Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Jalousie Window rebuild (part 1)

lower screws, grubby
frame, rusty rivets
Like the title says, and like I threatened in my last posting, I've decided to tackle rebuilding at least one of my jalousie (jealous, louvered) windows.  Today's posting focuses on the teardown, as that's as far as I've gotten to date.  If you've visited Richard Atwell's web site, he describes this as one of the most time-consuming projects you could go after.  As my 12 year old sons would say "challenge accepted" :)

Out Comes the Window
The removal of the jalousie window is actually somewhat well described in the Bentley manual covering the body.  The drawing in the Bentley shows a rubber seal on the inside, but my bus didn't have one, and I haven't been able to source one.  The window is held to the body by ~20 Phillip's head screws threaded from the inside.  You need to remove the curtain and the screen first.  The screen is removed by sliding it upwards a few centimeters and then pulling it slightly away from the frame as you pull down.  The window is tilted slightly towards the inside of the bus at the top, so you can remove all of the screws without the window naturally falling out.  Still, its wise to keep a hand on it from the outside.  Once the screws are out, the window should easily lift out of the opening, bringing the grey outer seal with it.  Put the screws in a zip-lock baggy and label it.  It will be a while before you're back to re-install it.

Break the Seal
window panes held on
with 2 Phillips
Pull the grey seal off the frame of the window.  Note how the seal sits around the inner edge.  I didn't take a picture on the way off (though I should have), but I'll photo it on the way back on.  Getting that edge right will be key to seating the seal correctly (read: keep water and wind out).  I expect that to be much harder to do than it was to type.  Once the seal has been removed, clean the window, frame and all.  I soaked mine in my bathtub with some dish-soap (while I sanded the opening in the bus for painting later) and then scrubbed on it.  Once clean(ish) and dry, take the window to a cleared area where it will remain for the rebuild.

Start with the end of the window that doesn't have the crank.  There are 4 Phillips head screws holding the side panel on: 2 from below and 2 from the top.  These can get stuck, so you may need some PB Blaster to get them loose.  I had all but one come free by hand.  That last one I needed to bang on with a rubber mallet to get free.  Set the parts down relative to where they were so you don't lose track of them.  Screws in a baggy.  Label it.  Once the sides have been removed, remove the glass frames from the louver mechanism.  Each pane is held in with 2 Phillips head bolts on each end.  Working one side at a time, remove the one closest to the hinge first.  Mark the windows top-middle-bottom in some way and set them aside.  We'll get to those later.
windows separated
from louver mechanism
Last, if your window has not been opening / closing properly or if it doesn't hold open/closed, now is the perfect time to replace the crank mechanism.  I ordered a pair of these so my windows will operate like brand new when I'm done.  If you want to change your window so they both open from the front end of your bus, the Pelland folks offer a left-handed one too, so you can mix and match.  Getting the old cranks out requires cutting the old rivets with a hacksaw (the way I did it) or drilling them out.  Either way works.

Removing the Seals
Some of the seals are easy to remove.  For example, the seal that runs behind the louver mechanism slides right out.  The top-side seal that has a little overhang, however, is a real bugger.  Atwell mentions this one too.  There's a little nub or bump within the channel at either end that prevents the seal from sliding out.  I had to manhandle the channel with a chisel to get the seal free.  In retrospect, I should have checked to make sure I took out the nub at the front (front is front) of the window.  My thinking is that way simple airflow past the moving bus wouldn't cause sliding of the seal.

Clean and Polish
crank assembly
If your windows look anything like mine do in the pictures (or worse), there will not be a better time to clean them up a bit.  As RAtwell describes on his website, some of the corners have a black goop that helped create a seal.  This stuff chips off with a putty knife.  Once cleared, the windows clean up very nicely with simple steel wool, elbow grease and some basic cleanser.  I used a general use Armor-All, though it left a slight haze that I needed to buff off with paper towels.  I haven't resolved how I'll keep it looking nice, but the clean-up is tiring.  I have spent a few hours on this clean-up already and I've only done the side panels and the top, leaving the bottom, the louver control bar, the glass frames and the screen frame.  All told, I expect close to 10 hours of manual steel-wooling on a single window.

Thanks about it for today.  For those of you in the US, I wish you a Hapy Thanksgiving.  To everyone, I wish you a relaxing White Friday; may you spend it playing with your friends and family.  More next time..

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Steering a Shed

So, as the weather starts to feel more like winter, thoughts of playing in the snow start to happen more often.  Today's post is more musings of getting the bus snow-worthy.  First, adjusting the steering-

Point, Re-point & Hope (not shoot)
When I drive the Jetta, the steering is tight.  So responsive.  I could drive with one finger on my left hand, leaving my right free to change stations on the radio or change gears.  In the bus, the steering has been, shall we say, a little more active.  With a 40+ year old system (and the fact that the technology is at least as many years old), it has gotten progressively looser.  On the drive back from Eugene, Boo commented on how active the driving was.  So, yesterday, we looked into what was going on.

Diagnose, and Re-Diagnose
steering box adjustment screw
center bottom of pic
Recall that this whole blog started because I couldn't find instructions for re-assembling my front end other than "install is the reverse" at the end of a tear-down procedure.  Knowing that the ball joints were good, I feared other gremlins in the mix.  So, with Boo behind the wheel and me on my back under the front end, we diagnosed the steering system.  There was no unexpected movement with any of the links, so, that means its the steering box.  The 68-72 steering box is no longer available (NLA) new, and even some of the parts to rebuild it aren't made anymore.  The best hope is to find a quality rebuild ($400+ plus core deposit) or take a plunge into adapting a 73-79 TRW box.  Hmm.. Turns out, there's an adjustment screw on that box.  The Bentley manual describes a relatively simple 2-person process for adjusting the box.  Simply put, if there's no resistance as you pass through the center-point of your wheel range (and all other system components come back "ok"), the box is loose and needs adjusting.  Verify that it's mounted to the body.  Seems obvious, but if its not torqued down, that could be the problem.  For the adjustment, shoot the adjustment screw and locknut with PB Blaster.  Loosen the locknut (19mm), turn the screw a 1/4 turn (to the right) and re-lock it.  Re-test.  After doing this a few times, and even adjusting it to the left a few times, you'll get a feel for how the steering wheel responds as it moves from post to post.  There should be slight resistance through the centerpoint of the turn.  If you think you have it, take a short controlled, low-speed test-drive.  Move the wheel from post to post as part of the drive (take 3-point turns; that's what I did).  It might take a few tries.  If you can't get it right, you may have missed another participant part of the system that needs to be addressed.

Leaky Injector
When the bus couldn't start the other day, I noticed a small dark wet mark underneath it.  Knowing that it hadn't been run in a few weeks, I knew there were few things that could account for a still-wet mark.  Any pressure in the coolant system would have vented within a few minutes after shutting off the engine.  Same goes for oil pressure.  That left the fuel system.  Sure enough, the dark mark was being made by fuel leaking from the injector closest to the rear of the bus and picking up oil as it was pulled by gravity.  Simply loosening the hard line and re-torquing it, we well as re-setting the low-pressure return lines should have solved that.  I'll be looking for leaks after work tomorrow.

Winter Approach-eth
jalousie pic from German Supply
So, driving the old bus in winter is like driving around in your old steel shed.  Drafty and cold.  With the new coolant-powered heat, there's real defrosting and heat at the drivers feet, but that does little for everyone else.  The jalousie (jealous) windows are especially horrible for passengers in Winter.  There are rebuilding kits where all of the rubber and felt can be replaced.  I need to do that.  The bus lacks door cards and an inner wall on the driver's side.  Those need to be resolved too.  Then there's the accessory battery to run the lights, no radio, etc.  I do have studded snow tires, though.  I have decided to pull the bus out of operation (once the steering is solved) so I can put in cards and rebuild the 2 windows.

So, I guess that means there will be a few more construction posts before there are any pictures from SkiBowl through my bus windscreen.  Thanks for following along.