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Old 01-23-2016, 05:38 PM   #61
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
UPDATE:
Hey everyone, sorry we never updated this, I intended to in December but we've moved our location so life has been busy. Since our last post we have moved to SE Wisconsin with our bus and Subaru Legacy. Before that we did a rushed front cap job with the scrapped/saved sidewall sheet metal. At this point we're planning on redoing it this Summer, though we haven't fully decided on how. I'm leaning towards fiberglass but when time/weather is available I'll have to do some research. We also set-up and are continuing a Progressive Commercial liability insurance policy which you can read here.
I wish we had more pictures of the front cap in-progress but we were rushed we just didn't have the time. Julie got a job with the DNR, which is why we're moving, so we wanted to get settled ASAP before it started. Here are some pics from the drive over (we ended up taking the Interstate even though the bus maxes out at 60 mph, we considered taking back-roads but it would have been a pain)





We had planned on staying at Walmart or Menards when we got to the area, but both places ended up not allowing overnight parking. I actually didn't have my clearance lights hooked up and tried to wire them up at Menards but it wasn't working out so we ended up driving to a local county park without them. We slept two nights in the bus (I think it was $18/night w/o electric/water for the off-season which I think was a little high, but cheaper than a motel) until we found an apartment that fit our needs.


A little play time with Sally in the bus.


She was really happy to get an apartment though.


As this is going to be the first time we're both going to have jobs (since Julie just finished her Masters degree) I ended up buying a 1999 Ford Ranger so we could have two vehicles. This is also in anticipation of having to move building materials (instead of driving the bus to Menards every time) and for future limited/off-grid living.


After a week or so on the borrowed air mattress from our landlords (they live underneath us of a two story house) I built this double hammock stand (requested by Julie) as a test run for potential sleeping arrangements in the bus (I slept in a hammock for about 6 years before). Unfortunately Julie has decided after two weeks that it's not going to work for her. We considered the option of buying a mattress but actually decided (after some research) to try sleeping on the floor permanently and so far I think we're pretty content with it. It will allow us to keep our bedroom area more open and convenient and it actually has my back/spine feeling really good even though I'm still trying to sleep laying on my back more consistently.


I think that's it for now. We probably won't be making many, if any, posts for a couple of months until it starts to warm up so we can start working on tearing out the stock bus floor. Oh, and I forgot to mention, our bus is in outdoor storage again, but its costing us $15 a month instead of the $25 previously.
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Old 07-12-2017, 03:23 PM   #62
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
And we're back!

I'm not sure why quite a few of the image links on the last couple pages are broken, but seeing as I can't edit them, please see our instagram for all past and present pictures.

https://www.instagram.com/tinyhousebus/

So what happened to us? We still have our bus, and are still planning on working on it (hopefully very, very soon) but life wasn't favorable to us last year. When we moved to SE Wisconsin during winter 2015-16 for Julie's new job, I picked up a job at one of our local factories. While I was very hopeful, it turned out to be a good source of income and horrible source of family time. 10 hour shifts, 6 days a week, from 3:30pm - 2:00am did not allow me and Julie to work on the bus. Fortunately I acquired a new job working for an agronomist last October, but Julie also works weekends so while we actually got to see each other every day, we didn't have a full day of time together often. This spring/summer I've worked it out with my employer so I can work weekends and Julie and I can finally have two days off a week together. While we could have been working on the bus this spring, we put in 80 hours revamping our camping gear by sewing a new tarp/net-tent and two sleeping quilts for our recent Minnesota Boundary Waters trip.

At present we have no other big projects other than the bus. While living in an upstairs apartment with no garage will be challenging for woodwork, we're going to do the best we can (there aren't any storage units available by our bus). So it is once again planning time, and relearning/visioning our project.
We recently moved our bus a few parking spaces behind a storage unit building to get out of the wind, in hopes that our tarp doesn't blow off as often. I think we've tied it back up maybe 6 or 7 times and replaced the whole tarp once so far. I gave both batteries a overnight charge and the bus fired right up with a couple of creaks as it began moving. I was very happy I didn't have any complications, though I would like to change the oil before we move it again. Here's how it sits now.

Our next priority is fiberglass the roof gap and then strip the floor, insulate and lay our already purchased flooring.
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Old 07-12-2017, 03:46 PM   #63
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
Here's our spring SketchUp version of our bus. It's changed only mildly since then, but we're looking to tune it up in the next couple weeks. I welcome input on our design. The top of each picture is the left view, and the bottom is the right.
The blue rectangular box would be our water tank. The brown rectangle on the floor in the hallway would be our dog bed that we could hang/lean up if need be. The box on the wall by the wood stove is a propane stove, although I have concerns with the propane being near a heat source. The box above the water tank on the wall is the propane tankless water heater. I'm thinking of putting the battery storage to the left of the shower. I'm also considering having our solar panels portable rather than attached to our roof. That way we don't have to worry as much about how the bus is facing, and we're not planning on traveling a lot with the bus. Our bedroom floor is either sleeping pads or japanese futons that can be hung up during the day (we've been sleeping on the floor for over a year now).
We're not going to have cubbies like it shows in the pictures, we're thinking a open hanging/closet with a few drawers. We'll probably post a revised SketchUp in a little while.
Top View

Passenger Side

Driver's Side
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Old 10-10-2017, 03:24 PM   #64
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
Fiberglass Front Cap:

So we finally got around to fiberglassing our front gap a couple weeks ago as well as an oil change and new batteries just prior. I'm not going to explain all the details here for sake of time, because it's all on our blog, but I'll put the key points here for reference. (All pictures are on our instagram as well https://www.instagram.com/tinyhousebus/)

Blog post: Update before Fiberglass (Bold = link)
We finally got around to changing the oil with Valvoline 15W-40 Diesel oil (on sale) and a NAPA #1799 filter. I had charged our two batteries a little over a month before that and they lost their charge again (all cables were unattached), so I went to fleet farm and bought two new ones.

Blog post: Fiberglass Front Cap Day 1
We prepped all the metal with an angle grinder and wire wheel (and generator) and a final wipe with acetone. We used construction 2x4's with pole barn screws to set up supports for the mesh/fiberglass. We used 1/4" hardware cloth mesh as a backing for the fiberglass, pneumatic stapled to the 2x4 supports.

Blog post: Fiberglass Front Cap Day 2 and 3
We underestimated the metal prep time, so lots of grinding, at least 3" from the edge of the metal. We used epoxy resin for the fiberglass, and 3 layers of 6oz fiberglass cloth. The first layer was wetted out with a couple paint brushes, and the next two with a roller.



All in all I think it turned out pretty good considering we didn't have any experience with fiberglass. We still have to go back and trim the edges of the fiberglass and at some point paint it, but the resin is UV resistant so that might be next spring. It will be nice not having to worry about the tarp anymore. Our next project is tearing up the floor, painting, insulating and laying down our new floor, then we can start insulating the walls and ceiling once we finalize our window placements.
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Old 10-10-2017, 03:49 PM   #65
Bus Crazy
 
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Join Date: Nov 2015
Location: Midwest
Posts: 1,972
Year: 2003
Coachwork: BlueBird
Chassis: TC2000
Engine: 5.9L Cummins
Rated Cap: '00
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tinyhousebus View Post
Fiberglass Front Cap:

So we finally got around to fiberglassing our front gap a couple weeks ago

All in all I think it turned out pretty good considering we didn't have any experience with fiberglass. We still have to go back and trim the edges of the fiberglass and at some point paint it, but the resin is UV resistant so that might be next spring. It will be nice not having to worry about the tarp anymore. Our next project is tearing up the floor, painting, insulating and laying down our new floor, then we can start insulating the walls and ceiling once we finalize our window placements.

Wow !! That is ambitious, having never done that. I bet you crave a Corvette right about now...

Great write-up for the next guy.
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Old 10-10-2017, 03:56 PM   #66
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
No corvette for me, but I bought some extra fiberglass to repair my truck bed corners once I have the place and time to tear it apart.
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Old 10-10-2017, 04:05 PM   #67
Skoolie
 
Join Date: May 2017
Location: Lake geneva Wisconsin
Posts: 199
Year: 93
Coachwork: Amtran
Chassis: International
Engine: 7.3 idi
I dig it. Love that green color. I looked at your pics, its looking great. Keep up the good work. Are you anywhere near lake geneva? I wouldn't mind a skoolie friend to chew the fat with..
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