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Old 04-14-2007, 06:06 PM   #1
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New Skoolie Kit

Hello all, finally decided to purchase my Skoolie DIY RV Kit (big yellow bus).

Anyway, I wanted to run the bus by the forum and see what kind of info I can garner about it.

1988 Chevrolet S6000 66 Passenger with 8.2L GM Diesel.
4-speed auto and we just cruised back from Akron, Ohio to Buffalo, NY and got 10 MPG, of course it is still empty, someone was nice and already ripped out most of the seats.
Running at 60 MPG we hummed along at 2800 RPM and once I got home and crawled all over the engine I found a sticker saying 2900 RPM Max so I think we will be topping out a 60 from now on.

Couple of questions...

Looking to convert to WVO as soon as I get inspection and registration done. Was by Greasecar's website and saw their deluxe kits geared toward the heavy duty trucks, but nothing specific on the buses. I tried to shoot them an email but it was returned. Anyone have any specific experience with this engine and WVO?

I need new windshields as mine have been rocked. I know some people in the automotive glass world and will be calling them Monday, but are there any specific glass places to consider?

There is a little push-button on the floor to the far left of the brake pedal, I am assuming this was used for activating the warning lights, but could someone confirm this?

Does anyone know a good resource for Chevrolet service manuals or technical documents for these things?

I will be documenting the whole process with copious amounts of pictures so stay tuned...Oh if anyone has a theme and a name suggestion, I am open to consideration. Right now I am thinking a lighter hunter green and running oak rub rails down the sides, 1 rail about 9" wide on either side. New door will also be custom made from Oak. I do woodworking mostly so this bus will have a lot of custom woodwork.

Thanks and have a peachy weekend. It is supposed to snow again here.
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Old 04-14-2007, 06:51 PM   #2
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congrats and welcome!

button to the left of the brake pedal on floor is probably the high beams for the headlights. Like old ford pickup trucks

10 mpg is excellent for a skoolie

most older skoolies have flat windshield glass. That makes it relatively easy to find glass. You can call around to auto glass places and ask them if they have flat glass. They can easily cut the glass to fit your old broken piece(s). If you call a glass place and they can't help, as if they know of a company that can. Flat glass is pretty cheap too
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Old 04-14-2007, 09:02 PM   #3
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Your 8.2 detroit was known as a "fuel pincher" so your 10 mpg sounds pretty reasonable and certainly better than I get. Like its 2 stroke cousins, it lacks an injector pump and instead uses unit injectors which I think would do you well for a WVO conversion.
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Old 04-14-2007, 10:19 PM   #4
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Does that bus have hydraulic brakes or air brakes??
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Old 04-15-2007, 03:02 AM   #5
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Quote:
There is a little push-button on the floor to the far left of the brake pedal, I am assuming this was used for activating the warning lights, but could someone confirm this?
You must be young pup if you've never seen one of those switches on the floor.

Welcome aboard.
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Old 04-15-2007, 05:29 AM   #6
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young pup indeed

Well yes I am probably a young pup. I will say I am somewhere between 29 and 31.

It has hydraulic brakes, I was trying to stay away from air brakes as it was a gray area to me whether air brakes required a CDL, and I have never dealt with air brakes but have been maintaining and working on hydraulic brakes for years. The brakes worked fine and there was no squealing until I was all the way home. I have a diesel mechanic friend who deals mostly with dump trucks, I am going to get him to go over it all with me and pull the tires and check everything out.

Well I am off to do more research into the WVO thing. The kits I have seen range in the $1200 region but to me (as I currently understand it) all I should need is a tank, design some way to heat the oil (still trying to identify the optimum temperature needed) and some valves to splice it into the diesel system, along with some controls for the valves, hardly befitting $1200, sounds more like $100 or $200 plus a tank to me.
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Old 04-15-2007, 08:08 AM   #7
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If you are researching WVO it is likely you have already found this resource, but just in case:

http://autos.groups.yahoo.com/group/wvobus/
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Old 04-15-2007, 08:22 AM   #8
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Nope, I hadn't so thanks for that one. Found plenty of others though.

Question of the day...engine maintenance.
How often do you change oil and coolant? Anyone have a good source for the filters (fuel, oil and air) and have any idea where the oil filter is on this thing? What type of oil is usually used? Coolant type?

To be honest I have not yet looked for the oil and fuel filter and since it snowed over-night with more snow expected I am not getting out there to look for it til next weekend when it is supposed to be back in the 50's.

My non-diesel vehicles I change the oil dutifully between every 3000 to 4000 miles, my diesel Jetta every 5000, even though VW says you can go every 10k, I just do it every 5k anyway. So with the bus I would expect between every 5k or 10k miles, but for the first few years I do not anticipate that much driving so will probably be changing twice a year just to keep the oil fresh. Once the kids are older and we start touring more then we will be really rolling up the miles.
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Old 04-15-2007, 10:35 AM   #9
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I highly respect your commitment to keeping your oil clean. As I'm I sure you already know, that is one of the most important things you can do for extending the life of your engine.

Most people I know of with commercial grade diesels used for RV use change their oil once per year. I am not personally familiar with your engine, but my 6V92TA takes 7.5 gallons of oil at a change. Not something you want to do more often than needed.

The best bet is to find a copy of the manuals for your bus and see what it specifies. They aren't cheap but can really help with maintaining, modifying and repairing. They can also point you to the exact oil specification that is best for your engine. 4-stroke's aren't as particular as my 2-stroke, but having the right oil is still important.
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Old 04-15-2007, 12:10 PM   #10
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Quote:
...somewhere between 29 and 31.
Children are buying buses!
It's a really fun reality check to hear that there are people who have
never had a dimmer switch on the floor. (I'm 55 )

Welcome aboard, Sir!

Engine oil: Heavy Duty -- Diesel Rated oil. Shell Rotella T, Chevron Delo 400 etc. Has additives
that are prohibited in oil for gasoline engines because of the catalytic converter and/or
oxygen sensor on gasoline engines. (Similar concept as "lead" in gasoline.)
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Old 04-15-2007, 02:01 PM   #11
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i'm 26, and have seen and owned many a floor switched high beam vehicle.
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Old 04-15-2007, 02:21 PM   #12
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I bet my father has seen his share
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Old 04-15-2007, 02:37 PM   #13
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This is one of the wondermuss things about Life On Earth As A Human. The variety of
experiences! A friend of mine drove a 1930 Model A Ford as daily transportation
until 1986.

And then there are the teenagers who actually understand how these
Konfounded Komputors work.
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Old 04-15-2007, 02:37 PM   #14
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How does one tell the difference between 2 and 4 stroke? Did not see any label detailing this info...um ignore this one, I figured it out from rereading everything...
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Old 04-15-2007, 05:27 PM   #15
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You have a 4 stroke. There are a bunch of ways to tell the difference, but my favorite is sound.
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Old 04-15-2007, 06:12 PM   #16
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Those old 2 stroke Detroits were nick-named Screamin' Demon -- for a reason.

All the 2 stroke diesels that I know of have a mechanical compressor (supercharger)
to push air into the cylinder. Many have a turbocharger on top of that. The mechanical
"positive displacement" compressor is used instead of pumping the intake air thru
the crankcase as on 2 stroke motorcycles and the like.
The "blower" on the GMC/Detroit "Screamin' Demon" model 6/71 was the origin
of the blowers on dragsters.
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Old 04-17-2007, 04:31 PM   #17
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custom fuel tanks

Well I have decided that I am going to build my own custom tanks. First off will be an 80 Gallon Veggie Fuel Tank. Basically I will be taking a full sheet of 7/8" Plywood and building a box, fiber-glassing both the inside and outside for strength and to make it water proof. Then I can cut holes and install the heating elements, exchangers and fittings I want. The beauty of an 80 Gallon is that it comes from 1 sheet of plywood, plus an 2'x4' piece for the ends, HD and Lowes both sell these smaller pieces pre-cut. So the basic tank dimensions will be 48"x20"x20".

I build custom plywood fish tanks of 125 gallons or bigger using this method so I am confident in the strength and water proofing. I just never take the liquid up to 150 F. So I am going to build a smaller one for testing at temperature, will let you know how it turns out and the costs and such. Like I said, I build these tanks all the time so I have fiberglass cloth and epoxy resin readily available since I buy in bulk. But usually a project of 80 gallons or more is cost effective using this method for fish tanks, for fuel tanks i think this is cost effective no matter what size. For water holding tanks at $40 for 40 gallon, you are better off buying the tank.

The other obstacle I need to overcome is fishtanks are always open top so glassing the inside is pretty easy. I need to come up with a way to strap down the lid securely enough to prevent splash over. But I have a nice open-bed truck for splosh testing too. Will be building in baffolds to help minimize splosh effect as well.

The snow is finally melting. By Thursday I should be able to get out there and start getting the old windshields out so my glass guy can cut me new ones. Anyone ever take these things out before and know what is involved?
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Old 04-17-2007, 11:32 PM   #18
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What kind of resin do you use and what kind of cloth? I've often wanted to try out fiberglass, but my experience is limited to patching up my old pig of a duck boat (God rest her soul). What about the guys that use fleece? Is it some special type that they're using?
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Old 04-18-2007, 07:02 AM   #19
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fiber-glassing

I prefer the west system epoxy resin. I keep both 205 (fast) and 206 (slow) hardeners around the shop depending what I am working on and the temperature I am working in. I like West because it is a very good product and you can buy those conveniant pumps that meter out the resin and hardener in the exact ratio quantities you need. Though West is probably the most expensive Epoxy-Resin you can buy I have never had a failure and when dealing with 125+ gallons of liquid I don't ever want a failure.

For the cloth I just buy plain 6 ounce Hexcel cloth. Most boating supply stores carry both the cloth and the epoxy resin. While I don't mind buying the epoxy resin at a pricey boat store because you have to factor in shipping from an on-line place,
http://www.fiberglasssite.com
That is the best price I have found on the cloth yet and I tend to buy it 50 yards at a time, shipping is reasonable, and they will sell down to 5 or 10 yard quanties, if you call them they might sell less.

I am sure you know you can just cut the cloth with a nice pair of shears, my wife got pissed off at me after using her nice quilting shears so she finally bought me my own pair so I wouldn't dull hers and have to resharpen them.

I also use the quilting rotary cutters for cutting the cloth, when using scissors I hate dealing with cloth that bunches, with the rotary cutter I just lay the cloth out on my table and can lay a straight edge on it and rotary cut the whole thing quickly. Jo-Anns sells the rotary cutters and the replacement blades are cheap enough. Again my wife gave me one after I kept taking hers. The table will get scratched up and they make cutting boards specifically for the rotary cutters but again I have to borrow my wifes if I want to use it, I just cut on my work-shop table and don't care about scratches.

For the actual application of the epoxy-resin I use the rubber squeegees that you buy for doing automotive body work. After the epoxy cures on them you just flex them and the epoxy breaks right off, I have had the same set for 5 years. I also buy kitchen rubber spatulas that I can shape for the hard-to-work corners and such. Once the cloth is applied and the wetting coat of epoxy is applied with the squeegees I will switch over to the cheap 1" foam paint rollers for spreading the filler layers of epoxy-resin and just throw those away. Make sure you take them off the roller before they cure or else you will be buying new roller handles as well.

When working in the boxes, mind the pooling of excess resin in the bottom, if it gets too thick it could crack during curing, I have had enough cracks in my cured epoxy that I had to grind out and restart that I know what I don't want to do. It is easier to add more epoxy than to take away epoxy if you have too much.

I have an entire write up on the building of a fiber-glass aquarium, it is posted on a fish-site. If you go to http://www.cichlid-forum.com and if you follow the Library link on the left and then scroll down and find the DIY section, there are a few articles on building the plywood aquariums. Just ignore the parts about the acrylic front/sides and build a solid box. I tend to use Stainless Steel screws rather than brass, I don't care about the color of my exposed screw heads and prefer the square-drive screws.

For the baffolds I am just going to use the same 7/8" plywood, cut some 1" holes near the bottom (break out the bottom edge with the band saw), epoxy them (don't think they need cloth since they don't need to be strong) and glue/screw them into place inside the tank. That way the liquid cannot get any linear movement built up.

For the top of the oil and water tanks I am just going to cut the top out, glass it up and then use liquid nails to glue and screw it on, then fiber glass the outside corners, since the top will never be immersed I think this will be enough to prevent spillage.

I know nothing about the fleece applications.

I will document the 80-gallon oil tank and post it on here and/or my other bus-building web site as I go.

If you are going to have the tank exposed inside the bus and use for a bench seat or something, you might want to consider using the oak or maple plywood. I tend to use this even if it is not exposed because it is usually better quality than the regualr construction plywood. The oil tank will be built from this and then a separate insulated box will be built around it so no one can touch the inner tank and risk burning themselves.
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Old 04-18-2007, 09:17 AM   #20
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oil tank

for all that work you could go get a sheet of 16 ga steel ($60) and build a tank and not worry what little demon will raise his ugly head down the road. I don't think the fiberglass tank is a good idea. Great for a fish tank that is open on the top, filled with water and not heated to that temperature. If you ever get any alcohol in there it will break down the resin and you will have a soggy mess. sportyrick
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