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Old 11-20-2009, 01:58 AM   #1
Mini-Skoolie
 
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adventure bus

HI my names Justin iv been reading this site for about a month now and love all the info iv gotten on here and decided that I would finally introduce myself and post up our bus project and tell our story.
About 5 years ago me and 2 friends decided that we were gonna go on a long road trip (about 4 months) after lots of talk about what would be a good vehicle to do it in we decided a VW bus would be great good on gas, more room then most cars, and always a conversation starter. so after a little searching i found this baby sitting in a field for about 12 years.







$400 later i pulled it out of the field and got it in to our shop and began working
















and after about 2 months of hard work our bus was finally ready for the road








then we packed it up and took it on our first trip for about 2 weeks







after a blow out on a large highway and few other minor problems we decided to head home and work them out





so after our little 2 week adventure we decided we needed an upgrade if we were gonna do our full trip, so the next day the bus was up on Craigslist and gone a few days later.

we decided this time we were gonna get a short bus. our list of demands for the bus was small, Must be a chevy 350 (cheap easy to find parts) and a dually.
about a month later we found our winner!!

a 97 gmc bluebird short bus with 101k miles
just decommissioned from a local school with all service records and brand new exhaust and back tires









the next day it was in the shop and we began again.



after stripping all the sticker and sanding we painted it








so thats about where we have left off, we have a lot of plans for the bus and i plan to keep this updated.


oh and sorry about all the pictures i just know i like pictures in threads so i figured id post some.
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Old 11-20-2009, 06:06 AM   #2
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Re: adventure bus

Thanks for the pics! The old VW bus brings back memories. Interesting that you copied the older style paint line on the front.
Swapping the 8-way lens covers is pretty slick.
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Old 11-20-2009, 12:02 PM   #3
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Re: adventure bus

Quote:
Originally Posted by Redbear
Thanks for the pics! The old VW bus brings back memories. Interesting that you copied the older style paint line on the front.
Swapping the 8-way lens covers is pretty slick.
yea we wanted it took look like the older style vw at a glance, plus i think its just more interesting.

and swapping the lens was the easy thing we could think of to get the red off of the front

Quote:
Originally Posted by Smitty
That VW would look good on top of my bus! OK....jus' kiddin' Welcome! So....what's the plan for your bus?

Smitty
lol i had never seen a vw on top of a school bus until i started reading this site

and the plans are to make a real rustic rv, no black tank, no running water (well were gonna have a gravity feed off a roof tank), no propane. just basic beds counter and table. we will have a colman camp grill, a crock pot, and maybe a sun oven on the roof for cooking. on the out side we still need to build a 3/4 roof rack, paint the wheels, and few other little details.
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Old 11-20-2009, 03:02 PM   #4
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Re: adventure bus

Quote:
Originally Posted by Smitty
Consider an outdoor shower from your roof tank, look into building a solar water heater large enough to get a shower from (5 gal). Could all still be gravity fed. YouTube has some good info for that, as well as building a solar oven.

Smitty
the solar water heater is exactly what i was planning to build i saw an article on here about it. i was thinking about trying to make the sun oven and water heater work as the same.
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Old 11-20-2009, 05:03 PM   #5
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Re: adventure bus

If you take one of those inflatable twin mattresses and secure it up top you could use just fill that up and the potable water lot, let the sun heat it up. It is big enough that with full sun and a decent temp it should be nice and warm without the usual too damn hot temps solar water showers tend to get.
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Old 11-20-2009, 06:38 PM   #6
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Re: adventure bus

You can also just cover part of the Solar water heater to lower the amount of sun it gets. Depending on how much you shade, you could have Hot with no shade, to mildly warm with 3/4s shade. But that would depend on the size of solar heater, amount of water in it, and length of time in the sun.

I remember a guy who had painted dots on the sides of his. He said that it was to allow for two water temps. Lots of dots for higher temps, bigger dots for lower. You always see the oddest things while trying to camp...
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Old 11-20-2009, 06:45 PM   #7
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Re: adventure bus

well i figured since the colder water sits on the bottom and its going to be gravity fed from the bottom it wont be to hot, plus for showers they will most likely be at night after we've set up so the water will have cooled done some.
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Old 11-21-2009, 06:51 AM   #8
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Re: adventure bus

HEH

Let me tell you the water cools in minutes. I've had some damn cold solar showers because I waited until the sun went down. A good rule of thumb (imo) when doing without on-demand gratification goodies we're all so used to in modern homes is Work with it! Because it sure the hell isn't going to work around your schedule.

Like with the idea listed about having no kitchen, just making food by propane grill or campfire. These things take time. It isn't no 'pop it in the oven and walk away' type deal. Prep, setup, constant watching (dang uneven heat), take down, clean up, put away, and eventually get around to eating. Double or triple the time it takes in a modern home. Of course, I'm used to preparing food for 3 to 5 people at time. hmm
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Old 11-21-2009, 12:24 PM   #9
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Re: adventure bus

Quote:
Originally Posted by Seeria
HEH

Let me tell you the water cools in minutes. I've had some damn cold solar showers because I waited until the sun went down. A good rule of thumb (imo) when doing without on-demand gratification goodies we're all so used to in modern homes is Work with it! Because it sure the hell isn't going to work around your schedule.

Like with the idea listed about having no kitchen, just making food by propane grill or campfire. These things take time. It isn't no 'pop it in the oven and walk away' type deal. Prep, setup, constant watching (dang uneven heat), take down, clean up, put away, and eventually get around to eating. Double or triple the time it takes in a modern home. Of course, I'm used to preparing food for 3 to 5 people at time. hmm

were all avid long distance backpackers and eagle scouts we understand living with out and modern necessitys for very long periods of time. having a bus that keeps us out of the rain and wind oppose to 4 nylon walls, and a full camp stove over a tiny backpack stove that cant boil more then a cup of water is going to be the biggest luxury we've ever had. besides a solar shower isn't very high on our list of worry's right now anyway, we'll be just fine.


this is about 3 weeks worth of stuff between us.
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Old 11-21-2009, 05:55 PM   #10
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Re: adventure bus

Oh hell yeah! I envy your backpacking
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Old 11-21-2009, 09:24 PM   #11
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Re: adventure bus

its a lot of fun were trying to save up for a through hike of the Appalachian trail in 2012, but thats another story

...today i fixed the rotted out step on the driver side and pulled out the brittle roof hatch, sanded it and reinforced it by mixing up some fiberglass and re doing it. I'll put up pics tomorrow.
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Old 11-22-2009, 03:28 PM   #12
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Re: adventure bus

i cant seem to find a pic of the step before but it was rotted out really bad

heres the finished step


its aluminum diamond plate and stainless so it shouldn't rot again.

and heres a better shot of the bus again not in the shop.



still very far to go.
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Old 11-23-2009, 12:21 AM   #13
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Re: adventure bus

I just had a flashback to my uncle trying to make Jiffy-Pop over an open camp fire, and loosing half of it when the tinfoil (aluminum?) bottom melted away... Was it really so hard to use a cast iron pan to even out the heat?

I made jiffy-pop in about 5 minutes on the camp stove and finished it off with the others while we waited for him to finish making his...which was fed to the fire anyways, cause by that point, there was nothing but a handle and ring left.
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Old 11-26-2009, 11:17 AM   #14
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Re: adventure bus

i have a question. when i posted all of those pictures up it was on my 24" monitor and they looked fine but today i logged on with my laptop and all of the pics seem to be cut half off. I went to my photobucket and resized them, but nothing their all still cut off. i was wondering if it is like that for everyone else and if someone might know why its doing that?

Thanks!
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Old 11-26-2009, 03:14 PM   #15
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Re: adventure bus - picture size

All your pictures look fine and not cut off on a 19" monitor here. Only you know if there was more to the pictures that might have been cropped, but there is no visible evidence of any pictures not fitting or being cut off.

Some of the largest pictures in others' posts sometimes appear partially, but in that case there are sliders to move the image around and see all of the parts.

Check the resolution setting for your laptop display. Another thing that occasionally happens on my Vista PC is that the browser appears in the "restore down" multi-pane condition, with the "smaller" size set larger than the available display area. Clicking "maximize" (the rectangle next to the "close program" X ) shrinks the browser to full screen and makes the whole page(s) viewable.
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Old 11-26-2009, 03:36 PM   #16
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Re: adventure bus

weird, i did look but no scroll bar. the pictures that are cut off are pretty obvious the smaller ones are okay but the bigger ones weren't. Thanks for letting me know!
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Old 11-27-2009, 05:53 PM   #17
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Re: adventure bus

Great looking short bus. I am doing a bus of the same size. Ever think about having a manual pump sink?? Wouldnt need any electrics and still have easy access to fresh water. Large food factories like Sysco or Fritos should have potable water tanks for cheap if you ask. Just a thought. I am trying to install mostly manual systems in my bus. Love the gravity shower idea, I also heard of that on this site. Keep us posted.
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Old 11-28-2009, 02:21 AM   #18
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Re: adventure bus

thank you, and for a water tank we have 3 donor class c rv's that we picked up for free that we'll use the fresh water holding tank from one. were still not sure if were gonna use a gray water tank yet.

and as a small update today we got a free leather drivers seat from a jeep grand cherokee that some guy paid for and didn't use at the shop. and after some playing around we got all the motors, lumbar and heated seat to work great so that's a huge upgrade from our fixed back torn up vinyl seat. pics to come...
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Old 12-09-2009, 02:13 PM   #19
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Re: adventure bus

okay so i haven't gotten much farther a lot of things have come up in the last week. but today i took the pics i need to take to the dmv so we can change the title from school vehicle to a van.

so i took a picture of our new heated leather seat.

old seat



new seat

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Old 12-26-2009, 12:19 PM   #20
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Re: adventure bus

I have a question you guys might know. where can find out the model of the van my bus is made on? were getting ready to upgrade the alt and put brakes on and its gonna be a lot easier to get parts knowing what we should ask for. thanks!
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