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Old 10-20-2018, 08:48 PM   #1
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What to Do About Weather

Having just moved back to MA from 20 years in Southern California, I'm not looking forward to wintertime Skoolie life. Everyone marvels at how rust free my bus is, but I have a feeling that's not going to last long around here. Any advice on how best to get a 20 foot long, 7 foot wide, 9 foot tall short skoolie through the winter in fine shape? Here are some specific questions but anything you can tell me would be great.

1) Is there any kind of clear coat-type treatment or exterior weatherizing I should do?

2) I'm assuming I'm going to need a block heater or something. Any suggestions on this? My diesel bus is 27 years old and not a super great starter in normal circumstances; have never had to start it in super cold. I had previously thought about getting one of those diesel heaters that warms up the cab and also preheats the engine. Has anyone ever tried one of these? Here's a link to a cheap one on eBay: https://www.ebay.com/itm/12V-5KW-Air...aff8:rk:1:pf:0

3) I only have a driveway, not a garage, to park in. I'm hesitant to get some kind of canopy because of truck height and because in the reviews of most of the ones I can afford I see a lot of wind damage occurring. Does any one have one of these, do they have to jack up the height, and how do they hold up? I'm talking about cheap ones, a couple hundred bucks at most. If this isn't workable, is there any kind of tarp or cover I can just put right onto the vehicle itself instead of a structure to sit up above it?

4) Do I need snow tires? I have a vague memory of changing tires in the winter but honestly know nothing about it.

5) What do I need to know, that I DON'T know?
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Old 11-03-2018, 07:38 PM   #2
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Am I being boycotted? People used to actually answer me...
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Old 11-03-2018, 08:06 PM   #3
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You aren't being boycotted.

If you have good all-weather tires, snow tires aren't necessary.

A block heater is a good idea for any diesel engine.

Get some double-faced rigid foam insulation panels for the inside. This includes the windshield and the doors.

Fire up the engine at least every other day. Let it get up to temp before shutting down.

Get a winter front for your beast.

Get a German comforter from Betten-
Anne
. I've got a good 4 season one for about $300. Yes, they do ship to the good ol' U S of A.
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Old 11-03-2018, 08:40 PM   #4
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Thank you!!
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Old 11-04-2018, 08:53 AM   #5
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You don't say what your intended use is. Are you living in it, occasional use to run around in, daily driver? If you don't drive it in salt snow and ice is just cold wet rain. Probably less harmful than CA sun.

Quote:
Fire up the engine at least every other day. Let it get up to temp before shutting down.
This is a bad idea. It doesn't hurt an engine to be cold. If you aren't going to drive it, it's best to just let it sit. Get a good battery maintainer to keep the battery charged. Turn on the block heater a few hours before you are going to start it. Just bringing an engine up to temperature isn't really enough. Exhaust system will rust out sooner too.

I wouldn't think a winter front would do all that much for a van type bus, the engines thermostat will keep things at the right temp for anything you are likely to encounter in the northeast. Truck designs have come a long way since those were common. Flat nose buses would be a more likely candidate, some of those cover the entire front and help keep wind from getting to the driver.
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Old 11-04-2018, 11:26 AM   #6
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If you are going to be driving the bus in the snow and salt, then you need to rustproof the undercarriage. You can use a pump sprayer and mix up some used motor oil 50/50 with mineral spirits or kerosene to thin it out. Liberally spray the entire undercarriage except the exhaust and any rubber suspension bushings.

There are other products like Fluid Film and cavity wax products to help prevent rust. I will be doing this with my bus real soon.
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Old 11-04-2018, 11:29 AM   #7
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is that better than using a professional spray can undercoating. as i work on my busses I spray parts underneath with a rattle can undercoating that a body shop got me turned onto.. usually after hitting everything with an air hose to knock loost dirt away...
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Old 11-04-2018, 04:57 PM   #8
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Undercoating like the rubberized crap does nothing but hold moisture in. You want the steel wet and oiled.
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Old 11-04-2018, 05:38 PM   #9
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You don't say what your intended use is. Are you living in it, occasional use to run around in, daily driver?
Daily driver, work vehicle (I use it as a pop-up shop), occasional overnighting.

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Originally Posted by somewhereinusa View Post
This is a bad idea. It doesn't hurt an engine to be cold. If you aren't going to drive it, it's best to just let it sit. Get a good battery maintainer to keep the battery charged. Turn on the block heater a few hours before you are going to start it. Just bringing an engine up to temperature isn't really enough. Exhaust system will rust out sooner too.
Good info, I've never heard that before. But I doubt more than a couple days will go by without it being used anyway.

Quote:
Originally Posted by somewhereinusa View Post
I wouldn't think a winter front would do all that much for a van type bus, the engines thermostat will keep things at the right temp for anything you are likely to encounter in the northeast. Truck designs have come a long way since those were common.
Well, my bus is a '91 so I think it probably predates the designs that have come a long way!
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Old 11-04-2018, 05:39 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Johnny Mullet View Post
If you are going to be driving the bus in the snow and salt, then you need to rustproof the undercarriage. You can use a pump sprayer and mix up some used motor oil 50/50 with mineral spirits or kerosene to thin it out. Liberally spray the entire undercarriage except the exhaust and any rubber suspension bushings.

There are other products like Fluid Film and cavity wax products to help prevent rust. I will be doing this with my bus real soon.
Thanks so much - this is what I really need to know.
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