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Old 04-12-2016, 12:10 PM   #1
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Dec 2015
Location: Bozeman, MT
Posts: 23
Year: 2002
Coachwork: Goshen
Chassis: Chevrolet
Rated Cap: 17
'02 Goshen conversion

Hi, everyone! My name's Spencer- I'm a vintage clothing dealer and in three more weeks will be getting my Masters in Architecture. My fiance's a photographer and for the past year+, we've been traveling all over the west, shooting small towns and trolling through thrift and antique shops, picking for my business. A couple of months ago we decided we would be taking to the road full time after graduation and went out in search of a bus to convert. We ended up setting on a 2002 Chevy 6.5L Express with Goshen body, formerly operated by Montana Transit.


Here's how it looked when we bought it. Pardon some of the irregularities from the stitch, wanted to get the whole thing in the shot.


And so, we started work stripping it out. Had a few troubles with registration, the state had originally titled it as a GOSH EXP 1 ton pickup, which of course, doesn't really exist, but the friendly folks at the Montana DMV had a good laugh, did some googling and sorted it out, asked me some questions about the conversion I was planning, and eventually settled on giving me regular personal truck tags on it.
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Old 04-12-2016, 12:21 PM   #2
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Welcome Guys! --- Sounds like a good start to a fun adventure. Keep the pix a'comin'.
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Old 04-12-2016, 12:23 PM   #3
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Join Date: Dec 2015
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Year: 2002
Coachwork: Goshen
Chassis: Chevrolet
Rated Cap: 17
Paint going on

Out taking a break


With all the seats out, I started work on the cabinets. While I'm still at school, I have access to a very, very nice woodshop (where I used to work) and a woodshop manager who converted his own schoolbus back in the '70s and is more than willing to help me out.



Cabinets going in. With such low windows in the wheelchair bus, I've made the backs with an angled section, this gives a full view out when you're standing at the counter, and gives a cleaner look from outside. That back angle will be carpeted to match the ceiling when they're all done.

We scrounged up an old dresser, which (though I haven't taken photos of it yet), I've built a frame for it to sit in, bolted in the same way as the rest of the cabinets, and with a matching back angle.


We've gone with a two tank, foot pump operated water system (anyone know a good place to get a faucet without the valves- just the spigot?) For simplicity's sake, we've also gone with a fancy schmancy cooler instead of a fridge, a Nature's Head composting toilet and a PV array for the roof.

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Old 04-12-2016, 12:31 PM   #4
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Dec 2015
Location: Bozeman, MT
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Year: 2002
Coachwork: Goshen
Chassis: Chevrolet
Rated Cap: 17
Here's a detail of how the cabinets are attaching. The bus has L-track in the floor for wheelchairs. I bought some more double stud threaded hardware and dado-ed out some 4x4s to sit flush, which bolt into that hardware. The cabinets have a pocket underneath which sit on two of those 4x's each, and screw into it. They're then all screwed together through the corner reinforcements. Super solid.



I got a delivery yesterday of putting green astroturf, which, in homage to Baltimore row-houses, we've covered the front stairs with. A bit silly, but it goes well with the dashboard hula girl. You can see a bit more in that shot how the shelves and cabinets are going together. We still haven't built the doors for them, but they will all have latches to keep them from swinging open while we're driving.



A bit out of order- another scrounged piece, our kitchen table, which is just the right height to use with the two original bus seats that we're leaving in. I'm using some plumbing hardware to bolt the legs of the table into the floor. The closest leg will have to be moved a bit to make it easy to slide into, but that's an easy fix. In that shot, the cabinet frames are uneven, the section housing the sink needs to be taken back into the shop to be notched out to accommodate the gas filler surround.



The wheelchair lift is also now gone, it lasted three hours on craigslist before someone came with a forklift and tools and pulled it for his father's wheelchair van. Not bad- there are a couple of other lifts from bus conversion projects in town that people have priced way too high that have been languishing on CL for months. Really frees up a lot of space with it gone.
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Old 04-12-2016, 12:58 PM   #5
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Nice job you guys. That looks like an ideal setup.
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Old 04-12-2016, 05:25 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dinerman View Post
I got a delivery yesterday of putting green astroturf, which, in homage to Baltimore row-houses, we've covered the front stairs with. A bit silly, but it goes well with the dashboard hula girl.
Ballmer, eh hon? Now yer gonna hafta cover it with PermaStone!
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Old 04-12-2016, 11:17 PM   #7
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Nice build! Are you going to tint the windows with 5% tint for some privacy and to help keep the temp down in the sun?
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Old 04-21-2016, 05:07 PM   #8
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Any new updates????
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Old 04-21-2016, 05:52 PM   #9
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Dec 2015
Location: Bozeman, MT
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Year: 2002
Coachwork: Goshen
Chassis: Chevrolet
Rated Cap: 17
It's been put somewhat on hold for the next week and a half until we both graduate. If I could, I'd be out their eight hours a day knocking out the rest of the work. I've had to park it down the street so I won't be tempted and can finish off all the loose ends of my architecture thesis.

That's not to say there hasn't been any progress since the last round of photos. I talked about it a bit in one of the posts, but didn't get to show it: the wheel chair lift's gone! Frees up a ton of space. We're going to be building a window seat for that area with a flip out table for outdoor dining when the wheelchair doors are open. Inside, we're making an area to hide our composting toilet, with an opening front so that we can deal with all the tanks and cranks that that requires. The other half of it will be separated and used for storage, and the top will be upholstered so that we don't have to crowd in next to each other when we're eating at the dining table (seen in the earlier pictures, moved out now that we've test fitted it).

Funny story (gross story?) on that Nature's Head composting toilet. Seemed like a good way to go since we're trying to keep this whole rig as self sustaining as possible and I've had to sit through eight years of building systems and environmental architecture lectures singing the praises of such units. Well, they're real pricey. But I'm an eBay guy, a vintage clothing dealer by trade, but I know there almost nothing you can't find on eBay a lot cheaper than anywhere else. And hey, after the first use, every toilet is used, right? I don't think I've ever had the honor of a new one. What could go wrong, I said to myself. I found one for about half what they're running new from some guy on the east coast who runs a hipster off grid B&B. Apparently he installed them in the cabins but they take a bit of doing to use properly (diverter, cranks, tanks, like I said) and they ended up being more of a hassle than they were worth. But he said that it had only been in for a season and that it had been thoroughly bleached out, good as new. Well, it showed up in the mail in a great big box, wrapped in bubble wrap and saran wrap and I knew the instant I opened it something was wrong. It was upside down for one. And awfully heavy. And leaking. Maybe it had been scooped out a bit, but both the urine tank and the composting tank still had *ahem* contents. Took a couple of hours with gloves, bleach and a hose, but I eventually got the thing to the point it was supposed to be in.

We got our hydraulic bed lift hinge kit for our as-of-yet unbuilt underbed storage. The second I'm out of my thesis defense that will start being built.

Let's see, what else. Got our peel-and-stick carpet squares for the rest of the bus. With the wheelchair tie down rails held in with so many fasteners, it's not worth pulling them for the 100% perfect, flat floor we'd like. But they're pretty close to flush, so rather than try to build up the floor (and lose headroom, I've only got 1/2" as it is) we're making up for it with thicker carpeting that will get fixed directly to the ribbed rubber. It seems to work decently well when the glue lines run perpendicular to the ribs of the floor.

Our scavenged vintage dresser matches the kinds of design we like, but is a little flimsier than it should be for being in the back of a bus and obviously isn't well suited to things like not tipping over. So- I've built a pocket that it fits into, with 1/2" plywood on either side and on the back, a matching angled panel like the rest of the cabinets, and a footer plate which bolts in the same as everything else. No way for it to go anywhere now.




Lastly, our antique "drive carefully - motorists can be recalled by their maker" license plate topper, mounted above the fuse box.
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Old 04-21-2016, 07:32 PM   #10
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Join Date: Feb 2014
Location: Arizona via Baton Rouge
Posts: 640
Year: 1999
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: Freight-shaker (Freightliner)
Engine: Cat 3126b 250 HP
Rated Cap: Only 1 seat
Love the plate......hate the @$$hole who duped you. I'd file a claim with ebay and get your money back and stick it to him. If you really want to get even, and you took pictures of the box, you could call UPS or USPS (whomever he shipped it through) and let them know he shipped an undocumented biohazard shipment....... then you could sit back and laugh as he got arrested and you got your money back.

Some people suck no matter how nice you are.

Last note, wheelchair lift is out, ever think of removing the door and installing a slide out closet in it? Your other half might just love you more for that!

And good luck with the last bit of school!!!

-Doc
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