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Old 03-20-2014, 08:38 AM   #661
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Re: The Millicent Chronicles; two foot roof raise, big tailg

Where did you order your valves from? I need to do that same thing and want to find some good ones. Not the threaded screw on type.

-Doc
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Old 03-20-2014, 11:19 AM   #662
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Re: The Millicent Chronicles; two foot roof raise, big tailg

Quote:
Originally Posted by Docsgsxr
Where did you order your valves from? I need to do that same thing and want to find some good ones. Not the threaded screw on type.

-Doc
I bought these from a big-truck parts store -- both times. (This happened to be a national chain of stores called FleetPride.) The valves screw into the threaded fitting on the tank, just like the manual turn-90-degrees-and-turn-them-back valves. They cost only 6 or 7 bucks a piece. I am not aware of any other type.

I never had trouble with this type in 27 years of trucking, but it is of course possible that the brand they have in this store is inferior.

If you, or anyone, can tell me of a better type, I would love to hear it.

(This all said.... I would of course love to have an automatic air dryer, which minimizes the need to drain the tanks!)
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Old 05-13-2014, 02:01 PM   #663
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Re: The Millicent Chronicles; two foot roof raise, big tailg

Spring report:

The above mentioned air tank drain valves have much stiffer springs than the old ones, so that problem seems to be solved.

So... I took Millicent out for her first trip of the season, and... she went two blocks and lost power, stopping completely in the third block. Major stress for a while, until I got the fuel filters changed and she started again. She has since gone 250 miles just fine.
Important lesson here. Change your fuel filters! And keep fresh filters, and tools, and a gallon of fresh diesel to fill the filters, handy at all times. By filling both filters brim full with fuel, I did not have to use the priming pump -- it just took a bit of cranking to get her going again.

All the rod end joints on the throttle linkages and related linkages are very worn and need to be replaced. I also want to replace the fan belt and radiator hoses, and I deeply regret buying a forward control (flat nose, front engine) bus. There is simply no room to work, and I think the radiator will have to come out -- a massive job.
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Old 05-17-2014, 10:13 PM   #664
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Re: The Millicent Chronicles; two foot roof raise, big tailg

For good measure she has developed an oil leak at the front of the engine. I don't know where it is coming from.
At the moment she is in San Mateo, just south of San Francisco, at the Maker Faire for the weekend. Peter is using her. I'm taking the year off from Maker Faire.
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Old 05-18-2014, 09:31 AM   #665
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Re: The Millicent Chronicles; two foot roof raise, big tailg

Could very well be. Strange thing is, there is oil much higher on the engine and all the plumbing on the left side of it, but that oil could be blowing up there, driven by the fan. Time will tell. For now I will try to ignore it. I'm more eager to replace the fan belt before it breaks. Looks like it is extremely tight getting the belt out between the crank pulley and the engine mount bracket. I measured with feeler gauge -- just barely room. What tips can you give me about this job? I've never had any of this apart before.
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Old 05-18-2014, 05:36 PM   #666
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Re: The Millicent Chronicles; two foot roof raise, big tailg

Thanks! Millicent is a 1992 also, but she is different from yours. (I will have to wait a couple days to see what month she was built.) I don't have the wide tilt-up grill panel. I have two small "doors" for access instead.

How did you reinstall the fan shroud? Did you buy a new one? You don't want to leave it out -- it is there for good reason. And I pull heavy loads up long steep hills.
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Old 05-18-2014, 06:01 PM   #667
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Re: The Millicent Chronicles; two foot roof raise, big tailg

Oh... and you think the belt can be changed without removing the radiator.... I can see how, but I'm worried about reaching the tab that holds the fan clutch. My arms may not be long enough and flexible enough. But you have done it?
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Old 09-04-2014, 08:57 PM   #668
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Re: The Millicent Chronicles; two foot roof raise, big tailg

Man, I just love the documentation of this project, I can't tell you how many times I've been back to this bookmarked page for ideas and inspiration!
I'm on my second skoolie conversion and I've decided that I just gotta raise the roof. I've got a Bluebird body just like yours, and I'm going to be copying the milli-method for roof raising. It's the best I've found!
I am wondering if those jack mounts/rams you used were still lifting school buses somewhere out there? I'd love to use the real thing and save some time building my own. Plus I love the idea of sharing these awesome custom tools ;)
I would, of course, supply my own jacks.
I just sold an old cab-over front engine bus... I couldn't stand to work on it. Its either a conventional or a pusher for me! All my bussing friends agree and in our own fleet we've been phasing out the FE flat nosers for a while now...
Cheeers!
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Old 09-04-2014, 09:12 PM   #669
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Re: The Millicent Chronicles; two foot roof raise, big tailg

I would be happy to lend the telescoping guides. But they are in Northern California and they are big and heavy, so you would need to make your own arrangements for their transport.
Seems to me... if you are up to the rest of the job, you can make the guides pretty quickly yourself.
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Old 11-03-2014, 10:13 AM   #670
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Re: The Millicent Chronicles; two foot roof raise, big tailg


It was another wondermuss season for Millicent. She traveled 7117 miles and did not have to be towed. And if we don’t count the little mishap with the clogged fuel filter when I first started her in spring, she didn’t even impede traffic, much.

The best part of the 7117 miles was that I was not onboard for most of it. Co-owner Peter used her for most of those miles. Millicent is noisy, and she rides roughly, which gets old after about… two miles. So I have interior sound deadening near the top of my Winter To-Do List.

Now let’s talk about The Case Of The Defective Tire.

Loyal readers (who have nothing better to do that walk around thinking of this) may be aware that Millicent was equipped with el-cheapo Chinese front tires by the name of Double Coin. These were brand new in 2006, and were barely beginning to show appreciable wear now.

Well, when I went down to Peter’s house to bring Millicent back home the other day, I found a fist-size bubble on the shoulder of Millicent’s right front tire. Palm-size, anyway. Mostly on the sidewall, but an inch or two under the tread also. Ready to blow.

Of course, this can happen to any tire, as a result of hitting a curb or pot-hole or some such, or by pure fluke. But I never saw it in 27 years of trucking for a living. So I’m all done with cheapo tires.

A friend in the tire-business tells me that all tires should be discarded after six years, regardless of wear. He says it is in the nature of the materials that they deteriorate from time, ozone, UV-rays and whatnot.
Well, I had a set of car tires that I stored for ten years, and it did not take long before three of them had disintegrated at speed. So maybe my friend does know something about it.

But holy bananas, tires are expensive. Millicent’s new Toyo came to 500 bucks installed.

How long will I dare drive on the other Double Coin?

I’m thinking of buying a 1” pneumatic impact wrench and carrying the remaining Double Coin as a spare. I always intended to call road service if we had a flat, but there is no reason I cannot change my mind.


There was a peculiar episode with this new tire. The store, a Les Schwab, asked if I wanted the tire balanced, and I said yes. But what he did was place a paper bag of sand – sand! – inside the tire when he mounted it. Supposedly, the sand – it is actually a plastic material -- moves around and figures out how to balance the tire as it rolls. This ten ounces of “sand” cost 30 Dollars…

…And lasted less than ten miles before I turned around and made the clever fellow do the whole job over and vacuum every grain of crap out of my nice new tire. It runs perfectly now, without any balancing, as such tires usually do.

The sand actually does find its way to the light area of the tire when the tire rolls steadily down a smooth highway for an extended period. Trouble is, the stuff falls out of place every time you stop, and even moves around from changes in speed, to say nothing of how it gets knocked out of place by bumps. And when the sand is out of place, the tire shakes like a haunted bed.

My gut told me right away it was a Fundamentally Bad Idea, but the store had already mounted the tire when I learned about it.
Les Schwab has great friendly service, but they are prone to pushing these dubious profit-padders.
He did give me the $30 back. So the new tire actually cost only $470.
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