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Old 10-29-2013, 10:27 AM   #1
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Location: Hopkins, SC
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Year: 1973
Coachwork: Blue Bird
Chassis: Chevy C60
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12 Years in the making- The story of Murphy

Hello Everyone!

I've been a skoolie junkie since I was a kid. A neighbor lent me a book with all kinds of cool houses built in old buses and large trucks. The bug was planted early you might say! So I'd been dreaming of one for a long time. I bought a bus from a junkyard in 2001 when I got home from a deployment to the Persian Gulf aboard the good ship USS Stump. I fell in love with her look and the stylish rear end, that curved at the top just like many of the older buses in that long ago book. I hashed out a good price and started preparing her for the journey from Norfolk, VA to my parents house in SC. (I was still living aboard ship and didn't have a place to keep her yet) She must have wanted to Rust In Place, because she fought all my efforts to get her road worthy again. So I came up with her name, Murphy. After Murphy's law. She spent the next 2 years in SC because the old tired engine blew shortly after the 400 mile trip to SC. I got a big 350 out of a tow truck and totally rebuilt it, headers, big four barrel carb, ported heads, etc. Then I drove her back to Norfolk as I had bought a house by then. I began in ernest to do the conversion. I started to plate over the windows for the bedroom, and started a mad dash from the local delievery boys thanks to my ebay surfing for RV parts and deals. My neighbor even let me tear apart a small camper he had for parts. Then I went on another deployment and work stopped.

When I got back I started buying and selling military surplus at gun shows. I used Murphy to haul it all around. When I got out of the Navy, I filled her with 5 tons (I weighed it for the pay to move home) of my machine tools and other garage parts. I had to park her on a friend's propety out in the woods in the middle of no where. 5 years later....

My wife and I were renting a house and, to make a long story short, found ourselves with a notice to vacate by Oct. 31 2013. We have a farm with lots of animals and I also collect military trucks and full size railroad equipment. So we couldn't just get an apartment. Searched high and low for a farm to rent within our budget. No go. So my friend has 13 acres with a 26x60 shop building on it. We didn't have the money to buy a mobile home (plus we hope to not be there for long) so in comes Murphy...

I carried a battery and fluids back in the woods and to my amazement, she fired right up! We drove through the woods (pines grow fast in 5 years) and got her to the road, and bled the brakes, and I drove her the 40 miles to the house! she seemed to enjoy getting some exercise but I will tell you, those flat spots on the tires sucked the first 15 miles!

So I have been working none stop till 1-2am every day for the last week to empty, clean, and start my conversion. I am having to rush some things that I hope to go back and redue later, I'm just trying to get it livable for now. I hope to post up some pictures shortly.

I have everything major that I bought years ago, except an RV rated fridge, a furnace, and A/C units. We probably won't need A/C for much longer, but the furnace is a must have. I remember I didn't get around to buying one because I kept debating with myself over how much BTU to get. I have the plumbing too, although somewhere along the line my kitchen and bathroom sink went missing...

I've gotten the floor painted with a rust preventative, a layer of tar paper down, and the plywood floor down. I've also cut out the opening and gotten my 6 gallon water heater installed. Tub is in and framing for it and the toliet area are roughed in. Power connection hole and plug compartment in. I'm going to work on electrical today after work, to get the electrical cabinet and converter mounted so I can start running power and 12vdc for lighting and other RV components.

My main focus right now is getting the bedroom area finished and insulated. The insulation is the tricky part right now- we don't have much money left. I'd love to do spray foam but that is a little $$ plus the time to get the kit. I might just buy rolls of 'fiberglass' and put in the walls and roof. (I had removed the roof panels and insulation when I first started the conversion. I wish I hadn't now.)

More to come and if you have any suggestions I would love to hear them!

Adam
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Old 10-29-2013, 10:42 AM   #2
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Re: 12 Years in the making- The story of Murphy

welcome to the madness and great story!
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Old 10-29-2013, 10:54 AM   #3
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Coachwork: Blue Bird
Chassis: Chevy C60
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Re: 12 Years in the making- The story of Murphy

Here are a couple of pics I had on my phone the day I got her empty. You can see the quick green paintjob is flaking off, and all the moss and dirt on the bus from sitting in the woods. The interior shot you can make out the roof vent I installed years ago in the back, and the plating over the windows. I retained two seats to make the dinet out of. I will get some pictures when I get home of the progress thus far.



Attached Images
File Type: jpg murphy one.jpg (1.39 MB, 1296 views)
File Type: jpg murphy two.jpg (1.38 MB, 1296 views)
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Old 10-29-2013, 06:10 PM   #4
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Re: 12 Years in the making- The story of Murphy

Welcome! --- and a great resurrection story. You just can't keep a good skoolie down. Best of luck picking up where you left off on the build.
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Old 10-29-2013, 07:41 PM   #5
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Re: 12 Years in the making- The story of Murphy

Like Tango said.......that ole' girl got good bones (my hillbilly partake of said girl )
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Old 11-05-2013, 03:14 PM   #6
Mini-Skoolie
 
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Chassis: Chevy C60
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Re: 12 Years in the making- The story of Murphy

Having trouble getting all my pics off my camera to this computer.

Anyway, we are now in the bus full time, which is making it hard to do any work to her. I got the water heater, the power connection port, tub and flooring installed. I just bought rolls of insulation to start on the roof today. After sleeping in it for a few days, it rains in the morning from that bare steel!

I also got a hook up at the local junk yard, I'm getting TWO like new Suburban LP furnaces, water pump, power supply, transfer switch, and 7kw onan genny for $400! I will go pull the parts tomorrow. Not sure about the condition of the gen or the heaters, but the heaters look fantastic and the coach didn't have much use, it was in a wreck, so the gen should be ok after a good servicing ( I hope)

I also got some of the 12v lights installed and two deep cycles to run them, looking at a solar panel or just wait on the gen as we have no power where we are right now.




Attached Images
File Type: jpg water heater.jpg (673.5 KB, 1174 views)
File Type: jpg floor foam.jpg (173.5 KB, 1174 views)
File Type: jpg floor pading.jpg (289.5 KB, 1174 views)
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Old 11-05-2013, 03:19 PM   #7
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Chassis: Chevy C60
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Re: 12 Years in the making- The story of Murphy

And the carpet. 3 picture max? dang...

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Old 11-05-2013, 04:45 PM   #8
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Re: 12 Years in the making- The story of Murphy

Pretty soon you won't be able to post any pics directly. You will need to link to a photo hosting site.
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Old 11-18-2013, 08:20 AM   #9
Mini-Skoolie
 
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Re: 12 Years in the making- The story of Murphy

Quote:
Originally Posted by Diesel Dan
Pretty soon you won't be able to post any pics directly. You will need to link to a photo hosting site.
Well that sucks, but I understand it takes a lot of server space and server space = $$$. I'll just set up a photobucket account then.

Ok hard time posting when I don't have internet at the compound.

Well, the water pump I got from the junk yard was indeed junk. The magnets in those surflo pumps are only glued on, and after 15-20 years it apparently fails. One of the 30k BTU furnaces worked great, and it is installed and I even have the thermostat hooked up. Right now it is in the rear next to the water heater. We have heavy blankets seperating the back from the front, hanging in front of the wheel wells. The rear is 75% insulated now. I will be finishing up the rest tonight hopefully. And taking some pictures to post.

The other heater would cycle, but not light. One time it did light and it went BOOM but I haven't gotten it to do it again. My guess is the igniter is bad. The nice thing about getting a twin set of heaters, is the parts are interchangable. So my plan is to put the igniter/thermocouple module on the one installed and see if it works. If not, then I know I just need that $10 part. If it does, well, back to troubleshooting!

The generator is giving me fits though. I got it to run, and after looking through the manual and doing the tests got it to generate power. Did a happy dance and quit for the day. The next day I moved it onto a more secure base, and now it won't generate power. I know this is a smokestak forum type situation, and am a member over there ( I had lots of old steam gen sets in the past) so I will bring it up over there and hopefully have some power.

I did score a 2500watt 5kw surge inverter last night for $50 off craigslist. I already had a 1000w but it wouldn't run much. I also found another deep cycle battery I had laying around. I figured it would be bad but lo, it had 11.8 volts so I charged it and it is holding. I put the bank under the driver side for now on the ground. I have a set of wires with the gray plugs on them like you see on forklifts and pallet jacks. I put one end on the bank and the other attached to my truck with it coming out under the grill. This way I just pull up when I get off work and plug them in, and let them charge for a little while every day. The bus alt isn't as good and the gas gauge is broken so I don't want to use it to charge the batteries. Plus my truck is diesel and I get my fuel for free so can't beat that!

I'll post up more pics tomorrow hopefully.
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Old 11-20-2013, 10:07 AM   #10
Mini-Skoolie
 
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Re: 12 Years in the making- The story of Murphy

And Pictures!


brand new oven and range by Steamman5320, on Flickr


window I put in 12 years ago by Steamman5320, on Flickr


tub installed by Steamman5320, on Flickr


Inside after floor was down by Steamman5320, on Flickr


insulation around window by Steamman5320, on Flickr And my fast moving dog, Lakota


insulation and temp supports by Steamman5320, on Flickr

the heater ran much less last night after getting two more sections insulated.
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