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Old 01-18-2014, 10:30 PM   #1
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where is the best place to start?

We purchased a 1998 Bluebird All American RE Monday (1/13/14). We are taking out the seats which is the "best place to start", but after that, what is the next step or first step in converting it? thanks in advance.
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Old 01-19-2014, 03:02 PM   #2
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Re: where is the best place to start?

I would say plan out your plumbing first. That's what gives most bus converters the most problems. Mounting clean water, black and grey tanks then running pipes and drains to them can be a major hassle on smaller buses but generally easier for the longer buses. Still, it takes a bit of planning to get water to your sink, shower and toilet then from them to drain well. Wheel wells and frame rails are the usual impediments to plumbing plans.

Where to mount propane tanks and house batteries was next on my "where the he** will this thing go" list.

In general, look at what others have done with plumbing, propane and electrical. Tanks and such are usually in the same places for a reason.
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Old 01-19-2014, 03:52 PM   #3
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Re: where is the best place to start?

Sell me your bus? Just kidding.

Finish the demo. Seats, windows, headliner, inner wall skin, ALL insulation, then floor right down to steel.

Finish all steel work (raise roof, move door, cover windows, ect, clean the floor steel, rust proof, make floor plan, rough in waste plumbing, insulate floor, lay subfloor, insulate walls, insulate ceiling, Frame walls, add fresh water plumbing, rough in cabinets, shower, toilet, start finishing walls, ect.

Climate and usage change the way and where things get installed. Things like battery location depend on climate, battery chemistry, and usage. Water tanks in warm climates get installed under the bus, cold climates inside the bus. Heating method also comes into play. IMO hot water radiant floor heating is superior in every way over forced hot air. 10 times more efficient at moving the heat, and 1/2 lines are much easier to route throughout the bus than a 4 inch forced air duct.

That is just a quick off the top of my head. I put the things in order the way the generally need to be done. Some circumstances may change the order of things.

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Old 01-19-2014, 06:33 PM   #4
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Re: where is the best place to start?

A step before those two good suggestions-figure out you plans/budget/time frame till it "needs" to be done. I've seen alot of folks in here draw up floor plans first-then decide they need changes-easier to do it on paper.
Is this a long term build-or do you need it done in 2 months? (Long term gives you more oppertunity to find bargains for your build supplies.)
Do you have the funds to do it all at once-or do you have to convert it one step at a time? (Then you have to plan which system to work on without getting in the way of the next step.)
What are your plans for the bus? How about 5 years from now? Are you boondocking in International Falls,Mn-or weekend camping in Fl.?
How many skills+ tools you have? Are there parts of a build out of your comfort zone?
Look around at the great build pics in here-theres some serious artistry out there.
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Old 01-19-2014, 11:46 PM   #5
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Re: where is the best place to start?

thanks guys. The seats and floors are out. Now we have to take out the old floors and re deck it. I have to bypass the rear heater core (or whatever it's called). We are really excited about getting started. I was thinking electrical would come next, just for convenience. That way the there's power in the bus and maybe even an air conditioner. We live in Hattiesburg, MS, so it'll be 100 degrees by late May. We plan to live in the bus for a while when it's livable. We have a limited budget, but we should have all of the parts we need. We have a donor camper 1993 Nomad. I 'm hoping that the demo of that will teach me a lot about how it needs to be put together.
Floor first, that's what's next. Thanks again.
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Old 01-19-2014, 11:48 PM   #6
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Re: where is the best place to start?

also do you guys have any ideas for getting rid of seats?
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Old 01-20-2014, 01:05 AM   #7
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Re: where is the best place to start?

Just like any residential construction to prevent damage, don't put your finishing layer on the floor till last. Flooring finishes should not be installed under cabinets, ect as you may need to replace it down the road. A few of the members on this site have learned that the hard way with laminate flooring.

I would also steer clear of laminate flooring in a bus. Better choices for the same money would include vinyl plank ($2.50 sqf), VC commercial Tile ($0.99 sqf), ect.

Nat
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Old 01-20-2014, 10:17 AM   #8
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Re: where is the best place to start?

Quote:
Originally Posted by nat_ster
Just like any residential construction to prevent damage, don't put your finishing layer on the floor till last. Flooring finishes should not be installed under cabinets, ect as you may need to replace it down the road. A few of the members on this site have learned that the hard way with laminate flooring.

I would also steer clear of laminate flooring in a bus. Better choices for the same money would include vinyl plank ($2.50 sqf), VC commercial Tile ($0.99 sqf), ect.

Nat
Agreed. Also, after you put your cabinets and everything else in the bus you'll realize that you only need about half as much flooring as you would have needed to do the entire bus floor!

Just a quick anecdote: I got a couple boxes of laminate fake wood flooring for around $0.40 sq/ft. It was the last of the inventory, some were damaged and Rona wanted it gone. Most boxes had a plank with a damaged corner, but I think there's enough good stuff to do the floor twice, which is excellent because I don't expect it to last forever Moral of the story is that if your local building supply store has a "bargain garage", "damaged goods shed", etc..., it could be worth checking out.
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Old 02-02-2014, 10:34 PM   #9
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Re: where is the best place to start?

Got up the rotten plywood today. We will grind off the screw heads tomorrow and fill all the holes and ospho the rust. Order buskote and primer to cote it with. Not a lot of rust, just the normal for a rotten floor… hahaha. Wire wheel will be our friend. You guys have any suggestions for decking and insulation. I'm thinking use the styro insulation, with 3/4 plywood floor. Any suggestions on what to use?
I would post pics, but my iPhone 's pics are the wrong size. We have a blog going, so you could see pics there.
wilsonsonthebus.blogspot.com
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Old 02-03-2014, 09:29 PM   #10
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Re: where is the best place to start?

got all the screw heads cut off. ground off lots of heavy rust. disconnected the rear heater, and removed all the hose. I will rerun the hose under the bus, but for now it is just looped at the engine. still have to treat the rust, wire wheel the rest of the floor, plug the holes, and cote it. Then finally put in the insulation and decking.
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