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Old 07-12-2019, 03:11 PM   #1
Almost There
 
Join Date: Apr 2019
Location: The tops of mountains, the bottoms of valleys, and everywhere in between.
Posts: 81
Year: 1996
Coachwork: AmTran
Chassis: international
Engine: T444E
Morning Star in the process

Hey everyone! I am starting my conversion thread for the Morning Star. It has been 24 days since purchase.
Though many have made more progress up to this point, we are moving right along!
We picked up the bus in Wolfe Creek Oregon, a real hippie dump! I loved it. The town consists of what seems to be just two gas stations and the bus dealership.
J&K were very caring about theirs buses and bus owners.

The Specs of the Bus.
She exists at 32' currently(hopefully no growth spurts)
She carries an AT545 paired to a T444E 190hp
She is a pusher
She has air breaks
She came equipped with on spot chains
She has heat, but no A/C
Her automatic door feature is currently lacking abilities to function, as well as her tranny temp gauge, and fuel gauge.


Our adventures started immediately after that! Within a few hours we were in national forestry and the hills were getting curvy as the sun was setting. We have a wonderful cat who decided at this point coming down a hill and a sharp curve to dive out of the bus. What a wonderful time for a hike we all thought!
Not only was it becoming dark and we were about out of water, but the hills were covered in poison ivy. All thumbs up in my book for a perfect hike.
Needless to say, we did not find the cat in the hills. We spent the night in the bus for the first time, but not the first time sleeping in school bus seats.
Around 5am Mikey(co-bus-ie) awoke to a kitty purched above his head. What a relief!

Well go more in depth about the cat. Oh theres also a 100lb dog in the mix who holds the entire family together.
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Old 07-13-2019, 02:06 AM   #2
Bus Crazy
 
Join Date: Sep 2015
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Year: 2002
Coachwork: Thomas Built Bus
Chassis: Freightliner FS65
Engine: Caterpillar 3126E Diesel
Rated Cap: 71 Passenger- 30,000 lbs.
I see you posted the picture of Henry with his cat. I love that shot!
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Old 07-13-2019, 02:25 AM   #3
Almost There
 
Join Date: Apr 2019
Location: The tops of mountains, the bottoms of valleys, and everywhere in between.
Posts: 81
Year: 1996
Coachwork: AmTran
Chassis: international
Engine: T444E
Updates

So as I mentioned we have been moving along with our process, build wise and papertrail.

So far we have her registered as a motorhome, and insured by national general.

We have been living in her since day one. It hasn't made any of it the easiest, but sometimes it may be more motivating to get the project finished.

We traveled from Oregon to San Deigo making a few key pit stops along the way in 10 days. It was a wonderful intro to life in the slow lane. I already feel so much more comfortable and relaxed in my new living situation.
We spent three days boondocking in Garberville. Our first conversion was a door lock! After the cat jumped out while the bus was moving we knew our first step.
We took a straight piece of a bus seat leg (approx 4 inches) and fastened a piece of the lock onto that and drilled it into the side of the door. The deadbolt part adherred to the frame. (photos in the next post) There was a bit of a learning curve to drilling some of the first holes into the bus. After we broke 3-4 bits we finally got it. Milwakee had been what we had some issues with. The Bosche bit seems to have heald up the best. One bit has put in 20+ holes since.

We took all of the seats out the two stages. The first to put the bed in so we could sleep on the drive south. Once we arrived we went to town and had every seat out cxxxin less the 2 hours. The add I posted on craigslist lasted 20 minutes and I took it down. The nice couple came and picked up ever seat, kinda looking for more. From there I cleaned the walls and windows so I could sleep more cofortably. Next was the black rubber stink layer, layers(lbs) of kid dust, then the plywood and into the belly of the beast. We were happy see there wasn't much rust!

At this point I feel obligated to mention that I had $5000 set aside to build her out, get some spare tires, add a tranny cooler, and hit the road. The guy I had been working for kinda of went bankrupt and Im still awaiting that money.

We are right on track to make the build for way less then that though.
We have 8 fresh sheets of plywood, all new ash white flooring, I have enough to do the floor and hopefully enough to make it up to the windows. We have a 30"x30" shower pan, lots of 2x3s, 2x2s thin plywood and scrap pieces of so many varieties, a genie, a full countertop with a sink, and a kitchen cabinet piece thus far all for free.
Aside from going to pick it up which I can safely say cost less the $10 I am making out.

We purchased scrap pieces of 1/2 edging at habitat for humanity as well as a few gallons of paint and a front door handle for less then $30. The scrap edgeing we used to turn into homemade screen kits paired with that lovely black mat that we all know and love that runs down the center of our buses preconversion.The ribbed strips made the perfect size. We purchased screen roll from the local hardware store along with some gorilla glue and went to town.
It was not a quick process, as we only had enough clamps to set one window fully at a time. Mikey had to made tabs to hold all of the window screens in place. This seemed painsakingly loud and time consuming. He made the perfect little tabs out of a piece of corregated metal that we removed from the the front panel next to the front steps. They match the bus great! and are free!
We accomplished 9 full windows with tabs with less the $30. This is our big spender so far.
Our next hot ticket item is the rusty rust pirmer for the floor after we have completed grinding away the rust. We have decided against using any chemical solutions to eat away the rust since we are living it in full time during the conversion with our pets. We aalready have some paint for over the primer gifted to us.
While we play the waiting game with items arriving via mail, and doing odd jobs to gain the cash to purchase these things we are brainstorming some of the finer details such as the curtains and the fabric choices we will be picking from, mounting the a/c unit in, where the litter box wil end up now and then in the future.

I want to mention that we are only building this plan out as a semi temporary set up until we can better fund ourselves to get some of the more key items in life. We will be living in the bus full time after it is converted traveling slowly and working suplimentary jobs as well as jobs on the computer. We will be putting in a solar system once we have a little more time and cash to focus on that as well.

A few items we are still looking to aquire are the insulation for ceiling and walls(maybe now maybe a later gig), a stove and oven set up, plastic to make the shower walls( or tongue and groove hardwood!), componenets to make my own composting toilet(or maybe go for gold and get one already done up!), a tranny cooler, a few spare tires, and a few more pieces of wood to complete on bed frame as well as the pulleys to make my pulley bed system!

What do you guys thik so far?
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Old 07-14-2019, 02:02 PM   #4
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Join Date: Apr 2019
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Posts: 81
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Native View Post
I see you posted the picture of Henry with his cat. I love that shot!
if it wasn't for these two, I don't think I'd have abus. They tie it all together. They needed the bus as much as me.

I think it really signifies the relationship between the two, shes either above him or laying in front of him at the door.
Today he napped outside the front door and she tried getting out so many times just to lay next to him.
Shed never admit her fancy for him.
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Old 07-14-2019, 03:11 PM   #5
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THERE YOU ARE!
Quote:
Originally Posted by HenrysCat View Post
So far we have her registered as a motorhome, and insured by national general.
A major hurdle that often has some chasing their tail and locking horns with various guberment agencies with bobble-head employees that don't know sh*t from Shinola.
Quote:
Originally Posted by HenrysCat View Post
We were happy see there wasn't much rust!
That's a relief... Major worry and headache for many of us.
Quote:
Originally Posted by HenrysCat View Post
At this point I feel obligated to mention that I had $5000 set aside to build her out, get some spare tires, add a tranny cooler, and hit the road. The guy I had been working for kinda of went bankrupt and Im still awaiting that money. What do you guys thik so far?
Bummer on the bankruptcy and awaiting your money... But as you are demonstrating, $5000 can get quite a bit done if you're sharp in sourcing materials. A helpful hint here, styrofoam sheeting may not be ideal for insulation for a few reasons, but it is very cheap for the purposes of a temporary build on a tight budget and DOES help. I think you're doing pretty well so far... PICS or it didn't happen!
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Old 07-14-2019, 04:32 PM   #6
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Join Date: Nov 2018
Location: Tucson, AZ
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Chassis: TC 1000
Engine: 5.9/AT
Rated Cap: 2 adults, 2 dogs
Looking forward to watching the build. Good luck and have fun
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Old 07-15-2019, 05:11 PM   #7
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Join Date: Apr 2019
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Year: 1996
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Engine: T444E
This is the front door lock we put on first thing.
The window screens as I mentioned were a pain, but from afar you donít notice them at all. As well as they are magnetic, and arenít flimsy like aluminum kits!
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Old 07-15-2019, 05:17 PM   #8
Skoolie
 
Join Date: Nov 2018
Location: Tucson, AZ
Posts: 103
Year: 1997
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Chassis: TC 1000
Engine: 5.9/AT
Rated Cap: 2 adults, 2 dogs
When you get the chance can you pan out a little more on the door lock pictures so we can see a better relationship to the door? Looks like something I may want to try. I'm suspecting it's a bifold door? Mines not but may still be able to do something similar
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Old 07-15-2019, 05:30 PM   #9
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Join Date: Apr 2019
Location: The tops of mountains, the bottoms of valleys, and everywhere in between.
Posts: 81
Year: 1996
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Floor photos

The floor process thus far.
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Old 07-15-2019, 05:33 PM   #10
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Year: 1996
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Chassis: international
Engine: T444E
Some other very necessary steps of the build.
Cutting the rubber for the window seals. I really enjoyed the utility blade shaped like a talon.
Cat naps were needed for the heat of the day.
And some free supplies from the first run out. I will have some updated photos of all the stuff I use as I pull them off the trailer.
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Old 07-15-2019, 05:34 PM   #11
Almost There
 
Join Date: Apr 2019
Location: The tops of mountains, the bottoms of valleys, and everywhere in between.
Posts: 81
Year: 1996
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Chassis: international
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AZHippie View Post
When you get the chance can you pan out a little more on the door lock pictures so we can see a better relationship to the door? Looks like something I may want to try. I'm suspecting it's a bifold door? Mines not but may still be able to do something similar
Sure will! Ill post those tonight when I get back on!

I really enjoy the function, its a pretty smooth lineup and seems sturdy. Unless someone busts my window I dont think they are getting in this door.
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Old 07-15-2019, 06:37 PM   #12
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Posts: 81
Year: 1996
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Chassis: international
Engine: T444E
Quote:
Originally Posted by CHEESE_WAGON View Post
THERE YOU ARE!

A major hurdle that often has some chasing their tail and locking horns with various guberment agencies with bobble-head employees that don't know sh*t from Shinola.

That's a relief... Major worry and headache for many of us.

Bummer on the bankruptcy and awaiting your money... But as you are demonstrating, $5000 can get quite a bit done if you're sharp in sourcing materials. A helpful hint here, styrofoam sheeting may not be ideal for insulation for a few reasons, but it is very cheap for the purposes of a temporary build on a tight budget and DOES help. I think you're doing pretty well so far... PICS or it didn't happen!
Thanks i was a little scared of the paperwork part of things. It was not so bad.
I did happen to find a spot of rust I was expecting not shown in the photos. We ripped up the rubber on the steps last night and found that a cat had been peeing on the bottom step for some time at one point. She was a bit of a rusty step, but with some grinding it appears sound still!
maybe itll smell less! and my cat willstop being upset about this spot.

Weve been thinking about the styrofoam sheets. someone has packing styrofoam for free on craigslist but im not sure its the stuff im looking for.
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Old 07-16-2019, 07:37 AM   #13
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Join Date: Oct 2017
Location: E Central Tejas
Posts: 1,997
Year: 1998
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: IH 3800, 8 window
Engine: T444E w/ Spicer 5-speed MT
Rated Cap: I prefer broad-brims hats
I'm happy to see that you're making headway on your build. Also, that in keeping with creating an authentic Hippy Bus, the de rigueur tie-dyed curtains are up!
Quote:
Originally Posted by HenrysCat View Post
...What a wonderful time for a hike we all thought!
Not only was it becoming dark and we were about out of water, but the hills were covered in poison ivy. All thumbs up in my book for a perfect hike...
There isn't much more that one can ask for to improve upon an amble in the wilds than plants that incite itchy, blotchy welts. Unless it's a recalcitrant cat...
.
I've had great success with my Bosche bits while drilling a heap of holes into the sides of the hat channels. It's important to keep them from overheating, tho. Dipped into a little oil between holes both cools and lubricates, easing the process. (Just not dripping wet upon drilling, except if you're a big fan of Rorschach tests or stipple painting...)
That more than kinda sucks the dude went kinda bankrupt. Happy Thoughts you can claim your due. 🤞
What kinda paint, btw? There are some that work considerably less well than others on this application.
I went with similar screening, stapled to thick, magnetic tape. They don't seal at the bottom, and are prone to likely to blow off in a high wind, but work in a most excellent fashion, otherwise!
Quote:
Originally Posted by HenrysCat View Post
...The Bosche bit seems to have heald up the best. One bit has put in 20+ holes since...
The guy I had been working for kinda of went bankrupt and Im still awaiting that...
We purchased scrap pieces of 1/2 edging at habitat for humanity as well as a few gallons of paint and a front door handle for less then $30...
They match the bus great! and are free!
We accomplished 9 full windows with tabs with less the $30. This is our big spender so far...
We have decided against using any chemical solutions to eat away the rust since we are living it in full time during the conversion with our pets...
...a tranny cooler, a few spare tires, and a few more pieces of wood...
I've gone the same route. Doing your build while in residence does create more, new, and exciting challenges to the process.
Consider where you'll store your spare tires: they are big, bulky, & heavy! Mine came with a single new, mounted drive spare that I've strapped to the pipe frame, on edge, behind the pilot's seat. Also bear in mind, with those rear duallys, you essentially have 2 let-you-limp-to-town spares, already.
Quote:
Originally Posted by HenrysCat View Post
...Shed never admit her fancy for him.
Yup... That sounds like every gato I've ever known!
Quote:
Originally Posted by HenrysCat View Post
...The window screens as I mentioned were a pain, but from afar you donít notice them at all...
From about a quarter mile's distance, my bus looks positively faboo.
.
Wait one! Coulda sworn that is Henry's Cat...
Quote:
Originally Posted by HenrysCat View Post
...She was a bit of a rusty step, but with some grinding it appears sound still!
maybe itll smell less! and my cat willstop being upset about this spot.

Weve been thinking about the styrofoam sheets. someone has packing styrofoam for free on craigslist but im not sure its the stuff im looking for.
Styro isn't optimal, but the price is right, and'll probably help with the soaring temps in your mobile greenhouse. At least until the budget allows for a better, permanent solution... 🤙
BTW, good on ya for populating the fields in your profile! There's some been here for years who haven't bothered...
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Old 07-17-2019, 01:25 AM   #14
Almost There
 
Join Date: Apr 2019
Location: The tops of mountains, the bottoms of valleys, and everywhere in between.
Posts: 81
Year: 1996
Coachwork: AmTran
Chassis: international
Engine: T444E
Quote:
Originally Posted by AZHippie View Post
When you get the chance can you pan out a little more on the door lock pictures so we can see a better relationship to the door? Looks like something I may want to try. I'm suspecting it's a bifold door? Mines not but may still be able to do something similar
I meant to take more photos of the lock, but my boyfriend found a different bit of metal he wanted to fasten it with instead so it is all taken apart currently. But to help maybe, it is a bi-fold door. I had thought about just a solid steel bar that slides into two mounts as well. This seemed more do-able at the time as well as a little cleaner and lightweight
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Old 07-17-2019, 01:29 AM   #15
Almost There
 
Join Date: Apr 2019
Location: The tops of mountains, the bottoms of valleys, and everywhere in between.
Posts: 81
Year: 1996
Coachwork: AmTran
Chassis: international
Engine: T444E
Quote:
Originally Posted by CHEESE_WAGON View Post
THERE YOU ARE!

A major hurdle that often has some chasing their tail and locking horns with various guberment agencies with bobble-head employees that don't know sh*t from Shinola.

That's a relief... Major worry and headache for many of us.

Bummer on the bankruptcy and awaiting your money... But as you are demonstrating, $5000 can get quite a bit done if you're sharp in sourcing materials. A helpful hint here, styrofoam sheeting may not be ideal for insulation for a few reasons, but it is very cheap for the purposes of a temporary build on a tight budget and DOES help. I think you're doing pretty well so far... PICS or it didn't happen!
It was kind of perfect. The agent ended up having some issues on her end and the computer crashed and she was flustered and just wanted to get throught the call.

And some good news. The guy just got ahold of me this evening with hopeful news. I should see all of my money from him in my account tomorrow!
I floored with ideas of what I can do currently with such funds.
But it will go faster then I'd like surely.
Thanks for the support!
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Old 07-17-2019, 01:41 AM   #16
Almost There
 
Join Date: Apr 2019
Location: The tops of mountains, the bottoms of valleys, and everywhere in between.
Posts: 81
Year: 1996
Coachwork: AmTran
Chassis: international
Engine: T444E
Quote:
Originally Posted by HazMatt View Post
I'm happy to see that you're making headway on your build. Also, that in keeping with creating an authentic Hippy Bus, the de rigueur tie-dyed curtains are up!

There isn't much more that one can ask for to improve upon an amble in the wilds than plants that incite itchy, blotchy welts. Unless it's a recalcitrant cat...
.
I've had great success with my Bosche bits while drilling a heap of holes into the sides of the hat channels. It's important to keep them from overheating, tho. Dipped into a little oil between holes both cools and lubricates, easing the process. (Just not dripping wet upon drilling, except if you're a big fan of Rorschach tests or stipple painting...)
That more than kinda sucks the dude went kinda bankrupt. Happy Thoughts you can claim your due. 🤞
What kinda paint, btw? There are some that work considerably less well than others on this application.
I went with similar screening, stapled to thick, magnetic tape. They don't seal at the bottom, and are prone to likely to blow off in a high wind, but work in a most excellent fashion, otherwise!

I've gone the same route. Doing your build while in residence does create more, new, and exciting challenges to the process.
Consider where you'll store your spare tires: they are big, bulky, & heavy! Mine came with a single new, mounted drive spare that I've strapped to the pipe frame, on edge, behind the pilot's seat. Also bear in mind, with those rear duallys, you essentially have 2 let-you-limp-to-town spares, already.

Yup... That sounds like every gato I've ever known!

From about a quarter mile's distance, my bus looks positively faboo.
.
Wait one! Coulda sworn that is Henry's Cat...

Styro isn't optimal, but the price is right, and'll probably help with the soaring temps in your mobile greenhouse. At least until the budget allows for a better, permanent solution... 🤙
BTW, good on ya for populating the fields in your profile! There's some been here for years who haven't bothered...
You caught me, Henry's cat..Which he almost named Rorschach...

We landed with rustoleum rust inhibitor primer and then a rustoleum paint. We already had some of the paint so we got more to match. I do have receipts if other similarly priced items are a better options.
I'd like to use what is best for the bus obviously. Ill put the extra sweat and blood in gladly.
I had thought of magnets for the screens but wasnt sure it would do the trick, you have me convinced Henrys cat would slip out quickly. I also thought about heavy duty velcro, but I was afraid the heat would ruin the adhesive.
If the magnet had been cheaper I would have gone that route.

And say hello to insulation and window tint! I should get some money if everything goes right tomorrow.

Not sure Im interested in cooling the girl down though, maybe I could fund the build renting it out as a sweat lodge. It was 97 in El Cajon yesterday, and if youre not familiar with the place, shade is nonexistant. But so much good free building supply.
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Old 07-17-2019, 07:48 AM   #17
Bus Crazy
 
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Join Date: Oct 2017
Location: E Central Tejas
Posts: 1,997
Year: 1998
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: IH 3800, 8 window
Engine: T444E w/ Spicer 5-speed MT
Rated Cap: I prefer broad-brims hats
Did he now? Gotta love a big dawg with an appreciation for using bilaterally symmetrical, random imagery as a "watermark" interpretation of personality characteristics...
Lots of folx have gone the Rustoleum route, tho if used on the exterior, I've read a clear coat finish is a must-do! I was concerned you may've scored some free latex, worst yet the household use stuff. Bad call. Be interested how you manage to not get gato paw print stencil effects while the paint cures...
(Hope you've got a way to ventilate and void the vapors, so not good sh1t to breathe.)
Speaking of, since I'm not currently cat-owned, I need only worry about critters getting IN thru the screens. That cat would be thru mine in a hot minute!
BTW, happy to hear your due cashy money's coming. That must be a load off.
Quote:
Originally Posted by HenrysCat View Post
You caught me, Henry's cat..Which he almost named Rorschach...

We landed with rustoleum rust inhibitor primer and then a rustoleum paint. We already had some of the paint so we got more to match. I do have receipts if other similarly priced items are a better options.
I'd like to use what is best for the bus obviously. Ill put the extra sweat and blood in gladly.
I had thought of magnets for the screens but wasnt sure it would do the trick, you have me convinced Henrys cat would slip out quickly. I also thought about heavy duty velcro, but I was afraid the heat would ruin the adhesive.
If the magnet had been cheaper I would have gone that route.

And say hello to insulation and window tint! I should get some money if everything goes right tomorrow.

Not sure Im interested in cooling the girl down though, maybe I could fund the build renting it out as a sweat lodge. It was 97 in El Cajon yesterday, and if youre not familiar with the place, shade is nonexistant. But so much good free building supply.
Even with the tints & insulation, you will have a sweat lodge!
Hells yes, I know El Cojones! I had a cousin who had a rancho out in the boonies. She was a Pomeranian rancher, who I'd get out to see when possible during the 6 years I lived down in IB.
None of that nice maritime influence, it's about as broiling there as it is here in Tejas. Bet come August you're re-thinking the stinking hot...
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Old 07-17-2019, 09:31 AM   #18
Skoolie
 
Join Date: Nov 2018
Location: Tucson, AZ
Posts: 103
Year: 1997
Coachwork: Blue Bird
Chassis: TC 1000
Engine: 5.9/AT
Rated Cap: 2 adults, 2 dogs
El Cajon? I'm moved from Carlsbad 5 years ago. There's no breeze once your past the coastal foothills
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Old 07-24-2019, 01:13 PM   #19
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Join Date: Apr 2019
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Posts: 81
Year: 1996
Coachwork: AmTran
Chassis: international
Engine: T444E
I have posted twice in the past few days but my internet is so poor that halfway through it disconnects from my tablet and when I go to post it loses it. But I have figured myself out of fixing that.

Just a quick post before I get back to it. Yerba MAte and Smoothie Time!
We have bought the insulations and wood to put overtop of it for the ceiling. As im not running lights or electrical in the ceiling I am completeing this before framing.
It is going well and as planned so far.

It is definitly hot here. Sometimes unmotivating in all honesty. A few of the hardest days have been the shortest work days. But Almost every hour is spent on gathering building and decision.

As for fuming. I have decided to put the cat in one of the kids room where I am staying. She has attacked this kid as she attacks anyone who isnt hers already. But its open season as she is off to see her mom for three weeks! Hello Cool Kitty. This will help with her fumes. I have air filtered masks for me and Mikey. The dog kicks it with the cat inside.
We will finish cutting and fitting insulation into the ceiling and then attach furring and seal her up!

Ill get it one piece at a time and it wouldnt cost me a dime
Youll know its me when I roll through your town.

Also looking into marine wire for electrical. Seems to be the best of both worlds.
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Old 07-24-2019, 01:17 PM   #20
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Posts: 81
Year: 1996
Coachwork: AmTran
Chassis: international
Engine: T444E
Quote:
Originally Posted by HazMatt View Post
Did he now? Gotta love a big dawg with an appreciation for using bilaterally symmetrical, random imagery as a "watermark" interpretation of personality characteristics...
Lots of folx have gone the Rustoleum route, tho if used on the exterior, I've read a clear coat finish is a must-do! I was concerned you may've scored some free latex, worst yet the household use stuff. Bad call. Be interested how you manage to not get gato paw print stencil effects while the paint cures...
(Hope you've got a way to ventilate and void the vapors, so not good sh1t to breathe.)
Speaking of, since I'm not currently cat-owned, I need only worry about critters getting IN thru the screens. That cat would be thru mine in a hot minute!
BTW, happy to hear your due cashy money's coming. That must be a load off.

Even with the tints & insulation, you will have a sweat lodge!
Hells yes, I know El Cojones! I had a cousin who had a rancho out in the boonies. She was a Pomeranian rancher, who I'd get out to see when possible during the 6 years I lived down in IB.
None of that nice maritime influence, it's about as broiling there as it is here in Tejas. Bet come August you're re-thinking the stinking hot...
I should be heading east at some point in August. Though that doesnt help the weather much.
Its honestly the ideal location for my situation.
They gutted an rv a few weeks ago here(I did not have to partake in the work)
They have many tool options(not all the tools i need mind you)
They want me to park here every july 4th
All hookups are free.
Im 20 minutes from the beach without dealing with beach traffic.
San Diego is by far the best city in Cali(ive lived in sf, sd, and la)
Family(But not my direct family)
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