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Old 07-12-2019, 02:11 PM   #1
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Apr 2019
Location: The tops of mountains, the bottoms of valleys, and everywhere in between.
Posts: 56
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, 01:06 AM   #2
Bus Nut
 
Join Date: Sep 2015
Posts: 597
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, 01:25 AM   #3
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Apr 2019
Location: The tops of mountains, the bottoms of valleys, and everywhere in between.
Posts: 56
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, 01:02 PM   #4
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Apr 2019
Location: The tops of mountains, the bottoms of valleys, and everywhere in between.
Posts: 56
Year: 1996
Coachwork: AmTran
Chassis: international
Engine: T444E
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, 02:11 PM   #5
Bus Nut
 
CHEESE_WAGON's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2013
Location: Virginia
Posts: 340
Year: None
Coachwork: None
Chassis: None
Engine: None
Rated Cap: None
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, 03:32 PM   #6
Almost There
 
Join Date: Nov 2018
Location: Tucson, AZ
Posts: 88
Year: 1997
Coachwork: Blue Bird
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, 04:11 PM   #7
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Apr 2019
Location: The tops of mountains, the bottoms of valleys, and everywhere in between.
Posts: 56
Year: 1996
Coachwork: AmTran
Chassis: international
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, 04:17 PM   #8
Almost There
 
Join Date: Nov 2018
Location: Tucson, AZ
Posts: 88
Year: 1997
Coachwork: Blue Bird
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, 04:30 PM   #9
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Apr 2019
Location: The tops of mountains, the bottoms of valleys, and everywhere in between.
Posts: 56
Year: 1996
Coachwork: AmTran
Chassis: international
Engine: T444E
Floor photos

The floor process thus far.
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Old 07-15-2019, 04:33 PM   #10
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Apr 2019
Location: The tops of mountains, the bottoms of valleys, and everywhere in between.
Posts: 56
Year: 1996
Coachwork: AmTran
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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