Category Archives: Hunting Parts

Parts I need to find for the bus.

DIN vs non-DIN Angle Joints and supplier irritation

Well, my order of ball joint sockets arrived from Midwest Control Products.  Very un-amused.

My  first beef with them is what I call shipping rip-off.  $20.50 for $6.80 of postage.  I’m fine with a $5 handling charge to put 50 items in a small box.  $15 is a rip.

Second, I ordered retaining clips ($38 for 25) because the description said they didn’t come with the ball sockets.  It was wrong, they were included.  Nothing like errors that cost you money to piss you off.

Third, the ball sockets that they sent are missing the internal positioning ring.  So when the ball is inserted into the socket there is axial slop to the tune of a couple of mm.  Axial slop means the ball moves in and out of the socket by 2mm.  This is 12% of it’s diameter.  Clearly not a defect, but what application allows a 10% slop factor on a control linkage?  Messy.

Which brings me to the title of the post.  I had ordered a sample on eBay from a very very nice supplier.  It took me a couple of emails to get it and then it showed up once I finally got an invoice via Paypal.  It’s a beautiful part with a black oxide finish.  When I went back to order more he was unresponsive again, so I went searching and found Midwest.  Well, I went back to looking at his part and noticed that it has the external clip, but also a c-clip ring internally that serves to hold the ball captive.

I did some googling of angle joint definitions and DIN and realized that I was looking at a DIN 71802 in black oxide.  Further digging shows that DIN 71802 nicely details the mechanical and precise joint.  Now, you may be asking, WTF is DIN?  Well, I know I asked.  DIN is Deutsches Institut fur Normung, or the German Institute for Normal, translated quite literally.  This is the German equivalent of ASME.  The difference being that DIN is a government function while ASME is a professional association with a penchant for hostaging it’s standards documentation.

One of the things I *really* admire and enjoy about working on German anything is that they are exhaustive in their documentation of standards.  A quick leap to Wikipedia shows hundreds of active, withdrawn, and retired DIN standards  covering every conceivable mechanical contrivance from pins to lettering to bolts to pipes to angle joints.  You can see the list here

Now, I’m only interested in DIN 71802 right now, and you can see a great detail of it here.  Fluro® does a great job defining it and helped me realize I have D16 and D19 DIN71802 joints on my bus.  It’s like the heavens parted and sunshine emerged.  Moving from the WTF is this area to the defined and findable.

A quick search on eBay found a reasonable German supplier with fair shipping rates.  A few samples have been ordered.  The D16’s were here:  and the D19’s are here:

Scanning manuals to preserve them

I managed to obtain a Ersatzteil-Liste from Europe a month ago.  In English this is a parts-manual.  This one is specific to Cityliner N116 series coaches inclulding the N116/2 and N116/3.  My coach is based on the N116/2.

Because this is a 30 year old manual, I decided to scan it to PDF.  I’m going to keep a copy on my blog as a backup in case something should ever happen to the digital copy at my house and the physical copy in my posession.

It contains difficult to find and irreplaceable information about the parts and diagrams for the coach.

I considered the copyright implications and determined that this is a fair use and educational use.  First Neoplan USA, exited the market in 2002.  Neopart, their subsidiary, is for all intents and purposes dead.  No email, no phone calls… they don’t exist despite a webpage for them.

Auwerter / Neoplan was purchased by MAN Group which is part of the worldwide conglomerate Volkswagen.  They do exist, but they have confirmed, in email that no documenation or information exists for my coach.  Parts availability is extremely limited.

The combination of their legal and real exit from the American market coupled with confirmation that in no market can I get parts or documentation supports a fair use to post the manual online.

This actually helps the market by making it feasible for the remaining owner/operators to continue keeping the vehicles in operation.

I plan to create a page to index the manuals and then a page for each discrete manual.

So far I have collected a couple of manuals, one directly applies, and the other is for the AN440 wiring, which is insightful as to how the systems were designed.

Nipples and Bits from Amazon because they are cheaper….

This evening I got around to figuring out how I was going to deal with the air cylinder replacement.

Let me back up a second and bring readers up to speed.  I bought the bus right before Christmas.  After spending a day getting it ready and arguing with Ritchie Bros that changing a engine belt was not the same as working on it….. I headed East from Los Angeles to Houston.  I did not get very far before Kysor of Michigan Unobtanium cylinder failed active.  This forced the shut-down lever closed near lovely Coachella, CA.

Coachella is lovely if you are a spider, dirt, or a cactus…. beyond that it’s offerings of unlimited wind, sun, and dirt are not terribly appealing.

2015-12-24 16.34.46

I was lucky enough to coast off the freeway and past the bridge when the engine died.  This joy was short lived and I had the privilege of paying $150 for a mobile grease monkey to change my fuel filters and not be able to diagnose anything else….

Fortunately I had CoachNet, so they covered this:

2015-12-24 17.44.12 2015-12-24 17.15.46

I promise that Dave and his truck were not cheap.  CoachNet covered it though.  I always consider roadside assistance an investment when it comes to specialty vehicles.  Meanwhile the Genset’s backasswards DC wiring was draining the batteries… which cost me dearly the following day.  More on that another time.

So I finally figured out what it was on Saturday when I could get a good mechanic to come out who knew Detroit Diesels.

This was the offending part:

2015-12-26 07.24.57

The cylinder on the right that is extended….. and 30 years old and no longer made.  So after a bunch of forced learning courtesy of the School of Hard Knocks ® roadside campus….. I ordered a couple of these to move to something standard and easily obtainable.


$25, stainless steel…..

I decided to test fit them today.  I knew that the threaded portion was too long, and I have a plan.  More on that later.

So about this post?  Yea, I needed a brass threaded nipple.  Local Auto Parts Whores (stores) like want $12 for a part I can buy on Amazon for $2.20.

I also ordered a plug for $1.67

And of course no nipple or plug is good without Threadlock….. Loctite 567 to be precise:

Should be here in a couple of days and then I’ll shoot a video of how it goes in and what’s involved….. 🙂

How tall it is not…..

I decided to finally measure the height of the bus today.  I fired it up and let it fully air up the air bags while I drug the big ladder out and got it all set up.  I then hauled a fittingly pink 2×4 up the ladder and laid it across the top of the Air Conditioner.  I used an 8 foot construction level on top of this to verify that the 2×4 was level, because the driveway sure as hell isn’t level.  Heck it’s not even in one place or one piece.  The picture below shows how it shifted up 3/4 of an inch when I parked on it.

2016-02-07 13.37.16

I found the tape measure and convinced my roommate to help me by standing on the end of the tape measure.  It was windy and it wouldn’t stay still.

It turns out the bus is 12.5 feet tall.  Good thing I didn’t bet on that because I sure thought it was taller.

Time for a custom screw or two

Well, my replacement screws from BoltDepot arrived and none of them fit.  It turns out that the screws used on the steering indicator are narrow head M5 screws….. nearly unobtanium.  WTF.

I found a company, Misumi USA that either stocks them or will make them and ship them for $3/ea.  Done.

I also found a set of wiring diagrams for Neoplan USA on eBay.  It’s a $50 gamble that it will shed some light on my bus.

The 24v flasher showed up and it actually works well.  We’ll see if I wind up throwing it away when I convert the turn signals to 12v.

So much fun, so little time.

Incompetent Wiring unwound

The weather is nice today…. so I decided to do the unthinkable and start tracing wires under the dash.  Ugh, uber-cluster-fuck.  Several iterations of mis-wiring are present.

My front turn signals did not work when I started.  Oh so many fun things found.

  1. 12 v flasher in a 24v system…. yes Dorothy, voltage mismatch causes bad juju and a fast flash.  Cured via eBay for $8 from a local company.
  2. The bulb was missing from the driver side.  That was easy.
  3. Someone has taken the signal/wiper switch off the steering column before, screws are stripped.  Off to Bolt Depot for replacements…..  Ordered several options, I’m sure something will fit
  4. Still no idea why there is no power getting to the passenger side turn signal.  Opened the dash a bit and discovered a wonderful AP4600 paging car alarm.  Deposited that in the trash.  The first of many items that will be coming out from under the dash as I untangle the wiring.

I’m debating a few things:

  • Convert to 12v turn signal system.  It’s all fed from one place, so this is feasible and would make it easier to get LED lights.
  • Replace front turn signals and markers.  The existing ones are Hella and hella hard to find…. lol.

Tie-Rod Mystery

So, my bus has these nifty self-levitating luggage doors.  Well, they would be nifty if they didn’t have some worn out hardware.  These ball joints are on the doors.  I have 24 of these and 12 larger cousins installed.  These are 16mm balls, which I can get sockets for $4/ea.

Sad thing is that the nylon “cup” is all that is bad.  It’s probably not nylon, it’s a semi-flexible translucent rubber.

I have half a mind to try and print the damn things on my 3-d printer when I finally get it later this week.  Hmm, let’s see….. assuming that all the sockets are the same price that is $144 worth of plastic bits….. probably worthwhile.  They are relatively simple as plastic bits go, so it shouldn’t take too much trial and error to figure out the exact size.

I may just do that.

In the meanwhile, does anyone know what brand these are?2016-01-19 19.10.11 2016-01-19 19.09.50 2016-01-19 19.09.34 2016-01-19 19.09.29 2016-01-19 19.09.26

A replacement candidate arrived yesterday in the mail….

2016-01-19 18.49.48