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Old 03-27-2018, 09:51 AM   #1
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Mar 2018
Location: Central North Carolina
Posts: 26
Year: 1980
Chassis: Chevrolet
Engine: Small Block Chevrolet. May swap out for ?
1980 Thomas Bus (Identity Crisis)

Started working on our bus conversion. I have only removed the seats and a few panels thus far. I found I was able to remove all the seats from the inside of the bus. I used a bottle jack to apply pressure to the seat frames which allowed me to use an electric impact wrench to remove all the bolts from the inside. The attached nuts fell off under the bus and were collected after completion of the seat removal. Had the weather been better I would have had one of my sons under the bus with a wrench but it all worked out.

I have named the bus "Identity Crisis" to further confuse family that believes we are crazy. The bus was originally an activity bus and now beginning a new life as an RV.

Also I'm not sure why the pictures loaded sideways below. They were correctly oriented in my file but when uploaded they loaded this way. Any tips on how to correct this in the future?
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File Type: jpg Identity Crisis 2.jpg (187.6 KB, 34 views)
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Old 03-28-2018, 05:42 AM   #2
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Engine: CAT 3126
Welcome to the fun and good luck on your build! Never heard of the bottle jack for seat removal idea. Pretty clever!
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Old 03-28-2018, 04:43 PM   #3
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Mar 2018
Location: Central North Carolina
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Year: 1980
Chassis: Chevrolet
Engine: Small Block Chevrolet. May swap out for ?
Thanks for the welcome!

Thanks for the welcome and stopping by! I hope to get more done this weekend. The bottle jack enabled me to remove the seats on my own. It seems like it rains every opportunity I have to work on the bus and my kids for some reason didn't volunteer to lay under the bus in the rain.
Mack
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Old 03-28-2018, 06:41 PM   #4
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Yeah I'm also waiting for this rain to stop. We just chopped the top off my bus last Thursday and then had to cover it up with plastic. Hopefully the next two days we will both be able to get back at it!
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Old 03-30-2018, 10:42 PM   #5
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Mar 2018
Location: Central North Carolina
Posts: 26
Year: 1980
Chassis: Chevrolet
Engine: Small Block Chevrolet. May swap out for ?
Roof panel

Got super lucky, the roof is screwed in instead af riveted. Only had time to remove one panel today. The insulation was nasty but not molded. Hope to get the rest of the roof skin off tomorrow.
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Old 04-02-2018, 05:53 PM   #6
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Mar 2018
Location: Central North Carolina
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Year: 1980
Chassis: Chevrolet
Engine: Small Block Chevrolet. May swap out for ?
Interior Ceiling Removed

Was able to get the metal off of the inside roof this weekend. I hope to reuse the metal to skin the windows with. I am so glad the roof was screwed in. We managed to break 12 of the T20 torx bits in the process but it was still better than 1000 plus rivets. The roof in general is in great shape with a minor dent in the rear that I believe I can pound out. I think the next project will be removing the heaters and clearing the floor. I hope everyone had a great Easter and look forward to seeing our project and yours come together.
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Old 04-10-2018, 04:53 AM   #7
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Mar 2018
Location: Central North Carolina
Posts: 26
Year: 1980
Chassis: Chevrolet
Engine: Small Block Chevrolet. May swap out for ?
Floor Clean Up

Not much accomplished this weekend. I was able to remove more than half of the rubber flooring. The adhesive they used was amazingly hard to remove. The rusted areas released well and the other had to be chipped up with a flat bar. The floor only has surface rust to deal with and no rust through holes. I have been reading and studying every build thread on this site itching to get to the point of building back instead of tearing out. Hopefully soon.

Mack
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Old 04-12-2018, 12:57 PM   #8
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Year: 1997
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Engine: T444E w/ MT643
Rated Cap: 84 pass, 40'
Quote:
Originally Posted by Coamack1 View Post
Not much accomplished this weekend. I was able to remove more than half of the rubber flooring. The adhesive they used was amazingly hard to remove. The rusted areas released well and the other had to be chipped up with a flat bar. The floor only has surface rust to deal with and no rust through holes. I have been reading and studying every build thread on this site itching to get to the point of building back instead of tearing out. Hopefully soon.

Mack
There are scraper attachments for reciprocating saws that I just discovered this week. I think they would work well on this. Spyder brand is what I got. I got a 2,4,6" set to try to get the spray on glue with bits of insulation stuck in it off my ceiling and a bit in the middle of the sidewalk sections. There are some areas under it with surface rust, or I would have just spray foamed over it. The 4" was impossible for me to control but the 2" works ok on the ceiling and pretty well on the side walls but I have to be careful around the things that look like nail heads on the inside of my side wall skins. I'm sure they aren't nails, I'm guessing the other side of rivets for the rub rails and I'm sure I'm not supposed to remove them.

On the floor for the rubber I'd bet the 4" or even 6" might work, especially if you have a reciprocating saw that doesn't vibrate as much as my cheap ass one from HF.

Should I just spray foam over it and not worry about a bit of surface rust and make sure that my roof really is well sealed? I bought it with the roof already (in theory) caulked, primed, painted with elastomeric and a coat of flexi coat. But I get a bit of water in the bus when it rains still in 2 places but I can't figure out where it's coming from!

My Dremel multi max doesn't have enough power to do more than a small area of the spray glue removal without overheating (it's only 1.2 amps!! I've had it for at least 5 years and I knew it was a lot slower than some, but I didn't realize it was essentially only for light projects). I have a 5 amp Rockwell on the way because it had significantly better reviews than the Dremel Multi max but is supposed to use all the attachments I have for that one AND not require a tool to change the attachments. That will be a nice upgrade for the tool box.

I also killed my angle grinder already and need a beefier one of those as well. I don't want one that is TOO heavy so I am looking at the 7amp range ones instead of the 11 amp ones that are quite expensive and the 4.3 ones which is what I had before and killed.

I need to find my large 4" razor blade scraper intended for wall paper removal because I think that may work even better than the 2" utility scraper I tried yesterday.

IMG_20180411_190422470.jpg
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Old 04-12-2018, 04:48 PM   #9
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Mar 2018
Location: Central North Carolina
Posts: 26
Year: 1980
Chassis: Chevrolet
Engine: Small Block Chevrolet. May swap out for ?
Thanks for the information on the scraper attachment. I will give them a try. These skoolie's are really tough on the tools we use for sure. I am fortunate not to have any roof leaks on my bus. I was planning to use an elastomeric roof coating like has been done on your bus. This has worked for me in the past on some semi trailers with minor roof leaks that were impossible to find. I hope you can find the source of your leaks. With the minor surface rust I have, I plan to neutralize it with vinegar and coat the metal surfaces with rustoleum.
Thanks again for the information on the attachments. I look forward to trying them out on the rest of the floor removal.
Mack
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Old 02-03-2020, 09:35 AM   #10
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Mar 2018
Location: Central North Carolina
Posts: 26
Year: 1980
Chassis: Chevrolet
Engine: Small Block Chevrolet. May swap out for ?
Window Blanks

Been a while since I have been able to work on the bus. Once I removed the seats and roof panels my day job became very busy. I have been away from home for the better part of the last year. I was surprised to find the batteries in the bus survived while being neglected for the past year. I have started filling in the windows making blanks out of 1x1 angle and the ceiling skin. I am going to cover all but the front 4 passenger windows. My plan is to install a few RV style windows in the bedroom area and a vent window in the bath area.
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File Type: jpg 20200201_200230.jpg (155.1 KB, 7 views)
File Type: jpg 20200201_192545.jpg (141.6 KB, 9 views)
File Type: jpg 20200202_141605.jpg (200.4 KB, 10 views)
File Type: jpg 20200202_141649.jpg (181.7 KB, 9 views)
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Old 02-05-2020, 01:27 PM   #11
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Mar 2018
Location: Central North Carolina
Posts: 26
Year: 1980
Chassis: Chevrolet
Engine: Small Block Chevrolet. May swap out for ?
More Windows Covered

Got two more windows covered. Hope to finish more as the week progresses.
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File Type: jpg 20200204_174159.jpg (163.8 KB, 10 views)
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Old 02-05-2020, 02:04 PM   #12
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Feb 2020
Posts: 20
curious if you are planning a roof raise?
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Old 02-05-2020, 02:09 PM   #13
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Mar 2018
Location: Central North Carolina
Posts: 26
Year: 1980
Chassis: Chevrolet
Engine: Small Block Chevrolet. May swap out for ?
Not planning for a roof raise. This bus was an activity bus and is 77 inches in the center and I am only 5ft 9 in boots.
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Old 02-06-2020, 05:44 PM   #14
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Mar 2018
Location: Central North Carolina
Posts: 26
Year: 1980
Chassis: Chevrolet
Engine: Small Block Chevrolet. May swap out for ?
Sofa Concept

Weather has been awful today and was not able to make any window blanks. I had built a metal sofa frame last year and decided to stay inside and work on it today. Made some progress, but still have to make another arm and a back. I'm making the sofa so it is easy to disassemble and install and remove as necessary. The arm looks high in the picture but once the 5 inch cushion is added it will be a comfortable height for me. I need to measure the bracing under the bus in order to weld the mounting tabs to the sofa frame.
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File Type: jpg 20200206_095239.jpg (220.5 KB, 10 views)
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Old 02-06-2020, 06:40 PM   #15
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Join Date: Jan 2019
Location: Philadelphia
Posts: 2,309
Year: 2003
Coachwork: International
Chassis: CE 300
Engine: DT466e
Rated Cap: 65C-43A
I really like the window blank idea. Relatively simple to fabricate and install and it preserves the "bus" look from the outside. And always cool to reuse bus parts.

Couch looks cool, too. Ever since I fabricated my bed frame out of angle and expanded sheet, I want to make all my bus furniture from scratch. I'm thinking about a design for a desk chair right now.
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Old 02-06-2020, 07:55 PM   #16
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Mar 2018
Location: Central North Carolina
Posts: 26
Year: 1980
Chassis: Chevrolet
Engine: Small Block Chevrolet. May swap out for ?
I wanted to keep the window openings if I needed them in the future. I didn't count on all the openings being slightly different with aluminum shims to fill the voids between the windows and frames. It leaves me removing a window and measuring each opening to fabricate the blanks. I guess in 1980 Thomas Bus just hit it close enough to work with sealant.
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Old 02-25-2020, 03:54 PM   #17
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Mar 2018
Location: Central North Carolina
Posts: 26
Year: 1980
Chassis: Chevrolet
Engine: Small Block Chevrolet. May swap out for ?
Still Covering Windows

Finally came up with an average size that will fit all the window openings instead of removing each window and measuring. Each opening is slightly different so I came up with an average measurement that seems to work. I made a jig out of scrap lumber and made three window blanks which all fit well.
I also removed the rear inside cap and have decided to remove all the tail light wiring from the ceiling. I am going to run it under the bus along the frame rail. I would hate to have a wiring problem or screw ran through the wire after all the interior is complete. My progress is painfully slow but I plan to invest at least a few hours every week.
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File Type: jpg 20200223_165757.jpg (161.2 KB, 7 views)
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Old 02-26-2020, 11:50 AM   #18
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Mar 2018
Location: Central North Carolina
Posts: 26
Year: 1980
Chassis: Chevrolet
Engine: Small Block Chevrolet. May swap out for ?
Other Projects

This is not really bus related. I take on industrial projects and was contracted to build a screen attachment for some industrial machine. These extra projects help pay for the bus build but also limits my time. I'm not real sure what the part is used for or what machine in goes into. I was just given a drawing with dimensions and screen size requirements.
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