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Old 02-26-2010, 02:38 PM   #1
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Bailey Bus Bunedoggle

Hey all!

I've been coming here and reading about Skoolies for about 5 years (or more). It's finally my turn to post!

I picked up my bus on Monday 2/22/10. It's all I think about now It's a 1993 Thomas Safe-T-Liner MVP pusher with a CAT 3116. It's kind of unique in that it had subway style seat, which I think are much easier to take out. There already out actually, except for the ones I'm keeping.

Here's some video on youtube of the first day home:
Outside:
Inside:

As you can see it had overhead storage racks and stainless steel grab poles. The CAT 3116 engine wasn't my first choice but it runs strong and there's only minor surface rust on the bus here and there, no rot. The frame and floor underneath are still black. There's no significant body damage. All the windows are tinted and the bus came white, so I don't even need to paint it, although I plan to paint some accents. Plus, no school bus lighting to remove and cover over.

I'll post some pictures of the bus with the seats removed. I've started a gallery too:
http://www.skoolie.net/gallery2/v/Skoolies/bunedoggle/

I haven't driven it on the highway yet, but the place I bought it from delivered it for me. They followed me home and kept up at 65 MPH. The driver said it drove great. I've driven it around my neighborhood and I was surprised at the acceleration and braking. I expected slower a response in both cases.
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Old 02-26-2010, 06:14 PM   #2
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Re: Bailey Bus Bunedoggle

WOW!! I would say that is just about the PERFECT SKOOLIE!! Raised roof, already painted, belly storage, tinted windows, wheelchair lift door. NICE FIND!!

Was that a Martha's Vineyard shuttle bus? Are you in Mass?
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Old 02-27-2010, 04:13 PM   #3
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Re: Bailey Bus Bunedoggle

I know it seems like a lot of hours on the chassis but I looked at MANY buses and have yet to see a chassis in this good of shape (in my price range).

For those who asked, the bus was $5000. About twice my initial budget, butwhen I read about people raising roofs, patching holes, replacing tires etc, I decided to go with the extra cost vs. the extra work.

The tires are in great shape, there are zero rust holes, not even close. I'm already building inside.

Also, for those who asked, yes We're in Mass.

I've got a question for all of you...

I, like most, will be removing some windows. The pillars between the windows on the outside have screws holding them on. I tried removing them, they won't budge with an impact driver. I tried drilling them and they are pretty darn tough. I know I can grind the head off with a grinder, but before I go there...

When you remove the windows do they normally come out toward the outside or toward the inside? Anyone else with a Thomas Safe-T-Liner want to comment on window removal?

I'm going to put 20 gauge sheet metel over the removed windows. I'm planning on riviting the metal to the pilars, so I'll have to remove thos screw heads first.

Here's some progress pics:
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File Type: jpg IMG_5456.JPG (782.0 KB, 2431 views)
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Old 02-27-2010, 04:15 PM   #4
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Re: Bailey Bus Bunedoggle

I guess I only get one pic per post...

Here's the bed platform:
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Old 02-27-2010, 05:50 PM   #5
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Re: Bailey Bus Bunedoggle

Ok, I went out and took a few windows out. It's trivial (which explains why I couldn't find any info on Skoolie.net about it).

For posterity sake, to remove the windows:

Put the window down. Remove one screw on each side of the window frame. Pull top rubber seal down to expose the top screw. Remove top screw. Run a utility knife around the outside or the window to cut the caulking. Pull the window in and it should come free easily.

The exit windows are similar, except to access the screws you must push the exit window open first.

I also ground the screws off the pillars between the windows that I'm removing. Once the screw heads were ground off I was able to pry the pillar covers off.

Here's what it looked like before and after:
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Old 02-27-2010, 07:12 PM   #6
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Re: Bailey Bus Bunedoggle

I tried to reply before and the stupid thing timed out so I gave up. I adhered the window skins using a marine ureathane adhesive/sealant with very few screws and its held with no problems, just ran a bead along every pillar and along the top and bottom edge of the panel. The steel was sheared so that it pushes up under the rain channel and the bottom rests ontop of the threaded part of the screws the run all along below the widow (which were all loosened then put back in allowing the heads to hold it) and On the leading edge I took one of the exterior pillar covers, cut one flange off of the side and cut the bottom flange off. Put some sealer on the front, top and back edge and screwed it back into the existing holes (pre-drilled from the inside out in order to locate the holes through the skin). This keeps the water and wind out and also makes it look more finished. I also have a Thomas body, maybe some of my build pics will help you out. http://s626.photobucket.com/home/gatorbus/index

On my latest transit bus, I replaced alot of exterior steel and used a automotive panel adhesive/sealant that Gillig uses in their manufacturing. It has a 2k lb tensile strength and once cured, it is about impossible to remove it. I just tacked the panels in a few places for safekeeping. It was half the price of the marine stuff and alot easier to work with. It is here http://www.jdindustrialsupply.com/silaprenem6325.html
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Old 02-27-2010, 10:22 PM   #7
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Re: Bailey Bus Bunedoggle

Quote:
Originally Posted by Iceni John
What are your plans for it? (Full-timing, weekend trips, boondocking?) I'll be interested in seeing how you convert it - I almost bought a Thomas WestCoast-ER about the same size as yours.

John
This will be for weekend trips with the family (3 kids) as well as multiweek excursions when we can get away.
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Old 02-28-2010, 04:05 PM   #8
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Re: Bailey Bus Bunedoggle

Didn't get much done today. I need sheet metal to block the windows before I can start framing more inside.

I remove more of the overhead storage racks and did some undercarriage inspection. I'm still amazed at how little rust there is. I put some pictures on the belly in my gallery:

http://www.skoolie.net/gallery2/v/Skooli ... _carriage/

I did notice a few places where there's fluid weeping, no dripping leaks though. No spots on my driveway after a week in the same spot. I've even run it several times.

One thing I noticed that's concerning me, there's a steel line about 1/2 to 3/4" in diameter running the length of the bus. It's really rusty. Looks like it should be replaced, soon.

I couldn't tell where it's coming from of going. I'll have to look closer.

Here's a picture of one section:

The only thing I can think of that runs front to back is air (besides the coolant for the heat, but that's inside.) Could it be air? Looks like fluid to me, and leaky to boot.
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Old 03-01-2010, 09:21 AM   #9
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Re: Bailey Bus Bunedoggle

Quote:
Originally Posted by Iceni John
I'm guessing that image 5513 is the soft underbelly of your air dryer.
John
Thanks for the info John!
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Old 03-01-2010, 01:22 PM   #10
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Re: Bailey Bus Bunedoggle

I just went out at lunch time to the local steel supply place to get some galvanized 20 gauge sheet metal to cover the windows. They didn't have anything in stock (they deal with much heavier stuff usually).

I was disappointed that I'd have to order something, so on a whim I went over to the sign shop my sister-in-law works at, Sign Effects Billerica, MA (shameless plug). Dave, the owner, is awesome. He sold me a bunch of aluminum signs already cut to the height I needed for 30 bucks!!

I now have about 15 feet by 30 inches of 18 gauge aluminum that's already painted white and still has the protective plastic on one side!! (The other side is printed with a sign).

This should be enough to so most of the windows I want to cover.
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Old 03-01-2010, 06:50 PM   #11
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Re: Bailey Bus Bunedoggle

I believe that is a power steering line that runs from the rear hydraulic resevoir to the steering gear up front. You will want to change that sooner than later. Probably have to run all new lines from rear to front.
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Old 03-03-2010, 11:30 AM   #12
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Re: Bailey Bus Bunedoggle

After churning through iteration upon iterations of floorplan ideas I decided the wheelchair lift had to go. Itís big. Itís heavy. It only marginally works and worst of all, itís in the way.

That lift is built like a tank. In order to remove it, I first lowered the lift to halfway down then detached all the hydraulic lines from the lift. A little advice: have a bucket handy. Thereís going to be a lot of fluid. The reason I put the lift halfway down was, I wanted it to drop some distance so I could remove it from the bus. If I had it all the way down it wouldnít have moved when I unbolted it. All the way up, and it would have fallen the full 3 feet, perhaps violently.
Once the lift was free of the hydraulic lines I simply removed the six bolts that hold it to the bus and crash, down it fell. The lift is actually wider than the door so we had to push the uprights together to get it out of the bus. A little wrestling with it and it came free. Now I have to figure out what to do with it. Anybody interested in a wheelchair lift? Cheap?

Also, I started a blog to record the bus progress. I'm going to duplicate some of the information here since this site has been such a fantastic resource for me, I'd like to give a little back.

However there will be more details here:
http://bunedoggle.com/skoolie
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Old 03-03-2010, 11:37 AM   #13
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Re: Bailey Bus Bunedoggle

I would guess that you could either list it on Craigslist, or call your local van/truck modifiers, the places that install these things. They may have a customer on a tight budget and would either gladly have it, or purchase it from you. Probably even pick it up.
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Old 03-03-2010, 03:45 PM   #14
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Re: Bailey Bus Bunedoggle

Here's the latest floor plan. I'm pretty firm on the beds and bathroom/shower but the kitchen and seating is still in flux.


FYI: The grid in the background is on a 1 foot scale.

I want to put the gray water directly under the shower. i'm not sure how I'm going to get a trap in the drain though. I guess I'll just mount the tank a few inches from the floor and squeeze a trap in there.

Black water will go right under the toilet. Fresh water under the mater bed. I'm planning to put two "house type" air conditioners. one in the kitchen above the fridge and microwave and one in the mater bedroom. There's a place above the rear window where the rear destination sign would normally go. There's no rear sign on this bus so it's just a sheet metal box. I figure I'll stick a shelf up there and cut a hole for an AC unit.

I'm looking at getting a solar panel setup. I saw a link at jesperskoolie.tk for http://www.rvsolarelectric.com/shop.htm

Of course there are 100's of places that sell solar kits to choose from, or I could put together my own parts. Anyone have any other experience/suggestions.
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Old 03-03-2010, 03:52 PM   #15
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Re: Bailey Bus Bunedoggle

I just realized that I should have probably mentioned that there are four more buses just like mine for sale at Northern Bus Sales in Hudson NH. All the same price, $4995.
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Old 03-03-2010, 07:09 PM   #16
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Re: Bailey Bus Bunedoggle

Quote:
Originally Posted by bunedoggle
... I want to put the gray water directly under the shower. I'm not sure how I'm going to get a trap in the drain though...
http://www.amazon.com/Camco-37420-Fl.../dp/B000EDUTPO
We originally had the flexible sink drain in our pop-up. It worked quite well. Unfortunately it had water left in it one winter and froze (cracked). At the time we couldn't find a replacement since we had no clue as to who made it or anything. We also have a grey tank planned to fit under the shower area. We are planning on either raising the floor in the shower or using the camper drain. The cup looking thing is the strange "P" trap.
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Old 03-04-2010, 09:48 PM   #17
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Re: Bailey Bus Bunedoggle

So the wheelchair lift is gonzo. The hydraulic setup is still there, that will come out next.

I gave up on the sheet metal signs for covering the windows. I didn't want to peice together sheet metal to cover the windows, I wanted a nice uniform sheet. So I went to Kelly's Sheet Metal and picked up a peice of 20 guage galvanized steel to cover a three window opening. The guy there was super nice and really helpful.

I went to buy paint for the sheet metal and I was reading the primer can and it said do not use on galvanized metal. Hmmm, maybe I'm the only person who didn't know this, but you can't just paint galvanized steel. I guess, from what I read on-line, paint doesn't like to stick to galvy. I went back to the store and found this stuff:
I wiped the oil and dirt off the sheet with paint thinner and I put the primer on with a mohair roller. Came out pretty smooth. I may wet sand it before putting on a coat of white. Hopefully this stuff sticks.
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Old 03-04-2010, 09:56 PM   #18
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Re: Bailey Bus Bunedoggle

I plan to put a bead of silicone caulking on the uprights and pop rivet the panel in place with aluminum pop rivets. It's gonna be tricky holding the sheet in place while I drill and rivet. I'll have to invite some friends over.

Speaking of friends, turns out Bus Bozo http://www.skoolie.net/forum/memberl...profile&u=4133 lives less than a mile from my house! He stopped by tonight to check out the bus. What are the chances of two people buying the same make and model and year bus to convert to a Skoolie living a mile apart and not knowing eachother? Crazy!

Now we'll be pooling out knowledge and experience and tools. He's got a 3-4 month jump on me so I can benefit from his experience for sure.
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Old 03-04-2010, 11:44 PM   #19
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Re: Bailey Bus Bunedoggle

Quote:
Originally Posted by bunedoggle
I went to buy paint for the sheet metal and I was reading the primer can and it said do not use on galvanized metal. Hmmm, maybe I'm the only person who didn't know this, but you can't just paint galvanized steel. I guess, from what I read on-line, paint doesn't like to stick to galvy.
I've read that you can paint galvanized metal if you "etch" it first using any number of methods. I used vinegar to etch mine, and the rustoleum rusty metal paint stuck to it as far as I can tell.
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Old 03-05-2010, 08:40 PM   #20
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Re: Bailey Bus Bunedoggle

Quote:
Originally Posted by Iceni John
Hola, Senor Bunedoggle,

Looking at your floorplan, just one thought comes to mind. Most dump stations are set up for RV poo tanks on the left sides of RVs, generally towards the rear of the vehicle. It may possibly complicate things to have the black tank on the right side - will you have dump valves on both sides of the bus?

John
Hmmmm, Didn't really think about it. I guess I could run the dump valve to the other side. I already purchased the shower so that's gotta go on the right. The toilet could still go on either side. I guess the gray water is easier to run a farther distance.

Good point, thanks, I'll have to think about it.
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