Sunday, September 25, 2011

The Process of Progress

It has been nearly 5 months since my last post.  I have not worked on Harvee D. much this summer but have been working on stuff related to this project.  As you can see in this picture Harvee is leveled and resting on several jack points on his New Pad!  The concrete includes a foundation wall (just to the Rt). which is the first wall of my future building.  I know, cart before the horse... 
Well, now that I am back on track, brakes are disassembled and I am evaluating options. 
System will be all new, some upgrades will be done.  At 13000 pounds safety is everything!  I will post pics when it gets interesting. 
The interior is completely gutted now and I am also continuing on the stuctural rebuild.   Pics of that will be added to the Travco Bones post as it progresses.
Feels good to be back on it!
Just for grins, this is what Harvee D looked like the first time I saw him!  It sure was cold that day!

Saturday, April 30, 2011

First Drive

I moved Harvee out of the spot where he has been parked.  Just pulled out of the drive, turned around and pulled back in.  The tricky part is there are ZERO brakes!
video
I need to set Harvee aside for a few weeks and work on some home projects.  Next step will be an entire rebuild of the brakes. 

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Travco Bones


Travcos were unique in their times in many ways and one was the structure of the body.  They were built on a Dodge Motorhome Chassis,  Harvee is a M-400.  Side members and cross members, a bulkhead and braces for the raised cockpit floor and some lower storage compartments, were all welded in.  Then the curve shaped ribs were welded together with horizontal ribs.  After that, the two halves of the body were connected with a seam running the full length down the center and fastened to the structure with fiberglass and foam.   This makes for a very strong unitized body.... Until it rusts!!!


Driver side bulkhead, notice how it has broke away. 


step and bulkhead at door



RUST NEVER SLEEPS!
Well, Harvee has been diagnosed with Bone Cancer.   His prognosis is good with an outlook of a nearly rust free future!  He will undergo several surgeries and months of intense treatment.  The only way to deal with rust is cut it out,  Completely!  I won't patch anything structural, if its rusty, its gone!

Turning the corner with th first new panels welded in. The step, side members and 2 ft of body rail.
I have the body supported so I could cut out the bad metal and weld in new sections.    You will see in these pics that there is not much left original except the chassis itself and that is solid.  Also note that the panels that are being welded in look "used"  That is because a friend and I bent them from salvage 14 ga. sheet.   It will clean up nice and be painted with Por15 product.   I like to re-use.  Not so much because I think green, more like I lack the green!  Ok, and it makes me feel good too!

Body jacked up and Nasties all cut out.

New bulkhead and side members welded in!
The bulkhead was the worst part of the rust on this project.  There is still alot to do with the side members and the understorage boxes.  I am doing a little redesign with the storage compartments, more on that later.
Door back in

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Harvee Lives!

I saw Harvee run for the first time tonight!    I can only speculate how long it has been since the engine ran but I would say 2-3 years.   I did not get any keys with the vehicle.  As I said this was an abandoned vehicle and Jack, the guy I bought it from never tried to start it.  He bought it at a Sheriffs auction, brought it home and realised he wanted to find someone a bit crasier than him to fix it up. 
Anyway, keys, battery, check oil, re-route fuel to a clean can...  and it did nothing!  Turns out the neutural start switch was bad.  $15 Auto Value and give it another try.  Fired right up! 
I didn't let it run long.  Just enough to see oil pressure come up and hear it run.  Sounded good, no smoke.  Just mouse nests and the decon I had put inside the interior coming out of the tailpipe!  Why would they carry it out of the interior and into the tail pipe?   Formerly very busy, dead mice.

I am satisfied now to move forward.  I first have some things I need to do around the house  Then, I will tackle the cockpit floor rebuild.  It is raised about 14 inches from the rest of the floor.  It is tubelular and angle steel structure, sheet metal (for fire wall) then covered with plywood and carpet.  It is all rotten.  I knew this going in to the project.  In fact the first time I looked at this bus I saw this and walked away.   A full month later I went back with my friend Dale and we took a peek inside the engine with his borescope and determined that it looked like the cylinders were not worn bad and the valves were not burnt or highly carboned.  I had a decision to make.  Talked it over with my wonderful Wife and she did not try to talk me out of it.  So I went back and bought it.  I don't think I will regret it, and I hope she doesn't either.
So I may not post for a while but the next post and pictures will get quite interesting.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Interior demo and clean-up

Have been busy removing the interior from Harvee.  I have it stripped down to the shell in the rear, still have to clean out the cockpit area but want to hold off until I get it running.  Everything looks pretty good in the rear, not much rot.  Actually the interior was not to bad.  There were some bad leaks and nasty critter nests above the refrigerator and a mother load of a mouse nest in the ceiling but when they came out so did the stink. 
Originally I did not think there would be anything reusable.  However, I think I will be using most of the cabinets, refacing them of course.   I used the bath vanity counter top on a special art project, I will try to insert a picture of that later.  The furnace looks OK,  it will need some work though.  A friend of mine took the dinette and the bunks to use in a hunting trailer, that made me happy to not have to throw them away.    The appliances are being  recycled. 
I found a screwdriver in the wall that was foamed in place.  It is a flat blade so it probably belonged to the Electrician wiring the bus. 
View from front

View from rear,  You can see the steel structural ribs.

Screwdriver left from April 24, 1972 ( warranty cards filled out at installation)
 The Blue shag carpet reminds me of our living room when I was a kid.  We were even more hip though...  candy stripe!   And no!  It is not staying!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Harvee Comes Home



 
Leaving Jacks place

 Harvee D. Arvee came home today.  The trip went well.  Turfed the yard a bit but I expected that. 

Unloading

Settled in
 After settling in I had to get busy removing the interior.  I am not going to show pictures of that, nothing interesting about it but mouse and bee nests.  I found one dead mouse so far, no sign of any of the bait I put there in January.  They were hungry buggers I guess.  Lets hope they are all dead, don't need Morley mice breeding with Marne mice and making some super strain of mighty Mice!  This clean up and demo stage will make a big difference quick.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Discovery

I went North tonight and removed the roof A/C unit in anticipation of the big move soon, thought it might be nice to clear the overpass'. 
While I was there I crawled under and discovered the big 12" twin Hydrovac brake boosters.  Now I know for sure, It is a He.
His name is....  Harvee D. Arvee

Friday, March 11, 2011

The Aquisition

 I have purchased a 1972 Dodge Travco 270, 413 cid.  Documentation and odometer suggest it has 145,000 miles.  This was an abandoned vehicle so I don't know much more about it.
I have not brought it home yet, waiting for winter to clear here in SW Michigan.  Soon!
My intention is to do a total Restoration/Renovation.  This is not my first vehicle restoration, nor the biggest.  However, It definately is the largest!  
Right now it is sitting  comfortably with lots of rodent killer in it.  It is complete inside but I do not intend to reuse any of the interior.  It has the standard rear bath, double bunk floorplan with more storage than my home kitchen.  Sleeps six....  who would want to?  I hope to create a nice travler for two with all the neccesities and comfort of modern coaches yet keeping the simplicity of the Travco.
I have never blogged before and I hope to make this record intersting.  I will try to post regular updates.