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Old 02-22-2016, 04:16 PM   #1
Skoolie
 
Join Date: Oct 2014
Location: Kent, WA (Seattle)
Posts: 227
Year: 1987
Juicy Lucy, where all my hopes and dreams lie

Hi all,

I'm not sure if my bus would be a short bus or a full sized bus, so I figured maybe I'll call it a short bus conversion?

I've lurked around this forum here and there for awhile, but have been too shy since there seems to be such a high quality of work everyone does on their busses. However I figure now is a good time to begin logging my progress.

A little bit about myself: I'm an impulsive idiot who doesn't know what I'm doing most of the time. I don't think things through, and I will frequently abandon a project I start after the boredom kicks in. It's also worth noting, I don't know a lick about carpentry or mechanics.

I bought this bus around November of 2013, I'm ashamed to say that I don't have any of the before pictures, my wife does but she can't get them off icloud. I'll get them on here eventually.

I was trying to explain to a coworker at my old job doing Japanese food sales over lunch about my dream to live inside a bus. I was searching craigslist for buss's to show her and stumbled across an ad with a bus with a deck on the roof, and hardwood inside. Without looking into the engine, transmission, or any other fine details, I drove up to Everett WA and bought this bus for 1700 and a 30 pack of Nattie Ice beer. We all enjoyed a beer while they explained to me how to use the airbrakes and I drove the bus home.


Anyway here are some pictures I took after some work I did around spring of 2014.













Here's a picture my wife took when we took the bus down to the redwoods, there's a funny story to this, but I'll wait until I can get my wife's picture before sharing.



My 2014 Accomplishments
I painted the bus, and leveled the back. (I'll get pictures for you guys soon), the bus was leaking heavily, I did not really resolve this issue for a long time.

My 2015 Accomplishments
I waterproofed the majority of the bus, using a lot of caulk and roof sealent. I have coated the roof with some cheap rustoleum paint from home depot, and stripped out the wall and ceiling insulation.

I'm currently managing a restaurant in Federal way WA, and my boss and I recently negotiated an hour decrease from 62 hour work week down to 54 Hour. To celebrate this, I bought myself a shoplight, angle grinder, and decided to strip the bus down. I have now engaged in a ritual for about 4 days where I come home and get a few hours of work in. Since last Thursday, I have stripped out most of the floors, and I am hoping to tackle the rust within the following week.

My current schedule looks something like so,

February: Complete stripping the bus down as much as possible: Get it as close as possible to a metal box. Clean the rust, and give everything a good scrub.

March: Finish waterproofing (currently about 98%) Insulate the floor of the bus, and reapply new plywood flooring, map out rough living plan.


My first few questions for you guys are:
1. I would like to cover some of the windows with sheet metal, from reading online it seems that 18-20 gauge metal is an acceptable gauge, is this something I can get on this spring? Or is it within my best interest to do this when it's hotter outside?

2. I still can't decide if I should try to replace the bus windows with RV windows, I was thinking about making some sort of insulating covers for the windows with wall insulation that would fold down from somewhere, or maybe just velcro onto the windows, would this provide reasonable insulation assuming I cover the uninsulated space adequately?

I just asked my wife to send me some pictures of the bus today, I hope to update this again before I get off work today.
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Old 02-22-2016, 04:23 PM   #2
Skoolie
 
Join Date: Oct 2014
Location: Kent, WA (Seattle)
Posts: 227
Year: 1987
Question 3: What kind of drillbits and screws do you guys recommend I buy?

edit: question 4: What kind of coating should I put on my floors before I put on my insulation?
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Old 02-22-2016, 04:51 PM   #3
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Location: Houston, Texas
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Sheetmetal work is best done under warm to hot conditions. If applied cold, it will "oil can" due to expansion the first time it sees warmer temps. You can preheat the metal to about 125* with a heat gun but it does make for tricky handling since you have to get it locked into position before it cools without scorching your fingers.

As for windows, there is no comparison between good RV windows and factory school bus windows. The skoolie versions are just possibly the worst windows ever applied to any moving vehicle. They leak water, air, heat, everything. RV windows are available in snug fitting, double pane safety glass and with a range of heat reducing tints. They ain't cheap, but they will contribute greatly to a more pleasant life down the road.

Nice find BTW. Keep the pix coming.
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Old 02-22-2016, 04:56 PM   #4
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Join Date: Nov 2015
Location: Billings, MT
Posts: 448
Year: 2003
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: HDX
Engine: Cat C7
Rated Cap: 84 passenger
Answers:

1. The skinning should conceivably be over empty holes. Remove the existing windows first and then tack the skin into place before welding them shut and achieving, hopefully, watertightness(?). Then, on the inside, install insulation or plywood where the windows were.

2. By all means, keep one or two windows, preferably away from the privacy areas, i.e., bed, bath. That way, you can get some ventilation. Then, some removable insulation, either rigid foam or bubble-type, can be held in place over them using Velcro.
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Old 02-22-2016, 05:12 PM   #5
Skoolie
 
Join Date: Oct 2014
Location: Kent, WA (Seattle)
Posts: 227
Year: 1987
Guys, thank you so much for your advice. Tango, I like the idea of the heatgun, do you think it would be realistic of me to rivet one or two corners in before heating it? Then have my wife stand over me with a heatgun while I go to town?

CaptSquid: I like the idea of keeping one or two windows for ventilation.

I'll may bite the bullet and get some double pane windows, I'm just doing my best to cheat myself out of a better life so I can save money.

The wife just took and sent me these.





edit: I unscrewed the ladder here so I could chuck the wood out the back, (reversing the bus into the driveway at night is really challenging)


The weather is so nice today, I'm going to try and get her to send more.

edit: she sent more
I locked the tools up in the box to the left, that will likely become my temporary/(maybe permanent) battery box in the near future.

I want to remove the rear heater (right) or move it to the front, to remove this I'm just to loop this right? Is this ill advised?


Removing the seat, left console, and ply wood flooring is my project for the next few days, then interior rust (which is not as bad as I thought)


Probably an unnecessary picture, but maybe someone will appreciate it.
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Old 02-22-2016, 05:27 PM   #6
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Location: Billings, MT
Posts: 448
Year: 2003
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: HDX
Engine: Cat C7
Rated Cap: 84 passenger
Pix no workie, but I did an end-around run and saw the GREEN bus. Suggest the front four windows and the back two windows be left intact.

On your side emergency exit, you can thief-proof it on the inside by a simple method. Inside the bus, the lever on that door is protected by a shield. Drill through that shield AND the inside handle and install a cheap snap-link (looks like a carabiner). Doing this will keep some slugs from opening the door from the outside and on the inside, you STILL have an emergency exit. Oh, make darn sure you insulate that door, too. Even a simple expedient of covering it with plywood will be better than just the bare metal.
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Old 02-22-2016, 05:56 PM   #7
Skoolie
 
Join Date: Oct 2014
Location: Kent, WA (Seattle)
Posts: 227
Year: 1987
Thanks Captsquid!

I have a really similar locking system for my side emergency door, but it has a metal loop thing that swings over(I'll try and take pix later), however since my front side door (the only one I can unlock from the outside, erm well for the most part) has a mud puddle in front of it, and is kind of inconvenient to access, I decided to take the lock off the front and just put it on the toolbox inside, that way I can go in and out the side door as I please.

I will try and get a few deadbolts sometime soon to secure the bus better. My confidence in installing them, is low but I think if I get a drill and deadbolts I'll figure it out within an hour to a few days.
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Old 02-22-2016, 06:26 PM   #8
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Location: Moodus, Ct.
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Year: 1996
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Chassis: Ford e-450
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Tango- I dunno about the heating of sheet metal-never heard of that. I I would think just leaving it in the bus so they are at the same temp when you attach them would be just fine. They ARE going to be same temp forever after that anyways. Why would you want to start out with the rivets under stress?
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my bus build http://www.skoolie.net/gallery/Skoolies/Sped
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Old 02-22-2016, 07:57 PM   #9
Skoolie
 
Join Date: Oct 2014
Location: Kent, WA (Seattle)
Posts: 227
Year: 1987
Before Pictures

Hi All,

I just got before pictures of the bus. The people who had the bus before us were really something else, when I see these I wonder why I would ever buy a bus that looked like this. Obviously painting was our top Priority

Note: The people were really nice (if you're reading this, I have nothing against you personally, just your taste). We got the bus with lots of plastic shot glasses and party cups all over, apparently they took the bus up to the mountains and partied up and down. They had a wood furnace they took out, which left me with a huge hole in the roof. I'll show you my shoddy fix for it later, maybe.

The Ad





After we got it




I called this back corner the "AIDS wall" (is that offensive? I'll probably edit it out later)
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Old 02-22-2016, 08:06 PM   #10
Skoolie
 
Join Date: Oct 2014
Location: Kent, WA (Seattle)
Posts: 227
Year: 1987
I hope you guys enjoy the prior pictures as much as I do, now here's the transformation (late spring of 2014).

My wife led a painting party with my roommates at the time, I won't include pictures of them without their consent and I'm too lazy to ask.



One of my favorite photos of Nana (the wife)






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