Engine Detail 2012

Although my engine and transmission are relatively new (under sixty-thousand miles total) they have been looking really tired and sad here of late.  So I decided to take some time and a little money (less than fifty bucks) and detail it out a little bit.  First order of the day was to pull it out of the shop and put the power-washer to it, try and get as much grease and road grime as I could off of the motor and the surrounding surfaces.

One really nice feature of the Eagle, is they were designed with free and open access to a great many of the area’s that a guy needs to get into.  That is a plus.  Power-washing like most other “non fun bus adventures” is nasty and only done every now and then (If you are smarter than the average monkey) and takes about 45 minutes to complete, start to finish.

Went by AutoZone for some heat resistant paint, this is what I painted the motor with and the exhaust system.  After it dried, I went back over it with Chrome Paint that I picked up at Lowe’s (this would be Rustoleum enamel paint).  Figuring the base coat (heat resistant paint) would take the heat, and then the upper coat (chrome) would be okay.  I don’t know if this will work, but it should be clearly visible or evident within 100 miles or so.

A liberal application of AmourAll and a rub down on the piping and hoses comes next, and areas that still need attention get some more.  A camera is a handy tool for a project like this, you can take some shots of it and then later download it to the computer and get a good close up birds-eye view of everything.  The camera is very good at pointing out areas that you somehow missed (and you will miss them trust me).

The last item on the agenda is to add two led strips so that if the case should arise late at night, you would have some light to work with.  I added two 12″ LED lights from United Pacific to the engine compartment.  One high and one low, lights it up rather nicely.

As I pointed out earlier, it is not new, but it sure looks a lot better.  Functional and pretty, the best of two worlds.


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I want it … I want it … Magic Bus

My old bus, “Be ye not the first to try the latest, nor the last to cast the old aside” is what my grandmother used to tell me, something truly special about being the owner of an old hoopie that is no longer in production.  Just below the surface, where most people do not bother to look you can find … A small part of me, that yearns to get behind the wheel of a nice, shiny high-dollar Pig Iron Pony.  A quiet soul that would love head out on the interstate and just let it run … Maybe some day in the next life?  Certainly it will not be today.

Here is today’s Riveting Discussion … Torture Time Again … Things I love

The smell of fresh rain on a country road in the summertime.
Songbirds in the tree on the west-side of the house
The view from the top of the hill at the Riverside in Laughlin Nevada.

The husky sound of a woman’s laugh in the dark.
Little children at play.
Long stretches of two lane at dusk
the sound of a big Detroit workin a hill outside of Bozeman
fresh popcorn poppin,
mis-spelled words in Bus Conversion Magazines

Setting the Jake and listening to her bark as she drops off the hill.
High-dollar fuel, bad roads, lousy weather, take the edge off life
Aluminum wheels and shaved rivets
crowded truck stops and radared chicken fry’s
polished wheels excite my senses

I like the look of Albuquerque, New Mexico, after dark from the top of nine mile hill … Same with Las Cruces and The College Exit in Henderson Nevada.
Porpoising on the Interstate in Livingston, Wyoming, running I-20 east out of Houston.

Winning lottery tickets
(Hey … This is my fantasy, remember that.)
“It’s all downhill from Van Horn Texas.”
(Yeah sure)
Diesel mechanics who smile and say, “Ah, this aint nuthin.”

Halter tops and cut off Levi’s
Bacon fryin and the smell of burnt toast in the kitchen,
M&M commercials
No one in line ahead of me at the fuel desk
mashed potatoes and dark rich gravy

straight lines and shiny stainless steel

The smell of diesel exhaust early in the morning
a cup of fresh brewed coffee.
Country Music, Miranda Lambert, Carrie Underwood
NASCAR, CMT Video’s, old time Rock n Roll
long, slow wet kisses in the dark,
Stories told late at night around a dying campfire

Cracker Barrel stores
Chrome shops,
Stainless Steel (no seriously, did I mention stainless steel?)
the wife humming softly at the kitchen sink
fried apples in thick syrup.

And last: 

Meeting another truck on a hill late at night, and he says, “Aint nuthin’ back there driver but a whole lot of dark.”

All that … is a Rainy Day slice of life … And some of it even makes me smile.


Thanks to Tom at Prevost Community for the photo credit.


Driveway Queen

Tom Turner, our reader on the left-coast of America wanted some bus porn, so here is a little to whet his whistle.
Groom Texas is the site of the cross, largest cross on the North American Continent, or so it is said.

I wake up and my pillow is full of slobber, man, I hate that!  Forming a mental picture of my head on this pillow and my tongue hanging outside my mouth, sort of like those old blood hounds in the movie, Cool Hand Luke, and it just strikes me as revolting.

Deftly reaching up with my left hand, I wipe my face in a masculine manner (meaning with a bare hand because I do not have a handkerchief handy) and quickly look around (to see if anyone observes me doing this repulsive thing I have unconsciously done) and I quickly sit up in bed.  What is it that triggers a dream such as this?  Where you are prone to consume your own pillow.

Only in the mind of man, does something as bizarre as this occur.

Reaching out as if I almost in a state of disbelief, I touch the pillow and it is soaked to the bone as my grandmother used to exclaim.  What about the dream?  I am thinking hard, and I remember some people, a plate full of honey-covered brisket (if there is such a thing?) and vaguely, some off-color conversation, a handful of good-looking beautiful, robust, round shaped women.

I am mystified, “a plate full of honey-covered brisket?”

Coming from a long line of finger lickin’ chicken eaters kind of people (Donnie, don’t let the dawg get into them bones!), honey soaked brisket seems awfully foreign to me.  Meat and tators in our neck of the woods, flies in the butter, no brisket anything in this part of “Ameri-Kuh” as George Dubya used to say.

Same with touch football games and well manicured lawns, why I dream of these things, truly escapes me at the moment. I live in Oklahoma, where a large percentage of the population actually believes that wrestling on television is real, and in the southeastern corner of the state, the idea of gun control is to “hold it with both hands Earl.”  Where your first born child has three names … Billy Raye Littler.  Where people generally say, “Whadya mean you got a bus?  Did-ja mean a reel bus?  You mean like one of them Greyhound things, Oakridge Boys star buses, one of them?  Well, I’ll be.”

So you can readily understand why dreams of idyllic New England and front yards full of leaves of many colors, touch football just do not resonate with my country soul. Sweaters tied loosely around the neck and women with names like Buffy and Tiffany just do not register, nor induce slobber.

The absolute worst dream I ever had was the first night I spent in my Eagle in Alabama.  Our bus has an overhead mirrored ceiling that runs the entire length of the coach.  The first night I ever slept in it was in a rest area in Good Hope, Alabama (just a tad north of Birmingham) where I woke up abruptly and looked up for a moment “and actually thought I was being attacked by a naked skydiver!”

Now that … that … was a scary dream, but I digress, we are talking about this dream, sorry

In my latest dream, Big Jim lites up a cigarette and everyone in the waiting room at the tireshop is horrified, this must be a terrible thing, but I fail to see where it would induce slobber on the pillow.  Now if it were a beautifully painted up Detroit or Big Cam 600 Cummings, with chrome plated rocker covers and un-rusted exhaust pipes, steam cleaned and shining brightly, that would be a different story altogether.  Fresh paint on the body of the beast, new Armor-all on all the hoses, no grease … Ah, the dreams of man.  This would be enough to induce slobber or at best, provide that deer in the headlight look on most men.

Unfortunately most dreams are not of that pleasant nature.

Not that long ago, the wife, in the middle of the night, shook me awake rather violently.  I was, to say the least, rather startled and I might add, a bit confused.  I did not smell smoke, I did not hear the thunder, the wind was not howling, nor did I see any lightning.  In other words, all around me seemed, despite her apparent sense of urgency, rather normal for four in the morning.

I said to her, “What?  What?

What in the name of GOD ALMIGHTY is wrong woman!”

She said to me, “I have a dream.  We are in Wikiup, Arizona, in our bus, you drive off and leave me there!  Why do you do that?”  I sigh, a sigh I have learned to do almost habitually over the years, and I say to her, “This?  For this I am shook into a rather strange version of reality at this time of the morning?  You had a dream and I left you in Arizona?”

She looks at me, very much relieved and says, “Yes, yes that is it.  You drive off and leave me!”

At that point in time, I slowly lower my head onto my pillow (which has not been slobbered on here lately) and I mutter under my breath just loud enough to be heard, “go back to sleep woman, I will drive back and pick you up.”

“Life isn’t about how you survive the storm, but how you dance in the rain…”

You can travel east and west, but in the end, well, y’know the rest, dontcha?

(As my friend Bernice would put it … Life Is Good)



It’s The Little Things

The bus sat in the shop this past weekend, I had wanted to take it out and run it awhile, but that did not happen.  Not long ago, one of our heaters had stopped working, so we (we being me) took it apart and did some maint. on it and got it back in running order.  The on/off switch on the thermostat is kind of tricky, that is to say, it is hard to ascertain whether it is on or off on just about any given day.  At that point, I turned it off (or at least thought I had turned it off) and went about my business.  This was about sixty days ago, the last time we used it.

It now appears that it was in the “on position” and therefore, was coming on and running for who knows how long each night, when we were in bed.

Over the past few few weeks I had been experiencing problems starting the bus, it seemed like it had some kind of battery drain or reluctance to start on just about any occasion.  It also had been driving me nuts, or as my wife would say, “short trip” on several days trying to pinpoint the cause of the problem.

I pulled the dash and checked the ground on the starter switch, I pulled the drivers panel and checked the aux. start switch (helper).  Located the starter relay, crawled under over and all around the thing.  I jumped the starter, I hot wired in new switches, I tried every possible senario, even to the extent of pulling the batteries, a two hour job in itself.

I crawled on and over this thing like a monkey on a jungle gym without much success at all to put it bluntly.

Then one day, quite by accident, I am walking by the drivers side of the coach and as I pass the heater box I hear a click, the thermostat comes on and then whirr, the heater fires to life!  I turned and looked at it and then said, “What the —-?” and by pure luck (not reasoned deduction) the problem had been located.

This might be where the old adage, “even a blind hog can find an acorn every now and then” would apply.

I went inside the bus and checked some gauges on the inverter, and low and behold, the batteries were down to 10 volts.  So this weekend, it has sat with the battery charger.

A small thing, a little detail, but it shut me down and put me in the foot patrol.  It also chipped away at my fondness for my pig iron pony and kind of depressed me during my waking hours.

Here is another, this one cost me over a hundred bucks.

Wanting to charge up the batteries last week (before I had discovered the cause) I ran it out about 100 miles or so and then back to the shop.  During this trip, I also wanted to pull down the aux. fuel tank (65 gallons) to a smaller number of gallons (in order to reduce weight) and lower the gallons inside the tank.  Misreading the bus fuel gauge at 3/4 of a tank, I started the pump (the main tank it turns out was already full) and I begin transferring fuel.

Shortly thereafter, we started smelling diesel.  I thought two things at this point in time.  #1 was “Uh Oh?” and #2 was what my granddaughter is fond of saying …. “Uh Oh’s are never any good Grandpa.”

The smell of diesel now strongly permeates the interior of the coach.  This was because we were actually pumping it out the overflow and right onto the ground!  Yeah I know … At almost $4 per gallon.  (You will never hear me brag about how smart I are … No sir.).

Later on, over some cold beer and ribs, I try and explain to the little woman the nature of the beast and why it is taking so long to fix all of these “little things,” and she just nods her head, smiles in what I believed was total agreement, and then said to me in an understanding fashion …. “I hate my kitchen.”  She has heard it all before and frankly, there isn’t much here that she would consider news.

So after supper, I turn it around and drive it back home, later I slink out to the shop to once again, try and figure this out and I attack the problem.  They say Edison did over 10,000 experiments before he got the light bulb to work, and using that for a model, I am sure that I will find the root cause of my issues also (sadly it may take 9,000 attempts).  Late into the night, from the corner of the shop you can hear a small little voice saying over and over … You can do this, you can do this, you can do this …. dummy.

Later on, much later on, when most sane and reasonable people are tucked away for the night, I discover the problem and I fix it.  Once again, just a little thing, but it caused a lot of problems and expense.  That is often the way it goes …. first your money and then your clothes.

Earlier in this same week, I am wiring up our trailer and nothing, absolutely nothing, is working.  No matter how it is that I try to do this thing … this dawg isn’t going to hunt.  Over and over, day after day … one day … two … three days later I find it.  Once again, after applying the Edison principle to the problem (You can do this, you can do this, you can do this …. dummy.)  Stripping the wire covering on the trailer wiring harness, I find that the manufacturer of the trailer had apparently ran out of “blue wire” so in the middle of a run, he switches it over to “white.”

Which is as most of us already know, most always 90% of the time, a “ground” wire.

Dutifully after cursing his first born male child and implying that his parents were never married to begin with … I change out the wires (switch them around) and walla boys & girls … we now have trailer brakes!

Perhaps I am just doomed and do not know it?

One time in Utah, I missed the turn, when my bride said to me, “you missed the turn” I replied, “it’s no big deal.”  I then drove into a box canyon, thirty-seven miles in … and yes … thirty-seven miles out.

A little thing, but then again, it is always the little things in life that are going to get you.


Time Stamp

Why is it when I see something like this alongside the road, I get that old familar feeling deep down in my gut, that I clearly realize as dangerous?  This can only lead to long hours in the shop, numerous cuts, bruises, scrapes and boxes of band-aids.  Missed dinners and family opportunities.  No wonder they call these people (bus) nuts.

Been studying stupid principles and behaviors this week.  For instance:  Putting a doorbell or a front door chime in a commercial should be illegal, especially at nappy time.  Man, don’t you feel stooopid, when you get up, go out there and answer that door and find yourself standing on the front porch, which is empty looking around, I do.

What is this preoccupation with celebrating anniversaries of deceased people in this country?

Princess Diana at fifty … tomorrow at seven P.M.
Elvis celebrates his _____ birthday today.
Has anyone noticed that these people are no longer with us, they are of course, dead.
Maybe we should send everyone concerned a memo?

New and improved dog food, like he is going to notice the difference?
I just love that rich, hearty, beefy flavor … where is it that people talk like this?
Gets out deep down stains and blood, hey, if you have blood stains, I don’t know how to tell you this …  but you have more than just a laundry problem.

NBC’s America’s Got Talent … Skipping rope?
Riveting in a STRAIGHT LINE now that is talent.
Fixing a leaking fuel line on the road, faster than a mailman delivering Clearing House Sweepstake Letters at a pit bull convention … now that is talent.
Installing new LED’s all the way around and not having to build her a new kitchen … what can I say?

Maybe it is me, but coffee always seems to taste better when it is consumed out of an old cracked cup.

Children are God’s punnishment for enjoying sex … Grandchildren are a gift from Heaven.  My grandson wanted to know yesterday how it was that I became such a tough old geezer?  I just told him “it was all that dinosaur hunting I did as a kid, draggin’ the decoy around, the thing must have weighed three tons.”

He is also a music affectionaldo (sp) … No big surprise … He doesn’t like my music, always wants to change the channel when we are out running around doing what he calls “guy things.”  (truth be known, me and my little sister used to do it all the time to our Dad)

You say Lady Gaga, I say Lady Antebellum …
You say Jason Derulo, I say Jason Aldean
You say T-Pain, I say T-Swift …
You say Ke$ha, I say Kenny
You say Pitbull, I say Paisley
You say Justin Bieber, I say Justin Moore and go grow a pair

92% of teenagers have turned to Hip Hop and Pop. If you are part of the 8% that still listen to real music,then copy this missive and put it on your refrigerator with a little magnet shaped in the image of a piece of fruit.  The rest of you …. Stop being an idiot and start listening to real music!!!


Yeah, that would be okay, ride around in my big O entertainer, with five or six roof airs, humming away up on the roof.  My sat. TV, and hurricane reports from what seems like a lifetime away from where I am, my own born in the USA driver behind a closed door up front.

Me and the old guitar strumming away and racking up the miles.  “I got those Monday morning, wake up its early, wash behind your ears they are dirty, eat your eggs and oatmeal, rush to work blues …. Yeah.”  (Toby Keith and Willie … Eat Yo’ Heart Out … Someone call my agent, we have a hit)

Oh well, some things are best left unsaid.  Glancing up at the old clock up on the wall and it tells me what I already knew.  It’s almost time for a road trip.Ice ‘em down Van-Man, soon I will be headed your way!
Find me a long spot in the back at the KOA.