Saturday, January 30, 2016

How much work was done today?

Well, it doesn't sound like a lot but decisions were made which makes for big advances. Physical progress was limited to derusting and painting two pieces of steel from the ends of the roller shutter assembly I dismantled a while ago.
The ends had been held on by two very rusty bolts. When I took the main steel from it, I didn't undo the bolts - I just cut the top of the steel fairly close to the ends and let the ends drop off. Today I had to remove the bolts. Rather than fight with them, I simply cut them off with the angle grinder. Then I derusted the ends with the rust/paint stripping brush in the pistol drill and painted them with Rustoleum primer for rusty metal. One side got painted anyway. The other side needs painting now.

That all followed on from an investigation I carried out earlier into the prospect of putting a small compartment to replace the rather large hillbilly compartment. I'll probably have to get some 1/32 welding rods as my 1/16 might be too thick to weld bodywork steel. I'll try with my 1/16th first though. There is some air conditioner ducting lying around and if I can successfully weld that then I can successfully weld the bus steel.

The plan is to put a much smaller door on the bus for the compartment. As far as electrical power goes with a small battery, I'm not sure that I really want to weld a compartment there. Instead I'm thining I might just put a couple of straps and strap a steel ammunition box underneath containing my previously mentioned solution of using AA batteries, battery trays and a charge regulator. Basically, I'm going lightweight with pretty much everything.

While I was looking around underneath the bus, I found the reversing horn and was intending to test it but never actually got that far. I did notice that there was a sign on the chassis that said "Do not weld to nor drill into the flanges". The body is held on with steel clamps. I looked at the I girder the hillbillies had put on. That was welded via a spacer to the flange on the bottom of a chassis cross member. That was really close to a very readable sign that tells people not to do that! Let's just say that nothing the hillbillies did surprises me! That girder must be removed for two reasons.

Firstly the girder is unlikely to make a good trailer hitch since it is tack welded to the rear bumper and to the chassis cross member which makes it rather unlikely to be all that strong. Secondly, in the event of a rear collision, the chassis cross member could get bent. That would be a horribly difficult and expensive fix.

I put up self-adhesive blinds in the bathroom over two windows. That was quite easy. I stopped off at Walmart later and picked up three more in order to finish putting blinds on all the windows. The bathroom door window didn't have enough room to put a blind so I decided to get some opaque shower curtain material and attach it with velcro. It was then that I realised I could do exactly the same thing with the shower curtain over the shower.

I considered looking at replacement plates and dishes but didn't because I'm not quite ready to go there yet. At the moment I'm finishing getting the inside 100% habitable and getting the breaker box compartment completed. I'll do a lot of welding for that and am hoping my exisiting long steel rivets will work to attach the new compartment. The compartment will be a welded unit, riveted into position. I figure it would be better for rivets to be sheared in a collision from the side than for steel supports to be bent. 

While I was out, I picked up a small set of steps. Those will be handy if not esential now that I have to remove the I girder. My way of ingress has to date been via the back door. The girder was in the right place to use as a step. Without that girder, steps will be needed and Walmart had just what I needed at a price I was prepared to pay.

Tomorrow the plan is to work toward constructing and installing the breaker box compartment. I will also press on with putting up the last of the blinds and consider putting up the shower curtain too. If there's time - which there could well be since I have to apply layers of paint then I'll probably have a go at removing the I girder. That's attached so poorly to the back bumper that cutting that weld should be very easy. The other end, I'll just cut the spacer as close to the top of the spacer as possible.

Once the breaker compartment is installed, the rest of the old cable compartment will be closed up. Following that, I'll have to install the new power connector. I bought a socket box and some extenders for it. That way I can install the new power connector. I had thought of making my own socket box but don't really have a suitable steel box and am not that confident about my welding ability.

Actually, having all the stuff as light as possible has two benefits - firstly it puts less stress on the skeleton and secondly, if it broke loose and fell off then it's less likely to be such a disaster when I'm driving. There is a third benefit that it makes the bus lighter and thus less thirsty on diesel.

Out of curiosity I have been playing with old vegetable oil. For most of the last six months I've been pouring old used vegetable oil into a 5 gallon bucket. Looking at it the other day, it all seems to have solidified. Clearly not quite what it's cracked up to be and not quite suitable for use in a diesel engine. Still, I'll find a use for it even if it's just painting on exposed steel to prevent rust.

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