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Old 05-25-2021, 04:28 PM   #1
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: May 2021
Location: Ferndale WA
Posts: 21
Year: 1986
Coachwork: GMC Vandura G3500
Engine: 5.7L V8 Gasoline Engine
New Skoolie Build

Hello, everyone! I just joined the forum. I recently acquired a short bus, a 1986 GMC Vandura G3500. It was sitting in a build for 4-5 years and some vandals got to it and broke the turn signal and the column shift lever. The owner has lost the keys and I had a locksmith install a new ignition switch and he also made keys for the door.

The gas tank was missing the cap and rain and elements have rendered the fuel system in terrible shape.

I do not have any lights. However, all the fuses are intact and power is getting to them. The fuses for the radio and the wiper do not have power until I turn the ignition switch.

My question at this time is regarding the broken turn signal. Is that the cause of not having any power to the lights? Should I get that replaced as a first step?

I undertook this project without any experience in both the mechanical and electrical aspects of the vehicle. Everything is almost entirely new to me. I will appreciate any input that will increse my knowledge.

Thanks!

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Old 05-25-2021, 05:02 PM   #2
Bus Crazy
 
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Join Date: Sep 2017
Location: Swansboro,NC
Posts: 1,675
Year: 86
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: Ford B700
Engine: 8.2
Rated Cap: 60 bodies
not to be rude?
that sounds more like a mechanics special and not one for a someone with no experience?
but we can help.
please dont try to turn the engine over until you drain the fuel tank and get some fresh fuel in there.
the turn signal broken will only effect the signals unless the head light switch was built into the end of it and like to go bad with age/wear anyway.
when you go back with fresh fuel.
i like to use a bottle of 99cent rubbing alcohol to help evaporate moisture in the tank and then dump 5-10 gallons on top of it.
no since in trying to fill the tank if you are just trying to get it running.
research and find your fuel filter and replace them and i recommend to add some clear vue filters in line by the tank so that you can see what kind of crud comes out in the fuel.
a brand new battery and fresh fuel will be a good starting point for newbies and experienced.
you get lucky with some and not others?
especially with this dang ethanol fuel? it doesnt like to sit.
this is just a starting point
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Old 05-25-2021, 05:36 PM   #3
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: May 2021
Location: Ferndale WA
Posts: 21
Year: 1986
Coachwork: GMC Vandura G3500
Engine: 5.7L V8 Gasoline Engine
I am not trying to turn the engine yet. I just want to get the electrical going to where the lights will work. When lights are working, then I can test the starter and the alternator, fix the fuel line, and then test the engine. Is that a good sequence of work to do?

Thanks.
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Old 05-25-2021, 05:58 PM   #4
Bus Crazy
 
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Join Date: Sep 2017
Location: Swansboro,NC
Posts: 1,675
Year: 86
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: Ford B700
Engine: 8.2
Rated Cap: 60 bodies
you could waste a good battery without a charger on it?
most stuff body/chassis related wont work without the key on which wont take long to kill an ok battery with ok wiring but can and will kill a new battery in a day while testing wiring circuits.
i myself would focus on getting it running first?
but if you have a decent battery and battery charger to keep the battery up to par then play with the wiring and with a good enough charger you can disconnect the battery and just hook to the cables and make sure the setup doesnt touch anything metal or each other and play sparky?
lights are easy compared to making it run?
making it run and move will tell if you need to spend your time on electrical.
mechanical first then electrical.
there might be some electrical involved in the mechanical but we are not focusing on light to get this thing started and moving. make sure it runs move stops and then we move to lighting.
i have the manual for the gmc 98-2010 but have worked on many.
you can PM me anytime?
during the day i am at work so i only see my message stuff in the afternoons.
my focus personally would be powertrain and then wiring.
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Old 05-25-2021, 06:02 PM   #5
Bus Crazy
 
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Join Date: Sep 2017
Location: Swansboro,NC
Posts: 1,675
Year: 86
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: Ford B700
Engine: 8.2
Rated Cap: 60 bodies
Quote:
Originally Posted by deimoi View Post
I am not trying to turn the engine yet. I just want to get the electrical going to where the lights will work. When lights are working, then I can test the starter and the alternator, fix the fuel line, and then test the engine. Is that a good sequence of work to do?

Thanks.
sorry me again?
you said fix the fuel line?
whats wrong with the fuel line and where?
need 5 post to do pictures but thats important on whats wrong with fuel line?
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Old 05-25-2021, 06:18 PM   #6
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: May 2021
Location: Ferndale WA
Posts: 21
Year: 1986
Coachwork: GMC Vandura G3500
Engine: 5.7L V8 Gasoline Engine
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jolly Roger bus 223 View Post
sorry me again?
you said fix the fuel line?
whats wrong with the fuel line and where?
need 5 post to do pictures but thats important on whats wrong with fuel line?
Not actually sure about the fuel line but the fuel tank was left without a cap and the inside is full of what knows what. I had assumed that the fuel line will need work.
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Old 05-25-2021, 06:19 PM   #7
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: May 2021
Location: Ferndale WA
Posts: 21
Year: 1986
Coachwork: GMC Vandura G3500
Engine: 5.7L V8 Gasoline Engine
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jolly Roger bus 223 View Post
you could waste a good battery without a charger on it?
most stuff body/chassis related wont work without the key on which wont take long to kill an ok battery with ok wiring but can and will kill a new battery in a day while testing wiring circuits.
i myself would focus on getting it running first?
but if you have a decent battery and battery charger to keep the battery up to par then play with the wiring and with a good enough charger you can disconnect the battery and just hook to the cables and make sure the setup doesnt touch anything metal or each other and play sparky?
lights are easy compared to making it run?
making it run and move will tell if you need to spend your time on electrical.
mechanical first then electrical.
there might be some electrical involved in the mechanical but we are not focusing on light to get this thing started and moving. make sure it runs move stops and then we move to lighting.
i have the manual for the gmc 98-2010 but have worked on many.
you can PM me anytime?
during the day i am at work so i only see my message stuff in the afternoons.
my focus personally would be powertrain and then wiring.
Ah, good advice. To test the engine, I just need to get the starter cranking. Is that correct?
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Old 05-25-2021, 06:48 PM   #8
Bus Crazy
 
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Join Date: Sep 2017
Location: Swansboro,NC
Posts: 1,675
Year: 86
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: Ford B700
Engine: 8.2
Rated Cap: 60 bodies
you can pump out the fuel tank and put some fuel stabilizer in there or some rubbing alcohol which is cheaper then fuel and i would add a clear vue and your auto parts store will have the mister gasket ones on the shelf if you are unsure add it just before the carb or throttle body and see what comes out of the tank once its running?
i bought a 77 truck that had set for 5 years and worked on it for two weekends where it was at and drove it home? (30 miles) before i dropped and cleaned the fuel tank with vinegar and loads of nuts and rattle around with it in the yard for a few days. still didnt get rid of the internal tiny stuff but the clear vue stuff allowed me to see what was going on.
only have one left now but installed an electric fuel pump because the bigger cam was eating the wrist pins on the mechanical fuel pumps.
tried to stay all mechanical?
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Old 05-29-2021, 07:25 PM   #9
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: May 2021
Location: Ferndale WA
Posts: 21
Year: 1986
Coachwork: GMC Vandura G3500
Engine: 5.7L V8 Gasoline Engine
Turn Ignition?

Quote:
Originally Posted by deimoi View Post
Not actually sure about the fuel line but the fuel tank was left without a cap and the inside is full of what knows what. I had assumed that the fuel line will need work.
My electrical issues seem to have mostly gone away as I am able to control lights from the panel above the driver. Even the windshield spray is working from the broken turn signal on the left of the steering wheel. With my rusted and dirty fuel tank and what ever may be in the fuel line, should I turn the ignition to test the starter?

Thanks!
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Old 05-30-2021, 12:24 PM   #10
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: May 2021
Location: Ferndale WA
Posts: 21
Year: 1986
Coachwork: GMC Vandura G3500
Engine: 5.7L V8 Gasoline Engine
Moving On

Most of the lights are working. There is one dome light inside (I disconnected a second one) that works, the door light turns on when the door is open, the stop light blinks, the red stop lights, front and back, work, some of the marker lights work, the bump bar in front works, the radio power light turns on (no sound though). I tried but could not determine for sure if brake lights work. Oh! headlights are broken but the running lights work.

I told myself: what could go wrong and I turned the ignition switch on and, miracle, the starter turned! I switch off immediately since I do not trust the fuel line.

Next step I guess is to set up for a firing test from a drip gas line. Any advice on how to proceed with this?
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Old 05-30-2021, 12:39 PM   #11
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: May 2021
Location: Ferndale WA
Posts: 21
Year: 1986
Coachwork: GMC Vandura G3500
Engine: 5.7L V8 Gasoline Engine
IMG_20210530_094221.jpg

I get this on the instrument panel. I have a 1986 GMC G3500 V8 gasoline engine. Is there a choke somewhere?
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Old 05-30-2021, 01:44 PM   #12
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: May 2021
Location: Ferndale WA
Posts: 21
Year: 1986
Coachwork: GMC Vandura G3500
Engine: 5.7L V8 Gasoline Engine
When I saw the 'choke' light, I went back to a time when there is a push/pull choke stick on the dashboard. I guess, this vehicle has an automatic choke built into the carb.
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Old 05-30-2021, 06:03 PM   #13
Bus Crazy
 
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Join Date: Sep 2017
Location: Swansboro,NC
Posts: 1,675
Year: 86
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: Ford B700
Engine: 8.2
Rated Cap: 60 bodies
yes check and or adjust the automatic choke on the side of the carb usually passenger side.
if you have the quadrajet carb i recommend a holley upgrade with a manual choke you will have to run the old push pull for.
suprised you have a choke light in an 86 but you can easily change it to a push pull cable with off the shelf parts.
my 77 ford truck had a form of electronic choke but it used the exhaust gas recirc valve to tell it when to to EGR valve.
got rid of that and installed manual choke from an off the shelf retrofit and never had a problem.
well until i rebuilt the motor and added all kinds of stuff to it and it definetely had a manual choke. the motor craft 250 2 barrell carb was taken off and the holly 4 barrel carb was installed with a new manifold but this motor is able to interchange parts.
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Old 05-30-2021, 06:07 PM   #14
Bus Crazy
 
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Join Date: Sep 2017
Location: Swansboro,NC
Posts: 1,675
Year: 86
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: Ford B700
Engine: 8.2
Rated Cap: 60 bodies
your 5.7 chevy 350 has plenty of aftermarket support and i could rebuild it in a day.
keep your oil clean, spark plugs fresh including wires and distributor cap and it will last.
of course the quadrajet carb is still an issue but plenty to change it to.
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Old 05-31-2021, 12:32 AM   #15
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: May 2021
Location: Ferndale WA
Posts: 21
Year: 1986
Coachwork: GMC Vandura G3500
Engine: 5.7L V8 Gasoline Engine
Upgrading the carburetor will probably have to wait until the build is much further along.
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Old 06-01-2021, 06:37 PM   #16
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: May 2021
Location: Ferndale WA
Posts: 21
Year: 1986
Coachwork: GMC Vandura G3500
Engine: 5.7L V8 Gasoline Engine
Carburetor

IMG_20210601_160855.jpg
Looks like the carburetor has been upgraded already.
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Old 06-02-2021, 09:18 PM   #17
Bus Nut
 
Join Date: Dec 2018
Location: Mt Vernon, WA
Posts: 492
Year: 1996
Coachwork: Bluebird, Collins
Chassis: G30 Bluebird Microbird, E350 Shuttle Bus
Engine: 1995 Chevrolet 350, 1992 Ford 460
I have a Chevy bus with a 350. It sat for 2 years in Seattle rain and runs good now. As long as the engine ran good when it was parked you may have not too many issues. They say transmission and brake seals can dry out from sitting but you may be fine. But I would budget for new brakes and transmission just in case. I think you have the non electric transmission so itís simpler than mine. If you want to see if the transmission works you can try running it by disconnecting the fuel line from the carburetor and connecting a jug of fuel to the carb. Then try the gears. If you have limited budget and time itís worth seeing if the barkes and transmission work before sinking a lot of time into other repairs. The entire fuel system may need to be cleaned or replaced if water has been in there for years.
You can remove the drain plugs on the carb float bowl and spray carb cleaner up into the float bowl chamber. Good luck.
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Old 06-02-2021, 10:03 PM   #18
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: May 2021
Location: Ferndale WA
Posts: 21
Year: 1986
Coachwork: GMC Vandura G3500
Engine: 5.7L V8 Gasoline Engine
This is the state of my steering column. Any suggestions how to fix this?
[ATTACH]IMG_20210512_102342.jpg[/ATTACH]
Attached Images
File Type: jpg IMG_20210512_102325.jpg (160.4 KB, 3 views)
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Old 06-03-2021, 03:19 PM   #19
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: May 2021
Location: Ferndale WA
Posts: 21
Year: 1986
Coachwork: GMC Vandura G3500
Engine: 5.7L V8 Gasoline Engine
IMG_20210603_123842.jpg

Do I need a puller or is there another way to remove the steering wheel?
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Old 06-03-2021, 04:45 PM   #20
Bus Geek
 
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Join Date: Jan 2019
Location: Philadelphia
Posts: 5,701
Year: 2003
Coachwork: International
Chassis: CE 300
Engine: DT466e
Rated Cap: 65C-43A
Quote:
Originally Posted by deimoi View Post
Attachment 58081

Do I need a puller or is there another way to remove the steering wheel?
No idea, but FYI you may find that the central column there with the threading on it will drop a bit when you remove the steering wheel, making it impossible to reattach without someone underneath pushing it back up. A user here recently ran into that problem.
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