Thursday, August 13, 2015

A Common School Bus No Start Problem

Thomas School Bus Vandalock

This a common no start problem with all school buses and will continue to be since Vandalocks are standard equipment. The Vandalock as the name states locks out the start circuit and locks the access entries to the inside of the bus. The Thomas pusher in the video does not have any lock out for the entrance doors just the side door and rear emergency exit window.

However there's a cheap and easy solution which is to purchase a metal bike lock (u shaped) and install a couple pieces of angle iron to the entrance door leafs. We only do this with our sports run buses which do a lot of out of town trips. Just recently one of our sports run pusher buses were in Vancouver and the batteries got ripped off.

This is the first time this has ever happened to us perhaps because of the high return for lead at the scrap yard or someone with a truck needed a good set of batteries? Who knows but it's the sign of the times so a lock will be going on both of our sports run battery doors. The service call cost $800.00 in total so a couple of $20.00 hinge locks is a solid investment.

Getting back to the Vandalock system...when we talk to our drivers over the radio we can usually run them through the steps to check all of the exits to see if the latches are either locked or unlocked. One of the students could have very well kicked the latch closed since it's in the perfect spot on the side exit door as seen on the video.

The buzzer will stay on with the ignition key on with no engine crank until the latches are disabled. Vandalock systems are great to have as long as everybody is trained properly.

International School Bus Vandalock 


The International school bus vandalock is the same principle as Thomas buses but designed totally different. The conventional models have the entrance door and the rear door set up to lock out access and the engine start system. The video demonstrates how it works but the there is a minor flaw with the lever that activates the micro switch above the entrance door.

This micro switch has to be activated for the bus to start. Every year we have no start problems because of the lever dropping down while the bus is enroute. A rough road condition will cause this and the lever will drop down deactivating the switch causing an engine no start ... alarms will stay on while the ignition is turned on. One solution is to tighten the lever fastener to increase resistance but ever so slightly so the activating rod has enough push to move the lever.