Author Topic: First trip in new to me bus.  (Read 9485 times)

Offline J_E

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First trip in new to me bus.
« on: June 20, 2017, 03:06:53 PM »
TL:DR  Did some PM and made a ~950 mile trip that was pretty much issue free.

So I flew into Houston on Thursday night and took one last look before buying it Friday morning.  First step was getting it to my parents house in North Houston from Katy, TX which is about an hour long trip.  We decided to skip the freeway traffic that includes a typically congested left exit and went with a larger street that ends up being an almost straight shot back to their neighborhood.  The trip ended up not being too bad, but it took me a bit to realize how much of the lane I actually take up and where I needed to be in the lane so that I wasn't taking my half out of someone else's lane.  Friday Afternoon, I got the filter part numbers and quantities as needed and made the first parts store run.  I didn't know how much oil is in the S50 oil change, so I guessed 10 gal based on a youtube video for the S60 oil change.  So while getting filters, which O'Reilly had in stock, I was also looking for a pan to hold at least 10 gallons of oil.  No luck, so I decided to wait until the next morning when we were planning to visit the Tractor Supply.  TSC had Rotella T4 on sell for 59.99 for a 5 gal bucket (about $1 per gallon cheaper than a 1 gallon bottle).  Kind of a headache to pour fresh oil out of a 5 gal bucket, but perfect for storing used oil until you can drop it off.  Also found a 15 gal plastic wildlife feed pan for about $10, it's only 12" tall so it fit almost perfectly.  The only thing that the pan lacked is a way to pour it, because the small siphon hose I bought would've taken 10 years.

Before I had a chance to dig in and do more than buy parts and make plans, I got a text from my wife saying that the house had lost power during the storms that hit Omaha.  I asked and was told that I did not need to drop everything and come home, that she had it under control.  So my father and I made plans for Saturday.  Of course on Saturday morning, the power company began putting out updates on the extent of the outage and the damages caused.  I was again told that everything was under control, so time to get dirty.

We made about a 50 mile trip up I-45 to a storage facility that my father uses, which gave me a large concrete work area and access to my father's tool boxes (retired auto tech).  Fuel filter was pretty uneventful.  I used a strap wrench to get the filter bowl ring loose and back tight. Once I replaced the fuel filter and refilled the filter bowl.  That 15 gal pan I found fit a little too perfectly under the fuel filter, so we got to take a break while waiting for the fuel to siphon into the now half empty diesel can.  We decided to start the engine to verify that I didn't get too much air in the fuel line.  The engine stumbled for a few seconds, but cleared right up.

Old oil came out no problemo.  The oil filters were another story completely.  Even after I wiped all of the oil film off of the filters, they both pretty much just ignored my strap wrench.  My father didn't have a large enough filter wrench so he hopped in his truck to go see if he could find one at a nearby parts house.  He had no luck at the parts house, and while he was gone, the strap wrench decided that it needed a nice hot oil bath and went for it.  With the day rapidly progressing and basing on the ~60 psi of oil pressure that I had on the highway, I opted to defer the filter change until I got home and bought the correct filter wrench.  Turns out my S50 is only a 5+ gal oil change.  It took all of the first 5 gal bucket, and a little of the second.  It was at the full mark and we were able to put all of what we took out into that first, now empty, bucket so the math checks out.

My wife was still without power on Saturday night, but she still had everything under control and told me to just stick with the plan and leave Sunday.  I did cut a couple hundred mile detour out to save some time.  If anyone will be passing through the Austin, Tx area heading in the general direction of Omaha and has room for a genset. PM me please.  I had a line on one, but the situation at home made getting home a higher priority.  As I expected, power came back long before I was even half way home, but the power company said some folks would be without power until Weds or later.

The return trip took me 16 or 17 hours of actual drive time.  I was able to cruise at 65 or 70 much of the time. The S50 pulls (pushes is probably a better term, I guess) so well, that on flat ground 75+ is obtainable, but I liked 65-70 better.  Over all, what construction I came across was not terrible, since I was starting to get a feel for the size of the bus by the time I began to hit construction.  High on my list of fix it now, is the driver's water temp.  It is currently over-ranged hot.  I checked the mechanical gage in the engine bay as often as I could, and the cooling system seemed to handle the Houston heat easily.  It was still a bit nerve wracking until I hit cooler temps Sat night. 

Since the fuel gage would only indicate between 3/4 tank and pegged high, I decided every 350ish miles was good to top off.  Based on getting the tank level to about the same level at each fill up (a handy, marked dowel rod was supplied with the bus) I got 7 coming North from Houston to Ft. Worth doing 70 with the OTR AC tempering the air inside (high 70's I think) and I got 8 when I settled down to mostly 65 and was able to cut way back on the AC use.  I still need to top it off one more time to calculate the mpg for the third leg, but I am guessing it will be in the same ballpark.

Houston to Omaha in about 24 hours.  I may not be a bus mechanic or a bus driver, yet, but I am a little less inexperienced at both now.  Time to add bus conversion to the resume.
Jason & Chello
1991 MCI 102A3, S50 @275hp , Allison 748 - Early stages of converting.

Offline PP

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Re: First trip in new to me bus.
« Reply #1 on: June 20, 2017, 05:57:37 PM »
Thank you for the story, it was most entertaining and so glad you had a happy ending.

Offline GM Junky

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Re: First trip in new to me bus.
« Reply #2 on: May 16, 2019, 11:52:51 AM »
    That was a great story Jason, thanks for sharing.
     My name is Eric and my wife and I are new to this BCM forum and magazine as well. There are some fantastic articles here. My wife and I are actually enjoying ourselves here as we are actively looking for a bus conversion to call our own.  stories like yours about busses, their owners, trials and tribulations are encouraging, and we look forward to contributing to the forum with our own stories in the near future.
   Thanks again for sharing!
     Kind regards, Eric

Offline Gerry H

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Re: First trip in new to me bus.
« Reply #3 on: May 16, 2019, 03:43:00 PM »
Great story along with first oil change experience and filters. Don't forget to check antifreeze, my bus got delivered to me in December/Minnesota with no antifreeze in it, had to rush drain and refill before it froze up. PO didn't need antifreeze in Florida I guess. Anyway welcome to the dance! Gerry H
Forest Lake, Minnesota
Land of 10,000 mosquitoes and a few cool buses

Offline Glennman

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Re: First trip in new to me bus.
« Reply #4 on: September 02, 2019, 12:46:17 AM »
When I bought my recent bus, my brother in law and I flew from Yakima WA to San Francisco, took an UBER ride to Vallejo CA, and looked at the 1974 MCI MC-8 converted bus. We arrived at the gentleman's house at about 6:30 pm. After looking things over, we started out at about 8:30 pm to head up north, we only drove that night about 100 miles. We stayed overnight in a town that had a Walmart, but it was strangely vacant. My brother in law (Bill) googled it, and found out there was a shooting there 2 days prior. We ended up staying in a mercantile development area with no problems. We headed over to the Oregon Coast, visited some friends in Bandon OR, then drove to Eugene OR, and stayed in a decent Walmart there. Then we drove to Salem, and decided to get some breakfast. While driving through town, the alternator light came on. We parked at a McDonalds, got some food, then checked out the problem. All 4 alternator belts were broken and twisted all up. Turns out we were across the street from a NAPA store. They had 2 belts in stock, but I wanted all 4, so that's when the all day quest began. We installed the 2 belts (we probably could have gotten by with those), and went to 5 other auto parts stores looking for either 2 additional belts, or 4 that were the same.

I came to realize that Salem OR does not have 4 matching alternator belts in the entire city. That was after going from store to store, of course calling each one ahead, and each claiming they had what we needed. When you follow a GPS map on a phone, it will take you places that are ok for a motor cycle, but not a bus. One road had a drop off so steep we thought for sure we would high center, but we didn't, turns out. At one point a young lady passed us only to stop dead in front of us so she could make a turn, and we came to within about 1 inch from rear ending her. We could not believe we didn't hit her, as we were looking down over the dash into the rear hatch back of her car.

We ended up in a town called Silverton OR at another NAPA store and finally picked up 2 more belts, installed them, and we were on our way. We lost about 6 hours doing all that, but we still managed to arrive in Yakima WA by around 9:00 pm that night. The weather was great for the whole trip, the bus drove nicely (once we had the belts installed of course), and I have to say the whole trip was quite enjoyable. That trip in the bus that was "new to me" was about 950 miles. That was just last June. It was a long drive, especially in something you are not familiar with. Since then my wife and I took it to the beach about 480 miles round trip and had a good trip (after the starter solenoid going out in my driveway when we were supposed to leave, but that's another story). I love buses. Glennman

Offline Ed Hackenbruch

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Re: First trip in new to me bus.
« Reply #5 on: September 02, 2019, 08:44:51 AM »
Put a Fumoto valve on your oil pan and you can let out as much or as little oil as you want. Makes oil changes very easy and no mess. :) 
Used to own a 1968 MCI 5A with 8V71 and Allison MT644 transmission. Now have a 1977 MCI 5C.