Sunday, February 27, 2011

Living in a GMC Motorhome

So, what is so cool about living in a motorhome? No matter where we are, at night, this is home. We certainly enjoy seeing the different things across our great nation. We park the GMC and jump into the Vibe GT. That thing gets us over 30 mpg most of the time. We live cheap once we arrive.

We were out enjoying the scenary last evening as we were on our way to friends' home. Look what we ran onto.

I love nice looking chop tops. This is one of them. If I could afford to pay a good body man, our Vdub would have a little chopping done on it.

So, what is this?

Do you see the difference? This is part of our steering. If one cuts the wheel too far to the right this can happen. One of the grease fittings comes into contact with the frame and off it snaps. John loaned me an ease out and I got the broken one out. I have some in the coach but can not find them. So, I guess off to a parts store for a new one. It is very important on a GMC coach to keep the frontend greased. I do it every 3000 miles. Nasty job. Well worth the trouble though.

Ok, now what? John twisted a fitting off for the return trans cooling line. "Give me an ease out John". I had it out in 10 seconds. John had one and I had one copper washer left to insert. Life is good.

Is this a good looking crew or what? Carol, Armand, and me in front of some of Armand's handy work. He is a woodworker and a good one. If you need anything just email me and I can put you in touch with him. He made our name plate for the GMC that I posted earlier and does them for RV owners. Our's was a gift. They had us out for supper last night. Sure felt good to visit and have some great grub. Desert you ask? Oh yeas, chocolate chip cookies and ice cream.
Oh, 2011 Cobra, very nice. I once owned a 95 Cobra. The engine builder signs a plate that is attached to the tappet cover on the driver's side. Pretty neat. We should all wish to attach our name to everything we do.
It snowed on all of the surrounding mountains last night. I did not get a picture but take my word for it, was a very pretty drive to church this morning. We are in a valley. It was 60 degrees here when I went to bed last night, outside. We got a little wind and rain here at the coach.
Life is good, we will "fire" in the morning.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

A Picky GMC Motorhome Owner

Ok, I love cars, everyone knows that. I picked it up from dad. He was not obsessive but he liked a nice ride. So, what is this that you are looking at? One clue, look at the driver's side valve cover. There is a signature plate there.

Now, back to mine. No blower or super charger on my aluminum intake. There will shortly be a TBI back on there though.

Ever wonder what the underside of a GMC Motorhome looks like? I am picky when it comes to the drivetrain of my vehichles. I think if they are clean they run and perform better. The engine on Teri's car, nice and clean with over 120k on it, looks new except for this desert dust that will come off when we get home. With everything under the coach clean I can see if I spring a leak. I had several leaks on this thing before John got hold of it. I don't expect any this time. Our old engine had 30 k on it when it popped. No leaks from the pan or tappet covers. This one with 7k on it leaked almost everywhere there was a gasket. I hated that and it was not an engine builder thing. In fact, I can't say our engine died because of an engine builder. I almost believe the # 8 bearing had some kind of defect. Oh well, I will never know for sure and will not worry about it.

Here is the new 1 ton GM front end on the driver's side.

The one on the passenger side. Blow up the picture and you can see the new lower control arm. It is made right.

Wish I had one of these lifts. Man, things could be kept clean so much easier.  Blaine Merrel has one and only 250 miles from me. He lets me use it when I am at his house. Thanks Blaine.If I have everything clean under here then a quick glance will help me notice any problems. I sure hate not being able to use the oil cooler in that aluminum radiator. Jim K. sent us an external one and John just got the hoses that will tie everything together. Two gauges I do not have in my dash, exhaust temperature and oil temperature. I am not really ready to be scared by the exhaust heat yet but I will be adding an engine oil temperature sending unit and gauge.

Here is a shot of the reaction arm tied to the rear disc setup. Have I told you that we have some real brakes now? Oh yea. I like just touching the brake pedal and knowing this beast is about to stop.
My plan was to have this coach ready for us to use for the next 20 years. I believe we have now accomplished that. While we are still working on the interior the running gear should now last us. We have modern stuff so I can get parts anywhere. I love the looks of the 1 ton 4 wheel drive bearing in the hub and the shiney new axles. While the old bearings were good, these will be better, and so massive compared to the little Toronado bearings. The larger front discs help the new rear discs, along with the reaction arm, in shutting this thing down in a hurry. I can buy those pads anywhere and never worry about maintenance on the old drums. I hated messing with those things.
We have friends who have invited us to supper tonight. Life is good.

Friday, February 25, 2011

The Good Life In A GMC Motorhome

Take a look at this,my Valentine's Day gift from Teri. She wants me to use this thing to dispense my dose of m&m candy. Get real. It might hold 8 pieces of candy. It would take me forever to finish off a 52 oz. bag doing that.

We could not locate the proper fuel pump block off plate at any of the local speed shops. The one on the left is what was on my engine, homemade and very thin. John had the one on the right around the shop from a Cummings. So, he cleaned it up and used it. John pays attention to the smallest detail. I like that.

Maybe this photo will show the quality of light that we get from the new led lights. If you want to try one hit the link at the top of my page. I get a dime when you do that, ok, maybe a quarter. Email me if you have questions. I am telling you these led interior lights are great. The quality of light is perfect. This particular light is about 22 bux, with a lifetime warranty. We can match most all of your fixture needs.

I don't really want to bore you with lots of details of the engine build. I put pictures over on the GMC photosite for my GMC Motorhome friends. But, just a couple here won't drive away too many readers. Here, two spot welds to keep the oil pickup from ever coming loose.

Here, we have the Rockwell aluminum intake that has been built just for our 455 engines. This intake is short so you do not have to increase the rise in the engine hatch and can keep a flat floor. Of course, I have a glass engine cover so I like a nice looking engine. Anyway, John placed the Rockwell on the heads and took his feeler gauge out and checked clearances between the two. .005 was the largest gap between the two. Should never be a sealing problem here. If you have been concerned about this, forget it and move onto a better intake.

What is this? Soft and too large of washers for the aluminum intake.

Here is what they do to the aluminum intake.

This engine will be clean when John is finished and it will stay that way when we use the new cooler that Jim sent over. No, I do not know why number 8 rod bearing went bad but I know this time there won't be any dirt inside this engine. I have had calls from GMC folks wanting to know about this shop. Guess what I tell them?
There you have it. Just a hodgepod of information. Teri is off shopping, after fixing my lunch. John is eating his lunch so I thought it a good time to bring a little humor into your life.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

GMC Motorhome Engine Rebuild

Just wanted to share a few pictures with you. John is busy assembling our engine for the GMC.

Everything gets cleaned and then cleaned again.

I don't think I will be placing a magnet inside my oil filter anymore. I was sold this magnet by a guy at one of our tech gatherings. Funny thing is there are not too many metals that will stick to it inside the engine. Unless, it is shavings from magnetic material. Bearing material is not going to stick. Anyway, I pulled it out and it just fell apart, right in the middle. I could see where a small piece of the magnet had come loose from the main magnet. Had a chip out of it. That is where it broke when I set it down on the kitchen counter. Not good in my book. Could be "snake oil".

Everything is painted after being cleaned.

My old water pump had a lot of miles on it. I went to talk with John about that. He already had a better pump that will pump more fluid than my old one. He said the bearing in the old one was going out. John checks everything. I like that.

The valves in the head again with new, better, locks.

I like this trick with the seal. Also, this is a 460 Ford rear seal. John was not happy with the seals in the gasket kit so he called around for better ones.
Just wanted to keep you updated. There will be more pictures coming soon.

Tucson Rodeo Parade

This is my oldest granddaughter, Kelsey. She rode again in this year's Tucson Rodeo Parade.

Up and out early this morning. I mean I was up at 715 am. We left here at 8 am. Parked the car and walked 3 miles to the grandstands. Our son in law's sister had 2 tickets for us to sit in the grandstands. It was great.

It was only a mile and a half back to the car. Seems we took the long way around to the grandstands.

Who cares. Teri wanted the exercise. Way out there you can see the mountains.

It was a beautiful morning for such a long parade.

Here is the riderless horse for the man who saved his wife when the senator was shot. We attended church services with the widow Sunday.

There were lots of nice wagons. Many of them over 100 years old. This parade is the 86th one here. No motorized vehicles.

A nice looking coach.

2 of my good looking grandsons. After the parade we met our daughter, son in law, and the boys at Cosco for lunch and a little shopping. I sure enjoyed our time together. We hope to be back in Duncan early in the week.
And, they are building our engine as I type. I have been out grabbing pictures and will post them later.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

GMC Motorhome

Check out our newest HotWheels. I forgot to mention that when we got to Debbie and Ken's that she had picked this up for me. Very thoughtful. I like how folks try to take our minds off of why we are hanging around Tucson.
Tomorrow morning there is a big parade in South Tucson. Our oldest granddaughter Kelsey, who is 14, will be riding her horse in the parade. Teri and I can't wait to get up early and get down there. A good friend has us seats at the grandstand. We were there last year but had to stand up.

The crank is back. Here lies the heart of our engine. John had it cleaned up in a local machine shop and we are putting things back together.

Jim K, at Applied GMC, overnighted us some parts. Here is the heavier intake gasket set that will not slip when we glue it to the heads. Our old set had slipped on one side and we were sucking oil into two cylendars. I am excited.

Here is the new oil cooler that Jim sent. We could have the  radiator cooler professionally cleaned but with this new one we know there will be no debris in the oiling system. I still do not know why the engine died but I do want to eliminate any possibility of dirt in this one. Someday, maybe I can afford a new alumin radiator so we can remove this cooler. We actually had two coolers on the old engine. Maybe this one will be enough to keep the oil cool. Might add an engine oil temperature gauge to my array on the dash, when we get back home.
Wow, I miss my old Vdub. Can't wait to get home and fire that thing up for a ride around town. Will grab as many grandkids as I can fit in it and hit the streets. I check into a Vdub forum back in Mo. pretty regular so I know it is still cold back there. But, soon it will be warmed up and the leaves will be popping. Our grandson, Colsyn, is going with grandpa to the Vdub Fest in Effingham the first weekend in June. He and I will have a blast alone in the coach towing the bug.
We slept in today. Was a good restful day for Teri and me. Tomorrow and Friday will be busy so I am glad we had a slow one today.
Thanks for peeking in on us.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

More GMC Motorhome Friends

Look who came to see us today, Armand. He also brought us a gift. Armand is a creative guy who does most of his own mechanic work too. He and Carol are local to the Tucson area and may use John here at this place in the future. There are always jobs on a GMC that need a professional. Armand is also making these signs for motorhome folks. they are great. I will have our's showing tomorrow. Still admiring it inside the coach tonight. Thanks Armand. He has his own website,   Check it out.

We have this friend in Pa. named Joe E. Joe is a GMC Motorhome owner and also a very talented guy. He called his daughter, Debbie here in Tucson, to let her know we are here. Debbie called and invited us to dinner tonight. She has also offered us a room if we get tired of the GMC. This is her car. She had it when she was a kid. It looks good as Joe, her dad, has done a lot of work on it for her.

Our hosts for this evening's meal, Ken and Debbie. Teri and I already knew Debbie but tonight was our first time to meet Ken. What a great couple. We told stories all evening. Teri was able to do some washing at Debbie's also. thankyou Joe for emailing Debbie. We are only 9 miles from them and may see them again before we leave.
What a day. The museum this morning and friends this afternoon. Teri and I try to make the best use of our time. I think we did that again today.
Tomorrow is hump day for many of you. I hope your week is going well and that Spring is in the air where you are.
PS, the car, 1960 Stude Wagon. Lark III

Another Fun Day For a GMC Motorhome Couple in the Southwest

Oh yea, these were just hanging there. What could I do?

Carl made a great day for Teri and I by giving us 2 tickets to the Sonora Desert Museum. Can't ask for better friends. they fed me las Wed. night.

Saguaro cacti all the way up these rough mountains. They are everywhere out here around Tucson.

Look at this. Kinda dumb if you ask me.

Do you know this girl? Not sure I would put those Rabbit ears on. In fact, I refused.

Look at these cacti.

Yea, he was upside down, not me.

That mountain is in Mexico.

Best looking woman in the museum.

Wow, there she is again.

Teddy Bear.

Looks like a humongus house cat but don't get too close.

Teri bought me a Saguaro of my very own.

Ok, what is it? I mean give me year. We know what brand it is.

Old Tucson Studio. Can you say John Wayne?

Oh yes, we did some geocaching.

Here is another.
Wow, we had a blast. Thanks Carl. Yall wait til tomorrow. I got something real neat to show you.