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Old 02-01-2018, 12:00 AM   #1
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Jan 2018
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Year: 2003
Chassis: Chevy 3500
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Bork in America

Hello all,

We decided last fall to purchase a bus and travel across the country for the summer to visit friends and family and to see the sights. About a month ago we found our bus. It's a 2003 Chevy 6.0L Shuttle bus from a nursing home. 90k miles, everything works, air conditioning with a large rear mounted unit and a bunch of new parts - tires, brakes, calipers, rotors, transmission lines, belt, and tension-er. It was a deal we couldn't pass up for 3200. The goal is to spend the least amount of money possible (isn't everyone's) and have a great place to call home for a couple of months that is reliable and easy to live in. Almost all of the components that we want have already been acquired, or I already had them stashed away for a project just like this. Please feel free to ask any questions or lend some advice and I will attempt to document the procedures as much as possible to pass on some knowledge in return.






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Old 02-01-2018, 12:10 AM   #2
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Jan 2018
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Year: 2003
Chassis: Chevy 3500
Engine: 6.0L Chevy
Since it has been a bit cold up here for the past couple of months we have just been gathering pieces and getting them ready. One day it will be warm enough to paint and put down flooring...

First project I have photos of is the furnace. This unit came out of an old coleman pop-up camper. The sticker says 8000 btu and that should be able to keep us warm as long as its above freezing (we dont plan on chasing snow with the bus). As you can see in the pictures this unit had seen better days and the mouse nest in there was not very pleasant. Not too much to report on this, just a standard take everything apart, wirewheel all the rust and old paint away, primer, paint, bench test, re-assemble.














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Old 02-01-2018, 12:32 AM   #3
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Good start. But please...size your pix down before posting. Took 15 minutes to load the page!
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Old 02-01-2018, 12:43 AM   #4
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Nice find on the bus. Good start too.

This type of bus always reminds me of that whale with the big forhead.
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Old 02-01-2018, 06:40 AM   #5
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Good start. But please...size your pix down before posting. Took 15 minutes to load the page!
X87 please make smaller
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Old 02-01-2018, 08:58 AM   #6
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Jan 2018
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X87 please make smaller
So sorry guys! its been a minute since I've run a thread and I forgot all about shrinking the photo size. I will get that cleared up soon.
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Old 02-01-2018, 02:22 PM   #7
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Your images are all gone now. I'm just getting black rectangles.
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Old 02-01-2018, 10:25 PM   #8
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Jan 2018
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Chassis: Chevy 3500
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Originally Posted by MarkyDee View Post
Your images are all gone now. I'm just getting black rectangles.
Should be all set now, sorry about that!
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Old 02-04-2018, 10:07 PM   #9
Mini-Skoolie
 
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Engine: 6.0L Chevy
Bit of history on the electricals of the buss so far... everything worked fine when we bought the bus but gradually a few things stopped working as the winter moved in. We had a few weeks with a high temperature around 3 degrees here and something went wrong and spawned an electrical gremlin. I make sure to start the bus and move it around at least once a week to keep the battery charged and shake the rust and corrosion around. First the radio stopped working, then all of the lights and accessories in the shell stopped working, then all of the accessories in the shell remained on with 3v going to them... I unhooked the battery to keep it from draining and when I hooked it up today the blower motor turned on even with the keys off. Something is back-feeding, possibly shorting out through some other wires. I'm guessing all of the accessories get there power through a very large relay somewhere and that might have frozen? Once the temperature gets a bit warmer I will start chasing that gremlin and report back.
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Old 02-05-2018, 11:45 AM   #10
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I have a very similar bus. When it gets really cold the relay won't engage that operates heater/blower, radio, inside lights. After I drive it for 30 minutes everything starts to work. I like your build, keep the pictures and info coming.
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Old 02-05-2018, 12:22 PM   #11
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Interesting...
I have had to use my bus a few times this winter and have experienced the same problem , once it gets warmed up everything works
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Old 02-09-2018, 03:20 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by leadsled01 View Post
I have a very similar bus. When it gets really cold the relay won't engage that operates heater/blower, radio, inside lights. After I drive it for 30 minutes everything starts to work. I like your build, keep the pictures and info coming.
Well at least we are not alone! That makes me more motivated to find the issue while it is still cold out. I will be sure to report back with my findings. Thank you.
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Old 02-27-2018, 11:00 PM   #13
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Jan 2018
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Chassis: Chevy 3500
Engine: 6.0L Chevy
Lots of planning happening, I should keep track of how many times I go into that bus with a tape measure. Quick question for you guys, is it legal to mount
things to the back of the bus? I know the lights and the license plate have to be visible. Things I would like to mount back there are two bikes vertically (possibly on the door), propane tank(s), water heater, grill mounted to a swing out arm. I plan to build a heavy duty bumper that can mount the grill arm and a propane tank securely. I will build it up around the propane beefy enough to be rear-ended without worry of the tank exploding. I just dont know if it is legal to do any of this and google is not cooperating with me... or is this a better to ask forgiveness situation.... thank you in advance!
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Old 02-27-2018, 11:08 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by Bork View Post
Lots of planning happening, I should keep track of
things to the back of the bus? I know the lights and the license plate have to be visible. Things I would like to mount back there are two bikes vertically (possibly on the door), propane tank(s), water heater, grill mounted to a swing out arm. I plan to build a heavy duty bumper that can mount the grill arm and a propane tank securely. I will build it up around the propane beefy enough to be rear-ended without worry of the tank exploding. I just dont know if it is legal to do any of this and google is not cooperating with me... or is this a better to ask forgiveness situation.... thank you in advance!
Ya, I'd check legality os open storage of propane canisters on the back, I've only seen external mounts on the frogs where they are less likely to be impacted. In the case of a possibly explosive incidence potential a LEO may not be forgiving when it is so easy to ticket you.
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Old 02-28-2018, 09:53 AM   #15
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Ya, I'd check legality os open storage of propane canisters on the back, I've only seen external mounts on the frogs where they are less likely to be impacted. In the case of a possibly explosive incidence potential a LEO may not be forgiving when it is so easy to ticket you.
"Frogs"? What are these "frogs" you speak of?
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Old 02-28-2018, 11:13 AM   #16
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"Frogs"? What are these "frogs" you speak of?
Fronts, dang spellcheck.
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Old 03-01-2018, 06:25 AM   #17
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Jan 2018
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Chassis: Chevy 3500
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Fronts, dang spellcheck.
I dont think I like the idea of them on the front at all (or on the frogs for that matter). I have been looking through setups and talking with people and I believe that if I build a solid enclosure that is integrated into the back bumper when I build it all should be good. Think solid steel box vented out the bottom. You wont even know its in there.
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Old 03-12-2018, 03:16 AM   #18
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Jan 2018
Location: Western NY
Posts: 49
Year: 2003
Chassis: Chevy 3500
Engine: 6.0L Chevy
Currently we do not have a place for the copilot to sit and I am aware that this is a constant battle for schoolies... hopefully I have thought of a revolutionary idea. I have owned several jeeps in the past and I know the 97-06 TJ era jeeps had front seats that were on a slider rail and they would "lift" up towards the dash so you could climb behind them into the back seat. I believe one of these seats could be mounted in the passenger position in the bus and then slid forward and up out of the way once the bus is parked. Does anyone know if this has been attempted before? initial measurements seem to work out and I am searching the local craigslists for the mounting base from one of these. Living in the rust belt gives me plenty of options....
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Old 03-16-2018, 12:32 AM   #19
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Jan 2018
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Chassis: Chevy 3500
Engine: 6.0L Chevy
i found the electrical problem, somehow I missed an auxiliary battery that is mounted on the outside of the frame on the passenger side. due to its location the fiberglass panelling probably has to be removed in order to service it. That explains why it look like its 15 years old. Somehow the cable that connects it to the main battery for the engine pulled out of its terminal a very long time ago and just corroded itself to the top of the battery post. That is what all of the extra components on the bus have been running off of. Gravity making the connection. I bypassed the battery and everything works fine. New high amp fuses are on the way...

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Old 03-19-2018, 07:47 AM   #20
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I just built and installed a new battery holder for that battery. I had to cut 1" of fiberglass to get the old battery out. I don't see how the factory got it in there.
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