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Old 04-20-2010, 11:25 AM   #1
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New shorty conversion! Road trip anyone?

In my quest to be more spontaneous, I went on craigslist to look for a short bus. Within 5 minutes of coming up with the idea I was on the phone with the seller (who I happened to share a rather rare last name with) and was arranging a time to come out to look at it. 2 days later I purchased the 1982 P30 Chevy school bus. I test drove it, it runs smooth and steady. There is a connection problem with the starter, but that's an easy fix once we get it out to take a look.

It's already gutted out and primed black. I got about 8 buddies who are going to take a road trip out west from Florida to Wyoming (Yellastone) this summer. So it looks to be an entertaining (albeit a slightly absurd) project to work on. Picture below. I will post photo updates as the conversion progresses!

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Old 04-20-2010, 02:56 PM   #2
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Re: New shorty conversion! Road trip anyone?

Any ideas for the floorplan?




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File Type: jpg BusTop.jpg (145.1 KB, 2578 views)
File Type: jpg BusSide.jpg (267.7 KB, 2579 views)
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Old 04-20-2010, 06:44 PM   #3
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Re: New shorty conversion! Road trip anyone?

You need to let people know what you want to have in it. Water? Cooking? Such as that
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Old 04-20-2010, 10:50 PM   #4
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Re: New shorty conversion! Road trip anyone?

Thanks guys. I thought the name was a bit wordy...but I love the meaning (pleasant idleness)...both in it's emotional impact and mechanical (idleness...get it? ha!).

I need this thing to sleep 8 young guys. Needless to say,space-saving is a must. I'm thinking a dining area in the rear with a table that comes down between two couches to convert into a large bed with storage inside the couches? And (2) twin bunk beds? Along with a futon in the front? Sound feasible?

Also, this thing is black. We'll be travelling through a lot of desert and canyons this summer. Would it be wise to paint the top white or something to reflect heat? Or does "windows down" suffice? Haha!
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Old 04-21-2010, 04:38 PM   #5
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Re: New shorty conversion! Road trip anyone?

To sleep 8 guys in a 6 window bus, I think you're floor plan is limited to wall-to-wall bunk beds running down each side of the bus, with maybe a foot of space in the back for a toilet, storage, etc, and a way to raise the top bunks so people can sit upright in the bottom bunks without banging their heads.

Okay, if you guys are real chummy then maybe you could make a big bunk bed in the back and sleep 4 abreast across the bus, then you'd have more space to build other stuff in the front. But if I were one of those 8 guys in that situation, I'd bring a tent!
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Old 04-28-2010, 03:03 PM   #6
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Re: New shorty conversion! Road trip anyone?

We figured out the solenoid is bad and decided to just go ahead and replace the whole starter considering the solenoid is 2/3 the cost of a re-manufactured starter. Hopefully it removal/installation goes smoothly. Anyone here replaced a starter on a GM/Chevy bus?
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Old 04-28-2010, 06:26 PM   #7
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Re: New shorty conversion! Road trip anyone?

id imagine it would be same as any other chevy motor? just make sure you get the right wires back on the right posts!!
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Old 04-29-2010, 07:03 PM   #8
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Re: New shorty conversion! Road trip anyone?

Thanks for the info on the starter. I got the new starter installed today. I went to start the engine and the engine is turning but it won't actually start. There seems to be no spark to start it up. It wants too...but after dozens of tries and tinkering it just doesn't want to do it.

Here is what I know is NOT the problem:

1. There is gas in it.
2. The starter is definitely not the problem. It now works like a charm.
3. The battery is reading good. No problem there.

Keep in mind I test drove it before I bought it (and before the starter went out) and it drove just fine.

I have a feeling there is something wrong with the distributor/spark plugs considering that's where the firing occurs to start the engine. The distributor cap will turn about 45 degrees either way. Should it do this? Any ideas what the problem could be?

Thanks in advanced...I'm trying to learn the best I can.
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Old 04-29-2010, 07:07 PM   #9
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Re: New shorty conversion! Road trip anyone?

Quote:
Originally Posted by SeatTaken
...I have a feeling there is something wrong with the distributor/spark plugs considering that's where the firing occurs to start the engine. The distributor cap will turn about 45 degrees either way. Should it do this? ...
I think you may be right. The distributor cap should not turn at all. The ignition timing of the engine is set by turning the distrubutor to a certain degree, then it is tightened down with a bolt. It sounds like yours have come loose and now your timing is off. You will need to reset the ignition timing to get it running again. Hopefully someone here can explain how to do it on your engine.
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Old 04-29-2010, 10:18 PM   #10
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Re: New shorty conversion! Road trip anyone?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Smitty
Pop the dist cap, and pull #1 plug [front plug, right side] (lay the plug wire out of the way).....run it up to TDC on the compression stroke (hold a thump over the spark plug hole & have someone bump the starter until the compression blows your thumb off the hole, don't crank too far), look on the harmonic balancer to see how close the timing mark is to TDC (0 degrees), and rotate the enging by hand if needed to align it, then find which tower on the dist cap has #1 plug wire connected to it & turn the dist until it's pointing directly at that tower, and snug the hold-down bolt for the dist. Replace the plug & dist cap....should be close enough to fire. Sounds like you've got the timing off.

Smitty

ETA- I'm assuming you mean the entire distributor turns and not just the cap.....
If its a Chevy-#1 is driver side front.
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Old 05-04-2010, 02:17 PM   #11
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Re: New shorty conversion! Road trip anyone?

Alright, so the problem turned out to be bad ignition wiring...I rewired the ignition and we now have a key on the ignition instead of hot-wiring the bastard every time. It runs along just fine and pretty quiet, comparatively speaking.

Now we are moving on to painting. We are painting the interior today with Rust-Oleum Metallic Aluminum on rollers: http://www.lowes.com/webapp/wcs/stor...165&cId=SEARCH

As for the exterior, I want a matte black look. Probably Rust-Oleum Stain Black with a spray gun (mixed with 15-20% acetone): http://www.lowes.com/webapp/wcs/stor...123&cId=SEARCH

We'll paint everything else on the exterior (bumpers, light frames) and the interior (engine cover, dash, rails) in flat black and for high rust areas a hammered black to even it out with a nice texture.

Any advice? Will post photos soon...
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Old 05-04-2010, 02:26 PM   #12
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Re: New shorty conversion! Road trip anyone?

Quote:
Originally Posted by GoBucks614
The aluminum is what we used paint our interior also. Be careful... it is VERY runny and gets everywhere!! but it looks nice when dry!!
Did you dilute it any? Or just rolled it on thick? How many quarts did it take?
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Old 05-08-2010, 12:56 PM   #13
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Re: New shorty conversion! Road trip anyone?

A little help on insurance coverage...in Florida, liability and personal injury protection is mandatory. When I get insurance for the RV conversion is the driver (me) liable for everyone riding in the bus?
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Old 05-08-2010, 05:32 PM   #14
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Re: New shorty conversion! Road trip anyone?

Ask your insurance representative to explain your policy and options - I have the impression that some policies only cover injuries to those outside your bus, unless you get extra-cost options. You are responsible for everyone everywhere if you are the cause of an incident. The insurance company will assume your responsibilities for you, but only within the terms of the policy.
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Old 05-11-2010, 01:49 PM   #15
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Re: New shorty conversion! Road trip anyone?

What does everyone use to remove old, rusty and expanded screws? Should a standard extractor bit from Lowes work? What's the best method to removing them? Because I have a lot to take out!
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Old 05-11-2010, 01:55 PM   #16
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Re: New shorty conversion! Road trip anyone?

Quote:
Originally Posted by SeatTaken
What does everyone use to remove old, rusty and expanded screws? Should a standard extractor bit from Lowes work? What's the best method to removing them? Because I have a lot to take out!
You could try cutting a slot in the head of the screw with a rotary tool or a hacksaw and use a flat screwdriver to take them out.
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Old 05-13-2010, 12:00 PM   #17
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Re: New shorty conversion! Road trip anyone?

Alright guys, the conversion is coming along great. We're about 30% complete. I will post pictures tomorrow.

Question about oils and fluids though: I'm replacing the motor oil with a single viscosity SAE30 for running at high temps. It's probably been a LONG while since this thing has had an oil change. Should I mix in any additives or oil treatments because of this? I'm not looking for racing performance, but if adding in anything extra helps, I'll spend the few extra bucks.

BTW, Advanced Auto Parts has a deal on Motor OIl/Oil Filter combos and a 20% discount code:

20% off: http://tinyurl.com/296rfot

Oil Specials: http://tinyurl.com/2dkx5zm
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Old 05-14-2010, 12:11 AM   #18
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Re: New shorty conversion! Road trip anyone?

Prolong engine treatment and Prolong transmission treatment from AutoZone is EXCELLENT!!! Also, use Marvel Mystery Oil in the fuel to lube the fuel pump and the valves. I use these plus Lucas fuel treatment in my diesels. I gained an average of 2 to 3 mpg with my M1009s, but I don't have any data for my B600 yet.
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Old 05-17-2010, 12:24 PM   #19
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Re: New shorty conversion! Road trip anyone?

Gutted, with wood patched and fresh paint:



New interior paint and new carpet:



First time driving it home:

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Old 05-17-2010, 12:27 PM   #20
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Re: New shorty conversion! Road trip anyone?

Dream big!

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