Hey guys, first post here.
Just bought a school bus for a road trip/move to Denver. We'll take off from Ann Arbor, Mi, hopefully by August 1st. We'll be takin a bit of a road trip for a few weeks and then end up in Denver where we will stay indefinitely. We are planning on living in the bus until we find somewhere to move into, hopefully before it gets cold!
This is my first bus, first large-vehicle really, and first diesel. She's in ok condition with rust and general wear, but runs pretty good and seems to be a good work horse. So far I have removed the seats and am close to removing the flooring, which I plan to replace with some kind of vinyl-type roll material from Home Depot. I'll need some help and seasoned opinions along the way, so I was happy to find this forum! All of this work will be done in the next few weeks.
1995 Thomas-built Ford with Cummins 5.9 12v motor (at least I think it's a 12v?) and Allison AT545 trans. Pretty much all stock, except for a differential geared to drop RPM (this thing is slow!) and a modulator for the trans that is not made for the Allison, apparently. Downshifts hard, maybe due to wrong modulator?
Re-floor and seal
Increase power for the mountains (turbo, torque plate, not sure what else)
Replace belt, tensioner, maybe some hoses, etc.
Replace 1 tire (try to find extra wheel and use a retread for spare)
Paint outside of bus
Build wall divider in back to separate my "shop" from living space (will have tools, spare parts, extra gas/oil, dirt bike, etc.)
Build benches, bed frame, foldable table, etc. and
1. I'm talking to Pete at Pittsburgh Power and he recommends their custom exhaust flange for the stock turbo, as well as their torque plate. This should bring it up to ~270 hp, ~650 lb-ft by his estimate. So I have concerns about whether the AT545 will be able to take this torque (as it's over the max specs), and also about the removal of the very rusty exhaust/turbo bolts, as I have broken bolts on exhausts before. The side with the torque plate looks ok. Should I do an intake mod too like an aftermarket airbox/filter or no? Some people say the 545 is underrated and can take a good amount of torque, some say the trans is weak, so I am kind of confused. I'll definitely use a synthetic oil in it, but heat may still be a problem! Are there any cooler kits for this trans?
2. Where can I get service manual for the engine? Because I am new to diesels I want to know things like if there is a different way to change oil, what filter to use, what oils and fluids, other maintenance things specific to diesels, etc.
3. How do you paint a bus?! Should I buy a cheap spray gun? I have an 8 gal compressor, I assume this is not big enough but could rent a bigger one. What paints to you use and other than taping stuff off, how do you prepare the surface?
4. I am ripping up the rubber flooring, but am not sure if I should put an insulating later or something down before the new floor material. I don't want anything thick, I'm 6'2" and need all the head space I can get! Also I'm not sure what flooring material would be best, so I'm still looking into that.
Any tricks, tips, or opinions are hereby requested!