Well we made it to Austin on Friday afternoon but not without some problems...
We got everything ready to go and hit the road & left Sebring at about 4pm on tuesday afternoon. It felt great to finally drive the bus again but about 8 miles from the house the bus broke down... Yea...8 MILES!
After we fueled up at the BP station the bus was giving us problems when trying to start it. I made a few calls to our mechanic & we got it going again. We took off again down the road & when we slowed to a crawl at some rough railroad tracks the bus stalled leaving us in a turn lane to a campground, still in Sebring! Cranking her did nothing so we called Good Sam Roadside Service. They worked hard to find a mechanic to come help us out but none had any parts & said they could only help us the next morning after they got parts... 10 am wed was the soonest...
So Good Sam tried to find a towtruck to tow us 300 yards off of the road into the campground, but its a small town & non were available. By now about 7 hours had passed & I was still on the side of the road, mosquitos where coming out for the hunt & it started to rain. My wife & our baby had gone back to my mother in laws to relax while I waited out whatever was going to happen.
Good Sam finally tracked down SOS Rescue Mechanics to come service the bus! WOOHOO! About 9 hours had passed when help showed up. I figured it was fuel related & they started to research the problem. Pulling the fuel filter off they sniffed the fuel & said - this doesn't smell like diesel... It was red also, not green like it should be.
HMMM... the mechanics realized that someone had filled the tank before I bought the bus with an off road ag-grade diesel that is dyed red, not green highway grade diesel... GREAT, now what?? We thought I would have to drain the tank entirely which would have been a huge hassle not to mention the loss of the "free tank" of diesel that came with the bus. In time they managed to replace the filter (with the correct filter for a 320
, use a can of starter fluid to get it running & came to the conclusion that we not only had ag fuel, it was old, bad fuel - the reason for no smell diesel.
When we were cranking the engine trying to get her to start we noticed a huge spark from under the bus (not good while spraying starter fluid). Stopping everything we came to the resolution that all the starter wires were loose, causing many of the starting problems I have been having along with the fuel delivery problems... Tightening the wires & boosting with ether she started right up but did run a bit rough. Next while picking up a loose socket that rolled under the bus Andy (one of the 2 mechanics) noticed something about the oil filters... It seems that they were the wrong filters, so small that they looked to be the same size as what fit the VW Jetta I had!
They had 2 new ones in their rig so I had them install them as the ones that were on the bus were leaking (these were just installed with less than 75 miles on them when we had the full service done). Turns out the gasket seal on the little filters barely hit the machines surface on the engine, not good! So now we had a running bus with bad fuel but we could finally get on our way.
Both of us wired my wife & I decided to go for it & leave. She came to me from her moms & when I pulled the bus into a parking lot to meet up with her it stalled & nothing electrical worked on the dash or ignition... GREAT!
One of the guys crawled under the dash & found it to be a wire that had come loose from the ignition, hooked it back up & we were ready to go!
So to help with the fuel problem they told us we had to stop every 100 miles or so to top off the tank with good green fuel... SO we did just that... Needless to say it took us a LONG time to get to Austin, but we are here! We started averaging about 55 MPH but as we got further along the bus got faster. I managed to hit 66 MPH top speed & averaged 60 MPH. It is now running very strong & is climbing hills like nothing.
Tomorrow (sunday) we are heading out again for NM. We will hopefully be stopping in El Paso if we are able to make it that far, shall see! I will post photos of the trip when I get the chance.