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Old 01-18-2016, 07:45 PM   #31
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Location: Vermont
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Year: 1996
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Chassis: E-Super Duty
Engine: Ford 7.3 Powerstroke
Rated Cap: 13-passenger
Once I finished that, it was time for insulation. The original plan was to use spray foam insulation directly on the skin, and press my urethane board insulation into it, for a gap-free 2-inches. Unfortunately the season didn't hold out for me, temperatures dropped below the limits of good adhesion, and I'll have to make do with a half finished insulation project for now. Still a lot better than it was.

Finally, I took the wiring panels out of the bus, and eliminated about 3/4 of the wiring (interior lights, door sensors, and mostly wires that just didn't connect to anything!).. The panels now operate the A/C, and the tail/reverse/brake lights. They may also be operating the 12V circuits for interior lighting, and some outlets, but there's a lot going on that I don't understand on these panels, so I may just do something different there.
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Old 01-18-2016, 07:52 PM   #32
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Rated Cap: 13-passenger
Now, I'm working on putting all the auxiliary power items into the old stairs, and getting everything hooked up correctly. In looking up what to use for an isolator between the house and starter battery banks, I found this item came very highly recommended among boat and van boondockers: Catalog Frame
It's a bi-directional isolator, which gives priority to whichever bank is connected to the active power source. This means it won't charge the house batteries until it reads ~13V at the starter batteries. It will also charge the starter batteries off shore/solar power once the house batteries are sufficiently charged. This seems to make a lot of sense to me.

This model is for alternators with an output of less than 100A. There is a larger model for alternators up to 160A. Despite considerable effort, I've yet to identify what my alternator is, and I wonder if anyone with experience in a similar bus could offer some enlightenment here?
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Old 01-18-2016, 11:03 PM   #33
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sproutroot View Post
Now, I'm working on putting all the auxiliary power items into the old stairs, and getting everything hooked up correctly. In looking up what to use for an isolator between the house and starter battery banks, I found this item came very highly recommended among boat and van boondockers: Catalog Frame
It's a bi-directional isolator, which gives priority to whichever bank is connected to the active power source. This means it won't charge the house batteries until it reads ~13V at the starter batteries. It will also charge the starter batteries off shore/solar power once the house batteries are sufficiently charged. This seems to make a lot of sense to me.

This model is for alternators with an output of less than 100A. There is a larger model for alternators up to 160A. Despite considerable effort, I've yet to identify what my alternator is, and I wonder if anyone with experience in a similar bus could offer some enlightenment here?
Thanks for that link.
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Old 01-19-2016, 10:16 AM   #34
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Glad to help.
I'm not sure it's the right product for big house battery banks, though. In the installation instructions I read that they require wiring no bigger than #6! In a system sized for a big alternator, that seems needlessly limiting, and would mean the aux batteries would charge much slower than even a 100amp alternator could manage. There are other products out there that serve the same function without this limitation. I'll make sure to share my research once I've found the right one.

Anybody know what size I should expect my alternator to be? 96 E-Super Duty bus? This would really help me narrow down my research.
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Old 02-18-2016, 10:34 AM   #35
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I've done a bunch of electrical stuff recently. Using the old steps as a battery box has turned out to be a great (albeit tight) fit. I still have to route and install lighting and outlets, but the battery box itself is fully populated.
As you can see, I reused the original 12V circuit board, and will route all my lighting and 12V outlets through that. It's hooked to the house battery side of my battery isolator, so it'll have power all the time.

I ended up using this as a battery isolator: Robot Check
I contacted a few companies with higher end gear, and they all recommended that I size the isolator for the alternator (>100A) rather than my auxiliary battery system. That would've bumped the price of their products up considerably, so I went with an Amazon buy (200A) with great reviews. I haven't started the bus up since installing it, so I can't speak for its functionality, but it was a great price.
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Old 02-18-2016, 10:37 AM   #36
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I'll be making a simple 2x4 cover for the battery box, then putting this on top of it for both insulation, and seating: Robot Check

I'll have to figure out a way to strap it down and make seatbelts so that I can actually have passengers on board.
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Old 02-18-2016, 10:42 AM   #37
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After the wiring is completed, I'll be moving on to some underbelly repair work. I think I'd like to make a cargo compartment down there while I'm at it, and I was looking for some recommendations for cargo doors that would fit this sort of bus. I'd like to store my LP tanks down there, which means openings of at least 13" square, but I'd prefer 13.5"x18" so that I can fit my generator, and whatever else in there as well. I'd also like them to lock.

If I can't find anything I'll just make some, but if anyone has recommendations I'd really appreciate it.
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Old 03-17-2016, 09:47 AM   #38
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Which companies do people recommend for insuring these little van-busses? I've been looking at Progressive, and I'm not sure they'll let me insure Bingo until I'm finished, but I want to get him inspected now!
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Old 03-17-2016, 05:05 PM   #39
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Going back a post-hatch covers are easy to find. Do a Ebay search -theres many take outs + scratch + dent specials. I picked up 2 8x20 covers for under $20 each. Quicky search found this right off.
28" x 14 1 2" RV Baggage Compartment Access Door Grey | eBay
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Old 03-19-2016, 02:44 PM   #40
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Yea, it's odd that I couldn't find anything that's the size I want. It really can't be more than 13.5"x18". I ended up making a door out of some white scrap metal from an old oven. After a little fiberglassing, the siding there should be finished.

Here's where I'll be installing it, but I'm not quite finished with the space. I had to supplement the rearmost floor joists with these 2x10s because the metal was so bad. I also needed to do body work right where the access door is going anyway, so building in some cargo space there was a no-brainer.

I still need to put in a piece of plywood for a floor/brace. The braces that are in there right now are temporary, and will need to be moved.
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