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Old 11-12-2015, 11:09 AM   #51
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Join Date: Oct 2015
Location: Wisconsin
Posts: 58
Year: 1996
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: International 3800
Engine: DT466
Rated Cap: 77
It's another rain/computer day up in Northern WI, funny how that works huh? We've been trying our best to get everything up and bolted before the weather stirs up, and we mostly met that goal. Time to put on my remembering cap.
Sally doesn't like the rain...


11/05 (Thursday) was my last post and 11/04 (Wednesday) was the end of our raise, by gluing and bolting all of the hat channel. Thursday/Friday were rain so nothing got done. We are only skinning on sunny days to try and heat the panels up before bolting to prevent future wrinkling/oil-canning. Saturday we went into town to celebrate my (Nick) Sunday birthday by seeing Spectre, having dinner at the local brewpub and buying some bus stuff at the local fleet farm. So what we did we do on Sunday? Try to start skinning...
I believe The Journey Visvi raised his roof on his birthday with some bbq, rum and coke. No rum and coke was involved for us, just lots of frustration. We spent most of the morning prepping for skin (wire wheeling, scraping old adhesive, spray foaming hat channel, removing caulk and missed rivets). (A side note on the spray foam, ours wasn't expanding very well, but I wished we had remembered to do what nat_ster did. We ideally would have taped all of the open channel, poked holes in and filled it that way. We just put lines of foam in and it ended up being somewhat unevenly filled.) We tried to get a 5'5" panel into one corner of the rear cap, but we couldn't get anything to line up well enough. (We also realized the rear rivet holes were 1/2" lower than the side wall rivets) Once it got dark we called it quits.
Monday morning I decided we would have to construct the rear cap like Thomas did. Have a corner piece, two side pieces and a rear piece. I tried clamping 1x2's onto the edges of a piece of scrap panel to see if I could bend the curve in. It sort of worked but mostly creased the metal in a few spots. Luckily our neighbor/consultant was watching and suggested we bring over a piece, place it on two 4x4's separated 6in, put a piece of large metal pipe in the middle, and he would push down the pipe with his tractor bucket. I wish I had thought to take a picture, but it worked pretty well. (I can draw an example if someone wants).
After fabricating the corner pieces we glued/bolted those in, glued/bolted the side panels and attempted the ~7'5" rear panel. Both of us on scaffolding trying to hold it up and put self-drilling screws in without it slipping wasn't working so I rigged up some ropes/hooks to hold it up while we position it. We were happy the hardest piece was in, but unhappy we wasted most of Sunday and it took all of Monday to get the rear cap done.


Tuesday went better, but still slower than we were expecting, we got two 4x10 panels glued/partially bolted before it got dark. We put hooks onto the 4x10 panel, threw the rope over the bus, tied the ends to the ball hitch and drove the car away to lift the sheets up 6ft.



Wednesday was forecasted to be cloudy all day before a Thursday/Friday rain/snow storm. We didn't want 3in of snow in the bus so we decided to put all the panels up, tack them with self-drilling screws and tarp the front cap. We didn't rush out the door, thinking we would only be working a couple hours, so we got to work around 9:30. About 10:00 the sun came out! We were in the process of putting up the first panel and were kind of freaking out. We weren't sure if we should start gluing/bolting or continue with our plan, but the sun wasn't disappearing so we tacked two panels up and repositioned the bus for better sun exposure. We got the two panels glued/partially bolted by around 3:30 and repositioned the bus to get the final two panels up. Of course then it started to rain.
We managed to cut the edges of the panels to fit, raise/tack them, move the bus one more time, and tarp the front cap by 5:45. By then it was a steady light rain which made it difficult to see through our glasses.
I'll swing by the bus today and take a couple pics before the rain hits and post them this afternoon/evening. Sat/Sun is forecasted to be partly cloudy/sunny so we're planning on finishing up the skin this weekend. I still have to start the front cap, but at least we have a tarp for it.
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Old 11-12-2015, 11:20 AM   #52
Mini-Skoolie
 
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Join Date: Oct 2015
Location: Wisconsin
Posts: 58
Year: 1996
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: International 3800
Engine: DT466
Rated Cap: 77
I forgot to mention in the raise post that we did jack/level the bus frame. We did this mostly to prevent settling in the front once the ribs were cut, but also to level the bus somewhat. It was mostly level to begin with so we didn't bother making it perfect. When the roof was raised ~20" I went around the four corner ribs with a tape measure to try and make the gaps as close to 20" as possible before starting to clamp/bolt the rib extensions. We also had a plumb bob tied/marked in the front and back, but the front marking came off. The rear plumb bob was close to it's original mark but there wasn't anything to do about it anyway.
To level the bus, we used four 24in birch logs (and various shim wood) and two 16in logs with two 6 ton jacks.
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Old 11-12-2015, 11:37 AM   #53
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Join Date: Sep 2014
Location: Eustis FLORIDA
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Year: 1992
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Rated Cap: 78
Very nice to see the update.

I like the tractor part...
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Old 11-12-2015, 12:20 PM   #54
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Join Date: Aug 2011
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Rated Cap: 72
I love the amount of effort your both putting out. Great to see.

Fighting nature always makes things interesting.

Great job.

Nat
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Old 11-12-2015, 12:34 PM   #55
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Join Date: Jun 2012
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I am going to be following this build. The method to raise the roof looks pretty simple.
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Old 11-12-2015, 01:26 PM   #56
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Join Date: Oct 2015
Location: Wisconsin
Posts: 58
Year: 1996
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Chassis: International 3800
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Rated Cap: 77
Quote:
Originally Posted by nat_ster View Post
I love the amount of effort your both putting out. Great to see.

Fighting nature always makes things interesting.

Great job.

Nat
It makes it easier when I'm currently unemployed and Julie's temporary DNR position was cut down to one day a week and we have free rent. We have time to research/plan/work, but once we get our insulation/flooring in, it'll be time to find a new source of income. We've been trying to find Julie a job in her field (my music degree doesn't do me much good right now) but good jobs as usual, are in short supply.
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Old 11-12-2015, 01:44 PM   #57
Mini-Skoolie
 
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Join Date: Oct 2015
Location: Wisconsin
Posts: 58
Year: 1996
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: International 3800
Engine: DT466
Rated Cap: 77
As promised, here are the latest photos.





The drip edge only has one or two fasteners near the ribs to pull them into the metal for the adhesive to bond better. When done, we will have all the drip edge rivet holes filled and similar number on the bottom (1.25" spacing). Similarly we have 5 machine screws going up the hat channel currently, but will have another 5 on the other side of the channel. Loctite Premium is applied to the bottom edge, between the skin/hat channel wings, and overlaps of skin. There isn't any behind the drip edge because there's no good way to apply it between the skin and rivet backing. Maybe I'll loosen up the screws holding the drip edge down and apply it between the roof skin and new skin, I'll have to look later. I'm planning on caulking all edges later on to be safe (there's a few visible semi-holes along the bottom edge where the previous screws were). We'll be touching up the black primer and priming all the machine screw heads when we're done fastening/weather permits.
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Old 11-13-2015, 03:01 PM   #58
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Join Date: Oct 2015
Location: Wisconsin
Posts: 58
Year: 1996
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: International 3800
Engine: DT466
Rated Cap: 77
I just redid our SketchUp floor plan this morning. I was working on the 2d version yesterday and built everything up today. It's obviously rough, but helps us visualize the space a little better. I would love some input on it, I've read the floor plan thread on here and seen some others, I'm pretty happy with this one. We just took out the vanity that was in the bathroom to reduce the width of the enclosure without increasing the length of it, due to the wheel well vs hall space (the opening towards the front of the wall is a pocket door). I'm still not entirely happy with the bedroom though, I'm concerned we're losing a lot of storage space but even if I turned the bed 90, getting cabinets to operate well seems difficult. Ideally we'd like to be able to get out of the bed without disturbing one another incase we have different work schedules.
Blue denotes water (shower/sink) and a chest fridge/freezer (current decision is electric). Red denotes propane (wall heater, oven/range, water heater), green are windows (I forgot to put two in the bedroom, the emergency exits will also be replaced with clear/tinted skylights and a vented skylight in the bathroom) and orange is wood (wood stove).
From the right front towards rear is a dinette/couch, chest fridge/freezer, sink, stove/oven, counter, humanure toilet (ontop of the wheel well), shower (possible hand washing faucet), tankless water heater, bedroom
From the left front to rear is couch, side table, counter, wood stove, propane heater, bedroom.
I haven't decided if the overhead cabinets will extend into the "living room".
Most furniture will be custom built by me to allow for storage. Kitchen lower cabinets will probably be second-hand.







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Old 11-20-2015, 11:01 AM   #59
Mini-Skoolie
 
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Join Date: Oct 2015
Location: Wisconsin
Posts: 58
Year: 1996
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: International 3800
Engine: DT466
Rated Cap: 77
Well, we finished gluing/bolting the rest of the panels last Sunday. We were planning on Sat/Sun bus-time, but Sat turned out to be a bust with forecasted "sunny" weather and realistic cloudy weather. We just barely finished on time Sunday evening. The sun was setting when we finished our final bolts on the cold metal. Oh well, we'll see how we did next summer. We still have to bolt the rest of the drip edge holes, and the other hat channel sides, but I think we're going to leave the bottom edge as is.


Caulk talk: after an hour of two of research (unless someone changes my mind), I've decided to caulk the bottom edge (maybe overlaps/seams too) with the silicone (and acrylic? "co-polymer") Lexel. The contractors I worked for really like it and I think it will work better than a elastomeric acrylic or pure silicone. The Lexel is paintable (oil-based paints after 3 weeks cure) but would be fine to leave unpainted too (we'll paint it next year). We have been getting some seeping through the bolts into the interior of the bus, which I'm assuming will stop once we get the bolts painted (ASAP weather permitting). I did end up putting Loctite Premium between the drip edge and new skin. I haven't decided if I'm going to recaulk the drip edge joint with the new skin as Thomas had done. If there are any leaks through the bolts it will only prevent the moisture from draining, but the Loctite should keep any potential bugs/dust/air from rising into the bus.

Wood stove review: We purchased a Vogelzang 'Lil Sweetie' BX22EL a month or so back on sale for ~$155. The firebox is 11"W X 20"D. The legs/hearth make the total to 25"D X 20"H. We just got around to putting it together and I'm sorry to say the experience was not good. There were design and manufacturing flaws all over. The instructions were unclear/wrong and the pictures conflicted with the text. The rear leg and heat shield design made it impossible to tighten them properly. The door hinge had been drilled twice due to misalignment which causes the closing of the door to be finicky. The damper flue isn't centered and we were missing 3 washers.
We really considered taking it back to the fleet farm (30 min one-way drive), and potentially trade up (the next model is 1" wider and 8" longer with some bonus features, oh, and the dimensions on their website are wrong, it's 12"W not 21"W) but decided against it. Once we have the stove in place I think we'll be happy with it, I might try and replace the door hinge pins with some type of shouldered bolt/nut. This model is UL listed while the "standard" model is not. The NFPA I believe changed their codes for UL listed wood stoves to be a 36" clearance from the previous 26" in the last decade. Which means a non-UL listed stove would be about 48" clearance. We're planning on putting a heat shield on the wall (either durock/sheet metal or metal/metal) to reduce the clearance to ~8". Our floor hearth will not meet clearances but I'm more worried about our future NRP (plastic) panels discoloring/potentially melting than ashes reaching the laminate floor. (service temperature maxes at 130F for the panels). I should mention I'm also planning on putting at least one thermoelectric fan on the stove and maybe one or two DC fans on the ceiling (not directly above obviously) to move the hot air around. At this point I'm also planning on running double wall insulated chimney pipe from the stove through the roof rather than the appropriate 1 1/2ft of single wall stove pipe to double. I hope all that info helped at least one person rather than bore everyone.
We're curing the high-temp paint with a series of 3 burns.


On a somewhat non-skoolie note. I helped drive with the wife for two of her interviews this week (each took a whole day of drive/interview/drive). At the first one I got to talk with the owners/builders of this sweet truck camper build. He said they've been living tiny/mobile since '79 and had done a pusher-bus in the past.


And then yesterday we stopped at Home Depot on the way back, so I grabbed a bi-metal hole saw set that was on sale, Bernzomatic micro torch for soldering/general purpose and we got our flooring! I'll have to post a pic of it sometime, it's Lakeshore Pecan if you want to look it up. $.79/ft and got quite a few good reviews. It was the color Julie wanted so we loaded 12 boxes (should only need 10) into the Subaru Impreza and got home around 10PM.

I need to get the bolts painted and front cap done asap. Then we can start tearing into the floor (we're considering painting it while leaving the wood or propane stove in the bus) and insulating.
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Old 11-29-2015, 04:18 PM   #60
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Join Date: Nov 2015
Location: Billings, MT
Posts: 915
Year: 2003
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: HDX
Engine: Cat C7
Rated Cap: 84 passenger
I left both of my rear heaters in place. 84 passenger bus is a bit much to heat just with the front heater. Will definitely be getting a propane heater on the 3d. It gets COLD here in Montana.
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