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Old 10-26-2018, 07:18 PM   #1
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Sep 2018
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Smile Newbie's Shuttle Bus Conversion

annndddd bought a bus today. 2001 Ford e450 7.3L 175k miles.

Here's what I'm confident about: demo'ing, insulating, and framing. A family member owns a spray foam company so we'll knock that right out.

Here's what I'm semi-confident about: changing the basic fluids, doing the lay out, basic carpentry (although I don't know how people anchor the tongue and groove type pine to the ceiling....just screw it or glue it?)

Here's what I'm shakey on: Plumbing. I've done it in houses but no clue how to get running water and an external shower hook up done.

Here's what I have no idea about: Electrical....it has a basic inverter in it but I don't understand how the house batteries work/charge...or anything haha

Also, I've never done body work but I get the basics of rust removal. There seems to be a rust starting around where the fiberglass body meets the metal near the bottom. I'll have to really get after that.

We'll see what happens!

Open to any and all tips on the above!

AKA...please help
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Old 10-26-2018, 08:10 PM   #2
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Great bus with a great engine! Take care of stripping it out and getting all the rust taken care of first.

Plumbing can be as basic or complicated as you want it to be. I have a simple setup with a 33 gallon fresh water tank under the bed with a fill port, vent, and a line run to a 12 volt water pump. That line goes right to my sink. You can use pex just like a house. I use a 5-gallon bucket under the sink, but you can install a grey water tank under the bus and plumb it to the sink and wherever.

You can buy a propane instant hot water heater or a propane outdoor shower that can be plumbed from the tank or run from a garden hose like this one.......
https://www.amazon.com/CAMPLUX-ENJOY...r_1_fkmrnull_5

Electrical can be simple or extravagant. I basically have my bus wired all in 12V so my interior lighting, porch lights, roof vent fan, water pump, stereo, TV, etc is all 12V and run from my battery bank separate from the actual bus batteries. I have a basic 200 watt solar panel kit which includes a solar charge controller and this keeps my batteries charged. I also have a switch that connects my bus batteries to my house batteries that will charge them from the alternator when the bus is running and disconnects when the bus is off.

I also have a 12v to 120V pure sine power inverter that runs my apartment sized fridge and the occasional pot of coffee. If you want all 120V stuff in the bus instead of 12V then you will need a large solar array, a huge battery bank, and a large inverter. You can also buy a smaller 12V fridge and forget 120V and the inverter all together.

I hate body work and suck at it, so no help from me there. Good luck!
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Old 10-26-2018, 09:37 PM   #3
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Awesome, thank you!

How many batteries are in your bank and how long does that last you without the bus running for normal bus activities (fridge, lights, small items)
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Old 10-26-2018, 09:54 PM   #4
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I have 2 6V golf cart batteries wired in series to make 12V and 235 amp hours. My batteries only died once and that was because the fridge was open for almost an hour on a hot summer day, but they recovered the next day from the solar panels (I did not have the isolator installed then to charge from alternator) and I never had any issues since then.

These 6V golf cart batteries a true deep cycle batteries and running them dead does not destroy them like traditional batteries.
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Old 10-27-2018, 07:01 PM   #5
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Great first day with the kids! We put in about 3 hours of demo. Removed seats, pulled carpet, shoveled rubber flooring up and a bunch of other small items.

It poured all day which showed a few window leaks. I've read it's advised to re-seal them all.

I'm not sure how to do that so time to do some searching around!
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Old 11-02-2018, 03:51 PM   #6
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Hey man, we're neighbors! Good to see you here! I think our bus might have played a small role in your family's decision to go Skoolie rather than RV, even though I think we're building very different kinds of buses! Best of luck and I'll definitely be watching your build thread.
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Old 11-02-2018, 04:31 PM   #7
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Awesome! Now I'll feel more obligated to keep this thread updated . I appreciate you taking the time to comment.

Updates:
- All the rubber is off the floor...not easy! The previous owner had the seats out but holes were plugged with loose bolts so we sealed those off.

- Debated on taking walls and ceiling down to re-insulate. Leaning towards yes.

- Doing the floor work with the kids this weekend and perhaps re-sealing the windows. Depends on how much time we have to get into it with kids events. Always good and busy weekends!

Still not sure how / what to do with electrical (generator vs house battery bank)
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Old 11-03-2018, 08:22 PM   #8
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Walls coming off better than the floor. Leaving the bits around the windows until we pull them off and re-seal next weekend.

We'll spray foam most tomorrow and get the floor insulation done. There's a bar running near the bottom of this area that is rusty. We'll grind and paint tomorrow too. Coming along!
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Old 11-04-2018, 11:35 AM   #9
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Thanks for the update!
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Old 11-04-2018, 08:02 PM   #10
Mini-Skoolie
 
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I appreciate you checking in Johnny!

Floor insulated today with 1in foam board. Took 1 1/8 in pressure treated decking, cut it down to use as framing.

Height's important to us so can't give up too much head room. Spray foamed all cracks around the foam board and started grinding on internal rust spots.

Went to Harbor freight to get one of my favorite tools from them - multitool oscillating saw. I lost my previous one, but I use it for tons of edging, trimming, cutting the vinyl floor boards coming etc.

And about a dozen tape measures. My kids run off with them / I lose about one a week!

Taking the under carriage rust seriously. I will grind down to metal or as best as possible and ordered a few quarts magic bullet.
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Old 11-08-2018, 02:36 AM   #11
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Personally I would not have used the pressure treated wood. The treatment is fairly corrosive and over time it will cause rust wherever it touches metal.

It also off gasses for a very LONG time. Unless you have the stuff isolated really well from the interior of your bus it will always have a whiff of chemical. After sitting closed up for a day or more in the hot sun when you get in it will be more than just a whiff you will smell.

Good luck!
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Old 11-08-2018, 11:47 AM   #12
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Year: 2001
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Chassis: Chevy Express Cutaway g3500
Engine: Turbo diesel 6.5L
Rated Cap: 14
Window seals

I am almost where you are. I plan to spend the week before Thanksgiving to finish removing vinyl flooring and putting in new subfloor/insulation/plywood/new vinyl plank flooring. That I can do. I am a 67 year old female who will have a little help from my older son who is a mechanic and is going thru all the mechanical stuff.


My question to you is where are you getting new window seals and what kind? I have the same T-windows and the seals have shrunk. I need to replace the seals while I am trying to find out if the T-windows can be replaced with plain double hung windows so I have better air flow.


What are you doing about the AC/heat? I have a heater that kinda looks like a battery. I think it may have been mounted under some seats.


Sharee
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Old 03-29-2019, 08:31 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by desertfather View Post
Hey man, we're neighbors! Good to see you here! I think our bus might have played a small role in your family's decision to go Skoolie rather than RV, even though I think we're building very different kinds of buses! Best of luck and I'll definitely be watching your build thread.
Finally back in the thread I've been sticking most to FB for ease of sharing but I came across your DMV post. Worked like a charm and all registered!
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Old 03-29-2019, 08:37 PM   #14
Mini-Skoolie
 
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A couple update photos attached. Windows sealed, ceiling in, custom cabinets around the ceiling edges to hide the corner and for storage.

I'll run electrical down each cabinet with lights and outlets coming out the bottom.

Switching back to mechanical for next week now that weather is nicer. Getting a pro to go through everything and finalize the inspection (no problem with plates at the DMV today, yay!).

Nearly all pieces of interior are here, just need to assemble.

MISSING. I still need 2 bus seats....Shuttle or school bus are fine. Any leads in upstate NY?
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Old 03-29-2019, 11:31 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jhashey View Post
A couple update photos attached. Windows sealed, ceiling in, custom cabinets around the ceiling edges to hide the corner and for storage.

I'll run electrical down each cabinet with lights and outlets coming out the bottom.

Switching back to mechanical for next week now that weather is nicer. Getting a pro to go through everything and finalize the inspection (no problem with plates at the DMV today, yay!).

Nearly all pieces of interior are here, just need to assemble.

MISSING. I still need 2 bus seats....Shuttle or school bus are fine. Any leads in upstate NY?
I'm in Philly and I have a bunch of school bus seats I've removed. They're all going to the dump so you'd be welcome to any of them if you could get here. Two of the seats were by my exit door, so they're stand-alone (i.e. they don't tie into the chair rail); the rest have upholstery that I had to slash in order to unbolt them from the rail. All have integrated lap belts (but not shoulder belts).

I'm putting a Ford Transit van double seat that I found on Craigslist into my bus for passengers. These are easy to install and they have integrated shoulder belts.

I may be taking a road trip to the Albany area within a month or so.
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Old 03-30-2019, 08:28 AM   #16
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Year: 2001
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Chassis: Chevy Express Cutaway g3500
Engine: Turbo diesel 6.5L
Rated Cap: 14
Update: I wrote my first response the month I bought my shuttle. Since then I have discovered it is not that difficult to replace windows altogether. And the thing I thought was a battery is the heater. I plan to replace that with a diesel under cabinet heater system.
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Old 07-04-2019, 03:01 PM   #17
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Sep 2018
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Update. It's been a long winter at work but a fury of activity in the last week.

Flooring insulated,
walls re-insulated,
pine board walls,
cabinets built to fit the round area at the top,
floor in,
electrical in w/ new batteries, breaker box, the works.
Plumbing 80% in
Driving 4 hours to get seats tomorrow (hopefully).
3/4 of the bunk beds made.

I still have some rust abatement to address and an oil pan issue. Both are on my list for next week!
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Old 07-04-2019, 03:29 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jhashey View Post
Update. It's been a long winter at work but a fury of activity in the last week.
Nice work!
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Old 07-04-2019, 06:05 PM   #19
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More pic please
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Old 07-04-2019, 10:19 PM   #20
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Join Date: Apr 2019
Location: Hotzona
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That wood siding is absolutely gorgeous! Great work!
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