File under: General Rules of Thumb – SOHK, School of Hard Knocks.
Don’t try to tweak your bus in a campground, half way through a 3000 mile journey, lest you find yourself in the land of Unexpected Consequences.
Sub-Corollary: Even if the Wizard of Detroits lays his hand upon your engine – don’t mess with it.
Case in point:
The MightyBus has always been slow. We just took it to be the nature of the ‘beast’. Tall, heavy, wide – like a lead sail. We could make 60 or maybe 62 mph ‘on the flat’. Uphill, a very different story, downhill 70+. I don’t mind being slow, but this was bordering on the absurd. So, I decided to avail myself of some of the expertise at the Arcadia 2013 Bus Rally.
The immediate stimulus for this fiasco, was a seminar presented by my mentor and bus guru Howard Best. Howard has been an inspiration and exceedingly generous in patience and advice for this very ‘green’ bus nut. So I found myself describing the performance (or lack of) of the MightyBus to some of the masters of the bus conversion community at Howard’s seminar.
So, over to the MightyBus we march to conquer the mystery. Conclusion: I’m not getting full throttle!
Hypotheses 1: The engine has low compression.
Hypotheses 2: The governor is out of adjustment.
Hypotheses 3: The throttle linkage has an issue and is most likely in the front bell crank.
Hypotheses 4: Nothing is wrong, except the Tach up front is just not reading correctly.
At this point, the wise move for me is to take it all under advisement and leave it the hell alone!
Now, I want stuff to be ‘right’ and I want it to be ‘right’, right now! If the engine is not getting full throttle, then it needs to be fixed! So, let’s fix it! Just adjust the throttle linkage! What could be more obvious? And let’s do it right now!
A half hour later, the throttle cable stubbornly refuses to be adjusted and the conclusion is the problem is not in back at the engine, but up front at the throttle pedal and bell crank.
Now, belatedly, I think, huh! maybe a campground, half way through a 3000 mile trip is not the wise time or place to start taking the throttle linkage apart – a conclusion that my wiser other half – Wendy had come to much sooner than I. So we desist and things are restored to their original condition. No fix, but no harm done – NOT!
New Years Day arrives without our assistance, as usual. We say our goodbyes and depart Arcadia for Bonita Springs and a traditional southern New Years Day dinner at our friend Doc Heimburger’s apartment.
I had a bad feeling from the get-go and my anxiety continued to crank the further we got from Arcadia. Now, I’m a fine connoisseur of anxiety. I’ve tasted the many subtle flavors of that emotion – and this was an exquisite vintage.
The bus was not running well AT ALL. I could barely get 50 mph out of it. This is not good and we cannot drive this thing another 1500 miles home at this rate. So, I said to Wendy, we’ve got to go back to Arcadia. This bus is not running right and we just can’t go on as is. To her credit, she did not remind me of the obvious…
So I called Howard and we returned to the rally grounds in Arcadia.
As soon as I stepped off the bus, Howard, not one to waste words or time on the frivolous, said “What did he do?” Meaning: what did you muck with and show it to me right now.
He and Wayne Schell immediately determined the problem was the throttle linkage – at the engine! It seems that our previous adjustments were counter-productive resulting in even lower RPMS and less throttle!
Wayne and Howard, with me riding shotgun, took off for a circuit of the auto parts stores, hardware stores, etc. that were open on Jan 1 and found – nada. So we headed back to the rally site. Howard is not only a gentleman, but a Wizard as well. He quickly diagnosed the problem, dug out a few nuts and bolts in his bus hardware store, pulled out his Oxy-Acetylene rig and fabricated a coupler from two nuts and a ¼’ bolt. He and Wayne, put the coupler on the throttle linkage, made a few minor adjustments and Voila – it was fixed!
We took off in the MightyBus for a test drive and it was like driving a different bus. I had more power than I had ever had before. Finally, we could get off the porch and run with the big dogs!
MightyBus is running better than it ever has and we’re having a great time. Thanks Howard and Wayne!