Toyman01 MegaDork
2/1/16 10:29 p.m.

After circling the airport twice I realized they really don't have parking for a bus if you don't drive a shuttle. I finally parked in the road, left my son with the bus and took the car back to Hurts.

After leaving the airport, we started looking for another auto parts store. I needed to replace the grease gun I left behind so I could grease the front end. The PO had said that he checked the transmission and the oil looked bad. The bottom three gears were pretty noisy but 4th was quiet. I wanted to look at the oil for myself. We bought two gallons of gear oil, a gallon of motor oil, and a drain pan. Back in the parking lot, my son climbed under the bus and pulled the fill plug out of the transmission. Bad was an understatement. It took 15 minutes for it to ooze it's way out of the transmission. It was nasty. There was obviously water in it. It was about the consistency of not quite set chocolate pudding...or baby crap. One more nail in the coffin. One more worry on top of the other hundred.

The rental was gone, there was nothing to do now but keep on plugging.

While the slop was glopping out of the transmission, I took my brand new grease gun and greased the front end. All but the lower kingpin on the passenger side. Even after pulling the grease fitting and running a drill bit around the hole, it wouldn't take grease. Skip it, that won't keep it from making it home.

We hit the road again. After 20 minutes of cringing over every clunk, squeak, and rattle, I actually heard something. It sounded a lot like a big block Ford eating itself. My first guess was a rod bearing. I got out the throttle and eased it off the conveniently located exit. At an idle it was still making a horrible racket. I popped the hood and saw oil spraying. A busted oil pressure gauge line was spraying oil. We shut it down and assessed our options.

We had oil, but needed a way to replace the line. Initially I thought the crack was in the line, right at the fitting so there was no way to crimp it. I had brought a torch and solder for radiator repairs, so, I soldered the line shut, dumped a gallon of oil in the engine, and fired it back up. It rattled for a couple of seconds, the lifters pumped back up and it was as quiet as a BB Ford ever is. And still spewing oil out of the pressure fittings. One thing I didn't have with me was a box of brass pipe fittings. The only thing at the exit where we stopped was a cheese shop, not exactly helpful. I was at a loss and considering calling in you guys for help. My son mentioned that maybe the dash gauge would have the same fittings as the engine. Hmmm. I snatched the gauge out of the dash and sure enough it did. Presto.

We were back on the road.

More to come...

Mezzanine HalfDork
2/1/16 10:50 p.m.

In reply to Toyman01: Son of Toyman is a clever lad, and deserves commendation for his level head under pressure on that oil fitting idea.

Love the story! I've told all my coworkers about it, and everyone is eating it up. These are NOT car people!

Toyman01 MegaDork
2/2/16 6:47 a.m.

In reply to Mezzanine:

He got several huge pats on the back for that one.

dyintorace UberDork
2/2/16 8:01 a.m.

Great so far! Where's the popcorn?!?

stubbfarmer New Reader
2/2/16 8:07 a.m.

Toyman I found your thread through the Ford Truck Enthusiasts site and had to join here to Congratulate you, then do the 24 hour waiting period. I have a 56 F100. You might look into a modern school bus as a donor vehicle. They are well maintained and around here the schools sell them very reasonable. Usually by sealed bid. Again job well done!!!

rslifkin Reader
2/2/16 8:11 a.m.

RVs, coach buses, school buses or even semi tractors would all be good sources of axles. School buses are often a little anemic in the power department, so unless you find one with a DT466 or something that can be turned up a bit (maybe a 6BT), I'd look more towards the bigger stuff for an engine. And you've gotta decide if you want to just put a somewhat modern auto behind that engine or if you want to go with a medium duty truck manual trans

RossD UltimaDork
2/2/16 8:22 a.m.

Was there a weight estimate for SanFord? How heavy are we talking here?

Toyman01 MegaDork
2/2/16 8:47 a.m.

In reply to RossD:

Someone posted a gvrw of 18k pounds. I haven't looked into it yet.

rslifkin Reader
2/2/16 9:01 a.m.

Thinking about it, I've got a fun (read: bad idea) project suggestion: find a semi tractor with 2 driven rear axles and convert this thing to a tandem rear setup. 2 driven axles will let it go through damn near anything, and having 2 axles back there would make it very stable for towing (and tongue weight would be pretty much a non-concern).

Kinda like this, but in Ford form:

mazdeuce PowerDork
2/2/16 1:07 p.m.

I'd like to suggest that instead of starting a separate build thread, maybe get a moderator to slightly rename and move this thread over. It would be a shame to lose the back story that has played out over the past 28 pages.

Kia_Racer Dork
2/2/16 1:25 p.m.

Because it needs to be said, the perfect paint job for SanFord!

Toyman01 MegaDork
2/2/16 5:31 p.m.

The GVW for the 56 B600 was 18K pounds.

Mine is from the Wayne Works.

AngryCorvair UltimaDork
2/2/16 7:23 p.m.
Toyman01 wrote: In reply to Mezzanine: He got several huge pats on the back for that one.

Yeah, that was a good save. Son of Toyman is worthy of the name.

Woody MegaDork
2/2/16 8:03 p.m.

This is berkeleying incredible, my friend.

ultraclyde UltraDork
2/2/16 8:11 p.m.

That's a cool advert. The company listed just under Wayne Works is Bluebird. They're about 15 miles from my house and still making school busses

Toyman01 MegaDork
2/2/16 8:48 p.m.

To continue the story...

Guess where we went after fixing the oil leak. Yep, back to the auto parts store. I picked up two more gallons of engine oil and a oil pressure gauge kit. I figured the best permanent fix was to replace the gauge and line. I also wanted to keep an eye on the oil pressure. Keep it cool, keep it oiled, keeps it alive. We installed the gauge while in the parking lot. Topped of the tank and hit the interstate.

We were about 4 hours behind schedule, so the decision was made to push on until we either made Louisville KY or we got too tired to keep going. We made Louisville about 10pm, scarfed down some Awful Waffle and went straight to bed. 430 miles down, 600+ to go.

The next morning, the alarm went off at 6am. That sucked. We had a quality hotel breakfast and headed back out to the bus. Today I had three worries other than bursting into flames or blowing something up. The Jellico Mountain Grade on I75, the I40 climb into the Smokey Mountains, and the Saluda Grade on I26. The Jellico Grade is a long steep climb. I40 into the Smokey Mountains might be one of the twistiest stretches of interstate ever built, 50 miles of steep, sharp turns, and worst yet, trucks aren't allowed to pass anyone, including me. The Saluda Grade was a short, but even steeper decent.

I didn't want to do the climb in 3rd gear. 2nd and 3rd were still pretty noisy. I didn't know if the transmission had straight cut gears, or a bearing that was making noise. I didn't want to abuse them and end up with gears strewn along the highway. That meant re-wiring the rear axle shift motor and praying it wasn't disconnected for a reason. A couple of wire nuts spliced it into a random 12V source. I flipped the switch a few times and didn't see any smoke, so we checked the fluids, topped off the tank and hit the super slab headed south.

The Jellico climb was tough. I ran high gear until the speed dropped to 35, flipped the switch, and the rear axle shifted just like it was 50 years younger. It climbed the rest of the grade at 35. How the engine didn't throw a rod I'll never know. It spend a bizarre amount of time a WOT climbing these hills.

I40 wasn't near as bad as I expected. I ended up with one truck behind me that was slower on the long climbs, but faster on the down hill sections. The engine temps did start to climb into the 210 range, so we took a break at a rest stop near the halfway point, to let things cool back down. I love the mountains, so hanging out there didn't bother me at all.

The Saluda grade was only 3 miles long, but it was a 6 percent decent. Failing a climb isn't too bad. Failing a decent could be catastrophic, and I hadn't looked at the brakes at all. It turned out to be a non issue, but it was still a little nerve wracking. I'd let the speeds build to 60, brake down to 50, and watch the speed climb again. Sometimes I worry too much.

Much of the rest of the trip was just plain boring. The bus was loud, drafty, and only moderately comfortable. It was 60 degrees outside and the firewall and floor of the bus was 125. What felt good in Wisconsin was a little hot in South Carolina. It was just a grind. The last 99 miles were almost painful.

The final one mile was the payoff. I had a huge smile plastered on my face. That made all the heart ache, pain and worry, worth it. What could have been a miserable weekend, turned out to be outstanding.

There's a 54 out near Yuma, AZ...

Toyman01 MegaDork
2/2/16 9:03 p.m.

There was a lot of stuff that didn't work on the bus. No heat, no wipers, no dash lights, broken windows, the list is long and varied.

There was also an amazing amount of stuff that did. I had a working vacuum gauge, ammeter, oil pressure and temperature gauges.

I had working tail lights and all the blinker fixtures worked properly once I hot wired them.

The rear axle shifted flawlessly, once I hooked it up.

I had some of the best headlights I've ever owned. Even the high beam switch worked.

Those funky looking driver and passenger seats were surprisingly comfortable, even after 20 hours in them. They will be staying.

The brakes worked like a charm, I never even checked the fluid.

Once I fixed the oil line, the engine didn't use any oil for the rest of the trip. Not a drop, even though it was probably turning north of 3000 rpms the entire time.

It also didn't use a drop of coolant. I bought a set of hoses, but never changed them.

It's almost like the poor thing knew it was headed to a new home and was doing all it could to get us there.

She's got a soul, and it's a good one. She's not pretty, but has some great curves. She's not sporty, but she'll get you home.

I'm thinking this is going to be a long relationship and I'm looking forward to starting the build thread.

This is going to be great fun.

BrokenYugo UltimaDork
2/2/16 9:39 p.m.

It's a old heavy duty truck motor, it's built to turn around 3-4k all day long in a heavy vehicle. My father is not a Ford man by any stretch of the imagination, but even he has good things to say about the 360.

rob_lewis SuperDork
2/2/16 10:47 p.m.

Watching the first video, you're hands seem to keep moving back and forth to keep it going straight. I assume at that age, there's not much left of the front bushings, if at all. I've driven a vehicle like that and it wears you out quicker than anything else.

A heck of a trip!! Glad you made it home safe and look forward to the build thread in the coming months to see how that beauty turns out.


Contradiction Reader
2/2/16 11:40 p.m.

Glad to hear that the trip went as relatively smooth as it did. This is an awesome machine and I'm looking forward to see what you do with it for the build!

BrokenYugo UltimaDork
2/2/16 11:53 p.m.

Also, has anybody brought up what looks like a screen door latch holding the suicide door shut?

Toyman01 MegaDork
2/3/16 6:05 a.m.
BrokenYugo wrote: Also, has anybody brought up what looks like a screen door latch holding the suicide door shut?

It's actually a residential latch, like you would put on a front door of a house. It might be staying, depending on what I end up doing with the door.

Ian F
Ian F MegaDork
2/3/16 6:11 a.m.

I'm guessing that door is a bit more substantial than it looks in pictures?

ultraclyde UberDork
2/3/16 6:57 a.m.
Toyman01 wrote: She's got a soul, and it's a good one. She's not pretty, but has some great curves. She's not sporty, but she'll get you home. I'm thinking this is going to be a long relationship and I'm looking forward to starting the build thread. This is going to be great fun.

I'm a firm believer that when you assemble a large number of mechanical or electrical parts and make them work in concert for a span of time, some sort of rudimentary soul develops. Crazy, I know, but I have seen cars that fought being driven or restored at every turn, and I have seen cars that kept running when abused beyond imagination. When I'm buying a used car my gut impression of the car is just as important as any mechanical check. When I'm buying something that I plan to depend on to keep me and mine safe over long distances, it may be more important. Sounds like you found a good one.

Toyman01 MegaDork
2/3/16 2:48 p.m.

In reply to Ian F:

It was, now it has a fair amount of rot going on. It will have to be rebuilt or replaced.

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