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Old 05-19-2023, 09:38 AM   #1
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Apr 2023
Location: North Carolina
Posts: 30
Year: 2002
Coachwork: International
Chassis: RE 3000
Engine: DT530
Smile Close Quarters Conversion Log

Hi everyone!

We drove our bus home last week from WA to NC. She did great & she is currently parked in our side yard/driveway.

I was really concerned about neighbors’ reactions but so far everyone is just very curious!

Below, I will log all of our steps in the conversion & include any troubleshooting.

For reference, I’ll be adding day tags so others can see what it is taking us to get each step done. I’m working on the bus throughout the day and my husband helps in the morning/lunch break/and evenings (probably about 3 hrs total). We’re planning on spending most of our weekends on the bus as well.

Any and all comments/suggestions on our bus are extremely welcome! We are nowhere near experts in this and want all the help we can get!

Thanks for following along!

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Old 05-19-2023, 09:46 AM   #2
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Apr 2023
Location: North Carolina
Posts: 30
Year: 2002
Coachwork: International
Chassis: RE 3000
Engine: DT530
Seat removal

Day 1/Day 2: Boy did we underestimate this step

Once we got familiar with the seats and how they were attached, we decided we’d try the good ol’ one person inside & one under the bus for the aisle bolts. I took on the role of under the bus & used a socket wrench with an extra long socket to fit over the bolt tail. My husband was inside the bus, using an adjustable wrench to loosen tough bolts and a drill to finish the ones he could get started.

We had some success, but so many of the nuts were stuck on there, we decided we should go the angle grinder route.

At first, we got a battery powered angle grinder, but we kept shorting the batteries, so we returned that grinder for a corded one. Things went pretty smoothly from there on out.

Before all of that, we actually removed the seat cushions because it was the only way to access the bolts attaching the seats to the wall.

The good news is I was able to haul the cushions to the dump, and we currently have a scrap metal dumpster in our driveway where we’ll toss the seat skeletons and sheet metal from inside the bus. Fingers crossed the payment we receive for the metal will cancel out the dumpster fee
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Old 05-19-2023, 09:58 AM   #3
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Apr 2023
Location: North Carolina
Posts: 30
Year: 2002
Coachwork: International
Chassis: RE 3000
Engine: DT530
Floor removal

Day 3: We are working on removing the floor. About a quarter of the way there!

Currently, our system is cutting through the rubber and wood, then prying smaller sections of it up.
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Old 05-19-2023, 02:59 PM   #4
Bus Nut
 
Join Date: Mar 2017
Location: arkensaw
Posts: 877
Year: 1998
Coachwork: bluebird
Chassis: chevy
Engine: 3116 catapillar
Rated Cap: 71 now 2 humans 1 cat
throw your adjustable wrench away before you ruin your knuckles. my neighbors were curious too at first then they called the city. since it stuck out past the front of the house (8 ft) and not on the sidewalk they still made me move it it had to be on pavement ,gravel or pavers. i bought 12 12 x 12 pavers and put them under the tires in the backyard . not what they meant but thier rules never said the whole driveway had to be covered. just said tires must be on gravel or pavement. really pissed them off but i was leaving soon anaway so i did not care.
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Old 05-20-2023, 08:21 PM   #5
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Apr 2023
Location: North Carolina
Posts: 30
Year: 2002
Coachwork: International
Chassis: RE 3000
Engine: DT530
Quote:
Originally Posted by mmoore6856 View Post
throw your adjustable wrench away before you ruin your knuckles. my neighbors were curious too at first then they called the city. since it stuck out past the front of the house (8 ft) and not on the sidewalk they still made me move it it had to be on pavement ,gravel or pavers. i bought 12 12 x 12 pavers and put them under the tires in the backyard . not what they meant but thier rules never said the whole driveway had to be covered. just said tires must be on gravel or pavement. really pissed them off but i was leaving soon anaway so i did not care.
Ha! We are hoping that doesn’t happen to us!! We are halfway in the grass and halfway in the driveway. I have a bunch of old pavers that I could throw down, thanks for that advice! I will likely do that in the next few days so we don’t have chances of being cited. The great news is the neighbors on the side of our bus don’t live in that home, they just own it & it’s currently empty. Here’s to hoping they don’t try to sell before we leave!!
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Old 05-24-2023, 09:38 PM   #6
Mini-Skoolie
 
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Join Date: Apr 2020
Location: MN/SD
Posts: 11
Year: 1998
Coachwork: Carpenter Crown
Engine: DT466E
Rated Cap: 37+1
Please fill out your profile so we all know about you and your bus.
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@trixie.the.skoolie
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Old 05-25-2023, 11:59 AM   #7
Bus Crazy
 
Join Date: Feb 2018
Location: Golden Valley AZ
Posts: 1,008
Year: 1993
Chassis: ThomasBuilt 30'
Engine: need someone to tell me
Rated Cap: me + 1
Quote:
Originally Posted by closequarters View Post
Day 1/Day 2: Boy did we underestimate this step

Once we got familiar with the seats and how they were attached, we decided we’d try the good ol’ one person inside & one under the bus for the aisle bolts. I took on the role of under the bus & used a socket wrench with an extra long socket to fit over the bolt tail. My husband was inside the bus, using an adjustable wrench to loosen tough bolts and a drill to finish the ones he could get started.

We had some success, but so many of the nuts were stuck on there, we decided we should go the angle grinder route.

At first, we got a battery powered angle grinder, but we kept shorting the batteries, so we returned that grinder for a corded one. Things went pretty smoothly from there on out.

Before all of that, we actually removed the seat cushions because it was the only way to access the bolts attaching the seats to the wall.

The good news is I was able to haul the cushions to the dump, and we currently have a scrap metal dumpster in our driveway where we’ll toss the seat skeletons and sheet metal from inside the bus. Fingers crossed the payment we receive for the metal will cancel out the dumpster fee

The scrap metal dumpster idea is great, but expensive. Steel sheetmetal doesn't pay anything for scrap, but is expensive to buy. I'd save it. If you are talking about the ceiling metal, if you have the stuff with thousands of holes for sound absorption, it is useful for wrought iron doors/gates, etc, for privacy purposes. When you are close you can see thru, but from a distance or/on an angle, it is pretty much opaque.


Most neighborhoods have junkers, guys who cruise through before the trash trucks on trash day looking for scrap metal. Metal left at the curb doesn't last long. If you flag down 1 or 2 of these guys and get their phone #, you can even arrange for them to pick it up, if you have enough metal, without putting it to the curb. Have your husband flag & talk to them so they don't get the wrong idea.


Pics please.
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Old 05-25-2023, 12:07 PM   #8
Bus Crazy
 
Join Date: Feb 2018
Location: Golden Valley AZ
Posts: 1,008
Year: 1993
Chassis: ThomasBuilt 30'
Engine: need someone to tell me
Rated Cap: me + 1
Quote:
Originally Posted by closequarters View Post
Ha! We are hoping that doesnít happen to us!! We are halfway in the grass and halfway in the driveway. I have a bunch of old pavers that I could throw down, thanks for that advice! I will likely do that in the next few days so we donít have chances of being cited. The great news is the neighbors on the side of our bus donít live in that home, they just own it & itís currently empty. Hereís to hoping they donít try to sell before we leave!!

Another thing to be careful of with neighbors is sound. most cities have laws about the hours and loudness. A quick call is all it takes to cause you problems.
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Old 05-25-2023, 12:22 PM   #9
Bus Crazy
 
Join Date: Feb 2018
Location: Golden Valley AZ
Posts: 1,008
Year: 1993
Chassis: ThomasBuilt 30'
Engine: need someone to tell me
Rated Cap: me + 1
Quote:
Originally Posted by closequarters View Post
Ha! We are hoping that doesnít happen to us!! We are halfway in the grass and halfway in the driveway. I have a bunch of old pavers that I could throw down, thanks for that advice! I will likely do that in the next few days so we donít have chances of being cited. The great news is the neighbors on the side of our bus donít live in that home, they just own it & itís currently empty. Hereís to hoping they donít try to sell before we leave!!

Parking on the grass can kill the grass (shade) and laying stuff/trash/tarps on the grass, even for a day or 2 (few hours on a hot enough day - from the hot material?) can cause some grasses to turn yellow. This used to be a major problem for me when I was in the roofing business. Green grass looks pretty weird with a yellow hammer shape on it.
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Old 05-25-2023, 06:58 PM   #10
Bus Nut
 
Join Date: Mar 2017
Location: arkensaw
Posts: 877
Year: 1998
Coachwork: bluebird
Chassis: chevy
Engine: 3116 catapillar
Rated Cap: 71 now 2 humans 1 cat
Yea it might kill it but there is that much less to mow then so it was win / win for me
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Old 05-26-2023, 12:21 AM   #11
Bus Crazy
 
Join Date: Feb 2018
Location: Golden Valley AZ
Posts: 1,008
Year: 1993
Chassis: ThomasBuilt 30'
Engine: need someone to tell me
Rated Cap: me + 1
Quote:
Originally Posted by mmoore6856 View Post
Yea it might kill it but there is that much less to mow then so it was win / win for me



I was thinking of HOAs or neighbors complaining
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Old 05-26-2023, 11:53 AM   #12
Bus Nut
 
Join Date: Mar 2017
Location: arkensaw
Posts: 877
Year: 1998
Coachwork: bluebird
Chassis: chevy
Engine: 3116 catapillar
Rated Cap: 71 now 2 humans 1 cat
But it's fun to piss off the Karen's and hoa
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