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Old 10-14-2012, 12:11 PM   #1
Skoolie's Avatar
Join Date: May 2012
Location: Kelso, WA
Posts: 245
Year: 1989
Coachwork: Carpenter
Chassis: International 3800
Engine: DT360
Rated Cap: 72
Our Bus, Our Home

Hello Skoolie Comnunity, we'd like to finally introduce ourselves after a year of lurking and summer of scrambling to beat the rain up here in Washington. Before we get on with an introduction, the wife and I would like to give a huge thanks to this community for all the information, ideas, inspiration and most of all the positive vibes we get as read each of your stories, it's been fun.

After a series of inspiring events this last summer, we decided a mobile life style was to be the next chapter in our lives. We have a ten year old daughter that we'll be home/unschooling as we travel the tattoo convention circuit and do flea markets and guest spots along the way. Early this year we set out to find just the right bus for us and after a few setbacks (that turned out to be blessings) we found her in June. We bought a 1989 International Carpenter from Raymond school district for an even $3000. She's got 106K on a DT360, Allison automatic, air brakes and it looks like they had just replaced the belts, hoses, shocks, and tires. She was transporting kids last year and according to the district, because it's a Carpenter, the roof was removed, welds were inspected/repaired and the entire roof was welded together as a single sheet (we don't plan to roll our home). All in all we're very happy with the condition we got her in, they even delivered her after removing the stop arm & sign and CB.

The bus garage in Raymond (little coastal town)

Our daughter and her cousin pose for a pic the day she arrives (one week later)

here's a quick look inside...

...and the outside...

...and under the hood...

...and even some of space down under (we're gonna post quite a few pics)

It took a couple days to remove the seats. They were full of everything you'd expect, even a disciplinary note...we did find a few artifacts that we decided were special enough to be worked into the build in some way. The cushions and most of the vinyl went to the landfill (it stunk pretty bad), the metal was recycled, all in all $55 in our pocket.

Next up was the removal of the rubber and plywood flooring (it's always nice when family and friends offer to help).

A little surface rust is all we found, the floor is solid and has a thick coating of tar underneath.

After some debate, we decided to go ahead and remove the interior tin between the windows and chair rail so that we could replace the fiberglass with polystyrene. This was easily accomplished using an angle grinder with a cutting wheel.

Here's a before of the driver's seat area:

We decided those heater hoses will need to be hard plumbed underneath the bus so we just drilled a couple of holes and shot them through the floor using a couple short pieces of heater hose, some 1" barbed fittings and a couple 90's. We made a U shape using a couple more short pieces of hose/barbed fittings/90's to install for now so that the front heaters will still work during construction.

Then we prepped the floor and painted a nice thick coat of rustoleum.

We couldn't believe how easy it was to get the title changed here. All we had to do was go to Waste Control and have it weighed and pay $260 ($100 for not changing the title within 30 days), no inspection. Now she's a 39 ft International Motor home.

We got a couple roof vents to replace the original equipment, they were installed without issue.

Next up was a little body work we needed to get out of the way. We decided to seal off the side door to fit with our original floor plan and the of course those holes where the stop arm was. We figured while we were at it, we might as well get a few holes in the fiberglass hood repaired, remove the stickers on the back and sand the lettering off. Primer and paint will have to wait until next year. We'll be taking our time with the build with a planned completion date of late spring/early summer so that will be a logical final step.

After a good wash we coated the roof and floor with a couple coats of elastomeric paint mixed with insulating ceramic beads from hytech in Florida. We ordered 12 lbs for $112 and plan to mix it with the paint we use on the inside as well. This stuff works great, definitely recommend this stuff!

...and a little fiberglass and body putty to fill the gap in the side door (we may still remove the hinge before final primer/paint)

We found a few needed items on Craigslist: 21 foot Carefree of Colorado RV awning w/ arms ($240), woodstove and 6' interior stove pipe ($100), 20 ton jack ($10) and a toilet ($20).

After adding insulation back into the walls, our first step was to get the hearth and woodstove installed, you only get so many dry days of summer in this neck of the woods. Somehow insulating and sheathing the floor got worked in there at the same time.

here you can see 1" tubular steel spacers and a little black shelf we fabricated to cover the rear heater hoses.

Walls covered with high temp paint mixed with ceramic beads (makes black kind of chalky) and fresh-air intake cut in the floor.

Some 2x2 framing (we added 3/4" plywood and 1/2" concrete board on top of that) followed by 1 5/8" concrete. Prior to pouring the concrete we welded a 3 ft piece of angle iron at a right angle to the end piece of tube steel to shore up the top corner of the hearth wall. This corner will probably take some abuse and we wanted to make sure it doesn't have any problems in the future. The angle iron worked perfectly.

Next we added concrete board to the wall, installed the base of the stove and began work on the floor and the small section of wall directly behind the stove. This was a fun project that we all three could work on together, it was a lot of fun. We used large washers for the concrete board and wired lath to it before adding our rock to it; it needs to withstand potholes etc.

...and the stove is installed. It's a mobile home unit triple wall on back, double on the sides. We would have preferred a 45 degree angle on the installation but the stove was a little deep, still, we're very happy with the looks of it. Our plan is to clear coat the rocks with something when we get it all done, the pics were taken with water sprayed on them.

Next up, install a box and some pipe.

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Old 10-14-2012, 12:29 PM   #2
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Join Date: Aug 2012
Location: Wisconsin
Posts: 238
Re: Our Bus, Our Home

Looking great. Looking forward to seeing it complete.
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Old 10-14-2012, 02:44 PM   #3
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Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: Central Tennessee
Posts: 1,093
Year: 1973
Coachwork: Blue Bird
Chassis: All American
Engine: CAT 1160 V-8 Diesel
Rated Cap: 72
Re: Our Bus, Our Home

The rock floor underneath the wood stove is awesome.
Best Home Yet - Strong Command Center --- viewtopic.php?f=9&t=10764
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Old 10-14-2012, 02:54 PM   #4
Bus Nut
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Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Bakersfield, California
Posts: 969
Year: 1976
Coachwork: Crown
Chassis: Supercoach
Engine: DD Inline 6-71 MidShip
Rated Cap: 79
Re: Our Bus, Our Home

I agree with Accordian on the stove! Nice looking bus
My Conversion Thread:
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Old 10-14-2012, 03:07 PM   #5
Site Team
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Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: MNT CITY TN
Posts: 4,824
Re: Our Bus, Our Home

You'll be nice and toasty,great. Job so far!
Our build La Tortuga
Accept the challenges so that you can feel the exhilaration of victory.
George S. Patton
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Old 10-14-2012, 03:53 PM   #6
Charley's Avatar
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Brasschaat Belgium Europe
Posts: 138
Year: 1995
Coachwork: Eldorado
Chassis: Econoline
Engine: 7.3L Powerstroke Diesel
Rated Cap: 20
Re: Our Bus, Our Home

It is going to be great guy's ! ! !
The bus lookes nice already.
Keep up the good work ! !
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Old 10-14-2012, 04:58 PM   #7
Bus Nut
Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: Olympia, Washington
Posts: 553
Year: 87
Coachwork: Wayne
Chassis: International s1700
Engine: 6.9 internatiional
Rated Cap: 65
Re: Our Bus, Our Home

looking great guys! what part of Washington are you in? the area you are putting you wood stove in is exactly the area i was thinking of using. I had that exact "dont loose your riding privileges" sign in my bus. it was from Puyallup school Dist.
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Old 10-14-2012, 08:46 PM   #8
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Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: Houston, Texas
Posts: 4,376
Year: 1946
Coachwork: Chevrolet/Wayne
Chassis: 1- 1/2 ton
Engine: Cummins 4BT
Rated Cap: 15
Re: Our Bus, Our Home

Nice Work! --- Keep the pix coming.
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Old 10-14-2012, 09:17 PM   #9
Bus Crazy
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Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: So Cal
Posts: 1,696
Year: 1935
Coachwork: Superior
Chassis: Chevy
Engine: 317 ci/tid / Isuzu
Re: Our Bus, Our Home

WOW! You can come and play in my play pen anytime you want! I don't think I've ever seen a cleaner school bus than what you started with. Keep the pics comming along with the notes. You are really doing a nice job. Jack
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Old 10-14-2012, 11:28 PM   #10
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Join Date: Feb 2007
Posts: 4,075
Re: Our Bus, Our Home

Nice bus. Nice tires. You're doing an awesome job. Can't wait to see the finished product.
I'm hungry!

You Gotta Let Me Fly
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