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Builds and Journals This is where the magic happens. Photograph & document your GMC build progress for posterity.
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  #1  
Old February 25th, 2022, 09:26 PM
bucolucas bucolucas is offline
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Default My 1963 GMC Bus

Back Story:

This bus was in my family for about a decade. My dad used it as a mini-camper, hauler, temporary house when in Missouri.

The last time it ran was in 1991. The water pump went out on it, and there were no replacement gaskets available. One thing and another, my dad parked it on my Grandpa's property and there it sat for 30 years. It functioned as a junk storage unit and mouse dwelling.

It has one of the 305 V6 engines in it. My dad says it started up great every time, never let him down. He would drive 55-60mph for gas mileage - the big RVs would pass him on the flat stretches. Going up the mountains he maintained 60mph while passing all the RVs that were struggling.

---

Fast forward to 2021, my uncle pulled it out of the forest with his tractor, and we hired someone to tow it to my house.

I took 4-5 pickup loads of mouse nest/trash to the dump and hosed out the interior. The valve and cam covers are rusted out, the mouse nests really did a number on them. The rest of the body and frame look surprisingly good, and all the glass is intact.

I was going to put another engine in it, but I've read such good things about this V6 I'm going to give it a shot. Maybe some JB weld to patch the valve cover a small bit at a time, then make/buy another cover for the camshaft.

First step will be removing part of the head to inspect the cylinder and gasket, just in case something went wrong while he was messing with the water pump.
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  #2  
Old February 25th, 2022, 09:27 PM
bucolucas bucolucas is offline
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Default Re: My 1963 GMC Bus

If the engine runs well, I'll consider investing in a new set of valve covers. For now, I want to get it igniting/combusting as cheaply as possible.
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Old February 26th, 2022, 02:06 PM
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Default Re: My 1963 GMC Bus

Quote:
If the engine runs well, I'll consider investing in a new set of valve covers. For now, I want to get it igniting/combusting as cheaply as possible.
What ever you do do not use or add fuel to the gas tank/lines. It will need a good cleaning out. Otherwise the fuel will cause the intake valve to stick resulting in no compression and bent push rods. Use an external can to feed the fuel pump while trying to get the engine to run.
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Old February 27th, 2022, 10:31 AM
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Default Re: My 1963 GMC Bus

Definitely one of the neater projects I've seen. It looks like your dad parked it right after filling it up at the station and drove off with the gas handle in the first pic!

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Mouse pee ate right through those valve covers too. You can find replacements on Ebay from time to time, or you might be able to pick up an entire spare engine off Craigslist for a couple hundred bucks. It's always good to have a spare. Maybe you don't need it now but in 20 years when they've all been scrapped by kids trying to hot-rod them you'll be glad you had it for spare parts.

Like James said don't crank it even a little without draining the fuel. Who knows what's in the tank. Just stick the line from the fuel pump into a gas can and run it like that. I bet the fuel pump needs replaced too. They're not expensive, but the diaphragm goes out quicker on the new ones. Hard to find quality parts anymore (for any car, really). Also check the exhaust pipes for mouse nests. You can snake them like a plumbing drain.

I'll bet good money once you get the valve covers sealed and cover the crank it'll fire right up like the old days. Probably smell like murdered skunk for 10 minutes or so, but once she warms up you'll have a good reliable engine. These suckers do not quit.
Let us know how it goes


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Old February 27th, 2022, 07:54 PM
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Default Re: My 1963 GMC Bus

Looking forward to this one! definitely needs a good cleaning of the top end before firing up. Also probably a good idea to start with fresh oil (high ZDDP/zinc) and filter, might be a lot of water in the oil. Possibly prime the oil system before firing up by driving the oil pump through the distributor hole. The V6s have a hex drive for the oil pump, a socket should fit with a long extension I think? Just don't drop the socket in there

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Good luck!
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Old March 1st, 2022, 08:40 PM
bucolucas bucolucas is offline
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Default Re: My 1963 GMC Bus

Hoooo boy this is not what I expected, but I'm glad I checked. I'll check the other side next.

To be honest I don't know if this is buildup or melting/welding. The really interesting one has a scoop in it where the valve was hitting, so I'm assuming buildup.

The white piston had a cylinder completely full of ash.
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  #7  
Old March 2nd, 2022, 01:10 AM
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Default Re: My 1963 GMC Bus

Quote:
Hoooo boy this is not what I expected, but I'm glad I checked. I'll check the other side next.

To be honest I don't know if this is buildup or melting/welding. The really interesting one has a scoop in it where the valve was hitting, so I'm assuming buildup.

The white piston had a cylinder completely full of ash.
Time to start looking for a replacement V6?
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  #8  
Old March 2nd, 2022, 04:27 AM
bucolucas bucolucas is offline
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Default Re: My 1963 GMC Bus

That's the plan! I think I found one for a few hundred dollars, I'll see if it works out. Maybe it's time to pony up the membership fee here and hit the market place
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Old March 4th, 2022, 05:17 PM
bucolucas bucolucas is offline
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Default Re: My 1963 GMC Bus

I bought 2 used V6 305's for $500, the seller is going to arrange freight soon.

One of the engines is missing a piston, it will be solely for parts. I think pistons are difficult to find, so having 5 extras will be handy.

The other engine has no clutch, but I have a supposedly good transmission on the bus already. Maybe a new clutch isn't a bad idea.
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