Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
 
Old 09-05-2008, 06:01 PM   #1
Skoolie
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Posts: 135
Questions about materials to use (toilets, tanks, etc.)

Just bought a used bookmobile, will be picking it up next week. Already checked it out in person so I have an idea of what I need to do to convert. Instead of starting a lot of threads I figured I'd just post one with a list of stuff that I need to get, and links to any products I think would fit the bill. Let me know if you have a better suggestion (or any suggestion at all).

Toilet - I can get the Dometic Traveler Lite for under $180, and the regular Dometic 500H for about $265 (might find cheaper if I look harder). Only difference that I can see is the Traveler Lite is lighter, which would be fine as long as it's sturdy and will hold up for a long time. Click here for Dometic's site, the last two toilets are the ones I'm talking about.

Tanks - I've found fresh water tanks fairly cheap on ebay, but the waste water ones are a good bit higher. Is there a reason I can't use a regular fresh water tank for gray or black water? Is it simply because the manufacturer thinks you don't want to see your poo (well I'd rather not, but it'd eliminate any need for a gauge which would have its own problems)?

Tow dolly - both our cars are RWD with automatic transmissions, so I can't just use a tow bar or a dolly with the front wheels raised. If anyone has towed a RWD vehicle (and kept the rear wheels from spinning), could you point me in the right direction? I'd rather not have to get a huge trailer or drive the car separate. Wife isn't too thrilled about my idea of her getting her motorcycle endorsement and just putting the scooter on the back somehow.

Washer/dryer combo. I've seen some for $700-$800 plus shipping which isn't all that bad, but would like to find one even cheaper (used or scratch and dent), plus I'm having a hard time finding a vented model. Ventless is a novel idea but would use a lot of water. I don't think it'd be a huge issue, but I might not always be permanently hooked up to a drain for the gray water

Also, any ideas of where I can look for a cheap shower base (or whole unit), sinks, etc. would be appreciated. I've read on this board and know that many use an old large sink for the shower, so that gives me another option to look at.

Edit: Almost forgot...what does everyone do for satellite tv? I have DirecTV, and the only two options I can think of are to mount a dish to the roof (and disconnect whenever we're going down the road), or put it on a tripod (which would be more easily knocked down by the wind or kids). Can't just mount to the side, cause I don't know which way I'll be pointed plus I'd have to take the whole assembly off instead of just the dish when moving.

Thanks for the help, and once the bus is parked beside our house I'll start taking some proper pictures.
josetann is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-05-2008, 06:27 PM   #2
Skoolie
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Posts: 135
Re: Questions about materials to use (toilets, tanks, etc.)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Smitty
Have you taken dimensions of the bus, and sat down to sketch-out a floor-plan? That'd be the 1st place to start, having an idea how you want the finished product to look regarding lay-out.

Smitty
I have a basic layout in mind, but want to go ahead and be doing some research on what I need to be buying for it (can't do much right now until I pick it up). I would guess the width is 8ft, and I measured from the back up to just behind the driver's seat at being approximately 27ft. I'm looking at having the main bed in the very rear, then an area with two bunk beds just in front of that. The bathroom may go directly across from the bunk beds, however that could interfere with the black tank placement (it might be right above the rear wheels, I can check next week). Could also put the bathroom in front of where the bunk beds would be, with part of the kitchen area on the opposite side (in this scenario, the kitchen would take up two "slots" on one side, while the bathroom and dining area each take up one). Heck, if the generator is toast I'd just rip it out (don't really need it anyways) and voila, instant storage space for the water tanks (and thus the bathroom will be moved up front just behind the passenger seat). We'll see.

Anyways...I definitely want a nice toilet, and the lightweight china one for $180 sounds like a good deal. If it ends up taking an extra foot or two of space to install, so be it, we'll make the layout work around it instead of the other way around. The tanks, I'm not going to buy right now but I still need to know whether I can just be looking for three cheap fresh water tanks, two fresh water tanks (one for gray water) and a black water tank, or if fresh water tanks can truly only be used for fresh water.

As for sinks, gotta end up with two, one for the bathroom and one for the kitchen. Wife needs it to make herself pretty every day, and I don't want to have to open a door after doing my business without washing up first. Kitchen sink has to have two basins, but it'd be fine if one was regular size and the other was half-size, other basin would just be used for rinsing off clean dishes.

Washer/dryer, I have the roof height needed to install a stacker, but that'd take away from storage space above. Nevertheless, if I find a really cheap stacker unit that's what I'll put in until I can find a combo unit cheap.

Don't worry, once I get the bus here I'll start taking more measurements, go through a dozen or so layouts, post lots of pictures, etc.
josetann is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-06-2008, 12:24 AM   #3
Bus Nut
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: downriver, detroit mi
Posts: 794
Re: Questions about materials to use (toilets, tanks, etc.)

towing a vehicle either front or rear drive is easiest on a trailer, build or have your dad help you build a trailer on a 5 or 6,000 lb axle with electric brakes, set the axle back about 2/3 of the lotal length including the long tongue and it will pull like it's not even there. use good trailer rated tires and carry a good spare. figure out your best ride position for the car(trial and error) and then install front stop blocks and proper tiedown points on the trailer frame. i'm partial to rachet straps over the tires, tow dolly style, on all 4 corners for the belt and suspenders secure feeling.
hint,mobile home axles are rated at 6000lbs.
paul iossi is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-06-2008, 05:31 PM   #4
Bus Nut
 
GoneCamping's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Posts: 704
Re: Questions about materials to use (toilets, tanks, etc.)

First of all, welcome to world of Skoolies and Skoolie.net...

As for towing, you can use the tow dolly for RWD cars, you just have to load them backwards so the drive wheels are on the dolly. You also need to secure the steering wheel, DO NOT rely on the steering column lock as they will not hold sufficiently. The best method I've found for securing the steering wheel is to take the seat belt and wrap it through the bottom of the steering wheel and buckle it up, then slide the seat back as far as it'll go to tighten it up. I have driven tow trucks for 15 years and this how we tow a RWD car...you can haul them around all day long like that as long as the steering wheel is secure and the front bumper isn't dragging on the ground!!

For everything else, there is Ebay...a truely great resource for almost anything you will ever need in your conversion. I have a whole list of things I got via ebay from plumbing, windows, graphics decals, appliances, cabinet doors etc...

As for toilet & other rv specific items like water heaters, windows etc, I highly recommend an Ebay Power seller named Tri-State Surplus. I think half the stuff that I got for my bus came from them, they have a lot of stuff, they add new stuff almost daily, have great prices and they ship very fast. Exceptional people to do business with. They do change their listed inventory often, so if you need something and it's not there, just keep checking back. I got my shower base, toilet, water heater, stove, counter moulding trim, rv style windows, and numerous other items from these people.
Tri-State Surplus

There is another ebay power seller with a similar name, they are Tri State Rock Your World, they have gray & black holding tanks for $50 each, and they also have the slip grommet's for installing the plumbing into the tanks. They also have fresh tanks but you indicated you've already found these?
Tri State Rock Your World
__________________
*Cliff*

You just might be a Redneck if...
...your motor home used to be a school bus!
...Your living room has a steering wheel!
...Your home has brake lights

1994 Jeep Grand Cherokee
1989 Thomas Diesel Pusher (Cat 3208/Freightliner)
Chesapeake, Virginia
GoneCamping is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-06-2008, 09:35 PM   #5
Skoolie
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Posts: 135
Re: Questions about materials to use (toilets, tanks, etc.)

About the tanks....

The waste water tanks are more expensive than fresh water tanks. You also can't see through them (I'm assuming, maybe incorrectly, that you could see the level in a fresh water tank if the water inside was "gray" or "black"). If I could use a fresh water tank for waste, then it'd be cheaper and I wouldn't have to install any gauges or come up with a way to measure how much waste is in there. Just look, see that the black water is up to 3/4, and then dump. Also don't have to worry about the wrong kind of toilet paper messing up the gauges. I can see that the waste water tanks are built with a slant, I think I could just prop up the end farthest from the drain, achieve the same effect.

Or maybe there's a much simpler solution to all this that I'm just not seeing.
josetann is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-07-2008, 12:04 AM   #6
Bus Nut
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: downriver, detroit mi
Posts: 794
Re: Questions about materials to use (toilets, tanks, etc.)

a lot of the motor coach converters build their tanks with plywood and fiberglass. i'm not sure how economical that would be but you could customize the tanks for maximum capacity. the volume of 1 gallon is 231 cu in.
paul iossi is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-07-2008, 12:15 AM   #7
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: Indiana
Posts: 49
Re: Questions about materials to use (toilets, tanks, etc.)

One of the things you are not seeing about the tanks are the outlets. The waste tank should have a 3" outlet. The fresh tanks are 1.5" dumps. You will either have to redo it or find new outlets.
Where are you located? The outlet stores are located in Elkhart, IN. They have anything you can imagine up there and for great prices. I had a buddy picking up windows for $20 and the seeland china toilet was going for $160 (not the lite version). If you have the money to buy all your stuff at once it is woth a trip.

Good Luck,
Doug
letz4wheel is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-07-2008, 01:03 AM   #8
Bus Crazy
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Upstate NY (Mohawk Valley)
Posts: 1,096
Re: Questions about materials to use (toilets, tanks, etc.)

Quote:
Edit: Almost forgot...what does everyone do for satellite tv? I have DirecTV, and the only two options I can think of are to mount a dish to the roof (and disconnect whenever we're going down the road), or put it on a tripod (which would be more easily knocked down by the wind or kids). Can't just mount to the side, cause I don't know which way I'll be pointed plus I'd have to take the whole assembly off instead of just the dish when moving.
I'd take a look at what RV's and other trucks use. The deluxe solution is the big dome on the roof with in-motion tracking. I think these set you back around $1500-2500 new installed. You can save about 1/3 with cheaper models that auto-seek after you park (I have experience using one of those). I don't know what the used market for these is.

Some people, especially truckers, I understand, are using the new Vu-Qube system. You aim the enclosed dish yourself from your armchair, with an up/down, left/right remote control. I think they are about $800 +/- plus installation.

A lot of people do use tripods. A bucket of stones or big jug of water hanging under it keeps it in place in all but the strongest winds. My brother-in-law sets his up in 10-15 minutes from stored to picture, using the signal strength tone from the TV inside, and no fancy meters or telescopes. A pipe mounted on the roof ready to go should be even faster, or have a push-up pole that mounts to a side. The tripod advantage is you can move it around to find a clear shot. A fixed mount anywhere on the bus is subject to obstructions around the parking spot.

I don't have satellite now, but being cheap and inventive I think I would copy the upside-down PVC mount I saw here:

http://www.bbrv.dreamstation.com/sat.html

Fill the PVC with sand, BBs, water, etc, and it won't go anyplace. The low design should be stable in the wind. I think I would make a three-legged version (like a milking stool). The hardest part is calculating the inverted aiming. I think I'd mark the mount to minimze mistakes.

"You pays your money and you makes your choice."
__________________
Someone said "Making good decisions comes from experience, experience comes from bad decisions." I say there are three kinds of people: those who learn from their mistakes, those who learn from the mistakes of others, and those who never learn.
Redbear is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-07-2008, 01:19 PM   #9
Bus Nut
 
SeanF's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: Tucson, AZ
Posts: 524
Year: 1993
Coachwork: AmTran
Chassis: IHC
Engine: Dt360
Rated Cap: 19
Re: Questions about materials to use (toilets, tanks, etc.)

One disadvantage to using freshwater tanks for grey/black is the placement of the drain holes. If you use a slip-fitting, there will have to be a minimum amount of clearance from the edge. Or, if you install a drain in the bottom, the drain pipe will have to intrude into the tank an inch at least. For this reason, there will always be an inch or more of undrained stuff in your tank. I used a freshwater tank for greywater and it's not a big deal. No blackwater since I use a waterless composting toilet.

My greywater tank with slip fittings:

Nearest is the tub drain, furthest is the kitchen sink drain, and the small one is the vent. The drain is not installed yet in this photo, but it ended up at the bottom-left corner of the smallest side facing you....if that makes sense! You can see the black rubber Uni-seal fitting around the PVC pipes.
__________________
Bus conversion/info here
SeanF is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Help Me Purchase Skoolie Materials!? grit Classifieds | Buy, Sell, Swap 8 01-14-2015 05:02 PM
New bus+salvaged materials+9 months = Our Home Benny Skoolie Conversion Projects 6 05-03-2012 10:23 AM
What materials should I use for an Observation Deck garbemi Conversion Tutorials and How-to's 2 10-05-2011 04:17 PM
UltraDeck decking materials Duckf00t Conversion General Discussions 0 06-30-2009 11:29 AM
Questions about Plastic Water Tanks Fifer Conversion General Discussions 3 07-04-2008 10:29 AM

» Virginia Campgrounds

Reviews provided by

Powered by vBadvanced CMPS v3.2.3

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 09:51 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 4
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.