in Chief BUSRide Maintenance Magazine

A publication of:


On the cover:

Texas A&M rebuilds its fleet and save lots of green By Carrie Rathburn Hawk Departments From the Editor in Chief Focus On: Brakes Focus On: Heavy-Duty Lifts All-Electric Maintenance 2

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BUSRide Maintenance Magazine 4742 North 24th Street, STE 340 Phoenix, Arizona 85016 Phone: (602) 265-7600 Fax: (602) 277-7588 busridemaintenance.com

BUSRide Maintenance™ Magazine is published 8 times each year by Power Trade Media, a division of The Producers, Inc., 4742 N. 24th Street, Ste. 340, Phoenix, AZ 85016. Subscription Rates: United States and Mexico $39 (USD) one year, Canada $42 (USD) one year (GST included), all other countries $75 one year, single issue United States $5 (USD), all other countries $6 (USD). All articles in BUSRide Maintenance™ Magazine are copyrighted and may not be reproduced in whole or in part without the express written permission of the publisher. For reprints of 100 or more, contact Judi Victor at (602) 265-7600 ext. 125. Copyright 2016 by Power Trade Media. No advertisement or description or reference to a product or service will be deemed as an endorsement, and no warranty is made or implied by Power Trade Media Information is obtained from sources the editors believe reliable, accurate and timely, but no warranty is made or implied, and Power Trade Media is not responsible for errors or omissions.



Advanced engineering and materials for foundation brake performance and longevity By John Campo As an accompaniment to Jerry Thompson’s article “Advantages in Brake Design” in the January 2015 edition of BUSRide Maintenance, this article addresses the drum and rotor side of the friction-couple equation. In his article, Thompson highlighted some of ProTec Friction Group’s state-of-the-art friction materials and how they manage inevitable heat generated during braking cycles. He described the significance of the surface conditions and the friction materials used when it comes to directing “energy trajectories” and reducing brake component wear. Similarly extreme demands are placed on brake rotors and drums.


uring the past decade, significant technological advances have found their way into the light, medium and heavyduty brake markets. More recent innovations like engine brakes, transmission retarders and regenerative brakes are assisted by electronic and computer-based systems to improve brake performance and safety. A field once dominated by mechanical engineers now shares responsibilities with electrical and software engineers, who are developing advances in antilock braking systems (ABS), stability control, collision mitigation and adaptive cruise control, to name just a few. Today, stopping distance is sometimes dependent as much on lines of code as on the characteristics of disc pads clamping to a rotor. And while such smart innovations may greatly improve the brain of a braking system, its backbone remains the foundation brakes – namely the drums, shoes, rotors and disc pads. Perhaps these same innovations help foster the prevailing “conventional wisdom” that foundation brake materials are about as good as they are ever going to be. Indeed, competing manufacturers offer an array of choices when it comes to varying designs and chemistries in friction materials, rotors and drums which are largely distinguished by their price point. However, the general perception is that, for the most part, these different materials have plateaued and operate within a narrow spectrum of conventional friction and mating surface technology. Like so much conventional wisdom, nothing could be further from the truth. Two companies, ProTec Friction Group and Power Brake, are collaborating on the manufacturing and marketing of the bestperforming and longest-lasting foundation brakes ever seen. Of course, when it comes to slowing or stopping a moving vehicle, no one is suggesting that ProTec/Power Brake have discovered a way to defy the physical laws of conservation of energy and momentum. It just seems that way. In a typical closed braking system where the energy of motion is exchanged for heat energy, how this heat is managed is the crucial element determining the brake’s life and performance. ProTec/Power Brake’s specially-engineered rotors and drums consist of materials that optimize the forces and energies present at the friction couple interface during and after a brake cycle.

Simply stated, when the vehicle’s brakes are applied, the disc pads or brake shoes clamp against a rotor or drum. The friction resisting the motion of the rotating wheel converts kinetic energy into thermal energy which is then conducted primarily through the cast iron rotor or drum. In many cases specially designed rotor and drum fins, vanes, grooves, holes or vents generate air movement to finish the job by dissipating the heat via the process of convection. Any remaining heat is transferred through the friction surfaces and other components in the brake system. Through a proprietary manufacturing process using extreme force, hardening alloys are introduced into the surface of the cast iron rotor or drum. It is not a coating or plating. These elements actually coalesce with the cast iron, reducing latent stresses and creating a much more “friction friendly” environment… without sacrificing brake torque. The cast iron becomes less of a “heat sink” and more of a “heat mirror,” thereby reducing the residual heat gain in the wheel end. Because of this, rotors and drums are less subjected to warping, scoring, heat-checking, hot-spotting and cracking. Additionally, because they are stronger (higher yield and tensile strength per ASTM test E8) and harder (Vickers hardness test), rotors and drums retain their original configuration, allowing for a more complete and uniform contact of friction to cast iron. Because cast iron fretting corrosion is minimized in a ProTec/Power Brake drum or rotor, when brake pressure is released the uncoupling is clean, with no temperature-increasing drag. It cannot be overstated that the quality and condition of the mating materials of friction to cast iron is a key component to promoting an efficient brake. Employing advanced materials allow for a greater surface contact of the materials at the friction couple. Optimum brake torque can be achieved with the least amount of pressure. Therefore an efficient brake is a higher-performing, cooler-running and longer-lasting brake. PowerBrake longevity drum, rotor and friction products for private coach, school bus and paratransit fleets are available from ProTec Friction Group. John Campo is a heavy-duty brake and suspension professional for Power Brake LLC, St. Petersburg, FL. Visit the company online at www.powerbrake1.com. Visit ProTec Friction at www.protecfriction.com and www.protec-bus-com.

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Texas A&M rebuilds its fleet and saves lots of green By Carrie Rathburn Hawk

Texas A&M Transportation Services provides transit service for more than 58,000 students.

With the Texas A&M University (TAMU) main campus in College Station, TX, spanning 5,200 acres, Texas A&M Transportation Services provides transit service for the more than 58,000 students, transporting on average more than 250,000 passengers both on and off campus per week during the fall and spring semesters, providing more than 129,000 hours of service to riders throughout the year. It also includes paratransit service for students, faculty and staff with permanent and temporary disabilities. Texas A&M Transportation Services employs more than 260 student drivers and approximately 34 budgeted drivers to support transit bus operations. The bus fleet includes 90 buses with 70 RTS Millenniums, Novas and Gilligs in service daily.

Midwest Bus Corporation provided comprehensive remanufacturing that included new engines and transmissions for less than $170,000 per bus. 4


Faced with an aging bus fleet showing inevitable wear and tear, and with limited financial resources, Texas A&M University recently faced a difficult decision: either replace its older buses with new models or stretch their useable life cycle through refurbishing and remanufacturing. Without federal funding in its revenue stream, the campus transportation system operates with limited financial resources. Unlike public transit agencies that rely on an 80/20 model, with 80 percent of their funding from the federal government and 20 percent from state and local funds, Texas A&M must account for the entire cost of its transit fleets. A partnership gets down to work Knowing there was still life left in the RTS buses, but not sure how to revive them in its own shop, Texas A&M Transportation Services called on Midwest Bus Corporation, Owosso, MI. Founded in 1980, Midwest Bus is the nation’s largest bus remanufacturer, handling more than 90 percent of transit bus refurbishments east of the Mississippi River. It also sells and leases used buses, provides replacement parts and field repair services, and serves as one of the country’s largest transit industry support providers. TAMU quickly learned from Midwest Bus Corporation Founder and CEO Dan Morrill how remanufacturing presents many options for universities and other self-funded organizations to save money while expanding transit fleets. “We are well established in public municipal transit circles,” Morrill says. “With growing needs for public transit services on campuses, not just for financial reasons, but as part of the busridemaintenance.com

‘green’ movement adopted by students and administrators in recent years, we want to expand on our company’s success with universities.” Midwest Bus has remanufactured, sold or leased buses for university customers that include University of Washington; Penn State University operated by Centre Area Transportation Authority; Western Michigan University operated by Indian Trails; Michigan State University operated by Capital Area Transportation Authority; and Ferris State University and Brandeis University operated by Joseph’s Transportation. The bottom line on remanufacturing The decision to utilize remanufacturing to meet the university’s transportation needs was easy. TAMU had purchased new buses before. It received 10 new Gillig low-floors in early 2015, costing just under $450,000 each and taking about two years to build. Remanufacturing would only take less than a year with Midwest Bus and save hundreds of thousands of dollars. Research shows that remanufactured buses can also have the same life expectancy as new buses, which was another significant factor in TAMU’s decision to follow this route. The only question was whether to remanufacture the university’s existing fleet or purchase previously owned vehicles for remanufacture. Midwest Bus and the university worked together to determine TAMU’s specifications, and allowed the university to meet its budget and needs without sacrificing value or quality. Texas A&M decided on multiple options. To meet its immediate needs, it purchased five Gillig buses from Midwest without replacing drive trains or other costly components. They were then rehabilitated, painted, inspected, tested and quickly delivered in time for the approaching school year at a cost of less than $83,000 per bus. Once the rehabilitated buses arrived, the university was able to free up six 2002 RTS buses to ship to Midwest for comprehensive remanufacturing that included new engines and transmissions for less than $170,000 per bus. At the same time the RTS buses were being remanufactured, Midwest Bus also started comprehensive remanufacturing of six more 2001-02 low-floor Gilligs for delivery along with the RTS buses. The remanufactured Gilligs were purchased for less than $182,000 per bus. Recently TAMU has opted to expand its order with Midwest by 12 additional remanufactured Gilligs. For all of TAMU’s buses, major components were tested to ensure everything was functioning properly. Midwest employees also reconfigured the interior format to perimeter seating and changed all of the interior, engine compartment and exterior lights to LED. The remanufacturing process included complete reworks of brakes, steering, suspension, structure, HVAC, electrical, pneumatic, interior and exterior. At the end of the first contract year, Texas A&M will have 17 remanufactured buses at an average cost of less than $150,000 per bus – less than one-third of the cost of a new bus. More reasons to rehab There were several other reasons why this was a great opportunity for both Midwest Bus and Texas A&M. First, Midwest had the opportunity to develop production schedules more directed toward the needs of the university as opposed to the government. According to Morrill, it is easier to be creative with bus sales – or leases to help supplement bus fleets – when

no federal funding is involved. Midwest also enjoyed the opportunity to help TAMU respond to changes in circumstances that affected its fleets, whether more riders from increasing enrollment, new routes being developed or new functionality needing to be incorporated. A more efficient standardized fleet also means additional financial benefits due to reduced The remanufacturing process included complete reworks of brakes, steering, parts inventory and suspension, structure, HVAC, electrical, maintenance labor time. pneumatic, interior and exterior. The university also opted for lower-cost wheelchair ramps on the low-floor buses as opposed to rear-door lifts, which Midwest installed. It’s good to go green According to the Automotive Parts Remanufacturing Association, aside from the obvious benefits, remanufactured buses can also improve the environment through lower emissions and improved fuel efficiency. “Folks in the transit bus industry know remanufacturing is considered one of the ultimate forms of green technology,” Morrill says. “This resonates especially with students and university officials who are concerned about carbon footprint, traffic congestion and reusing viable parts rather than putting them in a landfill. Transit leaders also know the option has grown in popularity because of limited budgets.” For Texas A&M, environmental and financial benefit often depends on what’s being measured and by whom, but the school believes its refurbished buses allow for more transit service, which has a positive environmental impact by getting hundreds of riders out of their vehicles and putting them in just a few buses. TAMU is confident that few passengers on its buses are able to distinguish a new bus from a rebuilt unit, as they enjoy the same level of comfort while the university avoids the expenses of new buses. Rehab comes highly recommended “We already work with a number of other universities and enjoy good relationships with third-party transit companies who work with many higher-education institutions,” Morrill says. “We have 36 years of experience meeting the needs of the transit bus community, public and private. We know money is tight for most of our customers looking to be responsible stewards of the environment. Transportation coordinators need to know they have a variety of more affordable options than just buying new buses.” As for its relationship with Midwest, TAMU says it is now a believer that remanufacturing saves time and money while improving safety. TAMU recommends remanufacturing to other universities facing decisions about their aging fleets.

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Heavy-Duty Lifts

Automotive Lift Institute answers FAQs on certification Manufacturers association promotes safe use of automotive lifts The Automotive Lift Institute (ALI), a nationally accredited standards development organization, is an association comprised of responsible automotive lifts manufacturers that advances the cause of automotive lift safety in the service and repair industry. ALI develops requirements for consideration as national standards by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI). Its efforts includes offering an internationally accredited product certification program to promote the safe design, construction, installation, service, and use of automotive lifts. ALI has put out a comprehensive list of frequently asked questions (FAQs) on certification for purchasers to better evaluate claims and make informed decisions about lift products. It reads in part: What is product certification? Certification by an independent, third party organization determines that a manufacturer has the ability to produce a product that complies with a specific set of standards. The program is audited quarterly to ensure continued compliance with the applicable standards. What Standards Apply to Automotive Lifts? ANSI/ALI ALCTV American National Standard for Automotive Lifts – Safety Requirements for Construction, Testing and Validation is the only current standard in North America that governs the design and construction of automotive lifts. This Standard addresses the U.S. electrical requirements associated with an automotive lift by incorporating compliance and third-party listing to ANSI UL 201. Automotive lifts that do not bear a certification label are not certified and are not likely to comply with the requirements of the local code authority having jurisdiction or new construction pre-start audit requirements. Should my lift be inspected? An automotive lift should be inspected at least annually or in accordance with manufacturer specifications. Is my lift certified if I see a UL or ETL listing mark only on the power unit? A third-party certification label representing the automotive lift as a complete product must clearly bear the Automotive Lift mark along with a reference to the American National 6


Standard ANSI/ALI ALCTV. The claim of a certified lift by some lift marketers and resellers is false and misleading when the automotive lift only bears a third-party mark located on the power unit or another component such as the motor without these references. The lift consumer should recognize that without these references the automotive lift is not certified and the product has not been found compliant for electrical and mechanical safety requirements. What does “Certification Pending” mean? The claim or promise of “certification pending” appears to be one of the latest trends by some lift marketers and resellers hopeful of winning a lift purchaser’s business. Technically speaking, simply entering into a discussion with even an internal engineer can lead to the less-than-ethical stated promise of “Certification Pending.” Although this may look harmless, the lift consumer should recognize the automotive lift is NOT certified. Will I lose certification using replacement parts? Replace worn, damaged or broken parts with parts approved by the original equipment manufacturer or with parts meeting the original manufacturer specifications. What is CE? Claims that lifts are CE (European Community) approved can mislead prospective North American lift purchasers. The CE lift standard is not tougher, as some might claim, but simply different than the American National Standard. One of the most notable differences between CE and ALI certification is in the area of electrical safety. ANSI/ALI ALCTV mandates listing and labeling to UL201, the Standard for Safety for Garage Equipment. CE electrical requirements are different and do not ensure compliance with the National Electric Code (NEC). Building inspectors do not accept CE in North America and will red tag lifts not listed to North American standards. The Automotive Lift Institute is a nationally accredited standards development organization.


Electric vs. diesel ZEPS-powered buses, like this one recently delivered to McAllen Transit, are rebuilt from the ground-up by Complete Coach Works.

BUSRIde recently sat down with Ryne Shetterly, ZEPS sales manager at Complete Coach Works (CCW). CCW manufactures Zero-Emission Propulsion System (ZEPS), a remanufactured transit bus saving agencies hundreds of thousands of dollars on fuel and maintenance. Shetterly discussed the in-shop benefits of all-electric vehicles versus diesel-powered buses and motorcoaches, as well as the sustainability and reliability factors related to both modes. In which environments and transportation modes are electric vehicles the optimal choice? Optimally, an electric bus will operate best in urban areas with a lot of stopping and starting. In a start-stop atmosphere, there are many more opportunities for regenerative braking. On fixed routes in the city, there are also more opportunities for on-route charging, which increases battery range. What current technological advances are driving increased battery range? Think of the passenger automobile that was driven back in the 1980s and 1970s – we all know them as muscle cars today. We also know them to be “gas guzzlers.” Fuel efficiency in the regular vehicle market has exponentially increased over the last few decades. Battery energy density is improving at the same rate. In fact, battery technology is improving as fast as data storage was improving in the early 2000s. As battery energy density continues to grow, so too will its ability to meet desired range specifications. Manufacturers like CCW have to essentially charge the batteries at a rate acceptable to transit customers but also keep those batteries balanced. The balancing of the batteries and their charges is what creates the longevity in battery life that agencies expect.

What benefits can maintenance crews reap from remanufactured, all-electric buses? Parts directors and managers are able to keep the exact same parts from their current fleet. A fleet running Gillig buses can maintain Gillig parts. Aside from the new propulsion system, the entire bus returns to OEM specifications in the remanufacturing process. There is no need to create a brand new parts inventory. With the exception of the drive system, no one in the agency must retrain on any bus components. All-electric vehicles have no belts, hoses nor fluids. With the current cost of fuel, agencies save about $430,000 over the expected life of a bus. That includes a battery mid-life between six and eight years in. How sustainable is the ZEPS remanufacturing process? In 2016, sustainability is vital for transit agencies. Customers have the option to use vehicles out of their existing fleet, or they can choose a bus out of our inventory in order to be remanufactured according to their specifications. We rebuild buses from the ground up – including work on suspensions, interior/exterior panels, sub-flooring, flooring, A/C systems and all major electric components. Initially, a remanufactured bus is going to save about 10 tons of raw materials over a brand new OEM model. The vehicle costs about $250,000 less than a brand new OEM product, with roughly the same range of 150 miles. Ryne Shetterly has over five years of experience in the transportation industry. He is currently working with other industry leaders in order to create the zero-emission bus standard, helping shape the future of transportation. Visit www.completecoach.com.

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