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Bluesky 08-07-2018 05:53 PM

Saga of the 1955 Chevy 6700
This is a 1955 Kenworth Pacific Bus that I had for about Five years. I purchased it along with a camping club membership and never drove it other than a few feet forward and back onto some leveling blocks.
The camping club is an hour north of my house and when I did get some time to go there, I worked constantly. I had planned on converting it and installed a sink, toilette, and shower, but progress was slow. The camping club was giving me grief, so I had to let it go. I put it up for sale for $600. I received many inquiries and lined up a half dozen potential buyers. They all flaked out, except one, from Oregon. We set up a time to meet and I went to the bus and waited, and waited, and he finally showed up with a buddy at dusk. He brought a battery and we tried to start it until it got too dark. He determined it needed a solenoid. He offered to buy the bus and would come up another time to get it running. I had to do something before the camping club started fining me for whatever violation they could come up with, so I got a solenoid and new battery and got it running. The Dudes came up with a third guy and they drove it off. I headed home and saw them on the side of the road only after a mile, I pulled over and they said it was getting hot. They seemed to be confidant about dealing with it, so I went on my way.
I had previously lived in a converted 1958 Chevy Viking for about Eight years and decided that I would try to find another 1958 Viking that had been converted. I immediately started looking on the internet to see what busses were available and saw my bus listed the next week.

Bluesky 08-07-2018 05:56 PM
1955 Kennworth Bus Motorhome RV (Mountlake Terrace Park and Ride)
NOTE: It must be gone TODAY! Make me an offer.

"I bought this bus this last Saturday, but unfortunately I wasn't able to get it home. It runs and drives great, the only issue is that it over heats. I thought I would be able to drive it right back home, but I don't have the time or resources to get it in shape for longer distance travel with my schedule as I'm a full time student at OSU.

Anyways, I think that if it got a good radiator flush, that might solve the issue. We tried just about everything short of cleaning the mineral deposits in the that may be obstructing the coolant flow. The thermostat was also removed. Maybe there's something we're missing... It tends to over heat very quickly, within about 5-10 miles.

Since I live out of state, we're going to have to do this sale remotely. It's parked in a public location (Mountlake Terrace transit center), thus it needs to sell within the coming days. All are welcome to come by and inspect. I'll mail the title to the person with the best offer. As added insurance that I am the genuine owner, I included a picture of the title.

Some other notes: I brought my battery back with me, so you'll need to bring one to fire it up. Also, the gas tank is pretty rusty and was clogging the fuel filter, so we routed the fuel line the bus to suck clean gas from an external tank (so you'll need to bring your own gas). Call with questions.

Disclaimer: This bus is NOT insured and anybody who drives it assumes all responsibility and liability. I will not be held responsible for any damages or injuries that occur. Only test drive it if you can legally and safely do so!"

They found someone who wanted to live in it and drove it off, but for a few days I was expecting to get a bill from the impound yard.

Bluesky 08-07-2018 05:58 PM

I continued to look on the internet and found what I wanted after only One month.
There were a few around the country that did not have the RV conversion, but this one did. The Viking I had previously owned had a different windshield, The outer bottom corners went down a little, other than that, it looked the same. I thought about it for Two weeks, and finally decided to make the 2,000 mile journey. I called the number, He said he sold it the day before.

I decided to change my search criteria. A short bus seemed like a good idea, and I wasnít happy about the headroom in my previous Viking, so a raised roof would be required.
This bus looks like a good candidate, but would require raising the roof as well as a full conversion.

Bluesky 08-07-2018 06:00 PM

After only a week I found the one.
I couldnít believe it. This was perfect. It did not have the windshield or the double headlights like the í58. It did have 6 Ĺ feet headroom so I can live with that, and converted to RV. I made the purchase from e-bay and the seller offered to deliver it from Oregon. We set up a time for delivery and I waited, and waited. They took 12 hours for a six hour journey. Is everyone in Oregon so laid back? No, at midnight my bus arrived followed byÖThe Dudes! We all had a laugh about the coincidence. The dude let me know that the brake fluid leaks if it sits, but works fine on a journey, and that it got loud around Tacoma must have blown a donut. And the power brakes stopped working due to loss of vacuum, must have knocked a vacuum line loose when he removed the air filter. I asked why he removed the air filter. He said it was sputtering.
The next day I started checking things out. The paperwork showed he had owned it for Four years. Under the hood I found a house lamp wire, not connected to anything, pinched between the carb and manifold. That may have been why he said it was sputtering. I touched the coil and the wires fell off, that could cause problems too. Both easy fixes for me. The vacuum advance hose was missing as well. I tried to start it, but nothing, no click. I looked at the starter and the wires were loose. It still wouldnít turn with the nuts tightened, so I went to replace it. This is a 1955 6700 Bus with a 1966 327 engine. The auto parts store sold me a starter for a 1966 327 with automatic transmission. The mounting holes did not line up, and in my excitement, I turned in the core when I picked up the new starter. Unfortunately, they shipped all the cores out that day, so I worked with the clerk for Two days to retrieve my core from the warehouse. We finally got it back along with a couple possible correct replacement starters. Somehow my core had been damaged, one ear was busted off. But I was able to get the measurement and bought a Mid Eighties bus starter that fit and works great. I also got tune up items. Plugs, wires, new coil, dist. Cap and rotor, a vacuum line, and a clear fuel filter.

It started right up and ran for a few minutes before it shut itself off. It sounded good, so I decided to go back at it another day. The next day I tried to start it, but it would not pop. No fuel in the filter. The Dudes were amazing, they got the bus to me with only a drop of gas to spare. I finally got some fuel and now it starts right up and runs smooth, and loud. One stud is busted where the exhaust pipe connects to the manifold. I disconnected the exhaust pipe and drilled a pilot hole near the center of the stud. The first Extractor tool broke, so I drilled a bigger hole. The second one fell out and disappeared in the gravel below. After a week or so I finally got the extractor ready to work, but I needed a way to turn it. I tried finding a square socket for my extension and breaker bar, but all I could find was a hex socket and that didnít work. I broke down and purchased a tap handle and immediately mangled it. I decided to drill the stud out more and go at it with hammer and punch. The pilot hole was almost on center, so I was on some threads on one side. The bits that remained did not peel off the threads when persuaded with hammer and punch, so my next option was to tap the hole, or use a heli coil. I had used a heli coil once before years ago, so I decided to go that route. I forgot that it requires tapping the hole, so I broke down and got a tap set and exchanged the mangled tap handle for a new one. The tap worked, so no heli coil was needed. The pipe is now in place, but the engine is still loud. Iíll look again when itís cold out to see if there are any leaks, I donít have a feel for how tight the nuts should be and Iím overly cautious not to break another stud.
I am creating a list of what needs to be done and an inspection of the brake system is at the top of the list. The brake pedal went soft, so I popped the cap off the master cylinder. The plastic cap threads are stripped, and the cylinder was empty except for something. When you open a container of brake fluid, and break the foil seal, typically a ring of the foil remains on the rim of the container. I pulled this foil ring out of the master cylinder, before adding fluid. The hydrovac seems to work good, but I have no idea what the condition of the shoes are. I did see the parking brake linkage has been wired out of the way and disconnected, it needs a nut and a special metal bushing. Thatís just as well since no brake lining remains on the parking brake. I know of a local truck shop that may be able to take on the job.

Bluesky 08-07-2018 06:10 PM

I called a local truck repair shop and told them what I have. They scheduled an appointment for me to drop it off the next week. This was to be the first time I would drive the bus, so I was a bit anxious. I wanted everything to go smoothly so I added some gas. I had been starting it every week for a while, but always had to let the electric fuel pump run a few minutes before cranking the engine. I didnít see much gas going through the filter, so I disconnected the fuel line and ran it into a can. The mechanical fuel pump has been removed, so it just has an electric pump. The fuel flows great with the can down by the bottom of the engine, but if I raise the can up the flow goes to a trickle. I re-connected the fuel line and drove it to the shop. It was a good run, I got it up to 50mph without maxing it out. There was some shaking and noise, but I wasnít worried.
When I arrived at the repair shop, they did not have me on the schedule, and informed me that they decided to not take on anything that old anymore. The guy I spoke with on the phone walked in at that point and explained that they neglected to call me back. He said he wanted to work on it, but his boss said no. There was a Ď40s bus here a few months ago, thatís why I thought this would be a good shop. They had a box van from the Ď80s waiting on a part for almost a year, I think thatís what did it. He said he could look it over for an hour and let me know what it needed. I didnít know what to do so I agreed. There is a truck body and paint shop near my home, so I asked if they could work on it, not interested, but suggested a shop down the street. I drive by all the time and never noticed it. I stopped in and they said they work on anything.
The next morning I go to get my bus. Itís parked down the street from the shop in a questionable location, unlocked. But itís there and no one had moved in, started right up too. I did have to pay for 1 hour shop time for the look over, but that confirmed my suspicions and gave me an idea of what was needed. I enjoyed driving it again, and made it to the second shop, closer to home. It sat for months. I stopped in to ask how it was going and was told the owner wanted money up front. They didnít want to have me bail on the repair and then have to sit on the bus for the title. I threw down the credit card and gave them enough for the brakes, or so I thought. The bus remained stationary.
I stopped in one day and the bus was in the shop. They had a rear wheel off. The dual wheels looked like an assembly, like they were together, and they were sitting on a wheel jack/cart. The drum was off and there are 2 slave cylinders. Over the next year I would stop by about once a month to check in and let them know that Iím not in a hurry and that I appreciate whatever they can do. The brakes got done, but they were afraid to test drive it with the driveshaft in itís current state. They got the driveshaft fixed, I think there are 5 u-joints. Then it sat for a year. Next is the exhaust leak. They found one manifold cracked, and it cracked some more when removing it. Then it wouldnít start right up, so a new carburetor was installed. It has been there almost two years. I stopped in last month to see the carb and cracked manifold. They had a time locating a replacement manifold and had yet to install it. Last week I saw it was back in the shop, so I hope they get the exhaust connected and fire that bus up!

I got a call this Tuesday from the truck shop. They didnít want to work on it anymore, said it stops, starts, and moves. Wednesday morning I drove it home. They had it for almost 2 years and there is 3 pages of receipt. They went through the brake system, that was the main reason I needed a big truck shop. It was loud too, the exhaust manifold on the passenger side was cracked. They had the driveshaft serviced, I think there are 5 u-joints. They did stray from my original request and spent a bit of time on the carb, replaced it. Remounted the battery tray, reworked the alternator bracket, and dressed the engine wiring nicely. They also added a battery disconnect switch, and put two rear light lenses and made sure the brake lights work. The bus did need this work and is starts right up, sounds great, and drives fine. I was a bit shocked by the total.
There is still plenty of work to be done. First is to get all the lights working, just the brake lights work currently. The radiator was leaky, as well as the oil pan gasket and front engine gasket. Iíll have to recover from this bill first, so it will be awhile before I get to it. I tried to take a picture of the engine, but my shaky phone didnít look too good. I did find this link to the previous owners site, so I can at least share pictures! filckr
No, the shirt did not come with the bus. While I was trying to take pictures of the engine, my 4yo son wanted to stay in the bus. When I came back into the bus, he was sitting on the toilette! When ya gotta go, ya gotta go! I havenít tested any of the systems yet, so I cleaned it up. Iíll get the lights working and check the propane system over this winter.

magnakansas 08-07-2018 07:15 PM

I think you have an oustandingly cool bus. And a slightly tragic story. When I read stuff like this, I wonder if I could do a mobile mechanical repair thing. I come to your bus and WE work on it. My tools, my bus, my experience, your parking space and your labor too. Teach about the mechanical side to the owners, and get it repaired this month, not this year ... or two.

I am glad for you, and sad for you too.


Tango 08-07-2018 08:02 PM

Great old bus and way too common a story. These days, all "mechanics" want to do is swap out Chinese made, commonly available parts and most don't really know the first thing about anything actually "mechanical".

If it's not an "unbolt & bolt" job...they are lost. Screw the shops. Find a farmer. They can fix just about anything.

EastCoastCB 08-07-2018 08:26 PM

Sorry, I'm a little confused. Is there a Kenworth for sale??

Bluesky 08-08-2018 05:16 PM

The story continues, I've been working on the bus this last year since I got it back from the shop. The turn signals now function, and I'm getting the propane system working. I'm in no hurry and I plan on keeping this bus. Tango and Magnakansas, thanks, My life could be a slightly tragic story, makes it interesting. I'm not upset about any of it. ECCB, TLDR lol, I have owned a couple buses, and I have watched them hauled off, one was the Kenworth. I'm glad I didn't have to pay to get rid of it.

EastCoastCB 08-08-2018 06:37 PM

Oh ok. Dang it, I'd LOVE to have an old KW!

davido 08-09-2018 04:36 AM

I have a few of these.

Had a 58 Chevy. It was a Wilson body (I think) like that blue/yellow one you had pictures. Body was rough. The main issue though was the curved windshield glass. Couldnít ever find replacements, so kept the front clip and got rid of the body.

The 64 GMC was the replacement and used for tailgating for years. Was on Fox Sports when Jim Knox jumped off of it on TV. Good times.

The 63 is for a donor body to match to the 58 clip... someday...

Bluesky 08-09-2018 02:58 PM

It looks like the same body was use until '63. I like the look of that curved back. The '58 front should work well with your '63 bus.

Bluesky 08-14-2018 05:06 PM

I have been going through the RV systems over this last year. The appliances look Ď80ís vintage. I started with the propane system. The heater is a wall mounted catalytic unit. It works. The stove/oven is a Ward & Son 810-487. I found a manual for that. It seems to work o.k. but itís missing a part that goes over the pilot, and the piezo wiring is melted. The stovetop lights and the oven lights and cycles. I have been struggling with the refrigerator, a Dometic RM 36a. It works great on A/C. I thought the propane was low, so I connected another tank. The propane tanks are located in a cubby under the back of the bus, the tanks sit on their sides. I read up on this and learned that there are horizontal tanks, and there are upright tanks. So far I have been using an upright tank in a horizontal position. I think that was o.k. since the tank was less than half full, but the tank I switched to may not have been less than half full. This is how it goes, propane is in liquid form in the tank, and is released as a gas. The horizontal tanks have an internal hose that goes to a top side of the tank, there is also an arrow to indicate the top side. If used in the incorrect orientation, liquid is released, this could be bad. Now I have the upright tank situated on a stand next to the bus for now. I was able to light the fridge pilot with a lighter. I tried again yesterday, and was able to light it with the flint, yeah itís old. I also lit the water heater pilot. Water heater is an Atwood G6A. Last weekend I attached a water hose and noticed a waterfall from underneath. It appears that the water heater tank has a nasty split. I considered taking the tank to a welder and having it repaired, but found a new tank on-line, so my next task will be to rebuild the water heater.

Bluesky 08-15-2018 11:16 AM

2 Attachment(s)
I removed the water heater last night. The control module took a bit of gentle persuasion to remove. That tank may be beyond repair. It looks like someone moved in there for awhile with that insulation on the inside. That is a mini mobile home in my rv!

leadsled01 08-16-2018 07:35 AM

WTF...... wow

Bluesky 08-27-2018 06:11 PM

I found a replacement tank at 30% markdown as scratch and dent, also got the mounting kit, new relief valve. I watched a video on-line, they put a chamfer on the flue pipes, I did to. The tank is secured to the box with spring rings that go on the flue pipes and getting them on is a challenge. I got a special tool from the hardware store, a random plumbing tube with the right dimension ~2 1/2" ID. Even with the chamfer it was a pita. The old tank had fiberglass insulation, the new tank has styrofoam, slightly larger profile. I made it fit. All lines connected except for the water supply. The port an the tank is longer and is near the bottom, so I need to get a brass elbow and it should clear. The old line was a brass adapter with plastic elbow, I can get the brass on, but the elbow has no room to turn. Once I get that, I'll check for leaks and then I can test the controller and the water pump!

Bluesky 09-25-2018 06:05 PM

Well Iíve got that domino effect going on here. I started with the electrical system. Figuring out what distribution panel I want to add and how the bus is currently wired, I wanted to test the waterpump. The pump runs, but I wanted to test the pressure switch. It should turn on when I open the tap. I attached a hose and found the water heated tank was busted. I have replaced the water heater tank. One connection wasnít working out. The water lines ar PB. PB was made for about a decade, so I couldnít find anything. I read that PEX connector could be used with PB lines. My lines are ĹĒ, I got a sharkbite connector for ĹĒ PEX. The PB is ĹĒ OD, the sharkbite is for ĹĒ ID. I unscrewed the water heater frame from the bus and put the old PB connector on. I attached a hose, but it leaked at the controller, and at the toilet. I finally got some plumbers paste for the controller threads. I removed the toilet to get to the connection and found two things. 1. The connector is a quick couple, so I didnít need to remove the toilet. 2. The black water tank is full. I set the toilet back on until I go back at it. I have had this bus for three years and I finally discovered the black water tank is full, itís empty now, at least I know the valve holds. The toilet mount is rusted dust, so Iíll need to replace that mess, and if I can get a new valve with quick coupler-I will. Then I can pressure test the water system, and test the water heater controller, and test the water pump pressure switch, and then get back to the electrical system.

cycle61 09-25-2018 11:47 PM

Ohh man. This is a saga indeed. Subscribed.

Bluesky 10-22-2018 03:11 PM

2 Attachment(s)
I chose the Parallax 6730 power center. I considered a few including WFCO, Progressive Dynamics, PowerMax, and Parallax. It is designed for a camper, but should be enough for my setup. I like that it has a metal cover. At first I thought a WFCO would be fine, but the door is plastic, and the breakers are Square-D. I have read a couple poor reviews of those breakers. I ordered the power center along with the toilet ball valve. I replaced the valve. It was not a quick connect. I had a hard time getting the threads on the valve and the threads on the PB connector aligned with the stool mounted, but I was able to get it started and then mount the toilet. There isnít much room for a wrench behind the toilet, but I got it tightened up. Connected the water and the toilet works! I checked the water heater and there is still a drip from the controller. The drip is clearly from a weep hole. Before it appeared to be leaking from the threads too and I wasnít sure about the weep hole. Rats! Now I need a new control module, and it looks like it comes without the pilot assembly. The old pilot assembly is two small aluminum tubes, I hope I donít break them in the swap. Iím still ahead of if I had just replaced the water heater with new, but may have been better off otherwise. I have no deadline and Iím learning all about this. I also just scored a Troy-Bilt 5000Watt generator, free from an estate clearance. Yay, I get to learn all about that since itís not starting.

Bluesky 05-24-2019 04:08 PM

1 Attachment(s)
It's been awhile, so here is an update.
I did get a new controller and installed it. The replacement was slightly different and the gas line is a different angle. I got new copper tubing, comes in a 5 foot roll. The gas line connects at a T behind the fridge(accessed outside), and snakes under the back of the hot water tank, there it makes a u-turn out the back of the water heater housing at the precice angle to mate up with the brass fitting to the controller. This angle had to be right on to get the threads started, but itís too tight under the cabinet to do any bending. I put it in place, looked, measured, pulled it out made a bend, put it back in and figure out how to adjust it again. This new copper tubing seems softer than the vintage tubing that came out of the bus. Iím o.k. with bending it, the cutting was a problem. My pipe cutter would put a groove near the end that prevented the compression fitting from sealing. I finally got it in and pressurized the gas line. I had read about testing for leaks with soapy water. I put some dish soap and water in a squirt bottle and the test works! Thereís a bubble. I pulled the line out again and redid the bends and recut the end. It had a loop to get out, I had to change that and have a more precice bend, but I made it work. I needed about 5 feet of tubing, so nothing to spare, and nothing flexible in this line. I put it together, and didnít get back at it for about a week. I found that I had left the gas on for the week. The tank wasnít empty, so I was happy the system was solid. I still have to reinstall the thermo-couples, the two tiny aluminum tubes that tell me they want to snap if I look at them. I didnít want to fill the water tank since it was last fall and freezing temps were on the way. I better get it together while itís still warm!
The generator: I drained the old gas, took apart the carb and saw it was clean, oil was full. I found a gas station that sells 100 octane gas. I put some in and it fired right up. Iím not sure if Iíll use this generator on the bus, as it is, itís too tall to fit under without hanging below the body. I might be able to offset the gas tank to mount it higher.

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