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Old 01-23-2018, 08:56 PM   #1
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Join Date: Jan 2018
Location: Eastern Ontario, Canada
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Aspiring Skoolie Builder in the great white north

Hello everyone. Longtime lurker here who decided to register. I'm hoping to have made a winter-safe skoolie by fall 2018. When I say winter safe, I mean it could be cozy for long periods of -40 degrees. Not that I see long periods of -40, but the plan is to be able to drive it anywhere/everywhere, and I do see -40 at least 3 times per winter.

I've got a lot of questions so I think I'll read a bunch more before asking them, but if people know of good builds to read through for winterized skoolies I'd love to be pointed in the right direction. Right now my thoughts are for a bus without shore power, and I'm open to suggestions regarding heat, insulation, windows, roof-raising, basically everything.


Y'all have been fun to read, hopefully you're just as fun to interact with

Oh a little bit about me: 29 y/o auto mechanic/landscaper/university student (it took me 10 years after Highschool to realize I should get some higher education). I play drums, and like being eco friendly.

Cheers!
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Old 01-23-2018, 09:09 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by amerbritcan View Post
Hello everyone. Longtime lurker here who decided to register. I'm hoping to have made a winter-safe skoolie by fall 2018. When I say winter safe, I mean it could be cozy for long periods of -40 degrees. Not that I see long periods of -40, but the plan is to be able to drive it anywhere/everywhere, and I do see -40 at least 3 times per winter.

I've got a lot of questions so I think I'll read a bunch more before asking them, but if people know of good builds to read through for winterized skoolies I'd love to be pointed in the right direction. Right now my thoughts are for a bus without shore power, and I'm open to suggestions regarding heat, insulation, windows, roof-raising, basically everything.


Y'all have been fun to read, hopefully you're just as fun to interact with

Oh a little bit about me: 29 y/o auto mechanic/landscaper/university student (it took me 10 years after Highschool to realize I should get some higher education). I play drums, and like being eco friendly.

Cheers!
Welcome to the forum.

At -40 (I won't put F or C, because they are the same), you have some very specific problems.

Insulation, insulation, insulation, then heat.

You will need to insulate the crap out of it. Roof, walls, floor then delete as many windows as possible, then get everything possible inside the bus.

If I were doing this I'd be looking for a rear-engined bus with pass-through storage bays. I'd put the tanks and plumbing in the bays and insulate all around the bays.

Then I'd want a big-ass diesel-fueled heater or two (Eber, Webasto, Tapan), and I'd run one of the hot-air outlets right into the storage area. If you have two units, the other three outlets would heat the bus.

I'd want foam-board fillers for all the windows you keep, for overnight and days you don't move. A large battery bank and a generator to charge them when shore-power wasn't available. Keep them in the storage bays too, and keep them above zero.

There isn't an RV made that is designed to live in at those temperatures (not even the 4-season ones), but I guess we have the advantage because we can spec to our own needs.

This would not be a cheap build, simply because your life could depend on doing it right, and I've only scratched the surface.

Good Luck.
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Old 01-23-2018, 09:37 PM   #3
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I've seen some of the what I call meat locker insulation in buses on this site. Sorry I don't remember which threads, but you'll find them. What you're thinking is very doable. And you're well insulated if you go to warm areas too, requiring less AC power.

You're going to need good ceiling height because you'll loose about 5" from insulating your floor and ceiling. Short people have it easier not necessarily needing a roof raise.

Good luck.
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Old 01-25-2018, 11:42 AM   #4
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Thanks for the welcomes! I didn't bother with C or F for the same reason. I'm a US citizen living in Canada for the past 20 years so I'm familiar with both and how they relate. I've been reading through project threads of people from similar or colder climates than mine, which is to say, not many. Insulation seems to be a common theme. I'm trying to acquire pros and cons of different strategies used to insulate the roof/ceiling, as that's the part I can't quite wrap my head around. I knew I'd need a roof raise as I'm 6'4". I already have the plan of all tanks/batteries/plumbing/wiring being inside the insulated box I create. The hope is to eliminate all bus windows other than the windshield, and replacing with residential windows. I'm a big fan of natural light so I'll want lots of high quality big windows. I already had the thought of diesel heaters. I've spent time as a Tractor-Trailer mechanic in my past and am familiar with "bunk heaters". I also have a very compact wood stove I thought would find a new home in the future bus. I also plan to have solar panels on the roof providing most if not all of my electrical needs. I want to try to live on 12vdc, propane and diesel. RV fridge, residential (propane) cook stove, composting toilet, and a shower I can stand up in.

My significant other and I work in education, so the bus would likely be parked from September through June (with us living in it) and mobile for the summer going all over north america, Alaska to Newfoundland to Mexico, whatever tickles our fancy.

Still shopping around for buses though, so I'm a long way from completion. Part of me wants to buy up an unfinished project from someone else. I'm a glutton for punishment. I also have an affinity for flat-fronted buses as it's what I remember riding around in as a kid.
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