Monday, March 28, 2011

Recycled fuel! Coming soon to a bus near you!

Quick update:

I did it!!
I had to.
I bought a waste vegetable oil filtration system from a very competent and creative DIY-er from Warwick, RI.

I will be picking it up and bringing it home tomorrow!

More pictures to follow, these are just a few from the Craig's List Ad. I will go into more detail (about how they work, and why I chose to purchase this one, and how I intend to use it) in future posts, but right now, it's 15 minutes past my bedtime.

The Bus Girl

Thursday, March 24, 2011

just to add...

I just had to add to my last post, and also share some pictures. Alright so the 5-year plan is nice, but I think I want to move on this whole "no money" idea a little faster. As soon as the bus is safe and drivable (meaning brakes work, tires are good, engine runs, etc., not finished interior or anything like that) I want to try this plan - for one year. This is one of my many ongoing current goals.

I have noticed that dumpster diving for food when one is a gluten-free vegan is a little trying. Possible, but you can't really "expect" anything. No one can get sued for contaminating your food with wheat products if you are stealing it from their waste.


As it is, I live pretty money-less, in terms of spending. I try not to spend often, mainly because consumerism gets me down. I can't help but think about who is being affected along the line.
"Made in China"
"Made in Taiwan"
What land was subjected to deforestation for that factory, how much petroleum was used to transport these metals, which were probably mined in South Africa, how much profit is this company making by skimping out on health insurance for its workers.... AH!

Even putting fuel in my car, which I haven't done in over a month now because I sold the old Benz and the Rabbit is in storage until possibly the weekend. Actually, I hope to revive the the Rabbit ("Gaia" is her name) this Saturday, so that I can drive down to Warwick, RI to check out a WVO filtration system that some guy (who sounds pretty rad) is selling. I may just check out his design, but it's like... I am not sure that I could just explain to him my life plan and see if he would be willing to donate to the cause (or, even better, exchange for something that I have, or some labor, or whatnot. His son does have a mk2 diesel Jetta, so we'll see!). There are many obstacles that are getting int he way of living for free that I Have to jump over, or avoid all together.

But, if I want to drive the bus, and I want to live without money, then WVO is kind of going to be a necessity. I am not sure how to handle this now, so I promise I'll get back to it.

I have another interesting story about manifesting that involves my website idea and meeting a person this afternoon, but I don't want to jinx it, but I'll just say that I am super in touch with the Universe currently. Rock.

And, as promised, I have a few cool pictures of the current inside of the bus. I am hoping to organize a bus interior-gutting party soon, as well as a bus-frame-painting-party, which can be really all-inclusive. Anyone who can wield a paintbrush can show up to help and earn karmic points that can be redeemed at any point.

This series is fun, because it looks like you're walking up into the bus from behind. (See the picture on the right sidebar where I am standing in the rear doors of the bus! There's one step back even further!) This is looking up from where the engine used to be.

Pardon the scattered ranting... this post brought to you by a brain dump at 16 minutes past my bedtime. :)

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Transmission detach Part 1, + general rambling

Alright, so I have a lot to say today. 
Firstly, I have done a bunch of work to the bus recently, but I am not going to write about it all right now, but rather, try to spread it out a little bit so that my posting is more consistent and less sporadic and brain-dump-like.

Yesterday, I was joined at the machine shop by my dear friend John*, who is a fan of my bus and was psyched to be my second hand for some heavy tasks that I was hoping to accomplish. He also helped me to make this video that I am sharing with you. See, I had hoped to upload and share my random audio brain dumping, but couldn't for the life of me figure it out, (perhaps it is not Mac-compatible??) so I decided to step up my game. 

The rest of this procedure will also be uploaded in video form and put here on the web for your viewing pleasure. And, if you ever wanted to know how to detach an Allison automatic transmission from an 8V92 Detroit Diesel, well then here is an instructional video, just don't hold me liable for my novice (and perhaps improper) tool use, procedure, or safety precautions, thank you very much!!

Yeah, so this is actually kind of embarrassing for me to put myself out there to the world, (I have a hard time watching this video without being like, "Oh dear god!! Is that really me talking!?!") but I think that it is a good step in the right direction. We shouldn't be ashamed of ourselves for who we are, what we look like, what we sound like, how we talk, whatever... but so often, these small, simple insecurities will get in the way of people accomplishing great things and putting themselves out there into the world to share their gifts. Now, I am not saying that this blog is necessarily the greatest gift, but whatever. You can draw from it what you will.

Moving on, I wanted to share a quote that I found on the website, which has been really inspiring to me recently:
“Do not ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. For what the world needs right now is people who have come alive."    -Howard Thurman
In case you haven't guessed, this project makes me feel very, very alive. I wish for all humans to have something like this as a driving force (ha, ha) in their lives. Something that propels them forward, makes them excited to get up in the morning, makes the day go by like NOTHING because the whole day has raced by with daydreaming, planning, enthusiasm, and positive energy. This is how my days have been going recently; how lucky I am!

I have been thinking recently about ways in which I can share this energy with the fulltiming community in a more tangible form, and I think that the answer may perhaps lie in my social networking skills.
I need help making a website! I am kind of in the process of struggling through this one solo right now, and I have found my skills (and finds) to be limited, so if anyone knows of someone with website-development skills who would be willing, then please direct them my way! Thank you. That is enough of that for now.

I would also like to put out there in the Universe that I have a 5-year plan of weaning myself off of the need for money. I know, it sounds really extremist, un-doable, difficult, dangerous, impossible, yeah, yeah, yeah, BUT! It has been done before, and if there is someone else out there doing it, then you bet you're britches that I can do it, too!

Why 5 years, you ask?
Well, I have to get the bus fully prepared and functional. I mean, I am pretty good at manifesting, but manifesting some fresh engine bearings, sleeves, transmission fluid and however many gallons of oil that I need... meh, I don't want to overwear my welcome into the Freeconomy just yet. 

Fully prepared, you ask?

Yes. Well, the bus at least. I think I am ready.

What does that mean?

Fully prepared to run on waste vegetable oil (WVO), keep me warm using wood and WVO, charge my computer (for blogging and running my website, writing for the mag, and making free phone calls, naturally!) with solar energy, compost my humanure, hold air in the airbags, have functional brakes, install some very simple plumbing with human-powered pumps, etc., etc., etc.

I think that's enough rambling on for today.

The Bus Girl & her Urge

*names may have been changed for confidentiality ;)

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Get Out Of Your Own Way!

Well, you read the title of this post.

This blog entry is going to have absolutely nothing to do with working on the bus, but EVERYTHING to do with living the dream. So often when I tell people about what I am planning on doing, I have a reaction similar to:
"Oh wow! I wish I could do something like that!"
"Oh, I have always wanted to live my life like that!"
"If I didn't have to [insert lame excuse here, such as 'raise my kids', 'work in an office', 'take care of ___' ... you get the idea] I would be there in a heartbeat!"

When I hear things like that, AND NOT EVEN about bus-living mind you, I only have one response: ONLY YOU ARE HOLDING YOURSELF BACK. (Which leads me to believe that this person must not really want it.) If you truly want it, you can make it happen. Then you think to yourself, "No, I really DO want it! I just can't!"
Obligations, responsibility, the "shoulds" of life ("I should do this, because that is what a good person does!" or "I made a promise to so-and-so, and so I should just sacrifice myself for the rest of my life." etc., though said not quite so sarcastically of course!) All of these perceived obstacles that are nothing more than figments of your own imagination. This goes for bus living, this goes for traveling, this goes for going back to school, starting up your own business, leaving an abusive spouse, you name it!

All that you have to do is listen to your heart, DECIDE that you truly want it, take a chance and put your energy out in the right direction, start working, and not be judgmental about the process! Oh, and most importantly, GET OUT OF YOUR OWN WAY!

The only person putting these restraints on yourself is yourself. We teach other people how to treat us. If we teach people that we are their doormats to use, abuse, and to follow the path of the perfect little person who lets society's morals and standards define for us who we are to be, well... that is no one's fault but your own. Perhaps you can live the rest of your life trying to fit into their beauty standards while you are at it, or the standards of materialism, and spend your days following the bread trail of the ones who seek to control you...

NO! Take control of your life! Take control of your own destiny! That which we manifest is before us, and do not let anyone or anything stand in your way! Certainly, do not step on, abuse, or do any harm to others, but first and foremost, be true to YOURSELF and the correct path will follow.

Trust yourself, you are all that you have.
Share yourself, and let others know of your goals.

This just happened to me yesterday, a little side story: one of my blog followers had read that I was in need of a torque wrench capable of handling 250 lb ft, and what do you know! Hand delivered only days after I wrote about it was the tool that I needed! See, you never know what you can create by sharing your passions with the world, and this is only a small example.

Now go out there and be brilliant, damnit!!

The Busgirl and Urge

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Deeper into the depths of confusion

Well, the bearings are currently in a plastic zip lock bag on the floor of my kitchen and every now and then, I will forget that they are there and step on them with bare feet, or trip over them in my slippers, or kick them across the room. It’s pretty good because it’s a reminder to myself that I have to make a decision.
A few things to address here:
1) decision about what?
2) your kitchen floor? Wait, kitchen? …so, you do not live in the bus?

The latter first.
No, I am not currently living in the bus. Whatever. There is currently no floor in the bus because I ripped it out for rust repair, better insulation, and to make trap doors. In fact, here: I will share a picture of the current state of the bus. 

As soon as there is a floor in the bus, I will live in it again. Well, as soon as the engine runs, maybe. I am working in Cambridge, MA right now and the bus is in Pawtucket. Long commute, and I am without a car since my rabbit is still in storage until another few rainstorms get rid of enough salt to keep her rust-free.

The former: decision about what?
Augh. Engine stuff. That’s what. The best way to make one good engine out of two crappy ones. There is a “best” way to do it. There is also a “cheap” way to do it, and I am sure that there is the “cheapest” way to do it, and these 3 ways may have nothing in common with one another, and if you start to throw in more variables, such as “easy” or “according to the manual” or “in the advice of a DD service tech” or “what Joe says is good” or…
All of this information being thrown at me and it is up to my pigeon brain to process it all and make a damn decision one way or the other.

I was actually feeling so scattered that I had to get the information out of my head, but I have been finding it really difficult to write recently. I think that this may be due to the fact that I have decided that I want to become a writer, because I love to write and I do it often, but now suddenly I find myself with a constant case of debilitating writer’s block. Augh! So, as I was riding my bike from Pascale’s in Pawtucket to the coffee shop in Providence where I was meeting up with a friend, I whipped out my voice recorder and started talking and talking and talking and talking and just spewed it all out in verbal form and it felt amazing!! I am contemplating listening to it and writing it down verbatim and then posting it, or figuring out how to make it into a voice clip and posting it here for you to listen to my insanity. The second option may be a little embarrassing for me, because I was talking with only the intention of myself hearing it, but hey; we are all human, and we all sound kind of stupid every now and then, and if you know me personally, then you have witnessed this first-hand and still talk to me, so whatever. I may post it. We’ll see.

But anyways, a friend gave me a couple bunches of collard greens for free from “Food not Bombs” yesterday and I am hungry and I need my calcium, so I am going to eat the big pot of sautéed collard greens that I just made and contemplate this puzzle with a full tummy a little later.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Let me get my bearings...

So, on Saturday I went to spend some time with Urge. I figured it was about time to pull a couple of the bearings out so that I could order some new ones and replace the darn things. After all, the ground is beginning to thaw which means that I can actually stand to be outdoors for more than 10 minutes, and Urge is no longer an icy buscicle coffin waiting for me to freeze to death.

So, anyways.

The crankshaft is kind of hidden behind these two sets of metal plates. I whipped out my manual. "Supports" they are called....

well, duh.
Apparently they play a crucial role in keeping the crank in place since it is so big and heavy. When you remove them, you actually have to make shims before putting the bolts back in place, so a trip to the local hardware store was in order. They didn't have the right size, so a little fab was necessary.

Whoa, I am getting a little ahead of myself.

First of all,
The bolts.
Were huge.
ARE huge. I peered down at my tool options. I had my little craftsman ratcheting wrench in my hand. Erm... I don't think so.
I grabbed my favorite Snap-On breaker bar, placed it over the bolt, and pulled with ALL OF MY STRENGTH!
I then repositioned the angle, and forced all of my weight upon it, letting my feet come off of the floor.
I had just so happened to still have the handle to my aluminum jack handy: laying patiently across the top of the motor, gleaming sparkly blue (I swear that's not the reason that I bought it!) as if to say, "You're gonna neeeeeeeed meeeeeeeee!!!"
Humph. I was gonna need a whole lot more than just that. I would rather break the Craftsman wrench than the Snap-On bar, so the jack handle went over the end of the Craftsman wrench and then I called in for backup! Thankfully, Dave had come with me on this bus trip because he had needed to use the shop to fix some subframe something-or-other on his GTi. When he snapped the bolts loose, they made this wonderful metallic snapping noise! I thought the wrench had broken or something, but nope!

One of the other guys in the shop had turned his head to look over at where the sound had come from. "Wow!" he said. "Now, here's a question, before you take any more off, do you have a torque wrench to put those things back on?"
Hmmm... good question. I didn't even know what the torque spec was. Thankfully, the manual was handy... "250 to 260 foot pounds" Dave read to me from the book. "Holy Moly!" I exclaimed, "that's AMAZING!"

Every time I hang out with this motor, I think that my bus is even more amazing.

Alright, so I got the supports off, time to remove the caps. BUT WAIT! What is the most important thing that you must do first??
(Oh, C'mon, you MUST KNOW by now!)

Labeling!! With metal pieces, you do this with punches, of course. Just like I did on the inside of the heads. As I further inspected the rod caps, though, I noticed something WONDERFUL!

Someone had already done it for me!! Does this mean that the motor had been rebuilt before?? And there were some initials stamped into the tops of the main bearing caps. "AW" hmm... interesting.
I speculated for a bit and then moved on to taking off the caps and removing the lower bearing shells of one main bearing and one rod bearing, to see the size so I would know what to order.

Here they are! Both lower shells in all of their glory - and to my surprise and delight, they are both STD (standard) bore, which means that this engine has not been rebuilt before! I consulted the manual about the procedure for replacing the upper shells with the crank still in place, and I happened to read that the rods, as well as the main caps, came marked from the factory. How awesome! So could be that I am the first one to touch this motor.

Close inspection to my bearings reveals that they are actually not bad at all! I mean, replace them, definitely, but notice the wear... on a stock motor from 1989! Whoa I got my $350 worth and then some!