Finally back in The Big Kahuna! SO good to be home…

Yesterday we picked up our bus from B & G Equipment!  The transmission appears to be working properly, which considering the thousands we had to spend, it better be.  Earlier in the week our latest mechanic, Jacob, reinstalled the tranny but found that the original symptoms were still present, i.e., even at idle or low speed it was constantly trying to force itself into “direct” (sort of the second gear) vice staying in “turbine” (low gear.)

Kicking up dust as we finally leave B&G's lot

Kicking up dust as we finally leave B&G’s lot

The organization out in California that rebuilt the transmission clutch provided phone technical assistance, and Jacob was able to determine that the hydraulic valve body that issues the signals to the transmission was bad.  In yet another example of the previous owner implementing non-standard modifications, there where signs that some of the ports had been drilled extra wide and then over time cracked, allowing fluid to leak by.  They managed to get the replacement sent overnight, but this was one of the reasons we ended up staying in the Clarion hotel as long as we did.

Rebuilt transmission with new valve body back in place.

Rebuilt transmission with new valve body back in place.

More than eight weeks away from our home mandated a weekend stay at a local RV park so we could get The Big Kahuna in order.  We needed a deep internal cleaning, reorganization of the storage areas since we brought some items with us from Florida, restocking of supplies, and sorting out of the tow rig for Loki.  Besides, we wanted to stay local at least until Monday in case the transmission acted up again and we needed to pull back into B&G for warranty work.

Arriving at our weekend park, Greeley RV Park

Arriving at our weekend park, Greeley RV Park

Consulting RV Park Reviews and Campendium, we settled on Greeley RV Park, the only one we found immediately in town with full hook up options.  It does not have the greatest reviews, but at $32 a night all in after Good Sam discount, we are finding it to be just fine.  We were fortunate to get a spot: in addition to the many long term railroad and oil field workers there was apparently a major dog show going on locally that filled many of the remaining spots.

Google Earth view of the Greeley RV Park South Annex.

The first night we had to stay in the overflow annex across the highway from the main area, and that section appears to be the source of at lease some of the less enthusiastic reviews.  It is a desolate sand and gravel area with no trees or grass at all, oddly arranged site parking, no facilities, excessive sand that could pose problem in the rain, and awkward water and power hook ups.  I am frankly surprised they charge the same rate for the annex as the main section.  On the plus side the roads were wide, the pull through sites were easily entered, and the free wifi seemed to have a stronger signal over there.  We didn’t mind the negatives since we didn’t even arrive until 6PM and were able to move to the main RV park the next morning.

Our spot for the last two days of our three day stay at Greeley RV Park

Our spot for the last two days of our three day stay at Greeley RV Park

The main area is much better than the overflow: Lots of trees and grass, better arranged water and electrical connection points, hard packed dirt and gravel roads and sites, and all the facilities (laundry, private shower rooms, store, gym, clubhouse.)  They could benefit from a bit more attention to maintenance issues, e.g., four of the eight washing machines were out of order during our stay.  All in all, while we don’t plan on coming back to Greeley, if we ever found ourselves here in need of a short stopover I would not hesitate to pick the Greeley RV Park.

Lastly, we need to keep our giddiness in check, for we know we will have additional mechanical challenges and expenses down the road.  E.g., we could have picked up The Big Kahuna one day earlier, but we wanted to give B&G time to take a shot at some of the other, less critical problems we have been having.  Unfortunately, with only a day to work it, Jacob was not able to resolve the alternator/generator failure to charge the starter batteries, but was able to conclude it is a wiring issue and that we should consider replacing the entire wiring harness.  He suspects that degraded and shorted wiring is likely the source of our other issues as well, particularly the left low beam headlight only working when we turn on the high beams, and might also be causing the dashboard oil pressure gauge to read low and the dash water temp gauge to not read anything at all.

Two of these gauges don't work correctly. The red light below the speedometer is the generator failure light, which is almost always illuminated, unfortunately.

Two of these gauges don’t work correctly. The red light below the speedometer is the generator failure light, which is almost always illuminated, unfortunately.

But for now we are back on the road, and will address the wiring harness issues along with the still extensive list of upgrades and repairs we would like to make later this year or early next.  If anyone has recommendations for an east coast mechanic capable and willing to work on a vintage bus, we are eager to hear about it.

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8 thoughts on “Finally back in The Big Kahuna! SO good to be home…

  1. If you’ll be heading through Tennessee… Choo Choo Express Garage is our mechanic of choice in Chattanooga. They’re awesome, long time bus folks, very skilled, love 2-strokes & vintage buses and believe their rates are currently at a very reasonable $65/hr (and they let you stay onsite). We generally route that way when going in/out of FL if we can for our routine maintenance and upgrades. Tell Don and Joel hi for us!

    Further north, like in NJ – is US Coach with the famous Luke – the source of tracking down any tricky parks you might need, and they do great service.

    • Wow Cherie thanks so much for that reminder. I think I recall reading your posts about the Tennesse shop, and since we are flexible in our route back to the east coast, I think we will make it a priority to go there.

  2. Enjoy reading your blog. Sorry for the unanticipated expenses, I follow Technomadia too and they had to spring for an engine. Hope you don’t . We have a Rv but are closet bus people. Best of luck on your journeys!

    • Thanks for the well wishes! We have been following Technomadia for a couple of years as well. We haven’t had to spring for a new engine, but we seem to have replaced everything else on the bus!

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