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Old 09-05-2012, 03:44 AM   #1
Mini-Skoolie
 
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Join Date: Sep 2012
Location: Bouse, Arizona
Posts: 55
Year: 1991
Coachwork: Ward Volunteer
Chassis: GMC 6000
Engine: 366 V8 (6.0 L)
Rated Cap: 71
My New Skoolie Lifestyle

Hello to all. This is my first post ( my second attempt after some computer issues) and this will serve as my Skoolie Conversion & Feedback Diary of sorts.

My wife and I just purchased a 91 Ward Volunteer, 71 passenger bus. GMC 6000 chassis. 366 gas motor. 96,000 miles. With a nearly full tank of gas, new battery (both thrown in for free with my negotiation skills) and $1500 later we have begun a new lifestyle. I've been lurking for the last week or more, getting information, researching and drooling over some of the other projects here. As they say, I'm giddy like a school child. We've all been there me thinks.

I've been busy here and there over the last few days tearing down the bus, taking some pictures and essentially getting everything slowly converted into a full time home for the wife, child and I. I wanted to introduce ourselves to everyone out there and get this new story of ours started. I had a nice post going... and then out if the blue everything simply froze up here on my end. So I will make this a lil' short until tomorrow after I get some zzz's. Not much of a cliff hanger, I know.

So until then... and before my computer gives me more probs.. I shall see ya'll soon with more. I have a child to make breakfast for in the morning, and I don't like to be cranky tired... so hello and good night.

Cheers,
Beau

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Old 09-05-2012, 08:53 AM   #2
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Re: My New Skoolie Lifestyle

Welcome aboard and congrats on the bus..... You'll like it here. Lots of good info and friendly folks to help out... advice is free..
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Old 09-05-2012, 10:24 AM   #3
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Re: My New Skoolie Lifestyle

and your bus cost less than scrap value...that is a good buy.
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Old 09-05-2012, 10:50 AM   #4
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Re: My New Skoolie Lifestyle

welcome aboard
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Old 09-05-2012, 10:56 AM   #5
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Location: Montana
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Re: My New Skoolie Lifestyle

Gee...we were just in Hamilton last week, hacking our lungs out. Nice ride, great price and excellent engine! Welcome....
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Old 09-05-2012, 01:05 PM   #6
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Re: My New Skoolie Lifestyle

Hey Beau --- Welcome to the nuthouse! Good looking rig (and at a give-a-way price). Don't hesitate to ask questions. The good folks here have about 10,000 years of collective bus building wisdom & experience to draw on.
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Old 09-05-2012, 07:09 PM   #7
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Join Date: Sep 2012
Location: Bouse, Arizona
Posts: 55
Year: 1991
Coachwork: Ward Volunteer
Chassis: GMC 6000
Engine: 366 V8 (6.0 L)
Rated Cap: 71
Re: My New Skoolie Lifestyle

Thanks for the warm welcome! Yes.. here in the Bitterroot Valley, with the many forest fires in the area creating such thick smoke, the breathing and labor is worse than anything else. Weeks of smoke gets to a person after a while…

About the bus:
We purchased the bus from a transportation company in Missoula. We have seen several buses along the highway here and there, some on Craigslist and Ebay that could have worked out... but eventually we ran into a great deal we could not pass on. The company bought the bus when it was only 5 years old, and since then it has really only seen about 2 hours of highway time a few days a week. It was used as a shuttle bus to take folks to a local ski area. The bus is really in great shape. The engine runs smooth, and it is easy to tell they took care of it well. It was garaged as well. The maintenance manager (who I spoke with when looking at the bus) went over many details he did with each bus, showed me around a bit and was very helpful. He seriously loves his buses. They had five for sale, each $1500 OBO… and only three in running condition. One was a parts bus and another needed a brake job. We bought the only automatic available and it was also the choice bus for the drivers who worked there. Can't beat $1500 for something like this!

So, we bought the bus this last Friday, and it drove the 50 or so miles home to Hamilton very well. The steering has a lil’ play in it but that’s my only gripe about it. Otherwise this bus is completely awesome. We wanted a RE diesel, but we are happy with our choice regardless.

The day after bringing her home we started removing seats, and since then the tear down has gone on without any major problems. The seats were a breeze. I only snapped 5 rusted bolts out near the wheel well, and the majority of the 152 bolts were in fairly great shape. Seems everything bad is going to be located near those rear wheels where I snapped those 5 bolts.

My son being a big helper.


Shot with the seats and bus swept out, and the child bumpers and some of the aluminum removed.


I spent about two hours tearing the seats down further. Here is the pile of cleaned seats. I plan on reusing some of the foam and also recycling the metal.


Yesterday I removed the stop arm and warning lights. Took all of maybe 20 minutes. My wife and I may use the lights in the bunk bed for our son… not quite sure if that will happen yet but it sounds nifty for a growing young boy.

Today I got started on tearing out the flooring. The rubber matting came up easy enough, yet the plywood really was tough. It’s glued down very well. I'm using a short 1' pry bar, 2x4's, and lots of elbow grease to rip it up. Got three of the seven boards up before I called my dad and asked if I can borrow his circular saw. Figured it would make it even easier to get them out. The bus has a lip that the seats were bolted to under the windows, which keeps me from pulling the plywood out in one piece... so the saw is a necessity really. The reverse will be the same once I am putting in the new flooring.

I have some smallish, ugly rust spots near the wheel well, otherwise the steel floor looks great. I had to tear out the existing rear heater (not sure if I am going to reuse it or not). Many of the screws holding it and the cover for the hose were stripped out. I took my time getting that out. Got a little bit of radiator fluid on me, too. I am going to have to find a way to clamp those hoses off for now, that way I can work around them for the time being.

Something I have been wondering (and maybe someone can answer): Is it feasible to reuse the foam from the seats as insulation? I want to tear some of the windows out of the bus. Sheet metal will go outside to replace them, and then the holes will be insulated between that and the inside wall I am going to fabricate. I would prefer to use an appropriate insulation, although this idea crossed my mind to reuse the seat foam.

Other that that.. That is pretty much where I am left at. I have a lil’ bit to remove from the bus before I clean and paint the inside before fabricating the inside of our new Skoolie home!

Thanks again for the warm welcome everyone! I look forward to learning a lot more and meeting some new folks. I have a new addiction me thinks… this Skoolie thing is great!

Cheers,
Beau
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“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off
the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover." Mark Twain
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Old 09-05-2012, 07:37 PM   #8
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Re: My New Skoolie Lifestyle

Wow, you are making me tired....slow down. ;)

I think you are going to want that rear heater, and more! I Wouldnt use the seat foam for insulation. Pink board works great.

Keep at it!
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Old 09-05-2012, 07:57 PM   #9
Mini-Skoolie
 
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Join Date: Sep 2012
Location: Bouse, Arizona
Posts: 55
Year: 1991
Coachwork: Ward Volunteer
Chassis: GMC 6000
Engine: 366 V8 (6.0 L)
Rated Cap: 71
Re: My New Skoolie Lifestyle

Yeah, I am pretty sure I am going to keep that rear heater. It was nice getting it removed and out of the way for now. I nearly tripped a few times over it already. It will need to be moved anyhow and put back into a better arrangement depending on where everything will go. Should serve as some good heating for the rear of the bus.

As for the seat foam, I may be using it for new bench seats or just tossing it out. I have no quarrels tossing it, yet it's in good condition so I wanted to use it if I could.

As for the slowing down... my ADHD has me going 100 MPH all day... even online. I'll try to tone it down. ... maybe...
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“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off
the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover." Mark Twain
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Old 09-05-2012, 08:18 PM   #10
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Chassis: All-American R/E
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Rated Cap: 72
Re: My New Skoolie Lifestyle

We used 4 seat foams for each bunk. We then threw a memory foam topper over it all and everyone seems to be quite happy with it.
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