Hi all! I've been lurking for a while, this place has tons of great info and it seems like no end of ideas that make my conversion process longer.... But that's 1/3 of the fun, right?
I just picked up a 1995 International 3600 short bus, also knows as a Thomas Vista. It was hauling kids the day before I bought it in the hot and humid town of Miami, and I carefully drove it back to St. Petersburg this past weekend. It's got the 7.3 turbo diesel (T444E) and Allison 542 transmission. I'd looked at a bunch o busses that were immediately written off for various obvious flaws, this one was super clean (for a 20 year old bus) and the motor runs so smooth... And the dual AC will chill you.
This is my first RV project but I also have a sailboat (Pearson 35) so many of the concepts are similar. My GF and I have a basic layout in mind, and hope to have it functional enough to sleep in within a few days.
What I've done: removed the seats, cleaned the rubber floor, and lots of poking and prodding.
What I'm doing as fast as I can (this week):
. sealing seat bolt holes (great stuff), plus a layer of undercoat on the outside
. removing the metal ceiling and installing rigid foam insulation
. Laying 1/4 inch OSB on top of the rubber floor
. Laying linoleum (lowes claims its vinyl now) on top of that
. Adding a wood rail system on the floor to hold a futon firmly while allowing it to fold/unfold
. Light blocking curtain to separate the drivers area
Longer term items already in flight:
. 400W solar (I use Renogy on my boat) with separate battery bank
. LED lighting
. Propane on-demand water heater+pump
. 2000W power inverter
. Chest freezer used as a refrigerator
. Backup camera
. Fresh water tank
Areas requiring additional research/planning
. Wood burning stove for heat?
. Improved wall insulation
. TV wall mount for combination computer monitor/television
. Overhead cabinets
. Grey water tank
Being a used bus, there area bunch of little things I need to take care of as well. Many of the switches on the switch panel are mis-labelled, broken, or not actually hooked up to anything. The windshield washer fluid bottle is busted, one of the wiper arms is about to explode into dust. It's the little things.
Of course, everyone loves pictures. Here's my bus as I bought it.
And of course the first thing I did...