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Old 04-16-2014, 06:07 AM   #1
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Newbie questions about my build!

Hey everyone, just signed up a few hours ago and made a topic in the Everything Else section, but I wanted to ask a few questions about the build I'm going to be working on over the summer, so I'll gladly take any advice from anyone who's willing to share!

First I just wanted to say that I have a 40 foot, year 2000 bus and have removed most of the seats already last summer.

Some of the quick questions I've been wondering about are these

1) When I'm doing the new flooring, I plan on using laminate, will this be okay? and also, what's the best option for thin insulation under the laminate?

2) I'm in Canada, so when we took the bus to the mountains late last September, it got really cold at night. The inside ceiling of the bus is a nice white paint colour and as much as I'd like to avoid doing anything to the ceiling, are there any options to insulate the ceiling without having to take away any head room? Like something really thin?

3) As for the floor plan, what's the best thing to do about the wheel wells? What are some good suggestions to build or place in those areas?

4) The all in one type of toilet/showers I've seen in some motorhomes, are these a good option? We don't need a big bathroom, so we want to maximize the rest of the space on the bus if we can use a toilet/shower combo like this.

5) Removing windows. Most people use sheet metal to cover the windows they no longer want. I've seen some people simply screw in the sheet metal, but I was wondering about welding the metal to the bus, is one way more recommended than the other? I thought welding it might look better, but I don't know the pros and cons of either option.

6) Rust on the under carriage. I come from an area that experiences a lot of snow during the winters so there is quite a bit of rust underneath the bus. The body of the bus is in pretty great shape. There are a couple of small rusted spots that I could maybe fix with sheet metal, but what is the best way to take care of the rust under the bus and also prevent further rusting after it's cleaned up or repaired? We won't be really using the bus in the winter seasons like when it was operational for transporting school children, so it won't experience the same amount of cold weather use or moisture it has in the past, but I don't know a lot about repairing or conditioning rusted metal.

Those are the first basic questions that have crossed my mind recently, I hope people can answer them, I'm sure I'll learn more from reading around here as the summer approaches and I know I'll definitely have more questions, but any help and advice people can give me so far will be greatly appreciated and put my mind at ease a bit.

Thanks in advance!
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Old 04-16-2014, 10:44 AM   #2
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Re: Newbie questions about my build!

Welcome to skoolie.
I don't have a whole lot of experience. I just bought a bus that I disassembled the previous owners camperization. It had click type laminate flooring and it was VERY slippery when coming in from the snow. Another downfall of that type of flooring is it doesn't like water. The water will swell the wood fibers and it will look crappy quickly.

Richard
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Old 04-16-2014, 01:53 PM   #3
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Re: Newbie questions about my build!

Hey there,
I have'nt bought my bus yet but I share a lot of your questions and I sure will love to hear the answers members have for you. I live In Qebec City so I have the same concern with under carriage rust. For what it's worth, I found out about this product http://www.corroseal.com/ on another post viewtopic.php?f=9&t=467360 yesterday. Sounds like an interesting concept... almost too good to be true.
Where are you located? Out west?
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Old 04-16-2014, 04:09 PM   #4
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Re: Newbie questions about my build!

Quote:
Originally Posted by PowerDaniels
Hey everyone, just signed up a few hours ago and made a topic in the Everything Else section, but I wanted to ask a few questions about the build I'm going to be working on over the summer, so I'll gladly take any advice from anyone who's willing to share!

First I just wanted to say that I have a 40 foot, year 2000 bus and have removed most of the seats already last summer.

Some of the quick questions I've been wondering about are these

1) When I'm doing the new flooring, I plan on using laminate, will this be okay? and also, what's the best option for thin insulation under the laminate?

No, any amount of moisture will destroy it. Use vinyl plank, or commercial VC tile instead. It looks just like laminate, but is made of moisture proof vinyl.

2) I'm in Canada, so when we took the bus to the mountains late last September, it got really cold at night. The inside ceiling of the bus is a nice white paint colour and as much as I'd like to avoid doing anything to the ceiling, are there any options to insulate the ceiling without having to take away any head room? Like something really thin?

You need a minimum of 2.5 inches at the floor, and 2.5 inches at the ceiling to make a proper thermal break. That is 5 inches. Get ready for a roof raise, and budget for spray foam

3) As for the floor plan, what's the best thing to do about the wheel wells? What are some good suggestions to build or place in those areas?

Counter top, beds, ect.

4) The all in one type of toilet/showers I've seen in some motorhomes, are these a good option? We don't need a big bathroom, so we want to maximize the rest of the space on the bus if we can use a toilet/shower combo like this.

No, most hate them. Skip the black tank, go composting, or incinerating toilet. Mixing your waste with water is a waste of the most needed, and heavy resource that you will carry. It also makes it stink way more.

5) Removing windows. Most people use sheet metal to cover the windows they no longer want. I've seen some people simply screw in the sheet metal, but I was wondering about welding the metal to the bus, is one way more recommended than the other? I thought welding it might look better, but I don't know the pros and cons of either option.

No welding. It warps thin sheet metal. Your bus was built with rivets and screws. Continue that way.

6) Rust on the under carriage. I come from an area that experiences a lot of snow during the winters so there is quite a bit of rust underneath the bus. The body of the bus is in pretty great shape. There are a couple of small rusted spots that I could maybe fix with sheet metal, but what is the best way to take care of the rust under the bus and also prevent further rusting after it's cleaned up or repaired? We won't be really using the bus in the winter seasons like when it was operational for transporting school children, so it won't experience the same amount of cold weather use or moisture it has in the past, but I don't know a lot about repairing or conditioning rusted metal.

Those are the first basic questions that have crossed my mind recently, I hope people can answer them, I'm sure I'll learn more from reading around here as the summer approaches and I know I'll definitely have more questions, but any help and advice people can give me so far will be greatly appreciated and put my mind at ease a bit.

Thanks in advance!
Where are you in Canada. I would love to meet and help if your close enough.

Nat
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Old 04-16-2014, 09:06 PM   #5
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Re: Newbie questions about my build!

alwaysFlOoReD, we don't plan on using it during the winter, so it won't be tracking snow in and out, the only moisture we'd have to worry about would be the rain.
We were thinking about doing click type laminate as well because we ended up with a bunch of it for free. We're trying to keep this as low budget as possible, so that's a bit disappointing if it won't work well.

For those who asked, nat_ster and jonnybgood, I'm in Saskatchewan.

nat_ster I don't think a roof raise is a realistic option for us, it sounds like that would be either costly or a lot of work we're not familiar with, so I'm not sure we'll be able to create a proper thermal break as you mentioned, again though, it's not going to be used in the winter or overly cold weather, so it might not need to be that level of insulated.

as for the incinerator toilet or composting, I'm not familiar with those options, I will do research, but realistically are they costly? We're trying to go for the cheapest route.

Also besides http://www.corroseal.com/ what are my other options for rust? I noticed that was the only question nat_ster didn't provide any input on, so I'm curious about that still.

I will try to get some photos up ASAP, I mostly want to show a bit of the rust I'm looking to take care of on the under carriage, I saw that nat_ster had commented on rust in a different topic, about the back end falling apart, so I definitely want to show the condition of our bus.

Thanks so far to all who've given input!
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Old 04-16-2014, 10:39 PM   #6
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Re: Newbie questions about my build!

5 gallon pail with a seat, and lid, kitty litter, and some shopping bags is the cheapest way to take a $hit and not smell it after.

Here is how it works, you remove the lid from the pail, install a shopping bag, add two hands full of kitty litter. Take you $hit, wipe, ect. Now add one more handfull of kitty litter, and tie up the bag. Leave the bag in the pail, remove the seat, and reinstall the lid.

Keep doing this till the pail is full, or you can dump it in the trash.

For anyone that thinks $hit should not be in the trash, where do you think baby diapers go?

When my baby's were in diapers, we had a pail with a spacial lid. The lid held a roll of plastic cling wrap, with a hole in the center. After changing baby, I would shove the diaper threw the hole with a twist. As it went into the hole it got wrapped with the cling wrap. Never did smell the diaper pail after I got that pail.

If you got the laminate for free, install it. I won't install the junk in a barn, as I don't like mold. As a contractor IMO It should be removed from the market.

Ospho sprayed out of a hand pump weed sprayer is your best bet under the bus for rust repair. Google the name, and you will see the great results. Then top coat with a paint like por 15 or a cheaper alternative.

If you don't intend on owning the bus more than 5 years, just pressure wash the underside to remove any remaining salt, and forget about it. It won't fall apart before your done with it.

Nat
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Old 04-16-2014, 10:57 PM   #7
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Re: Newbie questions about my build!

Great info again nat, I really do appreciate the lengths you've gone to help me out considering I'm brand new here, honestly.

We're not looking at going THAT cheap for the bathroom, but that is a really interesting method that I've never heard of before, so thanks for explaining that! I just didn't know what the cheapest would be between incinerator, compost and standard water/motorhome toilet.

thanks again
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Old 04-16-2014, 11:26 PM   #8
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Re: Newbie questions about my build!

Quote:
Originally Posted by PowerDaniels
Great info again nat, I really do appreciate the lengths you've gone to help me out considering I'm brand new here, honestly.

We're not looking at going THAT cheap for the bathroom, but that is a really interesting method that I've never heard of before, so thanks for explaining that! I just didn't know what the cheapest would be between incinerator, compost and standard water/motorhome toilet.

thanks again
Glad I'm able to help.

2K for the composting or incinerating. Around $500 to $1000 for a porcelain flushing RV toilet, plumbing, and black tank.

That's why the $20 bucket looks so appealing. Here in Canada without good insulation, plumbing can be a nightmare.

Nat
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Old 04-17-2014, 03:01 AM   #9
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Re: Newbie questions about my build!

Quote:
Originally Posted by nat_ster
Here in Canada without good insulation, plumbing can be a nightmare.

Nat

what exactly do you mean? how would it be a nightmare?
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Old 04-17-2014, 03:07 AM   #10
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Re: Newbie questions about my build!

Quote:
Originally Posted by PowerDaniels
Quote:
Originally Posted by nat_ster
Here in Canada without good insulation, plumbing can be a nightmare.
Nat
what exactly do you mean? how would it be a nightmare?
Frozen, leaking pipes, both fresh water and sewage. One more reason not mix your $hit with water, or do a black tank.

Edit, I now see you mentioned you will not use it in cold weather. However, I call BS on this as once you have a built bus, you will want to use it in the winter. After all it stays winter 8 months of the year in our neck of the woods.

Nat
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Old 04-17-2014, 03:14 AM   #11
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Re: Newbie questions about my build!

True it does stay cold a lot of the year here, but there's more of a plan of once we get it built to avoid the cold winters and head down south for a couple of months, so we're not too concerned with over insulating. Obviously we might have to make some changes in the future if those plumbing issues will be a concern for cold weather.

A couple of other things I was wondering, if I wanted to make a captain's chair type of seat that swivels or turns for a passenger near the driver, would I be able to make something like this from a regular mini van bucket seat or similar vehicle seat? Would this be costly? I haven't been able to find any from old conversion vans that already have a swivel option, so I'm now curious on if it would be costly, difficult or impractical to try to make one.

The other thing I thought of was, if we were going to use the back 7 or so feet for a bedroom and wanted that to be carpeted, should we just consider using the laminate for the front sections of the bus and use carpet over plywood for the back room?


EDIT: Also, here's a handful of pictures of the bus to show what we're working with. I still have to take some new ones to show the underside of the bus, but these were already on hand.

Link: http://imgur.com/a/iZ5sY
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Old 04-17-2014, 03:41 AM   #12
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Re: Newbie questions about my build!

Yes regular seats can have frames built for them with a swivel at the base. 1000 pound trailer stub axles make great swivels. Small car spindles can also be used.

I love a carpeted bedroom too. However, after knowing what lives in carpet I won't install it in my house/bus. Some members here have carpet, so it's up to you.

Nat
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Old 04-17-2014, 06:21 AM   #13
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Re: Newbie questions about my build!

good to know about the regular seats, hopefully it will be an easy and cheap option if i'm unable to find actual captain's chairs from an old conversion van or other vehicle type that contains them.

Maybe we'll use laminate for the entire floor and then lay something like a removable throw rug, I was just curious if I could skip using laminate in the bedroom and use carpet over plywood or something.

I was looking at the La Casita bus conversion topic and I really like what they've done with their emergency windows. One thing I've always wondered about is what to do about replacing the windows or altering windows so that a screen can be installed for when the windows are open. Is there a good topic for what I could do for window options?

also, based on the few photos I've shown that aren't the best for indicating rust spots, does it look like any of the rust viewable will be problematic in the long run?
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Old 04-19-2014, 01:03 AM   #14
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Re: Newbie questions about my build!

Anyone have any ideas on my window question? I'm thinking of trying to get a hold of a bunch of emergency exit windows from non-running buses. I want a cheap alternative to the standard windows that wouldn't be practical to add screens to.
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Old 04-19-2014, 11:03 PM   #15
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Re: Newbie questions about my build!

try calling the scrap yards for seats out of a conversion van, I got mine from one for $150.00 for the bases and seats, I modified the passenger base to move more forward, so there beside the driver, I used the base that came with the bus and replaced the seat, just the passenger spins around. as for screens I made one and it fits on the inside that way if it does fall out its inside, lorna posted how to make them.
gbstewart (another Canadian been -22c for 3 days today it snowed 10cm but its only -1 )
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Old 04-20-2014, 12:59 AM   #16
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Re: Newbie questions about my build!

Quote:
Originally Posted by gbstewart
try calling the scrap yards for seats out of a conversion van, I got mine from one for $150.00 for the bases and seats, I modified the passenger base to move more forward, so there beside the driver, I used the base that came with the bus and replaced the seat, just the passenger spins around. as for screens I made one and it fits on the inside that way if it does fall out its inside, lorna posted how to make them.
gbstewart (another Canadian been -22c for 3 days today it snowed 10cm but its only -1 )
can I see photos of the way you made your passenger side slide forward? I was just going to put it behind the stairs and when driving have a wood panel shaped to match the opening and act as a floor/foot rest area.


Also, I finally got all of the seats removed from the bus today!

Tomorrow I'm going to start removing the old flooring. I'll probably start an actual thread with photo progress about my build as well when I get more time.
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Old 04-20-2014, 01:38 AM   #17
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Re: Newbie questions about my build!

The pics will be in his build thread.

If you haven't already, go read at least 10 of the long, multi page build threads. You will gain and love the time it takes.

I realy love picture threads. That's part of why I try to make as many as I can.

Nat
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Old 04-20-2014, 02:47 AM   #18
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Re: Newbie questions about my build!

Quote:
Originally Posted by nat_ster
The pics will be in his build thread.

If you haven't already, go read at least 10 of the long, multi page build threads. You will gain and love the time it takes.

I realy love picture threads. That's part of why I try to make as many as I can.

Nat
Yeah I've been going through a ton of build topics for ideas, I must have missed the photos of that in his topic or skipped a page by accident.
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Old 04-21-2014, 09:50 AM   #19
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Re: Newbie questions about my build!

Regarding you window screen question, John Van Slatt made his with old hard drive magnets to stick them up on the outside over the windows

http://www.vonslatt.com/bus-body.shtml
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Old 04-21-2014, 06:41 PM   #20
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Re: Newbie questions about my build!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Scooternj
Regarding you window screen question, John Van Slatt made his with old hard drive magnets to stick them up on the outside over the windows

http://www.vonslatt.com/bus-body.shtml
Awesome! Thanks for that suggestion, that really looks like a good option to me.
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