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Old 09-11-2016, 05:47 PM   #1
Almost There
warewolff's Avatar
Join Date: Sep 2016
Location: NY
Posts: 91
Year: 2000
Coachwork: Carpenter
Chassis: International 3800
Engine: T444E
Tom and Emily from NY

Hi all,

We have been lurking for a long time here and are about to pull the trigger on a bus. We are trying to be budget friendly and have decided on a DT466E with an Allison trans, under 100k (preferably under 120), 96-03 for ... $2,000. We are talking to a guy in North Dakota right now who might come through. Suggestions welcomed.

So ...

I have experience working with a professional carpenter, but my electrical knowledge is terrible. I'm learning, but you will probably see me asking questions from time to time. Electrically, we are looking at about 610w of solar panels to start, wired down into a charger and then into dual 6v battery system somewhere around 700aH. I've been reviewing Handy Bob's website for a lot of ideas on that. Looks like a good setup alone is going to run us about $1500. We're leaving room to expand in the future as we'll be full timing on it.

We will be boondocking a lot. I don't want to use any generators. Originally we were looking at a standard residential fridge but the power requirements will be too much. 3 stage it is I guess. As far as electric consumption we just need enough to run a small computer, LED tv, charge our mobile devices, et cetera. After spending a few months aboard I think we will have a better idea of our power consumption.

As far as plumbing, we're probably equipping it with a composting toilet. The idea of a black water tank really grosses me out, as does handling a nasty hose every week and having to go to a special place to dispose of our waste. The clean and grey water tanks will be under our sleeping platform, in the back of the bus, like many of the projects here. It is just the two of us (and our black lab) so on a full sized bus we should not have too much of a problem with space.

A few questions while we're gearing up:

I've searched around a lot to get ideas and have seen what some of you have done, but how necessary is it to remodel and reinsulate the ceiling? Assuming we insulate the floor and walls real well, will this be an issue? I kind of like the stock look.

Spray foam vs real insulation? I've seen both and don't really know too much about it.

Working full time on getting this thing ready, what is a realistic time commitment to convert a bus to a home? I have been lucky enough to work from home for just a few hours a week and be able to cover our basic needs.

Suggestions welcome. We are excited.

- Tom and Emily
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Old 09-12-2016, 08:12 AM   #2
Join Date: Sep 2016
Location: Northern Virginia
Posts: 16
I can't speak from real world experience on working in a bus - but from what I've seen of others doing theirs, it's a good idea to take the skin off the interior roof, just to make sure you haven't got any leaks or black mold growing in the insulation in your roof.

If everything looks good, I don't imagine there's any problem with resheething the roof with the old sheet metal if you've been careful getting it down - or new if you've run into problems.

I've seen just as many people leave the roof intact, but from my own perspective, I'd like to know if my roof is leaking and I'm not growing mold up there, so when I get mine, I plan on pulling the sheething off and reinsulating while I'm at it.
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Old 09-12-2016, 08:25 AM   #3
NowhereFast's Avatar
Join Date: Mar 2016
Location: Sarasota, Florida
Posts: 159
Year: 1995
Coachwork: International
Chassis: Carpenter
Engine: d466 mechanical
How mechanically inclined are you guys?
I always see people posting about pursuing purchasing buses for very cheap. And certainly there are deals out there.
But, if you purchase a bus that needs engine work, or new tires and end up putting that or more into it. Is it still a deal anymore?
Just my 2cents
Nowhere Fast - Sarasota, Florida
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