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Old 08-03-2020, 02:42 PM   #1
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Can I get rid of this?

Hey everyone!

I have a 96 bluebird tc2000 RE that were converting. We have started framing out the interior starting at the back. In the corner there is an angle piece of metal that covers a hole in the side of the bus. Im assuming the grid on the outside of the bus is for air intake for the engine? Why would I need access from the inside? Would it be ok to permanently close it from the inside by welding a plate over it for the sake of getting rid of the angled piece and keeping everything squared off? I have provided pictures!

Thanks!
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Old 08-03-2020, 07:23 PM   #2
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Welcome to the Forum. My 1995 TC 2000 has one of those too. If you have a look on the other side you will see that is the main air intake for the engine. I have louvers just outside near the roof. and a wide duct that down the wall and then hooks onto that angle. Then, looking in the engine compartment, you will see the air cleaner for the combustion air intake is mounted right on the wall of that duct.

So, no, you don't want to do anything that will restrict the airflow, like for example squaring out that corner. I intend to leave the angle there.

But as far as things that don't restrict the airflow, things like insulating that whole area really well because it could be either very hot or very cool., I say go for it.

I plan on using rock wool there because, unlike fiberglass or foam, rock wool provides effective thermal insulation AND effective soundproofing.

It would be a good idea if you were to fill in your bus details, location, etc.
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Old 08-03-2020, 07:25 PM   #3
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Do you have an "area shot?" Something that gives more info on location? You could honestly eliminate any access plate you like. However, you may realise one day down the road that having an access to such an area would be a real time saver.

I personally try to keep any access holes I find, ssuming they're beneficial, but, that's my own personal preference. There's GOTTA be a reason for it in the first place... Right? You could always find a scrap chunk of tin and make your own access after framing as well.
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Old 08-03-2020, 07:37 PM   #4
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It was almost a year ago that I had my black cover off that area. It's been screwed back on all that time with a whole bunch of screws, so I haven't looked at it for a while, but it's not an inspection plate. At least it doesn't look like any other inspection plate in that bus.

But now I discovered I can enlarge your picture a bit and did not see what I expected to under the black cover. I assumed the cover's purpose is to make that right angle turn a little more aerodynamic for the combustion air going down that duct. But now I think I might have got that wrong.

So now I've decided I should remove those screws tomorrow and have a better look at this stuff, before I try to make detailed plans about insulation and such in that part of the bus.
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Old 08-03-2020, 09:39 PM   #5
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Please do, I am curious to. Maybe they just made a mistake at manufacturing?
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Old 08-03-2020, 09:54 PM   #6
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Hey, I'm not an expert, not a diesel mechanic, but I am fairly logical, and I think there is a conclusion to be drawn from that contraption's location.

It's halfway between the louvers on the side of the bus where the combustion air comes in and the turbo on top of my Cummins. Also the air cleaner is mounted right on the other side of piece of sheet metal from where than angular looking cover thing is setting in the OP's photo.

So I don't think it's very likely that angular cover has nothing to do with combustion air, I think it's at least something to help support the weight of the air filter which is hanging just on the other side of a piece of sheet steel. And I will get out and take some pictures in the morning.
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Old 08-03-2020, 10:17 PM   #7
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Maybe a modification was made and the vertical piece was moved over. There seems to be a second set of holes in the horizontal piece.
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Old 08-03-2020, 10:30 PM   #8
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And I am not sure mine is exactly the same as his either. The size of that angled cover looks like it may be a little different. We don't know what kind of engine he has. If it's something else besides a Cummins 5.9 the air intake could be quite different. This little mystery has got my curiousity fired up.
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Old 08-03-2020, 10:34 PM   #9
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I have that same angled piece on my intake duct. I'm pretty sure it has to do with air flow or acts as a gusset for the sheet metal. I would leave it as you found it. The angle piece required too much fabrication for the OEM to put it there by accident.

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Old 08-03-2020, 10:37 PM   #10
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That's exactly the point I have been trying to make. Everything in one of these buses has a precise purpose. I will take pictures tomorrow,
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Old 08-04-2020, 12:26 PM   #11
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OK, so I did go out to the bus with my camera and screwdriver this morning, removed that cover, and took pictures showing the whole airflow, including how the air cleaner is secured.

However, when I opened up the forum to post my photos, I see there is a maximum limit of 2 Mb on each photo. That makes sense, but all the photos my camera puts out are between 3 and 4 Mb. I know I could change it, but sometimes I want photos that big, and other times I really don't care how big they are. So I don't want to change the camera and just use a webpage that reduces the size of photos whenever I need smaller photos to post on the web.

Another however is that I am terribly busy today and just don't have time for this today. I could post pictures tonight if any one is interested, so now I will just write a description of what I found.

Most importantly I confirmed my assumption that is the air duct, and that one purpose of that angle is definitely to round of that corner and thereby reduce turbulence in the airflow to the turbo. I could tell by the tightness of some of the screws when I was removing that angular cover that I did not take that all the way off before, just removed the top and side screws and leaned it over for a peek.

So the enlargement of the opening was not quite as much as I expected, just about an inch-and-a-half, but when working on my Bluebird my operating assumption is always that little details like this are necessary, or they wouldn't be there.

I have decided what I will do with mine when I get there. I don't see any reason to need to get access through that cover, so I intend to insulate with rock wool and panel over it.

I also intend to be very careful about doing anything that may restrict the airflow, which in my mind would include having screws sticking though into the air passage. Screw tips sticking an inch, or even less probably, into the airflow will cause turbulence. The only question is how much.

One or two screws wouldn't be a problem. But I think a row of them would definitely have an effect sometimes. And I will also include any screws needed to hold any future paneling in place on the wall above this angular cover. That air passage is only as wide as the structural members supporting the roof, so a couple of rows of screws could make quite a bit of turbulence in the airflow.

So I strongly recommend that everyone with an RE bus, particularly a Bluebird, should be very careful in this area. I must get going now, but if anyone wants to see the pictures I took, please post a note here, and I will have time to do that this evening.

I hope this helps.
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Old 08-04-2020, 01:10 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by gs1949 View Post
OK, so I did go out to the bus with my camera and screwdriver this morning, removed that cover, and took pictures showing the whole airflow, including how the air cleaner is secured.

However, when I opened up the forum to post my photos, I see there is a maximum limit of 2 Mb on each photo. That makes sense, but all the photos my camera puts out are between 3 and 4 Mb. I know I could change it, but sometimes I want photos that big, and other times I really don't care how big they are. So I don't want to change the camera and just use a webpage that reduces the size of photos whenever I need smaller photos to post on the web.

Another however is that I am terribly busy today and just don't have time for this today. I could post pictures tonight if any one is interested, so now I will just write a description of what I found.

Most importantly I confirmed my assumption that is the air duct, and that one purpose of that angle is definitely to round of that corner and thereby reduce turbulence in the airflow to the turbo. I could tell by the tightness of some of the screws when I was removing that angular cover that I did not take that all the way off before, just removed the top and side screws and leaned it over for a peek.

So the enlargement of the opening was not quite as much as I expected, just about an inch-and-a-half, but when working on my Bluebird my operating assumption is always that little details like this are necessary, or they wouldn't be there.

I have decided what I will do with mine when I get there. I don't see any reason to need to get access through that cover, so I intend to insulate with rock wool and panel over it.

I also intend to be very careful about doing anything that may restrict the airflow, which in my mind would include having screws sticking though into the air passage. Screw tips sticking an inch, or even less probably, into the airflow will cause turbulence. The only question is how much.

One or two screws wouldn't be a problem. But I think a row of them would definitely have an effect sometimes. And I will also include any screws needed to hold any future paneling in place on the wall above this angular cover. That air passage is only as wide as the structural members supporting the roof, so a couple of rows of screws could make quite a bit of turbulence in the airflow.

So I strongly recommend that everyone with an RE bus, particularly a Bluebird, should be very careful in this area. I must get going now, but if anyone wants to see the pictures I took, please post a note here, and I will have time to do that this evening.

I hope this helps.

Thanks for the help! I figured I will follow suit with what I have done with the rest of the bus and that is to leave access just in case!
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Old 08-04-2020, 01:15 PM   #13
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Yeah, I usually do that too. But probably what I will do in this case is to make it relatively simple to remove the panel and insulation I put over it. It does look to me line someone after Bluebird has been into the upper part of that duct. I can't figure out why, though. Maybe they got a yellow-jacket nest in there. So I intend to make it as simple as possible to take that panel off.
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Old 08-04-2020, 11:36 PM   #14
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OK, so I found a resizer that I could work with and found a little time.

These 4 photos show the airflow in my bus. The air comes in through those 3 stacks of louvers in the top photo. The entire area of yellow metal around and under the louvers is the outside wall of the air flow duct.

The second photo shows just inside there by the engine cover. The 2 angular covers, one outer cover of plastic and one inner cover of steel. are laying there on the engine cover.

The third picture is a closer shot of the two covers that also shows the shape of the hole they are covering. Notice how the hole in the engine cover has been enlarged on one side to make the corner a little less sharp and thus be more aerodynamic.

The fourth picture shows what is hanging underneath there. That pentagon shaped piece of sheet metal that the big end of the air cleaner butts up against is the bottom end of the air duct coming down from behind the louvers.

I don't see much difficulty in paneling this area, but I believe it's important to resist any urges to square up that corner. I think that would produce turbulence in the airflow.
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Old 08-05-2020, 06:24 AM   #15
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the reason that stuff is there is that its a known thing that RE busses have trouble cooling themselves.. there have been many designs for airflow over the years.. i would not touch anything that affects cooling the rear engine unless you never plan to climb long steep mountain passes or drive in really hot summer weather..
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Old 08-05-2020, 10:39 AM   #16
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OK, so I found a resizer that I could work with and found a little time.
Late to the party, but when I import pics from my iPod I always email them to myself, which reduces the size and gives me copies of all the pics in my email archive (also because on a mac you have to go to extra effort to just save pics to disk).
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Old 08-05-2020, 11:06 AM   #17
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the reason that stuff is there is that its a known thing that RE busses have trouble cooling themselves.. there have been many designs for airflow over the years.. i would not touch anything that affects cooling the rear engine unless you never plan to climb long steep mountain passes or drive in really hot summer weather..

My personal rule is that I never touch anything without understanding exactly what it does. If I don't know what something does, then I do whatever I need to do to figure it out. And this little angular piece that takes up a little space on the engine cover is a perfect example of something that needs to be there, or it wouldn't be there.

But this is not cooling air. This is combustion air. The radiator is on the other side of the engine.
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Old 08-05-2020, 11:19 AM   #18
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Late to the party, but when I import pics from my iPod I always email them to myself, which reduces the size and gives me copies of all the pics in my email archive (also because on a mac you have to go to extra effort to just save pics to disk).

It took a little while, but I did find the picture resizing site I was looking for and hadn't used for a couple of years: https://picresize.com/

It worked well and quickly for me even with Firefox running on Debian Linux. I don't know anything about Mac, never used one, and I gave up on windows about 12 years ago. I've been strictly Linux ever since. I've tried many Linux varieties over the years but have finally given up distro-hopping since their extra efforts to be secure always bring me back to Debian.
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Old 08-05-2020, 03:55 PM   #19
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OK, so I found a resizer that I could work with and found a little time.

These 4 photos show the airflow in my bus. The air comes in through those 3 stacks of louvers in the top photo. The entire area of yellow metal around and under the louvers is the outside wall of the air flow duct.

The second photo shows just inside there by the engine cover. The 2 angular covers, one outer cover of plastic and one inner cover of steel. are laying there on the engine cover.

The third picture is a closer shot of the two covers that also shows the shape of the hole they are covering. Notice how the hole in the engine cover has been enlarged on one side to make the corner a little less sharp and thus be more aerodynamic.

The fourth picture shows what is hanging underneath there. That pentagon shaped piece of sheet metal that the big end of the air cleaner butts up against is the bottom end of the air duct coming down from behind the louvers.

I don't see much difficulty in paneling this area, but I believe it's important to resist any urges to square up that corner. I think that would produce turbulence in the airflow.

My bus is the exact same setup. I didnt pay attention to slightly larger opening until you brought it up and it makes total sense. I appreciate all of the help!
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Old 08-05-2020, 06:00 PM   #20
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With one year difference, and the same motor and transmission, they should be really close to identical, I would think. How long is your bus? Mine is 35 feet.

Glad I could help, don't be afraid to ask if there's anything else you're not sure about. I'm not an expert, still learning, but I can usually figure things out somehow..

We just need to remember that the people who designed and built our buses, all buses, I mean, did not do a single thing to make our lives miserable. Some of the things they did do make our lives quite miserable sometimes, but that's not why they did them. Our existence didn't factor into their planning at all.
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