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Old 01-02-2010, 02:42 AM   #1
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Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: California, Just NorthEast of San Fransisco
Posts: 539
Re: beginners questions

1.) An outdoor silicone will work best as its going to be stable in direct sunlight and water.

2.) Not sure on seats, but you need to figure out how many people you are going to carry. Are you using the bus for gear as well? I guess what I am asking is, "How do you plan to use the bus?" That will tell alot about what you might need, and will help with any ideas coming in from others.
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Old 01-02-2010, 09:31 AM   #2
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Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Upstate NY (Mohawk Valley)
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Re: beginners questions

Welcome!

1. Unless you just plan to use the bus a few months and then dump it as junk, absolutely tear it apart to look for rust. If problems crop up, Murphy's law requires it to be in the worst possible place and time, like when you have to get to a gig. Also, absolutely rip out any damp fiberglass insulation. It acts like a sponge to promote rust, and if the absorbed moisture freezes into an ice block there is almost no R value. "Ask me how I know." I would suggest closed-cell foam sheets or sprayed-in foam instead.

3. You have to have a seat for the driver, so the minimum is one. Some jurisdictions might require every passenger to be seated, so count heads in the band plus "entourage." It would be nice if they didn't have to take turns sitting on the floor or amplifier cases. If the bus is re-titled as an RV, many requirements are less strict and you may be able to get around mandatory seat belt laws where they exist. Since you won't be charging for bus rides, you shouldn't get into commercial use restrictions.

5. "Normal" dining areas for campers have two bench seats facing each other across the table, with storage underneath the benches. At bedtime, the table legs fold out of the way and the table is lowered onto lips at the front of each bench so it is level with the seat cushion bases. The two seat cushions plus the two seat back cushions lie on the table top and two bases to make up the mattress. In the smallest campers, this is the only bed. In larger ones, it is an overflow bed for large families or extra visitors. You might be able to salvage dinettes from one or more wrecked campers, or copy the design and make your own. Each dinette usually seats four and sleeps two, but you could adjust the width to make it 2/1, or maybe even squeeze in 6/3.

You also could use a futon frame that pulls out into a bed. My son used to have a bunk bed with a single top bunk and a bottom futon couch/double bed.
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Old 01-02-2010, 01:03 PM   #3
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Location: Wells, Vermont
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Re: beginners questions

Quote:
Originally Posted by evtonb
hey everybody! I just purchased a 16 passenger shuttle bus E450 and i am starting the process of converting it to a tour bus for my band. I was wondering if you could help me out with some very basic beginners questions.
Welcome, I'll also try to answer your questions. However, a lot depends on how much investment in both time and resources you want to put in, and how long you plan on keeping the bus around.

Quote:
Originally Posted by evtonb
1. the bus leaks like crazy right now. When its raining out side the water is pouring in through the ceiling and puddling on the floor. Before attempting to re-seal the bus should I remove the panels and check for mold, rust, or water damage?
Again, if you're looking for something to just get you through a couple of shows, then no. If you plan on keeping the bus around for a while, I would get that fixed up. After you put all of the time and effort into your bus and it becomes like a part of the band, do you want to start having major rust issues and have to get rid of it? I second what Redbear said with the fiberglass insulation, it acts as a sponge and really concentrates bad rust.

Quote:
Originally Posted by evtonb
2. what kind of caulk should I use on the outside and inside?
I used an exterior rated paintable silicone with the intention of putting bus-kote over it. I haven't gotten around to the bus-kote yet, but the silicone is holding up well.

Quote:
Originally Posted by evtonb
3. do I have to have a minimum number of seats with seatbelts in the vehicle to adhere to regulations?
It depends on your state. In most states, a seat belt for the driver is required. Any more than 15 (again depends on your state) passengers and you'll need a commercial drivers license to operate it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by evtonb
4. I would like to put in some couch style seating running lengthwise in the bus. can I use any old couch and just bolt it down? or is a custom made bench the way to go?
Anything you throw in there will work great. Custom build can have storage underneath or be foldable / transformable a lot easier. You can always replace couches with custom as you go and your needs change.

Quote:
Originally Posted by evtonb
5. what would be ideal is if I could have normal row type seating in the bus and then be able to fold all of the seats down flat so people can sleep on top of them. my main goal is to have as much sleeping room as possible. Does anybody know of any solutions such as this or how somebody would go about acquiring seats like that?
A lot depends on your floor plan and your exact needs. Just off random ideas, I see it could work like a train car. You place some benches on the outer walls that people could sleep across, then the backs of those seats swing up and lock into bunk-bed style upper beds. This way, each bench can transform to sleep two (if long enough). There's always air mattresses and tent-gear too.

Quote:
Originally Posted by evtonb
thank you very much in advance for your advice. let me know if i missed somewhere on this website where questions like these are answered because i couldnt find them.
The people on this site don't yell at you for asking a question like a couple other skoolie-related sites out there. If there's a thread that has discussed an issue and we remember where it is, we'll link it, or sometimes just repost the information. Generally we tend to just re-answer the question. Again, a lot of what you're asking depends on your specific needs, budget, skill level, etc... so there isn't a one-all answer page for this type of stuff.
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Old 01-02-2010, 03:50 PM   #4
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Re: beginners questions

Quote:
Originally Posted by evtonb
1. the bus leaks like crazy right now. When its raining out side the water is pouring in through the ceiling and puddling on the floor. Before attempting to re-seal the bus should I remove the panels and check for mold, rust, or water damage?
Stop the leaks first. I like the snow roof products (Elasto Seal primer, including the patching tape and Snow Roof). Helps to quieten the roof when it rains. And it looks good, lowers inside temps quite a bit.
Quote:
2. what kind of caulk should I use on the outside and inside?
Any of the WHITE elastometric caulks. I've used Henry's with sucess... it was what they had available other than the Kool Seal brand. As for the 100% silicone caulks... I've spent too much time with a razor blade and thinner getting the globs of that stuff off to ever use it again. I like the latex siliconized caulks (like the "Door & Window" caulk at Lowes and home Depot). We've used it extensively in home construction and it holds up well on the RV.
Quote:
3. do I have to have a minimum number of seats with seatbelts in the vehicle to adhere to regulations?
As an RV, only the drivers seat requires seat belts. I think, I may be wrong but that was the case when I was researching for our Eagle05.
Quote:
4. I would like to put in some couch style seating running lengthwise in the bus. can I use any old couch and just bolt it down? or is a custom made bench the way to go?
Either way will work.
Quote:
5. what would be ideal is if I could have normal row type seating in the bus and then be able to fold all of the seats down flat so people can sleep on top of them. my main goal is to have as much sleeping room as possible. Does anybody know of any solutions such as this or how somebody would go about acquiring seats like that?
Sofa beds are not very comfy to sleep on, futons are not very comfy to sit on. Have you thought about air mattresses? thry can be stored for the times you don't need them and blown up only when you do. Maybe a rear van seat from a junk yard? or this http://www.campingworld.com/shopping/pr ... sofas/7617 Some of the RV surplus stores in elkhart (among others) may have them cheaper. http://stores.ebay.com/bontragers-rv-surplus
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Old 01-10-2010, 09:56 AM   #5
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Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Idaho
Posts: 575
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Re: beginners questions

Quote:
2. what kind of caulk should I use on the outside and inside?
I'd look for Dicor, it's what they use on RV's anyway.
Quoting from a RVer from who knows where (I collect notes, sometimes without sources booo bad me)

Quote:
Use Dicor self leveling on the roof and the Dicor non self leveling on all vertical surfaces.
Do not use silicone anywhere on your rv except maybe the bathroom sink. ~~ On all but the roof surfaces, I use Geocel ProFlexRV sealant. It's a tripolymer caulk that goes on wet, dry, oily surfaces and has excellent adhesion. Also very flexible, so when your RV moves, it isn't likely to create a gap in this stuff. I used it for a year and a half to recaulk and touchup areas, it works very well. If you need to, smooth your newly laid bead of caulk with a finger moistened in a little dish-soapy water from a cup...gives a perfect finish! Great product. ~~
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