Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Holy crap!  I haven't posted in, like six weeks.  Well, I did take another ten days off to do our annual mountain bike trip in Moab, UT.  We rode The Magnificent Seven, Bartlett's Wash slickrock, Hazzard County, UPS, LPS, Porcupine to Sandflats Rd., Pipe Dream, and Onion Creek - plus a trip down to south of Blanding to check out Moon House ruins.  So enough about that.

Click on image to enlarge

I discovered that the whole time I've been driving this Bus around I had NO FRONT BRAKES!, I decided it would be prudent to make necessary repairs.  TWO weeks to complete.  I pulled the wheels and checked the brake pads, which hadn't touched the drums in years.  The drums were rust pitted.  The pads were worn out and the slack adjusters were cranked out to their limit.  I made a call to Luke at U.S. Coach in NJ.  He had me measure the inside diameter of the drums - 14.5".  He told me they had already been turned twice and I needed new drums.   Got two new drums,  new pads, nuts and bolts, 10 new lugs for the right side and three for the left and 16 rubber bushings for the suspension radius rods.  Remember, these are parts for a 1956 bus, and they're still available!  They came by UPS in two boxes.  One box had just a drum in it.  The other had a drum plus the pads, bolts and wheel lugs and nuts.  Each drum alone weighs 94#!

Drilled out
The first challenge -  get the drums off the hubs.  The drums have five 3/8" flathead bolts holding them onto the hub. They've been there since the Eisenhower Administration. They were fused to the hubs.  Nothing would break them loose - not three kinds of penetrating oil, not heating with a torch, not drilling and using an EZ-Out.  My experience has been that EZ-out is a misnomer.  If anything they should be called Not-So-EZ-Outs or Never EZ-Outs. I resorted to drilling them out just short of the thread depth and then and chasing the threads with a tap.  

With the old drums removed, the worn out pads had to come off the shoes.  The pads are bolted to the shoes with brass flat-head bolts.  Those came off easier.  There's two pads per shoe and two shoes per hub, so that's 16 brass bolts to remove on each side.  The shoes were cleaned up and since I had easy access, I greased all the steering fittings and replaced the rubber bushings on the front radius rods.  I'll tackle the rears later this year. The next task was to replace the wheel lugs.  I had to heat each retaining nut with a torch to get them to budge. Once the nuts were off, the old lugs had to be driven out of the hub.  New lugs inserted and bolted onto the hub and tightened to 300 ft/lbs., new pads bolted on, springs reattached, slack adjusters turned all the way in and new drums bolted to hubs.  Wheels remounted, slack adjusters adjusted and back on the ground. Took her out for a test drive - stops WAY better now.
Shoes before pads
Hub removed

New lugs, ready for wheel

Shoes with pads bolted on

The Detroit Diesel engine is BIG.  It's an in-line six - called a 6-71 (six cylinders at 71 cubic
inches per cylinder).  That's 426 cubic inches, about the same displacement as a big block V-8 car motor.  But this engine weighs 2100 lbs. compared to about 690 lbs. for the 'big block", and it makes 238 hp and over 600 ft/lbs of torque.  The engine sits transversely in the back, so the radiator is on the left side, rear corner of the bus.  This creates a cooling problem since at highway speeds, the air is rushing PAST the radiator, not INTO it as it does when the engine is up front and facing forward.  I went with four electric cooling fans instead of the original direct drive fan, because the previous owner had put in a bigger radiator and tossed the fan shroud (critical for effective cooling).  I also wanted to replace the direct drive fan with a pulley to run a second alternator.  So, cooling was marginal.  The engine should run at 180 degrees and on a 90 degree day I'd be pushing 190.  So, I strapped on a piece of carpeting to act as a scoop to see if that affected the cooling.  It worked great, but was totally hillbilly, so I built a scoop.  

Took a curved fluted sheet and expanded steel off the parts bus and cut to size. 


Then cut two aluminum side pieces.  Riveted it all together and bolted over the radiator. 
The fans don't even come on when going down the road at cruising speed - a steady 180 degrees. 

Scooping in all that air requires a place for it to get out of the engine compartment, so using more expanded metal from the parts bus, I made an engine bay vent in the rear. 

We were planning a trip to North Carolina, but a few more items need to be checked off the "to do list".  Installing a new water heater and finish painting and papering the interior.  Next blog - "The Interior" or My Wife the Coolest Bus Interior Decorator".

1 comment:

  1. Just finished your blog, anxiously waiting for an update. Been considering a bus purchase & the 4104 catches my eye. My desire is the purchase of a coach in need of updating, but your blog gets me thinking of staying from scratch! Love your electrical choices. Pat