|God: 1 - Vicious 0 .. Foresight 2020.
|the march hare - project - page vi
|Findsomethingandburnit.com 2004-2020. Doc J.Vicious & Murph-O-Minion enterprises. Godfrey, ON.
Content may be used on the condition that the original author be clearly credited.
|Last updated Sept 09, 2020
2019 was the year to remember that I'd like to
The 'Hare focus seemingly and perpetually
supplanted by - well .. What the hell didn't happen
The Volvo wagon destroyed, bum fucked in a rear
end collision. The well pump shitting the bed 175
feet below grade, the Jeep's transfer case
requiring half of my vacation time to repair, the
Clown Ford entering V-8 Valhalla after ghosting
her number five connecting rod - her replacement
then requiring a transmission and ECU, and finally
sent packing from work: A layoff after 20 years of
The brave new 2020 bus season is only weeks
away now with the last of the pond ice breaking up
and the days noticeably longer - and we're now
suddenly squarely mid plague apocalypse.
Cool. But I really had been hoping for something
more mushroom cloud like.
Again though, the glass remains half full:
I'm working again - different industry, though
same skill set - as a marine fitter/craftsman. I now
build fine ships and fire boats in Kingston Ontario.
As such, I am considered "essential" in these
The work is in fact quite physically demanding and
has resulted in having returned to a mid thirties
waistline and an overall increased energy level.
As well, with evenings at home, Friday's whistle
sounding at noon, and the absence of a three
hour weekly midnight commute from Mississauga,
there will be more bus building time available this
Surely this is going to be my year. I can smell it.
The first metal of the season.
Five months into the year and I already feel as if I'm
falling behind, but I have to remember that there was still
snow and minus five degree temperatures only 3 weeks
This 180 pound beast of a cross member will be the
ground zero from which all measurements will be
referenced as well as the wheel tub mounting point.
I could have fecked about another week making the
beads pretty and painting everything, but then gave my
head a shake. I need to move forward.
The thing is a quarter of an inch thick. It's not going to
rust in my conceivable lifetime.
When everything is in and flash rusts, I'll give it a Scotch
pad and a coat of Tremclad. If it peels off, so be it.
I would have liked to have planned this build entirely on
paper, fabricated the bits, and then just slipped it
Finding myself arsed at near around every corner and
wondering - looking at the whole thing - what major
malfunction made be believe that I could build a bus, I
decided to work now, looking ahead later, and yet not.
I don't know what I'm in for, the last ten inches of the
rotten "cab corners" of the coach, and obsessing now
will delay the build while I play pen to paper.
Instead, an offset box at the end of the longitudinals.
When I figure out exactly what I'll have to build to fit
there - it'll just bolt up with a nitrile gasket and a pair of
3/8" through bolts.
The prospect of having five rows unsupported while I
slipped in the longitudinal rails has been the stuff of my
nightmares, and indeed the coach did heel over nearly
half an inch when the first side was installed, making the
other side fitment between the bows and crossmembers,
well - challenging.
Akin to pushing rope, there was simply no way within my
means to raise the coach.
The solution was to temporarily flex the crossmembers
downward by levering against a length of structural steel
extended forward between the rear wheels utilizing a
ratchet strap, and the rims as a fulcrum.
There were a few moments where I thought that I may
have boned myself, however the lesson learned here,
and how I may have managed it better, will come in
handy for the forward section.
Hillbilly Excel: trying to make rhyme or reason of what
the tape has been telling me.
I may be old and blind, but I can still eyeball a straight
edge, and my peepers tell me that the chassis and sill
lines along the windows are relatively straight. So why
the deviation measured between rows?
At some point the OCD crazy has to end. I'll average the
measurements between row 5 and 8, run a string to
mark my cuts, and live with three quarters of an inch out
of square over 40 feet..
Keeping in mind that according to my body manual, a
quarter of an inch in fifteen feet is an acceptable
tolerance for a passenger car manufactured by
Throughout much of this build I've been winging it,
unsure as to exactly how I would solve a particular
problem, hoping that a solution would become obvious
once I get there.
I had intended to reuse the remains of the factory tubs,
but there just wasn't enough clean metal left to butt weld
to once the scab was ground off.
As well, I wasn't certain as to how I would incorporate
them neatly into the bits that I've already installed.
Finally opting for fully fabricated tubs that will flange to
the exterior coachwork with boxed sections to mate with
the new structural supports.
This satisfies structural requirements, sealing the
interior, and leaves no hollows or hidden sections to
accumulate Canadian road goo, mitigating future
I'm pleased with the results.
The day of reckoning is at hand: It's time to deal with the
last crusty six inches of bus.
The actual door frame is thankfully in not too bad of
shape, but exploratory surgery revealed there's nothing
else left of the lower foot of the coach.
Yet another plan formulated.
This ambitious fabrication "should" slip in under the
existing door frame, supporting the frame and allowing
for a place to rivet new 20 gauge sheet metal along the
lower perimeter (note that I've sketched the mating
Serendipitously, there is the carcass of a dead
refrigerator in the barn which should give up just enough
sheet to re-wrap the rear of the coach.
Appliance sheet is both trivial to acquire as well as
tending to be well protected from the manufacturer
Very exciting times.
The bus build season is rapidly drawing to a close, but
looking back on the last few months work, all of the
structure rear of row six is in, and the last few inches
should be complete by week's end.
Here the corner box sections for the rear weldment cut,
bent, and ready to clean up for welding.
In some regards to the casual glance, the project may
appear to be going backwards - there is a gaping hole
in the skirt where I've begun to cut out one of the belly
boxes, the rear door is missing, and there's bits of
missing coach here and there, etc. But I feel that much
has been accomplished, and I really can now see the
final shape of things.
Still some welds on the mounting ears to finalize and a
few missing bits of triangulation, but I think I'll wait for a
test fit before burning everything together permanently,
despite the tape seemingly agreeing so far with the
What's the point in fucking about? Time is of the
I didn't want to replace this much material originally -
hoping just to lap the lower four inches, and if this were
a Coke bottle Charger restoration it would have been
worth my time to retain as much of the original sheet
metal as possible. But it's a not even a desirable old shit
bus, and will never be worth half of anything in the next
century that I put into it minimally. Currently I estimate
it's value at $500. I paid $4000.
This is not to say that there is no reason not to bother
taking a certain amount of pride in workmanship, but I
have to be somewhat realistic as well: No one will ever
care about - should I foolishly decide to coat this coach
in twenty-six layers of gloss and clear - the fidelity of the
reflections thrown in a magazine photo shoot.
The rear cladding replaced up to and under the rub rail
- cut from a discarded shelving unit found at the
Nice! Final welds done.
It's easy to succumb to the "what the fuck am I doing?"
train of self doubt on a project of this magnitude, but
small victories go a long way towards maintaining long
The mounting points are blonde hair tight and
everything fits swimmingly!
Note the lengths of 3/8" threaded rod fastening the new
rear weldment to the coach support rails.
The corner inner channel gap will be trivial to fill with a
strip of 14 gauge hand bent around a gas cylinder and a
few hammer strokes - this in fact at the moment of
almost no concern.
My bus has solid corners.
With the door frame squared away, attention turns now
to the door itself.
I find this amount off see-through quite arousing - at
least where lingerie is concerned. Unfortunately, not so
much with sheet metal.
There's frost on the ground now, and I'm not quite
certain how to tackle this mess yet.
The first order of business was to separate in the inner
and outer halves by unrolling the pinch seam and seeing
what's what. The what .. is pretty damned ugly.
The upper frame has three frame corners intact, the
lower one. I'm leaning toward grafting the latter to the
former and deleting the lower glass entirely.
With that said, I'll probably attempt hand hammerin
g a curved S flange anyway, just to challenge myself.
What's to be learned can be carried forward to the '68
Wrapping up small details between bouts of early
autumn rain with tailings and off-cuts at hand.
Dealing with corrosion is the bane of the back yard
wrench. I don't have a 50 gallon compressor, sand
blaster, and the means to apply an industrial epoxy paint.
I've decided to embark on a long term experiment.
I rarely ever trust the tin when it comes to gee-whiz
consumer products, but in this case I have decided to
allow the surfaces to flash over, where they will then be
prepped and coated with Tremclad rust paint according
I have no predictions. Ask me how it went in 2030.