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Old 11-22-2015, 02:05 PM   #61
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Jul 2015
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I'm waiting for mr. phoenix to begin framing (he's working on a bathroom reno right now), so I'm tackling a few smaller projects in the meantime:

I removed the windows to clean and re-seal them. I used to balk at the idea of doing this, because it seemed so labor intensive, but removing them wasn't difficult at all. Once the screws between the frames are removed, the entire frame comes out with some force applied to the top (in a TC 2000, anyway). The old weatherstripping is coming off easily, but there's a lot of caulk to remove too:



I laid the windows on plastic sheeting, cleaned the frames with steel wool and degreaser, and hosed them off. A shop vac sucked up the water to prevent it from going onto the grass.



I now have 23 super clean bus windows:



The oven I purchased (see a few pages ago) was a real mess. I was beginning to regret it, since the burners and tubes looked so badly rusted I figured I'd need to spend a few hundred to get the parts re-enameled. Since I thought they weren't salvageable, I used a screwdriver to roughly hack into what looked like the rusted out enamel on the burners. Then I hit fresh, unblemished enamel. They had developed a hard coating covered with surface rust. Underneath, they're in great shape.

The oven is still messy, and it's a slow process, but there's lots of promise here. I'm super excited every time I get to work on this.



I removed the metal dash and sanded the front down to bare metal. I'll be spraying it with etching primer followed by Rustoleum before reassembling it.



I'm also painting the original bus seats to use them for a dining area. I experimented with vinyl paint, and it worked great. The paint seems fully bonded to the vinyl and the finish is just the right sheen. The original:



After 2-3 coats. It needs another coat, but the can ran out.



The bus is windowless right now, but I hope to have the sealing finished in the next few days.
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Old 11-22-2015, 02:43 PM   #62
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Location: Houston, Texas
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Year: 1946
Coachwork: Chevrolet/Wayne
Chassis: 1- 1/2 ton
Engine: Cummins 4BT
Rated Cap: 15
Great progress!
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Old 12-02-2015, 11:27 PM   #63
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tango
Great progress!
Thanks for the encouragement!

Every time I prepare to tackle another project, I realize that there are 5-10 preliminary steps or things to do before I can get to it. This isn't a complaint, just something I didn't consider when planning the order of operations.

Example: I had clean windows and rolls of butyl caulk ready to install, but impending rain meant quickly reinstalling the windows without weatherstripping. This was fine, because it revealed the leaks and showed exactly where we needed to concentrate the caulk. As I rushed to get all the windows in, I realized that the bus exterior had been painted prior to the window installation, and it would be easier to do this without windows rather than taping them all up.

I bought some Rustoleum and began removing the exterior decals and reflective stickers. Then I realized it would be better to clean and prep the entire bus instead of just the sides now and the roof later.

So the next job is probably cleaning and prepping the entire bus, removing the reflectors and lights, painting the roof with white elastomeric coating, then painting the rest of the exterior.

Then windows, then insulation and framing.
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Old 12-03-2015, 01:30 AM   #64
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You got that part right! --- the sequencing of events is more important than the events themselves.

Bad news is, figuring out the sequence requires jumping in and doing it wrong at least three times.
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Old 12-07-2015, 07:09 PM   #65
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tango
Bad news is, figuring out the sequence requires jumping in and doing it wrong at least three times.
Yes! And each skoolie is different and tailored to its owner...so there are a multitude of ways to do it wrong!

Spent the weekend removing decals with a power scraper. This thing is amazing, and made very quick work of the reflective tape and SCHOOL BUS signs on the front and rear. There were also a number of stuck-on reflectors and small tracking sensors, and the scraper popped them right off.

Mr. phoenix climbed on top of the bus and treated some rusted rivets with Ospho. The exterior of an air circulator near the bus rear was also rusty, so that got sprayed with Ospho as well. He also removed the stop sign and most of the lights and reflectors that were screwed on.

The roof paint is in great shape--no peeling or flaking, very clean, and already painted white--so we're debating whether use elastomeric paint or just cover few the rusted rivets with urethane caulk.

This week, I'll be smoothing out some rusted exterior areas with bondo (I've never used bondo before or done any body work, so we'll see how this goes), and removing sticky decal residue.
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Old 12-07-2015, 11:54 PM   #66
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Location: Houston, Texas
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Year: 1946
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Chassis: 1- 1/2 ton
Engine: Cummins 4BT
Rated Cap: 15
Me?...I'd vote the elastomeric paint. Good for both leaks and insulation value.
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Old 12-08-2015, 10:46 AM   #67
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Can I paint directly over everything or do I need to seal the rusted rivets with something first?
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Old 12-08-2015, 11:25 AM   #68
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Engine: Cummins 4BT
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At the very least the whole surface must be scuffed or sanded clean and all rust either removed or treated with some type of rust converter. Painting over rust, dirt, oxidized paint or any kind of environmental film will be a recipe for failure. If the original paint is in excellent overall condition, you might get by with removing & treating any rusty spots and using a chemical prep like Liquid Sandpaper.

90% of paint success is in the prep.
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Old 12-08-2015, 12:31 PM   #69
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Thank you. All the rust is converted (Ospho on some rivers and a detachable vent cover), but I can't see myself spending so much time to sand and prep a roof that's white and in great shape (the sides, I'm happy to sand/fill/etch away!). The prospect of all that time on the roof makes caulk sound better and better...
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Old 12-13-2016, 01:08 PM   #70
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Bus is Done!

Mr. Phoenix here. I was just going over old posts and realized that it has been a full year since we sent an update. Thankfully, the bus is all done! OK, not ALL done but the remaining projects are minor and can be done on the road. Our family of 5 have been full-timing for the past month now and love it.

Below are the much anticipated pics. For those considering a skoolie conversion, I would also like to leave a few a few pieces of advice.

1. If you don't need one, don't buy a wheelchair bus
2. Make plans but be ready to change them. Often!
3. Get to know the folks at your local hardware store. You will be seeing them a lot.
4. Spend the money on a nice stepped drill bit
5. If your standard is perfection, you will be quickly disappointed. Our mantra during the build was, "Not perfect but F-ing done"
6. Get used to measuring everything and in all directions. I learned to build using a level but using a level is useless if your bus isn't level.
7. Everyone gets discouraged. Everyone wants to give up at some point. Step back, crack open a beer, and take a look at the awesome creation you are building. Now get back to work! That bus isn't going to convert itself!
8. Still need more encouragement? When I pull into an RV park, kids stand in front of their $100k motorhomes and point to our bus and say, "Mom, why don't we have a bus?"
Attached Images
File Type: jpg ThePhoenix_BusConversion (1).jpg (201.5 KB, 26 views)
File Type: jpg ThePhoenix_BusConversion (3).jpg (157.4 KB, 22 views)
File Type: jpg ThePhoenix_BusConversion (4).jpg (195.4 KB, 24 views)
File Type: jpg ThePhoenix_BusConversion (5).jpg (197.9 KB, 23 views)
File Type: jpg ThePhoenix_BusConversion (6).jpg (149.1 KB, 19 views)
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