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Old 05-16-2018, 12:42 PM   #1
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: May 2018
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2001 Thomas Built to 12 Person RV

Hello everyone,

I will use this thread to track my conversion and post questions and track solutions, I will edit this post to track what I am going to do, have done, and whats in progress.

Bus Info:

2001 Thomas Built 77 passenger bus with 179k miles at purchase.

(Planned layout picture to follow)

Goal:

Convert to an RV that comfortably sleeps either 5-7 hunters on hunting trips, or up to 12 people (couple sharing beds) on camping trips. Seating space for 12 during transit/meals/etc.

Need to Figure out:
  • AC Unit - Size, Location, Installation
  • Heat Source - Energy type, Size, Location, Energy supply.
  • Cooking Appliances - Type, Energy Source
  • Pottable Water system
  • Under chasis storage along sides
  • Co-pilot Chair


Planned:
  • Laminate Floors
  • RV Queen Master w/ Storage Under
  • RV Full Bunks (x2) w/ possible storage under
  • Couch (~12' sectional) w/ storage under
  • Meal Prep Bar
  • Cooler Storage under Bar (x3)
  • Over head Storage
  • Electrical
  • Trailer Electrical
  • Hitch Rack


In-Progress:
  • Paint - Blue Sides, Black Trim, White Roof

Complete:
  • Buy A Bus

If you have any thoughts on anything on the list, or items that I forgot please let me know! This list will be a WIP
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Old 05-17-2018, 05:17 PM   #2
Mini-Skoolie
 
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As some of you may have seen, I learned my first lesson today.. Not all paints are created equal. The rain we got this morning got under some of my latest painted areas and the latex paint starting peeling and coming off in large sections. The older areas seem to have held good so far, time will tell the extent of the rework required.
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Old 05-18-2018, 10:22 AM   #3
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it's all a learning curve, some are steeper than others.
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Old 05-22-2018, 02:25 PM   #4
Mini-Skoolie
 
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I tried taking a few of the bolts out on the seats just to see how it went today over lunch and found that I could get the bolts to spin, but there must be a nut on the back side because they are not coming out. I crawled under to try and find where they are and I can't seem to locate them.

Anyone have any tips for getting the seats out?
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Old 05-22-2018, 02:29 PM   #5
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Also, after I removed the stop arm, whenever I turn the key on or turn the bus on there is a buzzing sound coming from the general area that the stop arm was located, anyone know what that is?
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Old 05-22-2018, 03:11 PM   #6
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Cut the bolts to remove the seats. Should be an interlock circuit for the arm. Unhooking it usually results in a bus that won't start/run. Latex paint isn't the best paint for steel school bus. Read and research this forum before you leap.
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Old 05-22-2018, 03:26 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by leadsled01 View Post
Cut the bolts to remove the seats. Should be an interlock circuit for the arm. Unhooking it usually results in a bus that won't start/run. Latex paint isn't the best paint for steel school bus. Read and research this forum before you leap.
Yeah, unfortunately I was lead down the wrong path on the paint.. live and learn I guess. From now on I will be asking those types of questions ahead of time!

For example:

When I get the seats and the isle out, do I take up the current flooring too before putting my floor down?
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Old 05-22-2018, 04:26 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by iHunt View Post
Yeah, unfortunately I was lead down the wrong path on the paint.. live and learn I guess. From now on I will be asking those types of questions ahead of time!

For example:

When I get the seats and the isle out, do I take up the current flooring too before putting my floor down?
You need to see how much rust has infiltrated in the last 20 years. The only way to do that is to remove the old plywood subfloor and inspect the base metal floor for rust. Remove, treat, and prime before adding insulation and subfloor.
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Old 05-22-2018, 04:53 PM   #9
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You need to see how much rust has infiltrated in the last 20 years. The only way to do that is to remove the old plywood subfloor and inspect the base metal floor for rust. Remove, treat, and prime before adding insulation and subfloor.
How do you differentiate between ok rust and not ok rust. Obviously some of the rust under the chasis is normal and expected right?
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Old 05-22-2018, 05:02 PM   #10
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Just like the DIN tests I had to endure in Germany. Start with an ice pick. If you can put the point through the rust, it's bad. If not, grab some sand paper and a rattle can.
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Old 05-22-2018, 05:06 PM   #11
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How do you differentiate between ok rust and not ok rust. Obviously some of the rust under the chasis is normal and expected right?
Ok rust is surface rust that has not penetrated the surface. Rust that has a big hole in the middle of it is not Ok. Undercarriage surface rust is normal, any rust that has penetrated the frame or other items is bad. Through years of use with less than optimal sealing on the windows allows water to get in and down the wall to the floor where it sits eating the metal away. If you plan on building and living in it, it is important to stop the rust process there before adding $1000's of dollars of additions on top of a bad floor. You can't find the rust spots on the upper floor from under the bus.
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Old 05-23-2018, 10:22 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by leadsled01 View Post
Cut the bolts to remove the seats. Should be an interlock circuit for the arm. Unhooking it usually results in a bus that won't start/run. Latex paint isn't the best paint for steel school bus. Read and research this forum before you leap.
Once I get down to the sheet metal on the floor, address any rust issues, and prime the metal - do I put a moisture barrier down before I start building up my final floor?
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Old 05-23-2018, 10:41 AM   #13
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Differing opinions here. The metal floor IS a moisture barrier. But...unless you lay down some form of insulation, it is still possible that it could transfer condensation (sweat) to whatever is on top of it due to temperature differentials inside & out. You definitely do not want anything in contact with it that has the potential to hold moisture.
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Old 05-23-2018, 11:12 AM   #14
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What are my options for insulation in the floor? Im 6'2" and with my boots on I have to slightly duck, so I would like to conserve as much head room as possible.
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Old 05-23-2018, 11:56 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by iHunt View Post
What are my options for insulation in the floor? Im 6'2" and with my boots on I have to slightly duck, so I would like to conserve as much head room as possible.
You won't be able to conserve if you're adding 1-2" of rigid board insulation. Your other option is the roof raise. Some are claiming an option to spray foam from underneath, but I have yet to see pics of it done.
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Old 05-23-2018, 05:06 PM   #16
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I know I don't have the expertise, equipment, or time for a roof raise.. I could deal with an inch I think pretty easily, since I can swap out my cowboy boots for something more reasonable when Im inside the bus.


Side question, Where do I find how much my bus weighs? I found the GVWR, but I am looking for GVW for titling purposes unless GVWR is what you need for that.
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Old 05-23-2018, 05:14 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by iHunt View Post
I know I don't have the expertise, equipment, or time for a roof raise.. I could deal with an inch I think pretty easily, since I can swap out my cowboy boots for something more reasonable when Im inside the bus.


Side question, Where do I find how much my bus weighs? I found the GVWR, but I am looking for GVW for titling purposes unless GVWR is what you need for that.
You won't find actual weight on there. You'll need to go get it weighed locally. Truck stops have scales, local salvage yards have scales and most often will weigh you for free. Local landfill also has scales and would weigh me for free and just write it on an unofficial piece of paper.
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Old 05-23-2018, 08:37 PM   #18
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Definitely recommend pulling up the floor and treating any rust. I wasn't going to do it but when I finally did I was surprised at the amount of rust I had. Now I've repaired, treated and sealed the floor. It's a great feeling.

Genghis sends.

z
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Old 05-24-2018, 09:56 AM   #19
Mini-Skoolie
 
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Has anyone done a wood ceiling in their bus? Any tips or tricks to it? Last night I got access to a large amount of pallets that I would like to salvage the wood and use for decor in the bus.
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Old 05-24-2018, 12:27 PM   #20
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Rust is very subjective. I live in the rust belt so anything with holes smaller than a baseball is not to bad, Callifornia guys see alittle running rust line down the paint and say its all rusted out and not worth fixing. Definatly treat the rust with rust converter products.
Quote:
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How do you differentiate between ok rust and not ok rust. Obviously some of the rust under the chasis is normal and expected right?
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