Different Wisdom

Discussions about all things to do with buses, trucks, and the homes made within them.

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ol trunt
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Re: Different Wisdom

Post by ol trunt »

I always try to tell myself "slow work takes time" but somehow it just doesn't help much.. Just relax and enjoy teaching for a while. I don't want you all stressed out 'cause I'm about to start the plumbing phase on my bus and I plan on steeling your good ideas! Jack

Mark R. Obtinario
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Re: Different Wisdom

Post by Mark R. Obtinario »

I have seen a lot of buses but I have yet to see a DDEC or ATEC that was 24-volt.

One learns something new every day.

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Lostranger
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Re: Different Wisdom

Post by Lostranger »

Hey Mark, I'm sure you're right about that. I have all the factory manuals, but I've not studied the management computer sections in detail. I do know that 24v lines run to every major component area. 12v lines are also common, so — as I said — I'm sure you're right about the management. Sometime in the future I plan to pore over the wiring diagrams just so I'll understand the systems better, but now is not that time. You do have me curious about this issue, and maybe this weekend I'll have time to check it out.

As always, thanks for your input.

Jim

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Re: Different Wisdom

Post by Mark R. Obtinario »

Just as a suggestion, don't put 24-volt into anything unless you are 100% sure it is 24-volt.

If it is 12-volt it tends to let the smoke out of the wires when you put 24-volt to it. Don't ask me how I know that is true. :)

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Re: Different Wisdom

Post by Lostranger »

I'm not interconnecting the house system and the bus system in any way other than grounds. East is east, and west is west, as they say.

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Re: Different Wisdom

Post by Lostranger »

(Written 10-19, posted 10-21)

This morning, long before daylight, I stood in the surf on Ocracoke Island and thought about important stuff. I pondered the vastness of the Atlantic and the fragility of North Carolina’s magnificent barrier islands. I contemplated the perfect symbiosis of a lactobacillus and its companion wild yeast I keep on a diet of flour and water in a jar by the sink and how they will leaven and flavor both the biscuits and the loaf of bread I’m planning to bake today. I wondered how a loving, all-powerful God could be so mean spirited as to curse us with these damnable mosquitoes. We love Ocracoke in October partly because frost prunes the mosquito crop by this time of year. But Ocracoke has been nowhere close to frost. Further evidence that the world is warming. And that brings me back to the fragility of the Outer Banks....

We had rain through much of the night, but by 0430, the rain had stopped and the cover had broken just enough in the southwest to frame the full moon as it fell across my right shoulder and brightened the beach. The waves breaking around my knees felt like bathwater as my awareness probed nooks of memory which I’ve not had time to air lately. I thought about the whirlwind summer of getting ready to teach multiple classes on banjo building at a nearby college to people I had not yet met and from whom I did not know what to expect. As that preparation was being made, I was also pushing myself to get enough done on our bus conversion so that Bev and I could make the long-anticipated move into the bus before the climax of our year of instrument building: The Village of Yesteryear at the North Carolina State Fair. As I stood in the ocean, I forced myself to remember the past six weeks, when class prep and bus building reached numbing crescendo, when the long-hour, seven-day-a-week classes began — and finally ended — and during which I spent every moment not teaching, traveling or sleeping working like a madman to get the bus done enough to accommodate us. Barely.

The classes I taught ended this past Sunday. We had to be at the fair by ten A.M. Thursday. Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday promised to be a frenzy of carpentry, plumbing and steel fabrication. Then, on Tuesday afternoon, the unthinkable happened: we realized that bus would not start even with its new batteries installed. With consultation from the manufacturer, I managed to repair what I thought was the problem. Power to the main starter relay now. Surely it will start. The engine spins now, but no ignition.

I phoned a friend. I managed to get an auto electric expert to make a house call. I called a diesel road service mechanic. He called two others. Three of us worked into the night. The engine had fuel. It was primed. The lift pump and the injector pump both worked. Still spin, spin, spin, but no ignition. I had to run my generator several times to keep the new batteries up. When the two remaining mechanics finally left, I fell into bed, but 0430 found me back at it. The mechanic who knew most about electric issues promised to be back this morning.

While I waited, I dove back into bus prep. I built the partition that will keep our washer and dryer from launching during a panic stop. I built plywood sides for our small wagon that will haul supplies from the parking lot to the Village. I repaired the shower drain that leaked after yesterday’s installation. I located and staged parts, tools and materials we would need to take. All the while, I took breaks to study the wiring diagrams for the bus and try everything I could think of to get her started. Nothing worked. Then, about 2:00 P.M., another setback: I sliced my right hand while installing the sink. Several recommended that I get stitches. Instead, I got Super Glue and Neosporin. I had to lie down for a while so the nausea could pass, but the clock was ticking. At four, I phoned the mechanic. As I suspected, he’d had a hectic day, too. He promised to be there by 6:00. I kept busy while I waited.

He arrived around 6:30. We made a good team reading the schematics and bouncing ideas back and forth. The bus has both 12v and 24v systems. We had determined the day before that the engine ECU was not getting power. I noticed on Tuesday that a 12v breaker was tripped and would not reset, but the book said that breaker controlled interior lights. Early Wednesday evening, we figured out that it was actually tied to the starting system. Progress. But why was it tripped? Where was the short?

Wayne, the mechanic who was kind enough to spend two late nights on my problem, finally discovered a 12v relay tied to the ECU. That relay was hanging loose from its mount, so we knew someone had experienced trouble with it before. We soon learned that it was not receiving control circuit voltage, and therefore was not sending power to the ECU. Circuit testing told us that the control circuit was tied to the tripped breaker, but we still had no idea where to find the offending short. Finally, through the fog of exhaustion, I noticed that a green (ground) wire was plugged into a yellow (power) wire. The manual showed that it was that way from the factory, but it didn’t make sense. I unplugged the wire. The tripped breaker reset and stayed. Wayne started back to the engine compartment to see if the ECU had power. I stopped him. “Wait,” I said. “Let me try something.”

I turned on the switch, waited for the computer to complete its pre-start diagnostics, then pressed the starter button. The engine turned over twice then purred to life. I danced the length of our forty foot aisle. It was a hornpipe, I think. It was nearly midnight of the night before we had to be four hours away, but the engine was running. Wayne and I laughed and slapped each other on the back like giddy children.

After Wayne left, we fell into bed until 0500. Then we began loading like mad. At 0900, we got a call from the assistant director of the Village of Yesteryear responding to our earlier message for the director saying that we would be late. The assistant director said we could not get in after 10 A.M. They have their rules. We were stunned. All that work for nothing. All dressed up and nowhere to go.

Our disappointment lasted about two minutes. At that point, we realized that what we really needed was a vacation. The bus was packed and fueled. We had two weeks of food purchased and no demands on our time. We hit the road and took two leisurely days to get to one of our favorite spots.

Waking up on Ocracoke is one of life’s genuine pleasures. Standing in its predawn surf only ads to the joy. And the bus? Why, it’s just about perfect.

(I have photos, but I can't seem to access tinypic on the island.)

Best to all

Jim
Waaaay over in NC

ol trunt
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Re: Different Wisdom

Post by ol trunt »

Jim, congrats on making lemonaid out of a pile of lemons :thumbup:. Especially after all you went through, I hope you have a great vacation! Can't wait to see pics of the improvements you have completed on your bus.

Jack

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Re: Different Wisdom

Post by Lostranger »

I think I can load a couple trip photos with my phone. Construction pics will have to wait. We've discovered that whether we're surrounded by popups or expensive motorhomes, our bus is the vehicle everyone wants to talk about. Yesterday, the bus got me a music gig at a nice restaurant.

Image

[img]http://i39.tinypic.com/16bx1ew.

ol trunt
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Re: Different Wisdom

Post by ol trunt »

How kool is that 8) . All my skoolie would do is get me kicked out of one of the finer"resorts" :lol: . If I had a place to keep a grown up bus I'd be looking for one like yours. Its squareish shape certaintly makes for better use of space than the rounded school buses. Jack

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somewhereinusa
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Re: Different Wisdom

Post by somewhereinusa »

I do like the lines of your bus.Have a good trip. :)

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Re: Different Wisdom

Post by Lostranger »

Here are a couple pics I intended to include last time:

Image

Image

I'm glad others are finally seeing what I've always seen in this bus. At first, so many told me that it couldn't or shouldn't be converted that I stopped talking about the project except on this site. Now it's turning heads everywhere. I could not be happier with our conversion shell. It looks great and will only get better; runs, rides and drives like a dream; easy to get into; and it's only a bit over 9' tall. Much less front to push through the wind than an intercity bus.

I'm still amazed at the interior space. It's a cavern! Soon as I can get some cabinets built, we won't have stuff piled all round.

But first, more plumbing and holding tanks.

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somewhereinusa
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Re: Different Wisdom

Post by somewhereinusa »

It has that cool cloud parking too. :lol: :lol: :lol:

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Re: Different Wisdom

Post by Lostranger »

Hey Somewhere, Not sure what cloud parking is, but I agree that it looks cool parked. I always kneel it when we park. That way, the air leaking down can't leave us at an odd angle. The PO was planning to disable the kneel feature. Glad we got to it before he did. It's one of my favorite things, and it makes the bus easier to level with blocks when necessary.

The air does leak down unevenly. I have both a rear leveling valve and a maxi chamber leaking at the moment. Both parts are on hand back at home base. Maybe next week I can get them on.

Jim

Image

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Re: Different Wisdom

Post by Mark R. Obtinario »

Glad to see you are out and about using your bus.

One criticism about transits is the lack of space under the floor available for tankage and storage.

You have solved the tankage issue very elegantly.

Your door looks outstanding but in the latest pictures I can't see the door knob.

How do you open and close/latch your door?

I wouldn't worry about a leaking air bag until it blows a hole out. It is rare to ever find an air suspension that doesn't leak down given enough time. Most older MCI buses will leak down within an hour or two. It is always interesting to see them parked too close together and see two buses lean into each other because one had a right side leak and on that same side have the next bus have a left side leak.

A leaking brake chamber is something else altogether. That sort of leak needs to be addressed right away. It is usually just a diaphram and not a hard fix. Just remember DO NOT try to take apart the spring chamber--those parts are not serviceable and can kill you if the spring should escape.

Take care and keep us posted.

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Lostranger
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Re: Different Wisdom

Post by Lostranger »

Hello Mark, not surprised that it was you who noticed the lack of a doorknob. I have a SS paddle latch that I plan to install after we get back. I got the door back on in the frenzy of last week's prep work. Had no time to install and rig the paddle. Instead, I drilled a small hole in the door skin even with the lever on the bear claw latch. All we have to do is insert a thin metal rod (tee-style Allen wrench) in the hole and use it to move the latch lever. Seems pretty secure for the short term. I thought I'd clamp something over the hole at night, but I never remember.

I'll post a photo, but it may not show.

Image

For some reason, the photo came out sideways. Left in the pic is actually up.

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