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General Discussion of preventative/corrective maintenance and other technical issues regarding your coach that are not covered in other Mechanic's Corner categories (ex. refrigerators, water heaters, and compressors).

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  #1  
Old 11-11-2009
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susanmarycamilleri susanmarycamilleri is offline
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Default crawling under bird

So here is my stupid question.
I used to have a 78 Fc and it was spring suspension so it I wanted to go under it, I gust went under it. Now I have the96 with air suspension and my question is what are the steps that people do before going under. I would think that the steps are something like;
1 -air up coach
2- place stands under frame
3- crawl under

The HWH jacks when they level the bus are a way too low to cwawl under. Can you use the jacks to lift the bus, then put safety stands under, then crawl under.
I just wondered the steps that people normally follow?
thanks
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Mid Door
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  #2  
Old 11-11-2009
fxdwg fxdwg is offline
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Peter,

For mine, it depends on where I need to get to. On level ground, I can get under the rear third or so with her dropped all the way down. It's a tight squeeze under the rt rear, but once there, there's lots of room. For the rest, I use the jacks to lift her enough to get my jack stands under her. I never have air in the suspension.
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  #3  
Old 11-11-2009
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Rich Johnson Rich Johnson is offline
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Hello:

Bad idea to go under a bus with air in the bags. Bad idea to go under a bus with HWH support. Build yourself a pair of plywood ramps - solid plywood. About 8 feet long, 2 feet wide with a 3 foot flat area on top. Srcewed together nice and tight. Drive up and chock wheels. Bags deflate real fast, and HWH seals blow out also real fast.

Rich
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  #4  
Old 11-11-2009
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peteaeonix peteaeonix is offline
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You CAN use the HWH jacks to raise the coach ... but DO NOT go under the coach until you've put stands/braces of adequate strength to carry the whole weight of the bus.

When I had my coach serviced at CCW in Riverside, they did not have pits and most of the work was done on a slightly uneven parking ramp outside the service building -- the parking area had a gentle dip giving more space under the center part of the coach.

When necessary, the HWH jacks were used (manual mode) to raise one end or the other -- then heavy duty (i.e. massive) stands were shoved under the coach where they could contact the frame rails. The CCW workers left the HWH jacks down -- but I would have lowered the coach down to be supported by the braces.

When they needed to do some serious under-coach work, they used 6 of those elevator lifts, and raised the coach about 6' off the ground. That was hard to watch...

Never use the air bags to lift the coach. For one thing, it's way too easy to accidently release the air pressure, dropping the coach and risking crushing anything (or anybody) underneath.

Several times, I've used the HWH jacks to lift the tires for a tire service company. Again, for worker safety, heavy duty jack stands or other braces are used as a safety net just in case.

TIre service: A heavy wooden block (6 x 8 in. is good) under the jack closest to the tire/wheel to be worked on -- then manually lower the HWH (i.e. raise the coach) on the corner involved. You'll have the wheel off the ground in less than a minute. Sure beats watching the tire-worker spend 20 minutes with a bottle jack.

The critical factor is to never go under the coach without placing safety stands -- and they should each be strong enough to carry the entire weight of the coach. Always position them to be in full contact with the frame -- you do not want any space for the 'falling' coach to gather speed before contact, since that may overwhelm the stand if its rating is marginal. Expect to pay $$ for good, solid stands.
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  #5  
Old 11-11-2009
bubblerboy64 bubblerboy64 is offline
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I can get under my bus to change the oil with the suspension deflated. Frankly I don't think the "average" owner has any business under a bus doing more then that. Some of the fellows who are trained mechanics with experience some few others might be OK but the only thing you are going to save is a little money and I don't think it's worth it. I changed out the shocks on my FC before I sold it and I managed to do it but promised myself that was it for me. I was able to do that without lifting the bus. Running a bus up on ramps is not without risk and as well chocked as you might make the wheels I still think it's asking for trouble. Some may disagree and some have also not lived to agree so think and plan it well if you must.
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  #6  
Old 11-11-2009
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Turbokitty Turbokitty is offline
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I bought four, 12 ton jack stands from Harbor Freight for ??? they were cheap$$. Anyway, I use the HWH jacks to lift the coach and then rest the coach on the jack stands while still leaving the HWH jacks down and touching the ground. Acts like a double support is case something fails??? I also leave the suspension aired up too. Works very well, I am 6'4" X 275 big ones (lbs) and can move around well underneith with a creeper.

BTW, creeper is a must! Be safe!!
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Ryan and Michelle Saari
Timberlake Products Group, Inc.
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1983 FC35RB Left me for Atlanta!
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  #7  
Old 11-11-2009
oldtimer85 oldtimer85 is offline
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Be careful about the rating of jack stands as most are rated per pair of stands. Look at the single stand rating before buying or most importantly before useing!!
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  #8  
Old 11-11-2009
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Very good point Terry, read the fine print and use as much safety cribbing and blocking as reasonably possible.

Fortunately, I can maneuver around below with my FC all the way down on the stops.

You can see the double stands in my picture even though I only have the one wheel off... Mo is better!!
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Timberlake Products Group, Inc.
1985 PT36
1983 FC35RB Left me for Atlanta!
Clearwater, Florida
https://www.timberlakeproductsgroup.com/
https://www.ebay.com/str/timberlakeproductsgroup
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