Well I can take the time to post
I've been busy because I'm packing all my stuff up to move for school which starts....uh....on Tuesday.
I've also been balls deep in a 22re top-end rebuild in my pickup that is just not going as planned. Everything came apart nice until I go to the internals. A wiring harness runs BETWEEN the intake runners, the head won't come off, even though 9 bolts are out and one is snapped clean off. It took an hour just to get the rocker asembly off. And on top of that, I'm still waiting for RC Engineering to send my injectors back cleaned and blueprinted and I'm waiting on my engnbldr 261* "Crawler" cam.
At this point I'd be HAPPY to only have a vibration issue to deal with. Sorry to hear about your bad luck, Wmah. I HATE replacing steering components. My handling issues stem from a set of super swampers that are over a pound out of balance
If anything, the high-steer set up I put on last year is TOO tight because I feel EVERYTHING at the wheel. It's a good thing too because FJ-80 tie rod ends are NOT cheap. Oh well...they are about the same price as TRE's for a Dana 60 on a Chevy and the chances of a parts store having them on the shelf are actually about the same. Atleast this way it's still mostly Toyota
I just want my truck back and running....maybe with the 140 or so horsepower the new combination should be good for.
As for the bus....well...it took it's first REAL journey. I lived in it for 8 whole days and loved every minute of it.
Destination 1: Eveleth, Minnesota---->Medora, North Dakota
We met up with my friend Shane in town where he works. We played lots of golf, lots of Guitar Hero on the PS2, and even ate at the historic Rough Rider Hotel.
Destination 1: Medora, ND ------> Black Hills of South Dakota
I would recommend the Mystic Hills Lodge to anyone traveling in that area. The sites were great, as were the bathrooms. The majority of the night was spent sipping $2.50 Dos Equis cervezas in the newly built GORGEOUS lodge and playing Smear (sh-meer), an Iron Ranger trump game similar to Euchre. We finished the night playing more Guitar Hero. Having a TV along with all the available season of The Simpsons, Southpark, Aqua Teen Hunger Force, Futurama, and Family Guy makes the drive much easier.
From Mystic Hills we visited Mt. Rushmore, the Crazy Horse Monument, Jewel Cave (be sure to take the LAntern Tour....it was COOL), and Cosmos. We parked in a Wal-Mart parking lot in Rapid City for the night amongst the $300,000+ diesel pushers trailering SL500's. You'd think the owner of a rig like that could spend the $15 for a campsite.....
The next day we drove from Rapid City to Devil's Tower in Wyoming. Again....I would recommend it to anyone. After parallel parking the bus, we climbed the boulder field at the base of the monument and watched a fire grow from campfire size to out of control. On the way down the highway we passed 7 fire rigs towing all sorts of equipment.
We were tired and needed a place to stop, but we're all from Minnesota so it was necessary to find a place with water. We ended up camping at Keyhole State Park in the middle of where, Wyoming. Swimming in the resevoir that was 30 ft down was glorious, as was cooking burgers on the Keg-er-que despite a ban on charcoal. I figured the location of the grill on gravel along with the fire extinguisher was safe enough, as did the park ranger.
From Keyhole S.P. we drove back to Medora and did some more golfing and touring on the carts since access to them was free. There was also a fair amount of Guitar Hero played (think I might like that game a little?). At midnight on Wednesday we loaded up Shane's stuff for college. slept for a few hours, and then drove back to Eveleth.
The trip was glorious and as soon as I get pictures I will post them. Originally we were supposed to go 5000+ miles on veggie oil, but ended up "only" going 2200 on diesel. The veggie oil system works, but the filtering is just too dang slow. I will refine it before Spring Break.
As for the bus...NOT A PROBLEM. It used NO oil which surprised the heck out of me. I brought a gallon with half expecting to have to buy more, but it sure didn't turn out that way. I'll say mileage averaged around 7.5 mpg. We got over 8 driving through Minnesota doing about 57 mph the whole way, but the North Dakota wind (a headwind both ways, of course) dropped things to 55mph and 6.5 mpg. It doesn't help that a fitting for the veggie oil system was leaking, but it was just a slow drip, even at max pressures so I'm not TOO concerned about it. A little more teflon tape will solve that.
Top speed clocked on the GPS was 75 mph on a downhill with the engine screaming and the governor trying to pull in the reigns. We reached a higher elevation in the Black Hills than I did taking I-94/I-90 through the Rockies and higher even than the peak of Going to the Sun Road in Glacier National Park. The Black Hills are HARDLY hills at all.
At some point my air tank for the water system got on the drain manifold and cracked it. 55 gallons of water everywhere has pretty much down in my carpet. It is now gone and the floor has been dried with a fan. The wood is still permeating some water so I'm crossing my fingers. A bleach and water solution will be in order I fear.
My take on the AT545.....it is a parasite. It made it easy for anyone to drive the bus and served us well. It works exactly as designed. Still....I don't like the somewhat extreme speed differences caused by the slipping torque converter or the mileage it gets. Someday I WILL have an RT6613 Road Ranger. It was, afterall, a spec option on the B700 chassis.
Other than that...no complaints. I would recommend Medora and the Black Hills to anyone. Devil's Tower is also exceedingly amazing, but the lack of anything else around it means it will be costly to go there.
I will post when I have pictures available. Until then...if anyone has any questions about destinations along that route....especially historic Medora, North Dakota, I'd be happy to help out.
How's that for a new post?