Thursday, January 28, 2010

Craig vs. distributor = distributor wins

I think I’ll tell this tale from chronological end to beginning.

4. Wednesday night. Finished tearing down BB’s engine—which we'd never done before and was pretty exciting to tell you the truth. We hauled everything to the mechanic where Craig got to take revenge on the case by nailing it with a mallet until the crusty pink bubble gum (grease) holding the case together gave way.

3. Wednesday afternoon. Craig called to say “Hi. I think I need to go to the doctor”. The picture below shows exactly why and what happens if you jam a distributor (with cap) into your face using full force. I believe there was also pressure built up that assisted the distributor in its travels.

2. Tuesday afternoon. Our mechanic informed Craig that the dude who built the engine had used a particular type of grease which is fine unless you let the engine site for three years without starting it (like ours had). The grease had hardened into a weird flaky pasty substance that evidently would have burned up our bearings had we started it. The engine needed to be torn down and cleaned...oh, and put back together too. Grumble…

1. Tuesday morning. We had (more or less) the following conversation: (I should add—for some mysterious reason neither Craig nor I enjoy calling our mechanic. We like him and everything, but we just dread the phone calls.)

Craig: I just really don’t feel good about the engine. Have you thought any more about me taking it to the mechanic?

Maryn: Long sigh. Silence. Okay, FINE.

Craig: Really?! Finally!…but I don’t really want to call the mechanic.

Maryn: Alright, I’ll call him if I can buy Bradford’s cooler.

Craig: Sold.

Pause in conversation.

Craig: You’re an “old stuff whore”! You just sold out for a vintage cooler.

Maryn: Yes, so what’s your point? (okay, actually I just laughed really hard)

In conclusion, while I was super ticked off that our engine had to be torn down, I was glad that Craig convinced me to have it looked at and now hopefully (knock on wood, cross your fingers, no whammies) we’ll have an engine that we can feel confident taking out of cell coverage areas. I got a new/old cooler (isn’t it BEAUTIFUL?) and Craig paid $$ to have his face fixed.

Monday, January 25, 2010


Craig fighting with the master cylinder. He was ultimately triumphant.

BB’s brakes did not work when we bought her and, having never worked on brakes before, I was terrified that this would permanently debilitate this bus. Our friend Alex came over on Saturday morning to help us install our new master cylinder and bleed the brake lines. He also turned out to be a great photographer.

The end result was that as of 11AM Saturday, our brake pedal will only compress to—oh, I’d say about 5 inches off of the floor. It is SO EXCITING.

As it turns out, bleeding brakes is really fun. Not roller-coaster fun, but definitely more fun than going to a movie—even a movie with popcorn. The operation was pretty seamless and hopefully (knock on wood) the brakes are now functional. We haven’t tried them yet, but one of these days we’ll get up the gumption to push the bus out of the garage and see what happens.

Sweet action shot, eh? See the lovely stream of brake fluid?

Oh yeah, and even though I'm in the driver's seat for both pictures posted here, I'd like to point out that I WAS under the car for the first two wheels--evidenced by the brake fluid stain on my sweatshirt.
Thanks again Alex, you rock!

Alex's super hot bug.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Feels like road tripping.

I needed Craig’s tough man muscles to help me finish the driver’s seat, so once he got home from Vegas, we knocked that project out. The seats are now installed and the bus feels so much more complete now.


Also, Craig installed the front emblem yesterday (so pretty) and removed the blue sparkly gear shifter and replaced it with a more tasteful wood one.

Lastly, he finished adding new floor panels beneath the passenger and driver’s feet so at lunch today we sat in the bus and went on a fake road trip (one where we sit in the garage).

Craig re-installing the garage door opener.

Our friend Alex is coming over on Saturday to help with the brakes (thank you!!)

The tranny is still a mystery and we’re hoping for the best.
We’re still working on getting a new fan shroud and have decided to go back to a generator rather than an alternator. If you have any really compelling arguments for sticking with the alternator, please share.

The sun has been shining lately which makes me feel like road tripping. Hopefully that time of the year isn’t too far off!

Friday, January 15, 2010

I'd like to boast of progress...but I can't.

We got the second spacer that we needed for the carb from WW and yesterday got a chance to try AGAIN to install it.

This garage session ended with Craig making violent motions toward the engine with a screwdriver, and a call to our mechanic to beg for help.

Nothing, and I mean NOTHING was lining up quite right which was frustrating to say the least.

BB-sporting her new "Big Blue is a friend of mine" sticker.

We tried to get our chi back by changing Jasmine’s oil. Does anyone have any advice on reducing condensation in your oil in the winter?

Finally, our mechanic called back and the conversation went something like this:

Craig: I’m going to throw this engine in the river—nothing is lining up properly.

Mechanic: Is there anything chrome on it?

Craig: Yeah—the fan shroud.

Mechanic: (Here’s where I have to edit so that nice people will keep reading this blog.) You really need a stock fan shroud.

Craig laughs

Craig: Is that what the problem is?

Mechanic: (editing again.) I hate aftermarket stuff.

We were both incredibly relieved and far less interested in giving the project up all together by the time their conversation ended. Good times.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

One down, three to go

I just finished upholstering the front passenger seat back.   Seriously guys, I don't exaggerate. My entire body is shaking from the strain of pulling the bottom of the cover up over the frame. I'm bleeding in two places. My pants are ripped.

The good news is that I was successful. I was planning to finish both seats up today but first, I rather pathetically need a rest. Second, I thought that 8ft of wire would be enough to run through the hems of all four seat covers. (I guarantee you that my husband is laughing at me right now as I'm notoriously bad at estimating distances) 8ft was plenty for one seat cover; not two and definitely not four. Third, I've got to start cooking wontons for the Bus Pilots board meeting tonight. Yum.