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Old 04-16-2013, 12:33 AM   #231
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Re: The Camel Conversion Project

I'm getting really close to finalizing my insulation. I ordered a Foam It Green 602 kit from Guardian Energy Technologies (Made in USA; online at http://www.sprayfoamdirect.com) and it arrived last week. I had a few small items that I needed to finish first, because after the spray foam is in, the outer skin of the bus is essentially untouchable. I had to fix the hinges on the battery door where they attach to the skin above the floor, and I had to replace one of my new wall outlets because I decided to go with a combination switch/GFCI outlet over the kitchen counter and—like the other GFCI outlets I installed—it wouldn't fit into a 1-7/8" depth outlet box.

I think I've completed every task I had assigned myself, so the next step is spraying the foam. I only hope that I am able to get enough out of the kit to finish the interior between the already-placed styrofoam pieces, and I need to squirt a bit below the floor into a gap that opened up when I removed the generator so many months ago.

I'll need to clear out the interior to do the spraying and when I do, I plan to make a video of the current status of the project before I cover up all the electrical conduit and framing. My girlfriend wants to video the spray installation as she thinks it's bound to be a YouTube fail video contender.

Other developments: I found a new contender for hot water heating at Lowes.com. They sell small "point-of-use" electric water heaters with capacities as low as 2.5 gallons. They run on standard 120V AC and draw 1500 watts when heating. I already mentioned the new switch in the kitchen, and that controls one connection on the under-counter outlet. I'll just turn on the water heater a few minutes before I need it, and it shouldn't take too long to heat the cold water as all fresh water will be stored inside the living space at the ambient temperature of the interior. Point-of-use heaters are not tankless heaters. POU heaters only store enough to supply a limited amount of hot water to a single sink or shower. Tankless heater—even those that are designed to provide heat to a single point of use—require a lot of electricity or gas because they heat all the demanded water instantaneously. What I'll be using is basically a very small version of a household water heater. One that I can turn on or off as needed.

I also solidified my decision on a gas cooktop instead of electric. I researched the differences and electric cooktops are more efficient than gas (74% versus 40%, respectively), but the fact is I won't be able to run more than one 1200-watt burner at a time, and then only when no other large-draw items are in use. A two-burner propane cooktop will suffice when I can't use the microwave/convection oven (the most efficient way to cook food). Now I just need to figure out if I want to buy a small residential cooktop or an RV-specific design. For reasons unknown, the RV version is cheaper. Shocked!
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Old 04-16-2013, 09:40 AM   #232
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Re: The Camel Conversion Project

Quote:
Originally Posted by PDBreske
...I also solidified my decision on a gas cooktop instead of electric. I researched the differences and electric cooktops are more efficient than gas (74% versus 40%, respectively), but the fact is I won't be able to run more than one 1200-watt burner at a time, and then only when no other large-draw items are in use. A two-burner propane cooktop will suffice when I can't use the microwave/convection oven (the most efficient way to cook food)...
I run into the problem of electricity shortage with my two-burner electric stove top if I only have 20 or 30 amps to play with and I'm running the AC. Throw in a toaster oven, and... POP! goes the breaker. It is a hassle, and it also heats very slowly compared to propane. I also have a propane camp stove and have resolved that from now on I will keep them both in operation simultaneously when camping. That way I can have something slowly heating on one burner of the electric range, and use the propane stove when I need to heat something else simultaneously and quickly. When camping, we set up an outdoor kitchen on folding tables so we have plenty of counter space. When just hanging out around town or in the driveway, cooking happens inside, in which case counter space is very limited, and I have to use one or the other stove.
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Old 04-16-2013, 10:44 AM   #233
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Re: The Camel Conversion Project

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Originally Posted by Diesel Dan
I run into the problem of electricity shortage with my two-burner electric stove top if I only have 20 or 30 amps to play with and I'm running the AC. Throw in a toaster oven, and... POP! goes the breaker. It is a hassle, and it also heats very slowly compared to propane. I also have a propane camp stove and have resolved that from now on I will keep them both in operation simultaneously when camping. That way I can have something slowly heating on one burner of the electric range, and use the propane stove when I need to heat something else simultaneously and quickly. When camping, we set up an outdoor kitchen on folding tables so we have plenty of counter space. When just hanging out around town or in the driveway, cooking happens inside, in which case counter space is very limited, and I have to use one or the other stove.
I'm thinking one of those propane camp stoves might be a good idea. They pack up small and I can just remove it from the kitchen counter when I'm not using it, freeing up valuable counter space. They're pretty cheap, too. Now if I can find one made in the USA....
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Old 04-17-2013, 06:24 PM   #234
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Re: The Camel Conversion Project

This morning I sprayed in the expanding foam insulation.



Some notes for anyone thinking of doing this with the Foam It Green 602 kit:

1. It makes a mess of the floor and any horizontal surface under or near where you're spraying. The problem is the blobs of foam that collect on the nozzle of the gun. They drip from the gun and splat on the floor. There is no way to avoid stepping on them, so make sure to wear the booties included in the Foam It Green kit. In fact, it's a good idea to cover yourself from top to bottom. (The kit comes with everything except a respirator.) If you don't, you'll get this in your eyes:

Spray foam protective gear


2. Drink lots of water before you start. I was soaked with sweat by the time I was done and very dehydrated. I drank two bottles of Gatorade afterwards. The Tyvek suit and dust mask and goggles and gloves all serve to heat you up, and since this process is best completed when the weather is warm, you can't really wait for a cool day to do the spraying.

3. I laid some styrofoam boards in between the bed joists just like I had done with the wall studs. When the foam started to rise between the styrofoam and the joists, it lifted the boards above the level of the joists. I didn't realize this had happened until it was too late and the foam had cured. Now I'll need to shave down the styrofoam along with the squeezed-out spray foam.



The end result is great. The whole interior sounds and feels much more rigid than before. As I was putting my tools back inside the bus, it was noticeably cooler inside than outside.

After I finished, I just put everything away and had lunch. And took a nap. I didn't do any cleaning (the floor is a mess), but I suspect it won't be too bad. The vinyl flooring will not be the final floor surface, so it's not like I need to have it nice and shiny again. I'll just need to knock off the big blobs of foam. Most of them were reduced to dust as I walked over them repeatedly, so I just have to sweep up to make the place look a lot nicer than it is now. If you're going to do this yourself, make sure you spray before you install the final flooring.

Unfortunately, I didn't make a video of this process. It was just too messy to risk my iPhone's lens. I did, however, make a video of the interior and exterior before I started, so I'll be editing that and sharing it in the next few days.
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Old 04-17-2013, 11:27 PM   #235
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Re: The Camel Conversion Project

Thank you for the very factual account of your experience. It is this kind of communication that is truly useful to all--novice to professional. It is so much more valuable to all of us to hear from the "been there done that crowd than to hear from the "I think this or I think that bunch who have no credentials with which to back their statements. thanks again.
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Old 04-17-2013, 11:51 PM   #236
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Re: The Camel Conversion Project

Quote:
Originally Posted by ol trunt
Thank you for the very factual account of your experience. It is this kind of communication that is truly useful to all--novice to professional. It is so much more valuable to all of us to hear from the "been there done that crowd than to hear from the "I think this or I think that bunch who have no credentials with which to back their statements. thanks again.
You're very welcome and I agree. I had not read anywhere on this site about an actual use of this product in a skoolie conversion, so I wanted to relay my thoughts. I may post these and other pictures to a new thread so anyone looking for this info can more easily find it.
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Old 04-18-2013, 06:16 PM   #237
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Re: The Camel Conversion Project

I started a new expanding foam topic in the "Tutorials and How-to's" forum and it offers even more info than I shared in this thread. Here's a link: http://www.skoolie.net/forum/viewtopic.php?f=8&t=118701
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Old 04-23-2013, 09:07 PM   #238
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Re: The Camel Conversion Project

Haven't trimmed the foam squeeze-out yet, but I did use what was left in the bottles to insulate the roof of the battery box which is also the floor of the bus where the generator used to be. My proposed dual chest freezer/refrigerator setup will be on the floor here, so insulating might not be the most crucial at this location, but you never know.

I also sprayed a couple of spots on the interior ceiling that I had missed the other day, so now it's all covered nicely. The foam kit lasted just long enough to do everything I needed to do.

EDIT: When the chemicals run dry, they do so quickly and without much warning. The instructions say that the yellow chemical will probably run dry first, as mine did. I was touching up the ceiling and noticed the insulation was coming out of the gun slightly bluer than it had been previously. It seemed to be expanding normally, but then I sprayed what appeared to be straight blue stuff from the gun and it was a runny mess. Don't do this! I had to mop up the goo with a few paper towels as it dripped down to the floor. Not a permanent mess (at least, not on the vinyl flooring), but yucky nonetheless. As the instructions say, when you notice anything wrong with the flow or color of the foam chemicals, stop and figure out why. Maybe it's just a clogged gun, or you could be close to empty. END EDIT

As a test, today I climbed up on the bed platform and compared the insulated ceiling to the bare metal in the garage area. In the middle of the day, with the sun beating down on the bus, the bare metal was too hot to touch while the insulation at the rear of the interior was only slightly warm; barely above ambient temperature. A few inches forward, where the roof deck provides shade for the metal roof, the insulation was cool. I'm confident this bus will be very thermally efficient.

Also, it's very rigid. Slamming the door is now a solid "clunk" instead of the rattle of wood, metal, and plastic parts. While there is still some movement in the carport ceiling, I won't be able to hear any of that when the windows are installed and the interior is finished. (Although I will probably squirt a little Great Stuff into those garage parts just to quiet them a bit.)
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Old 04-23-2013, 09:26 PM   #239
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Re: The Camel Conversion Project

Thank you for the update and the great documentation! This is the company and product we were planning on going with for our bus. Being well insulated is a huge priority for us because we'll be traveling in both warm and frigid temps. Do you think spraying below the floor will be sufficient? We were planning on doing the same thing with a rhino liner type coating as a top coat.
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Old 04-23-2013, 09:34 PM   #240
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Re: The Camel Conversion Project

Quote:
Originally Posted by inkblots84
Thank you for the update and the great documentation! This is the company and product we were planning on going with for our bus. Being well insulated is a huge priority for us because we'll be traveling in both warm and frigid temps. Do you think spraying below the floor will be sufficient? We were planning on doing the same thing with a rhino liner type coating as a top coat.
I don't think any of the "bedliner" sprays or roll-ons will have any effect (good or bad) as insulation, but you might want to consider coating the insulation with something to protect it from water and UV rays if you spray it under the floor where it will be subjected to dirt and moisture. I don't know how long it takes for UV to deteriorate the foam, but the instructions do warn against these hazards. I'm going to use a can or two of Rustoleum Rubberized Undercoating on the stuff I sprayed under the floor, just in case.

EDIT: I just realized that I misunderstood what you were asking. Of course the Rhinoliner will protect the foam, but it may be overkill, depending on where it is located under the bus. In my case, the existing floor insulation was sprayed and then covered with sheets of very heavy plastic attached to the lateral floor beams. The new foam is way up in nooks and crannies and should be fairly well protected against direct physical damage, but I'm going to err on the side of caution and give it a layer of the Rustoleum undercoating which is not nearly as heavy duty as Rhinoliner, but should suffice.
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