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Old 08-29-2011, 10:25 PM   #1
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Our New Skoolie (Yet to be named.)

Just went and picked up our bus today. Drove it the 90 miles home through the South Eastern Kansas Flint Hills with no problems. It does have some minor issues but I think it is going to be a good bus for us.

The bus is a 1977 International Harvester with a Carpenter body. It's got a gas engine w/ automatic transmission. We only got it up to a max of 55mph but it never really dogged except for the few steeper grades we had to climb and even then it only dropped to about 45-50mph. I think after I get it a tune up we might be able to get a little more speed out of the old girl.

One of the things I am going to do some research into is the fact that they changed out the original 4-barrel carb for a 2-barrel. I am wondering if that may be affecting things. I got the 4-barrel carb with the bus but was told it needed a rebuilt. That will be something I look into.

One of the little tricks the original owner did to the bus that I like is they put heavy duty trailer tongue jacks on the bumpers. According to the guy I bought the bus from this make tweaking the bus level extremely easy. You should be able to see the jacks in the pictures.

I have health issues converting a bus from scratch was too much for me right now, but I will be making some changes to this one to make it fit our needs a little better.

So far the TODO list on the bus is:

1) Tuneup on the bus, possibly getting the 4 barrel carb rebuilt and put back on. The battery may need to be replaced. I had to jump it to get it started at first but It worked everytime after. I will pull it and get it checked this week.

2) Fuel Gage needs to be fixed.

3) Looking to add better and more mirrors. The driver side mirror is cracked and only having the two really limits visibility. My wife drove School Bus for a couple of years and is already missing all the extra mirros.

4) Replace the forward air conditioner. I am thinking I am also going to wire in a inverter for it so I can run it while going down the road. Right now it has to be connected to a generator or shore power.

5) Rewire the power on the bus to something a little more up to date and allow me to run some things while driving. It has a couple Marine Batteries but they will need to be replaced.




















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Old 08-30-2011, 11:30 AM   #2
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Re: Our New Skoolie (Yet to be named.)

very nice! looks like it needs some updating but i find that is easier then going from scratch lol
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Old 08-30-2011, 11:56 AM   #3
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Re: Our New Skoolie (Yet to be named.)

Welcome and nice find. Definitely have a big head start there!
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Old 08-30-2011, 01:10 PM   #4
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Re: Our New Skoolie (Yet to be named.)

Hello and welcome to the fun!

Quote:
Originally Posted by RavensOracle
...
4) Replace the forward air conditioner. I am thinking I am also going to wire in a inverter for it so I can run it while going down the road. Right now it has to be connected to a generator or shore power.
5) Rewire the power on the bus to something a little more up to date and allow me to run some things while driving. It has a couple Marine Batteries but they will need to be replaced. ...
I don't think you will be able to run an air conditioner off inverter/battery power. It demands too much power for a couple batteries to handle for long.
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Old 08-30-2011, 02:37 PM   #5
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Re: Our New Skoolie (Yet to be named.)

Actually I was thinking of wiring the inverter to run off the power of the alternator. Making it completely independent of the AC Shore power hookup. Which would mean switching from an shore power outlet to the inverter before I started driving.

I'll have to check everything but the window unit is just a small 110AC unit. I don't think it should be any more of a draw than a rooftop unit or the massive rear electric AC unit that came with an old conversion van I used to have. I need to check the output of the alternator but the thing is massive so for now I am assuming it should handle the load. I'll run the numbers to verify before I do anything. It'd be a temp fix until I can get the bus rewired. Everything works on shore power but I am not happy with the "Modifications" one of the previous owners made from what was originally installed when it was converted. To many jury rigs and patches for my taste. I have yet to find any real hazards with the power. I just want to update it to make it more efficient.

I've read about adding a second alternator to use to charge the battery bank while driving. That'd be nice for my weekend fishing trips I do in the fall & spring when the weather is perfect enough I don't need a AC or heater. Basically just using the lights at night and maybe the water pump so I can do dishes a little easier.
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Old 08-30-2011, 02:45 PM   #6
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Running AC off alternator?

Run the air conditioner off the alternator through an inverter! I can't believe I've not thought of that! Or that nobody else on this site (that I've seen) has mentioned it! I wonder why it is that RVs run generators to operate their AC units when they could just tap into the alternator? Hopefully someone with more electrical knowledge than me will chime in on this thread, and if not perhaps I'll start another thread in the "conversion discussion" forum. Sounds like a great idea! Although you'd probably have to spring for a pure sine wave inverter rather than the more affordable modified sine wave inverters.
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Old 08-30-2011, 03:40 PM   #7
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Re: Our New Skoolie (Yet to be named.)

I don't think that would work with the rooftop A/C units. Possibly with the smaller window units. You had better check your numbers because I'm not sure that a typical alternator would do it. Under powered and you will just burn up the air unit. Our bus alternator is 160AMP or so... I think. Nowhere near the Eagle's 350 amp AC/DC alternator that powered it's on board Air Conditioner. David forgot to load it in the back of the skoolie before we left NC. didn't realize it until we unloaded the bus out here. Such is life.
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Old 08-30-2011, 04:53 PM   #8
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Re: Our New Skoolie (Yet to be named.)

4 BBL is a better choice than the 2 BBL.
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Old 08-31-2011, 04:42 AM   #9
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Re: Our New Skoolie (Yet to be named.)

Quote:
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4 BBL is a better choice than the 2 BBL.
Now that just depends on how much of a hurry you're in...
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Old 08-31-2011, 07:40 AM   #10
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Re: Our New Skoolie (Yet to be named.)

Re: the interior. Need a name? "That 70's bus"!
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