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Old 02-24-2016, 05:44 PM   #1
Almost There
 
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Join Date: Jan 2016
Location: Port Townsend, WA
Posts: 89
Year: 1969
Coachwork: Bluebird
Chassis: Ford B-750
Engine: 390 BB
Rated Cap: 2 humans, 1 cat
Red face Wanda the Wandering Bus!

She's not home yet and she was already converted - mostly - when we bought her. But we plan on totally redoing her once we get settled in the Pacific Northwest - we leave Ohio April 1!

She's a 1969 BlueBird on a Ford B750 chassis with a 390 BB (1500 miles on a rebuild), 5-speed manual tranny. And the adventure has begun....

Friday the 19th we hop on Greyhound - 5 hours later we're waiting on a taxi to take us to her. She's been running for an hour while they waited (the taxi took an hour to get to us! ) and she's still purring contentedly. They'd left some sheets, pillows, blankets, plastic containers, silverware, and a lifetime supply of paper plates in her, which is fine. I get in, get used to the steering wheel in my abdomen as the seat cannot go any farther back due to the wall and I am not a small woman at this stage in my life.

First few miles are harrowing, especially when we realize the camper door they installed creates a total blind to the right!! We get to the gas station, top her up, double check all the lights, and figure out how to lower the seat which puts the steering wheel in a slightly more comfortable spot - my waistline. And on we go.

Into the wind advisory. 30-35mph continuous with gusts up to 50 mph. She handles it like a champ!! After awhile I'm doing good - I'm learning the transmission, the handling, etc....when we hear a clunk. Another one. Then several. WanderingJuggler looks out the window and says, "You need to pull over NOW." The wind had opened up the awning and turned her into a sailbus!! But wow - she was solid. I would never have known if he hadn't told me.

He manages to get it rolled up - the arms are out of alignment so he uses his belt and some wire coathangers to get them together and we pull into the next bright parking lot - which happens to be a Discount Drug Mart. We go in, grab some sports tape (he chooses this moment to tell me he broke a finger!), a flashlight, Gorilla tape, and high-vis rope. We wait a bit (a bit under 2 hours) for the wind advisory to expire at 9 - but the wind doesn't listen! So we get permission from the night manager to sleep in the parking lot, grab some necessities, and are very grateful for the sheets and blankets!

The wind died down around 2am and we finally fall asleep on the tiny fold down couch only to be awakened to "BAM BAM BAM" on the door.

Good morning, friendly officer. The night manager forgot to leave a note for the day manager (to be fair, it was 15 minutes to closing when we asked!), so they called the police, understandably. Super nice officer, even when he informs me that no, Ohio does not have a grace period to drive on a bill of sale. And it's a small town, so we can't leave the parking lot.

WanderingJuggler calls a friend, I call the BMV, and get things rolling there. We go into the store to introduce ourselves to the manager and explain what happened and that we'll be there a few more hours and she's good with it. We have breakfast and charge the phones at Subway, and his friend shows up a bit later.

We drive 70 miles to our city, get the title transferred, license plates, and 70 miles back. The guys get the awning rolled back up (they ended up cutting it so it may not be salvageable ), Gorilla taped, and the arms realigned and clamped with 2 pipe clamps on each arm. His friend goes back home with a "Call me if you need anything" and we wait for the wind to die down in a couple of hours. And we got on our merry way.

We get off the highways on to the Interstate and I comment that the headlights look very dim. WanderingJuggler feels it's from all the other headlights being so bright making them look dim, which makes sense. And about 20 miles from home....THUMP. Thumpthumpthumpthumpthumpthumpthumpthump. Pull over - not the awning! The rear gas tank is leaking (the guy we bought it from said they never used it and didn't know why his uncle never did but it had not leaked at all up until this point - we'd also only put 4-5 gallons in it) but nothing to account for the noise. So we decide to get it home but I ask him to check the headlights again. They're really dim, but it's 20 miles so we decide to go for it. The engine had also started to "idle down" and I'd been keeping my foot on the gas pedal thinking, well, not really thinking much about that at the moment. Put it in gear and she dies.

Longer story less long - she's been towed to World Truck, his friend drives ANOTHER 15 miles to get us and take us home and we're waiting on an estimate. We're leaning towards alternator and we also asked them to do an all-over inspection since we'll be living in her in 5 weeks.

That was not quite how we planned the beginning of our adventure!!!

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Old 02-24-2016, 10:58 PM   #2
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Posts: 133
Year: 2000
Coachwork: Phantom
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Engine: Series 50
Glad you made it home, albeit not without an adventure! I know it probably wasn't good at the time, but in time, you will smile about it.
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Old 02-25-2016, 08:29 AM   #3
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Feb 2016
Location: The Black Hills of South Dakota
Posts: 13
Year: 1969
Coachwork: Bluebird
Chassis: Ford F750
Engine: 390BB (6.4l)
Rated Cap: 60
It was an adventure!! Now we are waiting on the shop to call with news.
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Old 02-25-2016, 08:30 AM   #4
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Feb 2016
Location: The Black Hills of South Dakota
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Year: 1969
Coachwork: Bluebird
Chassis: Ford F750
Engine: 390BB (6.4l)
Rated Cap: 60
wrong button...
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Old 02-25-2016, 08:53 AM   #5
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Join Date: Sep 2014
Location: Eustis FLORIDA
Posts: 23,623
Year: 1999
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: Freighliner FS65
Engine: Cat 3126
Rated Cap: 15
Good thing gas prices are so low, you'd better get that bus to wherever you're gonna live in it before they go back to their normally inflated prices!

Great story, keep us updated and best of luck to yall.
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Old 02-25-2016, 09:00 AM   #6
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Feb 2016
Location: The Black Hills of South Dakota
Posts: 13
Year: 1969
Coachwork: Bluebird
Chassis: Ford F750
Engine: 390BB (6.4l)
Rated Cap: 60
Thanks! Once we get to were we are going, we can work on it in our own time. It's the getting there that concerns me.
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Old 02-25-2016, 09:04 AM   #7
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Location: Eustis FLORIDA
Posts: 23,623
Year: 1999
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: Freighliner FS65
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My buddy has an old ford bus like yours. You're brave!

I'm sure it will all work out fine. But you're having all the luck so far, eh?
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Old 02-25-2016, 09:12 AM   #8
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Feb 2016
Location: The Black Hills of South Dakota
Posts: 13
Year: 1969
Coachwork: Bluebird
Chassis: Ford F750
Engine: 390BB (6.4l)
Rated Cap: 60
I'm glad the issues are showing up now and not in the middle of the Badlands. If you don't mind, what is your buddy having to deal with?
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Old 02-25-2016, 09:31 AM   #9
Bus Geek
 
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Join Date: Sep 2014
Location: Eustis FLORIDA
Posts: 23,623
Year: 1999
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: Freighliner FS65
Engine: Cat 3126
Rated Cap: 15
His 66 Ford doesn't move much these days... Its been sitting more or less for 20-30 years. That older stuff is cool, for sure. His is an art studio/spare bedroom.
Was fully converted in the early 70's by a carpenter, complete with victorian bath tub.
Old stuff like that just need a LOT of love. Gotta look into fixing everything before it goes out kinda, ya know?
Post up some pics! We all love to see the classic stuff!
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Old 02-25-2016, 11:00 AM   #10
Skoolie
 
Join Date: Jul 2013
Location: Iowa
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Year: 1996
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Chassis: tc2000
Engine: 5.9 cummins
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Heather, sounds like a great adventure for sure. If ya need a place to crash for the night or sort things out with the bus on your way across. I'm about an hour north of I80.

Mike
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Old 02-26-2016, 04:43 PM   #11
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Location: Port Townsend, WA
Posts: 89
Year: 1969
Coachwork: Bluebird
Chassis: Ford B-750
Engine: 390 BB
Rated Cap: 2 humans, 1 cat
Thank you, everyone!!

Yes, LuckyChow, quite the adventure!! I'm strangely (for me) mellow about it - I just have this feeling everything's going to work out for us.

EastCoastCB - you ain't a woofin', to quote (Ponyboy or Johnny, can't remember which!)! I'm budgeted for nearly twice the cost it is now, at 6mpg, so we should be okay.... ::knocks on wood::

WanderingJuggler - the Badlands are only an hour from Dad's house. I'm more concerned with Montana!!

Wauto - that's super generous, thank you!!!! I think we're taking I-90 straight across but I will absolutely keep you in mind!

The shop called - I had asked them to do an inspection as well as figure out why she did and I'm not 100% sure they did. BUT they did replace the alternator, which is what we thought the problem would be. They are super slammed as a church bus apparently took out a bridge nearby (although I'm not seeing anything on the news) and so it's been an "all hands on deck" for them. We'll touch base with them Monday when it's hopefully calmer for them and we can see if they did the inspection or not. The price is awfully low if they did - and I'm not complaining. If they did all of that for the price they gave, it's a huge blessing!!
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Old 02-29-2016, 05:42 PM   #12
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Location: Port Townsend, WA
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Year: 1969
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Chassis: Ford B-750
Engine: 390 BB
Rated Cap: 2 humans, 1 cat
Question

So, while we're waiting, we discussed the stove that's in it, as well as the fridge and microwave. The microwave we'd already decided to eliminate - we haven't used one in 5 years except the last couple months when our downstairs neighbors gave us theirs - and even then, only for popcorn!

The stove/oven needs a thermocoupler for sure and we're just not liking the amount of surface rust on it (and we don't know how the gas lines are ran nor do we quite trust the previous owner's knowledge!). For now, we're going to remove it, put in our super awesome toaster oven and look at a dual hot plate. That will do us until we do our own massive renovation down the road.

There is water damage under the fridge from the ceiling vent leaking. It is a 3-way unit so they had it vented for propane. We're really not wanting to test this fridge with potential water damage so we're going to remove it and, since we'll be on full hookups for quite awhile, we're looking at a couple of options:

Vissani 4.3 cu. ft. Mini Refrigerator in Stainless Look-HVDR430SE - The Home Depot This one is labeled at a 1.5 amp draw and, after seeing it in the store is our current front runner. We're going to be across the street from one grocery store and close to a food co-op so we really don't need much - in fact, we mostly use our current one for beer, wine, and soda!!

Any thoughts?
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Old 03-01-2016, 10:33 AM   #13
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Location: MNT CITY TN
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WanderingLass View Post
So, while we're waiting, we discussed the stove that's in it, as well as the fridge and microwave. The microwave we'd already decided to eliminate - we haven't used one in 5 years except the last couple months when our downstairs neighbors gave us theirs - and even then, only for popcorn!

The stove/oven needs a thermocoupler for sure and we're just not liking the amount of surface rust on it (and we don't know how the gas lines are ran nor do we quite trust the previous owner's knowledge!). For now, we're going to remove it, put in our super awesome toaster oven and look at a dual hot plate. That will do us until we do our own massive renovation down the road.

There is water damage under the fridge from the ceiling vent leaking. It is a 3-way unit so they had it vented for propane. We're really not wanting to test this fridge with potential water damage so we're going to remove it and, since we'll be on full hookups for quite awhile, we're looking at a couple of options:

Vissani 4.3 cu. ft. Mini Refrigerator in Stainless Look-HVDR430SE - The Home Depot This one is labeled at a 1.5 amp draw and, after seeing it in the store is our current front runner. We're going to be across the street from one grocery store and close to a food co-op so we really don't need much - in fact, we mostly use our current one for beer, wine, and soda!!

Any thoughts?
Make sure to measure it diagonally, so you can stand it up in the bus....ask me how I know that

we took the new fridge back into the store and got a slightly smaller one
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Old 03-02-2016, 06:34 PM   #14
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Location: Port Townsend, WA
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Year: 1969
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Chassis: Ford B-750
Engine: 390 BB
Rated Cap: 2 humans, 1 cat
Quote:
Originally Posted by bansil View Post
Make sure to measure it diagonally, so you can stand it up in the bus....ask me how I know that

we took the new fridge back into the store and got a slightly smaller one
Oh that so sounds like something we would do!!! Thank you for the reminder!!

We're still waiting - they did not do the inspection. The guy I talked to didn't note it anywhere. So they started that today and will finish it tomorrow. In the meantime, my son is coming up from VA this weekend to get the last of his stuff and I'm really hoping they find nothing wrong and we can bring her home.
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Old 03-03-2016, 12:28 PM   #15
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Location: Snowflake, Arizona
Posts: 332
Year: 1996
Coachwork: Blue Bird
Chassis: All American Rear Engine
Engine: C-8.3-300 Cummins MD3060
Rated Cap: 40 Prisoners
We went with the 10 cu ft Vissani fridge as it had a better rating power
wise than the 4.7 cu ft unit that had a $39 annual cost estimate while
the 10 cu ft unit showed $33 annual cost estimate and we had the head
room for the taller fridge/freezer combo. We decided against a propane
fridge as they have a hard time cooling in hot weather and call for large
vent holes to the exterior.
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Old 03-03-2016, 04:06 PM   #16
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Join Date: Jan 2016
Location: Port Townsend, WA
Posts: 89
Year: 1969
Coachwork: Bluebird
Chassis: Ford B-750
Engine: 390 BB
Rated Cap: 2 humans, 1 cat
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dragonpop View Post
We went with the 10 cu ft Vissani fridge as it had a better rating power
wise than the 4.7 cu ft unit that had a $39 annual cost estimate while
the 10 cu ft unit showed $33 annual cost estimate and we had the head
room for the taller fridge/freezer combo. We decided against a propane
fridge as they have a hard time cooling in hot weather and call for large
vent holes to the exterior.
Thank you for your thoughts! We are leaning towards that one - we're good with the smaller unit because of space and because we'll be across the street from a grocery store and within bicycling distance of a food co-op.

I called the Good Sam insurance and sent them pictures for the underwriters. One more step started!!

This poor shop manager - he had all service calls today and no shop mechanics - when WanderingJuggler called for an update I guess he said something along the lines of "Oh man..." He's promised it's first on the docket for tomorrow and he has a shop mechanic in tomorrow as well.

I'm not gonna hold my breath....
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Old 03-04-2016, 09:46 PM   #17
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Location: Port Townsend, WA
Posts: 89
Year: 1969
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Chassis: Ford B-750
Engine: 390 BB
Rated Cap: 2 humans, 1 cat
Oy! They finally got the DOT indpection done...

Needs a radiator and they couldn't find one. We are looking. It also has a rear end seal that will eventually need replacing as well. He said the tires had dry rot but when WanderingJuggler asked him to prioritize based on our budget, he said radiator, eventually the seal, but didn't mention the tires again.

On the upside, the "brakes are fine" and the "lights are operational."
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Old 03-05-2016, 07:54 AM   #18
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Location: The Valley - Arizona
Posts: 644
Year: 1999
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Chassis: Freight-shaker (Freightliner)
Engine: Cat 3126b 250 HP
Rated Cap: Only 1 seat
Check out a truck stop or a place that does tires for commercial vehicles on some good used if you're on a budget. You might get lucky.

Do you know the tire size you need?

-Doc
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Old 03-06-2016, 08:21 AM   #19
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Location: Port Townsend, WA
Posts: 89
Year: 1969
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Chassis: Ford B-750
Engine: 390 BB
Rated Cap: 2 humans, 1 cat
Quote:
Originally Posted by Docsgsxr View Post
Check out a truck stop or a place that does tires for commercial vehicles on some good used if you're on a budget. You might get lucky.

Do you know the tire size you need?

-Doc
Thank you for the tip! We don't - we didn't write that down or take pictures because she was supposed to be in our driveway 2 weeks ago...

We found a radiator through Summit Racing and WanderingJuggler talked to one of the techs who felt it would handle the job. So the current toss up is have World Truck install it and pay them to fabricate mounts if needed, or do the job ourselves. My boss said I can stay on another month if needed, to just let her know. (Long story short - this is a great company but not so smart on bringing people in for the busy season so they're still understaffed plus have myself and 1 other person leaving by the end of March.) But our current landlord is not paying the utilities again - we got a late payment notice in the mail for the water yesterday (we've received 5-6 since we moved in Nov. 2014 and it's been shut off twice and disconnected once at the street when he illegally turned it back on) and so we really want to be out of here April 1.

Uff da.
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Old 03-11-2016, 04:23 PM   #20
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Join Date: Jan 2016
Location: Port Townsend, WA
Posts: 89
Year: 1969
Coachwork: Bluebird
Chassis: Ford B-750
Engine: 390 BB
Rated Cap: 2 humans, 1 cat
And the saga continues.....

WanderingJuggler pedaled his bicycle out to World Truck (18 miles one way) and got there about 4:00 pm. They close at 5:00 pm. Except today. So he calls and the call goes through the forwarding to the service guy who says, "Well, I'm gone for the weekend so call back and tell them they need to send someone there." He does, then we talk and he's looking at the her and comments that yeah, the tires are looking a bit rough. So he reads me the numbers and I go to search online while he calls them back as it had been over a half an hour at this point.

900 R20 12PR.

Not much luck finding the tire so I find a major tire company dealer (we DO live in Rubber City, after all!!) and when I hear what he has to say, I'm ready to hit the whiskey bottle. Split rims - so no one will change them on the side of the road as it's too dangerous. They can change all 6 for $1200-1300 which is a decent price, I believe? Or they can do a conversion of the rear tires for around $2300 depending on things that I don't remember now. At this point, WJ has sent me a text so I thank the guy (and we will definitely be in touch with them - super nice, gave me all the options, no problems with giving me estimates which is getting rarer and rarer, and they're close to us!) and call WJ....

He rode his bicycle 18 miles, got there an hour before closing, and no one will come to the shop so he can pay for what they've done and let us bring her home. So he's now (not not!) pedaling the off off and I'm ready for a melt down - as we still have to put in a radiator.

Did I mention we wanted to be gone April 1?
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