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Old 01-06-2015, 11:21 PM   #21
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I like your bus! What does it have for a drivetrain? Also does that awesome front bumper actually have a purpose? Looking forward to more progress.
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Old 01-07-2015, 12:45 PM   #22
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Very cool project you've got going. Cool to have a mini-lift inside your garage should you need to get under your car for some reason at the track. Your v sounds and looks nice, even if its an automatic. :P I've got a 1st gen 4 door, ls2.
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Old 01-08-2015, 06:39 PM   #23
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I assume what you have is a GM truck big block 366 gas V-8.

If it is, you are going to be hard pressed to be able to get it going much faster than 60 MPH without changing the rear gears. You will also find that you will most likely use a lot more gas with higher speed gears trying to go 65 MPH.

You are most likely close to 24,000 lbs. with the car loaded in the bus. With the frontal area you have, in order to go much faster than 60 MPH and maintain that speed on any sort of grade it is going to require a lot more HP and torque than what a GM big block gas V-8 can provide.

You need to remember that bus was built when the national speed limit was 55 MPH and the bus spent the majority of the service life at speeds under 35 MPH. It didn't need to be able to go much faster than 55 MPH.

I like the changes you are making. I just wish you had a better power package to move it all down the road better.

You may want to pick up another bus for a donor power package that would be better at getting you down the road.

Good luck and happy trails!
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Old 01-25-2015, 03:28 PM   #24
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Location: St Louis Metro
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Year: 1978
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Chassis: Lifeguard
Engine: 366 Chevy
Quote:
Originally Posted by ol trunt View Post
Way cool The tilt gizmo is a great idea.You probably have all this figured out on paper etc. but being old skool like I am I couldn't resist taking the bus and the Caddy to a truck scale and finding out what the actual weight distribution is with the car loaded. Once you know this you will never have to worry about brakes and weight and whether you can pull a trailer etc. Jack
Once everything is tested and welded in, scales will be the first stop on my to do list.

Quote:
Originally Posted by sweetfarm View Post
I like your bus! What does it have for a drivetrain? Also does that awesome front bumper actually have a purpose? Looking forward to more progress.
I believe its the GM 366HD with 5 speed trans. Front bumper is for spare bus tire (center), and the two forward compartment are for heavy equipment like hydraulic jacks, jack stands, tow chains, wheel chocks, etc. Given the garage is over the rear wheels, I need to move as much weight forward as I can.

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Originally Posted by headinthetrees View Post
Very cool project you've got going. Cool to have a mini-lift inside your garage should you need to get under your car for some reason at the track. Your v sounds and looks nice, even if its an automatic. :P I've got a 1st gen 4 door, ls2.
Thanx

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Originally Posted by cowlitzcoach View Post
I assume what you have is a GM truck big block 366 gas V-8.

I like the changes you are making. I just wish you had a better power package to move it all down the road better.

You may want to pick up another bus for a donor power package that would be better at getting you down the road.
I agree 100%. Been on several 200mile trips so far with bus empty and 55MPH is doable (rear gears have already been changed), but pulling up hills is painfully slow. A different gas engine may be in the cards for me if I have too many long hauls to do in the future. Luckily, my current plan is to stay close to home - my home track is 6 miles away a few others are within 200 miles.
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Old 09-12-2015, 03:59 PM   #25
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Join Date: Apr 2014
Location: St Louis Metro
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Year: 1978
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Engine: 366 Chevy
Long time since I've posted. Got some work done, but got worried about my plan so I had to take a step back and rethink.

I wanted a custom interior from the ground up based on the previous design layout; then I got a great deal on a used RV that I couldn't pass up.

It had working rooftop A/C, and vents, three-way fridge, convection microwave, 6.5KW generator, jack-knife couch, convertible dinette, overhead cabinets, three captains chairs, and all the miscellaneous hardware to complete the build with minimal carpentry/construction skills.



First task was replacing the door and repairing the steps.


So I moved the winch, built the garage wall, installed the A/C and vent. Had to build a cabinet for the fridge and started running electrical.


Got the generator installed and the shore power all hooked up and running. Built myself a Loveable Loo, started to wall it in and got scared. So I brought in all the furniture and cabinets to make sure everything still fit.


Well it does, but.... somewhere along the way I lost my shower and now the interior looks like the bus was made for the next Mad Max movie. Which I'm O.K. with as long as my gal and my crew chief can handle it, I'm good. I'm also tired. I had no idea this would take so long and there's so many little things that need to be done, I'm overwhelmed.

So it's back to planning stage. Based on where everything fits, I'm now reworking the plumbing and electrical. Since I want the fresh water tank under the sofa and the one I have is 2" too long and 6" too tall; I went ahead and ordered a custom tank build (should be here next week). I kept all the "monitor panel" hardware and wiring and tested it on my existing tank and it all works well. Fresh water tank will be inside while grey water tank will be below it on the underside of bus. A few electrical runs need to be rewired to put the induction stovetop on the same run as the microwave since I can't run them both at the same time anyway. Power needs to be extended to the TV and its accessories; and a gazillion other little tweaks. Damnit, I will finish this.
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Old 09-24-2015, 11:31 PM   #26
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The only two pieces not pictured above are the sink/stove that goes on the right beside the fridge and the entertainment center cabinet that goes between the dinette and bathroom. So I gave up on getting something from the Habitat For Humanity restore and I went to the local discount home store called Hood's. They had the 12" cabinet I needed for the entertainment center but it wasn't a very close match to the other wood cabinetry I have. So I replaced the drawer and door with pieces I brought out of the RV.


The countertop shown is a $.99 sample I bought at the same time. Its exactly what will go on the sink/stove. Then I had an idea, why not get them to put it on the dinette table, too. Took it to them yesterday and they said SURE! The table and sink/stove cabinet should be ready next week.

Meanwhile, I got working on the floor. Unfortunately, I just learned the hard way most stores selling sheet vinyl have no way to do precision cuts. I asked for 12'x7'7". The worker said he'd give me a couple inches extra to be sure. Long story short he cut it into an hour glass shape - 7'10 at the corners and 7'6" in the middle. AAAAARRRRGGGG!!!!





If you look closely at the last pic it shows a half inch of foil exposed where the hourglass cut is less than the width of the bus. Hood's apologized and said they'd swap me another piece that will be guaranteed to be 12'x8'.

But I can't get back there till Saturday. So now I'm stuck painting walls and panels.
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Old 01-11-2016, 04:59 AM   #27
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Year: 1978
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Chassis: Lifeguard
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Well, I got a bunch done over Christmas Break, but it's never enough. Can't do any more work in the garage - its occupied.


The teeter totter ramp in the garage is finally bolted down. It still has the temp transition plates on the back that I'll leave in place until my parking chocks are in place and bolted in. I probably should not have cut the tie down straps if I ever have to change my strapping method. I know the rear has to criss-cross, but the easiest way to do it in the back of the bus was to wrap the straps around the trailers crossbars and then hook into the tie down mounts.




The front straps will always be a challenge because the front floor tie-down and winch are right under the the front of the ramp. I have to remember to strap the front loosely while the teeter totter is up in the air. If I wait till its level, its a real tight squeeze getting under the ramp to hook under the passengers side of the car.


I'm still waiting on installing my garage lights. I got an 11000 lumen 48 overhead LED shop light for my birthday in October and just ordered three 500W 8000 lumen halogen worklights on Black Friday. Between the four of them I should have daylight at night back there. Two of the worklights will be mounted on the corners of the front wall. They will be mounted such that either can be taken from the wall and have a stand that can be used throughout the bus. The third is a backup. Is there such a thing as a light switch that can handle 1500W??? I'm currently using the breaker with only one light on at a time.

So back up front to work over the winter.

The floor is down and it looks great. I hate to have to start moving stuff in and working on carpentry and electrical and plumbing with the possibility of damaging it, but it's gotta get done.



Next in was the kitchen sink. But first, I had to mount the backsplash and of course trying to tie things together I used the same aluminum diamondplate as the walls of the garage. I also installed and mostly wired the systems monitor/switch panel and an exhaust fan that pulls the air into the refrigerator vent.




After test fitting the two base cabinets I bought, I was not happy with the color match to the overheads and doors. I bought 12 oz of Minwax stain and started thinly coating the cabinets until they were as dark as the overheads. Now I need to get some good dirt and rub it into the stain for that weathered look.




Making all the flat surfaces match with the same covering really helps tie everything together. The sink countertop, the table, and the top of the cabinet below the TV are all the same material.

As you can see, the TV mount is up, but I think the arm is too short (10" extension). I probably should have gone with the 20 extension, but I couldn't find one that allows the screen to rotate up to portrait mode for the tablet interface. Having such big screens in the house has spoiled me. This Black Friday special 22" LCD just looks tiny in the bus.



My gal convinced me I don't need an "entertainment center" with everything that's built into the tablet dock (I think she wants to put skillets, pots, and pans down there). The wall has two 60mm Cable Cord Grommet Holes for cords going in and out of the cabinet. In the cabinet there is 110 and 12V going in it with a power sensing inverter to switch from AC to 12V inverted to 110 should the power go out or when in-transit with the generator off.

On the pic above, you may notice a strange additional set of drawer rails that are actually connected to the countertop. There was a discussion here somewhere about hiding spaces on peoples busses. Mine is the back of the 12 base cabinet. I put drawer slides under the countertop so it can slide forward aprox 24. The cabinet is only 28 deep so there's 12x12 behind it not being used. I'll probably put a small gun safe and fire proof box in there. When the countertop is in place you can't tell it actually slides out. But with a great deal of effort, the countertop lifts up in the front and rolls forward on the rails. Hehe.

The luan wall in the bathroom will be installed as soon as all the wiring for the TV/computer is complete. Notice these 2x4s are turned sideways to save space. Looking above, this wall does not go all the way to the ceiling because the vista windows are directly above it and I want that light to spread into the front as much as possible.


Having the RV fan in the bathroom with the open-top wall pulls air thru the bus well. The loveable loo is the only wood that's not painted or stained to match the other woodwork. It has five coats of polyurethane so cleaning in there should be quick and easy. With the seat slightly to the left, I have a hatch on the right full of sawdust for the toilet.


I only have two of the tinted windows in on the passenger side. I ordered the glass for two more last month and am taking my time re-assembling them so they don't leak or break. I had to seal a small leak in my door's lower window last month after a week of torrential rain.

I really like the way the kitchen turned out. The sink fit perfectly; the countertop is gorgeous; the drawer face shown flips down smoothly; the missing drawer is being fitted for my induction cook-top; and there's plenty of room underneath it all for the water pump, filter, plumbing, and wiring.



I hung my privacy curtains which match the base color of the furniture. I'll have to go out to the bus one night and see how much privacy they really provide.



I haven't installed the wall yet on the passenger side because I have to replace the windows first, then attach the metal plate to the bottom of the windows that will hold the table up, and I need to run another 12V line to my porch light that I don't have yet.





The more I do, the more I find needs done. This is really frustrating especially because I don't have some of the specialized tools or skills to get some of this done.






.
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Old 01-11-2016, 09:56 AM   #28
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From a conversation with a friend/car builder:

Me:
"Damn...every time I look, there is something else that needs to be done".

Him:
"Stop looking".
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Old 01-11-2016, 07:40 PM   #29
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A thought about Xing you tiedown straps; My boss used to have a fleet of rental Mazda MX-5 cup cars and a stacker trailer. His thought (cuz its bit him before) if your straps are X'ed, and one comes off, the other pulls the car sideways.
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Old 02-29-2016, 10:06 AM   #30
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Location: St Louis Metro
Posts: 105
Year: 1978
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Chassis: Lifeguard
Engine: 366 Chevy
70+ degrees in St Louis in February. I had to go out somewhere! Grabbed some frozen chili we cooked last week, some drinks, and snacks ... and took off for the day. O.K. we didn't go far just a local state park, but this is our first outing in ET and we stayed the whole day and didn't get on each others nerves (I consider that a win).




And to my surprise, when we got home, she asked me when can we go on a real roadtrip I think the hook is set. Now I just gotta be patient and reel her in. First thing, we gotta do an overnight somewhere so she can get comfortable with the layout. She's already informed me the bathroom is not very "lady friendly." So I have to reconfigure the bathroom like SCOOLBUS1 did his:


My bathroom is very similar to his, but my seat faces the door. So she wants a mirror on the door and a drop down leaf level with the base of the mirror that can be used as a vanity. As far as vanity lights, I think I'll get 4 of those stick on LED lights, 2 on each side of the mirror.


WOW! I haven't been out communing with nature in a looooooonnngg time. I forgot how serene and peaceful it is to just sit outside and listen to the water lapping against the bank. I may take this thing out on the road and never come back. O.K., yes we were glamping inside the bus with the generator running, TV blaring, full internet on the computers, windows open and floor heating blowing....but we were out of the house.

Oh I forgot to tell you where we are in the build (notice the plural ). I finally replaced the door handles on the door to the garage so the garage ramp can be left open but the house section remain locked. I'm really loving the goose-neck faucet. Never before thought I could get excited about kitchen fixtures. Oh yeah I also bought an Ivation 1800W induction cooktop (SKU#IVICPT18BYW) and installed it in the drawer so the kitchen is pretty much complete. All that's left to do is seal the sink to the countertop and tighten it down (as if I know how!?!?) I wired it so the Ivation cooktop and the microwave are on the same circuit so only one on at a time.



The dinette windows are in and sealed. So now I have 4 clear windows on both sides of the bus. With the windows in, I finally permanently mounted the dinette table anchor plate.



All the house furniture except the drivers seat is in, bolted down, and cleaned again. All the fresh water and city water lines are in and connected to the water filter and faucet. We now have seatbelts installed and anchored for 4 passengers.



She scooted, twisted, turned, and reclined every which way possible and finally decided "There"... so the navigator seat is also finally bolted in place (I sat in it much of the evening and its pretty comfortable even when turned facing the couch).



Both overhead cabinets are in with doors attached and 12V lighting underneath.



This is the point where I realized I've over done it on my electrical. The house section is only 16' from the windshield to the back door and I have 8 110V outlets, 15 lights, 7 cigarette lighter outlets, 6 USB outlets, and of all things two battery chargers and a jumper box. All this and I don't even have the house batteries yet.

A lot of the 12V stuff is going to be redone as soon as I get the house batteries in. I have a 300W inverter with 2 outlets for the TV and house section tablet computer (the server will be in the garage but only available when I have 110V available) that will allow me to have both working anytime, i.e., without the generator or shore power. i also want all the engine accessories to be available on the house battery so I have 3 isolators and a BIRD so both batteries can be managed automatically or remotely.




This, however, leads me to my next major task, something I know will have to wait for Spring, but needs to be done before any major road trips. I need to get my motor and tranny rebuilt or at least professionally optimized/tuned/serviced/cleaned up and instrumented (I just realized tonight the dashboard is completely dark - no lighting any where on the dash). Then I can take my time and eventually replace the front brake calipers.

But let's not forget about the significant other, she has decided to tackle making the house section liveable. So she will be hanging pot and pans and utensil; buying spice racks, clothes racks, storage containers for the garage, mirror, cup holders, fridge organizers, and on and on and on.
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