After sixteen months of absolute bull-shit, the vintage bus has been transported to Texas (near Ft. Worth) to a more reliable shop. The previous mechanic was such a total fuck-up that the engine fell out of the bus while it was being transported!
I’m not kidding. He didn’t attached the rear motor mount at all and the other two were so badly welded that he should be arrested. Here’s what it looked like when it made it to Texas:
Above you can see the rear motor mount and that it was never connected to the frame. The holes were not even drilled for it. You can see where it was supposed to be connected… that’s where you can see a bit of rust on the horizontal member.
Above you can see the transmission in contact with the trailer that it was hauled on. If you look close enough you can see the shitty mount setup and where it broke off near the top center of the image. I’m sure glad he didn’t finish the re-power, since this break could have happened while traveling at 70MPH and then the engine would have hit the moving ground.
If that wasn’t bad enough, the previous mechanic failed to plug many of the ports on the engine, which means that dust and dirt was free to enter the engine. He was nice enough to cover a total of two ports, but that’s it!
Before getting the bus out of his “shop”, Charlie hadn’t returned a single call, email or SMS message for over seven weeks and before that he mainly responded with the same info he gave me months earlier. Not only that, but Charlie gave away the engine and transmission that was originally in my bus without asking my permission. He didn’t ask if I wanted to sell it or give it away, or to who!
The bus being unloaded. Click here to see a video Karen made about the bus unloading process.
Unloading the bus was not a trivial matter. The driver of the truck just wanted to “let it roll”. Had we followed his advice, the bus would have high grounded in the middle (as shown above), would have hit on the rear overhang and then would have slammed into an upward hill after it got off the trailer. The guy was a total dickhead and only wanted to get it off his trailer as fast as possible. Thanks to George and his crew (at the new shop), we inched it off the trailer and jacked it up before it contacted anything. This was just like a circus with the driver trying to deliver his “expertise” which would have damaged the bus in multiple areas. His main comment was “that’s what insurance is for”.
After inspecting the underside of the bus, I learned that Charlie failed to replace the front torsion bars, which he claimed to have done. He sent me progress images such as this one, which I thought clearly showed that all four torsion bars were removed, as well as the second two shots which show brand new torsion bars for my project. But, upon receiving the bus, the front torsion bars are the old rusty ones that are obviously not new!
Karen couldn’t help but hug the bus once it was on solid ground. She’s been dealing with my general frustration for a full year and was very happy that the Charlie chapter was over.
The bus is finally in good hands. George at Trackmaster Fabricators has a 1950 Flxible Visicoach that has been re-powered using the same engine/tranny combo that I plan to use for my bus. He has a shop that is over 10X the size of Charlie’s and is very good at fabricating metal. His shop is full of metal bending machines, English wheels and a bunch of other stuff that should make him a very versatile guy to work on the bus. I had considered shops in California, but never found one I could be confident in.
Above is a shot of George standing next to his bus.
George isn’t just a fabricator and bus enthusiast. One of his main hobbies is to fabricate vehicles designed to break land speed records. The vehicle shown above is one that he’s piloted at 314MPH on the Bonneville salt flats (and that’s with only a four-banger engine). You can see a little more about his rig here.
Other projects in the shop are this rod:
And while the bus was being unloaded, this jalopy showed up to ask some advice.