Tuesday, June 19, 2018

MGB exhausting

After cobbling together a quieter exhaust to reduce attention at the DEQ, today's post covers the effort to remove the pop-pop-pop from the exhaust that could also attract attention. So, more on the MGB exhaust...

Leak Finding
Again, remember that I hadn't made it through DEQ yet when I did this. With the muffler replaced, I shifted back to concerns which might interest the DEQ: the backfire. To find the exhaust leak, I simply started the engine with the hood up in my garage and listened. Nothing interesting... so I started feathering the throttle cable at the carb. With just a little rev, it was clear that the leak was coming from where the exhaust manifold meets the head closest to the firewall (#4).

Free Your Head
This is a pretty easy fix, even with the weird head on the MGB. I got a replacement gasket from NAPA, with a tube of the copper exhaust gasket sealant. After removing the gasket from the cardboard, I set the cardboard down next to it so I could align the fasteners to the relative position from where they came. This was so I could track which ones came from where when it came time to put everything back together again. I started with the nuts which held the intake manifold on. One at a time, I would remove the nut and washer, and then set them down relative to where they belonged on the cardboard. Once the nuts holding the intake were off, I slid the intake off the studs, put a latex/rubber glove over each intake to keep foreign debris out and then gently set the intake against the inner wheel well.

With the intake off, I shifted to the exhaust nuts, following the same pattern of one-at-a-a-time and setting it in its relative location. Once the nuts and washers were off, the exhaust manifold slid off and it could be lowered out of the way. Now, the old manifold gasket was exposed.

Scrape Your Face
Most of the old gasket came off in one piece, but some bits held on, and needed to be scraped off. Once the main gasket was off, I took a razor blade and scraped the entire area clean. I followed that with 150-grit sandpaper to make sure the head surface was completely clean. I checked the manifolds for residue, but scraped and sanded to be absolutely sure I had clean, flat surfaces. With the surfaces on both the head and the manifolds shiny clean we were ready for reassembly.

Copper Permatex
There are so many kinds of sealants and gasket makers on the market, going simply by color can be a dangerous thing. When it comes to Permatex, the genuine article, the colors match what you think they would be. Still, read the package before you use any. For helping the exhaust and intake manifolds on a MGB to mate to the head, you want to use the copper. It has thermal qualities which assist in keeping the temperature between the head and manifolds consistent while holding the seal at very high temperatures. I put a thin bead on both the head-side and the manifold side, not knowing which side needed is more. Following the instructions, I attached the manifolds finger-tight, waited an hour and then torqued them down.

The following day, the car was ready for another test drive. This time, I took T with me and we laughed as we tore around the neighborhood. The brakes felt good, the gears shifted tight. Most importantly, the exhaust wasn't popping incessantly and the overall din wasn't too bad... under 30mph. The next day, T took the car out, picked up his brother and ran it through DEQ. I posted on that earlier.

Since the car made it through DEQ, I can focus resources on a good exhaust versus the strung-together with bailing wire and soup-cans exhaust that's in there now. I looked high and low for a Peco, but they aren't manufactured any longer. The few that are on the market are the leftover stock, and they are priced accordingly. I considered the Tourist Trophy, but the sound samples I've heard didn't grab me like the Peco did. Part of that could have been the tinny-ness of the stainless steel, but I have heard that as the stainless ages, the tinny-ness fades away. Then, I learned from the fine folks at EnglishParts.com that the stainless steel Bell systems are built with the same design (and tooling) as the mild-steel Peco ones were. So, given time, the stainless Bell system would age into a sound just like the Peco... in theory. Food for thought.

That's it for today. Thanks, as always, for following along-

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

MGB muffled

Continuing the saga of getting the MG summer-weather ready, today's post covers some fun with the exhaust system. I started this post a few months ago and forgot about it, so recognize this was before I got through DEQ. So, I was doing things that were lowest possible cost in case I needed money to get through DEQ (think engine rebuild, etc).

Quiet You
In each of the test drives where I verified my fixes, I couldn't help but notice 2 things. First, the MG was loud as #$%!. Second was the unmistakable sound of an exhaust leak (pop pop pop). Out of curiosity, I pulled out a decibel tester app on my phone and checked. Parked in the garage with the doors open, sitting in the driver seat, I started the engine, and pushed the revs up to 3k and back down. I peaked at just shy of 100dB. According to the application, that's as loud as a blender. In the driver seat.

When we had the donorZed, I noticed that the exhaust was the same smaller-diameter piping as the MG had: 2". In the interests of getting every usable part off that thing, I cut off the rear muffler (which was surprisingly not that rusty), and the catalytic converter (cat). I figured that one of the two cars could use one or both of those parts, and with DEQ smog a part of ownership of these cars for the foreseeable future, one of them would eventually have use for the cat.

So, with the blender-loud exhaust reality in my face, I decided to start with the muffler going onto the MG. One would reasonably think that the crazy-bending exhaust plus muffler wouldn't "just fit". And, it sort of did.

Soup Can Exhaust
Most of the exhaust system on the MGB is coated with rust. The pipes, the little cherry-bomb mufflers, even the exhaust manifold. There is deep rust everywhere. This makes welding replacements all the more difficult because you have to get to clean steel to have a good strong weld. Fortunately, there are no-weld joiners available for most standard diameter sizes. These are somewhat simple in their design with a straight section of pipe with an integrated band clamp at each end. You put 2 cut ends of pipe into each end of this thing and tighten. Simple. It reminds me of the old-skool way to patching a hole in the exhaust: cut a soup can into a patch and get it to hold on with hose clamps.

All of this leads us to my noise reduction. The MGB had 2 cherry bomb mufflers in sequence which were not really muffling noise at all. So, I cut off the one on the back and fitted the one from the donorZed. With some careful cutting, I was able to get the 2 straight sections to abut, but there is not an off-the-shelf no-weld joining thing to connect them. So, I went back to the old-skool roots and cut up a small can, and hose-clamped it together. Yeah, I'm not that proud of that, but remember, this was done before I got through DEQ.

I re-used the hangers that were there from the cherry-bomb muffler, and it was ready for testing. Total cost: $0. I tested the noise level the same way: car in with the garage doors open. dB levels hovered in the low 90's, so I shaved up to 10% of the noise just by putting a bigger muffler on. Truth-be-told, the muffler from the donorZed looks an awful lot like the stock MGB muffler. During the test-drive, it became clear that the rubber had completely dried up, so I had to resort to holding the center section of pipe off the ground with bailing wire. Yeah.. not too proud of that either.

I'll get after the backfire in another post. For now, the exhaust is quieter, if not in a better long-term disposition. My thinking: don't attract unwanted attention by the tester at DEQ. That includes disconnected things under the bonnet and a super-loud exhaust which might imply something non-stock is going on.

Anyway, that's it for today. I'll post on my attempts to solve the backfire and other developments as I do. Thanks, as always, for following along-

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Bus starter replaced

Brief post today about replacing the starter in the TDI-powered microbus.

Beginning by Not Starting
After getting the radiator replaced, I was unable to take a test drive because I couldn't get Hapy started. I assumed it was the annual ignition wiring issues, but I was wrong. The great unwiring I did two years ago (See Another Tow) actually worked two years later. The true issue was the starter finally failed. The starter that I was using was a gift from Justin. He had a customer who was complaining about noises coming from their starter, even though it worked fine. It kind of ran-on a couple of seconds after releasing the key post-start. While this is an indication of impending failure, it was working fine. Justin replaced it, and offered me the starter for the project microbus. It being free, I obviously accepted it, knowing that the day would come when the starter would become inconsistent and then just not work. Well... the becoming inconsistent didn't happen; it just failed.

Start Out
Removing a starter is not complicated, but I'll cover it anyway. Disconnect the battery cables from the battery first. This should be obvious, but so often we get excited about the job, and forget. Next, unplug the trigger wire that comes from the ignition and plugs into the solenoid with a small black square clip. Pinch-and-pull. Next, remove the bundle of wires which are ring-terminal'd onto the back of the starter. This should be a 10mm nut. With the electrical out of the way, grab the (IIRC) 19mm socket and remove the top bolt. This bolt is longer than the other, and you go after this one first on the bus because it is the one that is harder to get to (you're on your back facing up). Then, remove the lower, smaller bolt from the bottom, keeping a hand on the starter as it loosens. It is heavy, especially lying down underneath, so brace against it falling on your face.

Start In
I took the old starter over to Discount Import Parts (now only on the east-side - don't get me started) and got a rebuilt Bosch from them. Since I had the old starter in hand, I didn't have to pay a core nor drive all the way over there a second time. The install is literally the reverse of the removal: wrestle the starter up into position (solenoid above the starter) and rotate it left and right while pressing the smaller bolt into the lower hole. Once it catches, thread it in with your fingers until it is holding. Then, finger-in the top longer bolt. Once they are both finger tight, tighten with the sockets. Wire up the ring-terminal wires with the 10mm, then plug in the trigger wire.

Once the starter was in, Hapy fired right up. His test drive was pretty great. A charged-air pipe separated from one of the rubber connectors again, so I'll need to solve for keeping that together. Otherwise, I drove to the gas station and filled up with B20. Last tank of fuel: 39mpg. When compared to the 16-19 mpg I was getting with the gasoline engine, 39 is absolutely astounding. I rewarded Hapy with an oil change.

That's it for today. Thanks, as always, for following along-

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

MGB Sponge Brakes

During the various test drives as I solved for the various leaks I described in my last post, the brakes have been spongy. If I lightly pumped the brakes a couple of times before using them, I could stop well, but that's not a safe situation. Before I could go on a real test drive, I'd need to fix them for real. Today's post covers that.

Master Cylinder pre-fill
The brakes were spongy since I completely re-did them. after bleeding and re-bleeding the system at the wheels, I concluded that there was air in the master cylinder. I hadn't bench-bled the master before install, so it seemed pretty likely that the issue was there. In retrospect, I should have pre-loaded the master cylinder with brake fluid by the process folks call a "bench bleed". This is where the master cylinder is set in a vice with the shipping plugs still in it. Using a pair of pliers, the activation lever is moved back and forth while brake fluid is added through the reservoir. Once the chambers are filled, the master cylinder is installed into the car. In the MGB, the master cylinder fits onto the end of the brake booster, so this could have been done.

Getting the hard lines attached can be an interesting challenge. As I look back on my efforts to get my master cylinder in, I suspect I would have leaked brake fluid all over the engine compartment. So, while I probably could have done it the "right" way, I think the way I solved it could actually have saved the paint on my driver inner fender.

So, since I didn't do the bench bleed, nor think much about air in the system at all other than pulling it out at the wheels, I figured it had to be air in the master cylinder. To solve, I took the bleeder hose from the MityVac kit. It's about 3 feet (1 meter) long. I put a coffee filter on one end to catch particles from the hard lines and dipped it into the master cylinder reservoir. I put the other end on the driver-side front wheel bleeder. Then, I pumped the brakes moving brake from the reservoir through the master cylinder, down the hard line, then the soft line to the brake caliper. From there, it passed out the bleeder into the clear hose and traveled back up into the reservoir. The key here is to keep the coffee-filter end in the fluid in the reservoir. Without that, air stays in the system. So, keep topping off the reservoir and keep pumping the brakes until there wasn't any air in the clear hose.

This worked great, except I couldn't close the bleeder without re-introducing air. I tried 3 times before I had spread brake fluid all over the inside of the tire and the garage floor. I succumbed to the obvious: remove the tire first. Yes, I failed to both mention and do that above. At any point before you connect the clear line to the bleeder screw you should remove the driver side front wheel. Why yes, that does sound obvious. If you don't, you'll be like me and try to do this with limited success because getting the bleeder closed without letting in air when the wheel is still on is virtually impossible.... especially if your car is on the ground (not on a lift), and its on the ground in a garage that's full of projects, parts and tools... and sports equipment... and camping gear... and laundry machines.

Anyway, after washing off the brake fluid, I set up again, and had the line bubble-free on my fourth attempt. This time, I was able to get the bleeder closed. I proceeded to quick-bleed the other 3 corners, but virtually no air bubbled appeared. Another test drive, and the brakes were nice and responsive. I haven't tried the stomp-on-the-brakes test that the car shows on Velocity TV do, but I will be next time I take the little car out.

That's it for this time. Thanks, as always for following along--

Thursday, May 24, 2018

MGB leaking leaking leaking

While solving the missing emission control issues (See eMission Control We Have a Problem), I took a few test drives to shake out each change. Today's quick post covers 2 things I discovered on that first test drive.

Leaking Fuel
The MGB had been stuck in the garage behind the donorZed all winter. I didn't have much cash to do a lot of work, so in some ways the winter was kind of lost to the donorZed. Still, with it finally gone, I was able to restart the MGB efforts. So, for my first test drive, after getting it unburied from being stuck behind the donorZed, was to get some gas. The drive there was similar to my last drive last Fall: loud with squishy brakes. Lovely. Still, I was almost completely out of petrol, so I stayed the course. This time, though, all of the signals worked, the brake lights functioned, the temp gauge worked, and the fan came on when I flipped the switch, so things were looking up.... until I started filling the tank.

Here in Oregon, we're not allowed to fill our own gas (but diesel is okay), so while the attendant started gassing, I washed the windscreen. Within a minute, the gas attendant started freaking out about gas dumping out under the car. Neat. I looked under and could see that the fuel level float was leaking. Not one to test drive without a trunk full of tools, I grabbed a slotted screwdriver and pushed it the rest of the way, stopping the leak. The gas man was too freaked out, so we called it "full enough" and I drove home. It didn't leak again, and a quick shot with carb cleaner got the gas off the underside of the tank.

The fuel level gauge wasn't working 100% reliably, and I concluded that the sender was not getting a good enough ground. So, I ran a short wire from the side of the float to one of the bolts holding the tank in-place. Whether that was a factor or not, the level looks much better now, showing over 1/2 a tank.

Leaking Coolant
When I got home, I saw that the thermostat housing was leaking again. Grr... so much for a fun drive about. Instead, I removed the housing, applied more gasket sealer and actually followed the directions: apply liberally, hand tighten and let sit for an hour, torque down to spec and then, most importantly, no liquids or back-into-service for 24 hours. I'm pretty sure I did the first 2 steps and then forgot about the torquing the last time. Duh. The following day, I topped of the cooling system and took a test drive. No leaking at the thermostat. Sweetness.

Unfortunately, a few days later, after another test drive, I noticed leaking coming from the block drain. Apparently, this drain is the source of one of two common troubles: either it is completely clogged with cooling system gunk (rust particles, and general sludge) or it is a leak source. I'm in the second camp, but my leak is special. Usually, the leak is from the spigot not sealing because of a design flaw. No, mine is leaking from around the edge. So, rather than get a replacement drain, I'm just going to remove it, wrap the threads in plumbers tape slobber on some blue gasket-maker and thread it back in. Of course this time, I'll follow the gasket-maker instructions right the first time.

Leaking Voltage
It turned out that the battery that came with the car was 7 years old. After many cycles of short drives, I found that I needed to put the battery on the trickle charger more and more often until finally it just stopped accepting a charge. I went out and got a "gold" battery and new ground cable at Advance Auto Parts. We get most of our batteries from Les Schwab, but their hours are just not well suited to people who have day jobs, so Advance got the business.

Now, the little car fires right up, the gauges all work, the lights and fans come right on... its almost like a "real" car.  The brakes are still spongy, and it is still really loud. I got after those next and I'll post about what I did.... next time. Thanks, as always for following along.

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Why Does Dead and Company Suck?

Today is a complete rant about nothing car or bus related. Enjoy or ignore. Either way, I'm sure this will upset someone. To keep things calm, I will turn off the ability to add comments to this post.

Who the Hell Do I Think I Am?
Before Jerry Garcia died, self-identifying as a DeadHead was similar to self-identifying with a national (US) political party. People knew where you were coming from. You're not a metalhead, not a jazz aficionado and not a generic "fossil-rock" or classic rock fan. Being a DeadHead was specific. Nowadays, similar to identification with a political party, self-identifying as a DeadHead is not so simple. Like the many versions of political thought within a single party, there are many versions of "Dead fan" under the DeadHead banner. I know 'heads who feel that once Jerry died, it all changed and they'd never go to see a fragment of the Dead. There are those who will reflect on earlier days believing that things were better when (insert non-Jerry former member name here) was with them. There are some who will twirl to the sound of a child banging pans together. For others, all you need is a shuffle beat and it's worthy of praise, whether its a Dead fragment or a couple folks hammering on guitars in the parking lot. For the most part, all sides tend to agree that being off key or having some difficulty instrumenting doesn't matter. It's all good if you're groovy. Do whatever you're doing, but be genuine, push your limits and keep improving.

I'm somewhere in the middle of all that. I guess, if pressed, I'm sort of in that second group of  'they were better when'. Let me explain. I started following the Grateful Dead in the 80's, and my last tour with Jerry was in 1992. Except for my first few shows, I went to every show completely sober and danced my ass off. I missed the mid-90's through the early 2000's, picking back up with The Dead in 2009 and catching about a dozen Furthur shows before they stopped. I was at the JGB show in Milwaukee, WI that was just released on CD, drove overnight from Las Vegas to SF for the Golden Gate Park memorial when Bill Graham died and spent my honeymoon in 2012 (thx, Boo) witnessing the final New Years Eve run any Dead fragment performed.

So, who the hell am I? I'm someone who listened. I completely enjoyed every nuance of what greatness came from the stage and endured every plain-Jane set list, missed vocal note, and missed lyric, knowing more greatness would follow, and danced on. For that reason, I've waited 2 years for Dead and Company to follow the mess they create nightly with some greatness. It hasn't happened yet, and I don't think it will. Today's searing post details why I think that. Honestly, if this assemblage of players toured under a name that didn't have the word "Dead" in it, they would be playing bars, not stadiums. Agree or don't, but I have to get this out of my head.

Let's start with what's missing: Phil Lesh. He's the soul, the last remaining member truly believing that when the music leaves the speakers its everyone's. He embodies the freedom that the Grateful Dead packaged and delivered. As a player, Phil approaches the bass like it was a lead jazz instrument unlike just about everyone else who plays bass as part of a group. He is able to lead a group of musicians from song to song with little more than an encouraging smile (see photo) and a few little teases on the strings. He doesn't seem to approach the same chord change the same way twice, each time coming at the shift from a different angle, keeping the underpinnings of a song fresh and interesting. Sometimes, these experiments don't go as planned, but the experienced players he surrounds himself with are able to adjust and move with it. This was true with the Grateful Dead, the fragments of the Dead he worked with as well as his most current projects. While his voice hasn't been a benefit to any group of musicians he's played with for a long time, it was actually better during the Furthur days than it was for many years before or since.

Moving on to what's wrong, listen to a bootleg from just 10 years ago. Bob used to sing. Black-Throated Wind, Cassidy, Sugar Magnolia were some of the nicest vocal lines in the Dead songbook with his name on them. Check this video or this video from '78, for examples. Such sweet and powerful vocals. Sure, that was 40 years ago, and he was a much younger man, but now, he does a blend of barking, yelling and talking. He doesn't even try to make it sound like how the songs go, or to even sound like singing for that matter. So, while Phil's singing may not exactly be in tune, at least he's singing and trying to stay true to the melodies as best his voice can.

Bob's guitar work, however, remains just as interesting as it was in the 70's, only ripened with age. He voices chords and plays poly-rhythms in an extremely unusual way and he attracts players like bees to fresh flowers because of his innovative approach to the guitar. His bark-yelling the words to songs that used to have beautiful melodies, on the other hand, is just atrocious.

In their hay-day, Billy and Mickey were able to set a groove. Sometimes the songs moved their beat and other times their beat moved the songs. The early half of "Drums" was one of my favorite and arguably most consistent spots for a show. It was highly rhythmic, encouraging dance like a tribal beat does. If a show was exceptionally plain-Jane, it was often this part of the show that turned it around. You could feel a hum-drum show turn. Something great would flow out of Space, completing the show with a strong handful of songs all thanks to Drums pulling the concert out of the bin.

After not playing together for a few years (since Rhythm Devils split in '08 and The Dead stopped in 2010), I figured it would take a while before Billy and Mickey hit their stride. Unfortunately, they still haven't and it's been long enough for them to get it together. There are definitely two drummers, not two instrumentalists making one rhythm. Perhaps they can't decide or agree on what they're doing. As a listener, it doesn't matter; they are less of a cooperative unit and more like two guys banging on things in the back. There are points when it sounds like there is a team of carpenters erecting a shed or drum-riser on stage rather than a cohesive percussive rhythm driving and complimenting the music.

John Mayer
One thing that sets Jerry Garcia's sound apart from everyone else, especially in the psychedelic space, is the most simple thing that John Mayer doesn't ever do: use the Mixolydian mode of the scale. Jerry didn't use it exclusively, but John never uses it. Ever. Even on the songs that cry out for it (The Other One or Terrapin, are examples, but there are plenty). He insists on only playing blues-style solos. That's great on Bobby's cowboy tunes or some older blues songs, but to only play that way against the Grateful Dead songbook feels like you're petting the fur the wrong way most of the time. When Warren Haynes toured with the Dead, he was able to bridge the gap from classic rock / blues to shred on some of the more psychedelic numbers. So, it can be done; John Mayer hasn't shown that he can, but then he's no Warren Haynes either. Of all the things that are wrong, John's approach to solos is the back-breaker for me. It just doesn't work in so many songs, I just can't take it.

John can sing (yeah, that's hardly news given his Grammy's). It's on key and pure. It just sounds a little old-style crooner which makes Dead tunes sound contrived, and the lyrics less powerful. Just as Aerosmith has to be sung with a little edge in the voice, the Dead can't be sung by Mel Torme. To me, it needs an edge; it needs a little sorrow. One cover song here or there is one thing. Singing half of a show without that soul just doesn't work.

Oteil has a great voice. I hadn't heard him sing before last Summer and it is just beautiful. He sang a "China Doll" that was just amazing. When contrasted by Bob barker, I can't help but wonder why Oteil doesn't sing more and Bob sing less. It would probably make his main job (playing bass) much harder.

That bass work is just not the same as with Phil. Unlike Phil, Oteil plays like bass is a complimentary instrument that doesn't have much freedom. It's almost as if he had spent the last 20 years playing in a classic rock band. Oh yeah, he did. With the Allman Brothers. Yes, there are fills and runs here and there reflective of his years with the Aquarium Rescue Unit, but nothing like an old "Phil and Ned" or even some of the tasty lines Phil would drop into more straight-forward numbers like Scarlet or Music Never Stopped. But, Oteil has it in him to get out of the box. The guy can totally groove; I don't know how much freedom he has to do so in this group for two reasons. First, he is in a rhythm section comprised of him and the carpenters I described above. To keep the song together, he really can't move too far from dead-center or the shed construction could completely unravel a song while he is pushing the creative envelope. Second, Bob will need to let Oteil loose. Having watched video of Bob working with other players, I know he runs a tight ship. But having so much of the responsibility for keeping the song together may be the true barrier to Oteil really blowing some minds.

I haven't mentioned Jeff Chimenti, and I really should. He's fantastic. Really fantastic. Really really fantastic. He's been playing with members of the Dead for 20 years, and he totally gets it. I first caught him with The Dead and have enjoyed every show I've seen him play since. In my mind, he's reached, and maybe surpassed "Brent status" in terms of his keyboard. On those occasions when I gave Dead and Company a try, it was Jeff's keyboard work that kept me listening well beyond my patience would allow had he not been crushing it so hard. He is simply inspired. I hope to see the Golden Gate Wingmen one of these days to see how he and JohnK play together in their new group. And maybe hear what some of his original material is like? That would be so great. Okay, I've run out of descriptors. Let's just summarize with: he's awesome.

That's my rant for today. I'll get back to my usual car or bus work and road trips next time. Thanks for bearing with me, and if there's a jam band that you like (that's not Dead and Company), I'd love to hear them. I'll be trying on String Cheese this summer, and really want to hear whatever else is going on in the jam-band space. Have bus, will travel-

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Back to the Bus: Rad Swap (Part 2)

Continuing from an earlier posting, today I'll cover the assembly and install of a new Mishimoto all-aluminium radiator into the TDI-powered microbus.

Where Were We?
Old rad, for perspective
In the last post in this series, I removed the old radiator from the bus, destroying the wiring along the way. I removed the framing / bracketing that supported the radiator from the old one and cut off the fans. Now stripped bare, we can compare the new and old radiator. The outlets are the same distance apart. The holes that I used to hold the frame on were in the same spots... but... all the other bits for holding the radiator into a Jetta were flipped over. So, the original fan housing (and air conditioning condenser) would line-up, but it looks like the inlet and outlet are on the wrong side (driver-side versus passenger side). And, the temperature sensor that triggers the fans is now on the same side as the inlet/outlets. So, in a Jetta, this could be solved with different hoses. In the bus, this gets interesting.

Because of the reversal of the inlet/outlet, I realized that the front bar where I had 2 radiator mounts attached needed to get flipped over. I cut off the pop-rivets holding on the mounts, and re-set their location the same way I did it the first time: threading the mounts to the radiator... but wait a minute. The new radiator doesn't use screws. It is threaded for bolts. Neat. I found one bolt in my fastener bins that fit, took it to ACE and got 8 stainless steel hex-bolts that fit: M6 1.0 pitch.

installing fans
Once back from ACE, I threaded on the front mounts, lined up where they should connect to the bar and marked the spots. A quick-run with a 1/8" drill bit and the pop-riveter and the front bar was ready again. I then turned my attention to the fans

I looked at the pile of plastic and foam bits. I thought I could drill a hole through the original bottom-bit and thread a zip-tie through. Instead, I found fender washers that had a small enough hole to allow the zip-tie, but not large enough for the end to slide through. This would work! So, from the bottom, the zip-tie passed through a washer, a foam bit, the fan housing, the radiator, another foam bit and last a plastic zip-tie anchor. To be extra sure, it would all hold, I ran the zip-tie back through the fins and then through the zip-tie head on the bottom.

adding cowling
With fans in place, I attached the mounts. The radiator was starting to get a little heavy. We're feeling almost done, until the flip-over design of the mounting points would stymie the work again. The cowling wasn't fitting anymore. The left and right (driver-side / passenger-side) needed to be reversed because of the angles (front pitched downward to catch some slipstream), but it wasn't quite that simple. After some head-scratching, this ended up being as easy as folding the cowling the opposite direction from what it had been. Then, it bolted right on. I concluded the prep by zip-tying the fan electrical leads to the cowling so they wouldn't be buffeted by the passing winds any longer.

One it was in one piece, I took it back over to the bus and slid it under from the driver side. I hung the threaded carabiners onto the eye-hooks on the frame. Then, I put the front bar on the jack and lifted it into place. Once I was able to get the threaded carabiners onto their respective lengths of chain, I removed the jack and repeated the effort with the rear mounts, again doing the driver side first. I checked the movement, verifying that the radiator unit would swing back and forth, front to back and had some headroom to bounce up.

Wiring Re-wiring
install-ready. topside
Now that the new rad is physically mounted, I switched my focus to the electrical. The new radiator did not deliver with a fan switch, but it did have a threaded hole for one. I had ordered one years ago when I wanted to have the fans come on automatically. I just never got to it. So, I ran the threads on the switch with plumbers tape and threaded it into the hole (with the rubber gasket in place, of course). I still don't have the trust that the temperature-sensitive fan switch will work, so rather than wire that in, I stripped out all of the extraneous wiring and set up the switch on the dash to fire both radiator fans and the little motorcycle fan on the intercooler.

For my sake, I'm posting the circuit numbers from the relay:
30: 12V+ this is fused, but unswitched power so the fans can run with the key off
85: grounded
86: to the fans
87: trigger switch. One day the thermo fan switch will wire in here. For now, it's the dash switch

I cleaned up the wiring so it's nice and tidy with the relay zip-tied to the underside of the bus and out of sight. I may wire the fan switch into relay pin 87 just to see if it works. It might be interesting to wire those pins to a light on the dash so I can see what temperature they fire at... for a first step. If nothing else, I could use that as a temperature warning light.

Plumb and Fill
install-ready. underside
With the electrical solved, and the rain well settled in, I didn't want to give up. I was mostly under the bus anyway, and the bus cover provided additional rain-cover so I wasn't really getting too wet. Fortunately, water hadn't started running under me in growing puddles yet. So, with that motivation, I wriggled the longer hoses onto the 90* bends off the radiator and hose-clamped them really tight. It surprisingly took me no longer to do than it took to type. I went around to the back of the bus, pulled the cover up, opened the tail gate and filled the overflow bottle with G-40. This is a process, requiring filling up to the full line and then venting the air out of the lines with the little spigot I installed just below the thermostat. I continue this process until coolant/water mixture comes out the spigot. It took the gallon of G-40 and wanted more. So, I topped off with distilled water (about 1/2 a gallon).

I dodged to the front of the bus, confirmed the fans ran and then disconnected the battery, closed everything up and dashed inside. One day, I'll have a huge garage. Until then, I work in the rain.

I took Hapy out for a test drive, and I believe the swap is complete. I suspect one or more of the hose clamps will need tightening, but otherwise, I think it's ready. If this fancy super-radiator doesn't do the trick for keeping the temps down, I may need to route more air through it. That would mean either lowering it, routing some ducting from the front or both. Here's hoping the super-rad does the job.

I made one last change to the set up after the test drive. I had a section of security fence lying around, so I cut a section, spray-painted with a couple of coats of semi-gloss black and slapped it on the front. This will prevent plastic bags and other garbage (that seems to be appearing on the roads in greater frequency) from getting sucked into the radiator, fouling it's ability to cool the engine. I had meant to do this with the original radiator install. Once I did it, I was surprised at how quickly it went from the cardboard package through the tin-snips and paint to install. In terms of actual effort, it was less than 30 minutes. I really should have done this earlier. The picture to the right shows it mid-install. The nut with washer on each lower corner have since been tightened down and there are zip-ties across the bottom as well as on the top corners holding it in place.

That's it for today. I would like to do something with Hapy's brakes before a real trip. I have rear wheel cylinders and I'd like to replace the lines between the master cylinder and the fill reservoir as well as all brake fluid. Maybe I'll get that done before 4Peaks. I hope so. Anyway, thanks, as always, for following along-