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Old 11-12-2011, 10:02 AM   #21
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Re: The Camel Conversion Project

An update on the registration: It cost me $830 to register, title and get a new plate for this vehicle in Florida. Ouch.
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Old 11-12-2011, 12:43 PM   #22
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Re: The Camel Conversion Project

I just finished removing the two 8D batteries that were being used both as starting batteries and for the inverter power. One was about half full of water and the other was bone dry. I don't know how they were able to even start the engine, much less provide any power to the house.

I'm going to see if these batteries can be saved by topping off with distilled water and plugging them into a charger. Does anyone know if this will work or am I wasting my time?

One of the complaints of the previous owner was the inverter would occasionally cut out while driving. I thought it might have been a loose connection somewhere, but now I'm thinking it may have been the inverter's low-voltage cut-off doing its job.

Either way, now that the power is removed, I'm going to tear out all the house wiring and start from scratch. What was in here before was crap and it needs to be done the right way. And that includes separating the starting batteries from the inverter batteries.
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Old 11-12-2011, 02:19 PM   #23
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Re: The Camel Conversion Project

Oh, I know I'll need to replace the existing setup with a suitably separated system. I was just wondering if I will be able to revive these batteries.

The dry battery looks fine on the outside. In fact, they both look like new once I wiped off the dirt and grime.

I am assuming the dry battery is completely dead, but the half-full one was able to easily start the vehicle engine every time I turned the key, so I may re-use that one for starting and buy 6V batts for the house power. Of course, if I use only one battery for starting, it's going to look awful lonely in that giant battery box under the floor.
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Old 11-13-2011, 07:29 PM   #24
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Re: The Camel Conversion Project

Quote:
Originally Posted by Iceni John
- remember that batteries don't die, they are murdered!
I had to laugh - that must be the quote of the month!
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Old 11-14-2011, 06:15 PM   #25
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Re: The Camel Conversion Project

Got a lot of work done over the last two days. I removed the interior walls down to the outer skin. Most of the sections were easy, but the panels with electrical outlets were a bit more involved. The panels around the doors, however, were nothing but a pain to remove. In addition to the metal strengthening ribs that run from top to bottom along the skin, there was also THREE layers of plywood about ten inches wide around each door and window opening. Each layer was screwed AND glued to the layer underneath it. Lots of hammer and prybar use today.

I had a bad feeling about the flanges that were previously used to attach the bookmobile walls and shelves, but near the end of today's work I figured out that standard 2x4 framing will clear the flanges. I was afraid I was going to have to grind off the weld beads and rivets that held on those flanges, but now I know I can just leave them in place and they will disappear under the new walls. Sweet.

Pictures tomorrow.
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Old 11-18-2011, 08:39 AM   #26
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Re: The Camel Conversion Project

Some of the photos I took the other day were deleted when I had to restore my phone (long story), but here's a new one:

Pulling down plywood to get to bare ceiling


You can see that I have the overhead console cleaned out above the driver's seat and the A/C lower half is removed. I'm going to be pulling out both A/C units and selling them on craigslist. Anybody know a good price to ask for two Coleman RV A/Cs?
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Old 11-18-2011, 08:46 AM   #27
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Re: The Camel Conversion Project

By the way, I measured the generator box and I will have room for six 2V batteries if I decide to do that. Apparently, that would give me over 1400Ah of battery capacity. That's at the 100-hr discharge rate. A slower rate would yield even more capacity. I can't imagine pulling over 14 amps continuously for a hundred hours, so I'm guessing I'd have a lot more capacity than that.

Still, six of those batteries cost a LOT of money. Luckily, the battery purchase is something I'm putting off until near the end of this conversion. Right now I'm still in the decision phase.
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Old 11-22-2011, 10:21 AM   #28
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Re: The Camel Conversion Project

I decided that I needed to pull down the walls and ceilings in the back half of the vehicle. There was some leftover 12-volt wiring going into the walls back there and I wanted to make absolutely sure before I started framing the front half that this old wiring was necessary. It turns out, it isn't.

The taillights are all serviced by wiring under the chassis. The wiring I found inside was strictly for the interior lights, thermostats, and some outside lighting that hasn't worked since the vehicle was used as a bookmobile (in fact, most of those light fixtures have long since been removed from over the doors and outside walls). Now that I know what isn't necessary, I can pull it all out and frame the new interior right to the corners.

Pulling the remaining walls required peeling up the carpet. The back of the RV was where the previous owner's bedroom was, and under the bed was where his cats made their home (and, at times, toilet). It smelled really bad.


Since I haven't pictured this before, I wanted to show how I had to rip out the wall paneling to get to the screws that held the plywood to the walls. I found it was easier to use a prybar to rip a narrow channel along the line that followed the aluminum U-channel that gives the outer walls their strength and provides a mounting point for everything on the inside. Most of the screws were located along this line.


I would hammer the prybar under the paneling, then push down on the handle to rip about two inches, then hammer again and the process continues. Hearing protection was required (very loud when you hammer metal-on-metal) and gloves. My hands today are immensely tired and sore from all the banging.
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Old 11-26-2011, 01:11 PM   #29
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Re: The Camel Conversion Project

I just added a cost analysis to the first post. I want anyone who's interested to know the total cost of purchasing and renovating such a vehicle. Too many people are too cagey about what they spend on a project like this, and that doesn't help anyone looking to do it themselves.
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Old 11-26-2011, 05:35 PM   #30
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Re: The Camel Conversion Project

Awesome score on the Bookmobile.
I am concerned and also curious about putting your jeep in the back?
Have you checked with the manufacturer about load weight?
Not counting any weight in the conversion your jeep weights around 3500-4000 lbs depending on what you have on it.
That is almost TWO TONS you are putting on the vehicle and that is on the outside of the axle on the end of the bus.
You mention your buses rear is already sagging it will most likely be sitting on the travel stops when loaded and you would need way more than "helper" springs. Have you done the math in regards of keeping the vehicle weight bias ratio where it should be when loaded? With that jeep and where your holding tanks, etc. are going to be your rear end might be heavier than the front of the bus; you will spin out if it is.
That is allot of weight on the end when your making a turn on a slippery road.
Another question is how are you going to get out of the jeep?
Are you going to crawl out the back of the jeep after you park it?
All states limit a vehicles max. width to around no more than 96" including the mirrors.
You also would have to re enforce the buses floor to hold and handle the jeeps weight when loaded?
Have you considered a "shorty" two axle car trailer to pull your jeep on?
Many off roaders use these types of trailers to haul their rock crawlers.
I would imagine the cost would be far less than the vehicle mods required to carry the jeep piggyback.
Unless you have gone pure digital; the space could be used as your "Lab" for processing.
Just my two cents and I look forward to the finished project.
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