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Old 01-21-2016, 09:39 PM   #11
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Dec 2015
Posts: 41
I am tracking down the plumbing.wiring on the stop sign on my shorty, it appears to be vacuum/air controlled and that mysterious adapter might be the ticket, although I have yet to get the doghouse off to follow the lines. My sign won't work well either unless the engine is running meaning there has to be vacuum/pressure to operate the sign most likely. I have an air tank under the drivers side mounted to the frame that is part of this system.

Is that the factory tranny assembly plug in the tranny pan? might be the first time that pan has been dropped. I just did the tranny service on my f150 that has 160k on it now (I bought it at 130k) and I was the first to drop the pan and see that assembly plug loose in there.
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Old 01-21-2016, 09:47 PM   #12
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Join Date: Jan 2016
Location: Willis, TX
Posts: 31
Year: 1999
Chassis: Midbus
Engine: GM 5.7 L31
Rated Cap: 19
My sign is electric. Has 4 wires going to the unit although I'm not sure how to remove it without cutting them off so I left it on for now.

If your sign is controlled by vacuum supplied by the engine I'd suspect a damaged vacuum hose. They don't last too long being made of rubber with no reinforcement.


If it's vacuum powered you can grab a hand held mityvac vacuum pump and connect it to a port and see what happens. They run about 30 bucks and can be used for a lot of things.

My mysterious adapter has something to do with the power steering/braking system. It runs (electrically) in a series with the hydroboost pressure sensor.
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Old 02-05-2016, 08:24 PM   #13
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Join Date: Jan 2016
Location: Willis, TX
Posts: 31
Year: 1999
Chassis: Midbus
Engine: GM 5.7 L31
Rated Cap: 19
Here is how she looks today:

So we have a pretty good leak in the roof over (shocker) where the rotten floor is. We will need to fix the leak, replace the mildew insulation (researching insulation that's immune to mold/mildew to replace with). Once the roof is done we will then do the walls/floor.

The plan is to attack the inside of any metal surface with fatmat or a similar sound/thermal barrier. then some sort of filler between the corrugated parts of the flooring (like a spray foam or something like that) then go back with plywood/osb/unknown then some rubber flooring. Looking at stuff thats .25 or so thick for traction and ease of cleaning. (definitely gonna rock some rugs)

So we tore the seats out, cleaned it up a bit then reinstalled 2 seats on the passenger side. The seat mounted on the drivers side above the heater in the very back worked perfectly backwards just in front of the stairs. Had to drill a few holes but nothing too dramatic. Then we installed another seat facing forward. This will be where some sort of folding/collapsing/removable table top will go when parked. Mocked up the seats:
Once the holes were drilled we removed the seats and my wife cleaned them up and scrubbed them down. We then moved the seat belts anchor points around a bit and swapped only metal clad seat belts because we prefer how they look compared to the plastic latches.

Pulled the rear heater box apart to fix the rattling noise it makes when on. Looks like more inept "electricians" jacked around with everything. Lots of electrical tape over melted crimp terminals and bundles tied up right next to the fan blade. a few wires ground down (the noise). The sticker reads 3.5 tons of heat capacity as I understand it. More than enough to keep us toasty on 30* drives (cold as it's been while driving so far).
We'll tear it all back apart to sand/paint everything later on.

Pulled the trim above the windows to see what's going on behind it: Lots of corrosion, I believe there are small leaks there that help the dissimilar metals react against each other (fasteners, roof, trim, window frame, etc). I suspect it could also simply be 17 years of sweating and condensation.


I attacked the cluster. It had a few burned out bulbs and I wanted to see how a few of my spare led's looked:




I'm no photographer so the 3 led's seem more blue than they are and the incandescents look whiter than they are. (I think I had too long of an exposure) I believe gm uses a blue filter inside of the cluster to make the natively yellow 194 bulbs appear whiter. I'll have to order some yellow led's to get it completely white and it should look amazing.

Attacked some of the existing latch mechanisms for the drivers overhead and electrical panel access doors:


These are really impressive. They have a very secure lock for the violence of their future now I just need to find a few more since I only have 1 and the rest are missing.

Attacked the ac condenser. The electric fans made of plastic warped and created air gaps 1/4" all around the non supported left and right sides of the fans. One fan was not mounted properly whatsoever. I have no idea what was going on but I made it right in a jiffy. Used some sticky foam insulation after cleaning the surface and covered the diameter of both fans then bolted them back on. (picture is on teardown)

More electrical half-assery went on here. Lots of crimp and butt connectors and electrical tape.
The fans were grounded to the single self tapper that also holds the breaker to the shroud and it was all corroded. The breaker was bolted to the shroud as low as you can get it with wires drooping a good 4" lower effectively making this the low hanging fruit of the entire vehicle. I pulled, cut, stripped, crimped, and heatshrunk every connection (I'm not a fan of soldering with good crimpers, heatshrink, and barrel connectors) Solder joints don't do as well with vibrations. Once that was all wired up properly the lowest point on the vehicle is the driveshaft safety strap (which I'm probably going to remove) and the ac filter dryer.

This thing's going to suck to reroute. It's fed by a hardline directly off of the condenser so in order to relocate it to safety I'll either have to build my own hardline or make a nicely crimped refrigerant hose.
I may throw some armor at it for now. It's an otherwise low priority.

I've got half a tank and 190 miles on the trip odometer. This is all without running ac and a mix of city and highway. I'm really hoping this is a 55 gallon tank (with a crappy sending unit) and not something tiny like 36 gallons.
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Old 02-05-2016, 08:25 PM   #14
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Join Date: Jan 2016
Location: Willis, TX
Posts: 31
Year: 1999
Chassis: Midbus
Engine: GM 5.7 L31
Rated Cap: 19
It's funny, all 3 of my vehicles have an l31 v8 in them!
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Old 02-19-2016, 02:49 PM   #15
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Join Date: Jan 2016
Location: Willis, TX
Posts: 31
Year: 1999
Chassis: Midbus
Engine: GM 5.7 L31
Rated Cap: 19
Hitch installed!

Spent about 30 hours on this project between research, shopping, and all of the support related tasks.

Stage one: Find a hitch.
Found a hitch for an express van on craigslist for 50 bucks in Katy which is about an hour and a half of driving one way from here. Emailed to verify the dimensions.

We got there and he sold me a 50% tread 6 year old set of e range 245 75 16's for 20 bucks. Turns out ours has 225 75 16's. Still 20 bucks isn't terrible and I can probably get 50-100 bucks for em out here.

Stage 2: Trailer wiring.
Removed the easy access panel that covers up the right rear of the vehicle.

Everything is there except the left rear turn signal. Concluded that the main conduit that connects the front/rear of the vehicle is on the top left side.

Every wire is gloriously labeled. This is the most user friendly wiring I've ever had the pleasure of working on. (auto strippers bit my fingers and left me a nice blood blister)


Reinstalled cover minus removed fiberglass insulation and switched to the challenging side where the rear heater partially blocks access to the panel fasteners.
We purchased a Hopkins 46155 from Oreilly auto parts: http://www.oreillyauto.com/site/c/de...0158&ppt=C0386
The bus has dedicated turn signals and trailers use the brake light and turn signals in the same circuit. This converts the signal to the one the trailer requires. Another cool part about the adapter is when you hit the brakes while using your turn signals, the signals on the bus and trailer alternate which imo draws further attention.
Theres a hole from the service panel down to beneath the bus where I ran the wires for the trailer lights to a 7 way. Next time I'm at the machine shop I'll have shane plasma cut a hole in the bumper to mount the 7 way high up to keep it out of harms way.

Step 3: Modify the hitch to reduce departure angle.

I decided rather than hang the hitch from the bottom of the frame rails I'd hang it from the top of the 2 C-channel frame rails to keep the hitch above the rear bumper. Dropped her at the machine shop and had about .5 inches cut off of each side to fit within the frame rails.

Removed the bumper to begin the design of how to mount everything. I was fully expecting to be killed from the weight of it when the final bolt was removed. Turns out she's aluminum and light as a feather. 1/4" thick C channel aluminum. Theres a structural cross member that was originally installed at the very end of the frame rails. At some point in the past it was torched off and relocated inward by about 15" as indicated by the burn marks on the frame and cut marks on the member.
This interfered with the hitch. I decided that the hitch install would replace it's purpose anyhow so it was removed. The welder had a really fun time in those tight spaces with 3" long self tappers sticking down from the school districts floor repairs.

Once the bracket was removed I ran home from the machine shop a second time on this project. The hitch slid between the c channel frame rails like glove. It was magical. Shane (the machinist/welder) and I gave an exuberant high five when we slid it into place after he removed the crossmember.
Came back home so I could figure out how I wanted the hitch installed. Pondered and mocked everything up for a few hours and decided against welding it to the frame. I wanted to be able to cleanup/paint the receiver and frame down the road. The hitch boxes everything in so welding everything on would make maintanance/cleaning a challenge.
Experimented with the hitch mounted to the top and bottom of the c channel and decided to mount it to the bottom for ease of access to drill the holes out for the bolts.






I went through my loose bolts/nuts drawer and decided against reusing unknown grade/strength bolts/nuts and spent 25 bucks at lowes for 6 1/2" grade 8 zinc coated bolts with zinc coated washers 1 per side, zinc coated split washer, and finally a zinc coated nut.

My wife built a template for me to drill on the frame. I learned a long time ago to use masonary bits when drilling on steel with an unsteady handheld drill. The 5 dollar bit walked through the 1/4" thick frame supported by my now heavily bruised knee. I couldn't stand the pain on the next attempt so I let necessity take over. She built me a drill press using a bottle jack against my drill. It was glorious.

My Milwaukee 18v lithium battery is about 5 years old now and she's lasting maybe 10 minutes under the drill press so I had to whip out the 8 year old dewalt 18v nimh to finish the job.

In my haste to wrap this project up I didn't realize I had squished my Fenix LD12 between the hitch and frame. Just a little surface damage, had to use a prybar to rescue her.

The hitch is now properly mounted.


Shane rewelding on the bumper brackets. We did have to cut off and re weld on the bumper brackets. I'll design some stronger gusseted brackets in the distant future that bolt on.

We have a pretty good impact on the rear right of the bumper. Shane and I used some wood blocks and a sledge and pounded it a bit. It straightened up quite well for 5 minutes of effort. Once that was done he measured and drilled a pilot hole in the bumper for the hitch opening.

I designed it in such a way that the bumper sits flush with the end of the hitch. This gives me room behind the bumper to install the hitch pin and clearance for the factory hitch chain straps.
Once the pilot hole was drilled we mounted the bumper. Shane then used a plasma cutter to make the hole in the aluminum.

Hitch installed and cargo rack mounted!
The cargo rack is a walmart special. Holds 500 lbs and has a lift hitch bringing the rack up a good 6+ inches. The problem is after holding 10 gallons of fuel on the rear left and an empty tool box on the rear right it got a stress fracture in a bracket and was also incredibly poorly designed so that 6" it gains in the front sags down 6" in the rear. We put a block of wood on the rear of the rack to put it in a bind holding it up as high as possible then Shane tacked on a few welds.

Removed the rack and Shane welded everything up awesome. I can jump up and down on the end and it's stout as ever. (perky if you will)

Our 16' tandem axle utility trailer bolted up to my 3" adjustable drop hitch.

The trailer is about 10" higher in the front than the back (unloaded) so I'm going to grab a 6" drop hitch to level things out. Otherwise the mechanical part is completed.
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Old 02-19-2016, 04:41 PM   #16
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Join Date: Jan 2016
Posts: 18
You're starting down the road I might be traveling by early summer

Tom
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Old 02-19-2016, 04:51 PM   #17
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Location: North carolina
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Year: 1986
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Chassis: Ford
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Rated Cap: 60 bodies
What brand of masonry bits do you buy.
I do concrete and steel construction for a living and have tool boxes and buckets full of masonry/concrete bits thatmight drill mild steel wire/the edge of rebar embeded in concrete or block if the tool is on impact but not many times before it is wore out.
None of them have the cutting edge on the tip to cut steel? I do have a few diamond tip masonry bits but they are more like 65-75$ each and I would stop (to be polite ) anyone of my men from trying to drill steel with them? Yes I also use core drills up to 20-30" holes that cost 100$ an inch per diamond tipped bit that drills concrete,rebar,wire but you will waste all your money and time cutting through 1/4" steel with a masonry bit in my opinion.
Please
Share your wisdom of masonry bits drilling solid steel and the make,model,serial number type stuff?
Please teach me this one.
Not trying to sound like a butthead but my head has never had any luck with what you are capable of so please share what you learned along your way.
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Old 02-19-2016, 05:16 PM   #18
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Join Date: Feb 2016
Location: Erie, PA
Posts: 60
I would highly consider getting wheels with a heavier offset up front and possibly a wider rear axle in back. making her wide will keep her stable.
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Old 02-19-2016, 05:45 PM   #19
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Jan 2016
Posts: 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jolly Roger View Post
Please
Share your wisdom of masonry bits drilling solid steel and the make,model,serial number type stuff?
Please teach me this one.
Not trying to sound like a butthead but my head has never had any luck with
Do a search on "masonry bits to drill steel"

How To Drill Hardened Steel

Tom
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Old 02-19-2016, 05:51 PM   #20
Mini-Skoolie
 
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Join Date: Jan 2016
Location: Willis, TX
Posts: 31
Year: 1999
Chassis: Midbus
Engine: GM 5.7 L31
Rated Cap: 19
I'm a big fan of keeping my wheelbase as small as possible. If we need to explore in harder places I'll throw the Jimmy at it.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Jolly Roger View Post
What brand of masonry bits do you buy.
I do concrete and steel construction for a living and have tool boxes and buckets full of masonry/concrete bits thatmight drill mild steel wire/the edge of rebar embeded in concrete or block if the tool is on impact but not many times before it is wore out.
None of them have the cutting edge on the tip to cut steel? I do have a few diamond tip masonry bits but they are more like 65-75$ each and I would stop (to be polite ) anyone of my men from trying to drill steel with them? Yes I also use core drills up to 20-30" holes that cost 100$ an inch per diamond tipped bit that drills concrete,rebar,wire but you will waste all your money and time cutting through 1/4" steel with a masonry bit in my opinion.
Please
Share your wisdom of masonry bits drilling solid steel and the make,model,serial number type stuff?
Please teach me this one.
Not trying to sound like a butthead but my head has never had any luck with what you are capable of so please share what you learned along your way.
So I learned this a few years ago drilling into leaf springs. I spent about 40 bucks on some 1/2 hss drill bits grabbed one of each at home depot. The problem with hss is when it wears down it just becomes useless. No amount of pressure will cut after it wears out. It just starts smoking and gets tossed into the scrap pile.

The masonary bits do indeed get trashed however they will cut start to finish repeatedly. I didn't take any breaks drilling or use any cooling fluid/lubricant. Just ran her until the holes were through.

The bits I used on the hitch were a 5 dollar one (cheapest at home depot) that says "not for use with hammer drills" which is good since my drill doesn't hammer.

The 10 dollar bosch hammer drill bit ran out of steam after the first hole and performed about on par with my 1/2 hss metal bits after they wear out. The 5 dollar one ran the remaining 5 holes with relative ease. It wore down the cutting edge down about 20%

Heres a few pics. The 10 dollar bosch one has 1/2 50T stamped at the base. The 5 dollar one has only 1/2.



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