Saturday, December 17, 2016

A mystery solved

Today I went to start my bus but the battery was flat. I charged it and drove the bus forward and back in the yard noting that the gizmo attached to the drive shaft is not a supplementary speedometer. The red power cable is disconnected and the speedometer functions. This is all particularly curious!

Starting the bus was a challenge as the battery was flat. I charged it and it started up straight away. Turning the kill switch on the battery I went back inside to find the power still on. Returning to the kill switch I discovered what a marvelous piece of engineering the people that installed it had done. The switch is on the negative terminal and the terminals on the switch are both uninsulated and in contact with the bodywork. What a stunningly bad piece of engineering! Until I can resolve the short in the ABS circuit, the solution will have to be duct tape over the part the switch touches.

Looking underneath the bus I found the steel plates on my welded barrel hangers are a little overlong. I can trim them though extra width would be welcome. I have a feeling that the hillbilly steel just isn't going to be any good for anything bus related. No matter how much I tried to reuse most of the hillbilly parts, I never could get them to work. I might end up having to buy more appropriate steel.

Today I didn't actually do much. I was just so utterly exhausted from working. My day starts at 4am when my alarm sounds. Typically I drive a school bus, picking up children between 6am and 7am, delivering them to two elementary schools then between 7am and 8am I drive for a high school. Add in a few extra activities and I'll be driving for approximately 3 hours. Then I go home and if I can manage it, I have a nap. The last few days that nap just didn't happen. From 1:35am until 4:30pm I usually act as an aide on a bus while the other driver drives. I take over at 4:30 if there are still children to drop off, dropping the other driver at a prearranged point (which changes). I can then be driving until 5:05 or occasionally 5:45. That's around a 12 hour day! I do that every day and by the end of the day I am shattered. Driving takes a lot of concentration because I have to be aware of what my passengers are doing, what drivers around me are doing and obeying the rules only school bus drivers must obey. Yesterday, for example, on the morning run I had to stop midway through a left hand turn because a car driver thought he could get into a non existent gap. Had I not been checking my side mirrors, he would have been an insurance claim. Then as I was slowing to pick up a child, with my amber lights flashing, a very long flatbed semi pulled out of a turning just in front of me. I'd already seen him as a risk but hoped he wouldn't be that dumb. I was prepared to stop and did. Finally, driving along a narrow road I spotted some children up ahead. As I drew closer one pushed another into the road I had to swerve and brake. Had I not already checked my mirror to see if I was being overtaken my only recourse would have been harder braking which could have thrown my passengers on the floor with injury potential. So now you know... my job is absolutely exhausting.

If tomorrow is warmer, I might get underneath the bus since the wasps have gone and see if I can use my carefully welded barrel hangers.

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