VINTAGE 1961 GM BUS CONVERSION – PART 1
After our cross-country journey in our VW bus, we spent the winter season in Colorado, where we re-imagined the future of our Simple Life With Big Adventures. We dreamed of a bigger home on wheels, where we could grow as a couple and a family, so we got back in our little bus and on the road!
The desert heat was pretty intense at times, there were occasional sand storms that would blow in and halt our production, plus it could get very chilly in the mornings and evenings. The owners of the property, Myra and Jim, lived in a small home, with a dog named Dakota. They too lived a simple life and became like family to us, right off the bat.
Myra knew a thing or two when it came to the diesel world and Jim had been an experienced diesel engine mechanic, so they brought a lot to the table when it came to diagnosing and fixing the bus. Although Jim’s health was not great when we arrived, he seemed to get stronger each day and it was clear that he found as much joy in resurrecting the bus as we did. We were like little kids, running back and forth from the home to the 40 foot transit bus.
Our first job at hand was fixing the battery tray and installing 4 new batteries, which took a minute to finagle the wires and hookup properly. Once it was clear that we had power, we moved on to cleaning up the incredible amount of sand that had been collected in the bus. The same day that we cleaned the interior, a massive sand storm pulled through and filled the bus back up with sand. It was hilarious.
Changing out the fuel filters was pretty simple. We removed the old ones, filled the new ones with diesel fuel and installed them. This was the point at which we figured we could turn the bus on and get going on tires. Jim and Myra handed us a single key with a mystical unicorn key chain. We were all so excited to put it in the ignition. We all gathered in the bus and looked around…there was no ignition. It turned out that the key was for a little metal box, which held the odometer and a clock, so that metro transit drivers could keep on time and on schedule. Finally, we figured out that it required pushing a combination of buttons and switches to get it to kick on.
It was an incredible feeling to hear the vintage bus start after 10+ years of sitting dormant in the New Mexico desert, but the secondary fuel filter kept running dry. There was more to do and we were determined to get this baby going!
Stay tuned for Part 2!
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