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MAY . 2014

the exclusive maintenance resource for the transit and motorcoach industry

Motorcoach Tire Sales:

A direct way to buy


Front tire failure can be catastrophic p6


UTI: Basic safety tips are worth revisiting

Vol. 04 • No. 5 Publisher / Editor in Chief Steve Kane

It’s often a good idea to dust off past contributions to BUSRide Maintenance for the valuable information they contain. In this case, we’re revisiting a piece by Aaron Bereiter, a National Certified Trainer and Technical Team Leader for the Universal Technical Institute (UTI) campus in Glendale Heights, IL. He is also an ASE Master Technician. In his piece, Bereiter writes that UTI students have to study OEM and OSHAmandated safety standards, recognize safety symbols designating electric charges and dangerous chemicals, and learn the proper methods for venting, handling, storage and disposal of chemicals. In addition to all of this, Bereiter includes a list of the top 15 safety practices every technician should follow. These are second nature to many of our readers, but a refresher never hurts: 1. Safety glasses should be worn at all times in the shop 2. No loose or baggy clothing 3. Proper footwear, such as closed-toe shoes or boots 4. No jewelry 5. Clean spills immediately 6. Pick up tools and creepers to prevent trip hazards 7. Dispose of all fluids according to federal, state and local standards 8. Know your surroundings 9. Dispose of rags and oil drying mats properly 10. Practice proper lifting techniques 11. No horseplay in the shop 12. Select proper tools for the job and practice proper tool usage 13. Always properly support a vehicle with jack stands before beginning any work 14. Always chock wheels on any axle still on the ground to prevent rollaway 15. Always properly lockout equipment to prevent accidental operation

MAY 2014


Executive Editor David Hubbard Editor Richard Tackett Art Director Stephen Gamble Production Director Kevin Dixon Accountant Fred Valdez

Bereiter writes that, in addition to these basic safety principles, “UTI stresses one point above all else: Follow all OEM service and diagnostic procedures… Staying abreast of the most up-to-date OEM safety con­siderations keeps technicians safe and shops providing the best possible service.” To read Aaron’s full piece (and more like it) go to and search for “The most valuable tool in the shop: Safety knowledge.” Richard Tackett Editor BUSRide Magazine

Now here’s how to buy a tire

Group Publisher Sali T. Williams

BUS industry SAFETY council


Toyo streamlines the sale and delivery of a new product directly to the operator

A publication of:

By David Hubbard

Front tire failures can turn catastrophic


The greater concern is during summer months By Larry Yohe

Departments From the Editor Products & Services


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POSTMASTER: Please send address changes to: BUSRide Magazine 4742 North 24th Street, Suite 340 Phoenix, Arizona 85016 Phone: (602) 265-7600 Fax: (602) 277-7588


Aljex launches Inspection Data Systems Aljex Software, has announced the launch of a new transportation technology company, Inspection Data Systems (IDS), Inc. IDS will develop and market cloudbased transportation equipment inspection solutions for smartphones and tablets. Aljex says that with the free, downloadable IDS application, customers will be able to acquire an equipment-specific electronic inspection solution from the internet. Using that solution on a smartphone or tablet, they will be able to complete an inspection on a truck, a bus, a rail car, a piece of machinery, or virtually anything else. Completed inspection data will upload to IDS servers where they will be available immediately for customers. Aljex Software Middlesex, NJ

General Tools debuts world’s smallest full-featured video inspection system General Tools & Instruments says its new PalmScope™ is more than the world’s first full-featured pocket-sized video inspection system. It’s also a rugged device that’s built to survive harsh environments and rigorous tasks. The instrument’s clamshell design allows the cameratipped probe to be coiled safely and conveniently inside the device for storage. It can be operated with one hand, leaving the other hand free to use tools and making it ideal for busy craftsmen, contractors and DIYers. Retailing for less than $150, the PalmScope sets a new affordability standard while boosting utility, efficiency and convenience. General Tools & Instruments New York, NY

Tracerline highlights leak detection The Tracerline® OPTI-LUX™ 365 is a powerful LED leak detection flashlight that provides pure UV light for optimal fluorescent dye response. It’s ideal for all A/C and fluid system applications. The OPTI-LUX 365 produces a brilliant glow that makes all leaks easier to find, while slashing valuable diagnostic time. The flashlight is more than twice as powerful as most corded, high-intensity UV lamps. With its powerful UV LED, the flashlight has an inspection range of 25 feet (7.6 m) or more. Powered by one rechargeable lithium-ion battery (extra battery included in kit), it provides four hours of continuous inspection between charges. Tracerline Westbury, NY

Amsoil protects from wear AMSOIL OE Synthetic Automatic Transmission Fluid provides transmissions with excellent wear protection, sludge resistance and extremetemperature performance throughout original equipment manufacturer (OEM)-recommended drain intervals. In normal and severe service, it resists wear to the transmission’s valve body, gears, clutch plates and other vital parts, helping today’s complex and demanding transmissions achieve long life. AMSOIL products are backed by a Limited Liability Warranty. Amsoil Farmington Hills, MI | BUSRIDE MAINTENANCE


Bill Kaiser, president of Toyo Motorcoach Tire Sales, says his system essentially eliminates the typical infrastructure costs associated with leasing or selling.

Now here’s how to buy a tire Toyo streamlines the sale and delivery of a new product directly to the operator By David Hubbard


ill Kaiser, president of Toyo Motorcoach Tire Sales, LLC, built his company on a business model he devised himself, which he calls “a better mousetrap.” “Working with the motorcoach industry, traditional marketing has been to either lease tires through long term contracts or sell them through a brick-and-mortar commercial tire dealership,” Kaiser says. “The model for Toyo Motorcoach Tire Sales provides for the delivery of tires to the operator’s front door directly from the Toyo distribution centers. This system essentially eliminates the typical infrastructure costs associated with leasing or selling.” According to Kaiser, there is more to the mousetrap than coming up with a solid business plan. “I also had to find business partners,” he says. “This is where



Dan Snavely and Toyo Tire Company stepped in.” Snavely owns Columbus Tire Company, Columbus GA, and is one to invest in a viable new venture, such as what he sensed in Kaiser’s new marketing approach. Shortly after partnering up, Snavely and Kaiser immediately opened discussions with Toyo Tire about the possibility of their selling Toyo tires directly to motorcoach companies. “Toyo had wanted to become involved with the motorcoach industry as a tire supplier, but viewed it as somewhat closed and very relationship driven,” Kaiser says. “Fortunately, I had worked for years with many operators and trade associations and I knew how we could navigate through our industry.” He says the key would be to bundle a superior product with a logical direct-purchase business model. With regard to a recent

Toyo had wanted to become involved with the motorcoach industry as a tire supplier, but viewed it as somewhat closed and very relationship driven. Fortunately, I had worked for years with many operators and trade associations and I knew how we could navigate through our industry.” — Bill Kaiser, president of Toyo Motorcoach Tire Sales push within the industry to increase tire load rating for single axle applications — particularly on the steer axle — Kaiser notes that the need has become more critical for a tire manufacturer to step up and provide that product “To that end, our research showed the higher load rated tires already in use in Europe,” he says. “Toyo Tire agreed to begin manufacturing a tire rated at 9370 single load with a reinforced tire belt package that adds 2 pounds to the weight of the tire.” According to Kaiser, newer coaches are now utilizing 10,000 pound single-load rated wheels built to support the higher load rating the tire provides. Kaiser says the Toyo M144 (size 315/80R22.5) has now been Smartway Verified, currently a voluntary standard for specific

parameters tires must meet for lower rolling resistance and lower carbon emissions. Smartway tires should result in improved fuel economy and longer wear from a product that supports a company’s Go Green initiatives. “The response from the industry to our new product and business model has been overwhelmingly positive,” Kaiser says. “The tires are already in service by more than 60 coach fleets, with more coming on board weekly.” John Adams, president, Southern Coaches, Dothan, AL, says the Toyo tires his coaches are currently running are providing a superior ride and showing better wear patterns than his team has seen in many years.

MCI rolls ahead Keeping your wheels in good running order By the FYI from MCI Editorial Staff Sometimes keeping your wheels turning literally means keeping your wheels spinning — smoothly and reliably. And making sure wheels are properly mounted is a crucial part of that process. Depending on your coach model, wheel-mounting hardware and torques may vary substantially. Factors that can make a difference include where the wheels are mounted (front, drive or tag axle); whether the wheel is painted steel or polished aluminum; and if the wheels are stud-piloted or hub-piloted. But there’s one thing they do have in common: Poor mounting procedures can cause wheel-stud failure that can damage the wheel or hub assembly, or, even worse, cause the loss of the tire. When mounting wheels, MCI cautions against overreliance on pneumatic tools; using torque wrenches and proper torque sequences can reduce or maybe even prevent wheel-stud failure. In addition to using proper mounting procedures, inspecting tires and lug nuts before every trip may save you from a breakdown that could cost you time and money. Proper tightening sequences can be found in your MCI Maintenance Manual, Section 15. But

in general, when replacing wheel studs, it is good practice to replace adjacent studs as well, for they have probably been overloaded. If more than two studs have been broken, replace the entire set. Everyday maintenance Here are some things to look for on your wheels on the pre-trip inspections drivers and mechanics should do each day: • On painted wheels, look for cracks between the wheel stud holes. If cracks are present, the wheel should be discarded. • On steel wheels, check for rust streaks at each lug nut, as rust streaks may indicate loose wheel nuts. Re-torque as required. • On aluminum wheels, check for streaking at each lug nut, as streaking may indicate loose wheel nuts. Re-torque as required. By following these simple daily checks, you can help make sure your rims, wheel studs and lug nuts will give you years of trouble-free service, and help your annual DOT inspections to go more smoothly. | BUSRIDE MAINTENANCE


Front tire failures can turn catastrophic The greater concern is during summer months By Larry Yohe

Intense testing reveals the issues This information specifically addresses front tire failures on the 45-foot motorcoach, which has become the industry standard. My research shows that during summer months tire failures as a general rule occur three times more often than in winter. During the past five years in the United States, front tire failures on 45-foot motorcoaches have accounted for no less than 24 deaths and over 200 injuries. A front tire failure can unquestionably turn into a catastrophic event. My interest in this topic peaked in summer of 2006 when I investigated a bus accident that occurred in a rural area of NY. A 45-foot motorcoach descending a 5-percent grade on an interstate highway suddenly veered to the left, went through a cable guardrail, traveled briefly along a hillside and then rolled over and came to rest on its roof. This accident resulted in five fatalities and 48 injuries. Prior to my arrival on the scene, officers had discovered the left front tire was flat with much of its tread missing. The evidence on the roadway, corroborated by a forensic tire examination, revealed the tire had delaminated; the tire tread had come off the body of the tire due to heat buildup, ultimately resulting in a blown tire. I left the scene with plenty of questions but few answers for how the tire failure occurred. If the tire was low on air, why couldn’t the driver feel it pulling at the steering wheel? Did braking cause the vehicle to veer so sharply to the left? Was the power steering unit large enough to produce the needed pressure? Did the driver have both hands on the wheel or were the forces simply too powerful to overcome? What type of noise did the driver hear? Was the tire defective? How quickly did this event take place? Flat tires happen every day but in my 30-plus years as an accident investigator, both with the state police and the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), I have never heard of a bus accident resulting from a flat tire, especially one that resulted in this type of trauma. An alert driver should be able to control a flat tire, or so I believed. In the months following this accident, I attempted to locate a test track to do dynamic testing. I wanted to learn what the driver might feel at the steering wheel prior to and during a delamination or blowout. A non-involved company, Continental Tire, provided an 6


In 2005 near San Antonio, TX, this motorcoach crossed the median and struck a tractor trailer after a left front tire failure.

8.5-mile test track and Greyhound Bus Lines provided a bus and a maintenance crew. We outfitted the vehicle with three cameras outside the left front wheel well and a GPS system to monitor time and speed, as well as SmarTire, which one of its technicians monitored. TRW furnished a test engineer who installed and monitored a load cell steering wheel that would record the forces the driver felt at the steering wheel. Stewart and Stevenson-Dallas provided a technician to monitor data from the engine ECM and the NTSB supplied a human performance expert to record data. I acted as the test driver. Due to the potential risks, we installed special seatbelts for the participants riding in the bus. Other government and industry participants included representatives from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). Over the course of five days we intentionally dynamically failed 15 left front tires, seven by blowouts and eight by delamination. The first two attempted blowouts occurred when a controller inside the bus remotely fired a mounted shotgun with the coach traveling between 50 and 60 mph. In these two tests, it took several seconds for the tire to deplete. This presented no problems for this driver as very light forces were present at the steering wheel, which I easily controlled with one hand. An explosive charge replaced the shotgun for the remaining

Police match the tread found on the roadway to the failed tire.

five blowout tests conducted between about 61 and 75 mph. They produced a variety of results at the steering wheel, with the fourth blowout test resulting in momentary steering forces as high as 300-inch pounds (25-foot pounds) — the highest experienced during the eighth blowout test. Though it took two forceful hands on the steering wheel there never a sense the bus was going to go out of control. With the test bus loaded with sand bags to simulate a fully occupied vehicle with passengers and luggage, the gross vehicle weight was 52,480 pounds, with a front axle weight of 16,280 pounds. When we lowered the pressure in the left front tire to 60 psi, test participants were surprised to see the left tire did not appear low on air. The difference between the appearance of the left front tire and the fully-inflated right front tire was barely discernable. In all eight delamination tests while driving around the track with left front tire air pressures as low as 24.3 psi, I never felt any pull on the steering wheel, a fact the TRW test engineer recognized. A vibration or slight rumble usually felt in the steering wheel accompanied all delaminations, which would last anywhere between a few seconds to at least 30 seconds before the tire failed. We conducted all eight delaminations at highway speeds of 70 to 80 mph. The first test began with a tire fully inflated at 120 psi, while the remaining tests dropped to around 60 psi. After completing the 8.5-mile lap the bus would stop to have the air pressure lowered about 10 psi and take off again at highway speeds. During each test run, the inner tire temperature increased each time we lowered the air pressure. In seven of the eight tests, the delamination occurred with the inner tire temperature between 297 and 320 degree Fahrenheit. One occurred at 266 degrees. The average tire pressure at delamination was 37 psi, with a low of 24.3 psi and a high of 54.6 psi. Of the eight delaminations most were easily controllable, with forces at the steering wheel up to about 150-inch pounds. However in one test the forces were between 290 and 360 inch pounds, with a momentary spike over 700-inch pounds.

These sustained forces presented the greatest challenge of all the tests. In short, I felt a struggle with the steering wheel, a fact the instrumented steering wheel and a video camera confirmed. I can only speculate had this occurred on the highway, the bus would likely have gone off the roadway. This could be because a driver simply might not have the physical strength to overcome the force, but also because of the element of surprise when confronted with such unexpected force at the steering wheel that the driver had never experienced. In the test, I had the knowledge that a tire failure was about to occur and was prepared to grip the steering wheel forcefully. The 15 tests revealed that not all tire failures are the same. Some required minimal steering force to control, some moderate and one was extremely difficult. While there are many variables here, the testing indicated the possibility of an uncontrollable event. In the NY accident, passengers said the driver struggled with the steering wheel. In two other cases where the NTSB conducted limited investigations, passengers stated the driver struggled with the steering wheel. In one of

The MCI DL3 used in testing on the Continental Tire test track.

these cases a surviving driver furnished a written statement to the effect the driver tried her hardest to keep the coach on the roadway, a fact other passenger statements verified. In another case involving a delamination, the surviving driver said the bus dove to the left. In this case a DDEC IV Last Stop Record was available, which showed bus speed dropping from 71 to 66 mph in one second without any braking. The bus then went off the roadway and rolled over, fortunately without any fatalities. The driver in the Sherman, TX, accident involving stated he was unable to control the steering wheel. While there is other information available to substantiate the difficulties in controlling a front tire failure, a prima facie case can be made to show that some front tire failures are either extremely difficult to control or are simply uncontrollable. EDITOR’S NOTE: The opinions and analysis of issues addressed in this article, reprinted from BUSRide Maintenance December 2011, are solely those of Larry Yohe and do not necessarily represent the shared views or official endorsement of the NTSB. Larry Yohe served as an NTSB investigator for nearly 25 years with the majority of his time spent on truck and bus issues. Presently he is a motorcoach consultant and drives motorcoaches professionally. The delaminated tire that lead to a blowout and loss of control. | BUSRIDE MAINTENANCE



FEATURING: • Direct shipment from distribution center to operator • The first U.S. offered 75mph speed rated MOTORCOACH tire with a single load rating of 9,370 lbs. • 7% more tread than industry standard • Utilization of “e-balance” technology • Identified as “MOST RETREADABLE” brand by Tire Review Magazine (2012) • “SmartWay Verified” Low-Rolling Resistance “eRating” qualified • Easy purchase terms • High level of industry product satisfaction (See Customer Reviews-M144 Market Feedback)

M144 MARKET FEEDBACK “We have been testing the Toyo tires and they have been performing extremely well”

“The tires are doing great. Thanks for the good service and product”

Brian Scott, President Escot Bus Lines Largo, FL

Andy Barder, President Corporate Coach Ft Lauderdale, FL

“DATTCO has 20 sets running on our Van Hools and while we do not have mileage collected as of yet, the response from the drivers has been very positive concerning handling and ride quality”

“ABC Service Centers have sold hundreds of Toyo tires with very happy repeat customers”

Mike Vema, Fleet Manager DATTCO Bus Lines New Britain, CT “The Toyo tires we are currently running are giving us a superior ride and are showing better wear patterns than we have seen in many years. Customer service is A+, something that a lot of companies have forgotten about” John Adams, President Southern Coach Dothan, AL

Roman Cornell ABC Bus Winter Garden, FL

“We have been very impressed with the ride quality and performance of the Toyo tires” Mike Dickson, President Southeastern Stages Atlanta, GA

For more information contact: or call: 678.463.4110

BUSRide Maintenance May 2014  

The exclusive maintenance resource for the transit and motorcoach industry.

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