Join Date: Dec 2014
Location: Ontario, Canada
Chassis: Ford F450
Engine: 7.3 L
The progress continues!
Today we managed to get the emission testing done. With the size of the vehicle we were unable to take it in to a shop and had to have a remote service come out to the house to test. The Kraken managed a spotless report, and we can now get the sticker for the plates to make it all official.
We also found a new insurance policy, and are making progress with something more reasonable.
As for the physical bus:
SEATS - we are working on custom slip covers to hide the rainbows on the upholstery. I managed to find fabric on clearance at Joann's Fabric and bought all greys that were available, plus 2 bolts of retro yellow/grey. We are going for the "retro living room on wheels" look. The covers for the seat backs are done, and the bases are cut out, waiting by the serger. There is some difficulty in getting rid of the seats that we removed, since it seems that nobody wants them. How do you get rid of your seats???
FLOORING - after considering a few options, we went with retro checkered kitchen sheet vinyl, and carpet. One that I would love for others to check out, are Gym flooring companies that sell off the remnants. With 4' widths, that stuff would be awesome. However, mostly only a US option. There were some decent prices at checkeredflooring.com that we eventually found someone local to compete with. I also found a matching remnant of a damask patterned carpet in grey and black. We found an installer on Kijiji (Craig's list) and got the flooring all installed. We had considered taking out the existing floor, however wondered about opening up a proverbial can of worms, so we floored over it. The rear of the bus, where the kids beds/couches will be is carpet, while the front is the vinyl.
HEATERS, SEAT BASES and RAIL - these were all spray painted black. It seems the paint is somewhat tacky, and with the bits we can remove, they are baking on a warming setting in the oven. Hoping that helps.
EXTERIOR DECALS - with the help of some blow dryers and eager kids, the decals were removed from the prior owner (a political campaign bus). We were concerned they would have left an imprint, but it rubs off easily.
HEADLINER - we intend to replace the headliner, as it's the same rainbow fabric from the seat upholstery. We removed the rubber gaskets and metal strips holding it on, and peeled the fabric off the ceiling. Of course this extended into the front and back panels of the bus, and so those were also removed. I brought the old fabric inside to use as a pattern and cut out the yellow/grey retro fabric. With this unrolled in the hallway, I found some quilt batting left over from another project to line the back side of the plain cotton retro fabric. I have been reminded of a quilted roof I saw on another bus and what to work to make a Puffy ceiling look. Off to Pinterest to check out options.
PANELS - After removing the front panel to get the headliner down, we found a vast and EMPTY bulkhead. Along with the bulkhead is the box that housed the original Tube TV, and VCR. We have a new TV bracket and won't need the box but are thinking through things before we just gut out the box. With the bulkhead open, and the extra box space, there is an opportunity to do something cool with that space...we just need ideas. Anyone?? Sure it could be more storage, but...surely there is another idea.
OTHER PANELS - And as we started removing panels we found one after another after another that could use some new upholstery. SOOO, they are now piled in the basement waiting to be redone. In some cases, the masonite? material making up the panel had been previously waterlogged and needs to be replaced. When I am back in the shop at work tomorrow, I'll cut new ones, then can reupholster. When entering the bus, there is a mounted panel that the arm rail is attached to, separating the bus from the stairwell. With a staple gun on the air compressor, and my serger, we have a new yellow/grey panel. Can't wait to install it. I am considering running some sticky paper through my Silhouette to create a stencil of a Kraken and paint onto the fabric. Not a priority but just a fun thought.
FUTONS - We went over so many bed options to sleep 6 and clearly the bunk bed option is best. HOWEVER, then we went to the RV show and were terribly discouraged. Although flashy, (and decidedly not for us), there were no RVs that had lots of windows. I found them very claustrophobic and became determined to keep our windows unobstructed. With that, we scrapped the idea of bunk beds, and found Klik Klak futons. With 2 futons facing each other at the back, these will click down and make a complete 4 section bed across the entire back of the bus. Ours will be a further futon at the front. We kept these with a retro look.
DRIVE SHAFT - the first of our surprises was the drive shaft. Although it somehow passed the safety, there was a vibration when driving that was pretty noticeable. With a look at the drive shaft it was bend. It needed to be removed, rebuilt and balanced. That will likely be the first of many unexpected costs.
SURPRISES - with the panels out, we found some spots where there had been leaks. These appear to have been fixed (gobs of black tar looking goop on the rivet holes), however there are still some wet bits. The roof appears to be the culprit and we hope to soon get the bus into a heated shop for a bit so we can caulk the roof seams and fix that.
LED STRIPS - We have been working to figure out lighting zones in the bus, so that we can have lights turned on in different sections. It's occurred to us that we can use addressable LED strip lights in the tracks of the headliner and program them in different zones. Sound greek to you? Yes, it's greek to one of us here too ;), however it really is a simple project to learn Arduino and programming.
We are hoping not to uncover many more surprises. At this point, we seem to have it ripped back as far as we are going to go, and now it's just putting it all back together.