Posted 12-12-2001 at 13:13:10
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Darrell- You pushed one of my hot buttons... I got a '73 B-600 that is heading the same RV direction as you mention.
First thing to do is change the engine oil and filter. Please believe me on this!
The big block Ford engine series is very tough and reliable. You probably have a spl. 2 bbl carburetor that works with the distributor to function as an engine speed governor. If in doubt replace any old rubber vacuum hoses. Make sure that metal tubing between the distributor and carburetor is in good shape.
The points, condenser, cap, and rotor, are probably plain Ford V-8 ignition parts. Give the centrifugal advance mechanism and the little felt pad under the rotor a shot of penetrant oil and wipe off the excess before putting in the new points. Look for a specifications decal on the driver side valve cover. If can't find any, then set the point gap to 0.017", or to 28 degrees dwell.
Next,set the ignition timing to 6 degrees before top dead center. Make sure the vacuum advance is disconnected and the engine RPM is below 600 when setting the timing. With the vacuum advance disconnected give the engine a rev and watch the timing change to see that the centrifugal advance mechanism is working. Connect the vacuum advance and make sure the vacuum unit is working. If in doubt replace it and skip the head scratchers caused by leaking spark advance unit diaphrams.
Replace the fuel filter on the fuel pump by screwing off the can. The square cut O ring might try your patience and a coating of gun grease in the sealing and threads area of the can is helpful.
There's likely another little fine mesh filter on the back side of the carburetor brass fuel inlet fitting. Un-screw the fuel line. Un-screw the fitting and clean the screen. I like to install a steel can in-line fuel filter in the line as close to the carburetor as possible. It's easier to replace that in-line filter than to fiddle around with the fittings and little screen.
Use shop air to blow as much dirt and crap away from the spark plug recesses as possible. Good luck on screwing out them 18 MM taper seat plugs! "Read" the old plugs for engine condition problems and to get an idea about what heat range the new spark plug needs to be. Places that sell spark plugs usually have a color picture chart for this.
Get and use a "thread chaser" in the spark plug holes in the heads. Use generous amounts of penetrant oil while chasing the threads and to flush the grunge on thru and out of the cleaned threads.
Set the spark plug gap to 0.034", or the low number if you have a gap range to work with. Spark gap gets wider with wear. The only time I've seem 'em get narrower was when an engine shelled out!
Apply some anti-seize compound to the new spark plug threads. Run 'em in hand tight. Next, torque the new plugs to 20 foot pounds. Do not over torque!
Now is a good time to install new spark plug wires and a new distributor cap.
Fire it up and let it warm to normal operating temperature. Carefully adjust the idle mixture screws on the bottom front of the Motorcraft carb to give the smoothest and fastest idle. If the idle speed ends up to high, then back it down with the idle stop screw that contacts the throttle arm on the driver side of the carb. Work back and forth between the mixture screws and the idle speed screw several times to find the best running and correct speed adjustment.
Take the bus out for a road test. Dictate detailed observational notes to a helper. After an hour or so of operation change the engine oil and filter. Any good brand of 10W30 motor oil is just right. Please believe me on this!
As to creature comforts... Snoop around truck stops and RV shops and you'll find lots of gadgets and appliances that operate on 12 volt DC and/or propane.
Hope this long winded telling helps. IHank, with an '86 Chevy "Love Bus" and a '73 Ford bus project in work to back it up.