So ... I'm not dead.
And I've finally got to do a bit more work on the bus after about a year and a half of sitting on it while we move ourselves to a new house, my in-laws to a new house (that needed some serious renovation that I had to do), and all the life stuff and financial stuff that goes along with it ...
Anyhow, I finally got all the rubber and wood floor up (except for the driver's chair area - I'm saving that until I'm ready to do the whole floor), got the rear heater out and replumbed to keep the front heaters working and patched a few holes (the only rust ones were just behind the rear wheels, but the heater lines going under the side emergency door left a couple big ones) and got the metal wire-wheeled and painted. Whew!
(And yes, Smitty, I'll be putting up pics as soon as I can. :P)
But I had a little adventure on Saturday:
Last Saturday, I re-installed two seats to take my wife, our boy and my MIL for a short ride to 'exercise' the bus (ie. get the engine/exhaust system up to temperature, and keep the air brakes from locking). Everyone got on, including the dogs, and I stopped at the end of the driveway to get the carseat for the boy.
Upon releasing the parking brake and pulling out onto the street, there's this hissing from the area of the rear axle and we're losing air pressure. I pull over and put on the parking brake, and the pressure builds again. Wondering if it's just somethings stuck (given that I moved it to the end of the driveway fine), I let off the parking brake again, and the hissing and pressure loss is back.
Rather than back up along the block to get to our house, we go around the block and I back up into the driveway (badly) because the wig-wag drops and does it's job (at about 80 lbs pressure, BTW) and the brakes are starting to engage (by about 60 lbs). I pop the parking brake back on, get pressure up, and straighten up to back down the driveway. We close the gate and let the boy and the dogs off, and chock the wheels.
After being sure that the chock is holding without the parking brake on, I crawl under the bus to the rear axle and my wife disengages, then re-engages the parking brake several times so I can find the hissing.
Turns out the plastic of the port pressure release valve cracked and was letting the air escape.
After confirming this, I started to remove it to see if it was just a gasket, but it was a real missing bit of plastic, and of course, by then it's about 19:00 and the parts place closed at 16:30.
So after a day of trying to find out on the web what the part was called and how much I could expect to pay for a new one (which of course I couldn't, because it's a 15-yr old part), I stopped in today and found out they cost about $22, so I got two. I'd hate to have a cascade effect and blow out the starboard rear right after I replace the port one.
So, now we'll get to see how my foray into air brakes works out. Thing that I'm really looking forward to is the fact that I won't have to bleed them like hydraulic brakes.