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Old 08-22-2019, 09:47 PM   #1
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Jul 2019
Location: Minnesota
Posts: 11
Year: 1996
Engine: DT466E Diesel
Hey Everybody! We bought a bus!

Hello everyone!

I have been off and on this page for a while and have read through a bunch of threads about buying and building a bus and only a couple months ago did my girlfriend and I finally pull the trigger after months of wanting to buy a bus (actually more like years) but here we are. We bought a 1997 444e Thomas DIESEL school bus and now we are in the beginning stages of the conversion. We are currently out of Minnesota and hopefully we can get it about 50 % concerted before this winter comes so we can get out of dodge. But hereís some pictures. Everyone loves Pictures!

Iíll be posting some more pictures and keeping you guys updated as things as I go along. This is my first build so Iím sure Iíll ask a bunch of questions for advice and opinions.
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Old 08-22-2019, 09:50 PM   #2
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Jul 2019
Location: Minnesota
Posts: 11
Year: 1996
Engine: DT466E Diesel
So flash forward a few months and driving the bus and parking it at various places (apparently people donít like a huge sketchy school bus across the street) we finally have it at my parents for the remainder of the conversion. Went ahead and pulled the flooring...which was absolutely terrible and had to take a lot of wall panels. I know some people leave the ceiling but the way our panels were laid out it was like a puzzle. You had to take a few out to get the bigger pieces so hereís the flooring from beginning through the tear up, de rust, and floor prep.
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Old 08-22-2019, 09:55 PM   #3
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Jul 2019
Location: Minnesota
Posts: 11
Year: 1996
Engine: DT466E Diesel
Hereís the pictures guys. Doing this from my mobile while Iím at work dreaming about my bus thatís 2 hours away!
Attached Images
File Type: jpg 5AF0B6B3-602E-4846-9E50-BA9E56C37087.jpg (138.2 KB, 4 views)
File Type: jpg AFE4D58D-F921-4BCC-B8AD-1E3AF22EA0D8.jpg (216.7 KB, 3 views)
File Type: jpg D8F3C553-534F-433F-9E91-B81AAC09B0D7.jpg (107.5 KB, 3 views)
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Old 08-22-2019, 10:03 PM   #4
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Jul 2019
Location: Minnesota
Posts: 11
Year: 1996
Engine: DT466E Diesel
Hey guys...Iím just spamming this thread with updates on the bus. Work is so slow. And I wish I could be working on the bus. So we recently started on the sub floor, Iím kind of kicking myself because most people said to do a ďfloatingĒ subfloor after I already went ahead and started framing the hole.

I realize now that allowing those extra holes to allow water in the bus is a bad idea. And on top of that I ordered OSB for my plywood subflooring. Well anyways I didnít screw any of that Iím yet so I think Iím gonna switch it out for something better of a more marine quality. I mean it is a short bus so the sq footage is only like 180 sq ft. But itís worth it. This is what Iíve done so far.

Good thing I only did the back section and only went up to the front of the wheel well so I might just leave he front section floating. What do you guys think???
Attached Images
File Type: jpg 620DC917-A43F-4B4F-98B7-C1E121D58E49.jpg (159.9 KB, 4 views)
File Type: jpg D48B519D-FB23-4836-BEFA-F9DD2512CFE2.jpg (144.2 KB, 2 views)
File Type: jpg 28019622-593F-47AE-8DBD-53EA7955816B.jpg (160.0 KB, 4 views)
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Old 08-22-2019, 10:46 PM   #5
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Join Date: Apr 2019
Location: Hotzona
Posts: 491
Year: 2003
Coachwork: IC
Chassis: 3800
Engine: Navistar T444e
Rated Cap: 24
Looking good! Much love for the 6-window 3800!

Oh, and what's a Fuzzy?
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Old 08-22-2019, 11:09 PM   #6
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Join Date: Jan 2019
Location: Philadelphia
Posts: 989
Year: 2003
Coachwork: International
Chassis: CE 300
Engine: DT466
Rated Cap: 65C-43A
Quote:
Originally Posted by BabztheBus View Post
Hey guys...Iím just spamming this thread with updates on the bus. Work is so slow. And I wish I could be working on the bus. So we recently started on the sub floor, Iím kind of kicking myself because most people said to do a ďfloatingĒ subfloor after I already went ahead and started framing the hole.

I realize now that allowing those extra holes to allow water in the bus is a bad idea. And on top of that I ordered OSB for my plywood subflooring. Well anyways I didnít screw any of that Iím yet so I think Iím gonna switch it out for something better of a more marine quality. I mean it is a short bus so the sq footage is only like 180 sq ft. But itís worth it. This is what Iíve done so far.

Good thing I only did the back section and only went up to the front of the wheel well so I might just leave he front section floating. What do you guys think???
The bad news is your "joists" (the wood in between sheets of foamboard) aren't doing you much good in terms of supporting the pressure from the plywood/OSB sheets on top. Normally you want these joists close together to keep that decking from bending too much when you step on it (standard house spec is something like 20" on center for 3/4" plywood but is often 16" on center so the beams match up with the seams between sheets every 48"). Being 48" apart is much too far to support against that bending.

The good news it doesn't really matter because your foam board is rated at 25 PSI which would be perfectly adequate for a floating floor and will provide the proper resistance to the bending of the decking. What you have now essentially is a floating floor, just with a beam or joist in between each foam sheet. It's actually not bad to have that at all since you can anchor at least the edges of the sheets to it.

It would be better to use plywood (3/4") for your decking than OSB. You don't even need to use tongue-in-groove since you have those beams in place.

Not sure exactly what you mean by "extra holes to allow water in the bus". Do you mean you screwed the joists into the floor with screws that are now projecting through the floor?
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Old 08-22-2019, 11:36 PM   #7
Skoolie
 
Join Date: Apr 2018
Location: NorCal
Posts: 102
Year: 1995
Coachwork: Girardin
Chassis: E-350
Engine: 7.3L Powerstroke
Awesome. Good find and good work. It seems to my grumpy old ass that you might be jumping the gun a little bit, but I might be thinking differently because I have an E350 so I had to do my planning before building anything up.


The most important thing, in my opinion, is to get it street legal and safe. It's not a school bus yellow, so you're good there, but make sure all the lights work, and I'd encourage you to strip out all the unnecessary wiring and replace all lights with LEDs (if they're not already). Then start building it up.



I only bring this up because for me, I am having to redo the wiring for the lights before I put the insulation in because once it's in, I don't want to pull it off. Also, the plumbing will have to go through the insulation laterally along the floor, under the plywood, so it has taken some very careful planning before I start building it up.


Then again... I've owned Argo for a year and we still haven't put a shred of insulation in for the floor walls or ceiling yet, so maybe you guys have the right idea.
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Old 08-22-2019, 11:38 PM   #8
Skoolie
 
Join Date: Apr 2018
Location: NorCal
Posts: 102
Year: 1995
Coachwork: Girardin
Chassis: E-350
Engine: 7.3L Powerstroke
On second pass, it looks like you've already done the demolition. If you don't have LED lights already, then I highly recommend you put them in while the wiring is exposed, because not only is it brighter and safer, it won't drain your battery when the engine is off and it won't be a drain on your alternator, so maybe you can hook up a house battery charger at a later date.
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Old 08-23-2019, 11:53 AM   #9
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Jul 2019
Location: Minnesota
Posts: 11
Year: 1996
Engine: DT466E Diesel
Thanks everybody for the replies and the opinions! I knew this sight is where itís at!

Anyways the people who owned it before is bought it directly from a school but used it for there band. When they found out that typically busses donít go faster than 65-70 mph they were over it and sold it so they could make it to shows on time. Thatís where we come in scooping it up for only 1800!

In terms of the floating floor, yah a lot of the cutting strips I used self tapping screws so I could secure it to the frame. They screws donít really go all the way through as you can hardly see them from the underneath, but from what I have read on this thread from veteran builders is that by doing so it allows the moisture from condensation to travel up the screws into the insulation and create water damage. Now on the one hand I canít believe it will be as bad as what we originally had to tear out (youíre talking 15-20 years of muddy boots) but my thought process is to just take what I have already done and than proceed to let the front have of the bus ďfloatĒ as to not provide anymore damage. Also we figured to just keep the OSB for random cabinets and storage because weíre bound to use it anyways. And get some better wood for the flooring.

Lastly! I was having troubles getting the ply to lay flush with the walls and the rear of the bus. If you look at picture a, it shows a little lip that, even when the ply is cut perfectly it is impossible to just lay it down. Any thoughts if I should just cut those off with the angle grinder? Or should I lay the plywood vertical as oppose to horizontal so I can fit it in those spaces.

Also, also. I am in the process of removing unnecessarily wiring such as the back door interlock and random lights and speakers but after removing the inner back wall skins I found this!

What are your guys thoughts on sealing this up? Should I cut the rust off completely and weld new sheet metal around? And also on the inside. I have a good idea of what I should do to prevent this opening but any new ideas are always welcome! It takes a village!
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Old 08-23-2019, 02:01 PM   #10
Skoolie
 
Join Date: Feb 2018
Location: Central MN
Posts: 148
Year: 1999
Coachwork: Bluebird
Chassis: TC RE
Engine: 8.3L
A tip on getting your marine grade 3/4" plywood to fit is to cut just short of full width (1/8"), then lay your sheet against one wall and put some 2x4s in the middle, find people weighing total of 250#+ one to anchor the low side and one to start on the high side. Bend it like a teeter totter action, and with the assistance of a crow bar, pop it under the chair rail and remove the blocking. There should then be enough room to hold the panel up and place your adhesive under the panel. Worked for me on a 40 footer. There are many others that can address your other concerns. They will be along shortly! Good luck!
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