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Old 07-17-2013, 07:53 PM   #11
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Re: A hippie with a not-so-minivan

We kept our heaters. The front is still hooked up "normally". The rear heat exchanger/12vDC fans we pulled, drained, shortened & reconnected the hoses to each other to maintain flow. We acquired a small vintage 6 gallon LP RV water heater (dirt cheap), added a Camco "hot rod" to it and installed it. It will heat pet safe anti freeze (either with LP or with AC) that will flow thru the heat exchanger that is now mounted under the bus behind the rear axle with a air return hole cut into the floor. The heat will be ducted to the various "rooms" in the bus using PVC pipe. The ducts will also spill heated air into the insulated water bays to help keep the tanks from freezing. We have a small Dynaglo LP heater (one made to use inside) hanging on the wall in the bathroom area. We will add an LP heater in the fireplace mantle in the front salon as well.

Since we built-in a couple of the window unit air conditioners, we won't be building our experimental air chiller at this time (if ever).

I like redundancy in the heating systems. While we have never been without power more than 24 hours since we started fulltiming in 2006, I have lived in plenty of areas that routinely lost power for up to a week. A couple winters ago (while we were still in Socorro), Albuquerque lost power due to a huge storm that shut down a great deal of the northern part of the state (including I-25 in the central part of the state where we were at). The hardest hit was out of power for over two weeks and they apparently had no back ups to their heat systems.

Don't forget to insulate the floors. And keep in mind, you can park long term (monthly rates tend to be much lower than RV Park monthly rates) in mobile home parks if you have your own bathroom. Mobile home parks will not offer wifi/cable in their rental fee. Your electric may be metered OR you may have to get the service in your name. The mobile home/RV park we stayed at in TX offered metered electric at the same rate as the area parks but their rent was much cheaper. Once we added in our own cable/internet it all evened out to about the same. We will be getting DISH television and internet when we move back to TX (park wifi is iffy when you have fools steaming movies). We will get the "buy your own equipment" set up since that is what we had last time and we still have the equipment although I think the box is shot (lightening?). ?I dislike "leasing". We will be getting DISH because we will be buying a cheapish spot of land to park on. That will allow us to have a permanent TX address plus give us a place to work on our bus and convert one for our daughter. It will save us the monthly rental site fees too.
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Old 07-17-2013, 07:56 PM   #12
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Re: A hippie with a not-so-minivan

You might want to read Best Bus for a conversion.
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Old 07-17-2013, 11:30 PM   #13
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Re: A hippie with a not-so-minivan

My hat is off to you after reading the "drive home" blog. You experienced what all of us dread, and what many of us have nightmares about ----- breaking down on the initial drive home. I'm always on edge driving a bus that has been sitting for a while. Age takes its toll on rubber parts like fuel lines, hoses, and belts. For this reason, I never plan to drive a "new" bus after dark. I've had too many bad experiences doing this and everything just seems to be worse if you have trouble at night. You handled it like a pro though. Nothing worse than trouble on the first trip and thinking "what have I got myself into".

Take your time and think everything through. My personal preference is to take out all the seats and then go over everything on the bus mechanicals first before I start the conversion. This will give you time to think about how you want to go about the conversion, plus it will give you confidence in the vehicle knowing that everything has been inspected, repaired, and it's ready to be driven when the conversion allows. I believe there is no substitute for experience, so I'd look for a mechanic to do a mechanical inspection that has experience on these vehicles. One good resource is the local school bus garage. You may be able to go your local shop and ask if there are any mechanics that want a side job. Just tell them you bought a Blue Bird and need to have it inspected. That's a good start and shouldn't cost very much. They will be able to see what needs attention and give you an estimate for any repairs. You may not need very much. Plus, it will make you feel confident about the bus knowing there is unlikely to be any unknowns lurking under the hood. I'd also get it serviced since you don't know the last time that was done, or if it was done right. One thing at a time and then move on to the next project. In the end, it all adds up and you'll be in better control of process. You'll hit a bump or two probably, but it won't be over whelming. Welcome to the whacky (and fun ) world of busing!
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Old 07-18-2013, 05:10 AM   #14
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Re: A hippie with a not-so-minivan

Did you ever figure out the buzzing alarm?
After reading that you had air brakes it had me worried, that was the buzzng
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Old 07-18-2013, 11:22 AM   #15
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Re: A hippie with a not-so-minivan

Quote:
Originally Posted by lornaschinske
You might want to read Best Bus for a conversion.
Thanks! what a great post with great ideas!

Quote:
Originally Posted by LuckyChow
Take your time and think everything through. My personal preference is to take out all the seats and then go over everything on the bus mechanicals first before I start the conversion. This will give you time to think about how you want to go about the conversion, plus it will give you confidence in the vehicle knowing that everything has been inspected, repaired, and it's ready to be driven when the conversion allows. I believe there is no substitute for experience, so I'd look for a mechanic to do a mechanical inspection that has experience on these vehicles. One good resource is the local school bus garage. You may be able to go your local shop and ask if there are any mechanics that want a side job. Just tell them you bought a Blue Bird and need to have it inspected. That's a good start and shouldn't cost very much. They will be able to see what needs attention and give you an estimate for any repairs. You may not need very much. Plus, it will make you feel confident about the bus knowing there is unlikely to be any unknowns lurking under the hood. I'd also get it serviced since you don't know the last time that was done, or if it was done right. One thing at a time and then move on to the next project. In the end, it all adds up and you'll be in better control of process. You'll hit a bump or two probably, but it won't be over whelming. Welcome to the whacky (and fun ) world of busing!
I had thought about that and I agree, I really want to make sure that everything is sound before. I can't move the bus from its spot at the moment because I can't get it registered as an RV until it is converted... BUT... I did a shout out on a local facebook group and found a mechanic mear me that has done his own conversions. I am waiting to hear from him but hopefully he may be able to help and could maybe give me some hands on insights and maybe I could have him do an inspection.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bansil
Did you ever figure out the buzzing alarm?
After reading that you had air brakes it had me worried, that was the buzzng
I don't think it was. It went hand in hand with the Engine Warning light and after talking to Bluebird it was most likely a sensor since the other things it could be were ruled out. I have not had it checked out yet because I can't move the bus yet but I will do it as soon as I can. The air brakes were working perfectly well, PSI looked great etc. I am looking forward to getting a full inspection done though.

Quote:
Originally Posted by roach711
Down here in Sunny Michigan we just have to sign a paper that says we have the required stuff. I signed mine before I'd even begun demoing. I hear the Canadian inspectors are a bit more thorough.
In other provinces all you have to do is have the seats out or have a wall? but I live in the province of EVERYTHING must be done... Look at this: http://www.saaq.gouv.qc.ca/en/road_safe ... /index.php
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Old 07-18-2013, 11:43 AM   #16
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Re: A hippie with a not-so-minivan

You have to have a propane system? that's insane

the offer of TN is still open
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Old 07-18-2013, 12:41 PM   #17
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Re: A hippie with a not-so-minivan

Quote:
Originally Posted by bansil
You have to have a propane system? that's insane

the offer of TN is still open
lol... I know! the thing is it is ALREADY titled as an RV!!!! The title has been transfered to me but in another province (where I bought it) but they don't want to give me the Quebec plates if it doesn't meet their standards! There are many reasons I can't wait to leave this province!
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Old 07-18-2013, 02:24 PM   #18
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Re: A hippie with a not-so-minivan

In Maryland we only need at least four of the following, Cooking facilities, Refrigerator or Icebox, Self Contained Toilet, Heating and/or AC, potable water supply including sink, Electrical supply or LP gas supply.
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Old 07-18-2013, 02:53 PM   #19
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Re: A hippie with a not-so-minivan

Can't you just set up an address in another province to register it to? I know there are many rv'ers here in the states registered in Tx that have never lived here. I am pretty sure escapees website mentions it and helps set it up. maybe your buddy who sold it to you can help you there.... use his address?
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Old 07-23-2013, 01:43 PM   #20
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Re: A hippie with a not-so-minivan

Quote:
Originally Posted by Malkieri
Can't you just set up an address in another province to register it to? I know there are many rv'ers here in the states registered in Tx that have never lived here. I am pretty sure escapees website mentions it and helps set it up. maybe your buddy who sold it to you can help you there.... use his address?
It is already registered under my name in another province but I can't get plates here in Quebec or in that province because I would not only need the province address, but I would also need to have a provincial licence.

So... I have a few questions.
My floors are not the conventional rubber that I see in all of the conversions. It is thick, and looks like the same material as a school floor and does not seem to have any plywood underneath. The closest I have seen to our floors is in Accordian's bus in which he did not rip out the floors and instead build insulation and flooring on top of that. What would you do? I don't mind losing and inch or two and build directly on top of it but I don't want to risk rust. I actually think that the metal looks pretty decent from the underside of the bus but you see it from there?

Next question is the about the Webasto... Well it is actually a Eberspacher and it is disconnected but still there. First what do these units actually do? and is it worth it to try to get it connected and working again?

We have not done any work on the bus yet. I am going to try get it inspected next week (they are not sure that they can before it is fully converted) and then go to the SAAQ with my four kids and just not say too much about it, never call it a bus (it is registered as a converted motorhome already) , and just hope they don't ask too many questions and try to get the plates. Maybe if the kids are distractive and they will just want us to get out of there

Basically I would like to be able to drive it around at times because there are a few things that I am not comfortable with doing on my own and a few things that will not be able to be done while it is in our narrow driveway.

I am still nervous about all of the rivets and I need to get a wall down that was up as part of the original bus use and I am not too usre on how it is installed there.... I don't know if we are going to keep the heaters or the TransAir yet. They all take up so much space that I find we just don't have with 6 of us going to be living in there.


Quote:
Originally Posted by lornaschinske
We kept our heaters. The front is still hooked up "normally". The rear heat exchanger/12vDC fans we pulled, drained, shortened & reconnected the hoses to each other to maintain flow. We acquired a small vintage 6 gallon LP RV water heater (dirt cheap), added a Camco "hot rod" to it and installed it. It will heat pet safe anti freeze (either with LP or with AC) that will flow thru the heat exchanger that is now mounted under the bus behind the rear axle with a air return hole cut into the floor. The heat will be ducted to the various "rooms" in the bus using PVC pipe. The ducts will also spill heated air into the insulated water bays to help keep the tanks from freezing. We have a small Dynaglo LP heater (one made to use inside) hanging on the wall in the bathroom area. We will add an LP heater in the fireplace mantle in the front salon as well.
I am trying to picture this and I just can't!! Do you have any link to images or schematics that explain it? I am visual so I find it really hard when just reading it like that....

I have to say... I LOVE Youtube or the great blogs and conversion threads here that add pictures!!!
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