Monday, May 18, 2015

bump bump bump

Today is about getting the bumpers and some the lights working. Not terribly exciting stuff, but important.

With everything else going on, when I pulled off the old front blinkers, they were in dire shape. The lenses were filthy and the housings were really worn looking. I tossed the lenses into a "clean me" pile and looked closer at the housings. There was some rust, but behind the bulbs, the shiny stuff had fallen to bits. There wasn't really any "shiny" anymore. I figured I'd just get some new ones, and they were drop-shipped by BusDepot from somewhere in SoCal. The new housings look really nice.
cleaned up blinker

After about an hour with soapy water and a scrubby sponge, I had the orange and clear lenses almost as clean and clear as new ones. With new housing-to-body seals, they fit into place pretty well. The hardest part was getting the old bulbs into the new housing (it was a little tight).

Cabin Lights
As seems true with any re-install, things tend to go slower than during removal. With the interior lighting and secondary battery, this was just as true. Some of the fuses in the fusebox had shaken free. Two of the wires had come undone. One had a splicing completely separate. All easy to fix. Once the fusebox was ready, the grounding cable and red B+ were simple.

Rear Bumper
The rear bumper on the early bay window bus is held to the frame with 2 frame mounts which are held on with 2 15mm bolts each (at the frame:mount end) and 13mm 2 square-head bolts (at the bumper:mount end). These take the bulk of the weight. These mounts also tie into the engine support bar Hal fabricated for me. So, in order to put on / take off the bumper, I need to support the engine with a floor jack. Once supported, I pull the bolts, support one end of the bumper with my plastic (steel scratches) tool box, and thread in the bolts on the other end. Then, switch to the tool box -supported end, and hand thread those bolts in. This is all well and good... until you remember that the early bay rear bumper has splash-guards on the corners. These are lightweight steel panels that rest between the bus body and the bumper to keep tire-splashes from kicking up into the bumper. Or, at least that's the only purpose I can see other than helping to hold the ends of the bumpers up.

The splash-guards need to be installed before you put the bumper on the body, but after the bumper-mounts have been attached to the bumper. There's a small (less than 10mm) bolt that passes through the top of the splash guard into the top of the bumper mount. On the other end, another 13mm square-head bolt passes through the bumper into the splash-guard. There is also one last bolt that passes from under the battery tray into the splash-guard. This holds the ends of the bumper firm.

Last, though I haven't put mine on yet, these early bay buses have an additional strip of steel along the bottom of the bumper called a modesty skirt. It only hangs down about another inch, but it obstructs from view most of the muffler. It's real purpose is probably to reduce the amount of crap kicked up off the roadway by the bus, but it looks pretty silly. With all the weight of the bumper on the skirt, it will bend, so it is best to put this on last.

Front Bumper

still no window, mirror...
Like the rear bumper, the front bumper has 4 main bolts and some smaller bolts near the ends. While there is slightly less weight to manage if you install the bumper mounts to the body first, the whole unit fits better if you install the mounts to the bumper first. Then, as a unit, the bumper goes into place. Hold one end up with the old plastic tool box while you finger-in the other side. Switch. If you can wiggle the bumper, but it is held in the air by the bolts, they're the right tightness. Now, wiggle the bumper until the space between the bumper and the body is uniform at either end. Set the bolts so it can't wiggle as much and switch focus to the foot-step bolts.
These bolts are smaller (13mm. noting a pattern?), and one of mine broke off inside the frame when I removed the bumper before. This leaves 3 bolts to install. Like before, finger them in one at a time. Then tighten by hand. Verify the bumper-to-body spacing and then torque all of the bolts down.

That's it for today. Lots still in-flight, and Memorial Day is almost here! As always, thanks for following along,

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