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Old 11-16-2019, 12:32 PM   #1
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The Murder Bus...

Time to document the insanity...
Insanity in this case is defined as I already had too many projects and then my wife gave me a bus...
Intro thread with pix here: http://www.skoolie.net/forums/f6/new...ses-28324.html

How to prep the thing for initial startup here: http://www.skoolie.net/forums/f38/wa...6-a-28328.html

I've been hesitant to do much with the bus because I've been waiting on the VT registration to come through -- without plates and registration it's just parts and scrap metal... But finally VT rego is coming through!

Meanwhile, I've been replacing the rotted out hydraulic brake lines and fighting with other rusty and corroded bits -- nothing glamorous but it all needs to be done to be reliable...

Looks like I'm pretty lucky with a couple of things on this bus.
The center aisle is 6' 5.5" high tapering to 6' at the walls. Just tall enough to leave as is...
Looks like all the ceiling and wall panels are screwed not riveted so it will be easy to inspect and possibly insulate down the road...

I'm assuming a plywood floor over the galvanized metal based on the length of the self tapping screws sticking out all over the underside of the floor...

This will be a very slow build-out because it's not the priority in our lives...

Honestly -- until I get it driving right, I can't determine if I'll even like driving a Skoolie -- if I don't like driving it, it will be for sale...

Directions for the build-out: Wife wants (and she's a professional brewer) a kegorator system for 2 or 3 tap handles and a proper bar to enjoy properly served beer while off grid at remote gatherings. I envision an ~ 8' long bar with room for 3 or 4 stools. 6 or so of the bench seats will be reconfigured into horse shoe shapes for additional gathering/social area.

I'll also want about 14' of "garage space" in the back of the bus so the bus can also serve as the truck I'm now not getting...

Create a driver's cabin area to safely (3pt seat belts!) seat ~6 to 8 people for road trips.

My wife has "no intention of sleeping in a dirty bar..." She expects to pitch a tent away from the bus when we're camping...
This would be where we differ on how to build -- I'm thinking a few fold down bunks (like on sleeper car trains) and possibly a full or queen platform to entice the Mrs'...

I was surprised how "soft" the roof was to walk on -- I'd like an observation deck on the back 1/3 of the roof...

I absolutely do need to change the back emergency door to a couple of full size doors for easy loading or go crazy and have the entire back end lower into a loading ramp (electric winch powered) back big enough to drive the wife's mini-cooper onto. Bonus is that with the ramp horizontal you'd have a back deck...

Will have enough battery bank & solar to maintain the kegorator.
A diesel powered genny would be nice but probably easier to add a second alternator to the engine and use that to charge a battery bank till the solar system is developed...

This is the morning coffee talk rambling -- we'll see how quickly 38' of bus shrinks as we lay out the bar...
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Old 11-16-2019, 01:10 PM   #2
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No way you'll be able to accomodate 6-8 if you delete 14' out back. I only did 7.5' with a double door, and it leaves barely enough room for 4. Insurance companies don't like roof decks.
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Old 11-16-2019, 04:46 PM   #3
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Title reminded me of this "art project"
download (1).jpg
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Old 11-16-2019, 05:17 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by o1marc View Post
No way you'll be able to accomodate 6-8 if you delete 14' out back.
Kinda depends on how good of friends the 8 are... ;)

I carried 10 on a trip from Detroit to Orlando and back over two weeks. It was a blast but I am not in a hurry to do it again.

We got to take 8 kids camping for the first time and to Disneyworld.

My favorite part of the trip was camping in Georgia. I don't recall where we stopped bit it was an area forested with small pine trees. The kids had a ball.

Watching their excitement and joy was rewarding beyond words....

OK... I am ready to do it again.
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Old 11-16-2019, 05:39 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by o1marc View Post
No way you'll be able to accomodate 6-8 if you delete 14' out back. I only did 7.5' with a double door, and it leaves barely enough room for 4. Insurance companies don't like roof decks.
Haven't paced it all out yet -- might not work -- hard to visualize with all the seats for 71 fomites still there...

I do expect to make the build "modular" in that most of the items will be quickly removable for when I wanna use the bus for hauling material -- with that some seating could encroach into the "garage" area. I'll either use nut plates or even get back to my Huey roots and use QD pins (quick disconnect) like on an aircraft.

For insurance purposes the deck is a platform for the solar system nothing more...
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Old 11-16-2019, 05:41 PM   #6
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Title reminded me of this "art project"
Attachment 39306
A buddy of mine said I should paint in white lettering (of poor and hasty quality) "FREE WI-FI"
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Old 11-16-2019, 05:51 PM   #7
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38', less 14' garage, leaves 24'. Take 5' away for cab area, leaves 19' to build to accomodate 6-8?
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Old 11-16-2019, 06:12 PM   #8
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Kinda depends on how good of friends the 8 are... ;)

I carried 10 on a trip from Detroit to Orlando and back over two weeks. It was a blast but I am not in a hurry to do it again.

We got to take 8 kids camping for the first time and to Disneyworld.

My favorite part of the trip was camping in Georgia. I don't recall where we stopped bit it was an area forested with small pine trees. The kids had a ball.

Watching their excitement and joy was rewarding beyond words....

OK... I am ready to do it again.
It's hard to envision more than a week long trip just yet -- biggest group I can think of yet would be a bunch of folks going to Osh Kosh for the EAA annual gathering where a Skoolie would be a welcome base for a week of aircraft eye-candy.
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Old 11-16-2019, 06:29 PM   #9
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38', less 14' garage, leaves 24'. Take 5' away for cab area, leaves 19' to build to accomodate 6-8?
When you put it that way I've got room to spare!
What I haven't measured yet is how much space is needed behind the bar for someone playing server, the bar-top itself only needs to be 18" wide to enjoy. Then a row of swivel stools like a diner. Now, will there be room across the aisle for those benches or barely a table for two? Too soon to tell.
(this is just more fun to think about than rust abatement...)

This will be more of a "tail-gating" type build vs. a permanent home on wheels.

I wasn't looking for a bus -- this bus found me... that said, the idea of having kayaks, MTB's and personal gear for 4 to 8 people inside the bus safety locked away from the elements instead of strapped to the roof has a certain appeal...
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Old 11-16-2019, 07:03 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by banman View Post
It's hard to envision more than a week long trip just yet -- biggest group I can think of yet would be a bunch of folks going to Osh Kosh for the EAA annual gathering where a Skoolie would be a welcome base for a week of aircraft eye-candy.
OK... First off you should be banned from the board for going to Oshkosh without me..... I've been to Arlington twice and would love to hit Oshkosh.

We were blessed with having eight amazing kids loaned to us for a trip that I will never forget. We had them stacked in like cord wood and they were excited about it. They were awesome.

The sad part is when wife 1.0 was uninstalled we divided property and friends... I miss those kids...
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Old 11-16-2019, 07:05 PM   #11
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If you add beds, that takes another 6'6", you're down to 12.5'. I double doored mine, I wanted an 8' garage, but could only squeeze out 7.5'. Big enough for my 2 regular bikes, and room for the cruiser between the door (8' Kawi). Wish I had more cabin space.
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Old 11-16-2019, 07:38 PM   #12
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If you add beds, that takes another 6'6", you're down to 12.5'. I double doored mine, I wanted an 8' garage, but could only squeeze out 7.5'. Big enough for my 2 regular bikes, and room for the cruiser between the door (8' Kawi). Wish I had more cabin space.
I like how you did your doors -- did you consider going full height with them?
Is that 3 separate ramp sections? Stored inside or under the bus?

My beds will be fold down racks that serve as day tables or couch backs similar to small camper trailers. Their may not be even one "permanent" bed in this build. You're dealing with a guy that enjoys his C-130 flts by hanging a hammock in the tail section -- a good Loadie will wake you up if there's turbulence and get you to a seatbelt!

The worst thing that can happen here is all the ideas won't fit...
But that's why I'm "spit-balling" now and looking at others build threads...

The biggest emphasis is on a pretty bar serving a proper pour wherever the thirsty travelers may land...
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Old 11-16-2019, 07:53 PM   #13
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The biggest emphasis is on a pretty bar serving a proper pour wherever the thirsty travelers may land...
That's an awesome plan, what a fun build! I used Autocad to create a 3D model of our bus, then used Autocad's library to put in furniture and appliances...this gave me a pretty good idea of how it would look. It's not necessary to have a difficult to learn CAD program though. Honestly, we had the best luck planning our layout using graph paper and little pieces of paper that represented our furniture. It was all to scale so it made it pretty lifelike.

Once you start building it out you'll see that it won't all go as planned and you'll have to adapt. This was the part that most surprised us, as we found creative solutions to problems as they arose. We've got clever dual purpose storage/seating and pull-out cabinets that were afterthoughts and never made it into the 3D model. You may need to shorten your garage area a bit, but if you're not building out a living space or a large bathroom you'll likely be able to get close to what you're planning. Just takes some creativity and flexibility.
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Old 11-16-2019, 07:59 PM   #14
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I like how you did your doors -- did you consider going full height with them?
Is that 3 separate ramp sections? Stored inside or under the bus?

My beds will be fold down racks that serve as day tables or couch backs similar to small camper trailers. Their may not be even one "permanent" bed in this build. You're dealing with a guy that enjoys his C-130 flts by hanging a hammock in the tail section -- a good Loadie will wake you up if there's turbulence and get you to a seatbelt!

The worst thing that can happen here is all the ideas won't fit...
But that's why I'm "spit-balling" now and looking at others build threads...

The biggest emphasis is on a pretty bar serving a proper pour wherever the thirsty travelers may land...
I used the factory side jambs and made a new wider, matching upper jamb, and raised it as high as it would go (4"). It was the easiest way to get the width without major fabrication. It was more than enough height to load bikes by riding them in, as long as you watch your head. After a year of working in the bus I don't even think about or realize I tilt my head every time exiting or entering the bus back there. The ramp is hinged and folds into a single 15" wide and rests on rails between the frame rails behind the license plate.
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Old 11-16-2019, 09:51 PM   #15
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I used the factory side jambs and made a new wider, matching upper jamb, and raised it as high as it would go (4"). It was the easiest way to get the width without major fabrication. It was more than enough height to load bikes by riding them in, as long as you watch your head. After a year of working in the bus I don't even think about or realize I tilt my head every time exiting or entering the bus back there. The ramp is hinged and folds into a single 15" wide and rests on rails between the frame rails behind the license plate.
That ramp and hitch are quite slick! I won't be able to do that since my fuel tank is centered between the rails behind the axle -- not complaining -- I'm very pleased to have a 100 gal fuel tank with skid plate.

Did your bus come with two back emergency doors that you made bigger or just one door that you turned into two? My bus just has the one door in the center. The base of the hinged pillar is one of my rust areas so I've gotta do some cut and fab anyway...
EDIT: disregard -- I just found your build thread -- that answers a lot.
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Old 11-16-2019, 10:04 PM   #16
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That ramp and hitch are quite slick! I won't be able to do that since my fuel tank is centered between the rails behind the axle -- not complaining -- I'm very pleased to have a 100 gal fuel tank with skid plate.

Did your bus come with two back emergency doors that you made bigger or just one door that you turned into two? My bus just has the one door in the center. The base of the hinged pillar is one of my rust areas so I've gotta do some cut and fab anyway...
EDIT: disregard -- I just found your build thread -- that answers a lot.
More compromise, that hideaway ramp does take up valuable space that could be better utilized for water tanks. The C7 I just sold had 100g tank back there. The back of mine was all purpose built. The only real fabrication I had to do was the 4 rounded corner pieces and the new header, and a bunch of mods to the new door as well as lengthening the other.
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Old 11-17-2019, 03:22 AM   #17
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Banman, is this the bus in your avatar ... the sister to our bus?
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Old 11-17-2019, 10:11 AM   #18
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Banman, is this the bus in your avatar ... the sister to our bus?
Yes sir!
Got reimbursed for the $430.00 tow charge to bring it to a friends out of the way place... Super nice having that big concrete pad to work on but it will be easier when I can bring it to my place and tuck it into the back yard for the winter -- the neighbors are gonna love it!

So that makes my two new batteries the biggest single expense so far...
You can see some of the rust/rot around the battery box -- Since everything's square corners it will be (relatively) easy to cut and weld repair patches...

I got super lucky and found a scrapyard with a couple buses -- one matching mine and got a good p/s reservoir to replace my leaking one and all the spraypainted tail light lens -- at $5/lens I figured it was a bargain compared to trying to clean the paint off the plastic...

Tires are about worn out unless there's any truth to the Michelin's saying "regroovable" on the sidewalls...
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Old 11-18-2019, 03:03 AM   #19
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I love your pictures. Ours is also flat black (spray can primer) with a bit of artwork on the passenger side. I do not have a picture handy or I would post it. Of course, we did not get the full color treatment that yours got.


I also had to recondition the battery box. The bearings were shot so it was sliding bearing shaft to shell ... not easy to move. After the reconditioning, I am able to slide the tray in and out, even with four batteries in there. The cables make it hard to close though. I have a local guy that manufactures the bearings. Let me know if you need some.
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Old 11-18-2019, 09:09 AM   #20
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Sounds similar to what we are working on. Our plans are a 14' open rear deck (to haul the Jeep on)... 12' of "living space" and 3' behind the driver's seat for permanent mounted captains chairs with proper belts (likely on swivel mounts).


To get this to work out, we are having to add a 3' tail to the rear of the bus which we are going to dovetail it a bit to ease loading of the Jeep.


Good luck with the build!
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