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Old 02-27-2009, 11:44 AM   #1
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Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Wyoming
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Year: 1994
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Engine: DT360
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RazorCityDen's 1994 Cornbinder

After much deliberation, research and about 5k miles of driving around the mountain west and high plains we finally settled on a bus!

She's pretty little thing, a 1994 International with a 54 passenger Bluebird coach, powered up with a DT360 engine and a 545 automatic, tight in suspension and steering. I couldn't have asked for a cleaner bus, a well maintained 103k miles she run's out strong and not a bit of rust. She's going to need some steer tires before any real road trips, they are serviceable but with fresh skins she would be ready for anything, for a long time.

We got her home mid morning Feb. 22 and by dark had the seats, heaters and rubber floor mats pulled along with the padded vinyl trim pieces. We used an electric impact on top backed with a socket and breaker bar from the bottom. The plywood floor and that heavy, gummy sealant Bluebird uses around the edges of it was in excellent shape under the rubber, so it got swept good, vacuumed and a couple coats of white BIN primer to seal it.

We carefully considered the issue of floor insulation. The existing plywood being in good shape, we decided we didn't want to loose the head space raising the floor for insulation and I like the idea of having everything in the bus bolted down solid, she's going to see miles and miles of dirt roads and I've seen several RV's that have been nearly rattled apart from lot's of dirt road miles. I have a buddy that sprays insulation inside commercial steel buildings and he doesn't think it would be a big deal insulating from below if we decide on something later. Half the floor is going to be covered with cabinets and the rest is going to be throw rugs over vinyl tile so I'm not so sure a cold floor is going to be a problem. The last couple days have been in the low teens and a small electric heater kept it toasty in there while I was crawling around the floor getting layed out.

Feb. 23/24 I visited a local fellow that that buys wrecked RV's at action and parts them out as a side line. From a wrecked 2006 5th wheel (the top 6 inches of roof was ripped off) I bought a Dometic 3-way refer, Wedgewood Vision range, sink, shower pan and other misc. parts. I got all the propane mounting parts for twin 30's, including the exterior door with attached sealed, metal mounting box so the bottles can be kept in the bus but vented and accessed from a door on the out side. I'm also going to get the steps and door for my side door conversion. I've got first dib's on the whole RV as long as I don't take too long stripping it, he's only got so much space in his pole barn and likes to get hem stripped, junked and gone to make room for the next one. I imagine this RV is going to supply most of my house parts and pieces. The parts are sure cheap enough and in good shape, but I have to pull them and clean them (the refer was nasty smelly inside!) Stripping the parts has helped me a a lot figuring out how I'm going to lay out the bus.

Feb. 24/25 I loaded the appliances in the bus and started figuring out what was going to work for a floor plan, that's quite a task Lot's of veritables, compromise and head scratching to get where I wanted, but after a couple days and a 18 pack I think I got the high points sorted out for the most part. The framing and cabinets are layed out on the floor along with layout for electrical, propane and plumbing.

I'm building this bus to be full time capable with lots of storage and livable space. It's going to be heavy DC lite on the AC, wood heat and meant to be parked out in the booneys for extended periods. I'm planning to use an Airhead for solid waste and the grey water tank from the doner RV for waste water that will be valved for an extension line for external draining under appropriate conditions. I'm still researching wood stoves and water heating but have got some good idea's off the forum. I'm keeping everything I can inside the bus, water tanks are going to go under the full-size bed at the back of the bus and may be the mobile wheeled kind so they can be removed though the emergency door and hauled to town in the Jeep to be filled. At this point I'm going to run with the two propane bottles off the doner RV for the same reason, one or both can be easily pulled and hauled to town to be refilled. I'm not planning on anything but some drain lines, grey water tank and propane lines under the bus.

Feb. 27 Today I should be getting my window skinning metal that a local tinner is cutting and bending up for me. I've got the Bluebird "eyebrow" thing going on so I went the "sportyrick" route. I went with 20 gauge galvanized, bending a 1' flange to attach top and bottom to fit the opening and then attaching though the outside of the window divider trim on the sides. I don't have ricks metal skills and tools so I'm going to seal them good and use sheet metal screws or rivets instead of spot welding as he did. I'm choking on the cost of a large rivet gun ($175) that won't get used much after the windows are in so I'm going to look around today to see if I can't borrow or rent one, if not it' sheet metal screws. Screws should be fine though.

I've got to thank everyone on this forum for their idea's and experiences, the folks here have really been a huge inspiration on this project, no doubt saving me much money, time and problems.

Take care,
Den
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Old 02-28-2009, 11:44 AM   #2
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Re: RazorCityDen's 1994 Cornbinder

Good lookin' "Security System," too.
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Old 03-02-2009, 11:46 AM   #3
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Year: 1994
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Rated Cap: 54
Re: RazorCityDen's 1994 Cornbinder

Thanks for the comments!

That's my dog Gabby, named because she tries to vocalize like a human with bark's,yips, growls, snorts etc. it kind of weirds some folks out how well we communicate, totally obedient in all situations, fiercely loyal she's a once in a lifetime dog. The bipedal is my youngest boy and the last my three at home, he's good help and like the others got an early start in construction working with my crews.

I didn't get my metal Fri so I took the weekend off, but I got it in my hot little hands now

Attached a few more pics of the layout, you can see the black marker lines in the pictures, it's pretty straight up.

Full-size bed centered in the rear with cabinets coming in 4 feet from the back of the bus and going floor to ceiling on both sides of the bed. There will also be a cabinet dropping down from the ceiling to the top of the rear windows over top of the bed between the side cabinets that is going to hold a small hotel size PTAC (AC heater/air conditioner unit) this will be used when I got steady AC and vent out though the back of the bus so the vent louver is flush mounted to the exterior. The rear windows are going to get removed and skinned along with the emergency door windows and the head board will will go tight to the bottom of the upper cabinet. That way I can uses the rear door to access the area under the bed used for water and storage without exposing my bedroom to the weather.

There's going to be a 2 foot deep by 34" inch wide floor to ceiling wardrobe over top of each wheel well. The back of the driver side wardrobe is going to be the shared wall to the bathroom with the Airhead composter sitting on a platform over the remainder of the exposed wheel well and the shower ( drain clearing under floor structure) in front of it as shown in the photo with about a foot between them.

The remainder of wheel well behind the wardrobe on the passenger side will be a framed platform for the wood stove. The window bay right in front of the passenger side wheel well is where the RV door and step is going, that will give the stove good clearance and put it in the middle of the bus. It's not easy coming up with good wood stove placement, that probably caused more head scratching than anything else.

On the other side of the entrance door is going to be the refer cabinet. Next to it will be a typical futon (sp?) couch that slides out to make another bed for occasional use. It looks like I will have an extra foot in there for a built-in end table cabinet, but I won't know for sure till I get the front stair well filled and the co-pilot seat in. I'm also tossing around just using the cushion/mattress and sliding hardware mounted on a storage cabinet. I'll figure that out when I get to the futon shopping.

The galley is simple enough I'm skinning the window behind the range and leaving the other three windows on both sides of the bus as windows. I'm probably going to make the kitchen counter come flush to the bottom of the windows and a couple inches lower than standard kitchen. I like the idea of an unobstructed view from the futon couch. Still tossing this around though.

The galley cabinets are going to run from the back of the head wall all the way to the back of the drivers seat, with a fold up wing to seat two diners with normal chairs that can be stored in the shower when not in use. I'm not doing the standard booth dining area thing and going for max width living space in the living room area. There's going to be an upper cabinet the entire length of the galley area about 18" deep and a 12" deep upper running over top of the futon from the refer wall to the front of the bus over the co-pilot seat on the other side. The upper cabinet behind the driver will house a flat screen TV/DVD player and be angled towards the futon. The idea is that when the futon is folded out there will be space to walk around it.

That's what I have pretty much settled on so far with some small details to be sorted out on the fly. I better get off this computer and get my window skinning started

I'm all open to comments, suggestions or questions if I'm missing something here!

Take care,
Den
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Old 03-02-2009, 01:51 PM   #4
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Re: RazorCityDen's 1994 Cornbinder

DUDE! you are going to town on that. Sounds like you stepped into a good deal on the 5th wheel. Lots of useful stuff in those. I would recommend also,that you insulate the walls. You can probably get by with doing the underside at a later date. I would think there would be a lot of cleanup on the underside before you could spray insulation on it. (for proper adheasion)
What part of Wyoming are you in. I live in Rock Spings. Glad to see a fellow Wyomingite Schoolie. Good luck!
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Old 03-02-2009, 07:47 PM   #5
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Rated Cap: 54
Re: RazorCityDen's 1994 Cornbinder

I'm near the RazorCity bro where else?

I put up some pictures of today's window skinning and yep out came the old windows, and in went the 20 gauge skin. After I popped out the window, I cleaned the old sealant out with a sharp wood chisel, and then went around the outside edges with rubber sealant then popped the new skin metal in like the window came out . It went pretty easy once I got a process worked out.

You can see in one of the pictures how the metal was bent with a flange top and bottom. Once the metal was popped in I pre-drilled and screwed down the bottom and used a couple screw clamps to keep the metal was bowing in when I pre-drilled and ran the screws in on both sides. By starting the side screws at the bottom and working to the top the metal went in nice and tight with little flex. The picture has shadows going across a couple back panels from tree limbs that almost look like wrinkles, but they aren't. After the screws were done going up both sides, I went back in the bus, removed the clamps and put the screws across the top flange in.

I got one side completely done (the side in the picture) and was short two pieces of 20 gauge for the other side. The tinner didn't order enough 20 gauge. No worries that gave me an opportunity to get some more metal for the windows in the emergency door and across the back.

I'm definitely going to insulate the skinned windows by gluing on some foam. I haven't decided if I'm going to pull out all that interior aluminum or just fur out over it with some 1X2's and go over it with 3/4 insulation. Probably the latter, It wouldn't save that much weight to remove it and I have already drilled some rivets and had a look see to find the insulation dry and in good shape.

I'll have some time to figure out the sidewall insulation issue tomorrow. I won't get the rest of my window skin till tomorrow afternoon. So I'm going to do a good interior framing/paneling material count and go pick out some nice 2X6's and rip some interior studs and I'll likely pick up the interior paneling. I've also got to find the right fasteners for attaching the walls top and bottom.

Take Care,
Den
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Old 03-03-2009, 10:00 AM   #6
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Join Date: Jan 2009
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Rated Cap: 54
Re: RazorCityDen's 1994 Cornbinder

Quote:
Originally Posted by Smitty
The last pic looks like the panels were cut by hand (as opposed to being sheared) ...lol, cutting 20ga by hand ain't no fun, unless ya got Popeye forearms You're scooting right along, at this rate you should have a finished bus in about a week

Smitty
The panels weren't bad, they all fit good, but he said the 20 gauge was tapping out his brake and shear, his shop is 90% heating and air conditioning duct's with lighter stock. He couldn't remember the last time they had fabbed 20 gauge It was a good deal though, I swapped him 4 rolls of 24 in. Rolex coil stock for the metal and the shop work so I'm not complaining.

I've got a no cash deal brewing with a welder for the fab work relating to the side door swap and fill, I'm trying to get that going this weekend. As soon as the weather gets steady warm I want to be ready for exterior paint. Which reminds me I need to get a Bluebird driver side window coming this way from somewhere. I don't really want to start carving on the exterior of the bus till I got the welder squared away so I can go right in behind him and finish it up.

Speaking of paint when I was at Ace Hardware yesterday I was checking out their "Rust Stop" line of implement enamel's they have decent premix colors at $27 a gallon. It seems like the right kind of paint.

Anybody ever use it? I don't have much experience here and I'm flying by the seat of my pants!

I like it when I have face to attach to the name so here's me, walking the course, deep in skoolie planning thoughts!

Well the hell, I better get to work or it ain't never going to get done

Take care,
Den
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Old 03-03-2009, 10:13 AM   #7
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Re: RazorCityDen's 1994 Cornbinder

[quote="RazorCityDen"]Thanks for the comments!

That's my dog Gabby, named because she tries to vocalize like a human with bark's,yips, growls, snorts etc. it kind of weirds some folks out how well we communicate, totally obedient in all situations, fiercely loyal she's a once in a lifetime dog.



Sounds like my dog Bubba he likes to talk to. Oh btw you mite want to make it a little wider in between the wheel wells
I had two spots were it was about 20" wide and I'm not little I have wide shoulders and had to tern sideways to go through.
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Old 03-06-2009, 03:01 AM   #8
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Re: RazorCityDen's 1994 Cornbinder

rub that galvanized down with vinigar before hittin it with the paint-gets that paint stikin...lookin good !
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Old 03-07-2009, 09:33 AM   #9
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Re: RazorCityDen's 1994 Cornbinder

Quote:
Oh btw you mite want to make it a little wider in between the wheel wells
Thanks! I did just that once I got it laid out. I originally was going to make both cabinets 36 inches into the center, like ya said it was tight. So I kept the cabinet 36 inches on the side with the head and reduced it on the side with the wood stove (passenger side).

I was also going to have the cabinets open into the bedroom but have decided to open them into the hallway, the hanging compartment now with by-pass sliders. I started sorting out the framing first with the refer cabinet and after getting a good look at how the cabinets/walls are going to work out decided it would be easier to have the openings of the cabinets square to the ceiling, than having to figure out curved doors etc. It also looks like it will make the area at the top of the cabinet more usable being curved at the back rather than one side.

Quote:
rub that galvanized down with vinigar before hittin it with the paint-gets that paint stikin...
Thanks for the reminder, had the same conversation with the tinner I almost bought the "paint-ready" steel but it was going to cost more and take longer to get. He told me the same thing about the vinegar, say's they do it all the time in commercial applications and it works out fine. He's also the one that turned me onto the Ace Hardware brand "Rust Stop" paint.

I got into the framing and think I got the process worked out, but I ended up working more than I wanted this week and by Wednesday had a nasty virus, probably a bodily reaction to the threat of upcoming "honest" work Chills, fever, head/body aches in different orders over the coarse of the day, it left me pretty drained so I hung low. Feeling better today I'll probably get back at it this weekend.

It took me awhile to settle on how I was going to go about this framing task, it's not particularly straight forward, lots of different ways to skin the cat, all with their up's and downs. I'm basically treating it like a built-in cabinet job, since that's what it mostly is anyway. I'll get some pics up soon I wanted to be a little farther along before I take any. I goofed around with how to plumb walls for a bit till I made a large square to square off the floor, it's a little tedious and takes two of us to get started, but works good enough. I messed with leveling the bus and just using a bubble level, but for the few walls there are to plumb that seemed even more tedious For level I'm just measuring off the floor up.

I'm using 2X6's ripped to 1 1/2"x1 1/2" where I need studs and I plan to attach (glue/narrow crown staples) the exterior veneer right to the studs. The insides of the cabinets that get finished out will be AC plywood to make it easier for drawer/shelf slider hardware hanging rods etc.

We still haven't decided on exactly what the interior decorative scheme is going to be. I have a large stack of nice solid pine laminated panels that are from some shelving I took out when remodeling a JC Penny's catalog store that are around 24"x36" that would make nice doors and drawer fronts. So really it's a matter of deciding what I'm going to skin the outside of the cabinets with. We have thought of going with white beaded panels for a clean retro paint grade/casework look or a beaded pine veneer that matches the solid pine doors and drawers for the all out wood look. This needs to be figured out this weekend, I want to be be mostly done framing next week. I lend towards the painted casework/stained solid pine doors and drawer fronts, the pictures of the bus interiors I've seen with all wood look closed in to me, pictures can be deceiving though.

Counter tops are easy enough I'm going to laminate the Formica counter tops in place, but got a stiff lead time for ordering the material and need to get the color thing sorted out soon.

Take care,
Den
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Old 03-09-2009, 10:21 PM   #10
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Re: RazorCityDen's 1994 Cornbinder

Den: looks good, don't get discouraged, it's a damn lot of work. I am glad you like my window idea, what else can you do with the single eyebrows? I just used roll insulation that they use on metal buildings to insulate the windows, it's got a heavy backing, tapes well, and then light galvanized steel on the inside. Etching primer on the outside galvanized window fillers preps them for paint ( I think I did wipe them down before). As far as the RV door, if you get the right size it will fit exactly between the ribs by trimming off the flange on either side, a concrete saw with a chop saw blade works very well to broach the opening. Actually the door isn't that hard, the stairs will make you think hard though. Save the soft aluminum strip that went around the front stairwell and bend it around to use in the rear. Also make a little drip edge to go above the door like the windows, will keep leaking from happening. If I remember correctly my door ended up just under the header above the window opening and although that seems low it worked out well, just 2 steps to get up to floor level, and that's with a fold out step under the door. so it's 3 steps up total. Grab a folding step off that RV. I kept the door close to the rear wheels to prevent high centering it on something and tearing it off. I ran my rear back up camera cable down that side. The vertical padded bar that you are going to take out of the front works well by the new rear door. I also put a handrail up the stairwell to help pull yourself up the stairs (it's on my fridge too). A little LED light in the stairwell makes it look like you know what your doing. As far as paint, somewhere in these pages there is quite a bit of paint information but to refresh you I used modified enamel from CarQuest, it's the next step above implement enamel and was $35 a gallon, you thin it with acetone and they can mix you quite a few different colors. We wet sanded and primered and wet sanded again till our fingers bled but it's the only way to make paint stick well. I have a few spots along the rub rails that peeled down to the yellow when we pulled the trim tape off so we didn't sand enough. Speaking of rub rails I assume you are going to go to a junkyard and get a panel to fill in the front and grab some xtra rub rails to extend them to the front corner to make it look like there was never a door there. Most people never think there was a door in the front of my bus because of how I did it. The only panel you can use is from a BB but the good news they are the same for decades. You can only use a rear window panel, they are the only ones that are 36", the others are 32". Well this letter is quite a bit longer than I expected but please feel free to jog my memory on anything else you need to know. Great job, great enthusiasm and I think you will get this done (never as fast as expected) sportyrick.
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