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Toyman01 GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
1/15/16 9:08 p.m.

OK people, the odds are I'm buying a bus. Namely this bus. Sight unseen, 1100 miles from home. Hasn't been registered in 12 years. I'm planning to drive it home to South Carolina, from Wisconsin.

Edited to add pictures.

This thread will be about getting ready for the trip and the trip itself.

First concern. Heat. The bus doesn't have any. The high today in Allenton was 28. I might need some heat. My thought is to carry a old heater core, a couple of muffin fans, and 15' of heater hose. Looking at the pictures of the engine, I don't see any provisions to tie in the heater hose. Where do they hook up to a Ford FE engine.

Tom Suddard
Tom Suddard GRM+ Memberand Associate Editor
1/15/16 9:10 p.m.


RealMiniParker UltraDork
1/15/16 9:23 p.m.

PM sent.

rusty New Reader
1/15/16 9:37 p.m.

Isn't that a capped off heater hose fitting right in front of the thermostat housing? I love the wooden passenger door.

Toyman01 GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
1/15/16 9:37 p.m.

In reply to RealMiniParker:

PM Received. Thanks!

Toyman01 GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
1/15/16 9:39 p.m.

In reply to rusty:

I can't tell for sure and I'm not familiar enough with that engine to know for sure.

Jay UltraDork
1/15/16 9:50 p.m.
Toyman01 wrote:

I'm hoping there's a better explanation for this than "was once used as a backstop for a firing squad execution." Just saying.

Toyman01 GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
1/15/16 9:54 p.m.

The engine is supposed to be a FE big block of some questionable displacement.

This picture is a 390. It appears the heater circuit comes off the water pump in front of the thermostat housing and returns to the intake manifold behind the thermostat housing.

Now I just need some fittings and I should be golden.

rslifkin New Reader
1/15/16 10:03 p.m.

Assuming that thing flows like most V8s, the flow is actually opposite of what you're describing. It'll come from the intake and return to the water pump.

Kenny_McCormic UltimaDork
1/15/16 10:03 p.m.

Heater routing, one in the manifold, one in the water pump. Plug in the thermostat housing for a temperature sender.

Edit, I do believe that water comes out of the intake manifold, into the pump, virtually all old engines pump up. Also, speaking of the cooling system, a new radiator cap never hurts, and a card or two of bars leaks tablets on standby.

This one has a bypass loop on it.

rob_lewis SuperDork
1/15/16 10:08 p.m.

Are you wanting to heat the entire bus or just the driving and front passenger compartment?

If just the front, I'd take one or two 12v heaters to hook up to the battery, an adjustable shower curtain rod, some duct tape, and a couple of cheap fabric (or clear) shower curtains.

Run the shower curtain across the bus as high as possible behind the driver, and put up the shower curtains. Tape the bottom and the sides to seal it up better.

Basically, just closing off that front area to keep the heater to just heating that area. If you need to see behind, you can use clear curtain liners. The more the better (or a cheap blanket, too) to help insulate.

I have a buddy of mine that does the same with his VW bus and it keeps the front almost too hot.

You could also keep the theme of the bus as it sits currently and do it with lots of cardboard......


Toyman01 GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
1/15/16 10:11 p.m.

In reply to rob_lewis:

That's a thought. I just don't want to find out an hour into the trip the alternator won't keep up with a electric heater.

SyntheticBlinkerFluid UltimaDork
1/15/16 10:24 p.m.

In reply to Toyman01:

I can see in your pictures of the engine that someone put a 90 degree fitting on the thermostat and then plugged it. You will definitely need new fittings.

Also, what about wiring in a power inverter so you can Power something more that 12V for a heater.

Also the curtains is a good idea, but instead of shower curtains I'd use some sort of a fabric curtain. I have a feeling the bus will be pretty drafty. So that will help keep you warm.

curtis73 GRM+ Memberand PowerDork
1/15/16 10:29 p.m.

First of all... you're my berkeleying hero.

Secondly, the guys have it nailed on the heater fittings. Many of the 50s buses didn't have the standard heater core for the driver. They had one big heater core in the back near the rear wheel wells. My guess is that the pipe just beside the starter solenoid in this photo (copied below) is the pipe that used to take coolant to the heater core back there.

If I were to venture a guess, that bus originally came with an I6 which had a coolant fitting at the back of the head and one on either the radiator or the water pump for a return. (FE engines didn't happen until 1958). That also means its hard to guess what displacement it is since it couldn't be original.

You have big cojones, my friend. Road trip thread PLEASE!

curtis73 GRM+ Memberand PowerDork
1/15/16 10:36 p.m.

More on the heat issue...

Quit being a pansy southerner and buy a good coat and gloves. Cheaper and easier than plumbing a heater core and fan. In 24 hours you'll be back into warmer weather. If you get cold, stop at a Flying J and go inside for a coffee.

oldopelguy UltraDork
1/15/16 11:03 p.m.

I'd be mounting a generator on a hitch hauler and running an ac heater myself. Bonus for being able to have heat when parked or broken.

mazdeuce PowerDork
1/16/16 5:44 a.m.

When I bought my wagon with the FE I learned a few things. 1. If it runs, don't touch it and it will almost certainly keep running. 2. The main potential failures are the starter relay and bits and pieces of the ignition. I can't tell from the pictures if it's still running points or if it's been upgraded. Either way I'm sure you can handle it.
My primary fear with driving something that has been sitting that long is fuel. Even if there is fresh-ish fuel in the tank there could be a LOT of crap that shakes loose as you bounce your way home. It might be a good idea to scab in another fuel filter before the carb. Much easier to swap out a filter than it is to try and blow jets out in sub freezing temps.

914Driver MegaDork
1/16/16 7:18 a.m.

Cool. See if Rennie is up for a road trip.

Esoteric Nixon
Esoteric Nixon UltraDork
1/16/16 7:38 a.m.

Yes to all of this.

ultraclyde UltraDork
1/16/16 8:13 a.m.

Agreed on adding a pre carb fuel filter. Get a couple of the cheap see through clamp-on ones so you can swap one out in the middle of no where.

I had a 390 in a pickup. Once it gets running, you will have heat. If the firewall and floor boards are insulated as poorly as I suspect, that big iron heatsource behind the front bumper will keep the driver's seat tolerable, especially if you block off the rear of the bus.

One thing that happened in my old F100 one cold night on the interstate - the vents went cold and the truck started overheating. I pulled off at a truck stop and pulled the oil breather off only to find milky froth. I just knew I'd blown a head gasket. The next day when I went back to get it I pulled the thermostat and found it encased in ice. not real sure what happened, but carry a spare t-stat too. I suspect at 18 degrees the thing was opening and closing often enough that it broke closed.

Good luck, and....you rock.

Toyman01 GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
1/16/16 8:17 a.m.

In reply to mazdeuce:

It has run and driven in the last couple of months, so fuel shouldn't be a problem. I will be installing a large spin on filter just in case. I think I have a marine setup collecting dust in my shop. It's all carburetor pressure, so some hose barbs and hose should take care of that fairly quickly.

I plan on buying a cap, rotor, plugs, wires, and points kit. I don't plan on installing them unless there is a problem. I am considering buying a radiator, but will probably will just haul some stop leak and a torch instead. I plan to haul my electrical repair box as well.

My plan for repairs before hitting the road are belt, hoses, all fluids, fresh fuel, and that's about it. I may even have a shop do that work, so I don't have to deal with the cold, the oil and mess.

patgizz GRM+ Memberand PowerDork
1/16/16 8:32 a.m.

i like the generator on a platform outside and a 110v heater idea. puts no tax on the truck's electrical system, no need to run hoses or cobble anything.

XLR99 HalfDork
1/16/16 8:41 a.m.

This is epic.

I like the generator on hitch haul idea!
Does this have an alternator or generator now? Maybe bring along an alt from Pull a part as well just in case.

NOHOME PowerDork
1/16/16 8:46 a.m.

I hate turning wrenches when they are frozen! Here are a couple of suggestions to keep you warm on the banzai run home without having to mess around installing the original heater in the middle of winter.

egnorant SuperDork
1/16/16 8:50 a.m.

Cook a brisket on the way home! Potatoes,carrots and maybe some little onions.


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