An update since my last post: On Tuesday, I drove from Sayre, OK to Amarillo, TX and ended up having some bus problems. The bus was simply lacking power and didn’t want to have its RPMs go up all that high. I first broke down within yards of Cadillac Ranch in Amarillo. I made a call to a diesel road-side assistance company and they came out with fuel filters that seemed to fix the problem, so I continued on my way toward California.
During the time I was in Texas, I took photos of the bus in front of same nice restored gas stations in Shamrock, TX as shown below… right after taking the first shot, and odd rooster car drove by, which I had to capture with my iPhone (that’s what all these photos are from).
A few hours later, after crossing into New Mexico, I noticed that it was very difficult to make it up hills with any kind of speed. I finally hit a rather steep hill and had to continuously downshift until I ended up in 1st gear and even then, the engine didn’t have enough power to pull me over the hill, so I had to shut it down and call for assistance. At this point I was quite a ways away from any major city.
My AAA service was only setup for normal cars and didn’t cover RVs, but I paid $250 to upgrade it to RV status (that would have cost me only $53 if I didn’t need service the same day). With AAA, you get up to 100 miles of towing. Amarillo was 97 miles from where I broke down! I knew I wanted to head to Amarillo since I knew I could fly out of that spot without any problems. That tow job would have cost me over $1000 bucks if I hadn’t done it through AAA!
I’m sure my lack of power issue could have be resolved after spending many hours with a qualified diesel mechanic, but it was getting close to 1am and the temp was falling fast. I just didn’t have a bunch of time to deal with details since I had already lost half of my day trying to get the fuel filters changed out. In the end, I decided to park the vintage bus in Amarillo and have it freighted the rest of the way to California. I have found a company that can accommodate my needs in that area and they should be picking up the bus within the next 24 hours.
I have since flown from Amarillo to San Diego and am hanging out in my current bus.
I’m not overly bummed or anything… I was happy that the vintage bus made it as far as it did since it had it’s original engine and transmission. I plan to replace the engine with one that has more than twice the power and will also install a six speed automatic transmission. Let me know if you know of a economical source for a Cummins ISL 425HP engine and Allison World transmission… that’s my current quest.
Note: All the photos shown in this post are from my iPhone.