Thinking about a Bus/RV

Discussion in 'Hangar Talk' started by Ted, Jul 17, 2020.

  1. GaryM

    GaryM Cleared for Takeoff

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    On-time maintenance for farm equipment usually means during the off-season, regardless of what the calendar or Hobbs meter might say. Same for the farmers themselves; any necessary maintenance gets deferred until after the harvest. It's a hard life for the machines and for those who own or run them. (I grew up working on the family farm and on a neighbor's ranch).
     
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  2. CJones

    CJones Final Approach

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    I was thinking that the 8103 TerraGator I used to run had a Cat engine, but according to Wikipedia, it had the JD 6081H. I liked that thing. I was the last one in the company to have the older style 8103 with the 300hp as the rest of the machines were replaced with newer 6103s. I could load that thing up with a full load of liquid N and hit soft/wet ground and it would just blow blue smoke and pull through it. The 6103s had the same engine, but de-rated to 270hp and they felt like dogs compared to the 8103. The 8103 had a nice growl to it on cold mornings. Looks like they moved on to the C-9 shortly after I got out of the gig.
     
  3. Ted

    Ted The pilot formerly known as Twin Engine Ted

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    Got back from our latest RV trip. The only real projects completed for this one were the TPMS, going through the bays to get a lot of junk out of there, and the heated seats/new coolant hoses. The temperatures weren't quite cold enough to need heat, so those last two items didn't get used. But there were still some good insights.

    One of the more time consuming items in my "preflight" of the bus was always checking tire pressures. The TPMS has cut that out, which is nice. Additionally, having our bays more organized helps all of the setup/take down of the site. Given how much we tend to move around and how we don't spend more than a few days in any given spot (a week at South Padre Island was the longest we've spent anywhere), anything that saves time with setup and getting going helps. Those were noticeable successes. I know @MIFlyer told us over a year ago to get rid of anything we hadn't used after the first two camping trips, and he was (mostly) right. But, other projects got in the way and we were still learning how to use the RV. Mostly, there were a lot of things the previous owners had that we thought might be useful, and now we understand which ones are, which ones aren't, and which ones would be if needed but aren't worth carrying around because the probability of using them is very low.

    One thing with the new heater hoses was that I (for now) have bypassed the auxiliary heater in the bedroom, which is fed by engine coolant. It was immediately noticeable how much cooler the bedroom was after a long drive vs. previous, as that rear heater had no shut-off. When I put the new heater in, it will have an electric solenoid to only let coolant flow when the heater is on. That will help us more in the 3-season months than winter of course, but it's definitely a noticeable improvement.

    Before our next trip I plan to do the electric fan conversion, and hopefully also add in the remote mount oil cooler. Put in the new bedroom heater with hoses, probably some other minor maintenance items.

    The electric fan conversion I've decided to do a new take on. After finding a really good deal on an electric fan setup for a 2005-2007 Suburban and considering the system as a whole, I decided I would start off by trying this setup out. If it doesn't work for this, it's cheap enough I can apply it to something else instead. But I think that with divorcing the transmission cooler, adding an extra oil cooler (which the engine needs), and also cleaning out/improving the clearly blocked intercooler and radiator, that the airflow needs of a Suburban/Escalade with a 6.0 LS engine that has to cool the engine, AC, oil, transmission, and power steering fluid is probably going to be sufficient overall. And I have some additional tricks to add cooling capacity if need be. But this will be a lot cheaper and simpler to start out with, so I'll give it a shot. Going into the cooler months I'll be able to see how well it seems to work. On this trip, even in 80+ degree OATs, the bus was running almost entirely at or below the 190F thermostat temperature rating. Cat engineers have said that 200F is the design point for the engine to run most efficiently, and the thermostats also don't fully open until something around 205F.
     
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  4. Ted

    Ted The pilot formerly known as Twin Engine Ted

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    Another thought I forgot - I keep on going back and forth on whether I want a rack that will hold a motorcycle on the back. It seems like something that I wouldn't necessarily use much, the times I would use it would be neat. On this trip, for instance, there were some neat trails that I probably would've taken the R1150GS on if I had it attached to the back. But I keep on going back and forth. Given that we have the full dresser Harleys, it doesn't seem to make much sense to add a rack like that unless it can hold one of those. And at 800 lbs, the racks that can handle those are big, complex, and expensive.

    I imagine for now I won't bother with it unless I find a really good deal on one. The reality is the uses of it would be minimal at this point, but it's still enough that it gets my interest. Eventually when the kids get older, I could see us maybe switching to (at least on some trips) having motorcycles for us to ride around instead of the Land Rover. Wouldn't want to do that every time, but it would make sense sometimes.
     
  5. Jim K

    Jim K Pattern Altitude PoA Supporter

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    I need to start following this thread; you're giving me some great ideas. Never occurred to me they might make tpms systems for heavy vehicles. I'd love to eliminate putting a gauge on 36 wheels every week.

    I also wish I had thought of an electric fan before I spent $1200 on a new air operated clutch. Stupid thing is driven by an electric solenoid anyway.
     
  6. MIFlyer

    MIFlyer Cleared for Takeoff PoA Supporter

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    I'm glad you and the family are enjoying the RV, and I'm really glad that I was able to provide a useful idea. :)

    We had to sell ours due to upcoming medical stuff for my wife next summer, but we'll likely buy one again in a couple of years.
     
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  7. Ted

    Ted The pilot formerly known as Twin Engine Ted

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    The one I have is the TST system. @tmyers recommended it and has the same unit on his RV and toad. TST does advertise having things for semis, so I'd imagine they'd have something for you.

    Yikes, $1200 for a clutch? I definitely could've figured out a cheaper solution than that. :)

    Everything I own is essentially an R&D lab, so follow me for more terrible ideas, followed by their results. :D
     
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  8. tmyers

    tmyers En-Route

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    Yes Ted, TST started out making their TPMS for the big rigs

    Sent from my SM-N970U using Tapatalk
     
  9. Ted

    Ted The pilot formerly known as Twin Engine Ted

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    The RV forum has declared my electric cooling fan project "impossible." Hold my coffee...

    Poked around a little bit in the RV and took care of a couple of minor issues. I put a couple of tack welds on the rear sway bar end links since they're adjusted correctly, and I don't see needing to adjust them again. That'll hold them in place and keep rotation appropriate. I also added another big zip tie to keep the transmission cooler lines off of the sway bar end link. Plus managed to get a couple of door knobs back on cabinets (needed longer screws) and fix the kitchen faucet that wasn't flowing hot water faster than a dribble.

    I've had an oil leak this year since replacing the oil pump and rod/main bearings. It's pretty clear that it's because of the oil pan gasket, which isn't surprising. It was difficult to get on. So next oil change (maybe I'll pull the intercooler and radiator at the same time, I have to decide), I'll need to take the oil pan back off, try to get it cleaned up and back on well so that I don't have this issue. Normally oil leaks don't bother me a ton, but the issue that rear radiator diesel pushers have is the oil ends up going through the intercooler and radiator and blocks airflow. I knew this was happening (part of the reason why I think the electric fans will work since my cooling capacity isn't what it could be already) but this is something I do need to address at some point. Not urgently, but before next summer and probably before/during when I pull the radiator and intercooler.
     
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  10. tmyers

    tmyers En-Route

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    Why do they think it is impossible?

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  11. Ted

    Ted The pilot formerly known as Twin Engine Ted

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    Apparently we drive the bus on some dusty roads. This is after maybe 16k miles.

    D1BAE8FE-1433-42B9-9505-56ACB6DABCAD.jpeg
     
  12. charheep

    charheep Line Up and Wait PoA Supporter

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    Cuz they dont know Ted
     
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  13. Ted

    Ted The pilot formerly known as Twin Engine Ted

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    :yeahthat:

    The conventional wisdom on the Internet is that the airflow demands are too high. But they don’t look at the total system or think about how to design such a system that can work and be better suited for all the different conditions you end up facing with an RV. I deal with systems for a living (and previously engines) and I think I’m ok at it. Plus not the first time I’ve done a cooling system conversion to electric.
     
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  14. SoonerAviator

    SoonerAviator Final Approach

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    True. But the last electric conversion you did is still in the build phase . . . :) *whispers* FINISH THE COBRA!
     
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  15. Ted

    Ted The pilot formerly known as Twin Engine Ted

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    Yeah, I know, the Cobra work is slow and as I’m passing these beautiful fall days I’m wishing I was driving it and tuning it. But I’m also enjoying riding the motorcycles and the RV trips are important. It’ll get done, I hope for good progress this winter. Along with making the RX-7 ready for next year’s race season.
     
  16. Ted

    Ted The pilot formerly known as Twin Engine Ted

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    Yesterday the first set of electric fans showed up for the electric cooling fan conversion on the RV. I'd ordered a Dorman replacement set for a 2005-2007 Suburban/Escalade and figured that I could probably fit a second set in once I started measuring. Sure enough, it looks like that will work just fine to have two. That should give me something on the order of 10-12k CFM of cooling air with all four running. That's convinced me that I won't have any issues making that work from an airflow perspective, so the next step is to pull off the mechanical and then I can start looking at what else I'm going to have to change. The fans are about 5" deep, and to put those behind the radiator and intercooler in their current position would push the fans basically all the way to the rear doors.

    What I probably will want to do is move the intercooler and radiator forward, which will require some other routing changes but I think should be fine. I can (and would like to) remove the intercooler and radiator to clean or maybe outright replace. Once the mechanical fan is gone there will be plenty of room for that. When I did the coolant flush and hose replacement earlier this year (when I redid the transmission cooling) I didn't remove the factory transmission cooler. Now I'd be fine removing it, which I may do and that would simplify the routing of the lower coolant hose as well.
     
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  17. charheep

    charheep Line Up and Wait PoA Supporter

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    So when are you selling it to start over working on a different one...
     
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  18. Ted

    Ted The pilot formerly known as Twin Engine Ted

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    Normally that doesn't happen until I've completed all of the projects and done everything I possibly can do to it.
     
  19. Matthew

    Matthew Touchdown! Greaser!

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    You are going to have enough fans your RV will be a hovercraft.
     
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  20. Bill

    Bill Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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  21. GaryM

    GaryM Cleared for Takeoff

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  22. MauleSkinner

    MauleSkinner Touchdown! Greaser!

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  23. Albany Tom

    Albany Tom Line Up and Wait PoA Supporter

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    That's goofy. I've spent way too much time trying to figure out what the purpose is. Assuming there's a purpose, it's someone needs to go someplace close to the middle of nowhere, for somewhere between a week and a couple of months, and work there. Oilfield maybe, or some other short term project. There either aren't reasonable hotels around, or somebody just doesn't like them. So they park the rig at a campground, do their work thing from the little SUV. The weird part is it's a custom paint job, and crazy engineering for the suv in the middle, but the trailer is just stuck on top like a bad military contractor would do.
     
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  24. MauleSkinner

    MauleSkinner Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Scrapyard special? Semi tractor with a million miles on it for $5k, utility truck box for $1k, pickup camper for $1500, a little welding, a little hardware, splash on some paint, and you’re all-in for less than $10k.

    I’d do it if I was single.
     
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  25. Albany Tom

    Albany Tom Line Up and Wait PoA Supporter

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    That could be it. If so, he's a decent painter. The swooshes make it pretty clear the whole thing was done on purpose.
     
  26. Jim K

    Jim K Pattern Altitude PoA Supporter

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    Nah... this is the chassis for the next rv:
    1983-M977-HEMTT-8.jpg
    Extra points if the living space is built on a pallet so it can be set off and drive the chassis around town.
     
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  27. Ted

    Ted The pilot formerly known as Twin Engine Ted

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    We’d already thought through that, including bunks above the cab.
     
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  28. Jim K

    Jim K Pattern Altitude PoA Supporter

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    Just think how much money you'd save not having to tow the disco around :lol:
     
  29. Ted

    Ted The pilot formerly known as Twin Engine Ted

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    I still have to put that Cat diesel in it. Which reminds me, need to get back to acquiring parts…
     
  30. MauleSkinner

    MauleSkinner Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Triple word score if you separate the front for driving around town.
     
  31. Ted

    Ted The pilot formerly known as Twin Engine Ted

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    I remember a few years back when I had the Kenworth (and was considering what to do with it), I came across an article of a similar build. Retried trucker with an old Peterbilt (forget the model) with a big sleeper. He replaced the big sleeper with a coffin sleeper, then added the pickup bed and pickup bed sleeper as I recall.

    The end result was a vehicle that seemed poorly suited for about everything. It had a whole lot of fuel capacity (I want to say about 300 gallons) and power, but ultimately you had the disadvantages of pretty much every kind of vehicle that it contained. Only a pickup bed camper in back so that was ridiculously small. Coffin sleeper so not much room up front. Lots of fuel and a huge engine so a lot of power and range, but with the size, fuel economy, maintenance, etc. of a big semi.

    I had considered converting the Kenworth to an RV, but if I'd done that it would've been more of an oversized Class C. If you go back about 25 or 30 pages, I think I posted a picture of a Peterbilt 372 that we did briefly consider:

    [​IMG]

    (this wasn't the exact one)

    45', caleed a "Genesis", Cat 3176 engine coupled to a 13-speed manual up front, etc. But there were enough negatives about how it was designed and built, layout, and overall support (not to mention price and condition) that we decided to forego it in favor of our RV. Overall, I don't regret it.
     
  32. Spring Ford

    Spring Ford Line Up and Wait

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    I have ideas -

     
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  33. Ted

    Ted The pilot formerly known as Twin Engine Ted

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    This weekend I started my commitment to the project by removing the big mechanical fan off of the bus. Not bad to do, and once it's out, a few things became clear.

    First one is that the intercooler is really pretty clogged, as I suspected. That will mean that just removing and cleaning it will give me a significant boost in overall cooling capacity (since the intercooler is ahead of the radiator, it blocks flow for going through the radiator when clogged). That helps the conversion. It's also clear that moving to electric will make general engine front end (rear end?) access far simpler which is nice.

    The fan shroud doesn't look to be too awful to remove. My plan will be to just remove it entirely, since it's designed to disperse the air from the mechanical fan over the whole area of the intercooler.

    In the stock setup, I would have to cut some fiberglass to make room for the electric fans behind the radiator and intercooler. So what I will probably end up doing is modifying the mounts to move the pair forward. I'll have to see how hard that appears to be once I get them out and get a full picture of the situation. However as with everything else on this bus, the mounts are not particularly complicated or well designed. There is a crossmember that may interfere, but I'll have to see if that becomes a problem, or if it can perhaps be relocated. On these big frame style busses/trucks they can often be slid out of the way one direction or another, and then remounted. So that may be an option. Ideally, I can move the pair about 6" forward.

    I had been thinking about replacing these with new/upgraded aluminum units, and I may do that. I may also leave them stock for now (or permanently) and see how they work out.

    D71EC850-6C68-4F5E-8221-9898BEFFE23D.jpeg 18271B4D-44D8-45AB-8398-740DFEB24243.jpeg
     
  34. Jim K

    Jim K Pattern Altitude PoA Supporter

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    That fan is nasty. I assume it's a pusher, so anything that leaks on the engine gets blown into the cooling package, hence the plugged intercooler? Or is it just from road grime?
     
  35. Ted

    Ted The pilot formerly known as Twin Engine Ted

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    Diesel pushers with rear mount radiators are fairly notorious for getting oil residue (either from engine leaks or the breather tube) onto the intercooler/radiator, which then attracts and picks up all levels of dust and dirt. It doesn't help that the fan is always spinning at engine speed regardless of need, and thus sucks a lot of it up. Being behind the rear wheels, any dust that the wheels throw up will get in there, too.

    So the issue is both common and not surprising, one of the compromises.
     
  36. iamtheari

    iamtheari Administrator Management Council Member PoA Supporter

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    Throw a Half Raven on there and at least the breather won't be blowing oil around anymore. :)
     
  37. Albany Tom

    Albany Tom Line Up and Wait PoA Supporter

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    It does look like it was involved in a fight in the desert.