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Old 02-21-2013, 09:03 PM   #11
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Join Date: Feb 2013
Location: Southeast raleigh
Posts: 221
Year: 1974
Coachwork: Crown
Chassis: Supercoach
Engine: Detroit Diesel 6-71
Re: B.O.S.S. - A Future Skoolie!

Ok so after a trip to the local bus yard...

They don't have much. All the buses they have are lower ceiling (we want a tall body) but otherwise pretty decent shape. I do have to say it's been years since I've been on a school bus and WOW! They are huge! The maintenance manager was very nice, and helpful - he's in charge of at minimum 1100 currently active buses so he definitely had good info. I suspect we'll see him on this board eventually. Seeing the buses in person definitely helped us get a better grasp on the scope of the project and cement what we want: a tall body pusher. We also got to see a couple of buses that have been in accidents and I am amazed. They had a pusher that had been rear ended, was considered junk and to be parted out for scrap and it was in startlingly good condition. Yes there was damage, but that same accident would have blown a standard RV into smithereens!! We didn't get all the measurements we wanted (realized of course after we got home) so we'll be going back soon to get a few more, but we've now completely revamped our floor plan..again.

I have some questions about Insulation - we want to use spray in foam and do it ourselves. I found a company that uses closed cell insulation that's rated at 6.7 for 1" and equals out to be $1.04 per square foot which includes the hoses, spray tips, etc. Staying warm/cool is a huge priority for us because we fully intend on traveling and boondocking in all extremes of weather. With the spray in foam, it seems worth it to remove the steel walls and current insulation, frame out the walls, spray in, barrier, and panel over. What about the ceiling? With the tall body buses, we can sacrifice a little space to have better insulation, but would we apply the spray foam in the same fashion for the ceiling and floor? We want to use wood panel (similar to Wild Blue's ceiling - love it) on the ceiling and possibly laminate stick tiles on the floor. As far as the floor goes we want to insulate inside the bus as well as below (thanks Lorna!) but I am concerned with the "squish" factor with insulation on the inside floor. Would a wood floor be worth it over laminate?
Heat source would be primarily wood stove, LP back up (we have a Mr. Heater that can warm our entire house), as well as an oil circulated electric space heater we already have.

If the spray in foam works the way we think it should, we'd most likely also use it under the bus and the storage boxes,then coat it with truck bed liner.

We are also thinking about a way to collect a small amount of rain water from a gutter system, and have it filter through a lifestraw system into the clean water tank. Anyone have experience with that?

edit: and yes we will definitely have an inverter system for solar and wind to charge the batteries with a generator back up. We want to avoid cranking up the bus for anything other than driving.
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Old 02-21-2013, 09:40 PM   #12
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Re: B.O.S.S. - A Future Skoolie!

When I insulated my floor I laid down 7/8" runners then fit the insulation boards between them. The runners are taller than the insulation because the foil coating needs an air space in order to reflect heat back into the heated space. Over all that I laid down 3/4" tongue and groove plywood then screwed the sub floor down through the runners locking it all together. If you're putting down laminate flooring you're done but if you're putting down vinyl tile the plywood edges will need to be sanded flush and the gap and all the screw holes will need to be patched with floor leveler.

The bus floor is like your house foundation. You want it done right the first time.

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Old 02-21-2013, 10:23 PM   #13
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Join Date: Feb 2013
Location: Southeast raleigh
Posts: 221
Year: 1974
Coachwork: Crown
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Engine: Detroit Diesel 6-71
Re: B.O.S.S. - A Future Skoolie!

Thanks for the tips roach! We definitely want to get the basics down right, the first time!!
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Old 02-28-2013, 10:30 PM   #14
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Location: Whidbey Island, WA.
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Year: 1984
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Re: B.O.S.S. - A Future Skoolie!

Once a school bus turns fifteen they aren't so proud of them.
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Old 02-28-2013, 10:46 PM   #15
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Join Date: Feb 2013
Posts: 133
Year: 2000
Coachwork: Phantom
Chassis: Gillig
Engine: Series 50
Re: B.O.S.S. - A Future Skoolie!

Quote:
Originally Posted by wmkbailey
Hey Ink,

I talked to Sonny Merryman Inc in Virginia. I see that they have about 70 78 pass CAT 3116 and 3126 with MD3060's. The sales person told me they are only open M - F 8 AM to 5 PM. I said it would hard to get over there with all the traffic we have. He said I guess you will have to figure something out. The web site shows they are open Sat by appointment, but he said it would be to much trouble to unlock and re-set security for me to look around at a couple buses. I ask him what the going price fro the buses and he quoted $7500.00 to $9000.00. I told him I could wait a couple months and get the same bus from a school for about $3000.00. He said I guess that would be a better option for you and hung up on me.

I don't know how a sales person can make any money treating a potential customer that way. I guess I wont be shopping in Virginia.
From talking with people in the business, I discovered that the main market for "retired" school buses seem to be churches. Most of the used bus resellers know that church purchasers don't know much about buses to begin with and consequently pay way too much for them. If they hold on to them a while, some church will usually buy them.
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