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Old 02-22-2018, 06:43 PM   #1
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Excited and Overwhelmed

Hello! My name is Deborah. I bought my 4 window shortie last June and am finally ready to start doing something with it. I have been lurking the forums for months now so it's time to officially join and introduce myself.

I am completely new to the skoolie community and know NOTHING about how to work on any kind of vehicle or home. I have zero carpentry/engineering/electrical/plumbing experience so this will be a slow and fun adventure as I figure out what I want to do and learn how to do it. I am planning what I think is a pretty simple build so hopefully, that'll make things easier. Luckily, I have plenty of friends and colleagues and the very vast and knowledgeable skoolie community that do know a thing or two about building things so I know I have a lot of advice to draw from.

Fortunately, I have somewhere to park and work on the bus for free so I can take my time to do it right.

Looking forward to getting acquainted with you all!
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Old 02-22-2018, 08:25 PM   #2
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Welcome

We like shorties. Are you into engine size and transmission model? Well, we're mostly mechanics so naturally we are.

Are you doing the whole enchilada build or are you making a metal tent for summertime camping? That usually depends a lot on your geographical location. Up north we tend to insulate heavily.

Good you've got people to help you.
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Old 02-22-2018, 08:31 PM   #3
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Old 02-22-2018, 08:38 PM   #4
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I would probably be into engine size and transmission if I had any clue what the differences are between different ones. I do hope to learn about basics about my engine and transmission (if that's actually possible) just so I can identify common problems and not freakout if I run tinto issues and all I need to do is add coolant to the radiator or something.

I'm going for somewhere in between the full enchilada and just a tortilla. I want to be able to sleep up to 4 people and transport up to 8. I'd like a kitchen area, but I'm thinking camp or induction stove - low profile or easy to put away so that I can utilize the counter space for other purposes. I don't plan on having any plumbing. Just a submersible pump for the kitchen sink that drains down into a grey water tank. Emergency only toilet type thing on board for well, emergencies.

I'm not planning to live in it fulltime. It will mainly be for camping trips and extended roadtrips.
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Old 02-22-2018, 09:02 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by DebbyDeb View Post
Hello! My name is Deborah. I bought my 4 window shortie last June and am finally ready to start doing something with it. I have been lurking the forums for months now so it's time to officially join and introduce myself.

I am completely new to the skoolie community and know NOTHING about how to work on any kind of vehicle or home. I have zero carpentry/engineering/electrical/plumbing experience so this will be a slow and fun adventure as I figure out what I want to do and learn how to do it. I am planning what I think is a pretty simple build so hopefully, that'll make things easier. Luckily, I have plenty of friends and colleagues and the very vast and knowledgeable skoolie community that do know a thing or two about building things so I know I have a lot of advice to draw from.

Fortunately, I have somewhere to park and work on the bus for free so I can take my time to do it right.

Looking forward to getting acquainted with you all!
Here's a thought about "emergency toilets" think portacan...would you wanna clean one? Using a propane camping stove would be a good option...having the sink drain into a 5gal is a simple solution...having it recessed would allow a drop down cover and usable space when the sink isn't needed...and if the camping is stowed you could have a lot of counter...my 2 pennies...idk about seating for 8 while moving

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Old 02-22-2018, 09:49 PM   #6
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Welcome

It's ok if you don't know how to do this. We don't either.
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Old 02-23-2018, 11:08 AM   #7
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Welcome!

Take a deep breath, and remember that this is fun. There will be a few moments when this is not immediately apparent, but we will help you through it. We taught a med tech by remoted control how to rebuild his brakes; we can get you through the hard parts.

People, does the Gates VIN decoder work on E350s? I suspect that the phrase "2005 diesel Ford E350" narrows down the possible engine/transmission combinations right there, but that's not my expertise. If you are willing to post your VIN here, I'm sure we could use it to give you some info about your drivetrain.
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Old 02-23-2018, 12:12 PM   #8
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Welcome Debra!!

I, too, am very new to the Skoolie.net forums and community! So much great advice already with encouragement and positive feedback! I just wanted to add even more to it (encouragement and positivity that is).

Just started our conversion as well recently. We live in Iowa and it's still quite chilly so the work has been slow-going but somewhat steady. We've got the demo completed, as well as insulation of the ceiling and sides. (We chose not to insulate the floor - not sure if that will end up being a downside, but it is what it is at this point unless we rip up the sub floor.)

As already stated by others, have fun with it! It can certainly be overwhelming having absolute no experience. I don't want to put words into others' mouths but I believe that quite a few of us are/were in the exact same boat - I know I am!

Best to you in your build and adventures ahead! Look forward to seeing you on the forums! Congratulations!!
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Old 02-23-2018, 03:58 PM   #9
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Welcome!

I am new as well and know just about as much as you when it comes to doing any work like this at all. I have a family of 4 so we have a full 42' bus that we have to finish the conversion of. Take your time, make sure it is what you want, and don't get sidetracked by things that go wrong. Thos are the best learning opportunities!!
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Old 02-23-2018, 04:06 PM   #10
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Welcome Debra!!

I, too, am very new to the Skoolie.net forums and community! So much great advice already with encouragement and positive feedback! I just wanted to add even more to it (encouragement and positivity that is).

Just started our conversion as well recently. We live in Iowa and it's still quite chilly so the work has been slow-going but somewhat steady. We've got the demo completed, as well as insulation of the ceiling and sides. (We chose not to insulate the floor - not sure if that will end up being a downside, but it is what it is at this point unless we rip up the sub floor.)

As already stated by others, have fun with it! It can certainly be overwhelming having absolute no experience. I don't want to put words into others' mouths but I believe that quite a few of us are/were in the exact same boat - I know I am!

Best to you in your build and adventures ahead! Look forward to seeing you on the forums! Congratulations!!
If you plan on spending any extended time in your bus insulating the floor is essential. The floor will cool/heat fastest due to air flow under the bus. The main reason we remove the subfloor is not to insulate, but to discover and repair any rust damage from condensation build up over the years. If you plan on spending substantial money on a build out it would pay dividends to start with a solid foundation. The ease of adding floor insulation at this point is a bonus.
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Old 02-23-2018, 04:25 PM   #11
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Marc:

What would be your recommendation in the scenario that someone only intends to keep their first bus for 1-2 years? Would you still recommend ripping up the original subflooring and insulating it?

I ask because I did not rip up the original subfloor of our short bus. I laid new 1/2 or 3/4" (I forget now to be honest) plywood down and then made sure it was sealed up good. That's as far as I've gotten at this point.

When we bought this short bus we had already discussed only keeping it for a maximum of two years. After which, due to the fact that we are still going to work as we go yet we'll have next to no bills at all other than food, fuel and insurance, we fully intend to buy a much, much newer model short bus and take what we've learned and do another build.

Do do plan on being in only warm-to-hot climates. No cold whatsoever unless by complete accident. We've got the ceiling and both sides of the bus insulated with 3M Insulate insulation because we read such great reviews on it. Plus, it's moist-wicking? or something like that.

Thanks for any input!
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Old 02-23-2018, 05:12 PM   #12
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Marc:

What would be your recommendation in the scenario that someone only intends to keep their first bus for 1-2 years? Would you still recommend ripping up the original subflooring and insulating it?

I ask because I did not rip up the original subfloor of our short bus. I laid new 1/2 or 3/4" (I forget now to be honest) plywood down and then made sure it was sealed up good. That's as far as I've gotten at this point.

When we bought this short bus we had already discussed only keeping it for a maximum of two years. After which, due to the fact that we are still going to work as we go yet we'll have next to no bills at all other than food, fuel and insurance, we fully intend to buy a much, much newer model short bus and take what we've learned and do another build.

Do do plan on being in only warm-to-hot climates. No cold whatsoever unless by complete accident. We've got the ceiling and both sides of the bus insulated with 3M Insulate insulation because we read such great reviews on it. Plus, it's moist-wicking? or something like that.

Thanks for any input!
When it comes time to sell it any knowledgble buyer will want to know if it had been insulated properly and will walk or drastically lowball you because what's built in will need to be removed to do it correctly. Insulation really is step #1 in Skoolie Builds 101
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Old 02-23-2018, 05:22 PM   #13
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When it comes time to sell it any knowledgble buyer will want to know if it had been insulated properly and will walk or drastically lowball you because what's built in will need to be removed to do it correctly. Insulation really is step #1 in Skoolie Builds 101
I would agree with you, but our situation will be different. We're either going to donate the bus to another individual who is looking for a bus to start out in, or we planned on taking it to a junk yard.

The plus for someone who is looking for a bus to convert is that they will have all the seats already ripped out and a clean slate to go with.

We are taking everything except the build itself (cabinets, or walls, or what have you) out and putting it in the new one we purchase. The big reason we went with lithium and all this is because we fully intend to take everythign out of it and transfer it to a new bus.
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Old 02-23-2018, 05:31 PM   #14
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I would agree with you, but our situation will be different. We're either going to donate the bus to another individual who is looking for a bus to start out in, or we planned on taking it to a junk yard.

The plus for someone who is looking for a bus to convert is that they will have all the seats already ripped out and a clean slate to go with.

We are taking everything except the build itself (cabinets, or walls, or what have you) out and putting it in the new one we purchase. The big reason we went with lithium and all this is because we fully intend to take everythign out of it and transfer it to a new bus.
In that case it is what it is. Whomever buys it will strip it further, or not. Carry on.
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Old 02-23-2018, 05:42 PM   #15
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I mean, we did think about the resale of it. We really did. But then we figured, geez ... it's an older bus. We won't really have that traditional-style home anymore after May 1st when we take off - and we just figured with no place to store it while we would try to sell it, plus we will be all over the place. I mean, we might be in the same state for period of time (unknown really as to HOW long), but the inability to store it until a buyer came along. So we just came to conclusion, hey there HAS to be someone who will take it off our hands even if we did sell it super, super duper cheap .... say $500 or something ridiculous like that.

We're hoping to get something with 5 years old when we get ready to do a new build out again.

Nonetheless ... we do wonder if having not insulated the floor if we'll regret it because we will be in warmer climates. It's not too late to pull it up, but this bus isn't exactly in superb shape. It's a midwest vehicle and if you know anythign about the midwest, vehicle here are very very prone to rust due to the salted roads in winter.

When we buy our next one it will absolutely be from down south where rust isn't as much of an issue. I've seen vehicles that are from down south that are 4, 5 years even older that have either no rust, or next to no signs of rust on them. If it doesn't have any rust, I'm thinking we might spend the money to have it undercoated.
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Old 02-23-2018, 06:03 PM   #16
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I mean, we did think about the resale of it. We really did. But then we figured, geez ... it's an older bus. We won't really have that traditional-style home anymore after May 1st when we take off - and we just figured with no place to store it while we would try to sell it, plus we will be all over the place. I mean, we might be in the same state for period of time (unknown really as to HOW long), but the inability to store it until a buyer came along. So we just came to conclusion, hey there HAS to be someone who will take it off our hands even if we did sell it super, super duper cheap .... say $500 or something ridiculous like that.

We're hoping to get something with 5 years old when we get ready to do a new build out again.

Nonetheless ... we do wonder if having not insulated the floor if we'll regret it because we will be in warmer climates. It's not too late to pull it up, but this bus isn't exactly in superb shape. It's a midwest vehicle and if you know anythign about the midwest, vehicle here are very very prone to rust due to the salted roads in winter.

When we buy our next one it will absolutely be from down south where rust isn't as much of an issue. I've seen vehicles that are from down south that are 4, 5 years even older that have either no rust, or next to no signs of rust on them. If it doesn't have any rust, I'm thinking we might spend the money to have it undercoated.
PNW buses don't seem to have rust issues, so it depends on the winters and what they use for prepping the roads that is a concern. General consensus here is to not buy anything newer than an 04 as they have the new electric EGR systems that have issues that are difficult to diagnose and expensive to repair.
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Old 02-23-2018, 07:18 PM   #17
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PNW buses don't seem to have rust issues, so it depends on the winters and what they use for prepping the roads that is a concern. General consensus here is to not buy anything newer than an 04 as they have the new electric EGR systems that have issues that are difficult to diagnose and expensive to repair.
I did not know this. I actually really appreciate that feedback ha! That is something to reconsider then...

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Old 02-23-2018, 10:01 PM   #18
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We look forward to your build!

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