hmmm. I like the pressurize-the-line idea, I can get to both ends and cap one and put a tire valve fitting on the other. SOMEWHERE there is likely a fatigue crack just waiting to break completely apart and put me out of action.
A short story about the trip in: Somewhere around Yerington I noticed the engine missing a bit and pulled into a service station to investigate. It was idling fine, but acted like it was starving for fuel when revved. Step one was to replace the fuel filters (which was in fact needed as the primary showed signs of collapsing...should have done that pre-trip!). That seemed to solve the problem. Fueled up at Fernley and headed into the last stretch towards the playa. At the Worst Place Possible, going up a steep hill around a blind corner, at the downshift the engine lost power, going back nearly to idle RPM with full throttle called for. EEEP!! Sent my campmate out and back on foot to warn approaching traffic, and after a few hair raising minutes tried the throttle again and got the bus moving up and around the corner to a wider spot to pull out of the way. Thankyou to the several ATV haulers who came by for not running into me...I scraped the rock cliff a bit trying to be off the road as far as possible.
There are some complicated controls on a Detroit Diesel running the throttle, its not just a butterfly valve in a carb. The fuel racks are controlled by a gov, several solenoid valves and pressure switches, and they all seemed in order. Cleaned up a sticky air-operated cut-off solenoid (used to shut the engine to idle during shifting...thought that might be a culprit) and started off again, but lost speed on the first rise encountered so found a real pull-out and spent the next 3 hours there.
That's when the air bubbling into the filter was discovered, and where the bodged-together booster pump was installed. Helps to have a chest of spare parts stashed onboard! Hats off to DPW's Gameshow and Katy (his new bride I was later to learn, congratulations!!) for pulling over and checking on me, as well as the reservation police who watched out for traffic, much appreciated. The pump got things running as they should and the trip to the playa and then home went pretty well. I did have to replace the old booster pump with a newly purchased spare close to home. Now I have another 'spare' for the spare on hand
The hunt is on for some good fuel hose and thanks for putting up with my long winded typing...its good to share road stories. Now back to bus fixing. I'm thinking that the pickup tube in the tank has a clogged strainer that is making the pump work especially hard to get fuel through it. At first glance it doesn't look removeable (like its brazed onto the tank) but a 49 y.o. tank might be scary-full of bottom scale & gunk needing removal.