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Old 02-11-2015, 10:48 AM   #81
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Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: Stony Plain Alberta Canada
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I love it all, you do great work.

Did you build that sweet little stove? I love it too.

I miss the excitement before the big trip. Nothing like it.

To answer your question you sent me in the privet message about coal.
Yest your little stove can burn coal. As long as you have fire bricks in the bottom, and sides to protect the metal from the extreme heat.

In your stove, I would take a old cast iron frying pan around 8 to 10 inches in diameter. Drill 6 or so 3/4 inch holes in it. Bolt 4 legs made of some small pipe to the bottom around 2 inches or so high. This would become your burning grate.

To get coal started burning, I start with dry wood. After the fire is established, I start with smaller pieces of coal so it catches quickly, increasing the heat of the fire. After the small chunks start glowing good, your ready to add the big chunks.

Coal burns hot and long. A fist size chunk will burn for 2 to 4 hours depending on the amount of air given. Larger chunks twice that size will still be there glowing 8 hours latter when you wake up.

In the morning, all I do is settle the ashes, and smack the glowing chunk. It will break open, and start glowing hotter. Now I add a few smaller pieces 2 inches square, and close the door. The small pieces start burning right away. After 20 min or so, you can add the bigger chunks again to hold the fire for a longer period of time.

Coal needs to burn hot. A air starved coal fire will stink out a entire neighborhood. To achieve this, I add or decrease the number of chunks depending on the amount of heat needed, but keep the air open as much as possible without overheating yourself.

Just a heads up, coal has 4 times the ashes of wood.

Nat
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Old 03-06-2015, 04:10 PM   #82
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Location: Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario
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Chassis: B3800 Short bus
Engine: T444E
Rated Cap: 36
We're still on the road. Here's a bit of a photo journal for those who may be interested: https://instagram.com/felixx.77/
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Old 03-06-2015, 04:17 PM   #83
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It looks like a great trip!
Pictures like that make me want to get my bus done and get out there too.
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Old 03-11-2015, 05:03 PM   #84
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Join Date: Nov 2011
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Chassis: B3800 Short bus
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Rated Cap: 36
Just a quick update.

Our trip is coming to a close. Real life beckons. Soon we'll be heading east which we're actually quite happy with, seeing as the beautiful spring temperatures are starting to reach Sault Ste Marie.

Currently we're in Denver, CO hanging out with some friends and enjoying the town. Cities are always the most difficult to deal with when it comes to parking this ugly duckling, but we managed to find a Pilot Travel Center fairly close to downtown; a quick Uber ride away.

Side note: I just used Uber for the first time last night. I wish I had thought of it sooner! It's such a crazy convenient way to get from the outskirt parking areas to downtown. Once you set up the app with a credit card all you have to do is select a ride through the app and the whole transaction is dealt with automatically. No additional tipping, fumbling around with change, trips to the ATM, failed mobile credit card devices..

I don't feel much like talking about the trip itself (though it has been fantastic), but I'd like to talk skoolie a bit.

First off, mechanically we've had very few issues. Right out of the gate I could tell that a brake was dragging, but we waited until getting across the US border before dealing with it since we expected the crossing to take hours of inspection and interrogating. It wasn't bad, though. The border agent hopped aboard, looked around briefly, asked us where the LSD was hidden, then let us go. 10 minutes tops!

Anyway, back to the brake. The rear right caliper was rubbing. From sitting for so long it had rusted to the mount. I was able to get it moving with a bit of penetrating lube, my partner pumping the brakes and my trusty breaker bar pushing the opposite direction. Everyone should have a 3/4" drive breaker bar in the bus! I get a lot of use out of it. I picked mine up at Princess Auto: 3/4" drive by 36" breaker bar

Unfortunately, the rubbing had already generated enough heat to warp the rotor a bit. I'll get that smoothed out when I get home.

Another issue is that the glow plug relay stopped working. I just picked up a new one yesterday and will install it this afternoon. Also not a big deal, though, to be without. When it's been a cold night I've been jumping the relay contacts with a wrench. Works like a charm!

Breaker bar to the rescue! I side swiped a curb harder than I should have with the front-right tire and pushed it a bit out of alignment. I didn't notice it until hitting about 55mph, but once I felt that shimmy I knew exactly what it was. Luckily I brought my bottle jack and the breaker bar. 15 minutes and I had it straightened back out again. I know a lot of people don't like the Dayton style wheels, but I love 'em! Why, you may ask? Because I can actually torque them properly with a medium sized breaker bar and a torque wrench. The lug nuts for a Dayton style wheel should be tightened to 250ft/lb. Disc wheels should be torqued to 500ft/lb. The Daytons aren't all that difficult to align, either. Once you get the wheel loosely aligned continue to tighten the nuts evenly in a star pattern and it should come out just fine.

The other two big mechanical jobs for when we get home are the sloppy kingpins and radiator fan. The clutch for the engine mounted fan isn't working well. If I can find a suitable electric fan at a junk yard then I'll go that route like Nat did. I want to be able to have more control over the fan and the electric clutches are way too expensive.

As for the interior: the wood stove has been a life saver; the sawdust toilet has been working wonderfully; I NEED to get the shower and sink plumbed in (pain in the ass not to have them working).. pretty happy with things overall.

Especially the solar system.. It has been working fantastically! We have not once come even close to running out of power in the evenings. The panels are enough to have the battery bank charged before noon then all the daily electrical needs are run directly off of the panels; even when it's overcast. In the evenings we've been bringing the batteries down to about 75% max. Of course, our electrical needs are minimal. The 12v fridge is always on, but otherwise it's just lights, laptops, phone chargers, stereo, stove fan, blender, Dewalt 20v battery charger... Anyway, it's good to know we have plenty of power to work with.

Alright, now I must get back to work. I've been getting a couple small contracts here and there to work on during the trip. It's nice to keep replenishing the funds this way. It's also nice to have a mobile office! The scenery can be quite stunning.
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Old 03-11-2015, 05:11 PM   #85
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Join Date: Nov 2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EastCoastCB View Post
It looks like a great trip!
Pictures like that make me want to get my bus done and get out there too.
Haha.. well, ours is far from done, but it's put together enough to get us moving! I had the mindset of "finishing the job" before doing much moving about, but both the cold winter and my lady pushed me to simply get the important things operable and not worry about the rest. I'm sure glad I did! We've been having a great time, even without running water.
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Old 03-11-2015, 05:14 PM   #86
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Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: Stony Plain Alberta Canada
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Rated Cap: 72
Glad to hear the trip went smooth without to many, or to big of bumps. You were able to fix things along the trail.

Take care and be safe.

Nat
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Old 03-11-2015, 05:40 PM   #87
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Join Date: Nov 2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nat_ster View Post
I love it all, you do great work.

Did you build that sweet little stove? I love it too.
No, I caved and purchased it. GrayStove.com - GRAY STOVE. I had aspirations of building my own, but I just didn't have the time. It was more money than I wanted to spend, but I had a fat pay cheque in hand and a couple drinks in the belly so I went for it. Overall, I'm very satisfied with it, though. The only issue is that the paint job was scuffed up pretty badly during shipping, but the manufacturer said he'd work with me to figure something out once we're back home.
The idea of powder coating it came up in a conversation with my "father in-law", as well. I'll have to do some research to see if it would stand up to the heat, but I think some folks powder coat turbos and up-pipes and such, so perhaps it'll happily take the heat.
Quote:
Originally Posted by nat_ster View Post
I miss the excitement before the big trip. Nothing like it.
No kidding! Excitement, concern, second guessing.. Especially since our first day of driving was a nasty snow storm all the way from Sault Ste Marie to Lansing, Michigan. I mean, this 10000km journey was the buses first trip in 6 months. I was ever watchful and alert for the first two days of travelling. Stopping every 200kms to do an overall inspection of fluids, belt, brakes, bearings, wheel nut torque, propane tank mount, solar panel mount, etc. My partner.. well, she was getting pretty damn annoyed with me, but I needed to do it to ease my mind. Now I'm down to doing full inspections at the beginning or end of the day. much less anal.

Thanks for the info on coal, by the way. I haven't had a chance to use any this trip, but we've been having real good luck finding nice, dry, oak pallets. I brought all the Dewalt 20v tools along, including the circular saw, so I've been using that to cut up the pallets into manageable sizes. One oak pallet lasts us about 5 days and if we get a good, hot burn going then stock the stove to the tits before going to bed it'll still be radiating heat in the early morning. I usually end up putting a bit more in then going to bed a bit longer, which I really don't mind. I've had to do the same thing in several houses throughout my life. It's a perfect opportunity to take a piss and grab a glass of water.
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Old 03-11-2015, 05:42 PM   #88
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Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario
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Year: 1997
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Chassis: B3800 Short bus
Engine: T444E
Rated Cap: 36
Back to the tools, here is my list of MUST HAVE tools that I brought along for anyone who's interested. I brought way more tools than this (more than necessary), but these are the ones that I wouldn't want to do without.
- Battery operated grinder
- Battery operated circular saw (because we have a small wood stove)
- Battery operated drill (Dewalt 20v tools have been awesome)
- 3/4" drive breaker bar
- Bottle jack
- Socket set
- Wrench set
- Grease gun
- Vise grips
- Hammer
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Old 03-11-2015, 05:57 PM   #89
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Join Date: Nov 2011
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Rated Cap: 36
Ok, one more note.

I've been changing the shocks as we've been going along. What a difference! By the end I'll have been able to feel the bus in almost every conceivable possible shock setup.
Of course, I started with 4 shitty, rusty shocks. Somewhere in New Mexico I decided to take off one front and one rear shock so I could take it into an auto parts store to get replaced and be sure the new ones were proper matches. I used a grinder with a cut-off wheel to do the job since it was so much easier than fighting the rust. Anyway, we ended up driving about 150kms with only two shocks, both on the right side. It was like the bus was bouncing on a trampoline!
I managed to find two front shocks at a Fleetpride in Las Cruces, NM and two rear shocks at a Napa just down the road. $45 each.. Not bad.
I quickly stopped and popped in the left shocks, since the old ones were already removed. It was easy. Now we're up to 2 good shocks on the left and 2 shitty ones on the right. Much better ride! HUGE improvement!
Meandered our way over a couple days to an empty, free campground about 500kms away. A perfect opportunity to pull out the grinder and do the other side. I managed to get the front right shock off with no problem, but the rear one is held in place with a 5/8" grade 8 fine thread bolt with was rusted in place and giving me heck. Whatever. Now we have 3 good shocks and no shock on the rear right.
I finally managed to get the bolt out some days later, but it's ruined and I haven't found a replacement yet. Hopefully I'll find one this afternoon to get that 4th shock in place.
Whatever. 3 shocks out of 4. What's that? 75%? a C grade? Still a pass, right?
Can't wait to see what it's like with 4 new shocks, though
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Old 03-11-2015, 06:04 PM   #90
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Location: Eustis FLORIDA
Posts: 6,172
Year: 1992
Coachwork: Ward/AmTran
Chassis: International
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jazty View Post
No, I caved and purchased it. GrayStove.com - GRAY STOVE. I had aspirations of building my own, but I just didn't have the time. It was more money than I wanted to spend, but I had a fat pay cheque in hand and a couple drinks in the belly so I went for it. Overall, I'm very satisfied with it, though. The only issue is that the paint job was scuffed up pretty badly during shipping, but the manufacturer said he'd work with me to figure something out once we're back home.
The idea of powder coating it came up in a conversation with my "father in-law", as well. I'll have to do some research to see if it would stand up to the heat, but I think some folks powder coat turbos and up-pipes and such, so perhaps it'll happily take the heat.

No kidding! Excitement, concern, second guessing.. Especially since our first day of driving was a nasty snow storm all the way from Sault Ste Marie to Lansing, Michigan. I mean, this 10000km journey was the buses first trip in 6 months. I was ever watchful and alert for the first two days of travelling. Stopping every 200kms to do an overall inspection of fluids, belt, brakes, bearings, wheel nut torque, propane tank mount, solar panel mount, etc. My partner.. well, she was getting pretty damn annoyed with me, but I needed to do it to ease my mind. Now I'm down to doing full inspections at the beginning or end of the day. much less anal.

Thanks for the info on coal, by the way. I haven't had a chance to use any this trip, but we've been having real good luck finding nice, dry, oak pallets. I brought all the Dewalt 20v tools along, including the circular saw, so I've been using that to cut up the pallets into manageable sizes. One oak pallet lasts us about 5 days and if we get a good, hot burn going then stock the stove to the tits before going to bed it'll still be radiating heat in the early morning. I usually end up putting a bit more in then going to bed a bit longer, which I really don't mind. I've had to do the same thing in several houses throughout my life. It's a perfect opportunity to take a piss and grab a glass of water.
I wouldn't powdercoat anything that gets as hot as that. Especially for indoor use.
If you head this far east give me a shout and we will have some beers or Florida whiskey.
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