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Old 03-11-2017, 11:47 PM   #1
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Location: Willamina, Oregon
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Year: 1997
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Nobody's Business

This project began in October of 2015, with casually looking at buses on Public Surplus. Here was this 1997, TC1000 on the site with five hours remaining on the auction and it only had $700 on it, so I kind of got sucked in. You know how it goes. I've wanted this model of bus since, well...1997, the first time I saw it. A test drive might have changed my mind considering I've only had dognose buses in the past, but it's easy to adapt to the FE design.

1.png Photo by robin97396 | Photobucket

I named this bus "Nobody" as a pun after raising a family hearing "Nobody wants this" or "Nobody wants that" for so many years. i

Van is the appropriate terminology for this vehicle. The DMV determined this Bluebird TC1000 handicap vehicle is a van. To qualify as a bus it had to have had OEM seats. There were several attendant (school bus) seats, but because this vehicle was originally built this way it didn't qualify as a bus under the DMV's definition without substantial expensive retrofitting. The VIN# still indicates it's a bus when someone looks it up but the title says it's van.

Self converted motorhomes are not eligible for insurance in Oregon. The older conversions are grandfathered, to my understanding. To be eligible for insurance as a motorhome it would have to be built by a professional motorhome manufacturer. As a van I can register and insure this vehicle and do all the Skooby-do van things on a slightly larger scale.

As a van there are certain lines I can not cross concerning this build, which makes my project different than many here. Improvements involving plumbing, permanently propane tanks, 110 volt electrical, toilet and permanently mounted fresh, grey and sewer tanks would make this a motorhome, or yard art in this state. My plan has been to build a modest looking plywood interior. I plan to make modular sections, such as a cooking module, closet and storage modules that could individually be removed from the van.

Ok, so it's not so much of an idea. This is more about loopholes and working with my circumstances of not being able to insure a self-built RV in this state. It's easy to register this van/bus as an RV, but you might as well put it up on blocks and plant flowers around it when it comes to insurance.
I've ended up on the same insurance everyone seems to be ending up on, a Progressive commercial policy. Is anyone else wondering why bus owners are being herded onto these commercial policies under one insurer? In a competitive market how is only one insurer allowing new policies for used buses? And yes, I know there are other current insurance policies out there but they aren't giving out policies to newbs.

2.png Photo by robin97396 | Photobucket

Previously while on this site I had accomplished the removal of 2 1/2 rows of rivets from the ceiling in the front of this van. I lost my internet for about 10 months and I've made good progress on this build since I'm not online all the time. The interior has gone from this...

3.jpg Photo by robin97396 | Photobucket

4.jpg Photo by robin97396 | Photobucket

Taped it for the foam job...

5.jpg Photo by robin97396 | Photobucket

More to come if these photos actually load.
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Old 03-12-2017, 12:04 AM   #2
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1.png Photo by robin97396 | Photobucket

http://www.skoolie.net/attachments/p...aa74f9a87f.png

<a href="http://s936.photobucket.com/user/robin97396/media/1.png.html" target="_blank"><img src="http://www.skoolie.net/attachments/photobucket/img_190119_0153235f6bbebf2e4153adaa74f9a87f.png" border="0" alt=" photo 1.png"/></a>

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Old 03-12-2017, 12:07 AM   #3
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Pardon me while I figure out the photo issue.







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Old 03-12-2017, 12:14 AM   #4
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Taped it for the foam job...




Got the foam job.








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Old 03-12-2017, 12:23 AM   #5
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I learned what I could about the foam insulation beginning on this site. At nearly equal cost I decided to have an professional do the spray foam installation. It's a lot faster than me doing it too, or so I thought initially because it ended up taking weeks to finally connect with this guy.

Then the hard part started. I carved foam off the walls for about 8 days. There were five-45 gallon bags of excess foam carved from the ceilings and walls. It's a much thicker and harder foam than a kit would have been, but this guy wasted a lot of product by putting it on so thick. That caused me a lot of extra work carving off the excess foam. It's definitely fireproof foam.







I don't know what the proper tools are for this type of work so I used what I had. I tried a lot of different tools for carving the foam down to rib level. The foam completely fills the cavities and often was 2 1/2" beyond the ribs. I was told this foam was 3#, which doesn't mean anything to me with nothing to compare that to. It's a hard foam and is almost like cutting wood, hence the saws. My 5' crosscut saw was great in the flat areas, and I found that a pruning saw worked quite well on the ceiling. I also used a bolero machete that was sharpened like a knife and a skinning knife for finer detail. It's lucky you're getting the short version because there was a lot of cussing and skinned nuckels going on.
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Old 03-12-2017, 11:20 AM   #6
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welcome back and nice to see some Progress. good job on the foam!!

that looks like a lot of work. my bus floor has the foam on the underside of the bus and its held up well to the weather, water, rocks for 25 years. its solid stuff!

also you may not need to shave it all down. i have the 2x4's that anchor the paneling, you really just need to make room for those, leaving you 1 1/2" of slop for the foam.

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Old 03-12-2017, 01:15 PM   #7
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Thanks Turf. It's good to have access to the knowledge on this site again. I've been offline for about 10 months. I do seem to get more work done when I'm not playing online so much, but that was to much time to be working on this project from memory.

Thanks for the advice but the foam was all trimmed months ago, the hard way. The guy that sprayed the foam actually put it on so thick that I didn't see any way to deal with it except to shave things down to rib level. Trimming down the foam also exposed some air gaps that I filled with canned foam.

I didn't want to loose any headroom by putting 2x4s on the ceiling because if I can't get the underside sprayed like your underfloor insulation I'm going to put in an insulated floating floor in. I hate cold feet.

The foam was a much as 2 1/2" to 3" deep beyond the ribs in certain places. Your method would have saved a tremendous amount of work. The primary difference between this professional foam job and the do-it-yourself kit is
all the cavities have been completely filled, or overfilled, leaving no air space. I know there was supposed to be a thermal break at some point and I realized I was off track when I saw how thick the foam had been applied.

To replace the thermal break I put 1/2" rigid insulation panels on the ceiling and walls, then covered them with 19/32nds plywood. Yes the ceiling was tough getting the plywood to conform, but nothing a high-lift jack won't take care of. The ceiling and walls are 95% completed now. I still need to box in around those those long wiring bundles that run above the side windows, then the basic interior is done.

This project is a number of months beyond what the pictures are displaying. I wasn't able to load the pics all at once because the site kept logging me out so I'm loading them in chunks in the evening when the internet runs smoother.

You're the first person I know of that realized I've been gone. Good to hear from you and good to be back online.
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Old 03-12-2017, 01:20 PM   #8
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Man, its nice to see ya back and in FULL action, Robin! We definitely noticed you were gone, man.
Pics and all! hot damn!

Very cool, man.
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Old 03-12-2017, 03:20 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EastCoastCB View Post
Man, its nice to see ya back and in FULL action, Robin! We definitely noticed you were gone, man.
Pics and all! hot damn!

Very cool, man.
Thanks ECCB. I did say I'd create a thread eventually.

The ten months offline was just a fluke with my satellite dish. They don't like to service people this far out in the puckerbrush. No cell service here until you drive half way back to town.

I've been reading on here for several days gradually recounting my many mistakes while working from memory. I seem to do things the hard way by nature.

I'll say one thing about this foam insulation. It stopped at least 80% of the noise level while driving. I'm not talking about the outrageous noise level from driving a bus with the interior stripped out. I couldn't even hear my stereo while driving until the foam was installed.

It turned out my engine was pretty gummed up, probably from someone trying to drive it like a car. I was barely making 55 mph on the highway when I first got it and now it's relatively easy to do 70. It climbs hills at higher speeds now and it's never had any heat issues. Still feeling lucky.
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Old 03-12-2017, 04:40 PM   #10
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I have a couple burning questions, and no I don't need a doctor for this. Well... maybe a bus doctor.

This is a stupid question that's been bothering me for a long time. The two lower interior panels beneath the rear windows on either side of the back door have stayed attached to the floor. Those two steel interior panels are the only panels that aren't out in the scrap pile. I've tried pulling them out, pounding them with a hammer, kicking and even yelling at them, but no luck. Do those have to be cut off to get rid of them? I've left the panels attached to the floor since last summer with stuff stacked against them. I didn't want to deal with a bunch of jagged metal edges from cutting or grinding if I can help it. I'm finishing up my interior walls and at present my only option seems to be cutting them off with a grinder.

Second question; About ten months ago we were discussing how to safely disable the numerous safety switches going to the doors. I was against disabling the safety's back then because the alarm occasionally reminded me to secure a door. Since I've realized it's a real PITA to manually lock and unlock the rear door at every stop while in town. 3 or 4 stops at various stores means locking and unlocking the rear doors 6 or 8 times. Also I figure at some point someone will damage one of the sensor switches possibly making me unable to start the vehicle. The rear third of this van is a garage. I expect possible light damage from loading and unloading motorcycles, and the safety switches are the biggest danger of disabling this vehicle, excluding other acts of nature.

I don't play electrician because I'm so colorblind. It's rare for my electrical tampering to work out in a positive manner. However, if I know what to disconnect... I figure I can pull a few wires. Any TC owners know the right wires to pull to disable the safety switches and alarms?

Another thing; ECCB, you were correct about the top hatch. I should have plated over it before the foam insulation was sprayed last summer, but I like the ventilation. The hatch was broken into twice last summer. It still doesn't leak at all, but it's difficult to secure. I could have had a smooth ceiling, and I did such a nice job of trimming the plywood around that hatch. I told the neighbors I was going to rig a shotgun to the hatch so it would fire when someone opened it, and the breakins miraculously stopped, but I'm pretty sure that would make the hatch leak. Anybody know how to secure a top hatch so it can't be opened from the roof?
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