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Old 05-20-2016, 11:36 AM   #1
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Aug 2015
Location: Atlanta
Posts: 61
Year: 2002
Coachwork: tc2000
Chassis: blue bird
Engine: cummings 5.9
VW inspired skoolie... the long story

in the beginning, I was 15 and wanted a ice cream truck for my first car.... I think I planned on putting a couch in there and running a tv and mini fridge off the already available power and driving my friends around skatebaording, roadtripping ect. !!

It never happened. I would end up with a gold 89 honda accord hatchback completly covered in stickers, literally. bumper to bumper. I remember the flip up headlights are what sold me. and the price tag, of 700.00

fast forward to when I was 20 years old, and I found this on craigslist for $1,100.
This, I think is where my skoolie adventure starts.



... so that is my first bus! I loved it. I worked at a wood shop at the time and I remember my old french, all day drinking heineken boss let me have bits and pieces of scrap wood from which I build a quarter sawn oak table and dining area. I drove around in it everywhere I could until it only ran on three cylinders and I limped it to the local VW garage where I took whatever cash the mechanic offered me for it.

Several years and several busses later, I had cross country trips, countless breakdowns, and lots of experience fixing, building, and living in busses.





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Old 05-20-2016, 11:41 AM   #2
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Location: Eustis FLORIDA
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Very cool, man. I started out on VW's as well.
My first was a 70 bay window I pulled from under a tree for $400 and got MANY miles out of, then a 71, then a 67 westy.
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Old 05-20-2016, 12:09 PM   #3
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Aug 2015
Location: Atlanta
Posts: 61
Year: 2002
Coachwork: tc2000
Chassis: blue bird
Engine: cummings 5.9
chapter two.

All in all I must have owned 10 or so VW buses and trust me, it comes in later on... or maybe not that much, but it's my story, so read it if you want,...
Fast forward a couple more years and I'm 30. I've been off of buses for a few years, having had to grow up and drive a fancy truck to fit in, in my industry ect. ect. boring....
That and prices of the VW buses have gone through the roof! seriously!!!?? WTF?
So I found myself drooling when I see them, but too financially obligated with a mortgage and truck payment to actually fork out for another.
Once again, the working man gets pushed out of something due to the all mighty $$$.

So anyway, I was driving down in South Georgia with a friend ready to fill my truck on the worlds longest yard sale... About 50miles of yard sales one weekend a year... pretty awesome, when I saw this tiny bus on the side of the road, and I stopped...



I went home, sold a scooter and went back and bought that 2002 Chevy 3500 mid bus for $1,900!!!
I tore out the seats, build some bunk beds, stero, it already had A/C and only 99k miles, so I drove it all around the east coast with the dogs and g/f and did a couple things to it, awning, blinds ect.





pretty standard build for a first timer with more excitment than dedication.
I had a blast and then...

found you guys!! started reading, reading and reading...
I started wanting a diesel, big tires, and all the space of a big boy bus.
so, I sold it to fund my current and 2nd school bus.
a 93 bluebird TC 200



and that is the day after I drove it home. Dec. 19th 2015.
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Old 05-20-2016, 12:17 PM   #4
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Aug 2015
Location: Atlanta
Posts: 61
Year: 2002
Coachwork: tc2000
Chassis: blue bird
Engine: cummings 5.9
That is awesome EastCoast, from where I sit, Skoolies are the new VW!
-affordable
-easy to work on
-can live in them
-turns heads everywhere you go
-slow
- one million smiles per gallon! (actual smileage may very)
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Old 05-20-2016, 12:38 PM   #5
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Aug 2015
Location: Atlanta
Posts: 61
Year: 2002
Coachwork: tc2000
Chassis: blue bird
Engine: cummings 5.9
here starts the real fun. going much bigger this time as far as build goes,... keeping in mind, that I am used to living in a VW bus or much less when it comes to camping.
So although this turns out to be pretty nice, it's not intended to be a RV with slides and a movie viewing room. Atlhough that's cool, it's not my style. I will be keeping as many windows as I can, and keeping the school bus look as much as possible.

moving on.. standard demo process...

seats out..




PS: I'm a contractor, so Ive got material I have been hording for the build in the photos I often never wind up using.
i.e. wire in photo, I never use, if anyone wants this(for there bus) it's free in ATL.



removing rivets, I used a method I'm calling grind and twist which was faster than the air chisel grinder combo alot of people talk about.
in that method, I use a grinding wheel (not a cut off wheel) and make a vertical cut through the rivet, then turn the grinder 90 degrees grinding off the entire head.
Just the way I do it....



note, this bus came out of service in 2015 due to having the wood sub floors starting to come apart along with the rubber around the wheel chair entry.
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Old 05-20-2016, 12:52 PM   #6
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Aug 2015
Location: Atlanta
Posts: 61
Year: 2002
Coachwork: tc2000
Chassis: blue bird
Engine: cummings 5.9
walls off..


grind off glue, made a good surface for rubberized undercoat
I put some good flex caulk on all the joints inside the panels just for good measure. 25 year from sherwin williams.

If there is anything I learned from driving around in my tiny short bus, it's that it is LOUD at 70 MPH! like so loud, so I really wanted to not only feel good about going the extra mile, but aslo to dampen the road noise as much as possible.





oh look, that caulk is even pictured in that photo...
I think it was a reasonable 37.00 a case. (on sale)



ok, much more to come, but I am tired of uploading photos for now.
It gets better, hang in there.
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Old 05-20-2016, 01:23 PM   #7
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Location: Willamina, Oregon
Posts: 4,944
Year: 1997
Coachwork: Bluebird
Chassis: TC 1000
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Nice progression over the years, but where did your hair go? Same place as mine apparently.
Buses are a lot more fun that a VW. About ten times as much work too.
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Old 05-20-2016, 01:27 PM   #8
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Join Date: May 2016
Location: Illinois
Posts: 7
Coachwork: Ward
Engine: DT 466
I've never owned a VW, but I worked my way through A&P school at a VW shop restoring bugs and busses. One of the best jobs I've ever had. I would love to have a split window bus, but they go for crazy amounts of money these days
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Old 05-20-2016, 02:42 PM   #9
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Aug 2015
Location: Atlanta
Posts: 61
Year: 2002
Coachwork: tc2000
Chassis: blue bird
Engine: cummings 5.9
I still have all my hair, I'm just not keeping it all on my head these days.
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Old 05-20-2016, 02:52 PM   #10
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Roger that. Nose, ears and other weirder places.
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