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Old 03-15-2015, 09:07 AM   #1
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Have donor, must build!

Hi everyone,
I have had Skoolie.net in my computer's favorites for some time but now it is getting close to time to build.

I bought a few years ago a 1987 class A motorhome for $3000 off of a coworker on a construction site I worked on for a few years. He was obsessed with having everything work perfect in it. Both roof top AC units were reworked in time for summer. The ducted propane heating was inspected and repaired so that it works perfect and a brand new water heater was installed. I saw this, bought it and informed my wife that this is now going to be a donor RV for a bus. It did not go well but I used the RV for work. I drove it to a camper spot and parked it and lived in it for a while until the job ended. Now that it has paid for itself my wife is more open to the idea of the bus conversion. That and my baby boy is now 6'4" and growing and does not fit in the RV unless he sleeps on the floor.

My plan is to purchase a flat nose bus (if I am to drive something that is 40 ft I want to use all of it to live in) and remove everything that can be removed from the RV and put it on the bus allowing for future upgrades to those items as needed. Even the 5500k gen that is on the RV will move over. It's old but it's paid for. That is why I came here. If everything goes well in the next month for two I can have CIF (cash in fist) and purchase my newish bus.

Oh. one draw back to my plan. I had to agree to remove all of the school bus style windows and install "proper" RV windows including emergency exit ones so it does not look like a school bus. The bus being safer than a old wooded box on wheels was a selling point to her. She is worried about that and I worry about will my son be able to stand upright in the bus once I am ready to hit the road. We all have out own priorities I guess. At the rate he is growing the bus might be his first set of wheels. I think its a OK plan to start with. It's only a rough draft but if you see flaws in it or any potential issues I might need to look out for let me know and thanks for being here to prove to my family that my conversion idea is not crazy.
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Old 03-15-2015, 09:24 AM   #2
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Location: Iowa
Posts: 120
Year: 1996
Coachwork: Honey Badger RV Co
Chassis: tc2000
Engine: 5.9 cummins
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Sounds like a great plan. Being 6'4" myself, found you can't stand up straight in most buses. If your getting rid of the windows a roof raise is just some cutting and welding away.lol
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Old 03-15-2015, 10:22 AM   #3
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Location: Stony Plain Alberta Canada
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Year: 1992
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Chassis: TC2000 FE
Engine: 190hp 5.9 Cummins
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Do a roof raise.

More and more people here are doing them. It's not that hard and requires NO WELDING.

To me a bus is not fit to live in unless the roof has been raised.

After the roof raise you can stand and look out the window.

You can move the entry door anywhere you want.

You now have room for proper insulation floor and ceiling.

Room for a one piece shower stall without having to mangle it up cutting it into the curve of the ceiling.

Room for a full size fridge without having to set it forward to clear the curved ceiling at the back.

Room to not feel claustrophobic in your new home.

Ceiling space for the heat to collect and escape before pushing down into your living space.

Room to install decent size windows.

The list of reasons to do a roof raise go on and on.

Nat
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Old 03-15-2015, 10:29 AM   #4
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Year: 1992
Coachwork: Ward/AmTran
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I'll be welding mine... or having someone weld it. Probably will have a good buddy who actually welds full time take care of it.
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Old 03-15-2015, 10:49 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by EastCoastCB View Post
I'll be welding mine... or having someone weld it. Probably will have a good buddy who actually welds full time take care of it.
I love welding. I weld when it's the right way to connect the metal. However welding sheet metal is not the right way to make the connection.

Although this is completely different topic, why would you weld something together that was riveted together from the factory?

The bus makers used a rivet construction for a reason. Everywhere there was a weld on both of my buses, the weld broke. The welds can not hold what the rivet can in the stress that it's exposed to.

Welding on galvanized material is extremely difficult to get a good weld.

Welding galvanized metal is poison to the person welding it.

Welding ruins the galvanized coating, giving rust a home to start again.

Welding light 12 and 14 ga metal without melting through is much harder than thick metal.

Welding the 12 and 14 ga metal causes distortion of the steel. This is a big pain in the a$$.

To get a good weld, you need a welder that cost minimum $1500.

Rivet gun is $100 and bolting with 1/4 inch bolts cost nothing if you have a drill and a wrench.

The list go's on and on.

Nat
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Old 03-15-2015, 11:05 AM   #6
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The uprights are solid steel nat. not bolted together like you rigged it.
Welding is as close to one piece of steel as one can hope to achieve. Its how a real fabricator would do it, as the bolts are stress points.
You didn't do it wrong, as there is no wrong way to build something ones self. But welds are much better for this application.
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Old 03-15-2015, 11:29 AM   #7
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I have access to various different types of welding machines and if I can't weld it I have people that can. I was thinking about a custom built shower out of thin diamond plate metal with a recessed floor to give me a couple of inches of clearance if the gray water tank allows it. This all depends on the bus to be used. As far as the roof goes raising it is going to be a must.
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Old 03-15-2015, 11:43 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EastCoastCB View Post
The uprights are solid steel nat. not bolted together like you rigged it.
Welding is as close to one piece of steel as one can hope to achieve. Its how a real fabricator would do it, as the bolts are stress points.
You didn't do it wrong, as there is no wrong way to build something ones self. But welds are much better for this application.
This was hashed out a year ago before you got here. Now here we go again.

Your still missing the point.

Crappy, poorly done conversions are why some insurance company's are now refusing skoolie conversions.

The ribs we are extending end at the bottom a half inch from the floor ribs.

Nothing holds the ribs in place but the inside and outside sheet steel. As few as 5 rivets in each.

Welding is not needed.

Anyone can do what ever they wish on their skoolie. I post this for the people that are smart enough to use the info.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sleep2Little View Post
I have access to various different types of welding machines and if I can't weld it I have people that can. I was thinking about a custom built shower out of thin diamond plate metal with a recessed floor to give me a couple of inches of clearance if the gray water tank allows it. This all depends on the bus to be used. As far as the roof goes raising it is going to be a must.
That would be a great shower. I considered doing the same.

Cost and leaks are what stopped me.

Any welds need to be leak free. Tig welding the stainless would be the only way to achieve this.

Cost would start at $1000. Too much compared to what I can build using FRP.

Nat
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Old 03-15-2015, 01:28 PM   #9
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The thought of the cost for the shower was my first thought. I was thinking of sheet aluminum. We have a MIG welder dedicated to welding aluminum. We have to weld and test containers we make for practice from time to time. The base would be bent to form a tub about 4 to 6 inches deep, maybe more, with welding on the corners only and the walls would be one piece bent to form three sides and set inside of the tub about a 2 to three inches from the bottom attached to it with industrial sealer between the metal and rivets to allow for minimum flex and movement while traveling because water shouldn't run up the walls...I hope. I have way too much time to plan out things. My wife thinks I need a hobby that will not cost so much. I have seen many ways of raising the room but in the end I think I will smooz my way into the bus sales and service center near my house to see exactly how they replace damaged ribs so that they will be "certified" repairs. Being able to get it insured is going to be very important. This all depends on the overall height of the bus too. I would love to be able to bring the shower over from the donor RV and save the cost/time but it is just not worth it with the small size. I can't wait to demo the RV. I am getting sick of looking at the 1987 styling and the gas engine. I want diesel and a metal body.
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Old 03-15-2015, 03:26 PM   #10
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Rated Cap: 72
Sounds like a good plan with the aluminum. It's 1/4 the cost of stainless steel here.

I look forward to the pics of the shower build and the RV demo.

Nat
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