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Old 12-14-2010, 10:19 AM   #1
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Posts: 17
Year: 1990
Chassis: International
Engine: 366 GM big block
1990 International - "Moby Dick"

Well, I bought this thing about a year ago to date and now that it's finally about ready for it's maiden voyage (for me at least) I decided to join this site. I know, I should have joined earlier. This conversion was supposedly "done" when I got it and the previous owner had been using if for a while, but I ended up putting another years worth of work into it to get it up to my specs. While it looked nice inside, a lot of the behind the scenes work was downright scary. Every time we were working on something mechanical on it my dad would keep repeating "I don't know how you guys made it home from NC in this thing." Apparently the previous owner had cast a spell on it that prevented obvious issues from creating problems and I knew this would soon wear off.

The bus started its life working for the federal government at Pope Air Force Base in North Carolina. It was originally used to haul people (maybe visitors? - carpeted isle way and sides, decals that say welcome to pope air force base, a/c) around the base. It is not a full length bus, I believe it is about 26'. It was originally equipped with a 7.3L, naturally aspirated, indirect injection (IDI) v-8 diesel engine, Allison automatic, and a single speed rear end. It was also equipped with a diesel powered a/c system. The previous owner was not happy about the power and road speed he was getting out of the old IDI, so he swapped in a freshly rebuilt 366 big block Chevy truck motor out of another bus, and also a different (huge 23,000#) rear end. He put a Holley 4 barrel on to eliminated the governed bus speed. I have to say that I would not have taken this plan of action as I am fan of diesels, especially the old 7.3 IDI's because of their simplicity. But I like them in pickup trucks, they would probably be a little underpowered in a bus. I would have probably just done a little work to the old IDI and maybe changed the rear end gearing. But it's what I got and I couldn't pass it up for the price, and it actually runs pretty good and surprised me on the mileage I got (6-10 MPG).

Conversion specs: (most of the parts he did the conversion with were out of a travel trailer so it really looks like a regular RV on the inside)

-propane stove/oven, hot water tank, furnace
-hood and light over stove
-3,500 watt generator
-large electric fridge
-dinette that turns into a bed
-rooftop a/c unit
-3/4 bed in rear
-toilet and shower
-double basin kitchen sink
-microwave
-2 TV's
-new Sony stereo system
-back up camera coming soon
-Many, many cabinets for ample storage
-complete water system
-RV type screened windows and door
-large awning on outside

What I had to do/repair:

-replace generator
-re-wire entire 110v system and some of the 12v system
-re-run propane lines
-replace mattress and the wood underneath it
-new TV
-install stereo
-new carpet in driver area
-remove non-functioning front a/c
-all new l.e.d. marker lights
-new tail and brake combo lights
-new reverse lights
-fix mirrors
-installed outside outlet
-4 new used rear tires
-replace multiple air brake lines that the previous owner had spliced together with barb fittings, hose clamps, and electrical tape - yikes!
-packed front wheel bearings
-replaced all rear axle seals and changed gear oil
-new rear brake shoes (old ones soaked in oil)
-changed transmission fluid and filters
-changed motor oil and filter
-changed antifreeze (the previous owner had straight water in it "for the summer!")
-lubed chassis
-changed spark plugs, wires, and distributor cap
-hooked up the electric choke
-installed driving lights
-replaced all belts
-new upper radiator hose
-installed electric cooling fan from a junk yard
-repositioned engine so it was tilting back not forward, which also involved cutting a hole in the firewall for the distributor and resealing it
-replaced all fuel lines and various other engine hoses
-changed fuel filter
-installed new tach
-fixed dash lights
-new air governor
-fixed broken off air compressor bolt
-and probably many other things that I forgot about

So it turned out to be much more of a project than I was hoping to get into mechanically, but in the end it should be worth it.

I'll try to get some pics up
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Old 09-04-2016, 06:47 AM   #2
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Posts: 17
Year: 1990
Chassis: International
Engine: 366 GM big block
Motivation

Trying to revive this thread in order to get some increased motivation to get this project done... I have been working on it on and off for the last 5-6 years, but unfortunately I didn't get much of anything done last summer.

We did manage to take it on one trip and there are a couple minor mechanical issues to work out and an issue with the generator. However, the biggest project is that the whole thing needs repainted. It was originally a dark blue when the Air Force owned it, but the previous owner painted it bright white (for reasons I don't understand ) (hence the nickname "Moby Dick"). Unfortunately the blue paint was evidently clear coated. The clear coat layer had pulled away from the base causing the white paint to come off in big pieces... So, obviously the whole thing needs repainted.

I've got all the loose paint removed and the whole thing pretty much sanded down, but do have some more prep work to do. We got the hood painted last weekend. Now for some pictures:

Here are some before pictures. You can see the paint starting to flake off around the grill. More pics to come...
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Old 09-04-2016, 09:26 AM   #3
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Posts: 17
Year: 1990
Chassis: International
Engine: 366 GM big block
Painting the Hood

Here are some picture of us painting the hood. We took it off the bus so we could use it as a test run, plus we were able to fit it in a paint booth. I did both coats of primer and the first coat of urethane, then my dad did the final coat. We are using Kirker Enduro-Prime epoxy primer and Kirker Ultra-Glo single stage urethane topcoat. The colors will eventually be two tone but right now what you see is Wimbledon White (a Ford color). Here are pics before, primer, and after.





Yes we used the famous Harbor Freight "purple" HVLP spray gun I got on sale for $8.99. With a couple of modifications it worked great for our purposes.
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Old 09-04-2016, 09:55 AM   #4
Bus Geek
 
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Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: Houston, Texas
Posts: 5,293
Year: 1946
Coachwork: Chevrolet/Wayne
Chassis: 1- 1/2 ton
Engine: Cummins 4BT
Rated Cap: 15
Lookin' good! And the cheapo HVLP sprayers work just dandy.
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Old 09-05-2016, 06:07 AM   #5
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Posts: 17
Year: 1990
Chassis: International
Engine: 366 GM big block
Yesterday I installed a roof vent for the range hood (previous owners had a vertical dryer vent installed horizontally on roof), patched some openings in the roof from previous vents/lights, and scrubbed the whole thing down with scotchbrite and scuffing soap. After some final prep work and masking, we will begin spraying the sides with the Kirker paint, then we are going to roll the roof with tractor paint. Here are some pics.

Here's the hood back on the bus:


Here's some pictures of the sides sanded down:


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Old 09-05-2016, 06:14 AM   #6
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Posts: 17
Year: 1990
Chassis: International
Engine: 366 GM big block
Roof Vent

Here are some pictures of the roof vent installation:




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Old 09-05-2016, 06:15 AM   #7
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Posts: 17
Year: 1990
Chassis: International
Engine: 366 GM big block
Here are the patches on the back:
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Old 09-05-2016, 04:24 PM   #8
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Posts: 17
Year: 1990
Chassis: International
Engine: 366 GM big block
Does anyone use exhast fans for the showers in their skoolies? I am thinking about adding one before painting the back. I suppose it would have to be one of those fans with an in-line motor so the motor would not be right over the shower. I have room to run ducting in the back of some cabinets...
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Old 09-11-2016, 05:46 PM   #9
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Posts: 17
Year: 1990
Chassis: International
Engine: 366 GM big block
Well, got the back end done in epoxy primer today. Got a couple runs on the right side of the door trying to get in the nooks and crannies (also my first time dealing with automotive paint), so I'm going to wait the 2-3 days then sand out the worst of it...
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