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Old 03-09-2020, 09:17 PM   #341
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We can't have any more, because that's all the bunk beds we have in the bus.

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Old 03-10-2020, 06:19 AM   #342
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Originally Posted by Biscuitsjam View Post
Awesome post!

I wonder if it would be possible to run two 13500 BTU air conditioners off of one 3000 watt generator? It looks like they only need 1250 Watts to run, but 2750 watts to start the compressor. I'm not planning to buy two $300 Easy Starts though, so I guess I can't find out myself....
I bought a Honda EU3000i for my travel trailer. I was surprised when it would not start the roof a/c. After adding a start capacitor kit it worked great. The same generator ran the roof a/c on my next two trailers without a problem.

I retired the Honda last Summer and replaced it with a Champion 3200 watt inverter generator. I definitely prefer the Honda but it was not in the budget. The Champion runs my current roof a/c with no problem.
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Old 03-10-2020, 08:26 AM   #343
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I have a Predator 3500w inverter generator and it was able to power the big roof AC unit on my old truck camper no problems.

I expect it should be able to do the same for 2 110v minisplits in my bus build as well.
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Old 03-10-2020, 08:57 AM   #344
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Originally Posted by Biscuitsjam View Post
This is our fourth. We can't have any more, because that's all the bunk beds we have in the bus.
Lol That's great!! We had 2 kids when we bought our short bus. We decided to have a third and I had to design a folding bunk bed to go above our queen bed... We are done now too! 5 people in a short bus is getting cramped!!!
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Old 03-11-2020, 11:19 PM   #345
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Couldn't put it down last night, thanks for the fantastic read on your whole journey and also the great pics on the road. You, your dad and the family must be from some pretty sturdy stock. Well done sir.
And congratulations on the new baby.
Regards
Curtis
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Old 03-12-2020, 06:34 AM   #346
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Thanks. I appreciate the kind words.
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Old 06-07-2020, 03:10 PM   #347
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Join Date: Dec 2017
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So, I suppose I no longer have an "Arctic" bus here in south Georgia.

It's been a while since I've done a lot because I've been focused on the baby. She's now 3 months old, and I've started work again.

My main project so far has been plumbing. I'm about halfway through. And, I'm redoing the electrical system.

My current frustration is I bought a Chinese parallel kit for my generators - I spent two hours this morning figuring out why it didn't work. A 50A plug has ground, neutral, L1 and L2. The manufacturer connected neutral to L2 and didn't connect anything at all to the neutral terminal.... Whoops. Fire hazard? Anyway, I fixed the wiring.

Also, the whole underside of my bus has rust spots from the trip. I never washed it, so some of the salt stuck to the undercarriage. Nothing is very bad, but I was almost completely rust-free before this.
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Old 06-07-2020, 07:51 PM   #348
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Join Date: Dec 2017
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I now have two EU3000IS generators mounted in the engine compartment, one on each side.

The platform is a giant griddle made of 16ga steel that just happens to fit exactly. I painted it to keep it from rusting and put a layer of rubber underneath to reduce vibrations.

I took the feet off the generators and used a bolt and washer to attach them to the platform. I also removed the front and rear carry handles so the generators would fit in the space.

Each generator has a 1.5 amp battery charger with a quick disconnect to keep the battery topped off if it sits for too long.

Each generator also has the Arctic breather heater to enable use at -40 Fahrenheit. However, if I run the generator at low idle for too long, it can foul the spark plug faster than normal.

One of my generators is also equipped with a remote start. The other requires me to manually start it.

I purchased a trifuel kit to let me run one of the generators off propane. Unfortunately, the kit was defective and I had to remove it

I also purchased a 50amp WEN-brand parallel kit. It came miswired with the neutral wire attached to L2 and nothing to the neutral terminal. I fixed that, but I still need to modify it further to make the leads long enough to reach both generators.

The generators go through a 50amp automatic transfer switch along with my 50amp shore power connection. The primary transfer switch output goes to my primary circuit breaker panel that powers all my high-amp appliances (air conditioners, microwave, engine block heater, washing machine, battery chargers).

The primary transfer switch output also connects to a secondary transfer switch along with my power inverter. The secondary transfer switch connects to my secondary circuit breaker panel that powers all my low-amp appliances (lights, electrical outlets, refrigerator).
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Old 02-08-2021, 07:17 PM   #349
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Join Date: Dec 2017
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Well, I'm still here, and I'm still working on the bus, though very slowly. I've used the bus a few times for short camping trips of 2-4 days. Then, I drove down to the Everglades, Big Cypress Swamp, and Key West around New Year's. It was a fun trip, and the kids got some fantastic memories out of it. I might post some photos later.


Interestingly, after thousands of miles driving, my bus shut off in the middle of the road about 50 miles from home. First my instrument lights went off, then my headlights turned off. I pulled over and shut off the engine, but it wouldn't crank again.


I charged the battery using the generator and a wheeled battery charger/engine starter. Still nothing...


Finally, I figured out that I had left the bus in drive (duh!) and started it back up. By this time, the battery was fully charged, and the lights and instruments were well lit.


I'm not sure what the problem was. Is my alternator going bad? I drove a LOT of miles before I had a problem.
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Old 02-08-2021, 07:20 PM   #350
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Join Date: Dec 2017
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I finally vented my Nature's Head composting toilet. I ran two tubes through the roof with siphon vents. The Nature's Head fan blows into one of the tubes, but even if it shuts off, even a slight wind should suck any smell out. The fan is always on and super quiet, running about 1.7 amps.



Unfortunately, my unit is defective and the urine diverter leaks about 10% of fluids into the main tank. When the main tank gets wet, it smells awful. I've always heard great things about Nature's Head tech support, but they've been awful for me.
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Old 02-08-2021, 07:38 PM   #351
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Join Date: Dec 2017
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I decided to mostly redo my electrical system due to several issues:

1. When I wired my two generators in parallel, I now needed 50 amp power instead of 30 amp. This created a mismatch in my automatic transfer switches. I rigged it to work, but I have to occasionally rewire things because it won't switch on its own now.

2. When running off of the inverter, people keep accidentally running the air conditioners or the microwave. I'd like to prevent that from happening.

3. When running off the inverter, I keep forgetting to turn off the battery charger. This is a big no no and could damage my equipment.

So, I'm not going to set it up to do the following:

The generator and shore power go through a 50 amp automatic transfer switch set to normally be generator (AKA Big ATS). This is hooked up to my with all my high-energy circuits such as my washing machine, air conditioners, microwave, block heater, etc. (AKA Big Circuit Panel).

I then have a second automatic transfer switch installed (AKA Small ATS). This transfer switch is set to normally inverter, but also takes a feed out of the other transfer switch. This transfer switch is connected to another circuit panel that has all my low-energy circuits such as outlets, lights, etc., plus my refrigerator. (AKA Small Circuit Panel)

So, if I have neither shore power or the generator running, Small Circuit Panel gets inverter power, but Big Circuit Panel is turned off.

If I turn on the generator, both Big and Small Circuit Panels get power from the generator and the inverter sits idle.


If I plug in shore power, both ATS switch to shore power, and both Circuit Panels get shore power. Even if the generator and inverter are on, they sit idle.
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Old 02-08-2021, 08:06 PM   #352
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Join Date: Dec 2017
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I also decided that I want to redo the interior for several reasons:


1. The master bed is too short. Both my wife and I are tall, so our feet hit the back of the compartment with a full-size bed. A full XL mattress is 6 inches longer. However, to make the master bed area larger, I need to move the kids bunks forward a little bit, which in turn reduces bathroom space and pantry space. Unfortunately, since my electrical is in the pantry, this means I also need to redo much of my electrical wiring (already planned - see previous post).

2. I put in a smaller fridge. The first full-sized fridge used too much electricity, and when I replaced it with a Unique-brand propane/electric fridge, it was defective and poor quality. I now have an apartment sized A/C fridge (120V 1.0A, 30% cycle). This leave me a lot of extra space next to the pantry - I'm going to add 6 inches to the pantry here, which will offset the 6 inches I lose by moving the beds forward.

3. I discovered that I didn't have enough storage space. I decided to cut 12 inches off the bathroom for a bunch of shelves. This means that my toilet area and shower area aren't completely separated. Let's hope we don't regret that situation.

4. I put in LVT flooring. Whenever the interior warms up, the floor buckles up. Whenever it gets cold, the floor separates. Ugh.

5. My rear A/C blows straight on my head when I sleep, gets things ridiculously cold in my bed, and then shuts off almost immediately. Meanwhile, the rest of the bus stays hot, so as air circulates, it quickly gets uncomfortably hot, followed by another arctic blast. Every 10 minutes I go from freezing to sweating and back again. I'm moving the air conditioner forward about 10 feet, and filling the hole with a Maxxair fan. I think I'll put a second Maxxair fan in the living room.

6. I didn't fully finish the walls or ceiling before roughing in the interior, so when I take down most of my carpentry, I can fix all this stuff up the right way.
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Old 02-08-2021, 09:59 PM   #353
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Biscuitsjam View Post
3. I discovered that I didn't have enough storage space.
This is really where I think my build is going to crash and burn. Keeping all the windows means losing a lot of areas that could just hold random stuff. I may have to end up sacrificing the laundry machines.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Biscuitsjam View Post
4. I put in LVT flooring. Whenever the interior warms up, the floor buckles up. Whenever it gets cold, the floor separates. Ugh.
This is good to know, as I'm planning to do my floor with ripped strips of peel and stick planking. I'll have to do some temperature experiments to see what kind of gaps I'll need them to have.

The only bus I ever visited before buying mine was a partially-converted Blue Bird and it was about 20F when I went to look at it. The plank flooring was bowing up about 3 or 4 inches off the floor, which just makes no sense at all unless they installed it in even colder weather. I can't imagine what happened to it in summer when it would have gotten more than a hundred degrees hotter.
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Old 02-08-2021, 10:38 PM   #354
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Join Date: Dec 2017
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Engine: T444e 7.3L
We installed it as a "floating" floor with a layer of foam underneath. Then, we installed walls and furniture on top of the floor.

The small spaces, like the bathroom and the narrow path between the bunkbeds, looks great. Medium-sized spaces, like the area in the kitchen, look a little messed up, but not glaringly so. The much larger space in the living room is absolutely awful.

Since we've travelled, we've experienced everything from -50 to +110 degrees fahrenheit. When the floor first started looking bad, we ripped it up and replaced it, fastening it with a bunch of brad nails. It didn't help. Currently, the ends of the boards are visibly damaged from swelling in the heat, but if the temperature is around 55 degrees (the original install temp), they fit together about right. A 10 degree change makes a very noticeable difference, and a 30 or more degree change.....
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Old 02-08-2021, 10:51 PM   #355
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Join Date: Dec 2017
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Quote:
Originally Posted by musigenesis View Post
This is really where I think my build is going to crash and burn. Keeping all the windows means losing a lot of areas that could just hold random stuff. I may have to end up sacrificing the laundry machines.
Part of our issue was alleviated by putting storage boxes under the bus. It came with one 60"x18"x18" and we added two more 48"x18"x18" as well, plus a smaller 30"x18"x18" box for the battery bank.

One storage box is bus maintenance stuff (jack, fluids, breaker bar, tanker bar, cheater pipe, tire chains, etc.). Another is bus equipment (power cords, water hoses, etc.). And the third is outdoor stuff (chairs, games, toys, etc.).

I will have enough space for most things once I finish building cabinets and such (a 5-foot wide pantry helps). However, I was specifically missing space for the kids to put their clothes or personal effects (still a problem). And, I was missing space for linens and other bathroom stuff (fixed now, at least on paper).


I picked 8 windows and covered each of them with steel. The way I did the rivets, I think it'll almost look factory once it's painted.
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Old 04-02-2021, 09:31 AM   #356
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Join Date: Dec 2017
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Engine: T444e 7.3L
So, I finally got the plumbing 95% installed. I planned it out in March 2019 and finally completed the project in April 2021... I had no idea that plumbing would be as colossal of an undertaking as it turned out to be. Of course, I had a deployment, a PCS move, a new baby, and a very demanding work schedule in the middle there. I'm testing out the plumbing on a shakedown trip to the beach this weekend.

I have two 30-gallon fresh water tanks (60 gallons total) and a 55-gallon grey tank. I have an outdoor shower, a sink, a washer/dryer combo, and an outdoor spigot by each door. When hooked up to shore water, I have a series of filters and a water softener. I also have a gravity fill, an on-demand hot water heater, and a recirculating loop for hot water.

It works, but it's not fully complete. I haven't installed my indoor shower yet, and the hot water heater propane line is shut off for now because of a small leak. I also need to add some straps to the PVC sewer lines to make sure they don't shift. At some stage, I want to add an 18-gallon black (urine) tank for my composting toilet. I also have the SeeLevel Tank Sensor hooked up to my fresh tank but not my grey tank yet.

After I correct any issues that I discover on my trip, should I work on electrical or painting next? I don't have any interior lights (there was 24-hours of daylight in the Alaska summer) and only half the outlets are wired. But, if I work on painting, I could keep the interior staged and ready for a trip instead of a constant worksite... I'll try to get some pictures up within the next week or two.
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Old 04-02-2021, 11:01 AM   #357
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After the motor and trans were finished I painted it. Gives me a boost every time I see it now.
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Old 04-02-2021, 11:51 AM   #358
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Year: 1999
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Chassis: Ford E450
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Biscuitsjam View Post
So, I finally got the plumbing 95% installed. I planned it out in March 2019 and finally completed the project in April 2021... I had no idea that plumbing would be as colossal of an undertaking as it turned out to be. Of course, I had a deployment, a PCS move, a new baby, and a very demanding work schedule in the middle there. I'm testing out the plumbing on a shakedown trip to the beach this weekend.

I have two 30-gallon fresh water tanks (60 gallons total) and a 55-gallon grey tank. I have an outdoor shower, a sink, a washer/dryer combo, and an outdoor spigot by each door. When hooked up to shore water, I have a series of filters and a water softener. I also have a gravity fill, an on-demand hot water heater, and a recirculating loop for hot water.

It works, but it's not fully complete. I haven't installed my indoor shower yet, and the hot water heater propane line is shut off for now because of a small leak. I also need to add some straps to the PVC sewer lines to make sure they don't shift. At some stage, I want to add an 18-gallon black (urine) tank for my composting toilet. I also have the SeeLevel Tank Sensor hooked up to my fresh tank but not my grey tank yet.

After I correct any issues that I discover on my trip, should I work on electrical or painting next? I don't have any interior lights (there was 24-hours of daylight in the Alaska summer) and only half the outlets are wired. But, if I work on painting, I could keep the interior staged and ready for a trip instead of a constant worksite... I'll try to get some pictures up within the next week or two.
Nice to see others just 'sending it'. Gives me confidence for my shakedown run with a few nuts and bolts and wires and pipes waving in the breeze...
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Old 04-03-2021, 06:54 AM   #359
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Join Date: Dec 2017
Location: GA
Posts: 611
Year: 1998
Coachwork: Amtran RE
Chassis: International 3000
Engine: T444e 7.3L
If I waited until everything is done, I’d never go anywhere or do anything. I’ve been working on this for three years now. On our first trips, this was basically a metal tent. Eventually, I added a bathroom, a kitchen, beds, heat, electricity, and now running water. Instead of going to Wrangel St Elias, Kenai, Everglades, the Florida keys, and Other places, I’d have gone nowhere if I’d waited until complete.

I’ve found that every project requires major rework somewhere. Many times, it’s impossible to discover the problems until you stress the system.
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