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Old 04-12-2010, 12:06 PM   #51
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Re: Adventure Awaits!

lol look for places you would sit down a drink.

or on the roof of the bus lol
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Old 04-13-2010, 06:24 PM   #52
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Re: Adventure Awaits!

We have one too. Smitty, you can get one for nearly free anymore, sometimes actually free. Check Craigslist, put up an ad looking for a free or nearly free unit, you can take down and transport. More people than you would believe are dumping them. They will sometimes need a pump, or heater, or odds and ends, but you can make a solar heater, and get a used pump, if that's your thing. We got one for a few hundred, ready to go. Just had to build a platform, a deck, wiring, etc... but it really helps out a sore back!

I stopped by a few semi truck wreckers in Grand Rapids today, and tried to score a few nice mirrors, but they were pretty proud of them, wanting about $200 a piece for the ones I liked, and they were used. Ah well, I will get back to that someday.
In the meantime, on the subject of un-school bussing my school bus, I purchased one headlight for experimenting with. Now, this can go one of two ways, I will either find that it will work, and make the bus a bit more unique looking, or I will end up needing to skin the front of the bus where I will be cutting a hole.
I bought this:

My plan is to see if the adjusters will make up for the lack of the slight angle it was originally mounted at, on the Jeep Commander it came out of. If that is successful, I will cut the turn signal off the side, and mock it up in some scrap steel sheet. I already investigated the mounting points, and they seem easy enough to reproduce, with a bit of effort, some luck, and a lot of welding, cutting, swearing, welding again, grinding, filling, and painting. You know what they say, hammer to fit, paint to match. If it goes well, I will order the passenger side light as well. Or maybe I will flip them, use them on opposite sides. I will see what I like best when I prototype it.

Besides, I am not terribly impressed with the light output of the original headlights, but also they aren't doing much to dispel the school bus look of the front end. This is important for two reasons, to me. One, my wife. Nuff said there. Two, the "WTF is that" factor. I do this to every vehicle. You should see my motorcycles. I don't get to modify my wife's street bike, per the rules, but the rest have been fair game. They are best described as an amalgamation. Suzuki, KTM, buell, even a HD part here and there. Nothing is sacred, it all falls prey to what works better, or looks interesting. It has to work better though, that's the big thing. Also, the rally lights stay, but they might get an HID upgrade. That's for later though, they are still working for now.
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Old 04-14-2010, 02:46 PM   #53
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Re: Adventure Awaits!

Hi,
I live in Birch Run. MI. I work for Grangers and run one of the Co-Gen power plants on the east side. Your bus project is inspiring. I have been thinking of getting a bus for a while now and may take a trip over to the Midwest Transitís site in IL. It's just so hard to fit in to our busy calendar. It seems every weekend is already booked. Plus I still have to convince my wife. She points out that all my projects always lead to more projects (and money spent). The kids like the idea though.
Would you mind showing me your bus? I get over to Lansing occasionally, usually for quarterly meetings. One is coming up soon I think.

Thanks, Bill
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Old 04-14-2010, 06:49 PM   #54
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Re: Adventure Awaits!

Bill, yeah, for sure I could give you the dime tour. It took me about a year to convince my own wife! But now, she is totally on board, she helps when she can, and she gets as much input as I do. We put off a project we haven't finished to work on this one, and that one is pretty dear to her, so I hope she knows that I appreciate that. I love you honey! ( I don't know if she reads this though )

Didn't do anything much today, other than cleaned up some mess from working on the bus the last few days. I did buy some angle steel for making the storage boxes underneath however. 1"x1"x 1/8", should be fine to hold together the treated plywood. I may use regular plywood and paint it with oil based paint though, I have a gallon or so of it hanging about from other projects.

Hopefully within the next few weeks we will get down to Red River Gorge for some climbing, it will be fun to take our daughter for her first real trip in the bus.
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Old 04-19-2010, 10:08 PM   #55
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Re: Adventure Awaits!

Next few weeks is out for sure. Got wiped out by the taxes. We are those people, waited until the last minute. Luckily we scraped enough together to pay up. Need to adjust someone's withholding. Enough of that mess, back to the bus!
What'd I do now? Only made the bus even worse looking, if that were possible. Started painting, didn't get too far. Wrong color. Really wrong color.

Elephant gray? Maybe, but more like battleship gray. With all these rivets and screws, it really starts to look a bit too industrial. Whoops. Try again later this week. I did get some help cleaning up before sanding though.

Speaking of sanding, I am glad I bought the elcheapo MIT orbital sander. There is a lot of sanding to be done. I have now ruled out the precise process of that $50 Rustoleum paint job. Forget wet sanding between six coats. I figured I didn't really have anything to lose, so I rolled it on full strength. Looks good enough for me. I might wet sand the long flat areas before buffing it, but that's about it. Still, the color was so wrong that it got the thumbs down from everyone that saw it. Guess that's a sign. Strongly considering spraying it with an airless sprayer I have had in the attic for ages. I will test it on some scrap metal first though. Maybe the hood of that white VW.
For what it's worth, having an impact driver to remove the screws holding all the doodads on the front was a HUGE help. I would have been wrecking a lot of screws otherwise. These will almost all go in the recycling bin in favor of new ones when it gets put back together. I only broke the heads off two, and they were easily extracted with PB blaster and vise grips afterwards, since enough of them was sticking out still. While I was up front, I also leveled the front bumper, it was a short and painless process, which makes me wonder why they couldn't bother to do it before they painted the bus. Attention to detail, check, oh, hey, break time again, just tighten it down wherever.
I also experimented a bit with the headlights, but it looks bad so far. Not enough depth to install the Commander lights. Blah. Plus, there is NO adjustment on the lamps, it must all be done with the mounts, I guess. Probably should have had a gander at one in situ before I went for it. No big deal, it's in excellent condition, not even a scratch, so it should sell easily. Eventually. Maybe I will find something else, sometime. There is only 5 1/2" of available space between the frame horn and the front of the bus, so that definitely limits the options.
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Old 04-19-2010, 11:07 PM   #56
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Re: Adventure Awaits!

I agree with Smitty, grey makes a good primer! What is your final color going to be? If it is a light color, it will be much easier to cover the bright yellow if you use a primer, or elephant grey first.
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Old 04-20-2010, 06:36 PM   #57
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Re: Adventure Awaits!

I thought I had a scheme in mind, but it has met with disapproval, so all future plans must be approved by my wife. It's only fair, it belongs to both of us.

Hopefully we can discuss it tonight, and settle on something.
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Old 04-20-2010, 10:56 PM   #58
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Re: Adventure Awaits!

Quote:
Originally Posted by dentedvw
I thought I had a scheme in mind, but it has met with disapproval, so all future plans must be approved by my wife. It's only fair, it belongs to both of us.

Hopefully we can discuss it tonight, and settle on something.
Here's some food for thought. When picking a color, keep in mind that most buses don't have the straightest body panels, or the smoothest curves, etc... Darker glossy colors tend to show these imperfections much worse than lighter colors. Have a look at some cars, see how black ones show small dents while the white ones hide them. Some colors are better than others at hiding flaws. I once had a van that was bright green, it was the best at hiding small dents and dings. Those color-shift paints are the absolute worst at showing blemishes because they change color with small changes in viewing angle.
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Old 04-21-2010, 07:18 PM   #59
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Re: Adventure Awaits!

Also, dark colors hold heat in the summer! I suggest everything above the windows be either white or silver.

As for the lights: there are drop-in replacements for rectangular sealed-beams that are high-output lights.
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Old 04-22-2010, 10:17 PM   #60
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Unfortunately that didn't go well at all. We had to have an argument. Ugh.
Well, have a lot of sanding to do, and it will be raining all weekend anyway, so it's not as though I was going to paint it this week. Perhaps next week we can hammer it out.
I know what you mean. This isn't exactly a smooth side Class A. We are going with something fairly simple. I will put up a picture when it gets a bit of paint on, and we can all make fun of it then.
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