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Old 02-25-2013, 08:32 AM   #1
Mini-Skoolie
 
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New bus owner - what can you tell me about my bus

Hello everyone, my name is Bob Spooner and I live in East Hampton CT. I just purchased a bus that was advertised on this site and craig$list. It's a 1994 Thomas MVP 28' flatnose diesel pusher. It was a bus used for shuttle transport to the airport in it's original configuration. The previous owner did a real nice job of gutting it and installing panelling and carpet. I think that we will remove most of the furniture and stuff and rebuild for us.

We are a family of 5. I'm an engineer and a bicycle frame builder. The bus will be used mostly to travel to and camp at bicycle races and festivals, etc. We also paddle a lot and spend some time on the beach with friends of ours. So, I guess mostly dry camping.

We are longtime VW Vanagon owners, so this new bus is like our Vanagon on Steriods. We are very excited!

I've been searching though this site, and find it very helpful. I also appreciate the good humor and lack of histronics. I'll do some more searching, but I do have a few specific questions.

Tell me about the roof of my bus. Is it a single or double layer? Any insultation in there? Can I put a short sheet metal screw through the ceiling without it poking out the roof?

What is the best way to put a rack deck up there? We have boats and bikes and stuff to carry...and a deck for heckling would be great too.

Does anyone carry bikes on the roof? We would routinely be carrying 10 - 14 bikes. I know on a car a few bikes will kill your mileage. Does anyone have a clue how much bikes on the roof would hurt the fuel mileage?

How about AC? The original AC is dead. I'm not too worried about the parked AC, but the travelling AC. This bus has those little sliding vent windows over big side windows. I imagine it will get real warm in there on a summer day (our VW Vanagon has no AC and can be brutal in the summer). What kind of AC unit should I be looking for? Just power it with a generator for over the road cooling?

Is there a good source for storage boxes for basement mounting? I looked at Northern Tool, and they have some that appear nice, but they are pretty spendy. I know my way around a welder, but often is is more cost and time effective to just buy something.

Has anyone mounted the basement storage boxes so they can slide out to provide a work surface?

How about a good source for poly tanks for potable/gray/black water?

Should I wire the bus for DC, and use individual inverters for the few things that need ac, like the TV. Or should I wire it for 120AC and convert the few things that need DC, like the radio and some lights. I'd rather run off of batteries primarily, with a gen for the AC and battery recharging.

How about roof vents? Is it worth the risk of putting holes in your roof with their leaks for the ventilation? What kind are best?

I think that's it for now...seems like more than enough for my first post!

Cheers! Bob
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Old 02-25-2013, 03:49 PM   #2
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Re: New bus owner - what can you tell me about my bus

pics?
.
.
.
.
..
welcome~
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Old 02-25-2013, 05:19 PM   #3
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Re: New bus owner - what can you tell me about my bus

Most (if not all) buses have an outer skin (roof) and inner skin (ceiling). There is usually 1 1/2 inches of fiberglass insulation between the two. I used many screws and L brackets to attach my cabinets. I used short sheet rock screws. A 9/64th drill bit is perfect for making a hole that will hold the sheet rock screws.

Just don't drill through the roof.
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Old 02-25-2013, 08:19 PM   #4
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Re: New bus owner - what can you tell me about my bus

[img]
P2221225 by Belltown Bikes, on Flickr[/img]

[img]
P2221223 by Belltown Bikes, on Flickr[/img]

Couldn't figure out how to get just the image to show up...appreciate any pointers in that regard. B
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Old 02-26-2013, 06:23 AM   #5
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Re: New bus owner - what can you tell me about my bus

PhotoBucket is the way to get your photos posted to this forum.

viewtopic.php?f=8&t=55593
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Old 02-26-2013, 07:51 AM   #6
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Re: New bus owner - what can you tell me about my bus

You only need the "img" part once before and after the Web address.
Congrats on your bus!!!
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Old 02-26-2013, 08:23 AM   #7
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Re: New bus owner - what can you tell me about my bus

good looking bus, I can so picture the 1976 USA Ski team getting off of it
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Old 02-26-2013, 10:21 AM   #8
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Re: New bus owner - what can you tell me about my bus

Quote:
Originally Posted by BelltownBikes




by [url=http://www.flickr.com/people/belltownbikes/]Belltown Bikes, on Flickr[/img]

[img][url=http://www.flickr.com/photos/belltownbikes/8507882127/]



P2221223 by Belltown Bikes, on Flickr[/img]

Couldn't figure out how to get just the image to show up...appreciate any pointers in that regard. B
I fixed a few of them for you, but basically you have too many codes in there. As inkblots mentioned above, you don't need the URL codes, just the IMG codes. Plus, the picture must have the graphic extension included, like .jpg. I'm not sure what other graphic types are supported on this forum, but since you have two that are JPEG images and they are showing up, I would imagine you could make them all that way. Good luck. Nice bus, BTW.

I like your mission. As far as putting bikes on the roof, I would imagine that would put your total height above the clearance of many low overpasses and you could lose some bikes and basically have a bad day. Measure closely before deciding that. If it were me, I would think extending a porch off the back would serve a dual purpose. Haul bikes to and from and then while there it could be a patio to heckle from.
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Old 03-02-2013, 09:06 AM   #9
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Re: New bus owner - what can you tell me about my bus

Nice bus!

As far as wiring goes, I have mine wired dual purpose as far as lighting goes. Each light fixture has a 12vdc and a 120vac light. 12vdc light for needs on the road and short term dry camping use. 120vac for use when hooking up to a power pole of on the generator. The only other 12vdc power I use is for the TV antenna amplifier.

I would not run 12vdc to supply remote inverters. DC line loss may limit the voltage available for an inverter at the remote location. Better off with a larger inverter mounted close to {but not in the same compartment with} the batteries, and wire 120vac accordingly. 120vac isnt as susceptible to line loss.
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Old 03-02-2013, 10:46 AM   #10
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Re: New bus owner - what can you tell me about my bus

We have 120vAC lights (etc) running off a small (750 Watt continuous), cheap (under $25) inverter in the electrical bay (the bay right next to the battery bay). No matter what inverter you get you want it as close to the batteries as possible without being in with the batteries. AC can handle the long runs but DC can't. I just prefer to run small dedicated inverters. If I decide to run the TV/DVD off an inverter, I can add one and wire in the TV plug. If I decide to run the desktop computer off an inverter, I can buy a small dedicated pure sine wave inverter just for the computer/printer plug. If one inverter poops out, I don't lose everything. We did set up some parts of the bus to be "remodeled" later. Mostly because we could not decide which way things would work out best for us. And our needs do change sometimes.

Redundancy and flexibility were words we used often in planning our conversion.
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