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  • So the past month has been pretty eventful and I've spend a heap of time (and money lol) on the bus. I installed the new ECU and spent some time tuning. The bus was running really strong but I had a bit of a mishap when I pulled out from a turning and gunned it and ended up breaking a piston ring land. The issue was basically a poor tune and too high CR. The bus did go like stink, so there's definitely some merit in a high CR boosted engine and something I will explore again in the future, but with our annual trip to Robe for Dubs by the Sea looming I decided that I needed a reliable engine and so made up another set of heads with a more respectable 8:1 Static CR. So the engine was out again and then back in again and the tuning recommenced.

    With the trip to Robe nearing there were a bunch of other jobs that I wanted to get finished in time for the trip, install the new front ball joints, install the drop spindles (with disk brake conversion), install a proper solar system to power our new fridge, make up a buddy seat, the list seemed to be endless.

    I finished the drop spindles off and went about swapping them over. Despite buying the proper ball joint press to do the ball joints on the car and making up a jig, the ball joints did not want to budge. Unfortunately my ball joints had been peened in place and the portable press just wasn't cutting it so I had to pull the torsion arms off and press the ball joints out in the shop press. (it took 15T of pressure to get them out.)

    With the new ball joints in I fitted up the new drop spindles with new lowered shocks (with clearanced brake callipers to clear the 14" wheels) and set the geometry as best as I could with the tools that I had. (tape measure and eyeballs).

    With the drop spindles installed I raised the ride height so that they net result was about the same, this meant that I had to re-profile the shift linkage to allow me to adjust the top beam adjusters into the position needed. I also took the opportunity to make up a narrowed ant roll bar. The handling was noticeably worse since removing it but with the availability of narrowed anti roll bars being zero unless you wanted to shell out $500 for a french slammer roll bar I had run without it. Having read online that someone had simply cut and shut the existing roll bar with no dramas I decided to do the same. I made up a sleeve and measured up the required width and then cut out the relevant amount from the centre. I then welded the roll bar back together and then welded the sleeve over the top to reinforce it. So far it's been fine.

    The drop spindles and roll bar have brought back some quality to the ride. It pretty much rides like stock again, albeit maybe a little stiffer. Handling is heaps better and I no longer have to avoid pot holes. It really is quite civilised.

    I also managed to get the solar and buddy seat done as well but I'll write about those that separately

    On the way back from Robe we managed to scrub a tyre, or at least that's what I thought had happened. The inner metal of the sidewall looked as though it had worn through. I suspected that the rear suspension geometry was not set correctly and the tyre had scrubbed through. So I took the bus down to Light Wheel Alignment in the CBD to get a 4 wheel alignment done. They found that the rear alignment was actually okay. So after getting a new tyre I realised that the exhaust silencer was VERY close to the tyre, and that what had probably happened was that the tyre had been cooked on the way back from Robe, the sidewall had softened and the reinforcing worked its way out.

    So I ordered some heat shielding and made up a heat shield for the silencer. The heat shield is very easy to bend, and it did not take too long to make up something suitable. I held it to the silencer using nut-serts. Now I can hold my hand on the outside of the heat shield, whereas I cannot touch the silencer. Great stuff. I'm planning on adding some more to the inside of the rear valence to help keep the exhaust temps out of the engine bay.

    So the bus is now very much back on the road. The EFI is still getting slight tweaks but is generally working great. Now it's just a case of working through a bunch of other projects to get it back into shape, but more on that later...

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