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Old 04-04-2013, 07:09 PM   #1
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Plumb, level, and square?

I've been thinking about how to get things plumb, level, and square as I ponder the interior of my bus. Obviously these (plumb and level, at least) are normally done with some kind of bubble level -- but that's with the assumption that the building itself from the footings up was built level too. I don't know about your parking spots, but apparently "level" wasn't one of the requirements when mine was built!

So... I'm thinking about how to compensate. Shim the wheels by parking on blocks (wood, brick, sand piles, those plastic stack-up levelers, etc)? Problem with that is that the suspension will move as weight (ie, me) shifts around inside. Jack(s) and/or stand(s) under the frame at the corners? A little complicated.. and I don't own a jack or stands rated for a 30,000 GVWR vehicle yet..

Maybe I could modify the level instead: put a new set of marks on it calibrated to the floor or wall, then move it to whatever I'm installing. But the front-to-back and left-to-right angles are likely to be different, and I'm sure to forget what I'm doing and make a mistake sooner or later with that method.

Oohh.. just realized that the bus I'm looking at getting has air bags. Maybe I can install valves on that system and have built-in levelers. That might work nicely..
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Old 04-04-2013, 07:33 PM   #2
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Re: Plumb, level, and square?

No shiat...a level is not required in a mobil build,like was said measure from a know spot that "looks" level ie: bottom of windows ,seat mounts etc.
If it "looks" level your head should compensate
Now door ways and other openings that go side to side need more "gap" because the distance will change as body "moves"and flexes...
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Old 04-04-2013, 08:03 PM   #3
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Re: Plumb, level, and square?

I just built my stuff square to the floor. It's the only flat surface in the bus.
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Old 04-04-2013, 09:21 PM   #4
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Re: Plumb, level, and square?

Magnets, and string along with a carpenter square are good for layout and making things square. The seat rail is one of the straightest surfaces. I've found that the floor, while straight in the long run, tends to be off in the short distance the square uses.
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Old 04-04-2013, 10:06 PM   #5
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Re: Plumb, level, and square?

Our floor is the flat surface we went with. We use an old rather large square... the one David used back when we were installing cabinets & remodeling vintage houses along with a straight edge. I do have to admit, the floor in the bus is perhaps a flatter surface than some of the 75+ year old houses we've worked (and most of the new ones). As for level.... you have obviously not been in very many campgrounds!

"Level" means the unit is level enough to sleep in. If you are looking for "level" in regards to a bubble level, then you need to just stop now.

We are "level" right now. No blocks, boards, jacks, airbags. According to my inclinometer it is showing 1 off level front to back and side to side. Not too bad for a 40 ft bus. But I don't think our bus normally sits level inside on a level surface outside. It could be due to an optical illusion. MOST, not all, campsites are generally "level enough" unless you put the tires in a hole. Only the hardsided pop-up needed to be really level in order to use. We used to take David's good cabinet level camping with us. I have no intention of jacking the bus up like that. Besides, what's plumb & square here will be off once we move to another location. It's why we do not have real close tolerances and everything is built with flexing in mind. We are grouting our countertop tile & hearth tile in caulking. The backsplash is a flexible plastic "pressed tin" look panel. The cabinet doors are full overlay. The flooring is a stable vinyl composition tile. Shower stall is a (4 piece) fiberglass sheet on a pan.When you stop to think we used to install everything in houses with 1/8" max gaps, the way we have built the bus is "sloppy" for us, but the tolerances are needed. We don't think the bus will flex all that much. But my furniture (30+ yo chest & 50+ yo rock maple table) I drug out here from the high humidity Southern Appalachians have up to 1/4" gaps where the wood has dried out. I'm afraid to tighten it up because we will be going back to high humidity areas. I will place a fabric rope in the opened up cracks. When we move back into moisture and the wood starts to swell back, I will remove the rope. I just hope everything in the bus doesn't swell too much! We are planning on having a small humidifier installed later.

And yes, the grease in the skillet is slightly deeper on one side (this time it's the left side). We deal with it.


Plumb & level. I gotta go tell that one to David. It's sooo funny.
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Old 04-05-2013, 01:46 PM   #6
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Re: Plumb, level, and square?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Part-time
Quote:
Originally Posted by lornaschinske
...We are grouting our countertop tile & hearth tile in caulking....
I was going to do that for my tiles on the shower floor but was told that caulking or silicone won't stick very well to tiles.
I found out there is a flexible grout just for that purpose, called flexi grout. http://www.flexco-nz.co.nz/pdfs/Poly...Flexigrout.pdf...
Depends on the tile and depends on the caulk. A high silicone content caulk does not like to stick to a very smooth glazed/polished tile. But the edges of tile is not glazed or polished. We are caulking the 1/16" gap between the tiles on countertops & hearth with DAP Dynaflex 230 Indoor/Outdoor - Aluminum Grey. We are using a porcelain tile. I would give a link but the store SKU won't pull up the tile (706-124). It looks to me like very old weathered concrete complete with cracks. I'm caulking the 1/16" gap between the VCT flooring with DAP Dynaflex 230 Indoor/Outdoor - Black so it looks more like a leaded glass window... but on the floor. Especially after I seal the floor with a high gloss floor sealer. I have to special order the cases of coloured VCT as our store doesn't carry the colours I want. We do carry the field colour I will be using. The floor is going to take me a while.

My decor is "Vintage Country Cottage with Dieselpunk Leanings".
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Old 04-05-2013, 02:46 PM   #7
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Re: Plumb, level, and square?

Quote:
Originally Posted by bansil
No shiat...a level is not required in a mobil build,like was said measure from a know spot that "looks" level ie: bottom of windows ,seat mounts etc.
If it "looks" level your head should compensate
Now door ways and other openings that go side to side need more "gap" because the distance will change as body "moves"and flexes...
Amen to that...and everything is level at some point as the bus rocks from side to side going down the highway
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Old 04-05-2013, 10:37 PM   #8
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Re: Plumb, level, and square?

Way over rated.
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Old 04-05-2013, 11:38 PM   #9
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Re: Plumb, level, and square?

Quote:
Originally Posted by lornaschinske
<snip> As for level.... you have obviously not been in very many campgrounds!

"Level" means the unit is level enough to sleep in. If you are looking for "level" in regards to a bubble level, then you need to just stop now.

<snip>

Plumb & level. I gotta go tell that one to David. It's sooo funny.
Glad I could make your day. I figured I might be opening myself up for ridicule with this crowd!

I guess really what I'm looking for is a good technique to make everything inside parallel or perpendicular as it "should" be... A couple degrees out of whack, and especially triangular or trapezoidal cracks, makes me crazy to look at. It just doesn't feel like "craftsmanship," you know? I guess I'm one who feels that if it's worth my while to do something, it's worth doing as well as I'm able because I'll be looking at it a very long time.

Measuring off a reference plane (the floor) may work, but as somewhereinusa points out, the floor may (will?) have some variation, not to mention that a 1/16" measurement error is completely unnoticeable over a 10 ft span, but when mounting something say 2 ft wide, it becomes much more noticeable.

See if I ask you all any more perfectionist questions!
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Old 04-06-2013, 12:10 AM   #10
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Re: Plumb, level, and square?

Sometimes craftsmanship is knowing how to put up the trim.
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