Hello everyone, my name is Seth and this is a thread to document and obtain constructive feedback on my conversion project. (I'm a little behind on documentation) This is similar to many builds on this wonderful site, but different in a couple aspects. Here she is the day I brought her home:
1997 Blue Bird International 77 passenger DT466E
(not what I wanted but price was right and will work for the one road trip)
1. I'm building a tiny house, not an RV. I was originally going to start with a trailer base as most "tiny houses" do but after pricing trailers I found a bus was a less expensive foundation, self powered and found this great community as a knowledge resource to make it happen.
2. This bus is going to make ONE road trip! When construction is complete it will make its one and only trip from Montague MI to Pagosa Springs Colorado and rest there for the rest of it's days, maybe moving around on the lot, if at all.
Final resting place: After months of online searching I headed out on one huge road trip to check out the property 12 finalists. I wanted 2+ acres in the mountains. I visited lots in the Rockies and Appalachians. In the end my little slice of heaven didn't even pop up for sale until I was en-route to the rockies and I jumped on it. I ended up with 15.25 acres. Its mostly sloping, only about 2+ acres are level, but this is PERFECT for my dream of having my own personal mountain bike trail on my own property. That and it's only 38 minutes from one of my favorite ski resorts. It's an off grid community so I'll be solar and propane powered. Here's the view from where the bus will be parked
Me: I'm in my mid 30s with two fur-kids. After 10+ years in corporate America I couldn't take it any more. I made a plan to "retire" early and made it happen. I lived simply, saved and after renovating a couple houses to rent out was able to live off of the excess cash flow (while living in my Toyota RV or family cabin in Montague MI). Its been a drastic change but I now love my life. I haven't "worked" in over a year and I have no idea how I used to do it or how any of you guys do these conversions WHILE working full time, KUDOS to you!
Since brining home to-be-named-bus I've followed the path of many on here: remove seats, gut bus, ospho/prime/paint under carriage and raise the roof (custom hat channel method). After that it gets a little weird... Pictures speak louder than words, right?
Yep, I put French doors in.
Yep, I put residential windows in (of the High altitude variety)
Yep, I wrapped the entire bus in house wrap.
Yep, I put siding right over the fuel fill hole!
Will be remedied shortly.
Next up is the metal roof. I already have the steel roof panels and plan on installing it perpendicular to normal installs, that is, running the length of the bus so it can conform to the curve in the roof.
Question for those of you who haven't written me off yet: Would it be wise to put furring strips over the existing bus roof to attach the steel roof to? This would allow more airflow beneath the panels to dissipate condensate. I coated the existing roof with fiberized aluminum roofing and will be putting down self adhesive ice & water barrier as an underlayment for the steel roof. The local construction supply house was split on this question when I asked. I know I will have condensation on the underside of the steel roof, but if its butted up against the ice&water barrier will it be minimized enough to be mitigated by the air space provided by the ribbing in the panels? Was thinking I could set the bus a couple degrees off level as to not be noticeable yet provide drainage.
Luckily, where the bus will sit is an arid/desert climate and rarely sees humidity over 30% (usually 10-20%) and with over 300 days of sunshine per year water evaporates QUICKLY!
After the roof comes all the trim, cedar shake siding on the upper end caps I added and painting the visible yellow portions (just can't pick a color till I see how the rest of the exterior turns out)
I've got some pics of progress along the way, just ask if you'd like to see how the heck I got down this wayward path.
Lets see how flamed I get...