We have now left Fred Riechle Diesel and its many talented mechanics to which I dedicate this post. After returning to the shop subsequent to our blow out in Poughkeepsie we stayed a further three nights making the total number four and the total number of days we spent at least some time working on the bus five.
During those five days we replaced a very dangerous brake valve mounting bracket; brake shoes, cams, bushings, seals and one shock bushing on the tag axel; brakes, drums, and seals on the front axel; our muffler; the blown front air spring, one leaking air hose and switched out six of our eight tires, replacing bolts and lug nuts as necessary. We also inspected and adjusted the throttle, the governor, the brakes on the drive axel – which although will need to be changed eventually seemed in fine shape for the moment – and made numerous systems checks. Charlie Riecle, the owner, son of Fred Riechle, was kind enough to cut us amazing deals – for example tires at $100 and a back up radiator for $250 – and gave us a new alternator, water pump, air compressor, a hose, some ferrals, some body parts, six fuel filters and one engine oil filter, simply because he gets pleasure from life by helping others out.
The bus lists sometimes, perhaps due to a few minor air leaks at the belt tension valve and the wipers, and we still have a few oil leaks, one in particular at the blower, but now that the engine has been steam cleaned they are at least identified.
Next serious jobs should be to replace bushings on our radius rods. Perhaps replace air bags, and as mentioned, change the drive axel brakes. In the meantime I am going to try and replace a few hoses, a few gaskets on various valves and engine components, oil a few squeaks, fix a few leaks and get new wipers.
On the last night (Tuesday) Sam and I stayed up into the wee hours painting our rims white. Stylin’ I think it’s called. Feeling the bus was much improved, and having access to a de-scaler we took the opportunity to indulge in some cosmetic treatment beyond de greasing its backside. Seeing the difference, annealed with the knowledge that we were no longer just polishing a turd brought something very satisfying home. And Sam and I got to spend some quality time together too, which was nice.
The following video is a compilation of footage shot while working on the bus and on site at Fred Reichle Diesel. It stars Jim, the mechanic Charlie assigned to us. In a busy shop dedicated to servicing the needs of a fleet of around thirty prison buses I was relieved to receive such attention. I was doubly relieved that Jim, a hunter in his spare time, was consistent in his ability to apply the measure of patience that his passion for hunting demands to his craft and task at hand, namely ensuring that the imminent horrors that his wealth of experience with buses told him we were surely due would not, at least for sometime or by his hand, wreak their catastrophic havoc upon our lives.
This post has mainly been for my own records, to let Jim know that we’re on top of our game, and to satisfy our primary investor that their money has been wisely spent, but I hope you enjoyed it all the same.