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Old 09-11-2011, 03:16 PM   #1
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Paratransit Conversion Bus

[flash=420,345:1ge2ul87]http://www.youtube.com/v/9aNEo4MFfs8?version=3&hl=en_US[/flash:1ge2ul87]
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Old 09-13-2011, 08:20 PM   #2
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Re: Paratransit Conversion Bus

So I have actually lived in this bus for the last year. I did some quick framing and bought a catalytic heater, propane stove, hand-pump sink, and a few other necessities and threw together an acceptable living space in time to hit the road in search of some snowboarding fun.

Now I have ripped everything out of the bus again and I'm working on some 3D floor plans using Google SketchUp.

I have a few rough ideas and a few cancelled mistakes I can share here. I figure the more ideas, the better (even bad ones).

The only areas in the floor plan that I am pretty much certain about are the dinette/bed in the back and the shower/toilet in the front. The back of the buss needs to stay as light as possible for good weight distribution. I am now researching metal fabrication and I find it very exciting. I hope to design a light-weight plan that maximizes my space and comfort.

Now here I am on Skoolie.net talking with the pros. So I hope to hear some great ideas from everyone on board

First Design for Dinette/Sleeper:


my original dinette/sleeper design. wooden construction with storage in underframe and seat backs.


tabletop doubles as a platform for sleeper. simply remove the extension pipe.


this second design uses less lumber (i think). instead of framing with 2"x2" i designed this using 1/2" plywood for vertical support. this picture is missing the front face of the seat. the seat has more storage space than design 1 because of the plywood framing.


design 2 has a removable middle seat section and chair back allowing access to the back door. removing these pieces would allow me to use the bus to haul lumber, etc. up to 14' long


So that's what I've put into 3D. Now I want to use the concept to plan for a metal-framed dinette/sleeper. I am planning on using lightweight paneling for faces and some plywood for the seats and backs (which will be hinged to the metal as doors for storage areas). I'd still like the removable middle option seen in design 2.

Any thoughts or advice? I'm getting started now..
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Old 10-20-2011, 03:03 PM   #3
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Re: Paratransit Conversion Bus

Getting To The Bottom of Things (The Floor)

So we ripped up the flooring to find 3/4" plywood with quite a bit of mold and a little decay on some edges but not so bad other than that.


I found where my leak was coming from. I'll need to reseal the Fuel Tank opening.


The biggest problem is the rust i'm finding around the wheel wells. This side has rusted all the way through. I'm looking at a body repair job here.


The water has rusted through the floor and is now just soaking the plywood. Ouch.


There is some putty work and mold here.

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Old 10-20-2011, 04:18 PM   #4
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Re: Paratransit Conversion Bus

Hey RS --- Welcome! Nice looking unit you have there. And probably very beneficial that you have spent some quality road time together. It should help a lot in determining how you want to use/arrange things. Unless you really need the lift, they are often the first things removed as they weigh a bunch. And the floor doesn't look too bad, but to be honest, ya just never know until you look underneath. Indications of leaks are common but wood that stays damp can really accelerate rusting. Likewise around the wheel wells. It is probably the most likely area for major corrosion on a bus...or just about any vehicle. Mud and dirt get tossed up into every nook and cranny and, like the wood, holds moisture. The floor on my old '46 was in very good shape...but the wells were Rust City . I am rebuilding those areas now.

Good luck with the build and do keep the pix coming.
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Old 10-20-2011, 07:54 PM   #5
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Re: Paratransit Conversion Bus

If you do a search on my name, you'll come up with bunch of posts documenting my wheelwell issues. I bet you start poking around you'll find nothing but expandable foam filling everything from the wells to the body. (up to 3" gap in places on mine!)
I agree-ditch the lift + feel free to build to the rear. The last 5 ft of mine is race car shop-stand up tool box-Full cabinets on the walls- spare engine-wheels -everything. I'm sure I have at least 1200 lbs. back there. You dont even notice it. I notice more when i fill my (55 gal) stock fuel tank-I normally run on my veg tank mounted under the left side. On those long trips, I'll burn off my rear tank 1st.
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Old 10-21-2011, 09:05 AM   #6
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Re: Paratransit Conversion Bus

So you're going to pull up that plywood, right? I think it's going to be pretty ugly under there. I see lots of wire brushing in your future!
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Old 10-21-2011, 01:29 PM   #7
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Re: Paratransit Conversion Bus

welcome aboard! nice shortie!
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Old 03-03-2012, 03:08 PM   #8
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Re: Paratransit Conversion Bus

Thanks everyone. I'm making a little progress as the weather warms up a bit here (some days).

So, I ended up pulling up the plywood around the rusted wheel well and found that I had rust clear through the sheet metal underlay.



So I cut away as much rust as I could and found solid frame to drill into. I wire brushed down all the rust for days (dang!) and then primed the raw metal.



I cut a 4' x 4' sheet of sheet metal to fit the patch. I then used a can of rubberized undercoating spray on the bottom of the sheet (there was actually the main large sheet + a small patch piece for the side of the wheel well). I put subfloor adhesive everywhere the metal would contact and then laid my sheet in place. Then I hosed the top of that sheet metal down with more floor adhesive and finally placed my plywood ontop of everything and screwed it down.



Now I'm putting 3 layers of polyurethane on the newly sanded and wiped plywood floor.
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Old 03-03-2012, 08:15 PM   #9
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Re: Paratransit Conversion Bus

Wow-that was bad. Worse than mine was. finished product looks good though.
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