My goal is to take my recently purchased 1986 84 passenger Thomas Saf-T-Liner and turn it into a tiny house for full time living. It will rarely be moved (although I want to have the ability to move it when needed), so the functionality of the bus for living is more important to me than the quality of the mechanics. I explored 5th wheels and towable tiny houses on wheels, but I feel that a Skoolie was the way to go.
I've read many of the build threads and considered all of the advice therein carefully, and I have decided against attempting a roof raise.
As envisioned, the finished project will have a composting toilet (yes, I read the discussions on that as well) a shower, a propane range/oven and heater, an electric compressor fridge, a queen size murphy bed, and a wood stove. The power will be solar panels and a battery bank, with possibly a propane generator.
I will only be able to work on it a little at a time, and hopefully can complete the project before I am no longer physically able.
Here is the tabula rasa
Put in 4 hours today, went from this
Spent the first two hours trying to figure out if I can get to the bolts under the carriage to take out the folding seat next to the emergency door. Nope. I did find a nifty patched hole in the floor there and was able to get a wrench on two of the 8 bolts, and now I know where the shower drain is going down below
. But, I am going to have to grind the heck out of those leftover bolts! When I first got the bus, I bought an angle grinder at Harbor Freight (with a grinding wheel). I spent 2 hours grinding the bolts on one seat and used up the dang wheel
. Got some cutting wheels for the grinder, when I get to that point I hope to make better progress.
Started on the other seats by trying to use a method Nat Ster posted on youtube. 1/2 the floor bolts come right out no problem, the other half have a nut on them that you can't get to. And although they are rusty as all get out, those bolts are tough! Turns out, when you manhandle the seats enough trying to get the bolt heads to come off, you find out that the bolts are stronger than the metal in the leg brackets, and far stronger than the welds on the legs. So the bolt heads stay and will be there until I use a cut off wheel on them.
The method I found works best just as I was pooping out for the day:
1- Unfasten the two bolts that come out from the floor and two of the three bolts that secure the seat to the wall (there are two bolts that go directly into the wall, and a vertical bolt that goes into the rail on the wall, I leave that one).
2- Use a cheap floor jack (the 2 ton I had around was $59 and came with a 12v impact wrench), put it under the welded seat tubing right at the corner by the bolt, and jack away until you hear that satisfying kablong
as the metal floor bracket gives way. If the rail won't give up after you have reached the maximum height, use a wrecking bar wedged under the bracket by the bolt as an assist.
3- Once the seat is released from the floor, finish up removing that last bolt from the wall.
4- Repeat as necessary.
Oh, here's a bonus: DW removed all of the light fixtures from the ceiling, and out crawled several hornets.
I'm not looking forward to removing the ceiling.
I have been working in desk jobs for the last 25 years, and have led a sedentary lifestyle. Alas, 4 hours today was as much as I could do. I'm sore, I'm tired, and I smell like a school bus floor.
Skoolie House costs so far
Bus Purchase $1900
Title, tabs and license plate $340
September space rental $100