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Old 07-25-2014, 02:20 AM   #1
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The Russbuss, another transit bus conversion ;?D

Hello all,
My names Russell and I've been lurking for the past few weeks and thought it was time to jump in and introduce myself. I just bought a 2004 Ford E450 V-10 20 passenger transit bus and am eager to get to work on her, but I do want to educate myself and learn as much as I can before I commit 100% to a particular floor plan. Plus, just from the little that I've read so far, I can see there's SO much more to learn that I'd thought there'd be, despite my fairly extensive background in construction, tinkering and inventing stuff over the many years I've been around ;?D

So I'll try to post some pics here in a bit and explain my project a lot more in depth, and meanwhile I shall continue to read as much as I can in order to avoid asking too many dumb newb Q's, but there's bound to be a few I'm certain of that.
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Old 07-25-2014, 08:23 PM   #2
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Re: The Russbuss, another transit bus conversion ;?D

Ask away, man! There's a great bunch of people here and most of us started out long on enthusiasm and short on knowledge. We all learned from those that went before us.
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Old 07-25-2014, 08:41 PM   #3
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Re: The Russbuss, another transit bus conversion ;?D

Hey Roach!! I've been reading your Roach Motel thread (still not done ;?) and have gotten quite a bit of inspiration from it, so just wanted to say kudos for one, doing such a cool project, and two for documenting and explaining it so well! Funny thing is mine's almost the same model exactly, with the exception of the V-10, and my floor plan actually matches yours in a lot of ways so it's like you've already done the work (and figured out all the bugs) for me, lol.

While I have a lot of various construction experience, I am NOT a mechanic, so that's one big weakness, electrical being another, so I'm certain I'll be asking quite a few questions, but I am trying my best to read as much as possible so I don't clutter up the boards with too many redundant newb Q's. So again, thanks so much for your work, it's been a big help ;?D

Hmm, well I was going to attach pics, but doesn't seem that I can upload to attachments to this thread....
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Old 07-25-2014, 08:52 PM   #4
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Re: The Russbuss, another transit bus conversion ;?D

Welcome to the shortie world! Ask away. And pics? get Photobucket or Flikr + post picsfrom there.
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Old 07-25-2014, 10:29 PM   #5
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Re: The Russbuss, another transit bus conversion ;?D

Ahh, so that's the only way is to upload images online first... for some reason I have an aversion to Photobucket, lol, guess I never trusted the security of such sites (yeah I know they'd be HERE online, lol, but as unreasonable as it sounds it feels different ).

Btw, your sig is the second one I've tried clicking on only to get this msg, "Dang... Page not found! Hey wait, you're not signed in yet!" Which doesn't make any sense and it won't accept my username from there, what's up with that?
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Old 07-26-2014, 09:28 AM   #6
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Re: The Russbuss, another transit bus conversion ;?D

I had all my build photos hosted on another photo site that went from free to charge (dropshots)-just never redid them. I should change that.....
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Old 07-26-2014, 11:38 AM   #7
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Re: The Russbuss, another transit bus conversion ;?D

Duplicate post
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Old 07-26-2014, 11:38 AM   #8
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Re: The Russbuss, another transit bus conversion ;?D

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lightfoot
Hey Roach!! I've been reading your Roach Motel thread (still not done ;?)

Hmm, well I was going to attach pics, but doesn't seem that I can upload to attachments to this thread....
Mine's done except for the odd small refinement now and then, so now I'm bored and have to check in here to see what everyone else is doing to theirs. The hardest part for me to wrap my head around was mixing 12v and 120v electrical. Plumbing is pretty straight forward but frame rails and wheel wells can give you fits when running drains.

Many of us use Photobucket for hosting pictures. You upload your shots then paste a link to the picture in your Skoolie post. Here's a link to the process:

viewtopic.php?f=8&t=55593#p145114
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Old 07-27-2014, 11:10 PM   #9
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Re: The Russbuss, another transit bus conversion ;?D

Quote:
Originally Posted by roach711
Mine's done except for the odd small refinement now and then, so now I'm bored and have to check in here to see what everyone else is doing to theirs. The hardest part for me to wrap my head around was mixing 12v and 120v electrical. Plumbing is pretty straight forward but frame rails and wheel wells can give you fits when running drains.

Many of us use Photobucket for hosting pictures. You upload your shots then paste a link to the picture in your Skoolie post. Here's a link to the process:

viewtopic.php?f=8&t=55593#p145114
Thanks Roach, yeah I may have to give it a try, but I guess one reason I haven't used Photobucket (same for Flickr) is that I've run across so many posts on different forums that HAD pics linked from those services but, for whatever reason, they've dissappeared only leaving an empty frame, and you never know why, whether it's because the user pulled them or if there's a limit to how many those services allow (and if so are they arbitrarily getting rid of the pics, or is it because the user canceled their account, and if so that's another negative, because I don't want to be FORCED to maintain a Photobucket account for fear that pictures I posted on god-knows-how-many sites over time could just dissappear because of that). Yeah I have a thing about controlling my content online, lol.

I hear you about the electrical, that's certainly my weak spot, but on the flip side I was a plumber for many years so I'm hoping that will come in handy when it comes time to design that part of my system. I do enjoy the challenge, and I know you do too from what I've read of your thread (still reading btw, there's just a ton of good info there, thanks again man ;?).
;?D
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Old 08-05-2014, 12:11 PM   #10
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Re: The Russbuss, another transit bus conversion ;?D

Okay, I bit the bullet and signed back up with Photobucket so I'll post some pics of my project. So behold the Russbuss ;?D



AHAA!, it works, lol. So guess you don't use the 'Img" button <sigh> I gotta find the user manual...
So here's a few more views:


[url=http://s1091.photobucket.com/user/cymerax/media/The%20Russbuss%20album/GEDC0184.jpg.html][/URLhttp://www.skoolie.net/attachments/photobucket/img_90337_d1cffc229ca6ddf2d8a8e8974584a8d7.jpg[/img]


And finally, here's the floorplan I'm going to use. Took me a while to find a software that was dummy-proof, i.e. easy peasy and no complex learning curve, lol. One day I will learn autocad, maybe when I finally make the move to actually living in the Russbuss ;?D Btw, the software is called Floorplanner and they have a free demo - maybe a little too simple, somewhat limited on the image library (although I believe you can import them somehow). But I made do, sometimes using other objects that just kinda look like what I wanted. For instance there were NO cup holder images so I used their "Well" image from the garden section and just shrunk them down to fit on the dash, (yeah, the 3D view looks rather bizarre, heh).



Huh, the images don't quite fit, I thought PB would just shrink to fit but guess not, so I'll have to figure out how to shrink em down a bit ;?D
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Old 08-05-2014, 01:11 PM   #11
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Re: The Russbuss, another transit bus conversion ;?D

My opinion- (I'm not so smart though - didn't find this site till after my bus was built) that looks like a lot of stuff to put in a shortie. Before you get too far, I'd get close measurements of all you want and lay everything out with tape on the floor. I'm betting the space will fill up more than you think.
Also Id build a temp rear deck and practice maneuvering around with it - these things have a fair amount of rear overhang from the wheels as it is- adding more would mean even more care needs to be taken.
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Old 08-05-2014, 11:01 PM   #12
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Re: The Russbuss, another transit bus conversion ;?D

Hey SD, yeah it looks pretty well packed in there, but while everything isn't exactly to scale, the small squares are 6" and from the specs on the appliances I believe it will all fit. The cabinets and drawers will be custom built, unless I get really lucky, so they can grow or shrink as reality dictates. Of course the appliance's are my ideal picks, and what I actually end up with could necessitate some minor, or drastic, changes. One thing I do have is my stove and a wall hung gas instant on water heater which may or may not work for this conversion (my fear is that it is too much heater for my needs and could go through propane like **** through a goose, only testing will tell) ;?D

As for the extra length, I believe you are correct that it will make handling, especially turning corners, entertaining to say the least But I do have some big rig xp under my belt and I think it just takes some time behind the wheel until you develop a feel, like your rig is an extension of your body, but again you've always got to keep your mind on task and your head in the game. For practice I could see clamping some 2x4 to the sides the planned length of the deck, and then driving through an empty parking lot using the light poles like a slalom course, lol.

EDIT: One way to ameliorate the problem could be to design the rear deck in an arc or half circle, thus getting rid of the sharp corners that stick out. Hmmm, I think that would look way cooler!!
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Old 08-06-2014, 07:27 AM   #13
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Re: The Russbuss, another transit bus conversion ;?D

One thing to look for in your teardown is rot around your wheelwells. I got a Champion box also-and one thing they did was fill the gap from Fords partial chassis (steel) wheel wells to their glass curved wall body with a shitload of expandible foam. It catches water and spray from the wheels. My arches were rotted-along with the metal lower body parts. Also look at your back wall-the wood in mine got all wet when the rear body cap leaked.
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Old 08-06-2014, 08:51 AM   #14
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Re: The Russbuss, another transit bus conversion ;?D

Quote:
Originally Posted by sdwarf36
One thing to look for in your teardown is rot around your wheelwells. I got a Champion box also-and one thing they did was fill the gap from Fords partial chassis (steel) wheel wells to their glass curved wall body with a shitload of expandible foam. It catches water and spray from the wheels. My arches were rotted-along with the metal lower body parts. Also look at your back wall-the wood in mine got all wet when the rear body cap leaked.
Hey sdwarf, you gotta fix that build link for your bus. I need to steal some ideas..
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Old 08-07-2014, 02:45 AM   #15
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Re: The Russbuss, another transit bus conversion ;?D

I agree, lol, and yeah SD I've got the same shite under there so guess I'll be in for some added "fun" , ah well, so it goes...
;?D
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Old 08-07-2014, 10:17 AM   #16
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Re: The Russbuss, another transit bus conversion ;?D

One more option for having a nice sized rear deck and minimal hangout at the same time...make it a fold up. That is what I'm planning out as we speak on my shorty and it doesn't have nearly the rear wheel overhang yours already has. I just don't want any unnecessary iron swinging around back there. Mine is designed (at the moment) to have a fixed portion that is about 28" plus a fold-up that is around 32". When lowered it will yield a rather spacious 60" (five-foot) area. Plenty of room for lounging with a Margarita. I am also looking at the possibility of a small roll-out canopy overhead to add a little shade. My gennie will sit on one side of the fixed portion but I think that since it so quiet and vibration free (a Honda) once it is boxed in, it can also serve as a cocktail table.

I've seen a couple of builds over the years on which the entire deck raised up, but I need the extra space back there for a couple of things including a place below to hang a spare tire.

Just a thought.
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Old 08-07-2014, 01:26 PM   #17
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Re: The Russbuss, another transit bus conversion ;?D

So, Tango, are you talking about mounting your spare on the bottom of the folding portion, so that it will be under the deck when the deck is unfolded, and possibly do so with other stuff?
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Old 08-07-2014, 04:57 PM   #18
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Re: The Russbuss, another transit bus conversion ;?D

Thanks Tango, yeah I have been thinking about limiting the size of the overhang, it could create some problems, like making parallel parking a BITCH, lol. Definitely need a rear camera to avoid disasters . I'll probably make some kind of quick mockup from 2x4's, clamp it on and take her to an empty parking lot and put her through some turning/parking scenarios to see what the swing looks like. That of course before I set the design in stone, or steel in this case.

One reason I wanted the deck to be more permanent is that I may need to store things there (genset is definitely a possibility, but I do like your end table idea ) plus I need to support the upper deck and have a ladder to access it. That said, I can see that I could use your idea, maybe split the deck into a 24" base with another 24" fold up section that would lock in the upright position attached to the support poles for the upper deck which can be shorten to just 2' as well. So thanks again for the food for thought. Everything is still in the planning stages so the more input and critiques of my ideas the better it will turn out in the end.
;?D
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Old 08-07-2014, 07:36 PM   #19
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Re: The Russbuss, another transit bus conversion ;?D

I got a good spare tire solution--i'll load up some pics later tonite.
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Old 08-07-2014, 11:38 PM   #20
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Re: The Russbuss, another transit bus conversion ;?D

I've done this twice-and its work great in first a Chevy Cube van + my bus. Theres enough room between the frame rails-and the rear axle + bumper for a spare tire. I took the idea from a pick up's spare.
I bought a cheapie boat winch from ebay.

I welded a plate to a cross brace. ( pic shot from right rear corner)

To change the direction of the cable, I used a snatch block.



This piece goes thru the hole in the rim + under it to lift the tire.

I found it easier to prop the tire up on a board to get under it.



Turn the crank + winch up the wheel. I have a safety chain + put a rachet strap on it to be safe.


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