The last bit of this project occured over the course of a few days, but I will summarize it as “Day 4” at this point.
In short, Vandejo is back on the road. Getting the engine back in went fairly smooth and was very similar to to my experiences with a manual transmission. Once the mustache bar and engine/transmission bolts were secured, I went after that task of attaching the torque converter to the drive plate.
Doing this by yourself would simply be silly. This picture shows how the torque converter and drive plate are bolted together. Leah ended up holding a dental mirror at the hole in the case to watch for the hole in the torque converter to line up with the hole in the drive plate. To do this, rotate the engine until you have one of the holes for the drive plate showing through the access hole in the case. Then, while someone is watching through that access hole, get underneath and rotate the torque converter slowly. It should spin very easily at this point. Once you have the holes lines up, put the bolt in and torque it down. These are 14mm bolts and should only be torqued to 14 ft/lb. Once you have the first one bolted, the other two will be lined up automatically. You no longer need to get underneath the engine to rotate the torque converter and get it to line up with the drive plate. Just rotate the engine (I prefer to use a wrench and the nut on the alternator) until the next hole shows up, and apply the next bolt. Rinse, lather, repeat.
With that out of the way, I moved to the task of reattaching all the vacuum lines. There are only two lines that did not get replaced out of all the vacuum line. One goes to the transmission and the other goes to the gear shift box up front. All the others were replaced with fuel injection hose of varying sizes that I got at the local auto parts store. I took all the lines in with me and asked if I could go in the back and match up the line I needed. They had no issues with it. Every line was also clamped down. The end result is 15″ of vacuum at idle. I believe the Bentley manual calls for 18″ but considering my difference in manifold pressure due to being at 6k feet in elevation, I think 15″ is ok.
After connecting the fuel lines and battery, it was time for the moment we’ve been waiting for. Err, atleast I have been waiting for. She started right up, but was a bit noisy. There was an exhaust leak but this noise was coming from the valve train. I couple of lifters had bled down pretty good after letting the engine sit for a few weeks. A valve adjustment got everything nice and quiet, atleast considering that there is an exhaust leak.
The test drive after that went very well. The bus actually starts moving forward now when I take my foot off the brake, and shifting is much crisper. Better shifting is attributed to the vacuum issue. Remember, there was only about 9″ when I dropped the engine, I my guess is it wasn’t much better when I left Oregon. Checking the ATF fluid was not too bad. With the engine running and the transmission in neutral, you can check it. I ended up adding about 3/4 of a quart to get it back to spec. I also added 1/2 quart of oil to the engine.
Other than that, Vandejo has been driving well for the past few days. There is a ATF leak though that I need to look at at some point. We are very happy. Leah’s been very easy going with all of this, considering she had to watch the kids most of the time that I was working on this project. It’s nice to be able to drive around :)