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Old 05-04-2014, 10:49 PM   #1
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Location: St Louis Metro
Posts: 105
Year: 1978
Coachwork: Wayne
Chassis: Lifeguard
Engine: 366 Chevy
ET - ELWOOD Transport

I got to look inside my first skoolie about a year ago (probably saw a lot before that, but never noticed) and thought "that's pretty cool." Six months ago I got a glimpse of a skoolie hauler and decided I had to have one. If for no other reason than I don't have a garage for my racecar.

Hi all, I'm Marvin. Everybody calls me Gizmo
(long story, I'll tell you in person over a 6-pack of beer). This is my first post, but I've been reading about other conversions on here for months. I finally took the plunge yesterday and bought a previously partially converted 1978 Wayne Lifeguard.



I got it cheap cause its a mess, but the garage is solid.



My plan is to retrofit the garage area with aluminum ramps, build a wall/door after window 6 so the garage area is separate, And do a short-bus conversion to the front half. Something like this:


I would really like to do an interior swap from a salvage sticks and staples camper. That way I could reuse all its electrical, water (except black tank), and propane as opposed to sourcing everything separately and then having to figure out how it all goes together. There are a couple salvage RV places near me that I think I can pickup a 2001 or newer 20-28ft "residential 5th wheel/travel trailor" whole for less than $1000. I did a little research and between the front door, fridge/freezer, stove, microwave, rooftop AC, waterheater, couch, dinette, etc. I'll spend way more than that buying individual items. Even if it doesn't all work, it worth it to tear one apart and see how its all setup.


Demolition has begun and there's rust and holes everywhere. My goal is to have the floor in the living area all stripped, figure out how much "cut and replace" is needed, grind and sand the recoverable areas, inspect the walls and windows and start on the window removal.

I know if the garage is the most important aspect, I should start there, but I have so many ideas about how I want to do it, I figured I ought to wait till I get som bids in on some of the different options.


More later...
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Old 05-06-2014, 09:07 PM   #2
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Year: 1960
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Chassis: Chevy
Engine: 283 cid
Re: ET - ELWOOD Transport

Hi Gizmo - Welcome to you and your bus. The 1970's chevy have a very bold look. That front bumper is some crash bumper. Is it a counter weight for the rear? Well I will let you get started. The best of luck with your build. Again welcome to the form.

the old man Richard
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Old 05-06-2014, 11:46 PM   #3
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Re: ET - ELWOOD Transport

Welcome! I like the "Vista cruiser"garage area.
As someone who had a dwarf car living in the back of a cube van at dirt tracks for years, you'll love having your own toilet + somewheres to change. If you're racing dirt, make sure you can seal off the living area. And your choice of flooring should be thought out. (I ran at a very dusty track-everything got covered.)
Craigslist is a good place to find an old camper-there's alway some on there.
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Old 05-06-2014, 11:52 PM   #4
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Re: ET - ELWOOD Transport

Love the 'Vista Cruiser' look- that bus is beggin' for an old style 'hippy home' theme! No chance you could just pull the car on a trailer? I can just see your bus with an old VW van top grafted onto the rear Vista Cruiser section for a two story effect, with some love beads hangin' from the rafters- wow, the thought turns me pure nostalgic!
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Old 05-07-2014, 12:26 AM   #5
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Year: 1978
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Re: ET - ELWOOD Transport

Today was frustrating.

Evidently the previous owner used the bus to learn how to weld. There are welds everywhere, many, as far as I can tell , to fix striped screws and bolts. What a mess.

Looking under the bus for the last two days is also depressing.Both rear wheel wells are showing rust through the body. There are a few other areas of bad rust, too, but structural integrity seems intact. The number of holes through the floor is massive. Everything leaks and half the windows are cracked/fractured.

This is going to be fun!

Tomorrow is grinder day. I'm going to empty this sucker one way or another this week!
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Old 05-07-2014, 10:35 PM   #6
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Re: ET - ELWOOD Transport

hey there! I'm new as well, and about to buy a bus to convert to load a car in the back! If you have time to take some pictures, I'd love to see how yours was done! whole bus looks really cool!
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Old 05-09-2014, 09:09 PM   #7
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Re: ET - ELWOOD Transport

Quote:
Originally Posted by RoadBoss
hey there! I'm new as well, and about to buy a bus to convert to load a car in the back! If you have time to take some pictures, I'd love to see how yours was done! whole bus looks really cool!
I underestimated my resolve. Been spending a lot of time on design and parts researching. If I'm gonna do this right, I really want it right the first time. Got some crazy ideas I'm working on so the research also includes doing the engineering calculations and drawing. I said all that to say, I bought the bus cause the garage was already done, but I don't like it this way so I'll be stripping everything out and refinishing a little more upscale.

The back end is currently all done with one or two sheets of 5/8" plywood. The door is two sheets 7'x7 1/2'. The dovetail is 7'2" basically the bus was cut, stretched 2', angled 20*, and rewelded behind the rear wheels. Given that drop, the back door is 15* when opened on the ground. Among other things that wont work for me is that door has a 2" lip on the ground. My car's ground clearance is 2 1/2" with over two feet from the lip to the wheels. That 2' lip on the bus will never work!!!!

The previous owner also just extended the dovetail with plywood for a total length of 11'4" at that 20* angle(probably to clear the rear wheelwells) and then added 4'8" of flat plywood on steel platforms 10" high. If the angle of the dovetail wasn't bad enough, that flat section just ruined it for me. By my calculations, I can only use the first 8" before my car bottoms out.

I had been up to see the bus previously, so I knew there were clearance issues. So I took my fox-body Mustang as the guinea pig for the return home after buying the bus.


This is what the previous owner hauled in the bus.


This is the car I plan to haul to and from racing and show events....

cause I'm tired of driving the racecar 1100 miles to events and then have to worry what I'm going to do if I broke it racing. I also would like to detail it for shows at home where I have all the tools and equipment, pack it onto the bus, cover it, and drive the bus to the shows without having to bring half my gear to clean it up after the long drive to the show.
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Old 05-10-2014, 11:35 AM   #8
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Re: ET - ELWOOD Transport

Ummmm-yea. That bus might be a little "low rent" compared to whats being hauled....
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Old 05-10-2014, 12:23 PM   #9
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Re: ET - ELWOOD Transport

Quote:
Originally Posted by sdwarf36
Ummmm-yea. That bus might be a little "low rent" compared to whats being hauled....
That's the whole point! No one would ever expect a beat up, run down,"vista cruiser-style bus" to be hauling such precious cargo. The ultimate sleeper (pun intended). I'll leave it rusted and tattered on the outside, while living in luxury on the inside.
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Old 05-10-2014, 01:48 PM   #10
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Re: ET - ELWOOD Transport

thats pretty cool. do you run into any ground clearance issues with the back being so much lower?
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