To Road Atlanta

Finally got my batter box and roll bar and new coil in the rush to make it to the racetrack. Finally put in my first rivets and real replacement panel! Also put down my first disappointing layer of Por 15.

First lesson was that a replacement panel is a lot better than sheet metal. Don't thing the rapid would be close to as shapely and almost as expensive had I not done it with a pressed replacement panel. It also made me realize how much the passenger side of the bus was gone. I should in the future Replace the whole back external panel and at that point also redo the battery tray repair. At this point that corner is mostly a thick layer of bondo.

The problems with the roll bar are mostly solved with googling and knowing that the tab on the securing slides needed to be flattened for removal. I was able to reusing the hardware and the new roll bar, which replaced and under specced and broken stock bar, was a huge improvement.. Corners do not feel dangerous anymore!

The coil was a simple repair that replaced the stock part that was dented with a new Brazilian coil. Time will tell if that is a bad one. 

Lessons learned include looking repairs up online and taking more time measuring. Also to take cheap easily replaceable parts and just make the repair like the coil. Upcoming repairs are putting in the points replacement and rubber repair on the suspension.

Rear Floor

Original state of the rear floor. 

Started on the rear floor today. It seems doable but it will take some sweat. The rust has especially hit around the mount points for the seats. Whoever put in the camper interior did not bother to seal the holes. I intend to fix this.

The first part of the repair is the cleanup of years of gunk and rust on the floor. Some purple degreaser and a bunch of shop towels is the answer. Having a shop vac, water bucket and brass brushes makes the job more efficient. 

One bit of good news is the worst rust is on the outside of the vehicle so getting under it is easier. Creating a patch out of sheet steel is doable but will be a challenge. Preliminary plan is to rivet it on but plans may change. 

The seat mount plate nearest sliding door. Will need a patch.

End of spring racing season

Took the bus to Drift Atlanta and it was great! Was awesome to fall asleep looking out the hatch and the rain was sprinkling. I was so very glad to be off the ground. Tarp was just big enough to offer a chair's worth of shelter without catching too much wind. I may be able to get away with more in Turn 5 but not the wide open space of Turn 10.

In terms of maintenance the bus has been very good. I think the Stabil helps but I am sure the weather is a part of it. Driving regularly helps too. The milage is not bad for a five thousand pound vehicle that was loaded down. 

The main project for the next week or two is to patch the floor. The rear is not in bad shape. The next few days will really tell as I clean and de-rust the bad areas. I guess I will finally get to use that rivet gun I got! Should be fun! I should also do the valves and timing soon but that can wait till the summer. 

A side project it to see what I can fix in the dash. The oil pressure light works and the gas gauge works stickily but the speedometer rarely works. the odometer does turn though. Some bulbs are also functional. Tried to take it out but apparently it is more difficult than the four screws. Something to research tonight!


Tag Light

Harness and tag light assembly

One of the issues I had when I got the bus is I had no tag light. The only piece there was a grommet from the engine side of the rear hatch. I picked up a piece on ebay for a little too much(close to $50 including shipping. The item looked badly machined and the rubber grommet barely fit but it did come with screws and a bulb. 

tab Light installed   

tab Light installed


I figured I could wire it to a hot line off one of the emissions devices mounted on top of the engine. While looking for a negative I ended up locating the correct cables( I hope.) They came off the right hand taillight and the hot was white with a red stripe. The ground was yellow with a green stripe. My guess is when the rear hatch raising mechanism failed and the hinge failed the wires got sniped. I wish they got snipped a little further away. I was able to put on some connectors without much trouble and connect my harness. I have a disconnect at the hatch and a spring for some flexibility . Hopefully the fan won't eat it. 

LED interior bulb

One more improvement was to get an LED bulb for the interior. Turn out the middle headliner light is not working. Will do experiments at the track with the forward headliner light to see if the LED bulb is worth the money(over $10.) 

Heading out to Drift Atlanta in the morning. Hopefully the bus starts better than last time. Think it was a full tank and more than a month between starts. That southern humidity will get you. I will be using stabile from now on.

Spring update

I got behind on the updates but things have not been standing still. While the winter was mostly too cold or wet to do anything the bus did quite a bit of travel. The oil leaks are there but not getting much worse. The carb seems to be less leaky and the brakes seem to be improving through use. Started using Stabil in the tank and that seems to have helped starting after a few weeks of sitting with a mostly full tank. 

Original door handles


Got the bus down to Road Atlanta last weekend and it did great. The 12x16 tarp seems to be close to the right size for privacy, waterproofing( windows are getting "sealed") and shade. Forgot the poles to give the front "porch" some height but we made do. Power was a nice luxury as an electric blanket helped at night. The roughest part of driving to the racetrack and back was starting the bus. I think the extended starting was due to leaving 12 gallons in the tank for a month. It eventually started and posed no issues. Coming back from the racetrack the start was normal.

Engine cover patch

Engine cover patch

A little water can hurt

A little water can hurt

One of the surprises I found about a month ago was that a leak in the rear hatch and glass had allowed water to seep onto the engine cover. When I last sealed the area I wasn't able to remove the rubber mat is held by two screws on the passenger side. These are slot head screws and the solution to remove them was to buy screwdriver bits for a ratchet wrench. The torque easily removed the screws. After using some rust neutralizer I was able to fill the small holes with  J-B Weld and the large hole with a bit of sheet metal. Combined with a liberal application of caulk around the window seal it will hopefully keep the moisture out. The all the window and door seals need to be replaced but this buys me some time.

Interior of door as I found it

New door handle installed

I did have the doors apart about a month ago and found a ton of pine straw and leaves. Turns out then you run the bus without the front air screen then crap will accumulate inside the doors where the air channels to back are. I managed to get those vacuumed out but I will need to get back to taking care of the rust inside. I got the front door handles with keys off ebay. Now not only do I not have to jam a nut in to open the font doors but I also can lock them . An extra bonus is the interior door handles work to open the door. The door straps are a nice luxury to close the doors. 

The hope is to drive to Road Atlanta again this weekend for Drift Atlanta. I still have to put in the tag light I bought off ebay. Since what looks to be the tag power lead off the harness is not cooperating I will use a lead off one of the emissions air pumps. This means the tag light will be always on when the ignition is on but that will work. Hopefully an LED bulb can be sourced so there is no bulb replacement needed. I also got some oil additive that purports to add zinc to oil. In the long term I may change to a vintage-friendly motor oil. It doesn't leak out that quick and by the time you add in the additives, the vintage oils aren't that much more. 

In the next few months I  hope to fabricate metal patches for the holes in floor and body. Am going to try and rivet for the first time. As the spring racing season draws to a close I might also finally try and rebuild the carb. Hopefully I will not make the situation any worse. And it seems to be time to maybe hook up the choke. The headlines could also use some work.

Since I last posted...

Interior of CrummyTransporter at Road Atlanta

Since last I posted I took my first long trip in the bus. It took a little over an hour to get to the Road Atlanta and the bus handled it pretty well. As I have driven it since then the brakes have only improved. The engine is idling rich but it will not die when it is warmed up and restarts every time. 

I spent four nights in the bus and it was awesome. The rain at night did not bother and it was not too cold. If I do another trip to Road Atlanta this year I will plan on an extension cord and an electric blanket.  

Items to sort out in the immediate future is at least stop the rot on the front floorboards and replace the bleeder screw on the right front caliper.