Spec’ing for rough roads How can you spec your buses to best handle rough rural roads? • Spec heavy-duty components for increased vehicle longevity. • Spec air-ride suspension and air-suspended drivers’ seats for added comfort and reliability, as well as for less wear on chassis components. • Watch shock absorbers for leakage and replace promptly when necessary. • Spec steel disc wheels and radial tires for added mileage and increased smoothness of ride. • Lube chassis components every month to increase reliability of assemblies. • Check alternator and compressor mounting brackets, exhaust system components and hangers carefully at PM inspections. They may work loose or break on rough terrain. Joe Reed, asst. transp. director Palm Beach County Schools West Palm Beach, Fla. email@example.com Leaking radiator tanks The International Bus Vehicle Center offers the following advice for diagnosing radiator problems. Problem — The plastic tank has thinned to the point of cracking. This failure is often mistakenly diagnosed as a tank-manufacturing defect. If you repair the leak in the tank and the radiator fails in the same manner, the problem goes beyond a tank production flaw. The leak may be caused by steam in the tank. Air void or low coolant level created by excess heat will erode the plastic material of the tank and air pressure will weaken the system. Solution — Check the coolant level. Then check the radiator for proper de-aeration using a pressure test system.