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Old 11-02-2015, 07:17 AM   #121
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Join Date: Apr 2015
Location: Tomball, TX
Posts: 313
Year: 1988
Coachwork: Blue Bird
Chassis: TC/2000
Engine: Cummins 5.9TA
Thursday evening I got new-to-me tires for the bus. They're a vast improvement over the dry rotted tires from the last century that I had before. The date code on these shows they were manufactured in 2014. They've got about 50% tread left. That's still a lot of life, considering I'm planning on putting less than 5,000 miles per year on them.

I was happy with the price ($750 for the tires/mount/balance + $105 for the government tax/disposal + $20 tip for the kid who installed them). That's much better than the quotes I was getting for new tires. The cheapest new tires were Chinese Firelions and would've run around $1,500. I had other quotes for new 10r22.5s and 11r22.5s ranging from $2,000 - $3,800. I got 11r22.5s. Michelin steer tires and Bridgestone drive tires. The tire guy said that the installed cost on the Michelins is nearly $600/tire if I had bought them new. He told me that I should figure out how to mount a spare and that'd probably save me a few hundred dollars if I ever lost a tire on the road.

The installation took nearly two hours. I took some pictures of the dayton/spoke style rims I have. They're interesting.

Here are a few pictures of the tire job:
Attached Images
File Type: jpg old steer.jpg (98.7 KB, 7 views)
File Type: jpg changing tires.jpg (94.1 KB, 8 views)
File Type: jpg dayton hub.jpg (83.8 KB, 9 views)
File Type: jpg new tires.jpg (84.5 KB, 9 views)
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Old 11-02-2015, 07:52 AM   #122
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Join Date: Apr 2015
Location: Tomball, TX
Posts: 313
Year: 1988
Coachwork: Blue Bird
Chassis: TC/2000
Engine: Cummins 5.9TA
On Friday, I finally made my trip out west for hunting season. I got the bus parked in it's new home. It's a 300 mile drive that normally takes about 5 hours by car. It took me 8 hours in the bus with a few stops and at least an hour of traffic.

I averaged 10.5 mpg on the journey. I'd say that's pretty respectable. I've heard some people say they get 12 mpg, but that wouldn't be too much of an improvement. As I said in the tire post, I'm not planning on more than 5,000 miles per year. If I were able to boost it to 12 mpg it'd only save me about 60 gallons of diesel a year. Less than $200 worth even if the price were to go up to 3.33/gal.

I ran into some pretty bad traffic east of Austin, TX. The roads were flooded and the rain was pretty bad. I drove over an overpass in Austin and saw cars floating down the highway on the road beneath me. I drove through some deep-ish water on the trip. It was deep enough to come in the bottom of the bus door. I'd say about 12-18 inches.

My bus used to have 10r22.5 tires on it. I put 11r22.5s on it the day before the trip. The 11s are about an inch taller than the 10s, so I knew my speedometer should be off. I got an app on my phone to verify the accuracy of my speedometer and found that my speedometer isn't very precise. It should've been indicating that I was going about 2mph slower than the GPS said, but it varied. Occasionally it'd say I was going 2mph slower. Occasionally it'd say I was going 2mph faster. I think the tachometer and temperature gauges are similarly less precise. Knowing my tire diameter/speed/transmission/differential I was able to calculate that my tach was off by +/- a couple hundred rpm. I also noticed the happy place on my transmission and engine temperature would change after I made a stop then restarted the engine.

I also noticed that my transmission temperature would swing wildly. It's happy place over level ground at high speed was in the 170-180 range. I noticed it'd get up to almost 230 if I'd try to accelerate to 60mph from a stop up a hill. Going up and down hills out west of Austin it'd stay around 200. After some experimenting I discovered that it was best to floor it going down the hills to gain speed for the next uphill. As I went up the next hill I'd back off to an rpm that'd keep me at about 50mph. That system kept me under 200 for most of the trip. I'll probably have the transmission flushed, filters changed, and put in some synthetic transmission fluid before I take it on its next trip. I'll probably contemplate a transmission cooler as well.

The ride wasn't that bad. It was a comfortable bus to drive. The driver's seat is a little uncomfortable, but not unbearable. I hit a new top speed (downhill with a tail wind). Still not enough to keep up with the 80mph speed limit.

I got it parked behind my dad's cabin. We used some pavers to level it. I'm gonna put it up on cinder blocks this week. We also attached the gray water drain line. My dad has an overflow line for his water tank that goes to fill pond a few thousand feet away. I just put a tee into that line for my gray water to drain.

I purchased a 25 gallon portable black water tank with wheels on it. I'll attach my toilet directly to that, and wheel it about 10' when it's full to dump directly into the septic tank. I decided that'd be better than trying to figure out how to tee into his septic line. I'm also conveniently located about 10' from the power pole and water hose, so it's easy to plug into my utilities. I don't have any wall sockets installed in the bus yet, but I did turn on my air conditioner and it works well.

I'm heading up on Tuesday with the mattress (I used the bed to store lumber on the ride out there). I've got a few more things to do this week, but hopefully I'll be sleeping in it on Wednesday night.

Here's another list of stuff I'd like to do:

-Put the bus up on blocks
-Connect toilet to black tank
-Install toilet valve and test water system
-Build steps/path from porch to bus
-Install at least one wall of electrical outlets
-Put up plastic for shower
-Build and install bathroom door
-Put up some lights and curtains
Attached Images
File Type: jpg parked.jpg (175.7 KB, 7 views)
File Type: png speed demon.png (69.6 KB, 5 views)
File Type: jpg gray water line.jpg (131.5 KB, 4 views)
File Type: jpg gray water tee.jpg (182.4 KB, 7 views)
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Old 11-02-2015, 08:08 AM   #123
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Location: Eustis FLORIDA
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Wow, man. That's soo cool you guys have a good time out there!
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Old 11-02-2015, 11:42 AM   #124
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Year: 1992
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Great to hear you made it through the rain and flooding.

I would not use cinder blocks for anything. They are dangerous junk.

Wood blocks are better in every way.

Nat
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Old 11-02-2015, 11:49 AM   #125
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Join Date: Apr 2015
Location: Tomball, TX
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Year: 1988
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Chassis: TC/2000
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nat_ster View Post
Great to hear you made it through the rain and flooding.

I would not use cinder blocks for anything. They are dangerous junk.

Wood blocks are better in every way.

Nat
I was thinking rail road ties, but I don't have any laying around. I didn't like the way the jack stands looked when I went shopping for them.
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Old 11-18-2015, 01:42 PM   #126
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Join Date: Apr 2015
Location: Tomball, TX
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Year: 1988
Coachwork: Blue Bird
Chassis: TC/2000
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I haven't really updated recently, so I feel like I need to post some pics. Since I parked it almost 3 weeks ago I've slept in the bus 7 nights. It's still not pretty, but it's functional for now. I've got the hot water heater working so I can take hot showers. I've also got a temporary portable black water tank so I can poop in the bus. I built a stone/gravel pathway from the house to the bus and a cinder block staircase to make it easier to step up into the bus. I put some cinder blocks under the bus and now it's pretty stable. My wife finished building the bedside tables and we got those in now.

Here are some pics. I've got all the utilities I need for a livable home. Right now, my propane tank is just on the ground and connected by a long hose. Eventually there will be a dedicated storage area for the tank and I'll probably use copper tubing instead of hoses for the propane. I'm not sure if it's more efficient to leave the hot water heater on all day, or light it before I take a shower. It takes about an hour to heat the 10 gallon hot water heater. I can take a very long shower before the water starts to get cold. I timed it, and I've got about 15 minutes for a very comfortable continuous hot shower before I notice the water getting colder. My wife and I can both take regular showers like we do at home right after each other and not be uncomfortable. I'm glad I spent the few extra bucks to get the 10 gallon water heater. The gray water drains into an overflow that fills my dads pond downhill a few thousand feet away.

My black tank is a 25 gallon portable RV tank. I glued a 3" bayonet fitting to the pipe coming out beneath the toilet. Then I cut down the dump hose that came with it so it's the right length to connect to the tank. The tank even comes with a convenient float indicator that tells when the tank is getting full. I've been keeping a lot of water in the bowl to stop any gas from the tank getting into the bus. Because of that, I'm using a lot of water per flush. That being said, I think 25 gallons is more than enough for me and my wife for a weekend. You can see in the picture below that to dump the tank I just wheel it about 5' and dump it directly into the camp's septic tank.

I decided to use cinder blocks to block up the bus. I'm not too concerned about them being dangerous. If the bus falls, it's not gonna fall very far. It's more level now and it doesn't shake much when moving around. I used to live in a trailer that was up on cinder blocks for over a decade with no problems. I bought too many cinder blocks, so I used the spares to make a small staircase for the front door.

I had a little problem with the hot water heater when I first fired it up. The fire wasn't getting enough oxygen, so the flame was yellow instead of blue. I didn't realize this was a problem until I saw a bunch of black soot the next day. There's a cage that regulates the amount of oxygen that gets to the flame, so I opened that all the way and now I'm getting a pretty blue flame. It takes about an hour to heat the water all the way and I get a very satisfying 15 minute long shower out of it.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg utilities.jpg (113.6 KB, 12 views)
File Type: jpg poop tank.jpg (128.4 KB, 10 views)
File Type: jpg blocks.jpg (146.1 KB, 10 views)
File Type: jpg steps.jpg (120.4 KB, 9 views)
File Type: jpg hot water heater fire.jpg (38.1 KB, 11 views)
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Old 11-18-2015, 01:54 PM   #127
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Join Date: Apr 2015
Location: Tomball, TX
Posts: 313
Year: 1988
Coachwork: Blue Bird
Chassis: TC/2000
Engine: Cummins 5.9TA
You can see in the utilities picture above that I've got some plastic over where the shower is in the bathroom (over the word "BAPTIST" on the side of the bus). We still haven't built the shower stall, so I just taped up some cheap shower curtains for now. I need to figure a better way to put the pretty front shower curtain up. Right now it's just held up with magnetic hooks. It's very important to make sure the shower curtain is all the way in the shower. There was quite a bit of water on the floor because I didn't have the shower curtain in all the way. I was worried I had a leak somewhere. My wife also bought some bandanna/handkerchiefs that I hanged on some magnets to give us a little more privacy in the bathroom. I still need to work on the bathroom door. We might just put up a shower curtain in the bathroom doorway right now for a temporary fix.

I installed wall outlets for one of the 15A circuits. Now we've got power in the dining area and bedroom. The outlets in the bedroom are under the little platforms for the bedside tables. One side of the bed is over rear wheel well, so I had to build a platform over the wheel well for the bedside table to sit on. I built another platform the same height on the other side of the bed so the bedside tables would be the same height. The bedside tables were from the ReStore. My wife cleaned them up and made a pretty table top for them.

My other functioning circuit is for the air conditioner. For now, I'm running an extension cord from a shed so I can plug in a little 1500W oil filled radiator heater. I've got another 1500W ceramic element/fan heater next to the bed. I can't run them both on the same 15A circuit, so I'll have to install another circuit so I can run both heaters when it starts getting cold. The extension cord works for now.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg shower curtain.jpg (107.4 KB, 9 views)
File Type: jpg temp bathroom curtains.jpg (94.7 KB, 10 views)
File Type: jpg wall outlet.jpg (115.7 KB, 10 views)
File Type: jpg bedside platform.jpg (104.3 KB, 10 views)
File Type: jpg heater.jpg (89.7 KB, 11 views)
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Old 11-18-2015, 02:02 PM   #128
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Join Date: Apr 2015
Location: Tomball, TX
Posts: 313
Year: 1988
Coachwork: Blue Bird
Chassis: TC/2000
Engine: Cummins 5.9TA
The lighting in the bus isn't quite there yet. We've got a little string of pretty lights that are more pretty than they are lights. They help a bit at night, but is basically a glorified night light. I bought a couple of cheap LED lanterns to help us see at night. I've got a big halogen work light if I'm doing anything that needs a lot of light. But mostly if I'm looking for something at night I use the flashlight on my phone.

The bed and bedside tables are the only things that really look pretty right now. I'm fine with that. I've got a beautiful view of the Hill Country out of my window from my bed. I was half-tempted to deer hunt from my bed one cold morning. My deer stand is less than 100 yards from the bus, but isn't nearly as comfortable.

All in all, I'm very happy with how the bus has turned out so far. There's still a lot of work to do to make it nice enough for weekend camping next spring/summer; but for now it's a livable spare bedroom/bathroom at my dad's hunting camp.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg bedmade.jpg (107.5 KB, 12 views)
File Type: jpg bedside table fits.jpg (144.3 KB, 11 views)
File Type: jpg hill country view.jpg (116.8 KB, 10 views)
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Old 11-18-2015, 02:41 PM   #129
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Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: Stony Plain Alberta Canada
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Rated Cap: 72
Mmm, your bed looks comfy.

Nice pics.

Nat
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Old 11-18-2015, 04:04 PM   #130
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nat_ster View Post
Mmm, your bed looks comfy.

Nice pics.

Nat
My wife picked out the blankets/sheets/pillows/anything pretty. My sister had a spare costco brand tempurpedic mattress laying around, so she gave it to us and we cut a few inches off so I could walk around the foot of the bed. I think it's more comfy than the bed we have at home, and I like the view a lot more.

I've got a sleeping bag to throw over the blanket in case it gets too cold for the heaters to keep it comfortable in there. I've also got two labs and they put off some heat. I'm not very well insulated right now, and even when I'm done it'll only be slightly better than what I have now. We'll see if it gets unbearable. On average, the lows in december/january are in the upper 20s (about -2 deg C). Highs in dec/jan are in the mid 60s (about 17.5 deg C). On sunny days I might be running the air conditioner in the day time and the heaters at night. I've seen real snow stick there once overnight in the last 9 years, but by midday it melted. Texas winter is nothing like winter in Canada (or Alaska, I used to live in Anchorage).
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