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Old 08-23-2014, 11:13 AM   #1
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New to Skoolies and future conversion.

Hey there everyone! My name is Matt! I'm 26 and live in north Texas
I've lurked around as a guest on this site for a few months now and finally decided to create an account. Why?

Because I purchased a bus!!! HAHAHA!... and everyone thinks that I an crazy.

My goal will not be some simple RV conversion, but a fully off-grid veggie-fueled home/training center.I will come back and post pictures after a few other posts.


The Bus I managed to acquire was located in Slidell, Texas. I live in Denton, TX
It is a 1996 flat faced Carpenter bus on a Spartan chasis with a 5.9L Cummins. 69,000 Miles showing on the odometer.
I paid a whopping $2400.00 for it via an auction.

It needed two new batteries and started right up. I was blessed with a free full tank of gas, clean title and papers. The bus was an extra that the school district used if they needed it, but they had just purchased a new bus, so this one was for sale. It started right up and was ready to drive.

Expect pictures and updates as I go along. I can dedicated about $1500 a month to the conversion and hope to have things set within 3-6 months. I also look to start a crowd funding campaign since I intend to use the bus for an educational reason... I want to teach workshops about living off-grid. Having everything from solar, veggie fuel, rainwater collection, composting and a greenhouse right on board are the major goals of mine.

I hope to trade ideas and absorb so knowledge from many of you.
This should be fun!
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Old 08-23-2014, 03:51 PM   #2
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Re: New to Skoolies and future conversion.

Congrats on the bus...... sounds great!
and best of luck in the future.
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Old 08-23-2014, 11:52 PM   #3
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Re: New to Skoolies and future conversion.

Welcome to the crazy and fun world of school bus conversions. You will love the adventure. It sounds like you have a great plan already worked out. One thing I have learned in doing my conversion is details, details, details. If you miss something important, you might have to redo some of your work. So, think it out and look through this great site to see the mistakes we have all made as we converted our buses. Learn from our successes and our bloopers!!

Also, expect the unexpected. You will find problems on your bus that were not initially or easily seen until you started the conversion. Every old school bus has them. It is how you deal with it that counts. If you see rust, not ignore it and just paint it over. It will still be there eating away at your conversion. Also, insulate, insulate, insulate. You can never have enough!!

Good luck on your new adventure and enterprise.
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Old 08-24-2014, 06:00 PM   #4
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Re: New to Skoolies and future conversion.

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Old 08-24-2014, 06:01 PM   #5
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Re: New to Skoolies and future conversion.

oh................and WELCOME
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Old 09-04-2014, 02:07 PM   #6
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Re: New to Skoolies and future conversion.

So, this is my second post.

I'm having some trouble fining out the exact coolant and oil I would use for my engine.

I spent four days removing the bus seats and part of the old flooring. There is rust underneath but most of it is surface rust so far. As I drive it back and fourth to the power outlets in the place that I am storing it, the gravel dust on the bottom breaks loose and I can see how the undercarriage looks.

I'm not sure If I can post the video link here, but I timelapsed the first three days and took a picture of the bus after the seats had been removed. I intend to be filming the entire ordeal with several iphones and GoPros.


Here is the link to the video.
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Old 09-05-2014, 01:22 AM   #7
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Re: New to Skoolies and future conversion.

Rock on Green!
My old bus was named Simple Green, I love green buses!

I would recommend Rotella 15W-40 for your diesel (and most of our other members' engines as well). Unless you've got an old 2-stroker, there's no better oil I know of for an HD Diesel...

As for the coolant, what color is the stuff you've got in there? I STRONGLY recommend you flush, or at least change, the coolant you have in there if you're unsure about when it was last done. Improper coolant maintenance kills more diesels than infrequent oil changes. Ask anyone. Healthy cooling systems are ESSENTIAL to a healthy engine.

If you're not flushing or changing the coolant, the kind you will need to use depends on the color (type) of coolant in there. If it's RED, only use RED (extended life) coolant, if it's green, only use Green coolant. I think yellow is a kind that can go both ways, i.e. you can mix it with green or red coolant.

And, just in case you're a noob to all this, make sure you only mix your coolant with distilled water, DONT USE TAP!!! it has minerals that could build up, plus, if it's fluoridated, it might enable the government to reprogram your brain and control your mind

Either way, if you are going to drain or flush your system, I would recommend going with extended life coolant, and make sure you change your coolant filter while you're in there!

Not tryna preach, but I've seem lots of great engines ruined by bad cooling system practices! Its a sad sight...

Best of luck on your veggie conversion, I had a great time doing mine with great results, I'd be happy to share any of my knowledge with ya! I love using old aluminum semi saddle tanks for veg (bolt em to your chassis under the body skirts--my last one held 150 gallons and only cost me $300 from a semi salvage yard ;)
Welcome!
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Old 09-05-2014, 01:23 AM   #8
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Re: New to Skoolies and future conversion.

I should say, that really, any 15w-40 oil made for diesel engines will work just fine... I just happen to like Rotella ;)
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Old 09-05-2014, 09:55 AM   #9
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Re: New to Skoolies and future conversion.

Thanks guys, and Charles, I will definitely be asking some questions about the veg system. I can build just about anything and work great with electronics and other systems. When it comes to auto mechanics though...
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Old 09-05-2014, 10:53 AM   #10
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Re: New to Skoolies and future conversion.

Hey Greenmachine,

great to have enthusiasm for what you plan, BUT I think you should review the thread/post of someone on here (F*** Me if I find that post... ) specifically about Veggy Conversion. The main problem today seems to be, that your "Free Source" doesn't exist anymore.
It seems that Used cooking oil is a raw material now and people get paid good money for it these days!

I believe you would be better of to look for ways to improve the existing engine you have towards better mpg, better emissions, etc. - Diesel Engines are rather delicate when it comes to fuel quality, so you don't want to mess too much with it, other than improving it.
Google water injection for Diesels, etc.....

Here you go to find ALL and EVERYTHING on Skoolie about Veggy/Biodiesel/etc. - :

viewforum.php?f=16

Good Luck !

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