Jake, Here’s a few links that will come in handy for seeing how folks installed their woodstoves in their Schoolies’.
Just ‘Click’ around on these sites and you’ll see all sorts of neat stuff.
The 2nd site listed is run by Roger Beck. He compiled the best collection of Schoolie & Housetruck pics you’ll ever see in his great book ‘Some Turtles have Nice Shells”…I REALLY recommend buying that book. It’s a great resource for figuring out layouts & Such.
I wish I had taken more pics of our last Schoolie conversion “Home”…that showed the nice medium sized airtight woodstove that I installed…
I located the stove very near our front door for a couple of reasons.
One:…it keeps the rest of the interior clean from woodchips , dirt etc..
And Two: …since the stove only weighed in at about 180 lbs loaded, I wanted to be able to toss it out the front door if something bad happened (IE. Meltdown). I kept a big pair of heavy-duty welders gloves on a hook by the stove for this reason.
I knew I’d probably bust our front door to pieces and get a hernia if I had to heave the stove out …but figured that’s a much smaller price to pay than the total loss of our Bus home would be.
As far as heat loss issues in installing a woodstove off to the side versus in the center goes…
We lived fulltime in our last bus up on the Homer Spit (Alaska). Up there during the winter months its gets VERY cold (30 below and colder on stormy days)
Even though our stove was located up front near the door, it kept the bus so warm we had to open the front door just to cool it down a bit on most winter days.
The stove pads I used on the floor & behind the stove reflected plenty of heat.
They’re made out of thin steel with a fireproof insulation on their bottom side and are really easy to bend. (Any woodstove dealer should have these)
The nice thing about these pads is …when you install them with a 1-inch airspace left open behind them on your walls …you can safely have the stove much closer to the wall. Which gives you more room inside your rig.
(I used 1” long sockets that I found in a bin at the hardware store to hold the pad away the from the wall and that worked out really well for me.)
I didn’t worry at all that our stove was over the fuel tanks because it was lined with firebrick and never got really hot on its underside. Even when the draft was wide open I could place my hand down on the stove pad (on the floor) and not feel much heat.
Jake , I don’t know if your woodstove has fire brick on its bottom (lots of the cheaper stoves don’t)…but if it doesn’t …I really suggest buying some .
You’ll only lose a few inches of interior capacity…and you wont have to worry about the bottom burning out.
(Which the thinner & cheaper models can & do on occasion, especially if you’re burning coal in them.)
Jake I really loved our woodstove …it kept us very comfortable under conditions that NO propane furnace could ever handle.
Most of the early House trucks & Schoolies always had woodstoves for their primary heat source and lots of folks still use them in their rigs. They’re not hard to install and are completely safe to use …as long as you’re careful & watchful.
Don’t take my word for any of this …just search around and you’ll see that just about everyone locates their woodstove to the side with either a stove pad setup like I used or used bricks for fire safety.
Even though Schoolies have a front and rear door that you can get out of in an emergency …you don’t want anything in that center aisle that will keep you from getting to your Kids or whoever if something bad happened. Bad things can & do happen …and often happen very quickly …so be careful.
You’re going to hear all sorts of ways to go about this…because everyone’s School Bus Conversion is different …
But you’re also going to hear ‘garbage’ on any forum that always perpetrated by folks who don’t know what they’re talking about and have no experience whatsoever. …
Stuff like calling good conversion jobs silly & sissy looking and how they’re going to retire in their great conversion (only to sell their bus a few days after making their comments)…
You see this stuff on just about any forum…and rather than slink off to some Internet back water forum and leave us real converters alone so we can try to figure out smart and safe ways to go about this sort of thing or anything else…they think its OK to continue to post ‘how-to’ info about stuff they know nothing about ………