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nanoplane 01-12-2018 09:54 AM

Marcel's Magics Kool Bus
So I'm new to the Skoolie world and this is my first conversion.
I'm starting with a 1995 Rear Engine Thomas Sad-T-Liner and have a full workshop so this will be "fun" :-).

So far, I've gutted the bus and have some of the plans done.

Work will include:

- Solar power: 22 100 W solar panels, 18 of them on tracking mounts, 880 AmpHours of AGM batteries, 3KW Inverter. This also includes multi-source charging (engine, solar and grid). Haven't decided if I need a generator yet.

- Mini-Split AC for heating and cooling: Condenser (outside) unit on the Rear deck of the bus with the rear windows replaced by metal grates. Inside unit near the front of the bus with small forced air circulation from rear to front.

- Leaving most of the windows intact, replacing 6 windows with panels and splitting another 3 with half/panels.

- Adding keyless locks to the doors

- Separating the rear part of the bus as a "utility room/shop"

- Adding water, gray and "dark gray" tanks. (Not sure if I need the dark gray tank.. it'll basically only contain urine.

- knotty pine bead board ceiling

I'll be posting pics and designs as I go along...

Good to be here with the rest of you..


brokedown 01-12-2018 10:06 AM

I just have to say, that's a lot of solar panels. If my power requirements were that high I would spend serious time trying to reduce my consumption. For comparison, we're getting by with 400 watts of solar and engine driven AC. We are also built for boondocking rather than having external power sources available, so I accept we're on the lower end of power requirements.

nanoplane 01-12-2018 10:15 AM

MagicsKoolBus - starting
Here's a couple of pics of the bus so far:

Sitting in my yard:

It's great having sons with friends when you need someone to crawl under the bus to remove the bolts holding the seats in: :-)

Didn't need that "extra" vent where I wanted a wall to be:

Ok, the roof is painted now..

And the place gutted:

nanoplane 01-12-2018 10:18 AM

Well, I'm trying to get away with no propane.. I suspect that if I wan't to do a lot of winter boondocking, I will need to get a generator for those dreary days...

PNW_Steve 01-12-2018 10:22 AM

Good looking bus!!

nanoplane 01-12-2018 10:25 AM

MagicsKoolBus - Design
I have the floor plans done:

And a rendering of what it "should" look like:

brokedown 01-12-2018 10:31 AM

No propane is a pretty tough goal. Figure a typical electric range will use about 3KW per burner, 5KW for your oven, you're talking about 400A draw from your battery bank for 10 or 15 minutes to preheat to make a frozen pizza.

Given the realities of Solar, not every day is sunny and even in Florida you can have weeks over overcast skies and rain... Propane starts to look really practical.

If you regularly need to heat your bus, propane isn't great. We have a small Mr Heater Buddy but we need if infrequently, and are working on a wood burning stove to replace it.

This is based on our experience of living full time in our bus for over a year and experiencing all 4 seasons travelling a lap around the country.

nanoplane 01-12-2018 10:37 AM

I have:
- an induction cook top.. max 2KW.
- Inverter microwave 900W max
- 9000 BTU 22Seer Inverter minisplit AC - 700W

The water heater is electric (900W) dual exchanger. It will have a solar water heater on one exchanger and the engine on the second with control valves. The Electric element will only run to the extent there's enough power available. There will be a control system that monitors the power draw and shuts down or reduces the consumption of the water heater when everything else is running....

Should work. :-)

nanoplane 01-12-2018 10:41 AM

It's in great shape. I brought it to a diesel Mechanic who inspected and tested and they say it has no mechanical problems and seems to have a lot of new parts.. (they fixed it before they sold it :-) )

Twigg 01-12-2018 11:12 AM


Originally Posted by nanoplane (Post 244781)
It's in great shape. I brought it to a diesel Mechanic who inspected and tested and they say it has no mechanical problems and seems to have a lot of new parts.. (they fixed it before they sold it :-) )

How easily did the ceiling screws come out?

I have the same bus, but a '98, and that's my next job.

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