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Old 10-20-2021, 08:35 AM   #1
Mini-Skoolie
 
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Join Date: Sep 2013
Location: Portland, OR
Posts: 58
Year: 2008
Coachwork: International
Chassis: PB105
Engine: VT365 6.0L v8 Diesel
Indy's COSMIC CRUISER

Hey, gang! I can't tell you how excited I am to finally be officially *finally!* joining the ranks of the Skoolies!

Yesterday I won this 2008 International PB105 at auction! It's in great shape, currently parked in Alabama, and comes with only 126,000 miles. I'm excited about bringing it home and beginning to convert it into my Cosmic Cruiser!

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Old 10-20-2021, 08:35 AM   #2
Mini-Skoolie
 
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Join Date: Sep 2013
Location: Portland, OR
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Year: 2008
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Chassis: PB105
Engine: VT365 6.0L v8 Diesel
Here's some pre-build pics:






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Old 10-20-2021, 09:32 AM   #3
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Location: Suburbs of Winterset, OH
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Year: 2005
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Engine: Mercedes 6.4L
welcome to the madness...

your profile says "mini-skoolie" Idon't think that's a "mini"!

Hope your return trip (with the bus) is completely uneventful.

I'm curious as to how it does climbing steep grades. Keep us posted....and yes, we all like pictures.
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Old 10-20-2021, 10:55 AM   #4
Mini-Skoolie
 
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Join Date: Sep 2013
Location: Portland, OR
Posts: 58
Year: 2008
Coachwork: International
Chassis: PB105
Engine: VT365 6.0L v8 Diesel
Yeah, I think the 'mini-skoolie' is just because I haven't been super-active on the forums, despite lurking here since 2013!
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Old 10-20-2021, 05:02 PM   #5
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Join Date: May 2009
Location: Columbus Ohio
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Year: 1991
Coachwork: Carpenter
Chassis: International 3800
Engine: DTA360 / MT643
Rated Cap: 7 Row Handicap
your VT365 should do fine on the grades take it slow, dont run it super hard on long hills. and.. DONT GET IT HOT!!!! (theres plastic inside that engine.. if the oil temp gets too hot the plastic will melt...).. so if you see a temperature alarm pull it over and idle it down.. keep in mind you can get a HOT alarm on a VT365 with the dash gauge srtill in the normal!..



when you get it home change the oil and make sure the coolant maintenance is done!



bring on the Build!!
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Old 10-20-2021, 07:46 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by indigo_k View Post
Yeah, I think the 'mini-skoolie' is just because I haven't been super-active on the forums, despite lurking here since 2013!
should be a fun ride!
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Old 10-21-2021, 06:23 PM   #7
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Join Date: Sep 2013
Location: Portland, OR
Posts: 58
Year: 2008
Coachwork: International
Chassis: PB105
Engine: VT365 6.0L v8 Diesel
Yesterday was a productive day of acquiring some materials for my bus. All of these were local Craigslist deals:

Picked up:
- Six 385W (2310W!!) solar panels for $390 total - frontside glass is totally shattered but intact and reparable
- 4-camera rear- and side-view RV cameras and monitor
- A solid set of Makita tools (Drill, Impact Driver, and 2 Reciprocating saws) and five good batteries
- Shop Vac to help keep the interior tidy while I'm building

Today I'm mostly waiting to hear back from the insurance underwriter so I know whether I'll be able to drive the bus when I pick it up next week or not.
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Old 10-24-2021, 03:14 PM   #8
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Join Date: Sep 2013
Location: Portland, OR
Posts: 58
Year: 2008
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Chassis: PB105
Engine: VT365 6.0L v8 Diesel
Pre-conversion Insurance

So, here's where I'm at right now. I won the bus this past tuesday, and first thing wednesday morning I was on the phone to National General about an insurance policy so I could go pick the bus up this coming tuesday. I wasn't totally sure what I was looking for? Nobody I talked to wanted to insure an already-converted school bus, or even one that was *being* converted, but I just needed to get it off the lot. Finally worked it out with Nat. Gen. that I just needed a basic liability policy for the trip home, and they took my info and photos, and assured me I'd know within 72 hours.

So, here I am five days later, still no word from the underwriter. I am supposed to get a call one way or the other from Nat. Gen. monday morning, so that will give me the rest of monday to find a policy if they don't come through. If I had it to do over, I would have started this process earlier, at least to get a quote before I won the bus, it just didn't occur to me that I could request a quote on a vehicle I didn't even own.

Since then, I've found this thread on Pre-Conversion Insurance that has me hopeful I can get something lined up before I fly out monday night.

Worst case scenario, I end up camping in Mobile for a few days until this gets straightened out. Will update tomorrow.
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Old 10-24-2021, 03:15 PM   #9
Mini-Skoolie
 
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Join Date: Sep 2013
Location: Portland, OR
Posts: 58
Year: 2008
Coachwork: International
Chassis: PB105
Engine: VT365 6.0L v8 Diesel
Pre-conversion Insurance

So, here's where I'm at right now. I won the bus this past tuesday, and first thing wednesday morning I was on the phone to National General about an insurance policy so I could go pick the bus up this coming tuesday. I wasn't totally sure what I was looking for? Nobody I talked to wanted to insure an already-converted school bus, or even one that was *being* converted, but I just needed to get it off the lot. Finally worked it out with Nat. Gen. that I just needed a basic liability policy for the trip home, and they took my info and photos, and assured me I'd know within 72 hours.

So, here I am five days later, still no word from the underwriter. I am supposed to get a call one way or the other from Nat. Gen. monday morning, so that will give me the rest of monday to find a policy if they don't come through. If I had it to do over, I would have started this process earlier, at least to get a quote before I won the bus, it just didn't occur to me that I could request a quote on a vehicle I didn't even own.

Since then, I've found this thread on Pre-Conversion Insurance that has me hopeful I can get something lined up before I fly out monday night.

Worst case scenario, I end up camping in Mobile for a few days until this gets straightened out. Will update tomorrow.
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Old 10-25-2021, 10:52 AM   #10
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Location: Dawsonville, Ga.
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Year: 1999
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Engine: DT466/3060
Rated Cap: 77
Has it been registered since conversion to RV status? Why not get an RV policy?
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Old 10-25-2021, 02:07 PM   #11
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Join Date: Sep 2013
Location: Portland, OR
Posts: 58
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Engine: VT365 6.0L v8 Diesel
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Originally Posted by o1marc View Post
Has it been registered since conversion to RV status? Why not get an RV policy?
I haven't started the conversion yet, the seats are even still inside. I go to pick it up tomorrow to make the long drive home, and I just need the initial liability policy to make it road-legal.
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Old 10-25-2021, 05:09 PM   #12
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Year: 1999
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Engine: 5.9L 24V-L6 Cummins ISB
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Quote:
Originally Posted by indigo_k View Post
I haven't started the conversion yet, the seats are even still inside. I go to pick it up tomorrow to make the long drive home, and I just need the initial liability policy to make it road-legal.
State Farm
"commercial vehicle for person use policy"
Had me done in 3 or less hours by phone. (not on the phone 3 hours, but called, then waited for them to email the initial insurance binder)


Take the bus to Good Will and they will likely take the seats, and even help you unload them. Unbolt them first. Keep the seating below 15, and no "multi-passenger vehicle endorsements" would be needed.
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Old 10-25-2021, 05:22 PM   #13
Mini-Skoolie
 
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Join Date: Sep 2013
Location: Portland, OR
Posts: 58
Year: 2008
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Chassis: PB105
Engine: VT365 6.0L v8 Diesel
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Take the bus to Good Will and they will likely take the seats, and even help you unload them. Unbolt them first. Keep the seating below 15, and no "multi-passenger vehicle endorsements" would be needed.
Oh dang I never thought of taking the seats to Goodwill! That's a great idea. I am hoping to reclaim much of the material first, though - thinking about making window covers out of the wood and pleather from the seats at least, and depending on the construction of the seats maybe making some window deletes out of some of them.
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Old 10-27-2021, 04:36 PM   #14
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Commercial policy

We used Progressive commercial to insure our yet to be converted Prevost. $265 for 6/month. It took them a couple hours to get it all squared away. We renewed the policy with no issues as well.

Good luck with your build!
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Old 10-27-2021, 09:35 PM   #15
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Location: Bly Oregon
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Year: 1986
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Engine: Cummins 350 big cam
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A little information about your solar panels. I have experience with the panels with broken glass. Don't bother to try and replace the glass. I have looked into glass replacement on them. I found that the cells are glued to the glass. Just use them as is. I got my first damaged panels over 5 years ago and I use one of them to keep tractor batteries charged. It still works. I got my panels from a couple of large solar farm projects. They were damaged during install during construction. In my case both of the contractors were glad to give them to me, as they would otherwise have to take them to the landfill. To the best of my knowledge solar panels can not be recycled currently. The aluminum frame could be but they are difficult to separate from the panel.


I am not going to use them on the Crown, but as an array for supplementing the electrical usage on my house.
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Old 11-07-2021, 06:19 PM   #16
Mini-Skoolie
 
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Location: Portland, OR
Posts: 58
Year: 2008
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A little information about your solar panels. I have experience with the panels with broken glass. Don't bother to try and replace the glass. I have looked into glass replacement on them. I found that the cells are glued to the glass. Just use them as is. I got my first damaged panels over 5 years ago and I use one of them to keep tractor batteries charged. It still works. I got my panels from a couple of large solar farm projects. They were damaged during install during construction. In my case both of the contractors were glad to give them to me, as they would otherwise have to take them to the landfill. To the best of my knowledge solar panels can not be recycled currently. The aluminum frame could be but they are difficult to separate from the panel.


I am not going to use them on the Crown, but as an array for supplementing the electrical usage on my house.
That's good to know - yeah, I think the guy I bought them from was a contractor who wrote them off as destroyed. He showed me on-site that they still draw near-full voltage through the cracked glass, and also that since they don't have white backing like most panels, I can always just flip them over and they look good-as-new. I'm planning to use some sealant to 'fix' the cracked side, at least to prevent water from getting in, and will live with a cheap set of reduced-power solar panels. I don't really *need* 2300 watts of solar, after all.
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Old 11-10-2021, 05:15 PM   #17
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Join Date: Sep 2013
Location: Portland, OR
Posts: 58
Year: 2008
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Chassis: PB105
Engine: VT365 6.0L v8 Diesel
So! Yesterday was my first attempt at having a 'build day' on my bus, which meant driving across town to the rv storage where I'm keeping it, and then driving the bus to Home Depot to set up in their parking lot to work.

My first task was to finally install the door lock I'd bought two weeks ago and failed to install. Again, it was a failure - the instructions were either incomplete or inconsistent, and I ended up drilling the exterior hole too large for the the cylinder to stay in place. The instructions called for a 1 3/8" hole, I drilled a 1 1/4" hole, and the cylinder ended up being only like an inch.

Brainstorming solutions, I opted for a small piece of wood to cover the hole, and to re-drill. Went in the store to buy the wood, screwed it to the outside of my door (making four new little holes in the metal), only to find that my *smaller* hole saw didn't have enough reach to cut completely through the wood I'd bought. So, rather than buy another piece of wood or another hole saw, I decided to put the 'door lock project' on hold again, and try the next task: removing the seats!

I'd seen a good technique for removing the bolts using just an impact driver and a prybar, and since I don't have an angle grinder yet, thought I'd give it a go. The idea is that you loosen the bolts enough to get the prybar under the seat frame, then use the upward pressure to hold the nut tight against the underside of the bus while you continue loosening the bolt. Simple enough! The impact driver worked great for releasing the bolts and getting them started, but I wasn't able to get the prybar under the seat at all. So, after about 30 minutes with the impact driver, a useless prybar, and even going under the bus to see about removing the nuts from below, I gave up on this task as well. Looks like I'm in the market for a good used angle grinder after all.

Overall, a disappointing first-day on building the bus, and hopefully not a sign of things to come. Next time I go out I know I can at least start removing the seat portion of the benches (held on by simple phillips screws from below the frame), and get those prepped for the dump. It's not much, but it's a start.

Also, I decided to find a large-diameter washer I could use to hold the lock in place - small enough to hold the cylinder but large enough to cover the original oversized hole. The smaller holes I'll just fill with some bondo to seal them from water. The washer should show up today and I can pull the wood off and install it next time I go out, which I'm planning for tomorrow.
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Old 11-11-2021, 12:41 PM   #18
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Location: Arizona
Posts: 22
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I am all for quality tools BUT... That being said.. You can pick up a 4.5 inch angle grinder from Harbor Freight for about 10 or so bucks with a coupon.. It will NOT be battery powered, but your angle grinders will eat up batteries anyways. If you have access to an extension cord at your local Home Depot, I would definitely recommend this as an option.

And down the road when you buy a quality angle grinder, can keep a cut off disk on one and a flap wheel on the other!

Just my $.02

Good luck with your seats and Lock!
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Old 11-11-2021, 01:38 PM   #19
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Join Date: Sep 2013
Location: Portland, OR
Posts: 58
Year: 2008
Coachwork: International
Chassis: PB105
Engine: VT365 6.0L v8 Diesel
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I am all for quality tools BUT... That being said.. You can pick up a 4.5 inch angle grinder from Harbor Freight for about 10 or so bucks with a coupon..
What! I admit I have yet to step foot into a Harbor Frieght - all the tools I've bought so far have been second-hand off Craigslist. But looking at their site, I see quite a few options for less than the used angle-grinder I was looking at the other day - AND I wouldn't have to drive out to the coast to pick them up.
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Old 11-11-2021, 02:03 PM   #20
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Year: 1986
Coachwork: Crown
Chassis: Supercoach
Engine: Cummins 350 big cam
Rated Cap: 86 passengers?
I have purchased and used Harbor Freight tools in my conversion. In particular I used a number of the hand grinders from them that cost less then $20. I have had two failures with them, but seeing that I am doing a lot of fabrication with steel and welding, grinding/cutting has been a big part of the project. I keep at least one or two extras in case. Their cutting and grinding wheels wear out kind of quick but they are cheap to buy. Their drill bits are not too good. After a few holes they are dull, even though I am careful about drill speed and cutting oil usage. I bought a set of Milwaukee drill bits and have not worn out any of them yet. There aren't that many sizes in the Milwaukee drill set but I found that I only use a few different sizes. The Harbor Freight worm drive circular saw works good too, but the reciprocating jig saw is difficult to control and wanders.



I don't think one can have too many tools, but that is just me. I have never found a bad Milwaukee brand tool. All of this is just my experience with the various hand tools.



Since a drive to anyplace that sells tools is al least 1 to 1 1/2 hours each way I hate having tool failures, since it always kills the day to have to get a replacement tool. (don't forget the gas/fuel costs too).
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