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Old 04-14-2019, 12:13 AM   #1
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Join Date: Apr 2019
Location: Portland, OR
Posts: 9
Year: 1995
Coachwork: Ford
Chassis: E-350
Engine: 7.3 diesel
Total Novice Build - Ford E-350 Diesel

Honestly, I don't even know how to use a forum like this, let alone convert a school bus by myself.

At any rate, here is the plan I've devised so far, including some current photos and the present state of my floorplan. Just my kid and I wanting to live/travel in this full-time.

Critique away! What am I missing? How do I find/hire someone to help with planning power setup and doing the wiring and plumbing?

  • Remove stop sign/front arm
  • Remove stickers/decals
  • Remove dual passenger door and replace with screen door and security door
  • Drain coolant/remove floor heater
  • Strip walls and ceiling
  • Install two ceiling vents
  • Skin some windows
  • Tint and reseal windows, possibly flip, add screens
  • Seal side handicap access door
  • Insulate walls and ceiling
  • Figure out wiring? (ceiling vents, coffee maker, toaster, wifi extender, lighting, device charging, mini-fridge?)
  • Figure out solar (being given one 100w panel, add more?)
  • Figure out plumbing? (kitchen sink and outdoor shower)
  • Figure out propane? (oven/stovetop, mini-fridge?)
  • Add under-bus storage for propane
  • Install outdoor shower
  • Cover walls and ceiling
  • Look into diesel drip heater
  • Replace driver's seat
  • Add passenger seat
  • Revamp dash area
  • Seal roof
  • Sand,wash,prime,paint exterior
  • Add ladder to back
  • Build bed, storage, kitchen, sofa
  • Install countertop and appliances
Attached Images
File Type: jpg harpa_exterior.jpg (153.9 KB, 34 views)
File Type: jpg harpa_interior.jpg (127.6 KB, 52 views)
File Type: jpg harpa_floorplan.JPG (44.4 KB, 52 views)
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Old 04-14-2019, 07:22 AM   #2
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Year: 2001
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Engine: CAT 3126
You may want to consider insulation. And be prepared for many items on your list to expand out with lists of their own. Looks like a nice project!
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Old 04-14-2019, 12:13 PM   #3
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Location: south east BC, close to the Canadian/US border
Posts: 1,069
Chassis: still looking for my bus
Quote:
Originally Posted by WanderlustLessons View Post
Honestly, I don't even know how to use a forum like this, let alone convert a school bus by myself.

At any rate, here is the plan I've devised so far, including some current photos and the present state of my floorplan. Just my kid and I wanting to live/travel in this full-time.

Critique away! What am I missing? How do I find/hire someone to help with planning power setup and doing the wiring and plumbing?

  • Remove stop sign/front arm
  • Remove stickers/decals
  • Remove dual passenger door and replace with screen door and security door
  • Drain coolant/remove floor heater
  • Strip walls and ceiling
  • Install two ceiling vents
  • Skin some windows
  • Tint and reseal windows, possibly flip, add screens
  • Seal side handicap access door
  • Insulate walls and ceiling
  • Figure out wiring? (ceiling vents, coffee maker, toaster, wifi extender, lighting, device charging, mini-fridge?)
  • Figure out solar (being given one 100w panel, add more?)
  • Figure out plumbing? (kitchen sink and outdoor shower)
  • Figure out propane? (oven/stovetop, mini-fridge?)
  • Add under-bus storage for propane
  • Install outdoor shower
  • Cover walls and ceiling
  • Look into diesel drip heater
  • Replace driver's seat
  • Add passenger seat
  • Revamp dash area
  • Seal roof
  • Sand,wash,prime,paint exterior
  • Add ladder to back
  • Build bed, storage, kitchen, sofa
  • Install countertop and appliances
keep reading here on the forum and ask lots of questions - there are experts here willing to share their knowledge
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Old 04-14-2019, 02:33 PM   #4
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Join Date: Sep 2017
Location: Damascus, OR
Posts: 594
Year: 2004
Chassis: International
Engine: T444e w/ 2000 Allison Trans
Rated Cap: 35
This looks like a great start. There will inevitably be a list that will continue to grow and change as the build goes. Did you get the bus with the floor already done? Is there insulation under it? like David said, think insulation depending on where you will be (climate speaking). Looking over your list I see a diesel heater. wise choice. I think I may add one as well. They are cheap enough and seem to work good.

flipping windows? upside down? the tabs require only to be pressing in when going down, when returning to the closed position, they can just be slid up. reversing this, they could just close under there own weight (or bump if driving), unless you figured out something different.

Ceiling vents.... perhaps one of them should be an a/c unit... (again depending where you will be)

Salvaging parts from a damaged camper or something could save you tons.

"Seal side handicap access door" closing it permanently? or do you still want access?

Also consider holding tanks. Fresh water, Grey water. Not sure what kind of room you have under the bus.

This site has been extremely valuable to me and is filled with wonderful people.

If you need help, you could drive it across town and I might be able to help with a few things. Bring your daughter. I have an 8yo. daughter and they could play together. When did you pick up your bus? was it local?

last current thought. the front door. make sure it is suitable for driving. it will need to have tempered glass. consider an RV door. (I have one that may work for you...)

okay, one more thought..... swivel front seats that can rotate to become an intergrated part of the living area while you are parked?

okay. last one.... awning to have an outside shaded area?

Good luck. have fun. welcome.
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Old 04-15-2019, 12:11 PM   #5
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Join Date: Apr 2019
Location: Portland, OR
Posts: 9
Year: 1995
Coachwork: Ford
Chassis: E-350
Engine: 7.3 diesel
Thanks! The floor was already done when I bought the bus and I plan to leave that alone. From what I can tell, there's a moisture control layer, plywood, then vinyl plank.

I will be insulating the walls and ceiling. I really don't want to pay for spray insulation, so I'll probably go another route.

Definitely need to research the windows more. I thought I'd heard that flipping them can help diminish leaks. I have a couple small leaks I hope to find once I strip the walls and ceiling.

Good point on the AC unit. I wonder if I could find one to fit above the back center emergency door. Would one AC unit and one vent allow for needed airflow, regardless of the weather, without opening any windows?

I'd love to salvage used parts. I plan to visit a couple Pick n' Pull locations, and I was going to keep my eyes peeled for swivel chairs. Or, I think I understand that I could add my own swivel base to captain's chairs if I find some? I knew I'd also be scanning for an RV door, too - it would be amazing if you had one that worked! I still need to measure the door space, but that's probably a standard size?

Looks like there's a fair amount of room under the bus on the side where the kitchen will be. I imagined under-sink holding tanks in order to avoid more welding/metal building?

Hadn't thought about an awning. Oh, why not.

I agree this site is fantastic. SO MUCH information to read through and digest. It feels like getting a free college degree.

Lastly - my daughter was thrilled at the idea of meeting another 8yo! Great idea. Maybe when it stops drizzling ever darn day.
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Old 04-15-2019, 12:13 PM   #6
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Join Date: Apr 2019
Location: Portland, OR
Posts: 9
Year: 1995
Coachwork: Ford
Chassis: E-350
Engine: 7.3 diesel
Oh, and I do want to seal the handicap access door. That will be at the foot of the bed and I want to skin over the window and seal the edges.
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Old 04-15-2019, 12:36 PM   #7
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Join Date: Dec 2017
Location: Dawsonville, Ga.
Posts: 5,810
Year: 1999
Coachwork: Genesis
Chassis: International
Engine: DT466/3060
Rated Cap: 77
I would be concerned about the top being on the bottom of the windows, seems they would leak easier at the opening at the bottom now. The top of the window, when closed, slides up into a channel to keep water from getting in. If you turn it upside down all those channels are at the bottom allowing water in.

Here's the proper way to delete a door you don't need.
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Old 04-16-2019, 11:08 AM   #8
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Join Date: Sep 2017
Location: Damascus, OR
Posts: 594
Year: 2004
Chassis: International
Engine: T444e w/ 2000 Allison Trans
Rated Cap: 35
Good old Portland rain....

A/C unit: I am guessing your bus has 1 emergency rooftop exit? I deleted mine. The opening was around 25"x25" give or take. I skinned over it with some steel from a steel yard. For a piece that size you should be able to find a scrap one. Not too spendy. Standard size openings for RV roof vents and A/C units is 14x14" I just cut a hole in the skin I just replaced and installed my a/c unit. Fan was relocated over another section of roof. just need to start gathering the right materials. For the vents, a/c you will need some buytl tape, silicone (many prefer as I do, Dicor Lap Sealant), self tapping screws. (I have several pics on my build page that show the a/c and vent install)

Does your roof have rivets or screws?

Okay, I am at work and better get back to it. Spend a million hours on here. Best resource for all us skoolie folks!

Does your bus have a name?
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Old 04-16-2019, 11:28 AM   #9
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Join Date: Apr 2019
Location: Portland, OR
Posts: 9
Year: 1995
Coachwork: Ford
Chassis: E-350
Engine: 7.3 diesel
Quote:
Originally Posted by o1marc View Post
I would be concerned about the top being on the bottom of the windows, seems they would leak easier at the opening at the bottom now. The top of the window, when closed, slides up into a channel to keep water from getting in. If you turn it upside down all those channels are at the bottom allowing water in.

Here's the proper way to delete a door you don't need.
That makes sense as far as the windows go. I'll plan on keeping them right side up.

Can you tell me more about the door deletion? Did you remove the door entirely and skin over the big opening? It's hard for me to even imagine how there was a door there (in your pic) to begin with since the rub rails are intact?
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Old 04-16-2019, 12:16 PM   #10
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Join Date: Sep 2017
Location: Damascus, OR
Posts: 594
Year: 2004
Chassis: International
Engine: T444e w/ 2000 Allison Trans
Rated Cap: 35
https://portland.craigslist.org/clc/...866575496.html

$250, will deliver. wonder what it has inside that works that you can salvage? Can't see if it has A/C. worth looking into...
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