I was up north for my neice's birthday today and decided to go start the bus. It has been 3 months since the thing last ran
. Before I put it away, I did run it with some good additive long enough to get it fully circulated through the fuel system. So here it goes....
It was 15 degrees today and 10 when I went to the bus. It is 500 feet from the nearest outlet so the block heater and a battery charger were not an option. I opened the hood and checked the fluids. I gave it a 2 second blast of ether in the air filter housing (there is no convenient ether port) and pumped the injecter pump primer about 5 times just to make sure it was good and solid. I also broke the rules and connected my house batteries since I only have a Group 27 starting battery rated at 750 cold cranking amps. One crank on a deep cycle can draw it down to 50%, but I wanted one good crank. I climbed in the seat and turned the key.
5 seconds...cranking SLOW
10 seconds...picking up steam
15 seeconds...almost there is seems
20 seconds...BOOM! She fired!
It was grumpy for the first 20 seconds or so, but immediately built oil pressure and smoothed out pretty quick. I let it idle for a minute or two and then slowly started to bump the idle up to 1300 rpm or so.
Oh sweet success! Remember...it's been sitting for 3 months without a block heater, glowplugs, or intake heater. I honestly don't even think the ether did anything. That was pure compression! I've developed a liking for the 6.6 Ford.
I let the thing run for 10 minutes and then started to go through some fairly normal procedures. I preheated the transmission per the Allison owners manual. I also completely filled the valvebody by shifting N-1-N-2-N-3-N-4-N-R-N.
Then I moved on to the brakes. I had stored it with the tanks drained, but it had built pressure up just fine. I shut the engine down and fanned the brakes down to 0 psi. I then started it back up and set the throttle at 1200 RPM while I timed the pressure build. It took exactly 3 minutes to go from 0 to 120 psi. I backed the parking brakes off with a clunk (it sits on an ever so slight incline where it is parked), and pulled the bus forward and back a few times just to get things moving. Then I put the parking brakes back on and tested leakdown.
It holds pressure just fine during an apply. It does use what seems like a high volume of air (2 applications take it from 120 psi to 90 psi), but I know a chamber is out of adjustment. It's stroke is 1.5 inches and goes just over 90 degrees whereas the rest go about 3/4 of an inch and stop at 90, just like they should.
However.....something goofy started happening. As I watched the pressure gauge, it started to dance a little. I went from 125 psi down to 115. The compressor kicked in and brought it back up to 120. Weird, right? I decided to fan the brakes down until the pop out released and watched again. It built pressure at what seemed like an inconsistant speed. It went from 65-90 rather quickly. Then it slowed down from 90-115 and sped up again from 115-125 before the air dryer kicked it out and it went back to 120. Then it went down to 115 again, followed by cut in to 125 and kick out. It then held at 120. I fanned the brakes a few more times. Sometimes it would cut in at 115. Sometimes it would cut in at 90. Sometimes it would cut in at 85.
My plan of attack is to adjust the pot that out first of all. Then I was thinking I would replace the governor though that really doesn't seem like a governor issue because it does build good pressure and it does kick out. I know I want some new petcocks on the tanks as mine just feel like they might be leaking very slowly and I want air chucks anyway. Is this just the cold and the sitting time making things finicky? Do I really have anything to worry about? It passes all the leakdown tests, pressure build test, etc, but the governor is weirding me out. One other noteworthy point. It will go from 120-~80 psi overnight. A leak obviously, but nothing horrible. However, it will hold at 80 psi then for a long time. Is it time to look at the checkvalves at the tanks? Is there a chance that diaphragm in the front chamber has a pinhole leak that requires over 120 psi to leak down? If that's the case, why is it doing it without the treadle applied?
I think I might just be paranoid about the whole thing. I pass all the test, aside from the brake being out of adjustment, but I knew about that when I parked it and it should only take 5 minutes to fix. Does anyone have any ideas? The bus isn't going to move until Spring anyway, but I would like to have a heads up here and I would REALLY like to have reliable brakes. I guess I'm just old fashioned that way...