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Glassnose Aficionado
Supporting Member of Barthmobile.com 2/09
Picture of Danny Z
posted
The only reason I'm passing this on is that I know these folks and have chartered from them about 12 times in the past 10 years. This is a family owned outfit and Adam has been our driver to most all the races we have chartered through them. They have about 20 busses and they are among the best in the business as far as cleanliness, comfort, and incredibly fine riding coaches. The bus that burned was 51, a 55 passenger MCI that was perhaps the flagship of the fleet. Adam and his dad stripped this one down to the bones and completely re-did it before they ever put it on the road.
By now you're asking yourselves, where is DZ going with all this? So here goes- When a family owned concientious bus company can have a catastrophic failure relating to the rear tires catching fire, perhaps we all need to pay a little more attention to the rear end maintenance. Tires don't just catch fire on their own. It's either bearings or brakes. But whatever it was was not caught in the recent maintenance, and thankfully noone was injured, although a bunch of kids missed out on a long-awaited camp. I'm giving Adam a while to calm down before I call him but I'll let you know what he found out when I do.
http://www.heraldtribune.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=...03150480/-1/Help0530


79 Barth Classic
 
Posts: 3702 | Location: Venice Fl. | Member Since: 07-12-2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Thanks for the head's up, Danny. Back when I was driving heavy straight trucks I had to take a 30 foot fully-loaded van through rush hour down a bunch of steep hills.

Needless to say, this POS did not have a Jake and--even though I drove cautiously--by the time I pulled into the destination I had serious brake fade and smoke pouring from the rear axles. I inspected it, noticed the smoke not thinning, and so I grabbed an extinguisher and dumped it on the offending areas as a precautionary measure. The smoke cleared, and after unloading the truck I headed home.

When I got back to the yard my boss gave me a huge hassle for emptying the extinguisher. "Do you know how much those things cost to fill???"

What else would you do if you had 15 tons of ammonium nitrate fertilizer sitting over 200 gallons of diesel fuel with smoke pouring out of the axles? I didn't want to become a smear on the side of the building if that mess went off and a $50 for a refill seemed cheaper than the insurance claim.

Sorry for the digression, and I'm glad no one was seriously injured. I hope the best for this family and their company's future. This story reaffirmed in my mind that smoke coming off an axle is nothing to trifle with, and can easily become a huge problem. I now feel no guilt whatsoever about emptying that extinguisher. Thanks!
 
Posts: 91 | Member Since: 03-11-2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Supporting Member of Barthmobile.com 4/09
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Amen and Amen DZ.

We were doing the Lake Superior Circle Tour when I felt the old Barthmobile shaking around 50 and evening out at 60. But I thought I would stop by a mechanic in the paradise called Marathon, Ontario. The mechanic had one of those guns you point at something and it will tell you the temp. My front wheel bearing was red hot and when he jacked it up the wheel just wiggled in the wind.

Yes we did have to spend two nights in a motel in Marathon while they brought the wheel bearing, (I had him change both sides) in from Thunder Bay by dog sled. Don't laugh it was July 2nd and it was 40 deg with snow flurries.

One thing we all have in common. Our coaches are over 10 years old so all of the safety issues should be at the top of the list.


 
Posts: 790 | Location: Eden Prairie, Minnesota | Member Since: 02-07-2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Captain Doom
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Olde Navy Saying: "You get what you inspect, not what you expect!"

Front wheel bearings (I get mine repacked every two years - 25K miles) and chassis lube (14 points on my Breakway) are frequently overlooked.

Even with maintenance, one can still have a problem such as Dave's - some folks would have just driven it until the wheel fell off...the Barth was trying to tell Dave something, and he listened!

quote:
One thing we all have in common. Our coaches are over 10 years old so all of the safety issues should be at the top of the list.


Amen. It may not be high on one's list, but the owner of an older coach should wallow around underneath it now and then (preferably in the driveway, not on the shoulder of US 83 north of Thedford, NE - which event I've avoided) - or at least have someone mechanically inclined to do so.

Look for wire danglers, corroded ground terminals; shine a flashlight along the tire sidwalls looking for bubbles, etc. Look for leaks and dribbles. Note that nothing cures itself.

A dual maintenance checklist is also a good idea - one section for mileage things, another for time things. More pedestrian things like sanitizing the FW tank should also appear...while our coaches are a few years old, we're much older...


Rusty


MilSpec AMG 6.5L TD 230HP; built-to-order by Peninsular Engines:  Hi-pop injectors, gear-driven camshaft, non-waste-gated, high-output turbo, 18:1 pistons.  Fuel economy increased by 15-20%, power, WOW!"StaRV II"

'94 28' Breakaway: MilSpec AMG 6.5L TD 230HP

Nelson and Chester, not-spoiled Golden Retrievers

Sometimes I think we're alone in the universe, and sometimes I think we're not.
In either case the idea is quite staggering.
- Arthur C. Clarke

It was a woman who drove me to drink, and I've been searching thirty years to find her and thank her - W. C. Fields
 
Posts: 8408 | Location: Brooker, FL, USA | Member Since: 09-08-2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Glassnose Aficionado
Supporting Member of Barthmobile.com 2/09
Picture of Danny Z
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After posting this I went back and watched the "Students unharmed" link in the link I posted. The phone-cam scene is very scary, but should be watched in case you still think this nothing to worry about.


79 Barth Classic
 
Posts: 3702 | Location: Venice Fl. | Member Since: 07-12-2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
Originally posted by Rusty:
...Note that nothing cures itself.
A good sound system turned up high helps. Big Grin
quote:
Originally posted by Danny Zeeff:
Tires don't just catch fire on their own. It's either bearings or brakes.
I agree, sounds like bearings or brakes. Listening to THE CLIP from the girl about hearing a grumbling noise 2 minutes before the failure makes me believe that the fire could have been avoided.

That being said, the driver probably said to himself "I'll look at it when I get to my stop, I'm in the middle of nowhere"

In this case it was a bad call. Keep us informed, I would be interested to find out what went wrong.


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Posts: 7315 | Location: Newburgh, New York | Member Since: 05-10-2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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A dry axle will cause a fire.


.

84 30T PeeThirty-Something, 502 powered
 
Posts: 7397 | Location: AZ Central Highlands | Member Since: 01-09-2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Captain Doom
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quote:
That being said, the driver probably said to himself "I'll look at it when I get to my stop, I'm in the middle of nowhere"


Maybe, maybe not. I-75 in that locale is also known as "Alligator Alley" - much of the roadway is landfill on swampy land; pulling onto the shoulder is something that has to be considered carefully, as the ground can be soft and there's not abundant room. Plus, with a bus of that size, unless the driver has a diffy temp gage to view, a dry axle problem isn't going to be evident immediately.


Rusty


MilSpec AMG 6.5L TD 230HP; built-to-order by Peninsular Engines:  Hi-pop injectors, gear-driven camshaft, non-waste-gated, high-output turbo, 18:1 pistons.  Fuel economy increased by 15-20%, power, WOW!"StaRV II"

'94 28' Breakaway: MilSpec AMG 6.5L TD 230HP

Nelson and Chester, not-spoiled Golden Retrievers

Sometimes I think we're alone in the universe, and sometimes I think we're not.
In either case the idea is quite staggering.
- Arthur C. Clarke

It was a woman who drove me to drink, and I've been searching thirty years to find her and thank her - W. C. Fields
 
Posts: 8408 | Location: Brooker, FL, USA | Member Since: 09-08-2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Supporting Member of Barthmobile.com 7/12
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Running with a inside flat tire is a good way to start a fire also. A car hauler on the Pa. pike with a load of new Hummers experienced this about a month ago.He lost three of the Hummers by the time the fire department got it under control.
 
Posts: 169 | Location: Freedom Pa. U.S.A | Member Since: 04-10-2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Glassnose Aficionado
Supporting Member of Barthmobile.com 2/09
Picture of Danny Z
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OK, it's been a long time, but I talked to Adam today and found out the inside tire, left tag, was cut by road debris about 20 miles from the fire. The conversation went to air pressure sensors, and Adam admitted that their coaches were not equiped with them, and they could have prevented the total loss of the bus. The reason the insurance companies and DOT don't require them is that only about 20 per year failures accure among some hundred thousands of commercial coaches, and a thousand bucks per unit seems like a lot of money. Fortunately, All Around Charters no longer feels this is an unnecessary expense.
I'll probably never go this route with the Ol' Euro, but if I had a high doller DP with a tag and all, another grand might not seem so bad.


79 Barth Classic
 
Posts: 3702 | Location: Venice Fl. | Member Since: 07-12-2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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