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Old 02-17-2019, 02:18 AM   #1
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Aug 2017
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2002 Chevy short preschool bus

Hello all,

After selling my old bus before I did too much to it, I bought another. My main reason for going with a shorty thatís actually only 5í6 is fuel mileage and this one was never a school bus. So lots less wiring and already painted white. The build is for camping and road tripping to baja in the winters. My main factors are reliablility and ease of driving.

This bus has only 65k on it and I just drove it 1000 miles. Brand new all terrains, brakes, and suspension and gets an actual 14.3 mpg going 65mph.

So far Iíve gutted it completely down to bare metal (floor, walls, and ceiling). Iíve also pulled Heater and rear AC.

Today I made a sunroof in the hatch. I found a round bubble sunroof thatís actually a pet window for your fence. Here are my current pics. Iíll take more as I go.

I have a Maxair already and 4 RV windows. A local shop is cutting 18 gauge sheet metal to skin the side windows on both sides so I can remove them all. A local guy is spray foaming the entire bus with 2Ē of foam for $800 once I skin the windows and that should make it a very nice tight and quite shell.

The plan originally was a van but I really like the wider Skoolie bodies and the steel roll cage for sturdiness.
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Old 02-17-2019, 02:21 AM   #2
Mini-Skoolie
 
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Studs

Tomorrow Iím adding studs to all the metal ones so the spray foam can be 2Ē thick and it will give me a solid surface to nail the interior to.
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Old 02-17-2019, 02:23 AM   #3
Mini-Skoolie
 
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Sunroof hatch

Forgot to mention the sunroof hatch allows me a place to stand up in, so I will be putting the sink and stove in that position of the bus. With the hatch kicked up and the bubble it gives me about about 6í2.
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Old 02-17-2019, 04:11 PM   #4
Mini-Skoolie
 
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Skylight hatch

So I got it installed and trimmed out this morning. It allows me to stand up straight when in closed position. In the up position Iím guessing itís about 6í6.
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Old 02-18-2019, 01:39 PM   #5
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Gutted completely

Got all of the panels I want out. Even cut some of the back ones with the grinder so I can get spray foam into every nook. Have to river over as many holes as I can and then try and cover the larger ones with something else. Iím going to try and pull most of the wires also.

Next main project is skinning the windows and putting up my firing strips.
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Old 02-18-2019, 02:06 PM   #6
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Gutted completely

Got all of the panels I want out. Even cut some of the back ones with the grinder so I can get spray foam into every nook. Have to river over as many holes as I can and then try and cover the larger ones with something else. Iím going to try and pull most of the wires also.

Next main project is skinning the windows and putting up my firing strips.
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Old 02-18-2019, 04:56 PM   #7
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Looks like you're making good progress. I like that sunroof/portal - cool idea!
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Old 02-20-2019, 08:26 PM   #8
Mini-Skoolie
 
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Skinning windows and back door window

Got my sheet metal today. The shop in town was able to cut both sides out of 1 sheet of 18 gauge with an inch to spare and itís the exact length of their sheets. They also cut me a piece of 16 gauge for the lower back window. I had them round the corners for that one to match those rear windows. Since my bus is already white I wanted to add a little color so we went with a green thatís almost like Forrest Service green.

I just sanded the panels lightly, one coat of primer, then about 3 coats of green.

Tomorrow Iím going to pop out the windows and get them skinned in hopefully. Iím using liquid nails metal adhesive and 3/16 closed end rivets that I was able to find in town (almost used normal rivets until I read they are not water proof, Thanks to this forum)

Seems easy enough, but with one person it could be a pain.
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Old 02-21-2019, 12:12 PM   #9
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Year: 1996
Coachwork: Bluebird, Collins
Chassis: G30 Bluebird Microbird, E350 Shuttle Bus
Engine: 1995 Chevrolet 350, 1992 Ford 460
That’s a score you found a low mile rig that’s already painted. I have a couple short Chevies. I’m tall so if I had the whole inside stripped like you I’d cut a bigger hole in the roof and raise it a little. I’d design it so I could still get a rack on the roof. And vent out of portals on the side of the raised section of roof as I don’t like roof penetrations (that’s irononic after cutting a big hole in it).
Having good solar on a short bus is tricky as there’s limited roof area. Three things I consider: highest efficiency panels I can find; minimize roof clutter and shading, have some portable panels on the ground so I can park in the shade.
I prefer to build a parallel and separate solar energy system to the existing bus energy system. And put a separate solar panel and small charge controller on the starting battery as well. As my rigs spend 95%-99% of the time parked I’ve never hacked into the alternator charging system to charge house batteries. But as I’d like to do more motoring I’d consider it. But only with quality adjustable charge regulator.
BTW, $800 seems a little steep for the insulation but I know that stuff is spendy. I believe a kit can be bought for $600 and you might have some left over for other insulation projects or for insulating tanks, etc.
Thanks for the build thread.
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Old 02-21-2019, 01:06 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Doktari View Post

BTW, $800 seems a little steep for the insulation but I know that stuff is spendy. I believe a kit can be bought for $600 and you might have some left over for other insulation projects or for insulating tanks, etc.
Thanks for the build thread.
Left over? The 600sf kit is around $700, Unfortunately that sf. rating is at 1" thick, thus you will need 2 kits to do 600sf at 2" thick. My bus has 560sf of wall and ceiling space to fill. It would cost near $1400 for a DIY spray job. $800 for someone else to handle the messy part seems like a bargain.
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Old 02-21-2019, 05:02 PM   #11
Mini-Skoolie
 
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Insulation

Yeah after deciding I want at least 2Ē of it and looking at the kits around I felt like I would probably end up needing 2 (since Iím skimming Emmy side windows). That puts me at $650 so I figure Iíll let the pros do it. Once itís skinned up all the way it should make it rock solid and quieter than it already is. Plus no need for a vapor barrier. I read and watched many Skoolie and van builds and Iíve only read one where someone said they wished they didnít spray foam. Especially the van builds. Most cited noise greatly reducing, which I donít think many take into account.
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Old 02-21-2019, 10:33 PM   #12
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the more renos I see the more I believe I'll have to rip out that interior skinning and spray too / for the noise sure...Ö..but for cool in summer / warm in winter. Sigh......more work but worth it I think
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Old 02-21-2019, 11:07 PM   #13
Mini-Skoolie
 
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Skinning windows

So I made some good progress today. Thought it was going to be easier but after looking I decided to add some angle steel to the bottom of each window to provide some more sturdiness for the skin.

Before I screwed in the angle steel I was able to fold the existing skin thatís folded into the window frame up and butt the angle steel up behind it. This means water has no chance of getting in and made it very solid.

As I said took some trouble shooting but this was I think the best way to do it and itís very sturdy now. Itís also nice to see inside now, very much a blank slate.

I received my RV windows today also. So over the next two days Iíll be patching, and sealing the floor then installing the RV windows. Also Iíll add the firing strips to the ribs. As well as painting my tub rails black and touching up the green.

Sorry Iím pretty bad at documenting and explains things, so if anyone has questions let me know.
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Old 02-21-2019, 11:13 PM   #14
Mini-Skoolie
 
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Stripping interior

It really is worth stripping out the interior and skinning if you can. This is why I chose a short bus and almost a van. Because I want a sealed comfortable sturdy rig. All in all I would say I have about 22 hours total in mine so far from stripping it and skinning it (not including hardware store runs).
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Old 02-22-2019, 12:39 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tstege View Post
So I made some good progress today. Thought it was going to be easier but after looking I decided to add some angle steel to the bottom of each window to provide some more sturdiness for the skin.


Sorry Iím pretty bad at documenting and explains things, so if anyone has questions let me know.
Elaborate more on the angle iron fix?
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Old 02-22-2019, 01:10 PM   #16
Mini-Skoolie
 
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Angle iron

Sorry didnít explain that well. Basically I measured my skin to just fit under the top rub rail. Essentially it worked out that way because thatís the size the sheets come in from my supplier. So they are 10 ft long and when ripped in half 2 worked perfectly. What I realized though is the bottom part where it meets the rub rail and window needed something solid to Rivit into.

Upon close inspection I realized the skin from the outside of the bus was folded neatly into each window about 1Ē worth so I folded that lip up and put angle iron in behind it in the bottom of each window. Gives a very sturdy anchor point and makes the skin more rigid on the bottoms. Here is an inside picure so it makes more sense.

If you look at the exterior pic you can see where I put rivers just above the rub rail. Those are going into the angle iron and the skin I was able to fold up.
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Old 02-22-2019, 02:18 PM   #17
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On mine i just used the screws in the rub rail to secure the bottom of the skin. It didn't need any support behind it because it isn't load bearing and a self tapper pulls all 3 pieces together tight.
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Old 02-22-2019, 06:33 PM   #18
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Aug 2017
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More pictures of skin

Really like the outcome. Installing one RV slider on driver side and 3 on passenger side. Then painting rub rails black that will complete the exterior look.
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Old 02-26-2019, 02:35 PM   #19
Mini-Skoolie
 
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Spray foam

So after calling around a little more I found a guy in Albuquerque who is going to do it for $600. That will be roughly 1 1/2Ē walls ceiling and 1Ē on the floor. He has already done 2 buses before also. Pretty excited that will happen Friday.
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Old 02-26-2019, 04:00 PM   #20
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Year: 2000
Engine: 6.5L Turbo
Skinning looks really good! Making me wish we had skinned ours. Oh well, we can deal with windows for now!
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