GM Futurliner 2003 Progress Reports
The following are Don Mayton's progress reports from the work sessions held in his pole barn. To read it in chronological order, start from the bottom and read up the page.
Mike Ball, Al Batts, Del Carpenter, Ed DeVries and Wayne Jackson. GUESTS:
John Betts and Ed Ramsey.
Of course, we started with donuts that Wayne supplied.
The purpose of today’s special session was to meet with John Betts of Retro 1-2-3 that will be building and marketing a model Futurliner. We started the day with Mike and Al reviewing all the photos that John will need in order to be as accurate as they can in making the model. Later we went over the Futurliner.
We were requested to drive the Futurliner outside for better photography opportunities. All the doors were opened, the right side doors were opened and then the light bar was raised about 1/2 up.
At the end of the session, John took with him photos that Mike and Al had put together. John also asked Al to provide additional photos by downloading many photos he has accumulated from his digital camera. In addition, Joel Dirnberger, who has been a continuous supporter of this project and is building a Futurliner model for himself, will be helping John in many of the details.
According to John Betts of Retro the Futurliner model will be available in about six months. It will be 1:12th scale and the most detailed model their company has made. It will be priced about $1,350. Like all of their products, it will be a limited numbered model. If you check their web site, www.retro1-2-3.com you can see their other products as well as the prices and the low numbers in which each model is produced. I would suggest that you check out their web site.
John and Retro has commitments out to folks that purchase their models to some of the low numbered models. However, he is going to reserve a block of low numbers for those of us, volunteers, financial contributors and supporters that want to purchase a model. The Futurliner Restoration project will benefit from each of the numbered models sold. So, for those that are getting this e-mail if there is any interest in purchasing a Retro model of the Futurliner please send a return e-mail. We will keep them on file here and turn them over to Retro sometime in late January or early February. All the transactions will be between each person that wants one and Retro, not us working on the Futurliner restoration or NATM.
To my knowledge this is the only company that has been licensed by General Motors, just last week, to build a model of the Futurliner. The licensing itself took close to two years.
When you go to Retro's web site, www.retro1-2-3.com , go to "About us" and then go to their "Products". That will give you an idea of Retro's goals.
See everyone in 2004. Don
Baker, Mike Ball, Al Batts, Carol Bowers, Stan Bowers, Del Carpenter,
Conrad DeJong, Jeff Dornbush, Ed DeVries, Wayne Jackson, Carol Mayton, Don
Mayton, Art Meidema, Paul Prinzing, Martin Reed, Dick Saddler, Jerry
Sigler, Audrey Snow, Wally Snow, Howard Sullivan and John Wiltjer. GUESTS:
Monte and Mel Wohlford (son and father). Monte's business had previously
relined the brake shoes on the Futurliner. Jim Kemp ,Dong Vanderlaan, Kent
Vanderlaan, Greg Kemp, and Steve Geoothuis.
Howard continues to bring our donuts for our high calorie breakfast. Carol Mayton provided lunch with salad from Carol Bowers and desert from Audrey. The gals that provide our food have to cook for a minimum of 20 people. Again, Mike and Al set up and tear down for lunch. Thanks to all these folks for keeping our stomachs full.
The owner of the company, John Batts, that will be making the model of the Futurliner for future sale will be here this Thursday (assuming the fact that we do not get a snow storm here in Western Michigan) to make final measurements, looking through our archives in order to make sure the model accurately represents what the Futurliner looked like in 1953. In preparation for this visit, we had to pull out lots of archived material. Also he needed all the doors put back on the Futurliner as well as asking for it to be moved outside for photographs. We have received a pamphlet of the types of models this company builds and they are impressive. In a future communication I will list their web site.
Mike spent the day pulling material and organizing it for John Batts that will be here Thursday. In addition Mike had to help Al in making a run to the local hardware. Mike is also our unofficial tour host to visitors. Al, today had to make three runs to different local vendors in order to keep our workers busy. Al also continues to take digital photos, not only supplying them to Jim Crame for the web site but also prints them weekly for us to look at. It is a great service that he not only spends many hours at home working on but purchases a lot of ink and paper for his printer.
Mike and Don Bratt are also cataloging the material that is to be included in our 30 minute video that Don is putting together. Don has already taken all our videos home and gone through each one timing each segment and basically scripting it on paper.
We just found out that last Saturday (December 13, 2003 ) that the History Channel had a program called "CHANGING GEARS" in which the first 8 to 10 minutes were devoted to the Futurliner and the Parade of Progress. Del Carpenter was interviewed on this program. This taping and interview took place this past June when we were at the "EYES OF DESIGN" show at the GM Tech Center in Warren, Michigan. Unfortunately none of us volunteers knew ahead of time about this program and we only heard about it from others. If anyone out there taped it we need a copy. It should be shown again so look up the program schedule in your local paper and look for the History Channel program, "CHANGING GEARS".
Ron and Don Bratt completed installing all the close out panels in the rear inside of the Futurliner. Next the final coat of paint will have to be applied. At the end of the workday Ron and Art installed the rear doors for our visit this coming Thursday.
In the front, at the end of the day Connie, Dick and Marty installed the two front doors. Again this was for our visit Thursday.
In the cab, Dick and Marty continue to work on the metal, fabricating braces, disassembling the seat assembly sections, removing old glued on upholstery in preparation to complete the inside of the cab.
UPPER 16' DOORS
Ed arrived today with a truck load of steel for the fabrication and installation of the braces necessary to reduce the upper door sag. With Ed doing the engineering, Jerry doing the saw cutting (used up two new, band saw blades today), and Howard doing the welding all the braces on the left upper door were installed by 4 PM. In fact, Howard was finishing welding right up to 4 PM.
This will be Jerry's last day as he leaves for warmer weather next week. We will see him again in the spring.
Del and Stan completed the installation of the complete exhaust system today. They also drained out the water and replaced it with antifreeze. We work in a heated barn but with the possibility of a winter storm knocking out power we decided it was necessary to have antifreeze in the vehicle. They then started the Futurliner with the new carburetor. Immediately they found out the accelerator pedal was not returning. They disassembled the linkage and through a process of elimination found several places that the linkage was rubbing and corrected those so the pedal travels freely.
Paul continues to terminate wires in the rear control panel. Each wire end must be cut, a connector end crimped on it, then this end soldered, and then installed. Just a lot of tedious work.
Don completed the wiring to the engine bay lights and they are now working off of the vehicle's battery.
When the Futurliner was first built, the wiring that provided power to the lights in the lighting fin was guided by a wood pulley and springs and wire cable that attempted to keep this wiring free of the mechanism that raised the lighting fin. The mechanism that raises the lighting fin includes the 1" acme threaded screw, the carriages that ride in the tracks that allows the base of the arms to move and the long 7' arms that actually raise the lighting fin. It looked like they had problems with this system as there were extra cables attempting to keep the wires free of the moving mechanism. Jeff designed, fabricated and completed today the installation of a track system that eliminates all the "Rube Goldberg" stuff. No offence to Rube, but where did that phrase come from?
Wally has made a lot of progress on the wiring termination in the control box in the left front of the cab.
Other than Jerry picking up more weather seal material we had no one available to work this part of the restoration today.
In addition to Jerry going south, Wayne will also be heading south prior to our next work session. We will miss these two as they are great workers and provide a lot of input to the process of restoring this vehicle. We pray that they have a wonderful vacation and safe travel there and back.
This is the last work session for the year 2003. We again thank our volunteers (here and around the country) for being so faithful for the five years that this project has been worked on. We also appreciate all those who have helped this project financially. We thank all the businesses that have supplied services at NO COST, their invoiced cost, or a large discount. We thank all of you at the end of this e-mail for your interest in this project.
Our simple goal is to preserve history by restoring a GM Futurliner back to its formal glory and have fun doing it.
The VOLUNTEERS wish each of you a Merry Christmas as well as a happy, healthy, and wonderful new year. May the spirit of this season fill you life. See you in 2004
Mike Ball, Al Batts, Don Bratt, Stan Bowers, Del Carpenter, Fred
Carpenter, Ed DeVries, Jeff Dornbush, Ron Elzinga, Carol Mayton, Don
Mayton, Art Meidema, Wilma Meidema, Paul Prinzing, Jerry Sigler, Wally
Snow, Howard Sullivan and John Wiltjer.
Howard continues to be faithful with the donuts. As many as we have that is a $15 hit to his wallet weekly. Thanks Howard. Carol made lunch with Wilma supplying the salad. Mike retrieved all the uneaten frozen deserts in our shop refrigerator from past sessions and we cleaned those up today. Again Mike and Al setup our lunchroom.
GUESTS: Bob Nixon, Jim Cerney, Max Gretenlord and Lee Foldenauer.
Del and Stan continued to work on the exhaust system. They think they have one more bend to put in one more section of pipe.
Fred and Art continue to work on the front door inner panels. They have the right one near complete. They also painted the door jams on the right front door red, same color as the outside. With help from Howard doing all the welding and grinding they fabricated new front door hinge covers.
In the meantime Ron and Don B. continued to install their last large panel in the rear section of the Futurliner. They then got Jeff to run the wiring for the 12-volt light and 120 volt light that they had previously installed. Covering the joint line on these panels was a strip closure. Although we saved the original ones they were in poor shape. Ron and Don started making new ones to day.
In addition to the above wiring Jeff continued to work on the light fin wiring. He is also doing the planning for the interior 120-volt lighting.
Wally continues to terminate the wiring in the central control panel in the cab of the Futurliner. Paul is terminating the wiring in the control box at the rear of the Futurliner. Don M. fabricated two light fixtures for the engine compartment. They were painted and the front one installed.
The flaps that were made to protect the bottom of the lower cargo door's piano hinges simply do not work because the rubber is too stiff. So today Howard and Jerry removed this material. Jerry left early today to see if he could get some material that would bend easier as the idea is good once we find the correct material.
UPPER 16' DOORS
As stated earlier we have a sag problem with these doors when they are in their up horizontal position. The structural engineer, Venkat Aitharaju, that GM sent out to help us solve this problem e-mailed me yesterday a set of instructions as to how to go about correcting this problem. Today Ed reviewed the instructions and then with Jerry cutting the steel, Howard doing all the welding, the braces required started to be fabricated. Since we do not have all the material here Ed will be stopping at the local steel supplier prior to next weeks work session. Also Art will be picking up two part structural adhesive. There will be a total of 23 fabricated braces added per door fastened in place by welding and using structural adhesive. To avoid destroying the outer skin paint job we are using the adhesive where the braces touch the inside of the outer skin. (We had an interesting time figuring out a few things as the instructions all came in measurements of mm and not inches. As most of you know, in today's world, cars are built in mm. Out goes the old and in comes the new.)
This is new information and at this point somewhat incomplete. As I get more information I will let you know. A model manufacturer by May, 2004 expects to have a model of the Futurliner proposed for sale. This will be a very limited produced model (under 100 units ????) and priced accordingly ( $1400 ????). I do not know what scale model this will be but some of this companies past projects have been 1/10 which would make a Futurliner model close to 3 feet. John Martin Smith, President of NATM, is currently working with the manufacturer to obtain some benefit of this project for the Restoration Project.
In addition we have another volunteer attempting to get other model manufacturers interested in making a model. Since this is in the very preliminary stages I do not want to elaborate on this.
Keep tuned to the above.
Al has been visiting the electronics stores pricing out what it would take to put together equipment that we can use in the Futurliner on a reasonable size screen to electronically display a video. As mentioned in the past few work session reports we have a volunteer, Brad Boyajian, out in California that has offered to put all our videos together in about a 30 minute show that we can use as part of the Futurliner display as well as showing the video at club meets, etc. Once we nail down prices we will again have a future need to purchase this equipment or get it donated.
Don Bratt in the meantime has volunteered to take our videos with him to Florida (he leaves in a few weeks) and do all the scripting so that Brad can put together the videos. This will be a big job but Don has had experience with this as he has done the same for two separate mission trips he was on, one in Russia and one in Asia.
Jim Baker, Mike Ball, Al Batts, Don Bratt, Stan Bowers, Del Carpenter, Sue
Carpenter, Fred Carpenter, Ron Elzinga, Wayne Jackson, Don Mayton, Art
Meidema, Wilma Meidema, Paul Prinzing, Martin Reed, Dick Saddler, Jerry
Sigler, Wally Snow, Howard Sullivan and John Wiltjer.
Howard, on time, showed up with the donuts which fires up the boys for working. Sue provided lunch as well as desert and homemade bread. Wilma provided salad. Mike did the setup and tear down today.
Howard, last week picked up our used tire/wheel assembly at Ginman's where they transferred our used tire to one of their old truck rims. Next Howard took this assembly over to Select Manufacturing Services. While Howard was there they gave him a tour of their facility and what they do. While there he observed them working on the mold that will hopefully produce whitewall tires for us. Howard, today returned our only original tire.
Jim continues to fabricate and install parts for the rear lights.
Ron and Don Bratt completed the work on the two top inner panels in the rear inside of the Futurliner and then installed them in place. Next they started running the wiring for the 12-volt overhead light.
Fred and Art worked at preparing the inside door panels for painting. Fred sandblasted these panels. By the end of the day Fred and Art had the panels in primer.
Dick and Marty continue to work on the components that go into the cab of the Futurliner.
Del and Stan again worked at getting the air step valve working. The local hydraulic company suggested they go through several steps to make the valve work properly. These all resulted in the valve not working properly so they finally removed the valve. The hydraulic company asked for them to drop it off tomorrow to see what they could do. Del and Stan then worked at the exhaust system until again Del must take home some pipe sections to change the bend slightly. Next they changed the carburetor. Dean, who rebuilt both the first carburetor and second carburetor highly suggested they put the 2nd carburetor on the Futurliner engine. If you recall when Dean rebuilt the second carburetor he tested this carburetor by mounting it on his 1959 V-8 Buick. He fine tuned it while he ran the Buick.
Wayne brought his drill sharpener and continued to sharpen our drills.
Wally, Paul, and Don worked at wiring in the cab, in the engine compartment, and at the rear of the Futurliner. Lots of slow detail work here.
Mike had ordered and then picked up the necessary weather seals required. Howard and Jerry worked at installing the weather seals that protect he piano hinge at the bottom of the cargo doors.
Dick Saddler, watching a history channel program last night, spotted our Futurliner. The program was on concept cars and all the major automobile companies were represented. When the History Channel was interviewing the GM Executives they happened to be standing in front of our Futurliner while it was parked at the "EYES OF DESIGN" show this past June.
Al had a doctor's appointment and only could stay a short time. Mike had the duty of doing the running today as well as setting up lunch. He also squeezed in his work. He us currently working on the planning for a permanent display for one side of the Futurliner that outlines the PARADE OF PROGRESS, the STREAM LINERS, and the FUTURLINLERS. This display will include the history of the restoration progress.
Needs: As a result of his planning we are looking for someone locally that has the computer equipment to consolidate all of our videos that we have. This will end up to be a 30-minute video that can be shown at club meetings as well as when we display the Futurliner. We also need a large (big) screen TV monitor that can be used as part of the display inside the Futurliner. Again everything here has to be donated.
Jim Baker, Mike Ball, Don Bratt, Stan Bowers, Del Carpenter, Fred
Carpenter, Ed DeVries, Ron Elzinga, Wayne Jackson, Don Mayton, Art Meidema,
Wilma Meidema, Paul Prinzing, Martin Reed, Dick Sadder, Jerry Sigler,
Audrey Snow, Wally Snow and Howard Sullivan.
Today we had our first winter hit with blowing snow (35 to 50 mph) and bad roads.
Howard usually is one of the first to show up on work days with a big stash of donuts. I had asked Howard, prior to the work session, to stop at Select Manufacturing to pick up our only original Futurliner tire. As a result when he did arrive here most of our guys were here but in a state of frenzy due to "NO DONUTS"! They were discussing whether to call 911, or send out someone one looking for him, or to go back home due to "NO DONUTS"! They finally decided that if they sent someone out to find him and he had slid into a ditch, due to the bad road conditions, they would retrieve the donuts and tell Howard to stay with his truck until a tow truck arrived. Alas, prior to me having a mutiny Howard arrived with the DONUTS.
Paul provided lunch with salad by Audrey and desert from Wilma. Thanks for a great lunch.
Jim continues to build the light reflectors for the rear doors. He has completed the right door reflectors and has them installed.
Ron and Don Bratt worked at completing the upper center inner panel that gets bolted in the rear of the Futurliner. They fitted in the light fixture and switch for this panel. Later Fred and Art prepared this panel for painting and Art primed it.
Fred and Art also fitted in about 6 bolt on pieces for the inside rear of the Futurliner. They then prepared these for painting and then primed them.
Today Howard brought along some steel plates and modified the shrinker/stretcher stand so it is stable in all directions and won't be able to do its nasty work as before. During the day Howard was the welder for other crews requiring his services. He also installed some clips to retain the electrical wiring loom at the rear of the Futurliner.
Ed and Jerry fitted and installed all the weather seals for the lighting fin. Next they engineered the weather seal for the lower cargo doors. Since they did not have sufficient material they will have to purchase more material for next week. Next they installed the weather seal for the right front driver's entrance door.
The driver's compartment hatch weather seals are also in place.
Up to now we have spent very little money on weather seals. Thanks to Les at Valley Truck allowing us to raid their surplus bins we have completed about 3/4's of the weather sealing. We called Valley Truck today but they have nothing remaining in their bins. Today we had to order approximately 24' of weather seals which will cost us close to $200.
In order to start the work on repairing the 1/4 window frames for the driver's compartment the temporary Plexiglas front windshield as well as the temporary 1/4 windows had to be removed. Ron, Don B., and Ed accomplished this.
Wayne continued the installation of the wiring for the headlights. Next he worked at doing an inventory of our drill bits and took home a box of drill bits for sharpening.
Wally continued to add wiring to the large electrical junction panel at the left of the driver's seat in the cab of the Futurliner. He also does the supervisor work for the vehicle wiring for the balance of the vehicle. Paul completed the wiring to the switch for lights for the engine compartment. Then he installed an electrical junction box in the rear of the Futurliner. Don completed the wiring of the upper rear running lights. Next the 22 rear running lights were tested. After a few revisions we got them all working.
Dick and Marty continue to fabricate and fit panels in the cab.
Del and Stan installed the last DOT fitting. After this was accomplished using shop air they charged up the system to check for leaks. Everything looked good. Next they tested the valve that operates the air powered step as you enter the cab. This valve continues to leak after they had replaced an internal gasket. This valve, being the original, will have to be replaced with a new valve.
Del and Stan then worked at installing the exhaust pipe for the engine that Del had constructed at home. Again Del will have to take home one exhaust pipe section for further modification to complete the entire exhaust system.
With the bad weather we had no guests and talking to Mike he finally got some work done cataloging and filing away information. One run was made to the hardware. Al continues to be our faithful photographer. Mike and Al as usual prepares the lunch room for lunch.
Jim Baker, Mike Ball, Al Batts, Don Bratt, Stan Bowers, Del Carpenter,
Fred Carpenter, Marge Carpenter, Conrad DeJong, Ed DeVries, Ron Elzinga,
Wayne Jackson, Tom Kuhlman, Don Mayton, Art Meidema, Phil Prinzing, Martin
Reed, Dick Saddler, Jerry Sigler, Wally Snow, Howard Sullivan, John
Wiltjer, GUESTS: Elmer DeWeerd, Purcel DeWeerd, Henry DeWeerd, Car
Schiette, Alverne Compagner and Gordon Schreur.
Howard again provided our donuts for coffee.
Carol got a break today to do some Christmas shopping. Marge planned and supplied the entire lunch. Fred showed up to day with the entire fix'ins. He started by plugging in the cooking hardware. Later Fred, Al, and Mike set everything up and Fred served lunch.
Jim continues to work the rear light hardware at the rear of the Futurliner.
Connie and Art today completed metal work on the inside right and left side and then sprayed on the final color coat in this area.
Ron and Don Bratt worked on the inside center rear panel outside of the Futurliner. They first completed the 110-volt light housing, next they worked on the 12 volt light housing. Along with Connie they welded in metal repairs and started the metal finish work.
DOORS - Right side
Fred completed the inside panel of the right front passenger door. Next Fred worked at preparing the inside covers on the lower right side cargo doors for painting. Once Fred was competed Connie primed these door covers.
Ed and Jerry continued to install weather seals on the cargo doors.
Ed while at home has created another design for a trailer to haul the Futurliner.
NEEDS: Someone to donate the engineering we need to design a trailer to haul this Futurliner.
Wayne completed on the bench the installation and wiring of the front four headlights. In the process he found that he had to modify one of the trim chrome head light rims. Next he installed this assembly. Wayne and Wally next tested the head lights to see if they worked, all is ok.
Wally purchased a small garden tractor battery. Next he installed a carrying handle. This is now the portable 12-volt power source for checking out the wiring. #1 test was the instrument panel lights and they are all ok. Wally then continued installing more wiring.
At this point I must mention that Wally has been purchasing automotive electrical supplies at a great discount from Dave Lucas at Coopersville Automotive Supply located in Coopersville, Michigan. Thanks to Dave.
Once Phil and Don completed the wiring on the 20 lower front running lights these were tested and all found ok. As mentioned above the headlights were also tested.
Tom aided Don in drilling holes for additional wiring.
Howard had previously donated a very large 12 volt battery to this project. This is not the battery for running the Futurliner but a battery to be used for testing once all the wiring is completed. This battery is so heavy that very few of us can move it. Today Howard started constructing a rolling cart to move this monster. Howard had to leave early today and Tom completed this project.
About 1/2 dozen metal components had been dropped off to a local sandblaster, Dave's Custom Sandblasting. Dave has throughout this project as a donation to this project sandblasted everything from the Futurliner body to these individual parts. We thank Dave for all this work and his willingness to donate it.
Yesterday Don picked up these parts and gave them a coat of primer.
Today, Dick and Marty continue to fabricate metal for the driver's compartment as well as taking the sandblasted parts and doing repairs as well as preparing them for installation.
BRAKES - AIR LINES
Del and Stan continued to work on the installation of DOT approved air fittings until they ran out of material. Next they installed sections of exhaust piping that Del had fabricated at home.
Al continues to do our photography, sending it then via e-mail to Jim who then edits and adds it to our web site.
Mike continues to do our research and serve as our tour guide as well as helping find stuff. Mike is also developing the next set of display boards that we will be constructing when the vehicle is next shown.
In the winter 2003 issue (just out) of the "Corvette Quarterly" there is an article about the "EYES ON DESIGN" shown on page 42. Just quoting one paragraph; "One of the biggest attractions was the magnificent 1953 General Motors Futurliner bus. One of 12 built originally for a GM traveling educational road show called the Parade of Progress, this restored red-and -white motor coach was making its 1st debut at the Eyes on Design Exhibition.
Jim Baker, Mike Ball, Al Batts, Stan Bowers, Del Carpenter, Fred
Carpenter, Conrad DeJong, Ed DeVries, Jeff Dornbush, Ron Elzinga, Wayne
Jackson, Carol Mayton, Don Mayton, Art Meidema, Wilma Meidema, Wes Myrick,
Phil Prinzing, Martin Reed, Dick Saddler, Jerry Sigler, Audrey Snow, Wally
Snow, Howard Sullivan and John Wiltjer. GUESTS: Drew and John
Deters, Dave Owan, Jacob DeWent, Rick Saddler, Casey Kerkstra and Paul.
Howard brought along our lifesaving donnuts for our coffee breaks. Carol made lunch with help from Wilma with salad and desert arriving with Wally from Audrey's kitchen. Again Mike and Al did the setup and tear down for lunch. To feed 20 guys in itself is an operation. Thanks for all the help. Don
Jeff and I talked today about the future installation of the generator. The inside rear (where the generator and its control box goes) was primed today and next week it should be painted its final color. Following that, we must be preparing the rear, for the installation of the generator and its control box. Here is the following list of items that need to be done. List subject to change.
1) Install a 12-volt control box for all the rear 12-volt lights and stuff.
2) Install the mounting plate for the generator.
3) Run the correct size conduit for the generator to its control box location.
3A) Before #4 is done we need a wiring diagram, that's where Jeff and Jim will have to put that together.
4) Pull the necessary wires in this conduit.
5) Install the generator.
6) Install the generator's control box.
7) Install the pulleys for the generator and the PTO shaft.
8) Install the belts.
9) Install the belt guard.
10) Try out the system.
Wally continues to do all the wiring in the cab. He is also the designer of the vehicle 12-volt system and becomes the consultant for the rest of us. That alone keeps him busy. He also does the buying during the week of all of our needs to keep us working. Phil worked on the control panel fabrication that will ultimately installed in the engine access opening. He and Don completed the wiring of the 20 running lights on the left front of the Futurliner.
Wayne worked on the wiring for the headlights. He also brought along his drill-sharpening machine as we badly needed to sharpen all those dull and broken drill bits.
Jeff started working at installing the track that will guide the electrical lines that are connected to the lights in the lighting fin. These wires must be guided so that they do not become entangled with the arms as the lighting fin travels both up and down.
The lighting fin is driven up by two arms that are mounted in a track at their base. The drive mechanism is an electric motor which turns a long screw made up of two sections, one end being right hand thread, the other left hand thread. In the center is a coupling that ties these two screws together. We have noticed that when the lighting fin travels either up or down that the screw (1" in diameter) has so much torque on it that it deflects and rubs the pan that it sits in at the center where the coupling is located. This will ultimately end up rubbing a hole in the sheet metal pan. Today Wayne constructed a bearing support and a simple mechanical bearing (hard wood), then Wes, Jeff and Ed installed it in place. This will keep the screw from rubbing a hole in the pan and the bearing can easily be replaced when it wears.
REAR DOOR LIGHTS
Jim continues to fabricate the reflectors for the brake, turn signal, and running lights for the rear of the Futurliner.
INSIDE REAR LIGHTS
At the rear of the inside is a light housing. Today Ron and Don Bratt disassembled this housing and sand blasted it and cleaned up its reflector of 60 years oxidation. They also re-installed inside floor sections that had previously been removed for earlier work.
AIR BRAKE LINES / EXHAUST SYSTEM
Stan and Del worked on replacing fittings on the brake lines until they ran out of parts. The new order of materials had not arrived.
Next, they started the exhaust system. Del realized they would be running out of air line fittings so he had pre-cut and bent at home 2-1/2" exhaust pipe sections. They started with the exhaust stack that goes through the top right of the Futurliner next to the cab. This exhaust staff is made up with the 2-1/2" exhaust pipe, surrounded by a ceramic pipe, then and air space and an outer stainless steel shield. The ceramic pipe and the outer shield are original and in good shape. We had previously buffed and polished the stainless steel shield. Del and Stan fitted the 2-1/2" exhaust stack into the original assembly. They did a lot of measuring. Del has a commercial exhaust bending and cutting machine at home. He will be making up a lot of exhaust pipe sections at home over the next week. When we originally started this project the only thing he committed to was to do the exhaust system!!!!!!
RIGHT FRONT ACCESS DOOR
Fred has completed the mechanics for the inside of the door as well as preparing the inner skin for painting. Howard did the welding for Fred. Fred has been faithful in seeing to it that these two front doors are complete to the point of when he could not do it himself, found people that normally do not work here on Tuesday to come and build items (the door handle and lock system) so the doors can be completed.
BODY - REAR INSIDE
Today, Connie and Art continued to do the body refinishing of the rear inside (where the generator and electrical box goes, this is a little room about 8' wide by 6'). At the end of the work day they had this area in primer. They also primed an area in the front left inside of the engine compartment that had never been primed.
Wayne just purchased a new paint gun and system. He brought it along and it worked great. There was no over spray at all. Although we covered everything that did not need painting it was not necessary.
Ed, Wes, and Don Bratt worked on the left upper door top piano hinge weather seal. This is the weather seal that covers the piano hinge on the top of the large 16' door. At the end of the day they had it installed.
Jerry worked at installing the top weather seal channels for the cargo doors at the right side of the Futurliner.
At the entrance to the Futurliner cab is an air operated step. Today Howard completed all the repairs and installed the step. Until all the plumbing (Del and Stan) is completed, he cannot install the step's protective shield.
Dick and Marty continue to fabricate metal for the inside of the cab. They have either Connie or Howard do the welding whoever is available.
Our librarian, Mike, did not get a lot of his work done today as he ended up being tour guide with all the guests. It appears that our short TV appearance that occurred last Tuesday plus over the weekend had people look us up. Mike does continue to pay the bills, do research, and catalog. This job has been a full time one since Mike volunteered. We really appreciate his work.
PHOTOGRAPHER AND WEB SITE
Al continues to record our work through the lens of his camera. Then following our work session sends it along to Jim Crame who puts the photos onto the web site. This process allows anyone interested in the project to watch our progress and has brought unexpected resources to our doorstep just when we needed them. Al also made his usual runs to the local hardware store.
Our newsletter that is mailed just arrived in mail boxes this past week. Those that get it via e-mail get it at least 3 weeks ahead of those by mail. Unfortunately, we cannot control the process of printing and the US Mail (snail mail) system. However, I must acknowledge our newsletter editor for the excellent job he does remotely down in North Carolina by simply taking our weekly reports and summarizing them. Dean Tryon is also the editor of three other newsletters as well as the recently elected President of the AACA in his region in North Carolina. By the way, he is looking to purchase a 1929 Buick, 50 series, that he can restore. He does not want a basket case but a running car that just needs some TLC.
This project is being done entirely by volunteers whose time and many different skills have been focused on one historic vehicle. I again want to thank each of them. With out them, this vehicle's restoration would have never have been done.
DOOR SAG PROBLEM
After contacting Ken Westbrook, GM Engineering, he put me in contact with the head of the Formability Analysis Group of the Metal Fabricating Division, Mark Stevens. Mark in turn sent out today Venkat Aitharaju who has a PHD in structural engineering. Ed and Don reviewed the problem of the door sag. Next Venkat took lots of measurements including the door sag, looking at and measuring the door, its structure, cross section of ribs, pivot points, etc. The next step in the process includes a computer structural analysis of the door and its systems. From this will be recommendations to reduce the door sag as much as possible.
In the mean time it was recommended to remove the body sealer that we put in between the inner door braces and the door skin and replace this sealer with two part structural body adhesive.
We thank Ken and Mark for so quickly responding to our need. We also appreciate Venkat being here so quickly to analyze our problem and coming to come up with a solution.
WITH RAISED LETTERS
One of our goals is to replicate the original wide white tires that had the raised letters in the whitewall area that stated "PARADE OF PROGRESS", "GENERAL MOTORS" and other information. Today we (Del, Don, Al and Ron) met with Ross Gates (Select Manufacturing) who owns a shop that makes prototype parts for the automobile, furniture, bearings, and many other industries. We also met with Bill Ginman who made our existing set of white walls. Out of this discussion came a possible process to make the tires with the raised letters.
1) Bill Ginman stated the durometer of the white wall should be close to that of the tire. He measured several truck tires of the type we will be using and they are between 62 - 66 durometer.
2) We will be shipping to Bill one of our old tires next Tuesday afternoon. We will ask Howard Sullivan to take it to Ginmans.
3) Bill Ginman will dress the sidewall and send it to Ross Gates.
4) Ross then can test and see if they adhere to this tire. Bill stated that polyurethane should adhere to the rubber in the tire.
5) If this works then that tire will go back to Bill. He suggested that it be mounted on a steel rim with 50 psi of air (normally 100 psi) to make it rigid. Otherwise the sidewall will be very flexible and not serve as a good part of the mold. The rim can be modified if necessary to accommodate the molding process.
6) If this works we will procure (notice procure does not mean purchase) eight new tires for applying the white rubber with raised letters on them.
7) We will look for someone that can do that fine work of restoring the one washed out seal on the tire. On the way back home we discussed some names of people who might be able to do this.
Jim Baker, Mike Ball, Al Batts, Don Bratt, Carol Bowers, Stan Bowers, Del
Carpenter, Sue Carpenter, Fred Carpenter, Conrad DeJong, Ed DeVries, Ron
Elzinga, Wayne Jackson, Carol Mayton, Don Mayton, Art Meidema, Wes Myrick,
Paul Prinzing, Martin Reed, Dick Saddler, Wally Snow and Howard Sullivan. GUESTS:
Jim Stevens and Larry Vander Schuur.
Jim Baker, Al Batts, Don Bratt, Bruce Beimers, Stan Bowers, Del Carpenter,
Sue Carpenter, Conrad DeJong, Ed DeVries, Ron Elzinga, Wayne Jackson, Don
Mayton, Art Meidema, Wes Myrick, Paul Prinzing, Martin Reed, Dick Saddler,
Wally Snow and Howard Sullivan.
Howard started the day with donuts for our coffee breaks. Bruce brought all the fixing's for Bratworst on the grill along with two salads. In addition Wilma provided a salad. Del's wife, Sue provided desert. Mike and Al did all the work to set up for lunch and the usual cleanup.
Connie and Art continued to weld in and grind the interior panels at the rear of the Futurliner. Then they started the metal finish work here.
Dick and Marty installed the splash pans that go under the rear of the door motor and operating mechanism.
Fred and Howard started to modify and install the turn signal light housing for the inside of the front doors. They made and welded in place the mounting brackets.
Jim started the process to fabricate and install the turn signal/ brake light/ stop light for the inside of the rear doors.
INSIDE OF DISPLAY AREA
Don Bratt and Ron fabricated, painted and installed sections to fill in an opening at the front of the rear wheel housings to prevent road dirt and water from entering the rear of the Futurliner. Next they fabricated and painted the panel that closes up the engine compartment from the display area.
Paul painted and sealed all the screws and rivets in the inside of both the upper and lower doors to avoid future corrosion.
BRAKES AND AIR SYSTEM
Del and Stan finished the front of the Futurliner in the replacement of the non-DOT fittings. Next they moved to the rear to replace non-DOT fittings.
Wally continues wiring the instrument panel. Don M. finished the wiring of the rear lower running lights. He then moved to the front and along with Paul started wiring the 24 lower and upper running lights.
Wayne wired in the four head lights in the head light module. He did this on the bench. He also tested it to see that it works. Later when the head light module is installed in the Futurliner the wiring to the head light switch will have to be completed.
Ed and Wes, with donated white rubber, installed a white rubber flap over the piano hinge on the right upper 16' door.
Al Batts, running to all the local businesses for parts really hit pay dirt. He visited Valley Truck and with Les's permission raided their left over stock of rubber weather seals and returned with eight boxes of material. Thanks to Al as well as Valley Truck.
We surfaced a major problem when Ed and Wes completed the right upper door weather seal. They discovered that the door in its extreme upper position sags in the center over 2". This is a condition that must be corrected as it will result in broken welds and other problems. Although the door functions fine we must correct this problem. The amazing thing is that when the door is lowered into its vertical / resting position the door returns to its original shape.
Dick and Marty installed the left air duct that allows engine heat to exhaust through the grill on the upper left side of the cab.
Ed has spent considerable time at home trying to re-design the lo-boy trailer that we have in order to modify it so that we can haul the Futurliner. He has come up with a sketch that right now we think will work. Next he is going to do a more detail drawing to see if his concept is feasible.
Mike continues to manage the job of researching for the details of the original Futurliner so that we can be as accurate as possible in this restoration. Today one of the items was to identify the type of dome lights that were in the cab of the Futurliner. Our Futurliner came with holes in the ceiling of the cab where the dome lights should have been.
Mike Ball, Al Batts, Carol Bowers, Stan Bowers, Del Carpenter, Fred
Carpenter, Conrad DeJong, Ed DeVries, Wayne Jackson, Carol Mayton, Don
Mayton, Art Meidema, Wes Myrick, Paul Prinzing, Martin Reed, Dick Saddler,
Jerry Sigler, Wally Snow, Howard Sullivan and John Wiltjer. GUESTS:
Guy Veenstra ,Dave Bulthouse, Harry Bulthouse, Jim Chambers and Jan
LUNCH: Carol made lunch, with Carol Bowers supplying the salad. Howard provided donuts for our coffee breaks. Mike and Al set up and tore down our lunch room.
We had lots of activity at Hershey with our volunteers at their own swap spots telling people about the Futurliner project. Fred and Marge as usual do a great job promoting the project. Also Wayne and Lois at their swap spot do their share at promoting the project. In addition this was done at Ed's, Wes's, Connie's, Bruce and Dee's, Del's and Sue's and Don and Carol's spot. Thanks for all the help.
Del and Stan continue to exchange non-DOT approved fittings to DOT approved fittings. This is a tedious task as it involves in many cases replacing all the copper tubing connected to that fitting that must be replaced.
Located in the center of the grill are four head lights. Although we had the head lights installed we had not found chrome bezels that would fit these head lights. Wayne found head light bezels that would work but each needed to be modified to fit the narrow area of the grill. By the end of the work session Wayne had all the modifications made and the bezels fit like a glove.
Fred removed the front right door for those working in the cab for easier access. Then he installed the metal frame work that contains the weather seal. Next Fred worked with others on various projects including painted sheet metal for Dick and Marty.
Jerry, Wes and Ed worked at making and installing the metal frame work to accept the weather seals on the large upper and lower 16' doors. Then they started the installation of some of the weather seals on these doors as well as the lower cargo doors. In addition, they determined the type of weather seals that will be required on the piano hinge of the upper 16' door. One of our guests, Jim Chambers, volunteered to locate this weather seal as it has to be white so that it blends in with the roof. By the end of the day Jim had found a source for this white rubber.
BODY - INSIDE REAR
Connie, Art and Howard fit and welded in place two large sections of sheet metal on the inside rear entrance of the Futurliner. This is the area that ultimately the generator as well as its control panel will be located.
Wally fabricated at home two electrical junction boards to terminate wiring at the bottom of the instrument panel. He then installed these boards as well as started the process to connect wiring to these panels.
Don, at the rear ran the wiring for 15 of the rear lower running lights to a termination point at the rear of the Futurliner.
WOOD FRAME WORK
Previously a long (16') wood rolling platform was constructed to allow the large 16' doors to be placed on them in order to work on the doors. Since this platform is not being used it was very difficult to move as well as to store. However, we will need this platform to work on the internal light bars (they are 16' long). Howard and Paul took this platform, cut it in two sections, each 8' long, reinforced each section, added casters and now we have two 8' long rolling platforms that can be used individually or clamped together and used as one 16' platform. After doing this they worked with others on their projects.
One of the reasons to remove the right front cab access door is to make working in the cab a lot more accessible. Dick and Marty fabricated, fitted, and had our welders weld the exhaust engine air duct work for the inside of the cab. This was then primed by Fred.
With us being off so long, Mike and Al had their hands full storing all the Hershey displays as well as filing away all the new material we have received.
Mike Ball, Al Batts, Stan Bowers, Del Carpenter, Conrad DeJong, Ron
Elzinga, Carol Mayton, Don Mayton, Art Meidema, Jeff Miller, Dick Saddler,
Jerry Sigler, Wally Snow, Howard Sullivan and John Wiltjer
Kevin Strebe (Johnson Controls)
Carol made a fixed lunch. She had a little help from a wedding reception that we attended Saturday with the unopened salads being donated for our cause. Everyone that knows about the project pitches in. Howard furnished our donuts today.
DONATED LO-BOY TRAILER
We have discovered that to build a trailer long enough to hold the Futurliner we will be out of specifications with the state of Michigan DOT regulations. Kevin Strebe, from Johnson Controls is going to look at some possible different designs for us. We still may be able to modify the trailer we have by being a little creative.
BODY - INSIDE THE REAR ENTRANCE
Connie and Art spent the day forming metal and welding it in place at the left rear of the inside of the Futurliner. Art also started preparing the door face of the large left lower door for painting.
Wally continues to terminate the wiring in the cab. Don started the process of connecting wiring for the running lights at the rear of the Futurliner.
Del and Stan continued to replace air fittings with DOT approved fittings. They have a long way to go.
As mentioned last week we obtained some donated weather rubber sealing material from Valley Truck. Today Jerry and Ron completed the installation of the weather seals around the left front door that enters the engine compartment. Next they fabricated and installed the metal channel that holds the weather seal on the top of the left two cargo door opening. They then painted this metal channel and later installed the weather seal.
In the cab of the Futurliner are two passenger seats with a console between them that holds the ash tray and the ducting for the air conditioner. Today Dick gathered up the frame work for these seats as well as the frame work for the console, stripped them of the remaining upholstery and prepared them for sand blasting.
ENTRANCE AUTO STEP
Howard finished disassembling this step that was bent and then straightened it and then welded in reinforcements. Next comes painting.
HERSHEY - OCTOBER 8 - 11, 2003
The annual AACA Hershey meet is the end of next week. If you have never been there it is worth the visit. Today Mike and Al spent the day gathering and packaging the materials that we will be taking to display the progress of the restoration as well as to peddle some hats (Futurliner) and posters. Each cost $10 and the money goes towards the restoration project.
Paul and Al with Howard welding made some modifications to our display stands and some hold downs for our canopy. Once the display items were completed they were packaged and divided among the volunteers for transport to Hershey, Pennsylvania.
You can find us in the RED FIELD RNG-5,6,7. These spots are located one aisle from the North East corner of the entire swap meet. Look for our signs. We will be next to Ryan and Linda DeVries who will be selling Fire Engine Bells. We should be easy to spot. See you at Hershey.
Due to the Hershey meet we will not be meeting the next two weeks. We will start again October 21 and again for most Tuesdays through the end of 2003.
Mike Ball, Al Batts, Del Carpenter, Sue Carpenter, Connie DeJong, Ed
DeVries, Harv DeVries, Jeff Dornbush, Lois Jackson, Wayne Jackson, Carol
Mayton, Don Mayton, Martin Reed, Dick Saddler, Jerry Saddler, Wally Snow,
Howard Sullivan and Warren Veurink.
Lois provided the hot meal for lunch, Sue provided the salads, and Carol the desert. Thanks girls. Wayne and Mike did the set up as well as the clean up.
Although the brakes work fine we discovered that we used fittings that did not meet DOT standards. Del and Wayne started the process to change out all the non-DOT- air line fittings which is about 1/2 of the almost 200 fittings. Unfortunately some of the air lines get damaged in this process and they as well must be made new.
Although I had made a run to Wyrick Products for supplies prior to our first work session Al was put to work almost immediately making another run to Wyrick Products. We again want to thank Wyrick and Montana Paint for their continued donations to the project.
Al next had to run to Valley Truck Body shop where Les provided all their left over (new) weather seal material. We discovered that the weather seal material they use will work perfectly in many of the door seal areas. Thanks to Valley and Les for this donation.
WEATHER SEAL INSTALLATION
The job of determining the type of weather seals and the metal channel that must be constructed to hold the weather seals fell to Jerry and Ed. They started this process of making the channels.
Wally and Jeff first tackled the problem of stiffening up the cables that attach from the shifter to the Hydramatic transmission. Our drivers discovered this summer at the "EYES" that the transmission was difficult to shift. They added hold downs to the shift cable at several points and had Ed see if it felt better. The final determination on this will be made next time we drive it.
Next Wally and Jeff started the termination of the many, many electrical connections.
Dick, Marty and Warren spent the morning sorting out the process to prepare the cab for installation of the interior sheet metal. They fabricated several pieces and had Connie perform the welding. Jeff also did some sand blasting of original interior roof panels. These were loaded into Marty's car trunk for him to prime at home.
In between welding for others Connie started repairing the inner panels for the rear section of the Futurliner.
UPPER DOOR LIGHTING BARS
Each door has attached lighting bars that flip out once the Futurliner side doors are opened. These lighting bars identify the display inside the Futurliner as well as provide lighting for the display. Although these are repairable they are very heavy and in the past have contributed to the upper door sag. We have determined that we will remake these out of aluminum.
Today, Howard and Jerry disassembled one of the door lighting bars removing all its interior components. This was one of those nasty jobs removing many bolts and screws rusted in place.
40 LOWER RUNNING LIGHTS
In the rush to get the Futurliner ready for the "EYES" we had only hand tightened the 40 lower running lights. Today all the bulbs were removed and all these lights were properly tightened down.
LOW BOY TRAILER
We have had an offer from a local company to take on the job of doing some engineering work for our low boy trailer. In the meantime Harv DeVries [ Ed's brother ] has removed all the rotten wood from the deck of the trailer.
Also Ed has obtained the specifications required by Michigan DOT to make sure we build something that meets their requirements. We want to build a trailer that can haul the Futurliner without having to obtain special use permits. We want to make it a drive on trailer if possible to lower our costs. At this point we are a long way from starting on the trailer. However, Howard is ready to start welding.
Currently the trailer is at one of Ed's storage facilities, outside in unheated Michigan air.
ARCHIVES and ARCHIVES
Mike had to start with a pile of mail and bills from the summer shut down. In addition he had to dig through all the archives for photos for about three crews. Next for those of us who cannot find that Futurliner part that we squirreled away last spring, for some reason Mike can always find it. Today two crews needed to find their parts. Each crew looked for over 30 minutes finally giving up and going to Mike. With a vague description Mike manages to find these items within 5 minutes.
We are starting to look at the remaining work and the purchases that must be made. Like we have done in the past we start by asking companies to donate the parts, services or supplies. Even if it is just a discount it saves money, but invariably we must make purchases. We know we will need between $15,000 to $20,000 to complete this project so if you are so inclined your donation is appreciated and is tax deductible. We do not pay any volunteers nor do we charge for utilities, volunteers transportation in getting here, storage or other stuff. The only thing we do pay as far as a volunteer, is if we break their tools we will replace it, that is only fair.
Please send any donation to the museum. Make the check out to:
FUTURLINER RESTORATION - NATM
Below is the address:
National Automotive and Truck Museum of the United States
c/o Bobbie Smith
1000 Gordon M. Buehrig Place
PO Box 686
Auburn, Indiana 46706
Again I want to thank all those that have contributed in the past, you as contributors and our volunteers are the keys that has kept this project rolling.
Thanks again, Don
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