Annndddd we're back!

Well, after about 8 days on the shelf, we are back and the brakes are working to perfection!  The brakes no longer lose air pressure in stop and go traffic and the brake chambers even fill up with air faster upon the initial engine start up.  It takes approx. 3-4 min to get the tank full of air, when it would previously take about 8-10 min to completely fill with the necessary amount of air. 

Now its time to take it out on the town again!  This time I am trying to get more of a feel for a what an actual night out on the town will be like.  So more bar hopping and hitting up different areas of town as opposed to the video shoot night when we were mainly in the Downtown and Midtown area.  

Since it seems as though a lot of people are busy this weekend, I am going to set the next ride up for next Saturday, August 20th.   Thinking we will hit up Kay's Lounge one last time before they shut down the legendary Houston establishment and the iconic Texas-shaped wooden table will be no more. 

Just when I thought I'll get out...they pull me back in!

Just when I thought all was good with the bus, another repair popped up that needed to be taken care of.  

Last time I dropped the bus off at DI Performance to address a situation with the brakes, I was under the impression that it was fixed.  Apparently, after they fixed that issue, this new issue popped up and now I had to get that fixed.  

The issue being that the air brakes would lose air pressure the more and more I was in stop and go traffic.  In fact, on the way home prior to our filming of the promo video a couple weeks ago, the bus actually locked up on me as I was sitting in the lovely Houston rush hour traffic around 5pm.  Luckily we didnt have any other issues that night, but I knew that I would need to get that fixed ASAP before I did another ride. 

The issue is that one of my air valves was leaking along with the brake chambers, my slack adjusters were worn and the air dryer was leaking.  So I have turned it back over to DI Performance for yet another repair.  

I can tell you this much, when it comes time to by my next bus, I will be looking for something a little newer than a 1994 school bus.  So, now I wait and see how long the repair will take.  Stay tuned! 

Interior work, A/C install and yet another issue...

After 3 1/2 weeks of waiting, I finally got a phone call saying that the interior of the bus would be ready.  Well, at least most of the interior would be complete.  The guys working on the bus said that they were going out of town for a week and said I could pick up the bus if I wanted.  This worked out perfectly because I was able to get the A/C installed during this time.  

The work that was completed on the interior to-date was:

  • Paint the interior black
  • Add lighting above the seats
  • Install new upholstery
  • Install security cameras and rear view backup camera
  • Hookup new radio with Bluetooth and USB charging outlets

They still need to install the handrails, connect the cameras to the DVR, and add lighting under the seats.  But that should only take a day or 2 at most.  

I picked the bus up on Wednesday, 4/20 and dropped the bus off to get the A/C installed Friday, 4/22 at Camping World of Houston. 

But another hiccup would be revealed on the way to get the A/C installed.  As I was heading down I-10 to Camping World, where I would get the A/C from, about 10 minutes from my destination, I started to smell something from the engine and my brake light came on.  In addition, the pressure in my air brakes had dropped significantly.  All of the sudden, my brakes locked up and forced me to pull over on the side of the road.  After shutting off the engine, I let the bus rest for about 45 min. I started it back up and the pressure rose back to sufficient level as I was able to drop the bus off to get the A/C worked on.  

I picked the bus back up Tuesday and immediately dropped it off at DI Performance for an inspection.  A few days later, I got the call that the air compressor was faulty and there were multiple leaks in the lines.  They estimated that the repair will take about a week.  

As frustrating as it has been for issue after issue to pop up, I am glad that I am identifying these now as opposed to when I have customers.  I just have to keep delaying the start date of The Cool Bus, so now it looks like the bus won't be ready till Memorial Day weekend, depending on how long the paint job takes.  

As the repairs and fabrication work have been taking place over the past few weeks, I have also gone through DOT (Department of Transportation) training.  I have learned quite a bit of information that will allow me to properly operate under the federal and state rules/regulations as a commercial motor vehicle.  I knew that there would be a lot of information to consume, but I didn't realize how much I would be responsible for as I am running this business in the coming weeks, months and years.  

Finally, the fun stuff starts

After 5 weeks of being in the shop, the bus has finally been fixed!  DI Performance did the repair, and after driving it around for a couple of days, so far, so good!  I was able to pick the bus up Monday and I was able to turn the engine off/on with out any issues. 

Now the "fun" work can begin!  I dropped the bus off with Harbros Inc, who specializes in party bus customization on Wednesday.  

They will begin the process of customizing the interior of the bus.  The items we discussed to be completed over the next 2-3 weeks will be:

  1. Install new upholstery with lime green and black vinyl
  2. Install of LED lights under the seats and above the seats that will shine on the interior roof
  3. Paint the interior black.  They will cover up all the blue areas and any other area that hadn't been painted yet
  4. Re-position and installation of new radio with Bluetooth, USB and Aux outlet capabilities.  Radio will be moved closer towards the middle of the bus by the trash can/cooler. 
  5. Installation of 4 cameras and DVR for security purposes.  The cameras will be in position of a dash cam, camera facing the driver, camera facing the cab where passengers will be and a rearview camera to also help in the assistance when moving the bus in reverse
  6. Fabrication and install of handrails across the roof inside the bus
  7. Install of a 110 outlet by the driver seat for phone charging usage
  8. Find and fix the leaks coming from the roof of the bus causing water to get inside

I am very excited that this type of work is finally happening and we are a few more steps closer to seeing the finished product.  

The company will be taking pictures throughout the process and sending them over, so I will eventually be able to post those pictures on the site to see the conversion from start to finish.