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AUSTRAL DRIVERS.

Discussions regarding bus to motorhome conversions are welcome here.

AUSTRAL DRIVERS.

Postby kelvin12 » Sat Aug 31, 2013 9:22 am

This one is mostly for the Austral and Denning tag axle drivers. Was bottoming out much of a problem going over driveways etc. front and rear and becoming marooned or bottoming out hard. Reason I am asking is on my mighty Austral, (1987 model) there are 3 regulators and 3 air gauges for increasing road height/ride. Probably not a real lot of use quickly as they were located in the external electrical box. I have rewired and moved the electrical stuff inside under the dash now and was planning on moving the regulators inside where they can be accessed if necessary but its a fair bit of piping to change. Do you blokes think it worth the effort.

Thanks in advance.

Dirk
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Re: AUSTRAL DRIVERS.

Postby Daz » Sat Aug 31, 2013 11:21 am

I've never ever used them. I could easily get onto the North Straddie ferry with them in the normal position, and few Australs even had them. The skids would scrape every so often but the Austral suspension had literally inches of travel below normal ride height so it won't get stuck. Especially with the even longer wheelbase of the Benz I'm sure you will never regret getting them out of the cab.

One of them is for the steer, and the other two are rear left and rear right.

The only bloke I ever knew that wished he had them was Alfy (on the board) who was following the fence travelling through the Outback and came to a creek washout in the late 80's. He locked in first gear at full noise and used the bullbar as a bulldozer and pushed his way through a sand dune on the other side. I later went on to drive that very same coach for an operator in Brisbane- I never had to cross any dry creek beds myself however, but quite often I drove the sand tracks of NSI.

They dropped a coach that had them off a hoist at MTU Detroit Richlands one day and wrecked the height control valve on the RHS. To fix it, they replaced it with the wrong valve and wound up the regulator in the cab. It always rode weird after that and would lean when the air dropped.

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Re: AUSTRAL DRIVERS.

Postby kelvin12 » Sat Aug 31, 2013 12:13 pm

G'Day Daz,

Thanks for the reply. I was worried about getting marooned going over servo humps and gutters. I have fitted a tag axle dump for that reason hopefully but on my back end the skid plate has had a hell of a knock and bent the plate sometime in its day. I thought the regulators might have been handy for giving it a bit of extra height in that sort of situation.

Think my old girl might have traveled the same road as Alfy, I had a box trailer load of black soil stuck up under the guards and the bull bar looked like it had been used in a demolition derby. Either that or there are some tough roos out there.

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Re: AUSTRAL DRIVERS.

Postby exbusdriver » Fri Sep 13, 2013 7:48 pm

Personally i used them a lot, mainly to make sure. but i found it a little more proffesioinal if there wasnt any scratching noises coming from under your rig when fully loaded! But i guess if your using this as a motorhome then the nessecity to have them on hand quickly probably isnt that important, you wouldnt be entering or departing motels or Mcdonalds on a regular basis with steep driveways etc.
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Re: AUSTRAL DRIVERS.

Postby kelvin12 » Sat Sep 14, 2013 8:01 am

Thanks Exbusdriver, I think I might move them into the cabin area. Wasn't going to bother but for the little bit of extra work it might be worth it, its only just some more plastic line and a couple of connectors easy enough. I'll bet if I don't, I'll wind up regretting it one day stuck high and dry on a driveway.

Just on this, how much air can I add with out blowing a bag.

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Re: AUSTRAL DRIVERS.

Postby mrobsessed » Sat Sep 14, 2013 6:29 pm

I never used them either. A coach I drove had them on the right hand side in the cab. I suppose they would be useful in a caravan park situation if you were propping the body on jack stands to even it up.
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Re: AUSTRAL DRIVERS.

Postby kelvin12 » Sat Sep 14, 2013 7:37 pm

The drivers of my bus wouldn't have used them either as they were in the electrical box, only accessible from the outside when stopped. Guess they never got around to fitting them in the cab. I have fitted hydraulic lifters for levelling the old girl. Going on what the owners with air bags as levellers say they are pretty useless for motor homes due to leak down.

Thanks for you input Mrobsessed, appreciated.

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Re: AUSTRAL DRIVERS.

Postby mrobsessed » Sun Sep 15, 2013 1:40 am

South West Coach Lines in Western Australia used to park all if their Landseers in a shed with jack stands underneath the skid bars, I assume to stop cracking of the air bags when they inevitably leaked at night.
I was thinking perhaps that when you're in position at night, you could place the stands under, then use the regulators to fine tune the position, adjusting the stands to suit, knowing that it will leak overnight, settling onto the stands.
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Re: AUSTRAL DRIVERS.

Postby kelvin12 » Sun Sep 15, 2013 8:16 am

I did initially look at using the air bags as levelers. This idea used to be popular with the US bus/motor home crowd a while back but seems to have gone by the wayside these days in favour of hydraulic. Air and stands would certainly be cheaper by a long shot compared to hyd. Stands with fine stage adjustment would be a good idea for someone wanting to save a few bob that's for sure. Marvelous how quick some of the m/h stuff can blow the budget real quick.

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Re: AUSTRAL DRIVERS.

Postby marashkar » Sun Sep 15, 2013 9:03 pm

dirk my 2cents worth we had hyd levellers fitted to our landseer and apart from selling our first born to pay for them it is worth every cent the ease to level just makes a difference no more blocks of wood no more wobbles just press a button and all done steve
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Re: AUSTRAL DRIVERS.

Postby kelvin12 » Mon Sep 16, 2013 7:46 am

G'Day Steve,

You are right about selling the first born, they sure are an investment alright. Glad I bought them early in the peace before everything else since otherwise the wife would skin me alive....Lol. Used them a few times now just working on the bus and keeping it level, keeps sinking into the dirt here.

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Re: AUSTRAL DRIVERS.

Postby Cary » Mon Sep 16, 2013 10:48 pm

Interesting thoughts on the hyd rams. I have done a bit of reading and noticed a fair few coach motorhome have them. I honestly didn't think they would be needed but then I didn't take into account the airbags leaking out over night etc.

How long roughly does it take for them to leak on average? 12 hours/24hrs?
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Re: AUSTRAL DRIVERS.

Postby kelvin12 » Tue Sep 17, 2013 7:58 am

G'Day Carey,

Hows it going, any thoughts on your bus yet. My air leaks down within a few hours, but I have a small leak in the top plate on the tag air bag. Damn thing is defying all attempts to weld it. Might need to take drastic action. Good systems seem to hold air for ages, even been told of holding air for weeks at a time. My hydraulics are rated at 20 tonne. They can lift the front end completely off the ground but that's not a great idea as you can tear a bag. It struggles with the rear end getting it off the ground a bit but my back end is on soft ground and it keeps pushing the feet down into the ground. Have heard of people using it to change a wheel but again you would run the risk of tearing a bag.

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Re: AUSTRAL DRIVERS.

Postby Cary » Tue Sep 17, 2013 10:51 am

Hi Dirk,

Still looking. A few have come up and sold before I have had a chance to look at them. There is one about an hour away that I'm going to try to get to in the next few weeks if I can find the time(tourmaster).

How's the build going? Can't be to far off now? :)

Cheers
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Re: AUSTRAL DRIVERS.

Postby kelvin12 » Tue Sep 17, 2013 7:46 pm

Going really good at the moment for a change, wiring at the moment which is a bit of a chore. Had them all tagged with masking tape but that was 3 years ago so now half have fallen off the others have gone all mushy and hard to read bugger it. Hopefully by xmas or shortly after then its hit the track.... hopefully.

Good luck with your search, keep in contact.

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Re: AUSTRAL DRIVERS.

Postby Daz » Sun Jun 01, 2014 11:22 am

The shock absorber should stop the bag tearing or being pulled off the piston.
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Re: AUSTRAL DRIVERS.

Postby kelvin12 » Sun Jun 01, 2014 12:19 pm

G'Day Daz,

Actually found the air bags float and can't be pulled down to their extreme. There are on a post sort of arrangement and you are right the shock stops the suspension travel not the bag.

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