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Old 03-24-2007, 09:47 PM   #11
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nice looking bus, oak. Do you really wanna gut it? Seems like sprucing it up a bit and selling it might make more sense, but, then again, resale on these things is almost as bad as my damn timeshare (anybody wanna buy one....cheap!!!).

BTW, I am the proud new owner of an '86 sunrader. How'd you like yours? I think they are great for a couple. Probably a bit cozy with 2 kids. We will find out this summer when we head west for 3 weeks. If it turns out that the toy is indeed too damn small, I think I'll be looking to sell it and become an official member of the skoolie asylum!
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Old 03-25-2007, 09:31 AM   #12
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Location: Rockies
Posts: 34
Year: 1985
Coachwork: Thomas Built Bus
Chassis: International S1800
Engine: 9.0L Diesel
Rated Cap: 54
We really liked our Sunrader "little Gary", but it was a little on the small side for me 6'2" 250... ...The only bad thing I can say is that it's underpowered for it's size and had we kept it I would have put in something with a little more UMPH in the engine compartment. A V-6 and a stouter transmission. You also have to watch cross winds as that can make life really exciting really quick. Also check your rear axle and make sure you have the heavier duty one. I think it was a six bolt axle vice the original 5 bolt which had a habit of snapping. Our little Sunrader was a lot of fun, a little cramped for me but fun still the same. What was nice was that you could get out and go on the cheap as far as gas went.

As to "Big Gary" it was really set up by the original owner builder to be an apartment limited to camp sites with full conveniences. Our goal is to reconstruct him to be a fully self-contained go anywhere/anytime true camper. And instead of just a single person we want it to carry the three of us, me, my wife, young daughter and perhaps a friend of hers on trips and such. So he really does need a proper rebuild.

So we're reconfiguring Big Gary to include:

Rebuilding:

- FullSize bed and underbed storage
- Rebuild cabinets
- Rewiring the 12v lighting
- Rewiring and adding more 120v receptacles
- New Drivers seat – old bus seat just kills back side
- Repair Tachometer
- Basement storage compartment for Generator
- Uncover more windows
- CB and SW radio with proper antenna’s
- Change out the rear end gears from 6.5 ratio to something in the high 4's to low 5's for better highway speeds.

Adding:
- 2 bunk beds – with coffin locker storage (navy guys will know what these are)
- Stove & Oven
- Water heater - continuous flow type
- Space heater
- Refer - 3 way
- Toilet
- Black water storage tank
- Sink
- Grey water storage tank
- Freshwater storage tank
- Full instrument monitoring of tanks
- Shower - inside stall and outside outlet w/ curtain
- Co-Pilot seat
- Basement storage both sides
- Roof A/C
- Propane storage area
- Run gas and water lines
- Dining area with under seat storage and seat belts for extra passengers
- Tool storage
- Screens for windows
- Awning
- Entertainment area with CD/DVD player/sml flatscreen & surround sound
- New main RV access door with screen door

Like to add on:

- Safari roof rack full length
- Rear deck bustle
- Fog & Driving lights (and off road lighting)
- Back up flood lights and side lighting
- Spare tire & Rack
- Solar panels
- Inverter and control center
- Battery pack for panels
- Marine wind generator
- Onboard water purification equipment
- Second diesel fuel tank
- Zipper room for awning
- Small wood burning stove
- Moon/Sun roofs
- Raise the roof 6 inches

As you can see, there is a lot lacking in the present configuration. Right now it's basically a room on wheels and not much more. So while it looks nice on the interior pictures...there's not much behind it.

As much work as this appears to be (and believe me it does) I think it's going to be a lot of fun by pulling together a lot of creativity, challanges and skills into one project. I'm a pretty good wood worker and carpenter, a basic level blacksmith. I'll need to learn more metal fabrication and welding. I can wire a car or a house....this covers both. I'm a pretty fair mechanic and a basic jack of all trades. I realize it's going require a lot of planning, work and patience, and I'm going to ask a lot of really stupid questions.

So the journey begins!
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Old 03-25-2007, 01:06 PM   #13
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oak,

you a former squid? me too. still a part timer, actually. I was thinking that there has got to be someplace to score sets of triple coffin racks. The older style that actually swing up out of the way would be the best. I am sure that the navy has thrown away countless thousands of them over the last 20 years.

my sunrader does have the 6 bolt full floater or 1 ton or whatever the hell you wanna call it rear end. so, I'm good there. I don't really look forward to pulling the rockies in that thing, though. It's the "big" one, 22 ft. 22RE with the slushbox. i'll probably have to get out and push. I need the excercise, anyway.
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Old 03-25-2007, 07:49 PM   #14
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7MGE's are $500 on ebay and are as much of a bolt in swap as you're going to find for a 22re if you have the right tranny.

That is an ambitious list, Oak! It was daunting when I made a list like that for myself. Just keep at it.

Coming from an insider...if you're in the market for batteries, it would be good to look soon. Most places will have a spring lawn and garden, marine, and golf cart battery sale. Don't be the first to go (you want the second shipment, not the leftovers from last year) but don't wait so long that they're not there anymore.
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Old 03-25-2007, 07:54 PM   #15
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Location: Rockies
Posts: 34
Year: 1985
Coachwork: Thomas Built Bus
Chassis: International S1800
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YO! Retired CPO in fact....HMC to be exact, but more of a Scrunt - half squid half grunt. One of those poor sot's that spent most of my 22 years with Jarheads! But then someone has to provide adult supervision to them...Semper Fi!

Yes the one ton axle is the good one, but like I said I would consider stepping up the engine and tranny if possible. Those new Tacoma's would be a good basis for a Sunrader I think, but I doubt that Toyota will ever bring the little RV's back. What a shame.

Well we started the rip out today....whew! got about half of it cleared out and we're getting some awesome ideas for the new interior....
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Old 03-26-2007, 10:26 AM   #16
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Location: The Texas Borderland
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Year: 90
Coachwork: Blue Bird
Chassis: TC2000
Engine: 5.9 Cummins
Take lots of photos. We may need them for "evidence" in your insanity plea! Just kidding, have fun, look forward to seeing the progress.
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Old 03-27-2007, 11:30 PM   #17
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OMG...I'm beat!

TWO FULL DAYS of ripping out the old interior and getting things down to basics. Boy did I find some surprises!
  • - Never trust someone else's wiring jobs! - I found too many improperly wired electrical outlets and improperly insulated wires!
    - Clean - CLEAN - CLEAN Got everything stripped out and down to the rubber mat, what a mess. Old sucker sticks, dirt, dust, and gunk...UGH!
    - Rube Goldberg is alive and living in my bus - talk about "jury rigged" - Just because something looks nice doesn't mean that it's put together properly.
    - There is such a thing as TOO MUCH CAULKING!! I've got three windows that the original builder CAULKED TOGETHER with carpet cement!! - How the hell do I undo that stuff?????
    - Anything worth doing....is worth doing right - the first time. If anyone has a schematic for an 85 international bus I'd appreciate it. What a mess.
    - Rubber floor....leave it or lose it??? Suggestions!

I'll try to post pictures as soon as I figure out my wifes camera. At least now I have a clean canvas to begin working on. And while it was frustrating and a little shocking to find some of the things I did at least now I know what I've got to work with!!
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Old 04-05-2007, 05:48 PM   #18
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GAME PLAN

Hope this shows up well, here's the floorplan for Gary
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Old 04-05-2007, 06:00 PM   #19
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that is a spectacular floorplan. where did you draw that up?
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Old 04-05-2007, 07:30 PM   #20
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Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Rockies
Posts: 34
Year: 1985
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Chassis: International S1800
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I used a trial version of a CAD program called Smartdraw from http://www.smartdraw.com for the basic layout then converted it to JPEG and then used Adobe Photoshop to clean it up a bit before uploading to photobucket and then posting it here. It's actually a pretty good program, easy to use and manipulate the images. I'm still figuring it out and just may buy it for future use. I think there's images for doing electrical and maybe plumbing but I'm still exploring the program. I noticed somehow my closet walls disappeared next to the wood stove??? Curious that, but oh well, still learning.

I'm also looking at installing a little wood burner. Has anyone does this? Here's what I'm thinking about:






Here's the company that I found that sells these for sail boats and such. http://www.marinestove.com/index.htm I figure the bus is just a big land yacht.....well sort of

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