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Author Topic: Finally the madden voyage!  (Read 2004 times)
TrevorH
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« on: March 17, 2008, 08:51:29 PM »

So as some of you know, I recently purchased a 102A3.  Exactly a week and a half prior to needing it to go on a 600 mile trip.  Ya, I know what you are all thinking and ya I have no idea what I was thinking.  So I get it home and look at 40' of where the heck do I start!?!  I need to remove all the seats in the back so that I can load 8 dirt bikes inside (believe it or not, with enough lifting, cursing and wiggling you can get a dirtbike through the front door).  After getting all the seats out and relizing exactly how much 40' of grime really is, the inside was good enough.  All of the windows had been broken so I taped the inside and outside of all of the side windows.  Then after 3 glass companies failing to show up and one changing the price at the last minute.  I ordered windows direct and did it myself.  Not hard but very scary when you dont have the time to order a replacement after your dog trips you with a huge peice of glass in your hands (saved the glass and have the scraps to prove it).  Now we are down to the final day before we have to leave to get to the race.  With plenty to be done, I start on an oil change (9 am).  $16 a gallon later I have a bag full of oil and filters for oil, collant, fuel primary and secondary.  I warm the bus up so the oil is easy to remove.  Crawl underneath and drop the pan bolt.  While this drains I start to remove the filter.  I was spinning it off with my finger tips since it was pretty hot and at the most inopertune moment it turns off the last thread, one hops right out of my grip, bounces off of my forehead and pours a gallon of hot oil all over me and my new driveway.  After getting this mess cleaned up and myself I move on to the task of changing fuel filters.  This turned out to be a terrible project.  I didnt have any valves so I knew I would have to prime the system after.  As I tried to remove one of the fuel hoses, it proceeded to snap and the wrench smacked a small coolant line leading to the filter and broke it right off.  Again, no check valves or anything so here I am pluggin both holes looking around like, "great, what do I do now!?!"  I have the entire system trying to empty out onto my lap.  After pluggin up both holes with a stick.  I burn rubber to the local lowes which proves to have all but the right parts.  After a few more stops, I return with enough fittings to replace most the system.  Now I have to have a new fuel line made and its 4:30 pm.  I get back with the new line and install with fingers crossed as I now have nowhere to go should I need another line built.  I get the system primed and sit back wondering what was I thinking when I though I could get all this done in so little time.  So on to build the hitch to tow the boat (6pm).  This proves to be plenty difficult.  Its amazing how LITTLE steel they can put in a 26k lb bus.  Where do they hide it all?  After reinforcing, bracing, gussetting, and overkilling, a workable ruff hitch is in place (11pm).  Now I make a 12v to 24v converter using 12v light bulbs and a soldering iron.  This works out well enough except we cant get the running lights to work properly so we run a direct line from the front batteris all along the outside of the bus. (1am).  Now to load up the bikes and gear.  While I leave this to friends, I check tire pressures.  Has anyone ever tried to inflate a bus tire with a cheap arse small compressor that has a 20 gallon portable tank.  Useless...  With the tires good enought to get down the road to somewhere better and the gear loaded up, I am ready for a shower (3am).  After I get all cleaned up, I hop in. Bus, bikes, and boat all hooked up ready to roll.  Go to turn over the engine and guess what!?!  All this time of sitting with the lights on has drained the good ole batteries.  Perfect...  We run an extension cord and plug in the charger to get them up good enough to crank.  Finally we roll out of the yard (4am).  Now, I have to figure out how the heck to drive this thing.  I wish I was kidding about this too.  My seat time totals 10 minutes and 5 miles prior to this and now I have 10 buddies and a boat added to the mix.  My training includes watching a YouTube video and reading an article.  Arrived in Lake Havasu at 11am in time to check in for my race which starts at 2pm.  All on absolutely no sleep.  The race went well considering and the lake was crazy fun.  Believe it or not, we got back today in one peice and boy what a trip.  Averaged 7 mpg and got more stares than most million dollar rigs I would wagger.  The bus with its broken windows and Buffalo Soldiers written down the side of it (previous owner), the boat, and me in the drivers seat looked about as out of place as possible.  Boy I hope it gets easier from here.......   
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1987 MCI 102A3 8V92TA 5 spd MT
Tucson, AZ
TomC
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« Reply #1 on: March 17, 2008, 10:46:47 PM »

Welcome to the crazy world of bus conversion. About the only thing that got me through my conversion was constantly repeating to myself "Murphy's law is in effect".  And as you proceed with the project, you'll understand too.  Once you're more comfortably into the project, just do one at a time, then you don't go completely nuts thinking about all the little and big jobs that have to be done.  Good Luck, TomC
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Tom & Donna Christman. '77 AMGeneral 10240B; 8V-71TATAIC V730.
luvrbus
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« Reply #2 on: March 18, 2008, 07:03:33 AM »

TrevorH, I gave all my MAK magazines to a guy but I am sure someone here can post the photos of the Eagle that had the back deck that would open and drive the car into we talked about on the phone it was in the year 2000 i believe glad you got your windshields installed
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JT4SC
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« Reply #3 on: March 18, 2008, 08:02:57 AM »

Awesome!!  Your story sounds very familiar,we bought our bus 2 days before we left on our 5 month road trip, luckily we bought a bus that was already to go (except the generator).  We also had no idea how to drive the thing or do anything really, but isn't it fun to learn?!! 

Congrats on your new bus Trevor and get some sleep!!   Smiley
« Last Edit: March 18, 2008, 08:05:17 AM by JT4SC » Logged
Len Silva
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« Reply #4 on: March 18, 2008, 09:42:01 AM »

Trevor,

Great story, I assume that "madden" was not a typo  Grin

Good luck,

Len
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Kwajdiver
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« Reply #5 on: March 18, 2008, 04:50:32 PM »

Just keep smiling, and have fun.    Grin  You are unaware, how much you DON"T know.... Roll Eyes Huh At least I was...... Shocked  Have fun and welcome to the ride, the wild ride...

Bill
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« Reply #6 on: March 18, 2008, 05:56:11 PM »

Len....might not be...... as I recall my first, it was also mostly "madden".... Cheesy Wink Smiley Grin

RCB
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Fredward
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« Reply #7 on: March 21, 2008, 07:58:18 PM »

Trevor,
I just caught this post and found it to be real entertaining. I've had my MC-5 for about 18 months. It was converted in 2004 and I bought it from the guy who converted it. I can do mechanical stuff, but not much for carpentry. Anyways, I'm just here to tell you the more time you spend working on it, the more comfortable you will be. I used to get creeped out just crawling in with the engine. This month I pulled the engine to replace the clutch. As NC Bob says; you've got to pull your engine to really know what you've got. Its a great time! Seriously. These busses were designed to have the engine removed/reinstalled several times. So its quite easy. I strongly recommend it. And you have a new driveway to do it on.......right?
Fred
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Fred Thomson
TrevorH
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« Reply #8 on: March 21, 2008, 09:11:17 PM »

I cant really say new anymore.  It now has a gallon oil stain dead middle that wont come up (kitty litter, pressure washer, the works) NADA  Angry.  With all the projects stairing at me, I dont really WANT to pull the engine.  I am definitely not bored to that point.  Hopefully I will get this shifting down prior to needing to replace a transmission or clutch.  At which point a sincronized do jobber will be replacing it.  Plan would actually be to get far enough down the road on the conversion to be able to put in a series 50 and new tranny.  If all goes as planned and I am sure it wont.
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1987 MCI 102A3 8V92TA 5 spd MT
Tucson, AZ
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« Reply #9 on: March 22, 2008, 06:00:28 PM »

Trevor,

Lye on that grease in the warm Arizona afternoon will remove that stain.  I used to get Red Devil but I hear that brand is no longer available.  Any lye....PLUMBERS LYE for drain cleaning is cheap and Handyman carries it and Easy Off oven cleaner works but you will use a few cans.  Get some Easy and try a spot.  If it doesn't work it will be the first I even heard of.

Rethink that engine swap.  Cummins ISM or ISL hooked to a Eaton Autoshift or Select Shift and the prize is the Allison 6 speed or 5 is good.  Buy the entire truck so you will have all the parts.  Look forward to the 8V92 radiators for your coach at an OUCH price.  As you said....down the road.

HTH

John
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« Reply #10 on: March 23, 2008, 09:47:53 AM »

Is That what they call "Trial by FIRE" ?
LOL....   Wink

LOVED it...
You now have a grater appriciation of all that is Bussing and Life rolled up in one grate adventure..
Hope you took LOTS O pics  Grin

So, do you still smell like a Crank Case  Roll Eyes


 Grin Grin Grin Grin Grin

Paul....
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« Reply #11 on: March 23, 2008, 11:27:56 AM »

Trevor,

I feel foolish. Embarrassed  The lye needs to be dissolved in water and to do that you pour the LYE into the WATER.  The ONLY way!!!! Shocked  To get the lye treated grease off of the cement you use a regular pressured garden hose.  TIDE is a safer alternative but takes prewetting and repeated applications and a little agitation with a straw broom.  But it works!  Like an anti war demonstrator Huh

Sorry if you knew all this, and i suspect you did, but the safety issue regarding mixing that i overlooked dictated that i make amends.

Thanks for you excellent post on your adventure,

John
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"An uneducated vote is a treasonous act more damaging than any treachery of the battlefield.
The price of apathy towards public affairs is to be ruled by evil men." Plato
“We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark; the real tragedy of life is when men are afraid of the light.”
—Pla
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