I can hardly believe it's been 2 months since I posted something, and it really feels like I haven't done much. I've worked more than a few 60+ hour weeks, but when I get to the shop, I just want to sleep. I have made some progress including:
I removed the rear window and had a piece fabricated to cover it. The cover will remain off with the fan in place until the floor is completely rust and hole free, so a few years. HA! I use the fan to vent out the dust and fumes from working on the inside. Weight savings: about 40 pounds.
I finished installing all of the metal panels over all windows except the driver's window, the windshield (of course), the side door window, and the 2 mini windows at the rear. All panels overlap and are fastened to the ribs with 16 screws per rib, perhaps a few more or less at the ends. Total weight savings: 52 pounds (2 pounds per window)
Of course, when drilling the pilot holes through existing holes on the ribs from the inside, there are a few places that didn't line up as I had hoped. I'm not satisfied with the result from an appearance aspect, but then I remind myself that I'm sure any buses in Mad Max land aren't perfectly constructed either. I'm not worried about the panels becoming loose, or leaking, so that's the main point.
While exploring the ribs and body panels from the inside, I noticed that the side panels are only rivetted every 4th rib. This bothered me since I don't want to hear the panels rattling as I go down the road, and I don't want flexing to dislodge the spray insulation when applied, so I took the liberty of fastening the body to those other ribs using existing holes in the ribs in 10 places per rib. If you're keeping count, that's 780 or so screws pilotted, drilled and screwed for the windows and sides so far.
The end result will look pretty heavy duty, and I may continue the screws all the way down the rib to the bottom, not sure just yet. The white haze is Ospho treatment on the screws, existing rivets and panels.
As for the interior, at each location where a rivet or screw penetrated the body, whether installed by me or the manufacturer, I applied Ospho, at least 1 coat of rust reforming primer, and 3 coats of Plastidip to prevent corrosion and water intrusion.
Also, when the butyl caulk dries at the top and bottom, more Plastidip will be applied as a last effort in case any water wants to make it through. I am also in the process of caulking the exterior. At the top of the panels where they duck under the rain gutter, it's taking about 1 tube of caulk for every 3 windows. I bought out the local store and am waiting for restock.
I have also ordered my fridge and it will sit in the shop, a much welcomed addition to my living arrangement. I will also get to MadMaxify the fridge before installation. I selected a Whirlpool WRT134TFDW after literally a month of research. The price ($500), the energy usage (336kWh/yr) and the dimensions all played a part. I really wanted a stainless steel look, but since I'm going to decorate it anyway, why waste the money.
Additionally, I designed and ordered some custom made 18ga louvered panels that might be nothing more than for show on the exterior, but may serve as vent covers, light diffusers or anything else I can think of.
I've been looking seriously at getting a set of these wheel covers as well, again, for looks, since I doubt I'll realize any mileage efficiency improvement on my bus.
I'm going to wait to do the insulation until I know I won't need any wiring, venting or other holes that pass through the roof or sides. That way, I can block them all off, and in the future, if something goes wrong, I won't have to dig out the insulation.
My next big design elements are going to be the under-bus supports for water, propane, battery, grey water and storage areas, as well as the roof rack. I was thining about drilling through the rib flanges at the roof and running about 8-12 bolts through to a steel plate on the outside as a foot, but closer to the edges than the middle. Any suggestions? Advice? It won't be a full length rack since the solar panels will be up there, 6 of them, and I'd like it strong enough so that, if I decide to later, I can put some planks up there to serve as a deck if I'm not hauling anything.