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Old 08-22-2016, 08:12 PM   #391
Bus Nut
 
Join Date: Jul 2013
Location: Maryland / Boulder
Posts: 309
Year: 1999
Coachwork: Thomas Built
Chassis: Saf-T-Liner MVP ER
Engine: CAT 3126b Rotella-Chugger
Rated Cap: 72
One issue I had recently was that the bus developed a fuel leak. When the bus was running, it was a drip about once every three seconds. The leak was right next to the exhaust, so I figured I should fix it sooner rather than later.







The source of this leak was this super crusty connector. It sat behind the passenger side rear wheel, and the connector corroded so badly it actually split halfway in between, so the leak came from a crack in the line. I wiggled the nylon line it connects to, and after 2-3 shakes, the entire thing broke loose and poured fuel everywhere. Real glad that didn't happen when I was driving.



The right side should look like the left side.



The line was a fuel return line to the tank from the back of the cylinder head, so luckily it was not a high pressure line, or a blowout would have been a super big deal.

I went to a Parker hose store near me and got a new line made on the spot for $40:



And installed it:





And now everything is happy.
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Old 08-22-2016, 08:34 PM   #392
Bus Nut
 
Join Date: Jul 2013
Location: Maryland / Boulder
Posts: 309
Year: 1999
Coachwork: Thomas Built
Chassis: Saf-T-Liner MVP ER
Engine: CAT 3126b Rotella-Chugger
Rated Cap: 72
More on our last trip:

Changed belts, changed oil and all filters, and some other maintenance to get her ready for a 3,500 mile trip after sitting for 9 months:





First stop: Cape Hatteras Campground in Hatteras, NC (outer banks). Awesome spot, we went mid-week in mid-May and there was hardly anyone at this 180 site campground, other than us and a couple of others. Very close to the Hatteras light house. Dry campsite with running water bathrooms and open showers with no hot water, $20 a night, but honestly we could have stayed for free since nobody ever came around to check. But I prefer to not cheat the system, as we desperately need places like that to continue to exist.







I don't have any photos of the beach area, but it was about a half mile walk from our spot. The areas to each side were closed off for bird sanctuaries, so basically the only people who used the beach other than us were the few others at the site, so it was almost our own private beach. The weather was perfect and the water was warm.

Upon leaving the campground and dumping the tanks, I was doing a walk-around inspection of the bus and noticed that the idler pulley for the water pump was not spinning, the belt was just riding on it. I killed the motor and the pulley bearings were seized tight. I took off the tensioner assembly, breaking a bolt in the process, and hosed it down with PB blaster and worked it until it would spin again, and repeated a few times until it was relatively smooth. We continued south, and I checked it again when we stopped for food, and noticed it had seized again.

I got on my phone and started looking up CAT dealers nearby. I found one about 45 minutes from where we were, but it was about 4:30 PM on a Friday when I called, and they were about to close. They had the part, and after explaining the situation, they without hesitation said they could dead drop it in a bag behind a bush. I paid for it over the phone, and we went to get it, after I un-seized the bearing again, and lo and behold:



We got our $280 belt tensioner. I was actually happy enough they had it and we could keep going that day, that I almost wasn't pissed at how ridiculous CAT parts prices are. Almost.

Fun fact, I have the old tensioner hanging on my wall in my apartment, and it spins freely now, just to mock me.
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Old 08-22-2016, 09:06 PM   #393
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Join Date: Jul 2013
Location: Maryland / Boulder
Posts: 309
Year: 1999
Coachwork: Thomas Built
Chassis: Saf-T-Liner MVP ER
Engine: CAT 3126b Rotella-Chugger
Rated Cap: 72
That day, we were originally going to stay at a friend's friend's house in Atlanta, but the tensioner thing set us back a number of hours, and we would have arrived far too late. So we stayed at a rest stop on the SC-GA line. The next day we headed for Pensacola.

The first night we stayed at a free campground near an Air Force base, on the "redneck riviera" (we figured out why they call it that) which was absolutely beautiful.



A park ranger informed us the next day that we were supposed to have a permit (free) to stay overnight, but she wasn't mad nor did she immediately force us to leave. The next night we stayed at Fort Pickens campground, closer to actual Pensacola, which was right on the Gulf. This was not free, but was about $25, and we met some awesome characters there.

At this point, a bunch of friends from CO wanted to go to the Dunes with us in CO, so we moved our plans to maximize time there. We drove through New Orleans, and spent the night in a Walmart lot in Katy, TX, and enjoyed the National Beer of Texas.


"Get off my lawn!"

We went to a nice state park in Austin the next day, called McKinney Falls State Park, but didn't go and see the city because UBER and LYFT were banned in the city just days prior, plus we were exhausted. So we went for a swim in the falls, almost got bitten by rattlesnakes (because we messed with Texas) and enjoyed the size of the lone star state.

We then headed northwest, aiming for Cadillac Ranch in Amarillo, TX by the end of the next day. Unfortunately, it decided to rain all day, making driving annoying, and Cadillac Ranch a no-go due to the dirt (mud) lot that we would probably get stuck in, and the fact that spray paint doesn't work if the cars are wet. So we headed directly for the free campground I found online, on a large lake (man made, I think) northwest of Amarillo.



This place surprised me, honestly. There were hardly any rules other than "be nice and respectful of the place" and it had free hot water showers and flush toilets. Not only that, but all the fixtures were new, within a year of when we were there. This campground wasn't particularly near anything, but if you find yourself in the area near Amarillo, definitely stay here. I believe it was called the Sanford-Yake campground in Fritch, TX on Lake Meredith. The hot showers, cool night and silence recharged us, as my bus doesn't have hot water, and it had actually been relatively cold outside those few days.

The next day we headed to the Great Sand Dunes park in Colorado, via some smaller state / US highways rather than the interstate. We cut through the top right corner of New Mexico, and upon a unanimous vote, stopped in Trinidad, CO for some of the Devil's Lettuce and some fuel. We climbed up to the 8,500 foot altitude at which the dunes sit, and upon doing so, almost had our windshield destroyed by tire shrapnel from a massive blowout from an oncoming semi truck. After the adrenaline shakes went away, I checked my tires and pressure to make sure that wouldn't happen to me. We made it to an area just outside the park and found a mediocre (at best) park to keep the bus for the night, and we went into the national park the next day, where they charged us admission as a family of four in a minivan.





This place is so weird but so cool, huge mountains of east coast beach-like sand backed by snow-capped mountains. We climbed up to the top of them, which is very difficult to do, and found a different campsite for the next night that would accommodate us and friends' vehicles. It was further from the dunes, but cheaper and more remote, and having grown up in the city, I generally prefer more remote. All 8 of us enjoyed ourselves and somehow managed to not piss anyone that night. Some girls next to us staying in tents left before us in the morning, without putting out their fire or staking down their tents properly, and they almost blew away. We took care of it for them, but that type of ignorance caused a large forest fire near Boulder this summer that resulted in a few thousand people being evacuated and a number of homes being destroyed.

Rare photo of me in front of my creation:



Since then, we've taken the bus out on some weekend adventures up in the mountains, but nothing too long distance, what with work and summer classes. Next planned trip is to High Plains Raceway in Deer Trail, CO, where some friends and I are getting paid to staff corners at the track for flags and such, and taking the bus to stay in.

Enjoy the rest of your summer, fall classes just began today for me!
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Old 08-22-2016, 09:47 PM   #394
Bus Geek
 
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Columbus Ohio
Posts: 3,097
Year: 1991
Coachwork: Carpenter
Chassis: International S3800
Engine: DT360
Rated Cap: 7 Row Handicap
what a kickass trip!!! Love seeing busses out in the wild... I love the colorado dunes.. we did them as kids in dad's old international scout.. Ohio to colorado.. then we played around in the dunes till we were all wore out.. we did those a couple times and have great memories of them!!

-Christopher
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Old 08-22-2016, 11:07 PM   #395
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Join Date: May 2015
Location: Oklahoma aka "God's blind spot"
Posts: 1,684
Year: 1989
Coachwork: 1853FC International/Navistar
Chassis: 35' Retired Air Force Ambulance
Engine: DT466, MT643
Rated Cap: 6 souls and a driver
Haven't read it all yet....
But I'm going to say uh oh! You were in Katy TX and didn't catch up with M1031A1
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Old 08-22-2016, 11:12 PM   #396
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Join Date: Dec 2014
Location: Katy, TX
Posts: 776
Year: 1989
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: Saf-T-Liner ER
Engine: 3208 CAT/MT643 tranny
Rated Cap: 87
A Walmart in KATY?!?!?!!? (there's only one really) Dude! YOU were less than HALF a MILE from my home! We would have welcomed you guys in with home cooked happiness AND hot showers WITH A/C!!!!!!!

Next time you're planning on being our way, by all means let us know!!!!!!! I'd love to see your build and compare it to what I'm doing! Pointers are always appreciated!

M
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Old 08-22-2016, 11:17 PM   #397
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Join Date: May 2015
Location: Oklahoma aka "God's blind spot"
Posts: 1,684
Year: 1989
Coachwork: 1853FC International/Navistar
Chassis: 35' Retired Air Force Ambulance
Engine: DT466, MT643
Rated Cap: 6 souls and a driver
Quote:
Originally Posted by M1031A1 View Post
A Walmart in KATY?!?!?!!? (there's only one really) Dude! YOU were less than HALF a MILE from my home! We would have welcomed you guys in with home cooked happiness AND hot showers WITH A/C!!!!!!!

Next time you're planning on being our way, by all means let us know!!!!!!! I'd love to see your build and compare it to what I'm doing! Pointers are always appreciated!

M
See?!?!? UHOH!!!

lol
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Old 08-25-2016, 04:36 PM   #398
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Join Date: Aug 2014
Location: MD near DC
Posts: 310
Good to hear from you! Glad you're still alive and the bus is still more-or-less in one piece.
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Old 08-27-2016, 07:56 PM   #399
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Sep 2013
Location: Mount Victory, OH
Posts: 64
I have read your build over the last few days and I can say you did a fine job! I am looking for a bus to build for my family to do some traveling and camping. I am looking at getting a bus from the MCSD where your came from. You have really impressed and inspired me to get this bus and build mine. At 19 I really had no idea what I wantedand what to do. You dug right in and got it done!
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Old 10-17-2016, 08:06 PM   #400
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Join Date: Oct 2016
Location: BC Canada
Posts: 1
Smile Thanks for great posting

I was totally blown away by the amount of detail you posted, including a lot of pictures. Plus you added in mechanical stuff about the engine (I think many people here forget about the engine when making plans), and your trips in your bus. Hope you do well in the new school.
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