Updates on how the bus work is going:

April 18 2005

I had my first experience with the bus this weekend, which involved going to CT with Mike and Cliffo to drive the bus back to campus. And she is quite a sight to behold.
Our plan was to bolt down a seat and drive the bus to Hanover, leaving Cliff's house at 1:00pm on Saturday. Around 2:00, we found out the bus didn't move. After about 2 hours of head scratching and bus pushing, we figured out the emergency break was frozen shut. One hammer tap latter, and we appeared to be on our way...
Unfortunately, upon further examination, the warning lights for break pressure and accompanying buzzer contintued to be on, despite the bus having working brakes. To make matters worse, the brake lights didn't seem to know that we had brakes either.
To make a long, frustrating story short, we spent the next day and a half following wires around the bus and testing voltages, eventually getting the brake lights to work, followed by a four hour trek to Hanover at about 45 mph. But we did finally get the bus to Hanover, at about 12:30am Monday morning. Now that the bus is on campus, we will be able to put many more hours into completing the engine conversion, fixing the mechanical problems, and building the interior.

- Kevin Garrity
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April 3 2005

We worked this weekend to install a wooden floor in the bus and to drill through the main girder running the length of the bus to prep it for installing the vegetable oil fuel tank. The take-home message for the weekend is that drill bits are not nearly as strong as they seem, but Ill get to that.
Cliffo, Lorraine, Saul, Crank, Mike, and I (Hoffer) arrived in Connecticut Saturday morning to a chilly, windy day and began setting up the worklights and the odd assemblage of tools that we were going to use on the bus over the next two days Stepping onto the bus for the second time, there was a tinge of the most powerful sensation that I got from the bus on our first weekend the smell. It took me back to middle school field trips. Picture hundreds of kids over a dozen years sticking Jolly Ranchers and chewing gum into and onto most surfaces of the bus. They probably sweated and spit a good bit too. We managed to get most of it out when we removed the seats, cleaned the interior, and painted the roof, but some of it remained.
Lorraine and I went about laying out plastic sheeting along the floor under where the plywood was to go to keep it dry once it was installed. After a preliminary sweeping, we rolled the black sheet out and tacked it down with a caulk gun. Meanwhile, Crank worked to secure the light sockets onto the wall and Saul removed the cover off of a defunct heater in the front of the cabin. The bus work is a process of both installing the things we are going to need and fixing the broken items on the bus. Apparently the heating unit was sending out a faint smoke the last time it was turned on, so Saul removed the cover to get to the root of the problem (it turned out to be a fan that was stuck so its motor heated up and smoked when we turned it on). Around that time, Cliff and Stein returned with more plastic sheeting and plywood, and we got to work finishing the floor covering and cutting up the plywood sheets to fit across the floor. We decided on a floor of inch plywood with a substantial layer of polyurethane on top.
After cutting most of the pieces, we got to work nailing them down. We began from the front of the bus and worked our way back. We had bought self-tapping screws, but we soon found that the metal floor running underneath the linoleum enjoyed eating the self-tapping part of the screw. We resorted to pre-drilling each of the hundreds of screw holes and soon found that the metal floor was only marginally more friendly to drill bits. Nonetheless, we continued working and installed the entire floor two hours and five drill bits later.
Mike and Cliffo came up sometime in the middle of our work with sheepish grins on their faces they had run into problems of their own under the bus and had apparently cracked the massive bit they were using to drill through the metal girder. They added more hands to the floor crew upstairs, and we finished in double time.
The next morning entailed a bit more installation and a first coat of polyurethane. Unfortunately, we had not thought about how to get the bus windows back up in the part of the bus hanging in yellow absurdity out of the barn into the elements. The wet polyurethane kept us from setting foot inside the bus, but the windows had to be closed to protect the new bus interior from rain and dust. Some climbing onto the back tires and scrambling around the window frames fixed that problem, however, and we were done. We filed back into our cars and headed home to Dartmouth and catching up on schoolwork.

More to Come,
Andrew Hoffman
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