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Old 09-03-2022, 10:25 AM   #1
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Mar 2022
Location: Middle TN
Posts: 59
Year: 2008
Chassis: IC RE (PB30500)
Engine: Maxxforce DT
Clouse House Skoolie Build

Clouse House Skoolie

Hello everyone! Just getting a thread started for my new to me bus and build. Hoping to not only keep track of my build here but to also put up future plans for everyone and anyone's input.

I'm currently in my late 20's almost 30's with a fiancée and two young boys. I've worked in the warehouse industry for practically my entire adult life and I've always been a "why pay someone when I can do it" type person. About two months before my first son was due our landlord at the time told us he had intentions to sell the house and that we needed to find somewhere else to live. In a panic we bought a "fixer upper" that needed quite a lot of fixing. Over the past four years I have remodeled the entre house, ran plumbing for the bathrooms, built a deck, ran electric out to the deck and installed a breaker box in the shed, and so much more. Then just two months ago at the peak of the 2022 housing market inflation we sold that house. I'm hoping that with my experience from remodeling the house and with the nest egg leftover from paying off the mortgage, I'll be able to build a nice Skoolie for my family to call home. We do plan on living in it full time and travelling for the first 2-3 years, then potentially settling down back home or in a new location if we happen to fall in love with it. At that point we would use the skoolie as a foundation for a homestead or who knows, maybe we'll just keep travelling.

We found a 2008 IC PB30500 only about four hours from us that we purchased about a month ago. It is a 40ft flat nose rear engine school bus with a Maxxforce DT engine and an Allison 3000PTS transmission. At the time of purchase it was still registered to the school district as an active duty bus and had just passed the school board inspection. The PO had simply wanted to try out a different career and was on the fence about selling the bus. We helped him make that decision. After traveling home and taking the bus up and down over 6 miles at 6% grade I discovered that it had a few "minor" problems. A pin hole coolant leak on a 4in long coolant hose leading to the oil cooler, just big enough to make a mess at high temps and under load but small enough to not leak at idle. I also discovered a power steering leak, not sure yet if it's the hose or the fitting but it is also a slow leak.

We already have plans on modifications to the bus that are unskoolie related such as an external oil cooler, trans cooler, possibly aftermarket EGR's and plumbing in a second radiator. Since we plan on towing a vehicle behind us and have family both in the north east and out west we would be driving a lot in the desert heat and in the mountains. And I just want to make sure that the engine and transmission are well taken care of for those journeys.

I have spent close to six months planning out our build. I have a floor plan, a solar plan, a water tank diagram, an electrical closet diagram and more to share with everyone and get opinions on. I'm really looking forward to getting feedback from everyone on my family's first journey together.
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Old 09-03-2022, 11:27 AM   #2
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Mar 2022
Location: Middle TN
Posts: 59
Year: 2008
Chassis: IC RE (PB30500)
Engine: Maxxforce DT
Below is the floor plan that I have come up with. It is very much so inspired from watching tours on youtube over the past six months. This is probably the third draft that I have made so far with this style layout and this one was actually made on excel. Each square is a 1in square. So I should be able to go off of this during the build for my dimensions.
The yellow areas have some kind of obstacle that can be dealt with; the wheel wells, and the rear engine cover. The tannish area is another obstacle just to separate it from the yellow in the rear, it is also part of the engine cover just at a different height. The red area is the engines intake and is a "no build" area, or at least a "needs access" area.

I have taken several measurements from both inside and outside of the bus:

Inside:
-ceiling is 6ft 6in
-wall to wall width wise is 7ft 6in
-windshield to the end of the heater compartment is 12in
-windshield to back of drivers seat is 61in
-stairs are 35in wide
-driver area is 32in wide
-front wheel well is 12in from stairs
-front wheel well is 46in long
-front wheel wells have 42in gap between them
-rear wheel well is 35in from the engine cover
-rear wheel well is 46in long
-rear wheel wells have 42in gap between them is
-highest platform on engine cover is 70in from passenger side to bottom of air intake housing
-highest platform on engine cover is 40in deep
-lower extension on engine cover is 19in deep
-driver side emergency door is 189in from back wall
-driver side emergency door is 25in wide

Outside:
-Rear bumpstop to frame 2.5in
-rear tire to wheel well 10.5in
-front bumpstop to frame 4.5in
-front tire to wheel well 9in

The other measurements are more relative to the underbody storage I plan on building so I'll save them for then.

I plan to shorten the rear wheel wells up to 6in to accommodate the toilet area and shower. Unfortunately out of all of those measurements I did not measure the height of the wheel wells inside the bus. I'm hoping right now as I type this at work that 6in is enough to make them level with the metal floor, if not then hopefully to atleast get them below the new floor level after adding the 2.5in of insulation/subfloor.
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Old 10-01-2022, 10:25 AM   #3
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Mar 2022
Location: Middle TN
Posts: 59
Year: 2008
Chassis: IC RE (PB30500)
Engine: Maxxforce DT
Finally got the seats out this week. Took us about seven hours of work stretched out over about three days. The majority of our seats had only two legs on the aisle side with two bolts in each leg and the other side of the bench was fastened to a ledge on the wall with three bolts. There were two seats, in front of and behind the emergency door, that had four legs with two bolts each. And finally one seat had the midship heater attached to the bottom of it with four brackets that rotated out of the way.

Our process was to first tackle the bolts going through the floor. I sat under the bus with a 1/2in socket on an extension and ratchet as well as a crescent wrench for any tricky to reach nuts, while my wife had a 1/2in socket on an impact driver. I would hold the nuts in place while she unfastened the bolts. About halfway through I realized that I could loosen the nuts from underneath the bus with no one holding the bolt in place, I'm assuming the rust on the bolt held it in place for me. So she gave me the impact driver and I started unfastening the nuts from under the bus and then pushing the bolts up through the hole. Every chair had at least one leg, normally the rear one, that was bolted through the floor and a 4in length of 2in angle iron. The buses undercoating was applied after the angle irons were put in place from the looks of it, so I had to give the angle iron a good whack to get to come off. I wouldn't want those to come off later down the road and cause damage to the bus or someone else. Removing the angle iron did leave bare metal exposed so I went back the next day with a can of undercoating to spray on. Also, the two seats in front of and behind the emergency door had larger fasteners than the rest of the seats, we needed to use 5/8 sockets for those.

After that we tackled the bolts that went through the ledge on the wall. They were once again held in with a nut on the bottom. This time my wife went down the passenger side with the impact driver and a crescent wrench and I went down the driver side with an electric ratchet and a crescent wrench. All 1/2in fasteners. The front bolt was only accessible after folding up and forward the seat's bench. It was held down by a swivel bracket that moved out of the way very easily. Some seat benches could not be folded up as the A/C lines were in the way. For these seats we just detached the bench from the frame, they were attached to the hinge brackets with a total of four phillips head screws. The rear bolt was easy to reach from behind the seat, nothing special there. So we both went down our sides of the bus undoing those two on each seat. The third bolt was inline with the backrest and had very little access as the backrest was touching the wall. After trying a couple different methods we found the easiest/fastest method was to put the crescent wrench against the bolt head in the channel created between the seat and wall and use the electric ratchet on the nut below. First turning slowly to align the bolt head with the crescent and then unfastening the nut. Unfortunately the electric ratchet only had enough torque when it was above 80% charge so there were frequent battery changes.

Last was carrying the seats to the emergency door and pushing them out in a way that would hopefully avoid the metal legs coming back and hitting the bus. I could get about five seats out before I had to get out of the bus and move the pile somewhere else as it was too tall to push more out on top of it. After that we walked around for a bit to get a better feel of how big the space we are working with will be.

The before and after:

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Old 10-01-2022, 10:44 AM   #4
Bus Crazy
 
Join Date: May 2018
Location: topeka kansas
Posts: 1,563
Year: 1954
Coachwork: wayne
Chassis: old f500- new 2005 f-450
Engine: cummins 12 valve
Rated Cap: 20? five rows of 4?
Wow

That is a lot of bus.

William
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Old 10-01-2022, 11:06 AM   #5
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Join Date: Oct 2020
Location: Florida
Posts: 1,092
Coachwork: Integrated Coach Corp.
Chassis: RE-300 42ft
Engine: 466ci
Rated Cap: 90
Well Done

You are progressing well. Seat removal is a bus converter's right of passage. Recycling ♻️ the pile of seats & seat material is a chore in of itself.

Your IC RE is very similar to ours. For preview of the demo options ahead, please peruse our Interior Demo & Modification albulm. (details in the photo descriptions).

We look forward to your next update.
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Old 10-01-2022, 02:48 PM   #6
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Location: E Central Tejas
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Year: 1998
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Chassis: IH 3800, 8 window
Engine: T444E w/ Spicer 5-speed MT
Rated Cap: I prefer broad-brims hats
That was an extensively informative, comprehensive, and entertaining read.
Nicely done!
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Old 10-08-2022, 04:23 PM   #7
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Mar 2022
Location: Middle TN
Posts: 59
Year: 2008
Chassis: IC RE (PB30500)
Engine: Maxxforce DT
Didn't get a whole lot done this week. Spent Monday breaking down the seats for recycling. Our local metal recyclers told us they'd take the seats as they were for free, but if I wanted scrap metal price I'd have to tear them down. So I did.

I removed the benches first, just four screws total, two in each swing bracket. Removed the metal plate and swivel lock that hold them down as well. Threw all of the metal brackets and screws in a box to scrap as they were mostly rusted.

Flipped the chairs upside down so I could cut the vinyl backing from the seat. The bottom of the vinyl is stapled to a piece of furring strip that is screwed into the metal frame. I found it easiest to just cut the vinyl about an inch from the staples using a box cutter, than to actually remove the vinyl. They used a LOT of staples. After cutting the vinyl I flipped the seat back onto its feet and pulled the vinyl off. I ended up keeping four of the nicer seat back vinyls to use as free tire covers.

The foam cushion is sandwiched around the metal back with the front and back piece glued on the sides. A Majority of them I could pull up on the foam and it would come right off. But some of them had some glue overspray that glued the foam to the metal itself. For those I had to cut the foam seam to get inside and then I could just run my hand between the foam and metal to pull them apart. Either way it was a pretty easy process.

Unfortunately as I was restacking the bare metal seats I hurt my back and had to call it quits that day. I decided two days later that hurt back or not I didn't want to waste the week so I took a couple ibuprofen and went back out to load my Econoline up with all the seat bottoms, vinyl, and foam cushions. I then drove that down to the local recycling center to unload it all.

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After coming back to the house we loaded the metal seats in a rented trailer from TSC and took them down to the local metal scrap. I got about $60 so it paid for the trailer and lunch after, which was good enough for me.
My back still hurts now but I'm hoping that on Monday I'll be good to go and can start taking out the rear heater and floors.

Also on Tuesday I received my shipment of water tanks. It was about 2 months before the quoted arrival time so I was surprised and excited. Turns out they sent me the wrong tanks on accident. The same dimensions as I needed but I had ordered tanks with no fittings as I wanted to choose the location/size for my needs. I contacted them and they understood, they have agreed to swap them out as my original order does specify a "blank tank." I'm curious if the new ones will arrive just as fast or if it'll be closer to the original delivery date.

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Old 10-14-2022, 03:29 PM   #8
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Mar 2022
Location: Middle TN
Posts: 59
Year: 2008
Chassis: IC RE (PB30500)
Engine: Maxxforce DT
This weeks followup:

The wrong tanks are still sitting in my driveway, they have assured me they have processed with their third party carrier that they are ready for pickup, however the third party carrier doesn't have a truck nearby with a liftgate so it might be awhile.

On the bus we managed to get the wood and rubber up off the floor. At first we were tackling the rubber with a box cutter and a floor scrapper to get it up. But we very quickly realized that the amount of glue holding that rubber down could probably be used to repair the titanic. So instead we switched to just ripping up the wood with the rubber still on it.
We would hammer a crowbar under the wood sheet and pry it up. The screws would pull through the wood and stay in the metal floor beneath. After prying up the edge of the sheet we would roll an automotive floorjack underneath and use it to jack up the wooden floor. We would cut the rubber as needed and slide the jack in further and jack it up again as needed until it completely lifted from the floor. We did this going down the middle of the bus. We stopped for the day here and started getting ready for a D&D session that night, we've been playing in the bus lately, that's what the table and chairs are for.

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The next morning I took a multi tool with a wood blade for plunge cuts and cut squares in the wood around the AC lines going to the evaporators and the carriage bolts that hold the condensers under the bus. At the beginning of each cut I had the multitool at about 8000rpm but slowed it down to 2000rpm at the end of the cut to try and not damage the blade when it hit the metal floor. I did end up going through about three blades to finish this as it was impossible to not hit the blade on the metal floor underneath. But I had purposefully gone out and purchased the cheapest wood cutting blades I could find for it as I knew they would not be able to damage the metal floor underneath.

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I cut these squares into the wooden floor so that as we used the floorjack to rip up the wood it wouldn't bother those two things. I plan to go back later and one at a time undo a carriage bolt, remove the square of wood from inside, replace the wood with a 1/4inch piece of flat bar around 2 inches long to help support the weight, then put the carriage bolt back in place. After doing all six per condenser I can tighten the carriage bolts to lift the condenser up to the original install height, making up for the 1/2 inch of lost spacer that was under the carriage bolt originally. With the AC lines I'll just have to carefully cut the wooden square around it into individual pieces that can be removed safely.

After that I decided to tackle the midship heater which wasn't that big of a hassle. I purchased some 3/4inch pipe plugs to put in the 1 inch hoses as a temporary way to keep fluid inside. I plan to eventually rerun the hoses from the midship heater as a secondary radiator to help the engine stay cool on mountain and/or midwest trips. Also I just want to say I managed to get the midship heater out without spilling a single drop of fluid. I cut the power and ground wires going to the heater and then stoop it up with the hoses at the top. This raised it higher than the coolant level in the engine. The hoses were held on with hose clamps that I could fit a 3/8in socket onto. I undid the hose clamps before pulling the hoses off of the heater. A trick for stuck hoses is to grab the hose on the fitting and twist it back and forth, this will most of the time unstick it. As I was pulling the hoses off the heater I could hear the sound of air entering the hose, I assume that was the coolant feeding back into the engine to try and level out. I put in the 3/4inch pipe plug and retightened the hose clamp on it. I did that again for the other hose and that was taken care of mess free. I picked the heater up and tipped it over slowly into a coolant drain pan until no more fluid came out and then carried it off of the bus.

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After tackling the heater I went around removing all of the screws that got left behind from ripping up the wood the way we did. Most could come out with just an impact driver and what I call a "fat phillips" bit but occasionally we would come across one that was full of glue and we would take a pair of vise-grips to clamp it so we could unscrew it.

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That's the progress we made this week. If anyone wants a midship heater PM me, it was an under seat unit.

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Old 10-14-2022, 03:48 PM   #9
Skoolie
 
Join Date: Oct 2021
Location: Peru. IN
Posts: 167
Year: 1992
Coachwork: Collins
Chassis: NB18FD Oshkosh
Engine: 5.9 Cummins
Rated Cap: 18,500
Throw a tape on that heater and give me over all size. All three directions.
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Old 10-14-2022, 05:34 PM   #10
Bus Crazy
 
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Join Date: Oct 2020
Location: Florida
Posts: 1,092
Coachwork: Integrated Coach Corp.
Chassis: RE-300 42ft
Engine: 466ci
Rated Cap: 90
Fat Phillip

The Fat Phillips, mentioned above, are likely the Pozidriv type. They two look very similar to eachother. The Pozidriv tool has 90° cut lines instead of curved, like Philips tips.
Because of this, a Robertson (aka: square-tip; screwlock) can be used, too.



Supadriv uses similar diagonal markings but the bit is nearly identical, too. Frearson & JIS bits look more like Phillips, but you won't have any of those on an IC.

Buy a couple #2 Pozidriv tips, you'll be using the heck out of them on the interior, the factory did.
(#3s on the exterior.)
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Old 10-15-2022, 06:02 AM   #11
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Mar 2022
Location: Middle TN
Posts: 59
Year: 2008
Chassis: IC RE (PB30500)
Engine: Maxxforce DT
Quote:
Originally Posted by PhilipE View Post
Throw a tape on that heater and give me over all size. All three directions.
Midship Heater:
Height - 9in
Width - 10 5/8in
Length - 30 1/4in
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Old 10-15-2022, 10:00 AM   #12
Bus Geek
 
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Columbus Ohio
Posts: 17,334
Year: 1991
Coachwork: Carpenter
Chassis: International 3800
Engine: DTA360 / MT643
Rated Cap: 7 Row Handicap
unless you are broke, or are restoring a bus to original state, there are much better options for heating an area of a bus quietly and effectively.. those underseat heaters make a lot of noise and dont put out a lot of heat..



now the Copper heater core coils within them? they make GREAT hydronic heating coils for use with ducted Minisplits in a house using hydronic heat.
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Old 11-04-2022, 09:34 AM   #13
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Mar 2022
Location: Middle TN
Posts: 59
Year: 2008
Chassis: IC RE (PB30500)
Engine: Maxxforce DT
Haven't had much chance to work on the bus the past couple weeks due to an operation I had, but I believe I'm all healed up from that now. So I should be able to start posting some progress again soon.

In the mean time I did receive the correct water tanks on Tuesday and my all in one inverter/charger/mppt controller arrived on Thursday. I have them both loaded up in my van to keep them out of the weather.
I should be able to start building my insulation box/hangers for the tanks soon.

At this moment I'm focused on the buses engine and getting it back to running at 100% follow along with that over on this post:
https://www.skoolie.net/forums/f37/a...tml#post483489

I'm excited to get back at it.
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