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Old 01-18-2020, 03:47 PM   #181
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Thank you for your service!

You have a pretty sweet bus as well. I will try to stop complaining about 30 degree and under days. I just made a post that cold weather makes me want to stay inside and not work on the bus. I'm off work Monday and was wanting to get some work done and 20 degrees is the forecast high. I thought that was cold, but you're dealing with way worse! Lol keep it up!
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Old 01-18-2020, 08:52 PM   #182
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Year: 1998
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Engine: T444e
I've felt that way too today. -18 and dropping to -30 tonight. I didn't start working until noon...

I've been installing coolant lines for my auxiliary heaters today. It's been unpleasant.
20200117_211530.jpg
I've managed to keep working by laying on a thick rug and using a kerosene bullet heater pointed at me.
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Old 01-19-2020, 04:20 AM   #183
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Join Date: Dec 2017
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Year: 1998
Coachwork: Amtrak RE
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Engine: T444e
Day 13:
-24 degrees at midnight. It was around -17 for most of the day before the temperature started dropping. I'm frustrated that the cold is slowing me down. I only got 8 or so hours of work done today and about 6 yesterday (plus a pre-inspection with the movers). I kept having to go inside to warm up then force myself to go back outside. Most of today's work was outside under the bus.

I'm close to having all my auxiliary heaters connected, I hope. All the wiring was yanked from the bus's defroster by the previous owner. I'm a little nervous about figuring that one out. I need to do the wiring on the driver's heater and the defroster, fill the system with coolant, bleed out the air, then fasten down the coolant lines inside the bus.

I don't think I'll be able to start the bus tomorrow. It'll be -30 in the morning, so I probably can't finish this project just yet. Next, I think I'll install the rear camera since it looks easy, followed by the trailer hitch.
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Old 01-19-2020, 05:12 PM   #184
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Mad props working in those temps --
I'll hope you can get into the auto-hobby shop -- even at those prices!

I used to make site inspections at Clear AS a couple times a year -- It's about an hour SW of you. Pretty country, usually squeezed in a side trip or two to Denali...
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Old 01-19-2020, 05:35 PM   #185
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Join Date: Dec 2017
Location: North Pole, AK
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Year: 1998
Coachwork: Amtrak RE
Chassis: International 3000
Engine: T444e
Day 14:

-21 degrees today. I'm working inside the bus right now. The kerosene heater has the front end at 65 degrees, but the back end (and windshield area are still below freezing. I'll be excited when I get that spray foam insulation in.

Everything frost-covered that I touch steams up in big clouds of steam. If I hold a metal screw then put it in the snow, the snow steams around it too. It's quite remarkable. I also noticed that if I take a metal screwdeiver at room temperature and touch it to a metal screw, the ice and frost on the screw will almost instantly metal from the thermal transfer. However, after enough screws, the screwdriver will instantly be covered in frost.

I finished the installation of the rear three heaters. All coolant lines are connected. My struggle right now is wiring the front two heaters.

20200119_124235.jpg
I opened up the driver switch panel. It's a total rats nest. I was looking to see if the aux heat is connected and it is. However, it doesn't do anything. Neither does the switch next to it with the missing label.

20200119_124228.jpg
My Kysor/Westran bus heater's label is missing all the relevant information (BTU, part number, etc.) It's currently set up to use outside air, which has a nice breeze through it even when off. I found a lever to set it to recirculate air, but it doesn't seem to work... inside, the wiring harness has four wires (red, black, brown, grey) which goes through an adapter (red, white, brown, grey). I'm assuming the convention holds for red=hot and black/white=neutral. Are the brown and gray for reduced voltage (medium and low fan speed)? I'll find out momentarily.

20200119_124244.jpg
Controls for the three rear auxiliary heaters for the bedroom, bathroom, and living room. I haven't cleaned it up yet.

20200119_124318.jpg
It took some doing, but I managed to get the wiring to where it wouldn't interfere with the drawers of my kitchen cabinet.
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Old 01-19-2020, 05:40 PM   #186
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Join Date: Dec 2017
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Engine: T444e
The kerosene heater just ran out of fuel again. 6 gallon tank lasts about 10 hours. It's cooling rapidly inside here while I fill it back up. It's amazing how much the bus skin/frame pops and snaps as it cools down and warms up. It's loud too. A loud pop every 2-3 seconds, coming from all different locations. And, hundreds of little pops and snaps in between the loud ones.
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Old 01-19-2020, 06:29 PM   #187
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The defroster works! Well, at least the fan does.... I haven't tried to run coolant through the lines yet.

I'm about to clean up the wiring on the defroster and put it back together.
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Old 01-20-2020, 03:28 AM   #188
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Join Date: Dec 2017
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Engine: T444e
20200119_232235.jpg
I thought this looked cool - I drilled a hole and it melted some frost.

All the wiring and coolant lines are installed for the heaters. Before I close everything up, I'm installed the wiring for the rear camera, brake controller, and trailer. I hope to have all those projects completed tomorrow.

Next after that is the trailer hitch, followed by the seatbelt, and some propane work. Finally, spray foam, then loading everything up for the trip.
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Old 01-20-2020, 07:21 AM   #189
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Quote:
Originally Posted by banman View Post
Mad props working in those temps --
I'll hope you can get into the auto-hobby shop -- even at those prices!

I used to make site inspections at Clear AS a couple times a year -- It's about an hour SW of you. Pretty country, usually squeezed in a side trip or two to Denali...



I wish we could find warehouse shop space around C_bus.. couple of us building or looking to start building busses here.. would be nice to have fully indoor space.. I have one (soon to be 2) restorations going that id like to tear into pieces indoors..


no way I could begin to work in the northern miunus temperatures... im the guy that keeps my daytime thermostat at home set on 74 lolol
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Old 01-20-2020, 08:52 AM   #190
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Love this thread. Makes me feel like a big baby not doing any work on mine unless it's 30 degrees and above.
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Old 01-21-2020, 01:27 AM   #191
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Join Date: Dec 2017
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Day 14:
-13 today. Much more pleasant outside. Above -20, it's possible to stay warm outside with enough clothes and without a kerosene heater pointed straight at you.

My door froze today. I let the kerosene heater get it up to 90 degrees inside the bus. Some of the ice on the roof melted then refrozen on the door, jamming it shut. I just turned the heater around and melted the door again...

I spent more time getting ready for the movers today. That was a big focus. They'll be here in the morning. It means I need to make some tough choices on what to load in the bus. Of course, I cant actually load it yet because I'm still working on it.

My tools are working better. One of my corded drills yesterday froze up. I set it down on the snow, used it to drill a hole, then set it back down. Snow got inside, melted, and refroze. Aggravating, but it was an easy fix. My cordless drills are giving me no end of problems though, because batteries simply won't work when they are cold. Cellphones will also shut off below about 0 degrees, even inside a pocket.
20200120_194720.jpg
One of my auxiliary heaters. I installed 3x 40,000 BTU heaters, 1x 24,000 BTU heater, and kept the existing defroster.

20200120_194820.jpg
My rear camera that I just installed. Also, you can see the brake controller that I'm working on.
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Old 01-22-2020, 12:00 AM   #192
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Join Date: Dec 2017
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Engine: T444e
Day 15:

-11 degrees

I'm enjoying the better weather. Most of today, I was outside at a storage company helping load my belongings into a moving truck. We should finish it tomorrow, or maybe the next day. I'm going to try to get my bus into the shop for an oil change, maintenance inspections, and glow plug replacement - not sure if it is possible tomorrow, but I hope so.
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Old 01-22-2020, 07:07 AM   #193
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Its 34f here in FL this morning. I'm sitting in front of a space heater.
I can only imagine what it must feel like all the way up there!
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Old 01-22-2020, 08:28 AM   #194
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Location: Essex, MD
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Year: 1999
Coachwork: Blue Bird
Chassis: Blue Bird TC RE 3904, Flat Nose, 40', 277" wh base
Engine: 8.3L Cummins ISC 260hp, MT643, 4.44 rear
Rated Cap: 84 pax or 1 RV; 33,000lbs
Quote:
Originally Posted by Biscuitsjam View Post
... inside, the wiring harness has four wires (red, black, brown, grey) which goes through an adapter (red, white, brown, grey). I'm assuming the convention holds for red=hot and black/white=neutral. Are the brown and gray for reduced voltage (medium and low fan speed)? I'll find out momentarily.
You're getting more work done than most of us. I haven't put in an 8 hr day in a long time. Summer I'm guessing. I can't do 8 hrs when I have the gf along so that shoots all the weekends unless she's off doing her own thing which isn't often. I do 3 maybe 4 works after work a couple of times a week. Right now I'm waiting for the coolant heater to show up so I can plumb it and pressure test everything. Then I can put the plywood down and hope to hell I don't put a screw thru it.

Anywho, about the wiring... that assumption is going way out on a limb especially with a previous owner. I dunno if Amtraks are different or not but I can put you to a Blue Bird manual if you want.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Biscuitsjam View Post
Finally, spray foam, then loading everything up for the trip.
That's going to be hobby shop and inside. When is the bus moving indoors and for how long? Talk to the guys at the shop; there are a couple of LONG term projects at mine. An old Mustang that was stripped down to the frame. They might cut you a good deal on keeping it inside. If you can get more work done on it, it might be worth it.

When is the move to GA?
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Old 01-22-2020, 08:41 AM   #195
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Rated Cap: 84 pax or 1 RV; 33,000lbs
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Originally Posted by EastCoastCB View Post
Its 34f here in FL this morning. I'm sitting in front of a space heater.
I can only imagine what it must feel like all the way up there!
I bought a house on the U.P. of MI. Trying to retrain the gf at her house. She has the storm door shut which is better than nothing but not exactly air tight. She'll leave the door open, then put the leash on the dog, let the dog out then close the real door. Opens the door for the dog, leaves it open while chasing the dog to get the leash off (30' lead). Continues to stand there with teh door open while putting the leash on the second dog. Takes awhile to herd the second one to the door.

She's bitching that the 20 and wind is cold WHILE THE DOOR IS OPEN. Um, go figure. I tell her to close the door, get the dog ready then open it. "I'm going right back out." Yeah sure... now imagine it's 50 colder than it is now. CLOSE THE DOOR UNTIL YOUR READY!!

She does the same with the fridge. Gets the tea out, pours a glass, drinks some, refills the glass, then puts it back. The whole time air conditioning the house with the fridge.
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Old 01-22-2020, 09:34 AM   #196
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Coachwork: Blue Bird
Chassis: All American A3RE
Engine: 8.3 Cummins MD3060
Rated Cap: 84
First of all, Biscuits, you are a hero for giving your life to the service of our country! Thank you for your sacrifice for maintaining our freedom!

Second, you are a stud for working out in that kind of cold on a hobby type of project! I grew up in northeast Wisconsin and da U.P. so I have some understanding of what cold is. I remember a 2 week stretch in my younger days where the daytime high was -30. I currently live in the high desert of Nevada and it's not unusual to see -25 a few times each winter. I'm the first to admit I'm a big whimp when it comes to the cold! I feel like I have paid my dues and done my time in the cold. I pretty much won't go outside to work on anything if it's below 40*, and if the wind is blowing, forget it! I'm staying inside where it's toasty warm! Another year and a half and I won't even have to leave my house for my day job, retirement can't get here soon enough!

I took my bus to the scale last weekend. '99 Blue Bird, 40' 8.3 Cummins RE, Allison MD3060, stripped to the bare metal on the inside, about 45 gals of fuel. It was right at 20,500, my GVWR is 36,000. I also took some dB readings to compare when I'm finished with the project. Completely open bare metal cave sitting at idle was about 90 dB both standing over the engine, and sitting in the drivers seat. Oddly enough, going down the road at 70mph, it was about 90 dB sitting in the drivers seat.

@Brewerbob, I would love to take a look at the BB wiring diagrams if you have them. Most of the switches in my driver panel don't do anything, and the rats nest is as bad as Biscuits.
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Old 01-22-2020, 09:55 AM   #197
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Join Date: Oct 2016
Location: Essex, MD
Posts: 3,699
Year: 1999
Coachwork: Blue Bird
Chassis: Blue Bird TC RE 3904, Flat Nose, 40', 277" wh base
Engine: 8.3L Cummins ISC 260hp, MT643, 4.44 rear
Rated Cap: 84 pax or 1 RV; 33,000lbs
Quote:
Originally Posted by JackE View Post
I took my bus to the scale last weekend. '99 Blue Bird, 40' 8.3 Cummins RE, Allison MD3060, stripped to the bare metal on the inside, about 45 gals of fuel. It was right at 20,500, my GVWR is 36,000.
Damn it!! Why is everyone else listed at 36,000 and I'm at 33,000. Not that I plan on getting near 33. Only 100 lbs off my weight. Easily within the fuel weight and level of stripping. The scale I was on was at teh scrap yard and in 20lb increments. Not exactly the most accurate I'm sure. I guess the MD and MT are about the same weight.



[quote]I also took some dB readings to compare when I'm finished with the project. Completely open bare metal cave sitting at idle was about 90 dB both standing over the engine, and sitting in the drivers seat. Oddly enough, going down the road at 70mph, it was about 90 dB sitting in the drivers seat.That is interesting that it's the same at the front as the rear. I don't have a dB meter nor a baseline but I should use the phone app and take a reading now with the insulation in.


Quote:
@Brewerbob, I would love to take a look at the BB wiring diagrams if you have them. Most of the switches in my driver panel don't do anything, and the rats nest is as bad as Biscuits.
Here you go...

https://www.centralstatesbus.com/manuals/

I got the same manuals from Blue Bird on a CD. I was hoping the FSM manual was more detailed but it's not. It covers all of the wiring so you'll be good but if you're replacing a piston, the details are a little vague at times. Take engine apart, remove piston, reassemble. Well, if I knew how to do all of that, I wouldn't be looking in a book, damn it!!!

I keep a bookmark handy (for others). I've got the CD and I downloaded all of the sections. I have it put together both as a single file and individual sections. I wish there was a handy dandy site for Thomas, International, Amtram, and Gillig. But since I don't have those, I haven't put much effort into hunting them down.
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Old 01-22-2020, 12:17 PM   #198
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Join Date: Dec 2017
Location: North Pole, AK
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Year: 1998
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Chassis: International 3000
Engine: T444e
I got up early this morning to try to start the bus at -10 degrees. I put the kerosene heater blowing on the engine at 0630 and laid back down in bed. At 0715, I tried to crank it but no luck, so I hooked up the jumper cables on my truck, revved the RPM for 10 minutes, and still no luck. It's now 0815, and I'm still trying.

If I had started it at 0715, I would have taken it into a shop to change glow plugs and do an oil change from conventional to synthetic oil, both of which would make it easy to start. It won't get warmer than today, so I'll keep working at it.
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Old 01-22-2020, 12:21 PM   #199
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Join Date: Oct 2016
Location: Essex, MD
Posts: 3,699
Year: 1999
Coachwork: Blue Bird
Chassis: Blue Bird TC RE 3904, Flat Nose, 40', 277" wh base
Engine: 8.3L Cummins ISC 260hp, MT643, 4.44 rear
Rated Cap: 84 pax or 1 RV; 33,000lbs
Quote:
Originally Posted by Biscuitsjam View Post
an oil change from conventional to synthetic oil, both of which would make it easy to start.
That's going to be expensive. An oil change for the Golf TDi is $45 for 5 quarts much less 5 gallons!! Didn't know about syn being easier to start tho.

Quote:
It won't get warmer than today, so I'll keep working at it.
No block heater? Mine came with one from WV. In AK, how can it not have one?
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Old 01-22-2020, 01:59 PM   #200
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Biscuitsjam View Post
I got up early this morning to try to start the bus at -10 degrees. I put the kerosene heater blowing on the engine at 0630 and laid back down in bed. At 0715, I tried to crank it but no luck, so I hooked up the jumper cables on my truck, revved the RPM for 10 minutes, and still no luck. It's now 0815, and I'm still trying.

If I had started it at 0715, I would have taken it into a shop to change glow plugs and do an oil change from conventional to synthetic oil, both of which would make it easy to start. It won't get warmer than today, so I'll keep working at it.
The bush-pilot trick is to drain the eng oil after landing and bring it inside with you or even heat it over a stove and then pour the hot oil back into the eng right before startup.

W/out working glowplugs, and I'm guessing, no block heater, this may well be worth trying.

You could drain the radiator and heat the coolant up to near boiling as well.

I'm assuming you're pouring the liquids into a metal reservoir -- I imagine cold plastic won't take the shock of 150F coolant poured into a -10F plastic reservoir.

W/out glowplugs -- a shot of ether would probably be a good idea too.

I remember the parking lots at Clear AS; each one with a 4x4 post with a power outlet on it to plug in your car/truck...
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