Are your buses spending a lot of time in the shop? Do they keep breaking down in the middle of service? Or maybe you have noticed the exterior/interior body begin to deteriorate?
If any of these scenarios sound familiar, then your fleet may be due for a mid-life rehab/overhaul. A process that strips down the buses to fix and/or replace worn components with all new parts. The best thing is that the useful bus life is extended at less than half the cost of a new bus. Customers describe the end result of the buses “Like New.” The ideal candidates are seven- to nine-year old buses with about 250,000 miles. It’s like a face lift…but for a bus!
It is no surprise that transit fleets are in need of mid-life overhauls with how much they endure. Hundreds if not thousands of riders are in and out of the buses all day, every day. Transit buses are operated 24/7 with no weekends or holidays off. The daily wear and tear significantly impact the health of the buses over the years. However, each geographical area where the buses are operated determine which components endure more wear. For example, the northern states see more structural damage due to the large amount of corrosion on the buses. The winter time is harsh on the vehicles and many times the vehicles may look visually good, but there are hidden issues. Corrosion tends to hide behind exterior panels, undercarriage and below the floor. We have worked on buses where all of the sub-floor is rotted due to unrepaired water leaks. This does not only look unappealing, but also creates a safety issue for riders. Alternatively, in warmer states like Florida and Arizona we see additional strain on HVAC systems due to the extensive use. It requires cooling systems to be serviced and replaced more frequently.
Before we begin a mid-life overhaul we like to assess the fleet to identify recommended repairs. The most common elements of a mid-life overhaul are the following: engine repower and compartment, suspension rebuild, undercarriage, HVAC system, repair/replace flooring, new seat inserts, body repairs, structural repairs, driver’s area, wheelchair system and full paint and decals. The fleet assessment also allows us to inspect the buses for possible risk areas and if the buses are good candidates for the mid-life overhauls. We will not recommend buses for overhauls when they have exceeded the recommended age. Also we will not recommend it, if we see costly repairs like structural or frame damage because it will not be worth it. After the assessment, we can design a customized mid-life overhaul program for the fleet based on the mechanical, body exterior and interior needs.
All of this may sound like a lot of work? Well you are right! Most transit agencies are not equipped to take on these projects because of the highly intensive labor, shop space and experienced technicians requirements. On average the whole process takes about six to eight weeks depending on the scope of work being performed. This timeframe is much less if you compare it with ordering a new bus from the OEMs. Especially with the national production shortages going on across the industry. When a bus is completed, it goes through an extensive quality control process, including a final inspection and long test drive. The transformation from when a bus arrives to our facility to when it leaves is truly amazing. It is very rewarding to follow the bus through the process and see it improving every day.
What other benefits can you expect from performing an overhaul? First and foremost, it will save your maintenance team time and money. Transit agencies have reported cost savings and reduction of vehicle breakdowns and service hassles after completing an overhaul program. This allows the agencies to keep less buses in the shop and more on the road serving riders. Overall improving reliability and safety. An added bonus is upgrading equipment while the buses are going in for refurbishment. Some common upgrades are Security Cameras, Driver Protection Barriers, Air Filtration and Wheelchair Systems. Midlife overhauls are key to keeping buses running and providing service. The goal is to prevent the buses from breaking down causing service interruptions. Don’t wait to rejuvenate your fleet – ITS TIME!
CoachCrafters, Inc. has been offering midlife overhauls for over 30 years. We have customized programs that include all makes and models. We want our customers to receive the maximum value of their investments, by saving time and money. As well as, helping them provide a better riding experience to their riders.
Iriz Guerrero is sales and marketing manager for CoachCrafters. CoachCrafters is happy to help and serve the public transportation industry. Please make sure to give us a call at 833-559-7679 with any of your specific maintenance needs, or visit www.coachcrafters.com for more information.