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Old 08-08-2017, 02:33 PM   #1
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New bus for trip from Alabama to Washington

I've been toying with the idea of building something to get me across the country for awhile. To be honest, I would just use my hatchback with a mattress, but the wife likes some more space. We'll be moving in about 10 months, and will be making a 6 week cross-country tour with our dogs. A big need is climate control for the pups, when they are not allowed on trails. I finally pulled the trigger and started my journey, so I guess it's finally time to move beyond being a forum lurker.

Recently got a short bus from southern NC for $2k, that seemed too hard to pass up. I had my sights set on a diesel with a manual transmission (with some wiggle room on specifics) but found a mid-conversion where they were just trying to get rid of it, essentially. They had done some basic engine work on it, installed exhaust headers, new dually back tires, 3kw generator, 50 amp inverter, 50 gallon water tank, water pump, etc.



There is a lot of work taking out some of the stuff they had done, and deciding what I want to keep, but the value of not having to take out the seats or go through salvage yards for what they had found is priceless.

I'm still toying with the idea of selling it and starting fresh with a diesel, but The more I dwell on it, the more I like a gasoline short bus.

The first steps (beyond getting it registered in my name and getting a full mechanic review) are gutting the inside as I want to get a laminate floor down; grinding spot rust on the outside and repainting; and starting with insulation (still lots of options for this).

Here is what I'm thinking of doing instead of the yellow stripe, but not entirely sure.



Here are two picture of my current sketchup, which hasn't been tweaked for the exact dimensions since I purchased the bus.





The first picture shows the kitchen with some storage above. This is going to be narrowed with the main storage being between the sink and the bed, with the top of this storage being a nightstand for the bed. The bed has come down about a foot as well. Under the bed will be clothes as well as deep storage, and also provide some shelter for the dogs (might put a door on that to serve as and actual crate for them)

The couch will almost certainly be gone. There is currently a bench with storage underneath. We might keep it, but it would be nice to have a real car seat (which we have, not installed) for traveling, especially getting a proper seat belt. I think we will also go with a 8000 btu window unit, since the ceiling units are so expensive.

As I start organizing everything more I will start organizing a build thread that actually details the electrical, plumbing, and other systems as they are planned out. Obviously, much of this will depend on what things I can get in there for cheap.

Anyway, feel free to respond to the rambling. I appreciate all the knowledge that everyone here has. Truly a huge wealth of knowledge here. I look forward to picking y'alls brains as much as possible!
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Old 08-08-2017, 02:45 PM   #2
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Welcome !

Looks like a great start. Saved some work.. made some work.

Is everyone on this board a sketchup expert? We should have a repository of sketchup files vs jpg that we can all pull from so we don't have to recreate every bus and appliance.
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Old 08-08-2017, 03:04 PM   #3
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That's a great idea. Sketchup has a ton of resources (3D warehouse, or something like that) for things like appliances and furniture and stuff, but as far as specific products that are often used by forum members, there are still many holes.

They also have full scale busses, but I found it was a lot easier to just create a box for the sake of getting an idea about space. It would be nice to reuse a lot of the work from other members, though. I will post my sketchup file after I rework it with dimensions specific to my bus
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Old 08-08-2017, 03:23 PM   #4
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The price you paid is probably what that generator alone costs. Awesome deal you got there!
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Old 08-08-2017, 03:48 PM   #5
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Nice lookin' little rig. And at that price, just drive it till you wear out the gasser...then transplant a 5.9 Cummins and Allison.
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Old 08-08-2017, 05:32 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Tango View Post
Nice lookin' little rig. And at that price, just drive it till you wear out the gasser...then transplant a 5.9 Cummins and Allison.
Watch this guy.... he gets an incentive from Cummins for every 4BT he sells.
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Old 08-08-2017, 05:51 PM   #7
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That's definitely a thought to to an engine swap. I just doubt I would be able to do it myself. I do like how these g-series are so open to new engines, but I have little experience with advanced mechanic work.

I haven't even done the work to figure out the size of the engine in there. It did get nearly 10mpg on the trip from North Carolina to Alabama, and that includes some pretty steep, curvy mountain roads. In the rain, at night... In hindsight I shouldve waited until the morning to drive it home.
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