Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
 
Old 05-29-2017, 03:18 PM   #1
Mini-Skoolie
 
UrsaLunar's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2017
Location: Northeast US
Posts: 29
Year: 2001
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: International 3800
Engine: T444E
enough with looking over his shoulder ...

Hullo
I've poked about here over the hubs' shoulder long enough, time to jump in on my own.

Wanderlust bit the hubs a couple years ago; wanting to see the country and bring the family on expeditions.
Admittedly I dragged my feet, not interested in the mode of transport he spoke of; RVs. Expensive for a nice one, rickety, cramped ... newp. (Teardrop trailers are adorable for two people max, or one woman with dog asleep at her feet.)
Then he mentioned seeing skoolies. Huh? What's a that? Converted school buses. Huh. Sturdy. Roomy. I googled. And saw The Bus. You've seen The Bus. A renovated Viking bus by an architectural firm in Maine - it's often found under the "tiny house" search term. Matte OD green on the outside - perfect to blend into our small woodsy yard and neighborhood. Warm and cozy bohemian on the inside to please this homebody. Oh yes. Skoolie. Pack the dog, let's go.

A couple weeks ago the hubs found Our "The Bus (to be)" online and flew down to get him. His name is Thomas. Not original. Does his name have to be? He needs work, we knew he would. It's not that much work though and can be done bit by bit as the budget allows.
So far we've only been scrubbing off decals, removing seats, budgeting for mechanical needs, and making lists. For inspection tires and many new lights are needed, but that's it. Our state allows school bus yellow skoolies to count as RVs - just need to have the stop sign, swing bar, and school-purpose decals gone. (Thomas is still being painted before coming home to roost, he's parked nearby tucked behind a friend's business.)
This year he will be a mobile tent at most, next year will begin the true evolution.

The hubs talked about a bigger starter-bus for the family, then a short bus for he and I alone in a few years after children have grown, but Thomas is a nice mid-size, and ours. I want our skoolie done right the first time, so hullo, I'm here to learn.
UrsaLunar is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-29-2017, 05:11 PM   #2
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Mar 2016
Location: Central NC
Posts: 32
Year: 1998
Coachwork: Carpenter
Chassis: International 3800
Engine: International t444e
Rated Cap: 66?
Awesome! Welcome to the Skoolie club. Hope all goes well with your conversion. This forum is a fantastic resource. If you do Facebook, there a lot of groups you can join. We do Instagram and have found a strong community there as well.

Sent from my MotoG3 using Tapatalk
ghodges is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-29-2017, 06:44 PM   #3
Bus Geek
 
Robin97396's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2016
Location: Willamina, Oregon
Posts: 4,410
Year: 1997
Coachwork: Bluebird
Chassis: TC 1000
Engine: 5.9
Send a message via Yahoo to Robin97396
Welcome

Well... we want to see pictures of Thomas. You've got a good start.
Robin97396 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-29-2017, 09:01 PM   #4
Mini-Skoolie
 
UrsaLunar's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2017
Location: Northeast US
Posts: 29
Year: 2001
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: International 3800
Engine: T444E
Thanks for the welcome folks

Created an album here with the first few pictures.

Our teenagers are actually getting right into the project. The 14 yo was under the bus with a wrench holding nuts in place while the hubs was in the bus with an impact wrench taking out the seat bolts. Was my kiddo one dirty monkey when done - came out from under with the proclamation of "Hey, no rust!" when done!
UrsaLunar is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-29-2017, 11:01 PM   #5
Bus Nut
 
Join Date: Mar 2016
Location: Greater Houston, Tx.
Posts: 329
Bus is looking good. I'm sure I'm not the only one interested in how you removed the wording and decals from the bus. No idea how long it took, but ya done good!
1olfart is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-30-2017, 10:12 AM   #6
Mini-Skoolie
 
UrsaLunar's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2017
Location: Northeast US
Posts: 29
Year: 2001
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: International 3800
Engine: T444E
Hey, thanks!

He does look pretty good body-wise, we were holding out for a bus south of the "salt belt" as we know how much rust can kill a vehicle. There are a few rust spots but they are very minor - one is quarter size, the other couple smaller.

Mechanically we *think* we're ok, too. We paid a friend-of-a-friend diesel mechanic to take a solid look over the bus. The mechanic works for a fleet and cannot do the work himself - that's nice because he was able to give an honest recommendation as to what actually needs to be done, and was able to steer us to a couple reliable diesel shops.

Tranny fluid is dark but no flakes, it like other fluids and filters definitely need changing. Tires up front are beyond bald and we'll be replacing all 6 with new as getting decent second hand ones isn't that big a savings. There's a tie-rod issue too, we'll take care of that at the same time. Once those are done then we'll re-look at ride, handling, and all that good stuff. Because it's handicap accessible with the chairlift there are no wheel humps which effects what tire size we use and gear ratios etc. There was talk of blocking (whatever that is) but will not be going that route.

Knowing that the bus would be end-of-life for whatever school district it came from (as budget-wise they'll just limp it safely along until it has to be decommissioned because of age) we always mentally earmarked a few grand for things like tires and mechanical needs, and then at least several hundred for paint. And that's all before we do the inner conversions.
Not cheap by any stretch but this all appeals to us more than an RV, and even a nice second hand RV will most likely still need mechanical work.

Decals; razor blades to scrape, and for residue acetone, steel wool, lots of paper towels, and elbow grease. Close your eyes and run your hand over where the letters were to "see" if you got it all. I'm using thick rubber cleaning gloves so the stuff doesn't eat at my skin - it eats away latex gloves fast of course. Even with trying to scrape off the lettering gently there were gouges down to the metal.
I insisted we use yellow primer to cover those gouges because we're doing this initial work at a friend's business and there's already a big yellow bus planted there - I didn't want him having to look at sloppy gray primer splotches, too, so that's probably what helps Thomas look better in the pictures.
UrsaLunar is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-31-2017, 01:12 PM   #7
Skoolie
 
jctrembly's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2016
Posts: 133
Use a heat gun for any remaining decals. Most of them will come right off. I learned that after I gouged a few spots. I sanded, primed and painted those spots with Rust-Oleum for now.

Sent from my Nexus 5X using Tapatalk
jctrembly is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-31-2017, 02:55 PM   #8
Mini-Skoolie
 
jonnichols's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2017
Location: Columbus, OH
Posts: 36
Congrats on the bus!
jonnichols is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-02-2017, 02:05 PM   #9
Mini-Skoolie
 
UrsaLunar's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2017
Location: Northeast US
Posts: 29
Year: 2001
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: International 3800
Engine: T444E
Thanks again for the welcome!

The decals had been warmed sitting in the sun, that helped - thankfully not too many gouges, they were simply from my hands slipping ... yeah, need to re-build arm strength, this is all cyclical because doing this conversion will help with that

Hopefully the weather will cooperate and we can work on Thomas more this weekend
UrsaLunar is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-02-2017, 03:03 PM   #10
Bus Nut
 
Join Date: Jun 2016
Location: Orange County, CA
Posts: 324
Year: 1990
Coachwork: integral
Chassis: Crown Supercoach II
Engine: Detroit 6V92TAC, DDEC 2, Jake brake, Allison HT740
Rated Cap: 37,400 lbs GVWR
Removing my decals is a PIA - even using a heat gun on a sunny day it's difficult to get them off the paint. Too much heat, then the paint bubbles. I did find that it's impossible to get the decals off paint on top of fiberglass - sufficient heat to soften the decal always lifts the paint completely off, so for the front and rear where Crown used FG I'm just going to strip off all the paint and repaint completely there. At least I won't have to use etching primer there, unlike when I repainted the roof.

John
Iceni John 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


» Virginia Campgrounds

Reviews provided by

Powered by vBadvanced CMPS v3.2.3

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 02:55 AM.


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