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Old 03-28-2017, 02:15 PM   #1
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Join Date: Mar 2017
Location: Chicago
Posts: 8
Year: 2007
Coachwork: Mid-Bus
Engine: 6.6L Duramax Diesel
Post Brand New: Excited to begin but I'm overwhelmed

Hi, I'm Andrew and I live in downtown Chicago. I'm brand new to this whole school bus conversion thing but I'm really glad that this forum exists. I am hoping to get some guidance on what the best order to do things is. I'll give you an idea of what I'm looking to do and maybe you all can help to steer me in the right direction. I appreciate any assistance you can provide.

My bus is a 2007 Chevy 6.6L Duramax Diesel Mid-Bus. It is a 22 foot 5-window model.

My plan is to essentially be entirely off-grid as I'll be doing a lot of asphalt surfing out here in Chicagoland.

Here are my plans thus far:
1) I want to put a queen platform bed in the rear and have this on a 2ft platform with under-bed rear garage storage.
2) Moving from back to front on the driver side, I plan to have butcher block counters run the entire length.
a) Concealed in the rear aspect of the butcher block countertop, I plan to have a converted sheep stock tank that is 48" long, 24" deep, and about 12" tall. The plan is for the butcher block countertop to be removable in that section and repurposed as a table top when necessary.
b) Underneath the platform bed on the drivers side, I plan to use a Laveo Dry Flush toilet that is 18" in height and able to be pulled out from under the bed. From underneath the frontal aspect of the converted stock stank bed, I plan to be able to pull out a drying mat platform. Both the toilet platform and drying mat platform will puzzle-piece together to create a 48"x48" bathroom area that encompasses the 48" tub, the toilet, and the drying mat platform. When the restroom is not in use, this will all just be rolled back into the countertop and bed areas. Totally out-of-sight when not being used...that's the plan.
c) Moving further from rear to front, I intend to have a 20"x20" farmhouse sink. While I intend to have a dedicated faucet for the tub, I have aspirations to be able to pull the kitchen sink spray head up high to be used secondarily as a shower head as a dual-purpose concept.
d) After the kitchen sink, I'll have extra butcher block prep space and a drop in 2-burner cooktop with a propane mini-fridge underneath.

2) On the passenger side, from rear to front, I plan to have a 24"W x 24" D x 70-72" H closet space. I plan on using the upper 30"H x 24"W x 24"D for shirt hangers. Under that, I'll be using 30"H x 12"W x 24"D for pant hangers. Next to the pants, I'll have an area for convertible shelving that is equally-sized as the pant section for socks, underwear, and towels. Under all of that, I plan to have a 24"W x 24"D x 10-12"H shoe storage section.

3) In front of the closet, I intend to have a built-in sofa that is expandable into a secondary sleep space.

...SO...

Here are my questions:
1) I need to know the best order to do the basic stuff. I know I need to rip out the seats first but what comes after?
2) Do I need to lay subfloor next?
3) When should electrical and plumbing be done? Any recommendations on how to go about doing this? I don't intend to have a black water tank since I'll be using a dry flush toilet that runs off of AC/DC/Solar and uses zero water.
What type of electrical should be run? I've heard that many use two 6V batteries but I admit that I'm pretty unlearned on a lot of the terminology.
4) I also would like to figure out how best to heat,cool, and ventilate the short bus. I don't know if a rooftop unit works best or if a Mini-Split works best. What are your recommendations?

I move out of my current apartment at the end of July and I want to be able to at least have my bus livable by then. I don't need it to be completely finished by then but I will definitely need to be able to sleep, cook, ventilate, and cool the unit at the very least. I will need to have power, fresh and grey water plumbing, and propane-driven cooking/refrigeration.

This is a lot to think about and I would love it if some of you could lend a hand in simplifying this process as it can be rather overwhelming. Thank you.

- Andrew
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Old 03-28-2017, 02:48 PM   #2
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Location: Willamina, Oregon
Posts: 4,410
Year: 1997
Coachwork: Bluebird
Chassis: TC 1000
Engine: 5.9
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I'm pretty sure you've already read the threads about gutting the interior. What you do to it depends a lot on how tall you are and how much headroom you are willing to loose to insulation process. Some people do a full build for a permanent well built home and the rest of us vary our builds anywhere from minimal comfort to nearly a complete rebuild. It depends on what you're going to use your bus for. What kinds of fuels you plan to use for heating and cooking.

It's a nice plan, but I've been in Chicago in the winter and I wouldn't like to live there in a small bus even if it was insulated. It would shock me if you could complete your build by mid summer, but anything is possible. It takes many of us a couple years to get things set up properly. It's a lot of work, but you do have a short bus.

Most of us would gut the passenger area. I don't have any idea how your bus is constructed, steel or fiberglass. For me the first consideration was getting the insulation in. That would be very difficult to insulate if you were already living in the bus so it's usually a very early consideration. After that you could take your time and put the interior together.

Have you considered where you're going to park at night? It's nice if you can plug into the grid and cable/internet if possible.

There are examples of any level of build that you want here. It's easiest to search for a subject here using google, listing your subject and skoolies together.

Are you planning to remove your floor from your bus. Removing the interior? Some people simply begin framing in an interior with minimal gutting of the bus interior. I'm not quite clear on how much you plan to remove from your bus before starting to build it.

Nice plan and I'll be routing for you.
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Old 03-31-2017, 08:26 PM   #3
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Location: Chicago
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Year: 2007
Coachwork: Mid-Bus
Engine: 6.6L Duramax Diesel
Thanks for the insight. The interior bus height is about 6'3" and I'm 5'10" so I'm okay there. Right now, I've got the bus parked at a storage facility. I'll eventually plan to find a building in a warehouse district near the river who I could solicit to allow me to park on-site there. I also work overnights so, much of the time, I'll just be parked at work overnight and then I'd find a public park to sleep in during the day. That's the plan at least. I've been working a lot lately and it's been raining a lot in Chicago so I haven't been able to get in there to start the seat removal process. I found out that the roof is leaky though so I'll need to look for a roof sealer and get that repaired. I will also need to try to find threads on gutting the interior. I've been so tied up with other things that it's been difficult to get going. I'm super grateful for this forum though. A lot of people seem to be very helpful.
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Old 03-31-2017, 10:04 PM   #4
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Yeah, it's a helpful place. It can save you from making some mistakes too. We're all about something new in the conversion process too. Everybody has a different skill set.
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Old 04-02-2017, 05:24 PM   #5
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Location: Vacaville, Ca
Posts: 1,480
Year: 1988
Coachwork: Crown / Pusher
Engine: 8.3 Cummins
I'm about to the point where I'm starting my interior, this is what I'm thinking.

1.Paint floor with Red Guard membrane.
2. Lay thin foam membrane side to side
3.lay 2 in foam insulation length ways.
4. 3/4 in tounge & groove plywood cross ways.
5.Frame & fit everything plumb everything.
6.run & secure wiring including exterior lights & camera's
7.Pull everything out & Remove Windows (except wiring & Framing)
8.Spray foam insulate.
9.Paint exterior
10. Reinstall Windows
11.install ceiling & side panels
12. Install everything else
13.New tires
14. New Fluids
15.First road trip

Did I forget anything??
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Old 04-02-2017, 08:05 PM   #6
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So, you'll be done in about a week or two?
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Old 04-02-2017, 08:21 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Robin97396 View Post
So, you'll be done in about a week or two?
Na working on my Jeep right now.
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