We spent some quality time with “RV Where Yet” and the mechanic yesterday. One of the treats of the day was to START THE ENGINE . I don’t want to say it “purred” because diesel bus engines don’t purr. But it runs. Great. In fact, virtually everything works.
And we spent some more time just sitting in “the office” in our new coach. We learned some SPECTACULAR things.
— It has an air-ride suspension system. The mechanic said it will float down the highway.
(This also explained why the bus seemed to have such low ground clearance. It will rise up when the engine is started and air pressure builds )
— the last step at the entrance folds down AND the generator slides out – both also run by air pressure from the engine. Magic!
— The brakes are AIR Brakes. Pads and drums are NEW. Air diaphragms are probably also “new” but since they are 30 year old rubber parts they will be replaced along with all hoses.
— Transmission seems to work. Goes Fwd and Reverse. Can’t be sure until brakes are fixed and tires changed for a road test.
— There is a security system.
— There is a cruise control
— The Musical Horn “apparently” can be programmed to play songs NOT included in the 62 from the factory.
I say “Apparently” because we have not been able to make it work. Yet. But the programming interface/keyboard WAS located… We are thinking “Chelsea Dagger?”
— Roof vents are electrically activated from the driver’s seat including OPEN/CLOSE and a fan and a Light.
— It has a central vacuum Cleaning system – with all the hoses and accessories. And it works. Seriously. I said you can’t make this stuff up!
— The carpet (which Liz does not prefer) is protected by a specially-made wall-to-wall vinyl cover with special clips to hold it down. You would apparently remove the cover when entertaining, but put it back for normal use.
— Kitchen is actually well equipped. Has a Thermador Microwave with browning element in addition to a “regular” LP Oven and 4 burner LP stove. The LP Fridge works and is pretty large, actually.
— It has a separate automatic Ice maker! (Can you say “Margarita” anyone?)
— The kitchen has a slide out drawer for a toaster. And receptacle on the countertop for a NuTone FoodCenter blender (Can you say “margarita” anyone?)
(Unfortunately, we cannot find either the toaster or the blender, but we will keep looking. Otherwise I think eBay…)
— It has a 12” Tube-Color TV ! Yep. 12” I found the box to control color, tint and vertical hold (remember “vertical hold?”). Goes with the 8-track player. I think it works. Not sure I care.
— We looked again at storage space and finishes. The former seemed more extensive than we remembered. The latter less ugly. Except the carpet, which Liz Hates. Did I mention Liz wants to replace the carpet?
— Liz spent the afternoon reviewing all the manuals and guides the previous owner meticulously saved. For EVERYTHING. That is how we knew about the toaster and the blender and the security system.
— And perhaps best of all, Heddy seemed quite comfortable – after I helped her up the stairs she slept the whole afternoon away.
We do have some challenges ahead of us, though. Biggest might be the generator, which is made by Kohler. I should say WAS made. It WAS a marine-oriented gasoline-powered generator. It has been long discontinued, and parts are an issue. BUT, it has 197 hours on it, so it certainly is not worn out. Although the mechanic would like to replace it with a new model ($$$), I think we will see if we can get by for awhile. A new model can be installed at any time, and lack of a generator should it crap out will not leave us stranded.
We are considering a “Modern” backup and side camera system. As you might imagine, there is NO visibility, and I think it would be good to avoid running over Liz as she stands behind the bus with a Walkie Talkie (“c’mon back..back…back…perfect!”).
And, I am thinking we are going to need to replace the 12” TV. My guess is the NHL Package will be un-viewable on that unit! 😉
Other things are as expected: needs tires (and these are not cheap!), hoses, diaphragms and air bladders. Mostly labor. Parts are simple and cheap. This is an old bus, and ALL the running gear is still out there today.
We did discover traces of a couple animal inhabitations. One of the mattresses (which we were going to replace) and the inside of the brake hubs. No particular issues or problems from either.
Mechanic thinks this is 2-4 weeks away. We are going to ask him to spend his time mostly UNDER the bus (Engine and transmission hoses and seals, air bladder and air brake replacement, etc. ). Stuff that would strand us. All of the other systems (retro as they may be) seem to operate. We’d like to use it for a few trips before we decide where to upgrade.