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Old 03-13-2015, 11:12 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by EastCoastCB View Post
I can't remember if I've asked you, but where are you located?
Sorry, missed this question. We're in CT, the Western edge. But we don't plan to stay here. We're going to be home-schooling (road-skooling?) and part of the plan is to make sure our kids see what a big world it is out there.

We have some complications - past marriage on my part with two kids, +1 from my wife's former, so visitation is a "thing". We figure we'll make 1-2 month trips and return when required. Not our ideal plan, but life's what you make of it, right?
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Old 03-15-2015, 04:40 PM   #12
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Thanks, guys. I think I'm not so much in the market for a dog-nosed here, but I'll keep my eye on these sites. We're hoping to buy in the next 2 months or so.

Another thought. I see a lot of people replacing their entry doors with house doors, and I get why they do it. But my wife really likes the LOOK of the original ones.

To save the weight and get a better-insulated unit I'm thinking I'll make a new one out of aluminum. I'd use 1" or so square stock for the frame, skin it with sheet, fill it with a foam core, then cut in 2-4 plexiglass "windows". I'd use stainless piano hinges for the mounting to minimize corrosion. I'd do it in a single piece (not hinged in the middle) and have it open out, but still, I think I can get the "look" pretty close to the original.

I'm pretty confident in my ability to pull this off - what I'm wondering is whether somebody has done this and posted pics so I can get a sense of any issues they ran into? I searched around and didn't find anything quite like this in what I turned up.
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Old 03-20-2015, 02:38 PM   #13
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I'm making a list of all the stuff I already own and can get some mileage out of. Came across a 4'x4' sheet of 302 stainless. Not real thick - I think it's .018. Bought it for the firewall of a vehicle I never finished. I was thinking of selling it - it's worth like $100 locally - but figured I'd post here to see if I should keep it for anything.

Things I'm not interested in doing: countertops, or anything decorative. I like the look, SWMBO doesn't.

Any clever uses, or should I ditch it?
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Old 03-20-2015, 02:53 PM   #14
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I wouldn't ditch it until you're finished your project...... I've been scrounging bits and pieces of steel, aluminum, e-track, hardware of all types for the past couple of years, ya never know what you need.
Maybe a new dash cover, inside your stair well ?
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Old 03-20-2015, 03:45 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by taskswap View Post
To save the weight and get a better-insulated unit I'm thinking I'll make a new one out of aluminum. I'd use 1" or so square stock for the frame, skin it with sheet, fill it with a foam core, then cut in 2-4 plexiglass "windows". I'd use stainless piano hinges for the mounting to minimize corrosion. I'd do it in a single piece (not hinged in the middle) and have it open out, but still, I think I can get the "look" pretty close to the original.

I'm pretty confident in my ability to pull this off - what I'm wondering is whether somebody has done this and posted pics so I can get a sense of any issues they ran into? I searched around and didn't find anything quite like this in what I turned up.
I haven't even moved into my bus yet, and I wish I had built a door VS buying a foam core steel residential door.

The residential door is miles ahead and stronger than any RV door, but still flimsy in my books. I guess my expectations are just a bit to high.

We are going use what I installed for now, and when it fails, build a new door out of aluminum and Styrofoam.

Quote:
Originally Posted by taskswap View Post
Came across a 4'x4' sheet of 302 stainless. Not real thick - I think it's .018. Bought it for the firewall of a vehicle I never finished. I was thinking of selling it - it's worth like $100 locally - but figured I'd post here to see if I should keep it for anything.

Things I'm not interested in doing: countertops, or anything decorative. I like the look, SWMBO doesn't.

Any clever uses, or should I ditch it?
I would keep it. So many uses for a nice piece of stainless steel.

Back splash, heat shield, bezel around a switch, ect.

Nat
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Old 03-20-2015, 04:03 PM   #16
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Yeah, I'm thinking about doors, too. SWMBO REALLY REALLY wants to keep the look and feel of the original bus door.

I'm thinking I'll use aluminum U channel riveted together in the corners to make a 1" think or so slab filled with rigid foam, the same size as the existing door. I'll skin it with more aluminum, then route out "windows" in there, not as big as the original bus floor/ceiling ones but the same shape and proportions, and use black rubber weatherstripping to install sheets of abrasion-resistant lexan on both the inside and outside (higher R-value than glass and you can't smash it to get in). It won't be a true thermal unit but it'll be close to double-glazing - way better than the stock door anyway, and super light.

I'll hang it with stainless or composite piano hinge to avoid corrosion issues.
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Old 03-29-2015, 07:17 PM   #17
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So... I'm brainstorming how to build and insulate the walls. Looking for some opinions. nat_ster, you listening? You have an opinion on everything.

I don't figure I'm going to build 12 buses, so I want to do the first one as well as I can. Minimizing thermal bridging is one of the things I want to do right. I'm totally on board with spray-foaming the wall cavity and using horizontal ribs to minimize that portion, but what can be done to improve this?

A weak point in the system is the fasteners - even in the "age of adhesives" I'm going to be attaching heavy cabinets and other things to the walls. Anybody have any "ideal" solutions for minimizing bridging in the fasteners, and in the area where the horizontal wall support ribs touch the steel uprights?

I'm definitely doing a roof raise... one of the things I thought about was exterior insulation. I'm not actually fond of the idea of slapping 2" styrofoam onto the outside - we really want to keep the bus look and feel. But I've definitely considered treating it more like a house, pulling off the outer skin, and putting 1/2" of rigid styrofoam or polyiso board on the outside, then re-attaching the skin. I think I could sort out a way to "fair" the rounded roof into this slightly wider wall, and it would provide more insulation.

I don't see doing that for the roof... but I don't plan to hang much that's heavy from there, either, so I can just insulate it more inside (I'm planning a big raise anyway) and then glue on the interior ceiling.
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Old 03-29-2015, 08:45 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by taskswap View Post
So... I'm brainstorming how to build and insulate the walls. Looking for some opinions. nat_ster, you listening? You have an opinion on everything.

A weak point in the system is the fasteners - even in the "age of adhesives" I'm going to be attaching heavy cabinets and other things to the walls. Anybody have any "ideal" solutions for minimizing bridging in the fasteners, and in the area where the horizontal wall support ribs touch the steel uprights?

I'm definitely doing a roof raise... one of the things I thought about was exterior insulation. I'm not actually fond of the idea of slapping 2" styrofoam onto the outside - we really want to keep the bus look and feel. But I've definitely considered treating it more like a house, pulling off the outer skin, and putting 1/2" of rigid styrofoam or polyiso board on the outside, then re-attaching the skin. I think I could sort out a way to "fair" the rounded roof into this slightly wider wall, and it would provide more insulation.

I don't see doing that for the roof... but I don't plan to hang much that's heavy from there, either, so I can just insulate it more inside (I'm planning a big raise anyway) and then glue on the interior ceiling.
Your removing the inside skin, not the outside.

Strapping (2x4's) are bolted or self tapping #14 screws to the vertical support ribs in the walls.

Cavity behind is filled with spray foam to flush with the surface of the strapping.

Rigid styrofoam is glued to the surface of the strapping. (still inside the bus)

Finish wall covering glues to the rigid styrofoam.

Now, everything on the inside of the bus like cabinets, ect, get screwed through the rigid styrofoam, into the 2x4 strapping.

This way no screw, or bolt from the inside ever touch the steel frame and skin of the bus.

I have 99% of the strapping done on my bus. Pics can be seen here.
http://www.skoolie.net/forums/f11/th...ime-10138.html

This fellow member also strapped his bus with 1x4's. However, 1x4's split bad. I used 3/4 inch plywood, ripped into 3.5 inch strips, glued two layer together due to the plywood's superiority with holding screws without splitting.
http://www.skoolie.net/forums/f27/ar...rust-8870.html

I hope this explanation helps.

Nat
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Old 03-29-2015, 09:06 PM   #19
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Oh, I see. So the strapping is sort of a bridge, but the fastener from the cabinet or whatever doesn't go into the strapping and rib, just into the strapping, so heat would have to travel into the fastener, along the wood, then into the rib and out the exterior wall. So it's not perfect but nothing is, and it's way better...

I read your thread like every day but hadn't noticed the walls. I was too busy staring at all that rust and dirt you were dealing with! Also, this site has one annoying piece, it's hard to pick up threads where you left off. You can get to New Posts but you have to choose whether to start with the first or last page. I wish it could just give me a link to continue each from what I'd seen before. I thought vBull could do that... Haven't used it in a while...

Any reason not to use plywood for strapping? I happen to have a small pile of furniture-grade 3/4" it and was planning on ripping it into 3" or so strips and doubling them up. I prefer it over dimensional lumber - a lot of the stuff available around here is pretty crappy.

My next debate is about windows. SWMBO really wants to keep some of them to maintain the school bus look. I'm thinking I'll take some of what I remove as part of the roof raise and set up a row of 3-4 in the front of the bus, double-stacked. I'll build a sill equal to the thickness of the wall, and include a "lip" inset into its perimeter. I'll cut a sheet of plexi to fit that, edge it with a steel band and attach/seal with some good magnetic weatherstripping... probably salvage I already have from a freezer door. Those things make good seals.

It's not quite double-glazing but close. I'll have to add a moisture drain. I've done this a few times in older houses and found that dessicant packets also help a lot. Once the space is dry it doesn't get damp again very quickly. I can also add some bubble wrap during the winter. It won't be perfect, but it's the best "trade-off" I can think of.

Maybe I'll add an outer panel, too...

Has anybody done something similar?
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Old 03-29-2015, 09:49 PM   #20
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The wood won't transfer the cold that far. It is as good as we can get. I have run hundreds of different idea's, systems, and scenarios through my head. This is the best I could come up with.

Plywood is best for strapping.The interlocking grains of the wood stop the splitting that normal lumber is subject to. It is also firmer than the lumber we get today, so the screws don't strip out trying to tighten them.

Even new the bus windows leaked air real bad. The aluminum frames of the bus windows need to go. There is nothing good you can do with them to make them work well. They need to be replaced with something far better.

All the insulation in the world will be for nothing if your windows leak air and water.

Residential windows have water drains at the bottom. School bus windows don't.

Like you, I only want to do this once. $40,000 is not easy to come up with twice. My bus needs to work right the first time.

Nat
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