Retrieval Attempt #2: Success!

Purple schoolbus, front left profile

It’s home!

“Neighbor Dan” and I left at 5:30 this morning to go up to Manhattan, rig the split shifter, and bring home the bus. Dan pulled the split shifter off the differential, decided the shifter motor was just old or gummed up, and got the shifter engaged into high with some electricity and some thumping. The drive back was pretty uneventful — in particular, the shifter did not drop back out of gear.

Dan thinks the split shifter motor may just need lubrication or new brushes. He described how easy it is to remove from the differential; so I’ll start by taking it off, drilling out the three motor-mount screws off of which I broke the heads, and seeing what I can do with the motor. I don’t want to do a short-term fix like lubricating it with a lightweight oil that will just burn off, so I don’t know yet whether this will be a rebuild or a replace.

Turn Signals and Schoolbus Flashers

Schoolbus signal lights

While Dan was working under the bus, I was looking for a bulb I could use to replace the burned-out rear right-turn signal light. Thought I might be able to pull one from the schoolbus flashers (which I don’t need), but it turns out they’re sealed-beam units.

Ended up borrowing one from the back-up lights, since I wasn’t planning to do a lot of backing on the highway.

Fuel Economy

The fuel gauge started on empty and I put in a little over 40 gallons in Manhattan, so I know the tank is at least a 41-gallon.

I refilled in Newton, adding about 22.7 gallons after about 108 miles, so I got about 4.75 mpg, a little less than I was hoping for. Dan thinks a tune-up may get me a little more.

Parked By the Shed

Purple schoolbus by shed with grain truck

My brother is indulging me and letting me park the bus behind his shed by his stick-hauling grain truck, for now, anyway. He’s already warned me not to get too comfortable with that — but I’m sure once he sees how charming the bus is, his heart will warm to the idea of keeping it nearby.

Today’s Expenses

For five and a half hours of his time, plus 220 miles in his pickup, Dan only asked for $125. I gave him $149 — everything I had on me at the time. A bargain.

$149 Dan’s travel and repair fee
$102 40.332 gallons gas at start of trip
$56.75 22.708 gallons gas at end of trip
$307.75 total for second (and final!) retrieval attempt

2 Responses to “Retrieval Attempt #2: Success!”

  1. Andy says:

    To make you feel a little better about the fuel economy; you should know that here in Europe the gas prize is over $6.50/gallon! I’m not familiar with the US prize for diesel fuel but if I had that vehicle here I would rip it out the gas burner and find a diesel engine ASAP!

    It’s still a very cool ride! Good luck with it!
    Can’t wait to see it develop.

    Andy (Sweden)

  2. Cody G says:

    Thanks for all your information about your Bus, I just bought one just like yours except it is still a School Bus. It still has the seats and painted Yellow. Mine also has a 370 Ford Engine and I guess I am spoiled with my car and gas milage along with pickup and go. This old Bus which mine is a 1984 Ford runs like a farm tractor. Very low gears and tops out speed of about 50-55 mph – normally cruises around 45 and when it hits a hill drops down to 20-25 miles per hour and first gear. (It’s an automatic) I learn more about it’s personality every day I drive it and boy do I watch that gas gauge as it runs towards the E sucks that fuel up. So I bought it for $900 and plan on doing the conversion myself and should be able to get it done for under $2,000. I have had to change my plans that instead of driving around the Country it’s going to be more of driving to one place and staying awhile and then move to another place. At 4-5 mpg it just cost to much to drive around daily. Either way with the good and the bad I am happy with my decision to buy and build my dream. Good luck with yours. Cody

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