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Old 09-22-2015, 09:35 PM   #1
Join Date: Apr 2015
Location: Fairmont, WV
Posts: 11
Year: 2002
Chassis: Thomas
Engine: 24v Cummings
Cool TheTangoExpress

You know how they say better late than never? I'm a little behind in my post already, but, here we go.

I'm 32 working days in on the bus conversion. Bought a 7 Window 2002 Thomas, 24v diesel from Detroit with 160K miles in late July. About 28 feet in length, and 6'4.5" internal height which. I literally bought the through ebay while I was in Honduras, and had to have a third party inspect the bus.

A little about me. I've been living out of a backpack for almost 3 years now, travelling, and designing software while I travel, and diving (scuba diving) where ever there is warm water. Been chasing the vagabond travelling dream I've had since my Air Force days. Before committing to the bus, I lived in Cayos Cochinos, Honduras for 5 months. Cayos is a remote set of islands off the cost of Honduras where I spent my days writing software and diving. I relocated to WV so I can be with family during my extended stay in the states. I've been addicted to this site, and tiny homes in general for some time.

The goal, in short, is to turn the bus into a tiny home to sleep 4, and head to Central America. I'm documenting the convert, my travels during and after trough a blog, TheTangoExpress.

Progress thus far
Since I started tearing her apart on August 8, we've put collectively about 350 hours of physical work to date. She has been gutted, inside is essentially bare frame, side exterior panels were also removed for welding work to be done. Rust damage has been far more than I've anticipated, sigh. Several points where the ribs and floor meet were rusted through requiring replacement, 7 ribs were damaged.

As of Today, 09/22/2015, I'm at a complete standstill due to major issues with the quality of work my welder was performing. Long story short, welds were cracking and turns out to be a bad welder.

Some quick details.

Looking to do a pull out bed/futon to sleep two. Two others sleeping spots will be bunk type bed, situated over the futon. The kitchen will be stainless steel, stove (from Camp Chef) is portable but will sit on counter under range hood. 12v Fridge/Freezer combo stored under sink on slide out, the fridge is top open type. Tankless LP water heater. The bathroom will have the shower on the drivers side, with the composting toilet on the passenger side. With the bathroom sitting on both sides, I will build two small sliding doors to separate the bathroom for privacy. Ridged foam covered by galvanize sheet metal will start the floor, while the walls and ceiling will be spray insulation . Windows, actually going with custom house windows, I hate the normal aluminium RV types. Emergency exits are going to be converted into smaller skylights, and will be adding one good quality vent in the middle.

Mini Split Heat Pump/AC, is overkill, but will be the HVAC for the bus. Roof rack with sun deck and storage.

Keeping the original bus door, being its air powered and just plan cool. But will redo the steps to allow more space to store the 12v deep cycle batteries. Being the bus is short, my undercarriage is mostly going to be for water (fresh/grey), with some custom boxes being mounted to the bottom.

Thanks to all thus far for the blogs, but I need to give a special thanks to Nat_Ster, your blogs and comments have been incredibly helpful!

I look forward to all your comments, and your suggestions! And apologize for all the pics to follow!

chuckneerg is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-22-2015, 09:47 PM   #2
Bus Geek
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Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: Houston, Texas
Posts: 4,343
Year: 1946
Coachwork: Chevrolet/Wayne
Chassis: 1- 1/2 ton
Engine: Cummins 4BT
Rated Cap: 15
Welcome --- And...Wow! Bummer about that much rust. But it looks like you are going about correcting it the right way. shortie is "Hotel Tango".
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conversion, rust, short bus

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