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Old 03-08-2018, 03:45 PM   #41
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Join Date: Jan 2017
Location: IL
Posts: 205
Year: 2000
Coachwork: Never coached any teams, not even junior soccer
Chassis: I'm still figuring out what this means
Engine: CAT diesel
Rated Cap: No caps, only hats.
All Awesome

That all looks awesome. Congrats on finishing up the degree!
Quote:
Originally Posted by wendysdrivethrudude View Post
Itís been almost a year since I posted here, between a lot of skipping around on bus projects, preparing for grad school, and a heavier course load as I approach graduation. I should get my B.A. in December!

Iím going to try and ramp up production on the bus leading up to mid-April. The shop guysí brother Jo came from Mexico and is working for my father in the shop. He is a welder for CAT in Mexico and an excellent welder and vehicle painter. Iím hoping to use his help while heís here and get the bus painted before he goes home. He painted a few migrant busses and his brotherís old truck and they all look great, almost professionally done.

Before I can paint the bus, I need to do a little bondo work, prime the bare metal from when I patched all the holes in the body, install metal panels in place of some windows I want to get rid of, build or modify the front door, and put storage underneath (consisting of metal tool boxes, propane tank storage, another battery box, and possibly also generator storage).

However, I decided to work on the sunken shower frame first due to its more complicated nature and potential interference with the structural integrity of the bus. I got Jo to help me because heís really good at welding and has much more experience with structural welding than I do.

I cut 1Ē square tubing for the frame, drew some rough plans, and explained the best I could in Spanish what I was trying to do and making sure it would work. I had initially planned on not putting a frame piece above the chassis, but Jo thought we should, and together we decided that one large piece would be stronger and easier to work with than smaller pieces fit in between the floor channels. He prepped under the bus floor by scraping away the undercoating with a flathead screwdriver and grinding it bare, and I prepped the frame pieces by beveling the edges with a grinder (which gives the weld a nice channel to sink into). He cut notches in the floor channel with a torch to fit the square tubing, and tacked in the top part of the frame. He also attached the vertical pieces that will attach to the bottom of the frame, which will support the shower floor. At the end of the day, he said that it was strong enough to just stay tacked, but I stitch welded it anyway because Iím paranoid. One of the vertical pieces had to be placed so that it went around the leaf spring, and the corners not against the chassis had two vertical pieces to make space for future insulation and skinning.

I didn't take too many pictures because I honestly couldn't figure out how to explain why to Jo in Spanish

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Old 04-29-2018, 09:37 AM   #42
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Join Date: Mar 2018
Location: Upstate, SC
Posts: 164
Year: 1992
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: International
Engine: DTA360
I have the same bus and was wondering, what all had to come off to get your windows out? Did you just cut them loose or did you remove the outer yellow channel covers?
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Old 04-29-2018, 11:13 AM   #43
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Join Date: Sep 2015
Location: Wauchula, Florida
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Year: 1993
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: International
Engine: DT360
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Originally Posted by thrifty1 View Post
I have the same bus and was wondering, what all had to come off to get your windows out? Did you just cut them loose or did you remove the outer yellow channel covers?
Neither.

There were five screws holding them in place: two in each side, and one in the top. The window had to be open to access them, and the top screw was under some grey weatherstripping (that I never would have seen if I hadnít removed the wire covers above the windows first).

After getting the screws out, I was able to remove the windows from the inside. Removing the exterior channel covers wasnít necessary at all.
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Old 04-29-2018, 09:01 PM   #44
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Join Date: Feb 2018
Location: Lake Butler, FL
Posts: 5
Year: 1998
Coachwork: Thomas Vista
Chassis: International 3600
Engine: T444E
Rated Cap: 78 passenger HC
I'm always a little too excited when I see another Vista bus. There aren't very many I see that get converted and people tend to think they are ugly. I love my short nose! I've found a few on Instagram.
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Old 08-04-2018, 05:18 PM   #45
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Location: Wauchula, Florida
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Year: 1993
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Engine: DT360
Been a while again. Been vacationing on and off in the Keys, but I still work on the bus in those times I'm home again.

I noticed during my test fit that the shower was ľ” higher on one side than the other, due to a piece of metal welded to the floor against the wall. It’s structural, so I couldn’t grind it off, and instead tack welded a ľ” piece of flat bar to the opposite side (so I wouldn’t have to use glue or put screws in the floor). I plan to put ľ” thick wood under the back shelf-like part of the shower since it’s not as structural and too wide for the remaining flat bar to fit under. I also had to cut ľ” off of the vertical pieces of the frame to accommodate these changes.

Later I assembled the bottom part of the frame separately. I fit the bottom part between the vertical pieces, tacked them together, and welded them. Welding was very difficult due to how tight the space was, and I had to wear a lot of clothing to keep from badly burning myself. I also ground down the welds just enough so that they did not press into the shower. I mostly did this with the angle grinder, but in some tighter spots I had to use the die grinder and a stone.

I cleaned everything up, primed, and painted. Note where the shower frame is between the chassis and the subfloor. I had to paint that from in between the chassis, which was uncomfortable.

I plan to insulate the shower pan where I can with 1" foam board, skin the exterior with some leftover bus ceiling metal, and caulk all around it before I finally install the shower pan. since the shower pan sinks all the way into the floor, it will be installed with the subfloor later, and won't actually be screwed in until the bathroom walls are put in.


I also finally covered up the primer on the floor with some paint after touching up certain spots. I picked silver just because it looked like it'd be a fun color.
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Old 08-04-2018, 05:26 PM   #46
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Join Date: Sep 2015
Location: Wauchula, Florida
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Year: 1993
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Chassis: International
Engine: DT360
I plan to install a tongue and groove cedar ceiling when Iím further along, and I did not want to have to screw every single little screw into the 18ga heat treated ribs of the bus. My uncle Danny, the family jack of all trades, had the idea of putting up these sort of wooden ďtrussesĒ to act as a point of attachment for the ceiling, conduit, etc. We made a cardboard template of half a rib, and he took it to his cabinet maker friend. They were CNCd into some ĺĒ plywood at about a $200 cost.

Danny and my cousin Cody came one day to help with installation. We cut notches into the wood where needed to accommodate ceiling cross members, vehicular wiring runs, etc. We also had one pair of wooden halves cut thicker than the others to accommodate the raised ceiling height of the driverís cab on my Thomas. If we had not done this, the ceiling material wouldíve either had to have been bent significantly, or there wouldíve been an awkward ceiling transition between the cab and the living area. Now we can continue the tongue and groove all the way to the front of the bus with no issue and it will look more aesthetically consistent.
This particular piece had to be cut a lot, however, because the ceiling over the passenger door was noticeably taller than that above the driverís seat. This difference can be clearly seen in the picture.

The ceiling halves were relatively easy to install once the notches were cut. One person held the piece up while the other one screwed it in. Each piece was installed using recessed head self-tapping metal screws, 5 in each half. All but a few screws went in on the first try, and those that didnít needed pilot holes. The whole process only took about four hours, and with these trusses up I can use finish nails and Liquid Nails to attach the ceiling in the future.
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Old 08-04-2018, 05:43 PM   #47
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Year: 1993
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Chassis: International
Engine: DT360
Danny is going to help me with the bus's electrical work later down the line, and asked me to drill some holes in the hat channel for flexible conduit. I got Sean to do the drilling because he's stronger than I am. We drilled them 1 ⅜” with a holesaw (and for one, a step bit) to accommodate rubber gaskets and 1” flexible conduit. This was done in all the hat channel below the windows on the passenger’s side of the bus 12” on center above the top of the chair rail.

The gaskets used were difficult to find, but my brother-in-law showed me a site that sells them for a reasonable price in bulk whose name I have unfortunately forgotten. They were easy to install, but I had to wear latex gloves because there was fiberglass insulation in the hat channel.

We will do something similar for propane line, but most of that will be run under the bus, only coming inside to connect to the stove/oven, RV refrigerator, and RV water heater.
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