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Old 05-06-2015, 10:55 PM   #311
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Join Date: Jul 2013
Location: Maryland / Boulder
Posts: 309
Year: 1999
Coachwork: Thomas Built
Chassis: Saf-T-Liner MVP ER
Engine: CAT 3126b Rotella-Chugger
Rated Cap: 72
So I have still been working on the "basement" storage, but since I have been spending roughly 40 hours per week painting the inside of a house by myself, I haven't had a ton of time, except on the weekends. But this weekend I had a ton of distractions.

First, there was the arc welder which I was playing with. My first arc welds on 1/4" steel:



Then my Dad's friend who owns an Acura NSX came over with the front hubs from it and wanted me to pull out old / press in new bearings. So that took an hour when factoring in removing popped-out raceways from the hub.

Then my neighbor came over unannounced looking to fix the new rust hole in his Mercedes 300TD under the drivers seat that caused the seat to partially fall out. So we rigged a repair (temporary until time allows to properly deal with the rust situation) out of old Thomas bus skin steel. That's right, we put some American steak in a bowl of (rotting) sauerkraut.

THEN my dad's friend from high school came over and he likes to talk a lot.

Once I finally got some damn work done, I kept chugging away at these ever-evolving storage box frames:



Done (finally) and primed:



I got my dad to prime them for me since I had pained for the entire week and might snap if I had to touch a brush or roller again without a couple days' break.

Primed rectangles - bottom mounts for fresh water tanks.

Unprimed straights - connecting / supporting pieces between top and bottom frames for fresh tanks. 16 total, 8 per tank.

Long pieces with holes - supporting beam / bracket for rears of storage boxes.



Drilled out 1/4" angle and bus frame for grey tank mounts:





And test fit tanks:





Everything fits. The tanks clear the frame rails widthwise by about 3/16" on each side. I will side the tanks with 16 ga sheet steel to prevent any rub and to contain them better. I still need to build a smaller "containing" frame to keep the tanks from sliding / bouncing around, as the angle / square tube pictured exists basically just to hold the weight. I will work on this once I have the fat steel painted and mounted so I don't screw up any measurements.

Test fitting the larger passenger side storage bin while grey tanks are in. It fits great EXCEPT one goof I made, on the center rear support which is double angle, the leg(?) of the angle sticks into the square tubing on one of the supports. However I should be fine notching the storage frame to accommodate this since it is quite overbuilt as is.



I will keep chugging away at this frame business this weekend. For anyone considering building out basement storage in a similar manner, I highly recommend it so far, just get a couple people together who are knowledgable in metalworking. Say one to cut metal, one to clean prior to welding and one to weld, make an assembly line, and you could knock these out in a day or two. Also, having multiple 20 amp circuits and / or 220 volt tools and a welder with a high duty cycle would help.
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Old 05-06-2015, 11:19 PM   #312
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Join Date: Jul 2013
Location: Maryland / Boulder
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Year: 1999
Coachwork: Thomas Built
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Engine: CAT 3126b Rotella-Chugger
Rated Cap: 72
So I am not sure if I mentioned before but me and 2 friends are going on a cross-country trip in the rig in about 6 weeks (which is a TERRIFYING thought how soon that is). We are working on a final route, but basically we will go south from DC to Wilmington, NC; Charleston, SC; Jacksonville (or somewhere else) in Florida; NOLA; Austin, TX; possibly somewhere in New Mexico; Colorado Springs; Arches National Park; Zion National Park; Vegas; San Francisco; then up the CA coast through OR and WA, then back east on a northern route through Yellowstone and such.

We will have about 6 weeks. It will be rushed, but I have wanted to do this since I got the bus and this will be a good opportunity to make at least something happen.

I have been thinking about interior furnishings and buildouts. I had been testing this free A/C unit I got from my last job:



It blows nice cold air but it pulls air from inside the bus to blow through the hot side of the coils and then outside through the hose. So the way I see it is it pulls hot air back in the bus at the same rate it cools air. The area of the bus forward of the drivers seat is not sealed well (open hole in the floor where steering column goes through, door doesn't shut completely even with air pressure, access doors behind wipers, etc) and I could feel it pulling warm air in while it was running. Luckily it has an option to do a ducted air intake instead of pulling conditioned air outside, so I will set it up to do this. I also scored some free 6" insulated duct (like you would put in a house) so I will use that instead of the plastic stuff, as that dumps some heat back inside too. It is 10,500 btus. I have a real high tolerance for heat, so I haven't thought much about A/C. That said, I have never been through Texas in July.

I have also been pondering ideas for affixed curtain rods and some way to screen the windows.





I have these magnetic curtain mounts my Mom helped me make before our Memphis trip a year ago but the magnets don't hold well and we kind of cludged them together in a rush. I was thinking for curtains to just get some 1/2" galvanized electrical conduit and make curtain rods out of that, mounted above the white Thomas electrical metal cover thing. Then have velcro tie offs mounted to every other window pillar, and that would be that. If mounted above that they would also serve as a nice diffuser for the LED strips I have up there which are awesome but a bit harsh on the eyes at the moment.

I haven't had much time to look at any other threads but will make a point to do so. But with that being said, what do you guys do for window screens? Since A/C, assuming it does work effectively, will only be an option on grid or generator power (and we will use the gen as seldom as possible) we will need open windows, which will be an issue in NOLA where it is buggy as hell. I was thinking MORE 1/2" EMT conduit and make a crank down screen on the inside that then seals to the frame with magnets. A bit complicated but just a thought. I don't want awkward frames I have to put up that have to hinge or anything.

I feel like I have only posted a couple of pics of the inside of my bus as it is currently. I will take / post more if you guys want.
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Old 05-06-2015, 11:47 PM   #313
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Join Date: Dec 2014
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Your crazy ceiling color mural put a smile on us! It looks great. I envy the trip you about to take. About the screens - you could always use screen and superglue or hotglue might be better than super. That way, you can always make simple replacements if any get damaged. They could even be mounted on the outside this way. Its just a temp solution for the upcoming trip if you don't find a better solution. Hot glue and a roll of screen, cheap and easy.
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Old 05-07-2015, 12:11 AM   #314
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We are planning to put screening on the outside making wooden slats to hopefully go into the same holes as the whatever this stuff is that was on the windows when we bought the bus.



Leaving the emergency windows screen free from the outside. (I have read where others have put up screen that way, some negative stories some positive stories) The emergency windows are still up in air as to how to screen them from the inside.

We also took the cheap way out and used white PVC for curtain rods (will try to take picture or two for you) and the exact name of the brackets that these snap into (there in the bus right now & its too late to do now). I think we maybe spent less than $10 for all of it and we have enough to go from front to back both sides.
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Old 05-07-2015, 12:13 AM   #315
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Join Date: Jul 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HolyBus View Post
Your crazy ceiling color mural put a smile on us! It looks great. I envy the trip you about to take. About the screens - you could always use screen and superglue or hotglue might be better than super. That way, you can always make simple replacements if any get damaged. They could even be mounted on the outside this way. Its just a temp solution for the upcoming trip if you don't find a better solution. Hot glue and a roll of screen, cheap and easy.
Thanks! One of my friends who is going on the trip did it with spray paint. And thanks for the advice.



This is a vague map of the route for anyone curious. About 8700 miles so far.
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Old 05-07-2015, 12:18 AM   #316
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You're going to have a great time and make some memories on that trip! It's awesome you have so much family support too.

Thoughts on the A/C: you might find that 10k BTU doesn't go very far. Sounds like you won't be running it while underway (when air leakage is worst because of the wind), which is good. Might be worth having of a backup plan to zone the bus so that you're cooling a smaller section -- maybe use magnets to hang a bed sheet or tarp for example. Such a curtain won't need a really good seal around the edges to make a big difference. The 10k BTU will probably do a great job of cooling a smaller portion of the bus.

On the window screen: it might be important to have the edges well-sealed. Insects like to land and crawl around when they're drawn toward a light at night, and perimeter gaps could be a problem (less of a problem than no screens at all, though!). Maybe you could build a scroll with screen instead of parchment: a pair of horizontal rods with window screen between them. Attach self-stick foam gasket onto the rods, like the 1" square kind used around window A/C units, as a seal between the rods and bus wall. Then use magnets to close off the sides. Make it long so that it can span across several window bays to minimize the number of sides that have to be closed off. The rods could hang in brackets that wedge them and compresses the foam seal against the wall.
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Old 05-07-2015, 12:36 AM   #317
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What!? No stop at Area 51?
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Old 05-07-2015, 05:47 AM   #318
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Location: Katy, TX
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LOVE to see ya since you'll be driving by Katy Texas!!! Since my Thomas is very similar I'd enjoy comparing notes if you have the time. Let me know. I just had an interview for a major promotion as a parts manager at my ISD. Maybe I'll have that position by the time you get here......

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Old 05-07-2015, 11:26 AM   #319
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What do you have for a fuel tank in that rig, porkchopsandwiches? How much distance to you get per tank? I only had a 37 gallon and wish I had my second 75 gallon tank installed when I scooted around the states this winter. It seems that fuel stations within a 40-50 mile radius of the National parks want a good bit more for their diesel. Same goes for the tiny mountain towns and, of course, buses get thirsty when driving upwards towards the sky. It would've been nice to skip some of those stations.
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Old 05-07-2015, 11:49 AM   #320
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Wow, All I can say is you the man.

Great job, that will all be more than strong enough.

Enjoy this all while your young. I'm so happy for you being able to go on this trip.

nat
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