Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Tag axle fixed!

We are again on the street in front of E & C Spring, in Escondido. Our bad A-frame is gone, heaved into the scrap steel bin here at the shop. The scooters are still out, and we went for a celebratory dinner last night at local white-linen eatery 150 Grand.

The shop opened at 8, and owner Ben Elkins had already booked us in based on my previous phone call. We backed on to the concrete and they set to work.

Still nervous that the take-out replacement we had might not be an exact match, we asked about straightening the piece, and his opinion was that it should come out to be straightened anyway. And his further opinion was that the tube was badly enough damaged that he would actually cut that section out and replace it. The replacement turned out to be exactly correct, rendering all that moot.

The infamous hinge pin that is reputed to be the source of all trouble with this job turned out to be no problem.

The pin came out with a combination of an air chisel (with a flat drift head on it) on one side, then a short section of pipe and the original nut as an extractor from the other. And the pin went back in with some coaxing from the same air chisel -- no need for the dry ice routine.

It turned out the thorniest problem was removing the bolts holding the other end of the arm to the frame. At least one nut was frozen on, and the A-frames on both sides are through-bolted, so bolts needed to be moved around to keep the other side in place during the procedure.

The bill was for eight hours of labor (split between two men), as we had supplied all the parts. In addition to the take-out A-frame, friend and former Neoplan Skyliner owner Russ Barnes had also furnished us with four new bushings and pinch bolts.

Now that the A-frame is done, we are on our way to L.A. Freightliner to have the bearings looked at and the alignment done. We normally stay out of these sorts of major shop operations, preferring smaller shops where the service is somewhat more personal. But getting parts or even drawings and service instructions for our weird Mercedes axles is something of a challenge, and Freightliner is Mercedes' official US service channel. We chose the Los Angeles location because a friend of ours happens to work there, in the sales department.

Once the bearings and alignment are taken care of, we'll proceed directly to a tire dealer for six new tires, as we're now well below legal tread on all four drivers, and the steers are so lumpy they are rattling our teeth out. In fact, Ben expressed concerns several times while under the coach that the drivers were too worn to go back out on the road.


  1. Congratulations on getting fixed, finally!

  2. I'm glad your getting your tires done soon ... it made me worry about you on the road with tires (drive more than the others) that could leave you in a world of a mess. You may want to start buying drive tires ... using them until they are about 70% then moving to the back to replace the oldest set and buy new for the front. That way you always have new on the front. You may have already known that but just wanted comment.


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