During the Winter of 2003/2004 I completely overhauled the rear suspension and replaced the drive shaft. This job took me over 4 months to replace all shock absorbers, 1 air bag, all radius rod bushings, and wheel studs on the passenger drive axle. I also replaced both main DD3 brake cans and the brake hose to the tag axle. The tag axle brake cans also got new membranes. I replaced the leveling valves and rebuilt the pressure regulators and eliminated all the air leaks I could find. Unfortunately I did not take any pictures of this job. I wished I had as it was quite the sight to see the bus sitting on blocks with no wheels on in the back!
Following the work in the early spring I took the bus down to C & J Bus Repair in Bloomington, MN. I had C&J Bus remove the engine and transmission. The HT754 CRD Allyson transmission was delivered to Precision transmission for an overhaul. Meanwhile C&J rewired the engine, fixed the alternator alignment, replaced hoses, replaced senders, and cleaned the engine. One month later I picked up the bus knowing the engine shutdown circuit actually worked!
After the bus was done being worked on by C&J Bus Repair I went ahead and replaced the shaft seals in the blower gear box for the radiator. The worst part of that job was getting the blowers, shrouds and gear box out and back in as one unit. Otherwise, replacing the seals was not that big of a job and it is extremely nice to have the oil stay IN the gear box now.
Now that I’ve done all this work to the drive train I feel much more confident in the ability of this bus to get my wife and I to where we want to go.
Finishing the above tasks I moved on to actual conversion work. I spent the summer removing the old windows, riveting aluminum on the sides, insulating and then putting plywood sheathing up on the inside. The end result of that job was a feeling of finally getting the conversion visually looking like it had in my mind’s eye for so long. We finished the summer with three weekend trips before the weather got too cold for the heat pump to keep us warm.
Most of the oil down the side of the engine on this picture is from the blower box seals leaking. Any oil put in the blower box ended up on the engine in 24 hours time.
Here is a picture of the rear of the 6V92 showing the alternator incorrectly installed. The danger with the alternator setup like this was that the diodes in the end housing could come out of the “cooling” oil and cause one or all to fail. C&J aligned the alternator correctly. Correct alignment has the diode housing top parallel to the ground.
I built a tarp tent to keep the rain out of the bus when all the windows were removed.
I bought a Hobart Handler to handle all the welding details. Best investment I’ve made on this project so far!
All the windows are out and the framing has begun.
I built a movable scaffolding system after seeing how beneficial Craig’s scaffolding was. This meant I never fell off a ladder!
In this picture you can see where I removed the original window framing. I did this so that I could put one window in the space where two windows used to be. I did this on both sides of the bus in the bedroom area.
The driver’s side showing the priming and a little finish paint on the framing that would be contacting the aluminum siding.
I added a few interior lower wall braces in the back and front at the same time.
Hilary is looking out where her kitchen will eventually be.
I’ve started the insulating job on the interior. I had to get all the insulation up before I put the windows in. This was because the windows required the interior plywood to be up before the windows went in as the plywood thickness was required to allow the clamp ring to seat and hold the window in.
In this picture I’m starting to put the white primer up over the etching primer. I chose to go with a marine paint and roll system to make the job easier and less costly. I’ve never painted with a spray gun and decided that I would not tackle painting the entire bus during this summer. Since I didn’t want to leave the plain aluminum up I followed this marine painting system. The paint system has a finish layer of paint that has Teflon in it and did a great job.
I’m putting the drip rail back on. This was the last step on the outside before I could put the windows back in. There was one screw every 3 inches! That’s a lot of screws.
I purchased all my windows from Peninsula glass. If I had to do it again I would think seriously about getting the driver window in Thermo-pane glass. At night it can be challenging to see past the double reflective glare of the window and dash gauges.
With the plywood sheathing up on the inside it is starting to look like something finally! I enjoyed this part of the summer’s project immensely because I was finally putting things in permanently after having spent the last two year essentially tearing things out!