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Old 08-31-2017, 05:28 PM   #1
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Jul 2017
Posts: 18
Nameless '92 Chevy G30 Wayne

I finally had a chance to get the bus to the mechanic to get a clean bill of health. Everything looked good, other than the short list below, and once they put on new back shocks, she will be back home and the work begins.

<b>Backstory:</b> and why I decided to embark on this crazy adventure. I currently live in Alabama and will be moving in about a year. I actually have no idea where I will be moving to within the states, but I know I'll have a month or two to get there. Me and my wife had looked into getting an RV, and entertained the thought of living in the car during that time. We have two pups, and know that there will be times when they have to be left alone, so the car is out since they will certainly need A/C if they're going to be in there for an extended period. After much research and consideration, we realized the best (and most fun) way to do this would be to outfit a short bus.

If money were no option, we would go with a sprinter and have a fully offgrid stealth conversion, but that ends up being impractical once you start looking at the cost. So we started looking for a bus. Craigslist was definitely my preference to find a project that was ditched halfway through to avoid the initial work. After a month or so of watching, we got lucky and found one within 3 hours of us. More on that later, but without further ado, here is my bus in all her glory:



busted window, but this will probably be covered anyway.






Will is ready for an adventure!

<b>Before: </b>Like I mentioned, this was a previously started conversion. The previous owner was an older gentleman who was outfitting it for a trip across Route 66, but his wife unfortunately died and he mostly lost the will to finish the project. Before that, it was actually a raft bus on the Ocoee River and was mainly used to haul trailers through the mountains of North Carolina. I'm assuming that it was a school bus before that, but who knows what this bus has seen in its 25 years.

The conversion that had been started was basically taking parts out of a salvaged RV, with a bit of work done on the mechanics of the bus as well. The bus had replaced the dually back tires, exhaust headers, front shocks, A/C switch, and other general maintenance. The conversion that had been done included ripping the seats out and installing a 3.5kW generator, 30gal water tank, RV power inverter, water pump, shower, stove, sink/countertop, shelving, and bench/bed. You can see most of this in the image below, but unfortunately I did not take a picture before I got to cleaning it out. Most of the work was not done with rgard to plumbing, electrical, propane, or anything like that, so I felt a little less bad for ripping out all of their hard work.



And all of it currently sitting on my front porch

<b>The Plan:</b> You can see my sketchup below. I have not fully committed to the two captains chairs, and we might even keep something similar to the bench that is currently in there, but the main objective is a safe place to sit while driving. We don't currently know what we are going to do for a table, but I'm thinking that a little foldup tv table will do just fine.

We plan on having a pretty high lofted bed that leaves us with about 2.5 ft of clearance above our heads. The divider you see under the bed will essentially create a trunk that we access from the back door. I think we will also create a wall on the backside of the bed, such that the trunk is only accessible from the back door. The trunk will contain all the power electronics and the water tank, and will also serve as storage. We also currently plan on removing the back two windows for better insulation, and just having these covered by sheet metal.

On the kitchen side, you can how we plan on essentially just having a sink and a stove (which is currently drawn as mounted, but we will probably just buy a portable induction stove because they're cheaper. Still more research to do on that) with a fridge underneath it. The pantry will double as a night stand for the bed, and we will also have some overhead storage as well. And of course a TV mounted either behind the driver or above the windshield.

The other wall is mostly empty. We might do overhead storage, depending on what things feel like, but I honestly thing we have enough storage as it is. You can see the drawers that I plan to install on top of one wheel well, and the other open are will mainly just be for dog kennels and space for storing big things like a composting toilet. We also currently plan on doing a window mounted unit, which might be built into a box in order to bring it inside the bus more than it currently is.

There is a decent amount of wiggle room in this plan for things like the A/C, water system, thermoelectric cooler instead of fridge, etc. etc. And ther is of course a ton to nail down on the water and power systems. I will most likely set up the power system to have a pretty robust system that will allow me to be off grid for up to 8 hours at a time, but I might lower the water requirements and simply have a foot pump for the water and a grey tank underneath the sink.







<b>Next Steps:</b>
Engine:
Transmission flush, might pay someone to ensure it's done right
Fuel Filter change
Belt change, and maybe tensioner as well as I have a small squeak
Battery

Exterior:
fixing windows, many broken latches
sanding and painting some small surface rust on the back and where a spot was cut for the generator exhaust
sanding and painting the wheels, as they have a noticeable amount of surface rust
sanding and painting a lot of the metal bars that have rust, like the mirror mounts
mounting sheet metal over the back two windows on each side

Interior:
I have not decided if I want to insulate the roof or just below the windows. I know what I SHOULD do, but I'm hoping someone will convince me not to be lazy.
removing paneling up to the bottom of the windows
removing back two windows on each side.
removing floor
Insulation, subflooring, etc.

So yeh, the main next step is doing flooring and insulation. I am still doing some research now, so any relevant threads or tutorials people have would be great.

I will keep this thread updated throughout the process once I am set on how exactly I want to do certain things, then how I want to move onto each new step. Definitely looking like it'll be a fun project.
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Old 08-31-2017, 06:12 PM   #2
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Year: 95
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Chassis: G30
Engine: Chevy 350 gas
Looks like a lot of fun! I'm currently working on a 95 G30 and my setup is a lot like yours! Mine is just for tailgating and vacation so I might not have it instagram pretty but it should do the trick. Excited to see how yours turns out!
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Old 08-31-2017, 08:54 PM   #3
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Your girlfriend is cute!
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Old 09-03-2017, 09:13 PM   #4
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Love my short bus. You'll have fun.

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Old 09-03-2017, 09:50 PM   #5
Mini-Skoolie
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by yellowxj View Post
Love my short bus. You'll have fun.

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Been looking at your build thread. Great stuff you have there. I am going to use a lot of the work you have. You did less insulating than others (and the same as I want to do ) and I'm curious how hot is gets in the the summer and how cold it gets in the winter. Any thoughts on that?

Also, I saw you are 6'2. How have you gotten used to a bus that's shorter than you? is it as bad ats it sounds? I'm 6'0, but I have to hunch a bit if I have shoes on.

If you have any good resources on insulation or flooring that you followed, i'd love to look over them. Your bus looks great, and my wife loves the interior color. Definitely going to follow through your build as a resource
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Old 09-03-2017, 09:54 PM   #6
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If i had room or resources i should have/would have more insulation in the engine/trans area and either a rooftop rv ac unit or 10,000 btu window unit. Great for sleeping at night but running both ac's only kept interior in the 80's while driving in the 110+ degree temps out west.

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Old 09-03-2017, 10:03 PM   #7
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Its ok with no shoes on. I'm usually driving or sleeping so ceiling height isnt a big deal.

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Old 09-03-2017, 10:20 PM   #8
Mini-Skoolie
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by yellowxj View Post
If i had room or resources i should have/would have more insulation in the engine/trans area and either a rooftop rv ac unit or 10,000 btu window unit. Great for sleeping at night but running both ac's only kept interior in the 80's while driving in the 110+ degree temps out west.

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Awesome, thanks for the insight. We'll see in a week or two what my insulation plans end up being. Not sure what I'll do at the dashboard, but plan on insulating floor, under window, and replacing back two windows with sheet metal and good insulation.
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Old 09-03-2017, 10:26 PM   #9
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Location: Eustis FLORIDA
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Year: 2004
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Chassis: CE300
Engine: DT466E
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I love it. Roxy said its very "cute". I love those older GM vans. And I love school buses, so a combo of the two is just great!
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Old 12-26-2017, 11:08 PM   #10
Mini-Skoolie
 
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Build Day 1

So after school and life got busy, I was unable to really start on the bus. So now that the semester and holidays are over (and while family is still in town for free labor) the build officially begins. I had access to a family member with welding equipment and expertise, so I wanted to make sure to get his help for the first step: replacing the back two windows on each side with sheet metal for better insulation since they will be blocked by the bed anyway.

We found a guy in town that was able to cut us some 20 gauge sheet metal to size, and were able to pick it up, along with the scraps, for $50. My uncle said it was expensive, but I honestly had no idea how much metal goes for, and I'm just happy we didn't have to cut it. We also picked up some screws that were similar to the sheet metal screws that were in there, and they were stainless steel ($10). We went a size up from the #12's that were in there and it was a terrible decision. We had a terrible time stripping screws and fighting screw guns with those. We ended up getting 1/4" bolts and nylon nuts ($16) and had to pick up a 1'4" metal bit ($2), and it was immensely easier. I regret the wasted couple of hours with the screws.

Total cost of the day, $78, and even managed a free meal from my wife's aunt. I'm not sure how I managed to get free labor and a free meal, but I'm definitely thankful for the help.



I started by removing the inside metal paneling, and drilling out the rivets for the paneling between the windows and at the back of the last window. I also took off one of the panels above the window, but it turned out that I only had to take out one screw to remove the middle panel from the windows (though it had a redneck 'wiring diagram' written on it, so I'm glad I found it.)

With these gone, we were able to remove the windows by pressing on the bottom of the window to swing it out as the top was under the rain guard. They took a little bit of wiggling, but they came out relatively easy.



You can see most of the inside paneling that we took off. The insulation that is showing is going to go, but I am not positive exactly what is going to replace it. I am thinking of putting insulation board over all surfaces and just spraying foam behind the finished wall that I eventually put up. I need to do a bit more research on this.



Here is the majority of the finished work for the day (this was before we replaced the screws with the nuts and bolts.) We cleaned the foam that was sealing the old windows and cleaned it pretty well, then put a bead of silicon around the metal frame, and along the middle stud from between the two windows. With it held in place, we drilled through all of the original holes to make holes int he sheet metal and (eventually) put nuts and nylon threaded bolts through all the original holes to hold it in place. There is no way to secure the top of the metal with bolts, because it was just held by the rain gutter. Because of this, we put a good bead around the top of the metal to caulk it and keep it waterproof.



Tomorrow, we are going to start on the insulation and flooring. The plan is to remove the original rubber and wood to expose the metal floor. I was originally going to do vapor barrier, insulation, wood, finished floor; but I have seen others say to avoid the vapor barrier because the metal is a vapor barrier itself. I am probably going to check out the condition and decide from there. I might paint the bottom with rustoleum or a garage floor paint. Then, I'm going to use a 1/2" dense insulation board and a 1/2" tongue in groove plywood for the unfinished floor. I think I will put laminate down in the end, but I might opt for vinyl for better performance under bus conditions.

For the walls, I am going to cover with a softer foam insulation board. I have not fully decided how I want to do everything, but I am currently planning on foam board then spraying foam insulation everywhere I can get it. I am not entirely sure this is a good idea, but my helpers are more knowledgeable than me, and are convinced this is the best way.
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