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Thread: Undercarriage and Chassis cleaning and care

  1. #1
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    Default Undercarriage and Chassis cleaning and care

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    This is aluminum brightener. You can get it at FleetPride Napa has it too. A gallon should run you about 30 bucks.

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    I mix up a half a gallon at a time I put a quart of brightener on a quart of water in a little spray bottle.

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    Combine that with any little cheap all cold water pressure washer like this one here that's just barely a tick more powerful than regular house pressure really.

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    You can take a filthy dirty nasty chassis that looks like this

    20180503_180617.jpg

    Without even touching it with a brush of any kind or scrubbing it in anyway just spraying it with diluted brightener leaving it on there for 5 or 10 seconds shooting it off with the pressure washer let it dry this is what you end up with this is bit this is dry this is not wet and it hasn't been painted yet and this is a 1991 chassis.

    20180503_165241.jpg

    Here's the front axle came out really nice not a lot of money not a lot of physical effort that brightener does all the work.
    Last edited by Joe Camper; 05-04-2018 at 09:44 PM.
    1990 Peterbuilt 377
    3406 B Caterpillar
    9 Speed Roadranger
    708 243 7871

  2. #2
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    20180503_180607.jpg

    20180503_170249.jpg

    20180503_165255.jpg

    A few more pictures. It took a half a gallon of brightener so about $15 worth of brightener to do the entire undercarriage. Never touched anything with a brush and just let it air-dry never been touched up or painted in any way this is just cleaned original condition. Happy bus. Almost 30 years old. Bruce lives a mile or so up a Gravel Road in Michigan and it was really bad.
    Last edited by Joe Camper; 05-04-2018 at 09:50 PM.
    1990 Peterbuilt 377
    3406 B Caterpillar
    9 Speed Roadranger
    708 243 7871

  3. #3
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    Oct 2012
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    Smithville
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    FWIW, I know that Joe knows better , This is for everyone else. If You try this at home. Do not spray into the norgren’s that have an exposed exhaust port. They should have a fitting with a short piece of air hose or a valve exhaust muffler to protect them.
    My Wife said " You have Gone Crazy " When I purchased the Coach. Now She says , " DONT SELL THE BUS"
    ​Email; libertycoach322@gmail.com


    Safe Travels,
    Rocky

  4. #4
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    That stuff must be strong! Great pictures too. The detailed pictures of the Norgren air control valves and leveling valve is not something a lot of folks see, especially not that clean.

    Joe, don't forget, you know where I live for your complementary undercarriage cleaning service.


    Gil and Durlene
    2003 H-3 Hoffman Conversion

  5. #5
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    What Rockies referring to is the exhaust port on the two position norgren's they're supposed to have a little pigtail plugged into the exhaust port on the bottom. Sometimes prior nitwit mechanics dont put stuff back together with that on there and then, yes, got to be careful you can ruin the valve.

    Gill this is so inexpensive and so easy to do I think I might just get in the habit of doing this every time I pull the wheels off a bus. It does do a great job. I used to use brightener on my Peterbilt the one I used to have when I ran local Quarry stuff in Chicago that's how you get those aluminum dump trailers to be WHITE WHITE WHITE, you use this brightener, same stuff.

    It's a mild form of acid so you should have gloves and safety glasses and you got to be careful you don't want to get it on dry glass and then let it sit there without spraying it right off or polished aluminum without rinsing right off.

    To be careful if you just soak everything in the neighborhood down first with the hose even if you get a little overspray if you just stay ahead of it, and just keep it sprayed off, it won't harm paint or glass or your polished Wheels. Be conch.
    Last edited by Joe Camper; 05-04-2018 at 12:48 PM.
    1990 Peterbuilt 377
    3406 B Caterpillar
    9 Speed Roadranger
    708 243 7871

  6. #6
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    Mar 2017
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    Kerby
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    Hi Joe,

    I looked that stuff up and it is indeed strong, acidic stuff. The warnings are about not allowing it to get on any polished surface (SS or aluminum), glass, people, etc. It is made for cleaning over the road trailers and such. How did you get under your bus to do the cleaning and spraying without getting yourself all wet and dirty? I can't imagine this is a lay on your back in the gravel kind of a job even if you can support the bus safely up high enough to crawl under there. But, your pics show the bus sitting on a gravel driveway. Some how-to info would be helpful for all of us who would like to achieve these same results. Thanks.
    Jerry Work
    Kerby, Oregon
    1997 Prevost Country Coach
    40 foot, no slides, 100k miles
    Now after one year 110k miles

  7. #7
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    I didn't get underneath it to spray it I just sprayed it from standing alongside the bus looking in that's all I didn't get wet.

    Yes it's sitting on gravel but I know where I'm at Bruce had this driveway put in its got about 2 feet of Base and I have the bus up on the 4 support points.

    Something that I do that most guys even those who work on their own bus and have their own 4 jack stands don't do. I've got 10 jack stands. 4 for the body support points and another six, two for each of the axles with the wheels off.

    Once I get the bus up on its 4 support stands and I dumped all the air out of the suspension I'm able to take those additional 6 stands that I have and put them on the axles and support the axles with those after I've taken the tires off. I go through this extra hassle of hauling all these stands around so that after I put suspensions on a bus I can air them up and check them for leaks without having to put the wheels back on them to do it very very convenient for me. After I put the new suspension in I just go ahead and air it up, wheels off, until the suspension brings the body of the bus up off the those 4 body stands and bring the body up off the stands just an inch or so and then I leave them there in case an airbag blowers or something they're still there but gap them, putting all the weight on the axles instead. It's a lot easier checking suspensions if you can do it with the wheels off.

    Before I wrap this bus up I'll go ahead and take a few pictures of where all my stands are the four for the body and the 6 for the axles.
    Last edited by Joe Camper; 05-04-2018 at 01:05 PM.
    1990 Peterbuilt 377
    3406 B Caterpillar
    9 Speed Roadranger
    708 243 7871

  8. #8
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    20180504_143111.jpg


    20180504_143216.jpg

    Here's what you do start to finish to remove the wheels and support the bus correctly. Start the bus up and put it in level low and go all the way up in level low until you can fit your stand underneath the frame in the spots that are displayed in the photographs above. Those two pictures that's the front axle. That's the front mud flap that hangs behind the tire . Directly behind the trailing end of the lower radius rod there's frame right there. Please zoom in these pictures are all really clear .

    If you have slides a lot of times there's more structure on the beam on that one side so the stands might have to be a couple in difference from one side to the other depending on your conversion you might find that the older buses Country Coach would run the exhaust for the generator down there and put a protective rail down the bottom but usually it's not too difficult you just have to build your stands accordingly.

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    When you've got the front stand in place but before you've let the bus back down on the stand, go to the rear and do the same thing first on the left rear then on the right rear. Put level low to those corners and raise those two corners up going out a little bit at a time each side until the back gets high enough that you can put these Jack's in the photo above inserted into that location. That photo is the rear of the bus that's behind the tag axle you looking at in that last picture directly above. After you have all your Jackson Place and you're confident you're on good ground you can now begin to lower the three corners in level low until you've worked all the air out completely out it takes a long time be patient. at this point the weight of the bus isn't sitting on the tires anymore it's sitting on the frame. The weight of the entire bus is now on the 4 stands.

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    Moving on front tires and rims r off.
    Here is the front with both pairs of stands in place. The front axle is sitting on the yellow stands and the front body support points are sitting on the black stands.

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    Then I go to the back and do the same thing
    Here is the stand for the drive axle after I jacked up and removed the drive tires.

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    Here is where I support the tag axle most everybody has this tag axle housing you need a taller stand for it.

    Once I've got the body of the bus supported and I have all the air out of all three corners of the suspension then I take my little bottle jack and it don't take much of a jack when there's no weight on the tires, to get them off the ground you can use a little 5 ton jack if you want you don't need a 20 ton jack using this method. Also as soon as the tire clears the ground stop jacking, it will scoot off and on much much easier. As soon as there's daylight between the ground and the tire stop, unless u like busting your ass with big wheels. The steel inner drive rims r unbelievably heavy mounted up with 315/80s

    So, go around one hub at a time remove the tires and rims with the bottle jack. Then after I removed the tires I replace the bottle jack with one of those additional 6 stands as shown above in the last 3 photos.

    that's what 10 jack stands instead of 4 will allow you to do and I can move that weight back and forth from the four stands for the body to the six stands that the axles are standing on pretty conveniently and pretty easily when you're messing with it.

    20180504_143224.jpg

    Here's a closer picture of one of the body support stands on the front see the gap of air in there. The weight of the bus is not on that body support....... All these pictures are being taken with air in the suspension with the wheels off of it. The frame of the bus, is off of its stands and the stands on the axles r carrying the load. I've got just enough air in the bags to bring it up off those body support stands just a nick IE that air gap. And then I let it sit there overnight or for as long as it takes to satisfy me that it's a good.

    Safe way. The best way I found. I hope I explained myself sufficiently. Please Dear God if you ever do anything like this be sure you know what you're doing and you're awful careful.

    This is an old chassis the newer chassis with a 60 series are different in the back there's a piece of square stock that goes across left to right. The IFS front ends those support points are in a different spot too. Next time I get under one of those I'll take some pictures again.

    If you buy some nice 20-ton stands be sure you get short ones they've got to go down to as short as 12 in or they could be too tall for your chassis.
    Last edited by Joe Camper; 05-04-2018 at 09:33 PM.
    1990 Peterbuilt 377
    3406 B Caterpillar
    9 Speed Roadranger
    708 243 7871

  9. #9
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    Mar 2017
    Location
    Kerby
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    Thanks for the details, Joe!
    Jerry Work
    Kerby, Oregon
    1997 Prevost Country Coach
    40 foot, no slides, 100k miles
    Now after one year 110k miles

  10. #10
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    Oct 2012
    Location
    Smithville
    Posts
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    Great idea with the piano hinge on the rear mud flaps !
    My Wife said " You have Gone Crazy " When I purchased the Coach. Now She says , " DONT SELL THE BUS"
    ​Email; libertycoach322@gmail.com


    Safe Travels,
    Rocky

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