Petrolburner
Petrolburner HalfDork
2/1/16 12:48 p.m.
Toyman01 wrote: In reply to rslifkin: 7.6 mpg and a 20? gallon tank had us stopping every 100 miles. We stopped twice on the way up, and 11 times on the way back. I budgeted my fuel costs at 8 mpg, saw the bus and threw that out the window. I was pleasantly surprised at the fuel economy. This thing is a lot bigger than I though it was going to be.

That's because that ass is so aerodynamic!

dculberson
dculberson UberDork
2/1/16 1:39 p.m.

Just read the whole thing; amazing! You really lucked out man. Good job in taking care of the challenges you did have.

I think replacing the chassis would be a waste of time. Drivetrain + brakes + steering + shocks in the existing chassis. IMHO.

BrokenYugo
BrokenYugo UltimaDork
2/1/16 1:42 p.m.

I'm not sure medium/heavy duty chassis (what's the plural on that, chassi?) have changed enough since 1956 to gain much swapping one out, assuming the original isn't rotted out or anything.

RossD
RossD UltimaDork
2/1/16 1:54 p.m.

I'd look for a two wheel drive E-series or F-series with a 7.3 powerstroke and swap that into the current chassis. Use a tuner and try to break into the teens for fuel economy.

Toyman01
Toyman01 MegaDork
2/1/16 4:30 p.m.

In reply to RossD:

Possibly, maybe a 6BT Cummins as well. Lots of things to consider.

I would love to have enough power to climb Rockies towing a trailer and not worry about slowing down too much. That's probably going to take more cubes than a light truck engine.

rslifkin
rslifkin Reader
2/1/16 4:56 p.m.

Well, the 6BT / 7.3 Powerstroke did come in medium duty trucks. But yeah, if you're looking for that power level, you probably want a DT466 (or better, one of the rare mech injected DT530s if you can find one). Or the Cummins equivalent, the 8.3 liter 6CTA.

Wall-e
Wall-e MegaDork
2/1/16 5:07 p.m.
RossD wrote: I'd look for a two wheel drive E-series or F-series with a 7.3 powerstroke and swap that into the current chassis. Use a tuner and try to break into the teens for fuel economy.

I was going to suggest the 444E which was International's version of the 7.3. I had several and the held up well. Not as powerful as a 466 but not nearly as large either.

Fueled by Caffeine
Fueled by Caffeine MegaDork
2/1/16 5:16 p.m.

For engine swaps, It would probably be nice to either buy a truck and swap bodies, and or have the whole truck there if you chose to swap engines. You can use lots of parts then from the truck to make the bus work.

chuckles
chuckles HalfDork
2/1/16 5:19 p.m.

In reply to BrokenYugo:

Chassis is one of the few words spelled and pronounced the same for singular or plural.

Fueled by Caffeine
Fueled by Caffeine MegaDork
2/1/16 5:25 p.m.
BrokenYugo wrote: I'm not sure medium/heavy duty chassis (what's the plural on that, chassi?) have changed enough since 1956 to gain much swapping one out, assuming the original isn't rotted out or anything.

I want to think this, but i'd imagine that a modern chassis would have better steel and less chance of rust. Modern bearings on axles would also be important.

iceracer
iceracer PowerDork
2/1/16 5:27 p.m.

Just replace/repair what is needed and keep it as is. A modern injected engine would help with power and mpg though. Diesels need too much extra work.

HappyAndy
HappyAndy UberDork
2/1/16 6:21 p.m.
iceracer wrote: Just replace/repair what is needed and keep it as is. A modern injected engine would help with power and mpg though. Diesels need too much extra work.

Assuming the frame/chassis is in good condition that's what I think is the best plan too.

Maybe an injected 460 with an OD auto trans, or if there is enough money in the budget, a C6 and gear-vendors OD unit. The 2 speed rear is neat, but a single speed with a more favorable ratio, from something more modern might suit a modern-ish engine better.

In my mind the goal should be to get it to be able to cruise at 65mph on a level highway without straining.

OTOH, now that I've been running this through my head, the right 1 ton H-D dually pickup (the kind that have beam front axel) could easily be a one stop donor for engine/trans/ disk brake front axel and upgraded modern rear axel.

rslifkin
rslifkin Reader
2/1/16 6:29 p.m.

1 ton pickup axles are WAY too small for a rig like this.

Toyman01
Toyman01 MegaDork
2/1/16 6:33 p.m.

In reply to HappyAndy:

A one ton axle would be pretty small. The axle under it now is medium truck. I'm betting the loaded weight is north of 15k pounds.

WOW Really Paul?
WOW Really Paul? MegaDork
2/1/16 6:56 p.m.

In reply to Toyman01:

School bus axles are probably what you'll be after(same as me)

I would skip going with a different chassis, re-axle what you have now to get better brakes/gearing, you can always remove some leaf springs and go with airbags as well to be able to smooth it out. Basically, you're in nearly the same boat as me, I'm just going for a 60's era diesel repower on mine. Diesel is realistically your best option for wanting to be able to pull a trailer and get somewhat better economy. Skip injected gassers completely.

mazdeuce
mazdeuce PowerDork
2/1/16 7:05 p.m.

There are some really good threads on Pirate 4x4 in the towing section that go over a ton of medium duty truck stuff. This one in particular is great: Diamond T Build

HappyAndy
HappyAndy UberDork
2/1/16 7:15 p.m.

In reply to Toyman01:

This is the size truck that I had in mind, yeah, I guess these are a lot more than 1 ton, my bad.

aussiesmg
aussiesmg MegaDork
2/1/16 8:09 p.m.

Congrats on the safe trip

SilverFleet
SilverFleet UltraDork
2/1/16 8:53 p.m.

This thread delivered from beginning to end. I vote Thread of the Year!

The toilet paper finish line was just the greatest.

81cpcamaro
81cpcamaro Dork
2/1/16 9:00 p.m.
Toyman01 wrote: In reply to HappyAndy: A one ton axle would be pretty small. The axle under it now is medium truck. I'm betting the loaded weight is north of 15k pounds.

Someone posted a few pages back on 1956 Buses, link here: http://nipper.freeshell.org/56fordbus.htm
lists your GVWR as 18,000 lbs. So a bit too much for a 1-ton axle.

Toyman01
Toyman01 MegaDork
2/1/16 9:30 p.m.

OK, time for the story, but a lot of the pictures are on my camera...at my son's house. Sorry, I'll add them tomorrow.

Thursday started like every other work day. In to the office to put in a days work. At 4pm I picked up a 2015 Town and Country, ran home and loaded it up. Rather than eating road food, we ate at home and hit the road at 7pm. The van was loaded.

I had brought everything I thought I would need to make a roadside repair possible. 98% of it never came out of the box. I used one socket, 3 wrenches, pliers, a adjustable wrench, wire strippers, crimp tool, drill and the torch. That's it.

We drove straight through, only stopping for gas and snow. It's kind of childish, but I like snow in small doses.

We rolled into Milwaukee, WI several hours early, killed some time at Cabellas. It's a dangerous place for a guy with a wad of cash in his pocket. I resisted, but it was difficult.

Next was a drive by for a peek. It looked pretty solid. We crashed out in a gas station parking lot and napped for a few hours. Finally we got the text and headed over to the house.

The walk around was promising. It was not pretty, but it was solid. There is rust, but 99% is surface and manageable. I must admit, I had on my rose colored glasses. I didn't bother to test drive it, it ran good, engine sounded solid, deal. I came up to buy a bus and that's what was going to happen.

Just as we were fixing to pull out of the yard, the seller mention that the rear axle wouldn't shift the last time he drove it and it was stuck in low range. That gave me a top speed of 40mph, and 30 miles of interstate to where we were staying the night.

About then I realized the momentous task that lay ahead. A 59 year old bus that hadn't been on the street in 12 years. 1000+ miles to get it home. I honestly couldn't see that being at all possible.

Our first stop was a bank parking lot. I did some trouble shooting on the rear axle shift motor and found a wire that wasn't hooked up. I shorted it to the fuse block long enough to get the axle into high gear, we greased the u-joints, and set out for RealMiniParkers house. (leaving the grease gun on the ground.) No turn signals, no passenger side mirror, no dash lights, no nothing. My son and I spent the whole time on the phone so we could coordinate lane changes and so he could run interference for me. Several times he mentioned it had sparks coming out from underneath. I was smelling burned rubber, burned wood, burned oil, and trying to remember whether the fire extinguisher was in the bus or the van. That's the worst 30 miles I've ever driven. By the time we made RMP's house, I was already formulating plans to store the bus long enough to figure out how to get it shipped home. There was no way I was driving it.

Once we got to RMP's house, we hit a local pizza joint and had some outstanding pizza. I was probably crappy company, because my mind was whirring with possibilities, plans and options. All the choices I saw at the time, were expensive, and admitting failure. Both tough to swallow.

A great nights sleep made things look a little better. Between the sleep, the words of encouragement from all of you guys, and the willingness of my son to make the attempt, I decided if we could get some turn signals and a passenger mirror, we would give it a honest attempt. Every mile traveled, lowered the tow bill if it did puke half way home.

While RealMiniParker was whipping up one of the best omelets I've ever had, I factored out the turn signals. A little hot wiring, a hand full of wire nuts, and the lever on the column would make the signals come on, but they wouldn't flash, I could work with that. We made a run to the auto parts store, bought the biggest truck mirror I could find. Back at the house I screwed it to the side of the bus with some self drilling screws. Very crude, but good enough.

We said our thanks, blocked traffic long enough to back the beast out of the driveway, and hit the road headed to the airport. The rental was due back by 10am, we made it with 20 minutes to spare. Things were looking up for a change.

More to come.

Stampie
Stampie Reader
2/1/16 9:51 p.m.
Toyman01 wrote: I didn't bother to test drive it, it ran good, engine sounded solid, deal. I came up to buy a bus and that's what was going to happen.

Hell yea that's the way to do it. berkeleying commit and go with the flow.

yupididit
yupididit HalfDork
2/1/16 9:53 p.m.

Hero's

yupididit
yupididit HalfDork
2/1/16 9:53 p.m.

Thread of the year less than a month into the year.

HappyAndy
HappyAndy UberDork
2/1/16 10:15 p.m.

I think Toyman should get a new Dork status prefix: Legendary! Toyman01 "Legendary"MagaDork

A new Dork status that only the GRM legends can have, not earned by post count, but by amazing accomplishments.

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