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.