Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
 
Old 11-19-2017, 09:14 PM   #1
Almost There
 
Mountain Gnome's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2017
Posts: 83
Year: 1999
Coachwork: BlueBird
Chassis: TC1000 HandyBus
Engine: 5.9L Cummings ISB
Rated Cap: 26 foot
my mobile Gnome Home

Well, I guess I will start my personal conversion thread. I hope that (a) someone finds ideas or info that helps them, and (b) that you can be a bit entertained. Normally, I keep things like this to myself. I'm big on privacy, etc. I have no real need to show off my bus. But here I go!

But first, all y'all long-timers in skoolies in general and those on this site for making it realistic for me to get my own skoolie without major hair-pulling, trying to figure it all out myself.

At this time I still need my tools shipped from Hawai'i. All 2000lbs of them (why I bought a bus - to hold them all in one enclosed vehicle; a one-ton van would barely hold the volume of them, and my back would break trying to get them in and out). So conversion progress has been slow. I bought (more) tools to change the oil and service the tranny, fix the treadle valve for the brakes, etc...

After dumping the seats off at a local Good-Will store (with permission), I drove it on a temp tag from Tucson where I bought it, to Eugene. I started the "conversion" process there, so I could title and tag it as an RV. It is pretty easy there. All you need is "permanent cooking and sleeping facilities."

But first I will start with the first upgrades I did: hammock and chimes, bed on the floor, and bead-seat cover.

Note the hammock is hung right off the factory installed wheelchair tiedown track that runs above the windows. Eight of these same tracks run the length of the floor, and the seats as well as wheelchair tiedowns bolt to the floor along them (much nicer than seats bolted through the floor!). Searching Home Depot, I found an extra-large pipe-hanger bracket had the one-hole mounting flange with a hole big enough for the special track-bolt that I needed. Padded with a 12x12 inch rag folded several times, they make great hammock hooks.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg 1102171324.jpg (120.8 KB, 29 views)
File Type: jpg 1102171325.jpg (175.7 KB, 29 views)
File Type: jpg 1102171325a.jpg (106.4 KB, 23 views)
File Type: jpg 1102171326.jpg (208.4 KB, 22 views)
Mountain Gnome is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-19-2017, 10:18 PM   #2
Almost There
 
Mountain Gnome's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2017
Posts: 83
Year: 1999
Coachwork: BlueBird
Chassis: TC1000 HandyBus
Engine: 5.9L Cummings ISB
Rated Cap: 26 foot
To pass "inspection" for RV conversion, I bought a bunk-bed on craigslist for $30. That was easy. For the stove I bought a cheap Ozark Trails propane stove at Wally World. But it has to be permanent, according to the DMV website. The actual law does not specify anything, from what I could find, just that it is used to live in.... The DMV seems to have added the specific qualifications, legally or just because, I don't know.

Some holes drilled in the metal bunk legs (I had to buy another - 3rd - cordless drill) and some angle brackets, and I could bolt it to the floor-tracks (see first post on this thread).

The stove required more creative thought. I have a magic-plastic Home Depot card, so I wanted to get everything I could from there. I got a 5-tier wire shelf (wanted chrome, but that was out so I got black) and a hood-vent for home use.

I put the cooking-unit together, but ran out of time to get everything bolted to the floor. My temp tag was expiring that very day, and I needed to get in the DMV before 2:00pm I figured to take my driver's license test and get all my paperwork on the bus done.

No problem they told me. "If you want it registered as a motor-home, we will title it as such." They took my word that it had a bed and stove. They never "inspected" it, but did do a VIN check, since I brought it from out-of-state, (but Arizona did one also). If I lied about the bed and stove, they would have known.

One thing I did wrong: I got Oregon insurance (from State Farm) before the tag/title was changed to motor-home. Seemed the right thing to do, but Oregon does not check when registering your vehicle. It was insured at my mom's address on the east-coast as a "commercial vehicle for private use" through State Farm so it wasn't a hazard (I break rules left and right, but I really do believe in liability insurance), and I insured it in Oregon the same way. Had I waited till after I got the title changed, I could have insured it as an RV, my agent said. But she could not change it until after the binder cleared, and the policy was issued. That could be 4-6 weeks. Damn commercial policy procedures. My auto policy was immediate. And you would think they just transfer the info and policy from one state to another without hassle. Now my agent has twice the work, and I am probably paying a lot more for this 4-6 week period, plus any longer delay while they "approve" that policy...

Other improvements to the bus include a quick-release lever for the rear-view mirror, and an outside door handle. I was worried I would wear on the rubber door-seal trying to pry the door open. The rear-view mirror is in the way of the overhead storage above the front window, and must fold down to get access to the storage door. The bolts that mount it must be tight to keep it from sagging down-down-down as I hit bumps on the road, but when they are that tight, I can't move the mirror to access the storage. I was using a bamboo back-scratcher to push the mirror back up into place (or pull it down as needed with the hook-end of the scratcher) while driving, but that was annoying, especially on bumpy roads in traffic. Bicycle wheels use lever-locks for quick removal from the frame. I thought they were nuts on the end of the wheel axle. I went to REI and asked about getting one. He looked puzzled. Turns out, I was the clueless one, as the lever-lock is actually part of the axle itself, and the axle was several inches long. Way too long. Then he said that they use them for quick-release bike seats (so you can take your $150 extra-cushy seat into the office with you, so the hoodlems outside don't steal it off your chained bike, or it stays dry in the rain) and they have shorter threaded rods (like the much longer wheel axle). He pulled an old used one out of a box of parts and gave it to me, custom thumb-nut on the end and all. The rod is thinner than the mirror's mounting bolt, but for $0.98 I got a spacer at Home Depot that was the same outer diameter as the original mounting bolt, with an inner diameter that fit the level-lock rod perfectly. Its length was also perfect for the hinge-joint when the two outer washers were in place. No fabrication! Perfect like factory! Now my mirror stays where I want it, and getting in my storage is simple, no wrench needed to loosen the mirror-mounts.

I also need to add a handle to the inside of the door, plus an inside lock. At this time, I can not lock it from inside. Air-pressure will keep it tightly closed, but it leaks out in a few hours with the motor off. I can not even close it all the way from inside without air pressure. I want to keep the drill-holes to a minimum. I am thinking a custom inside handle with a square-tube bar that can insert through it and cross both doors to the walls on the sides. I.e. a lock-bar. Of course it would be as easy as breaking off the handle on the outside with a small hammer to gain access past the lock-bar. Its mounting bolts are thin. But breaking a window is just as easy...

also note how I mounted the stove to the shelf using steel-cable ties.

The door handle reminds me of the symbol that my hero Jose Wales puts on his door when he finally gets to find peace in his life. The sign of the Apache - the last of the truly free men that America has seen...

A wonderful book: Empire Of The Summer Moon. Quanah Parker is another of my heroes. Not about skoolies, though....
Attached Images
File Type: jpg 1109171626.jpg (125.9 KB, 19 views)
File Type: jpg 1109171627.jpg (76.3 KB, 17 views)
File Type: jpg 1109171627a.jpg (174.6 KB, 21 views)
File Type: jpg 1109171627b.jpg (153.6 KB, 17 views)
File Type: jpg 1109171627c.jpg (87.8 KB, 15 views)
File Type: jpg 1109171628.jpg (122.9 KB, 15 views)
File Type: jpg 1109171650.jpg (142.6 KB, 15 views)
File Type: jpg 1109171650a.jpg (87.3 KB, 14 views)
File Type: jpg 1109171652.jpg (144.4 KB, 16 views)
File Type: jpg 1119170913.jpg (124.6 KB, 17 views)
File Type: jpg 1119170914.jpg (210.1 KB, 19 views)
Mountain Gnome is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-19-2017, 10:38 PM   #3
Almost There
 
Mountain Gnome's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2017
Posts: 83
Year: 1999
Coachwork: BlueBird
Chassis: TC1000 HandyBus
Engine: 5.9L Cummings ISB
Rated Cap: 26 foot
I forgot to say I need to cut the top of the shelf down a bit. The backside (against the wall) is just an inch or so too high, as the ceiling curves down a the sides. Then I can move it against the wall and put in "permanent" mounting brackets from the wall where it is tied in with cord, and the floor. With my interior's mounting tracks, this unit can then be moved to anywhere in the bus as I get time, funds, and stuff to do a more "friendly" conversion. Love the above bed storage, but the bunk has to go. Too bulky. I want a foldout couch / futon bed. You can't sit up on either mattress with the bunkbed.

One thing I like about this bus is that I can see out the back and sides using my center rear-view mirror. Motor-Home RVs require side-mirrors only. RE buses don't let you see what is on your tail. The bunk-bed and stove-shelf both block part of my view out the side windows from the mirror. Definitely needs rethinking, but then everything is always a compromise. No configuration will be perfect.
Mountain Gnome is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-19-2017, 10:44 PM   #4
Bus Crazy
 
Join Date: Sep 2017
Location: Owasso, OK
Posts: 1,481
Year: 1999
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: Saf-T-Liner MVP ER
Engine: Cummins 6CTA8.3 Mechanical MD3060
Rated Cap: 46 Coach Seats, 40 foot
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mountain Gnome View Post
I forgot to say I need to cut the top of the shelf down a bit. The backside (against the wall) is just an inch or so too high, as the ceiling curves down a the sides. Then I can move it against the wall and put in "permanent" mounting brackets from the wall where it is tied in with cord, and the floor. With my interior's mounting tracks, this unit can then be moved to anywhere in the bus as I get time, funds, and stuff to do a more "friendly" conversion. Love the above bed storage, but the bunk has to go. Too bulky. I want a foldout couch / futon bed. You can't sit up on either mattress with the bunkbed.

One thing I like about this bus is that I can see out the back and sides using my center rear-view mirror. Motor-Home RVs require side-mirrors only. RE buses don't let you see what is on your tail. The bunk-bed and stove-shelf both block part of my view out the side windows from the mirror. Definitely needs rethinking, but then everything is always a compromise. No configuration will be perfect.
Rear view cameras let you see behind very clearly.
__________________
Steve Bracken

Build Thread
Twigg is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 11-19-2017, 11:27 PM   #5
Almost There
 
Mountain Gnome's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2017
Posts: 83
Year: 1999
Coachwork: BlueBird
Chassis: TC1000 HandyBus
Engine: 5.9L Cummings ISB
Rated Cap: 26 foot
Quote:
Originally Posted by Twigg View Post
Rear view cameras let you see behind very clearly.
All in good time. But mirrors are free!

Eventually, cameras all around, but for security, and to keep the cops honest. Would have helped me in Maryland when heading to a music festival over the border in West Virginia a few years back... Seriously Nazi county out there at the end of the panhandle...

However, the cop in Roland Oklahoma who threatened to kill my dogs unless I bent over and signed paperwork and paid a $1100 fine did so after inviting me into his cop-car's front seat.

Cameras and a Lojack system or similar. (yea, I'm that old).
Mountain Gnome is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-19-2017, 11:41 PM   #6
Almost There
 
Mountain Gnome's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2017
Posts: 83
Year: 1999
Coachwork: BlueBird
Chassis: TC1000 HandyBus
Engine: 5.9L Cummings ISB
Rated Cap: 26 foot
Quote:
Originally Posted by Twigg View Post
Rear view cameras let you see behind very clearly.
I guess I like that I can glance up and see all around my bus, sides, behind, etc. to make a judgement about changing lanes, etc. How many camera viewscreens can a brain comprehend in a moment? Each screen will show a different angle (2 sides, one back, minimum) and they will not be one continuous view. Your brain needs a moment to process a view, then it is comprehended holistically. It would need basically 3 times the amount of time to comprehend the 3 camera viewscreens. Mirrors rule, but yes, I will get cameras also. The more the merrier.
Mountain Gnome is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-19-2017, 11:46 PM   #7
Bus Crazy
 
Join Date: Sep 2017
Location: Owasso, OK
Posts: 1,481
Year: 1999
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: Saf-T-Liner MVP ER
Engine: Cummins 6CTA8.3 Mechanical MD3060
Rated Cap: 46 Coach Seats, 40 foot
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mountain Gnome View Post
I guess I like that I can glance up and see all around my bus, sides, behind, etc. to make a judgement about changing lanes, etc. How many camera viewscreens can a brain comprehend in a moment? Each screen will show a different angle (2 sides, one back, minimum) and they will not be one continuous view. Your brain needs a moment to process a view, then it is comprehended holistically. It would need basically 3 times the amount of time to comprehend the 3 camera viewscreens. Mirrors rule, but yes, I will get cameras also. The more the merrier.
Set up right you get a 140 to 170 degree view directly behind, and your side mirrors for the blind spots. One screen.
__________________
Steve Bracken

Build Thread
Twigg is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 11-20-2017, 12:03 AM   #8
Almost There
 
Mountain Gnome's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2017
Posts: 83
Year: 1999
Coachwork: BlueBird
Chassis: TC1000 HandyBus
Engine: 5.9L Cummings ISB
Rated Cap: 26 foot
Quote:
Originally Posted by Twigg View Post
Set up right you get a 140 to 170 degree view directly behind, and your side mirrors for the blind spots. One screen.
I was thinking of just having to glance up to see everything. You are still focused forward down the road, not turning heads sideways to see mirrors. That would require 3 cameras. One rearview camera and 2 sideview mirrors is still 3 "views" and things can change quick in rush-hour city traffic as you look from one side to another to a camera screen. I check my sideviews for hidden motorcycles, smaller cars, etc, then my rearview mirror shows me one view of both plus the back in case some guy comes screaming up behind me, changing lanes to go around me at the last second. I just feel it is much safer. I drove my pickup with a fiberglass camper-shell that had a tinted rear window you could not see out of for a year. I learned to rely on my sideviews. But I ditched that thing and made my own slant-back clamshell top with wood and covered it with clear plexiglass. Great idea, crappy choice of materials. But I could see like I wanted.
Mountain Gnome is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-20-2017, 10:50 AM   #9
Skoolie
 
ACamper's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2017
Location: Colorado
Posts: 111
Looks like it is coming along nicely.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mountain Gnome View Post
But it has to be permanent, according to the DMV website.
hmm, What "permanent" in the world of RVs ? lol
ACamper is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-20-2017, 11:24 AM   #10
Bus Geek
 
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Columbus Ohio
Posts: 8,552
Year: 1991
Coachwork: Carpenter
Chassis: International S3800
Engine: DT360
Rated Cap: 7 Row Handicap
Quote:
Originally Posted by Twigg View Post
Rear view cameras let you see behind very clearly.

which cameras are you using? im in the market to buy some for my busses..
-Christopher
cadillackid is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


» Virginia Campgrounds

Reviews provided by

Powered by vBadvanced CMPS v3.2.3

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 01:12 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 4
Copyright ©2000 - 2018, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.