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Old 01-16-2012, 07:48 PM   #1
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Our new 1986 International House!!!!

I just purchased my 1986 International on black friday 2011. My wife and I plan on living in it year round starting as soon as we can get out of our lease, at the latest it will be august. I am a 22 year old college student in Gunnison, colorado. ill be graduating december of 2012 at which time my wife and I plan on traveling the states. I never thought of using a school bus as a house until my parents unfortunately were forced to make a change and that is what they chose. they have been in a school bus for 4 years now, enduring some of the coldest winters in the U.S. here in Gunnison. they LOVE the bus life more than anything they have ever experienced and seeing how happy it made them we have decided to do the same. not only for the experience, but to simplify our lives in a way that really frees us from mortgages and the worry of money, at least compared to most people, among other reasons.

Anyway, the bus is a 1986 international, cap. 65, i think about 130k miles, runs great, auto chains and electric retarder. i plan to upgrade with the propane injection at some point before we hit the road for good. we have a wood/coal stove for heat and we plan to install solar panels within the next month for electricity. we also plan to build a roof rack and install a hitch that is capable of towing my 1971 toyota land cruiser. we will also be installing a propane/electric rv fridge/freezer and we have a propane oven/stove top installed.

So here is a link to our blog, please check it out and let me know what you all think of the progress so far! it includes a video of our bus so far, minus laminate floors, a wood box, a couple shelves and a bench seat over the heater.

http://thewildbuslife.blogspot.com/2...beginning.html
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Old 01-17-2012, 05:29 AM   #2
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Re: Our new 1986 International House!!!!

Kool video..did you make your wife standup the whole way to "the spot"
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Old 01-17-2012, 10:29 AM   #3
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Re: Our new 1986 International House!!!!

Hippies!! HAha Looks like a real good, super nice bus to begin with. Looks like a real skoolie.

Hats off to your parents, admireable for them to be self reliant. See if they would get on here.
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Old 01-17-2012, 10:54 AM   #4
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Re: Our new 1986 International House!!!!

Haha no wife got to sit on a lawn chair for that trip. We have a couch now. Wood stove is great, just gotta keep it stoked. We have to stoke it half way through the night and of course when we wake up in the morning. Keep in mind we live in Gunnison, it gets below zero every night in the winter and rarely Above freezing during the day. With the new floors and some curtains it should be even better than before. But imo a wood stove is the best way to go as far as heat when and where you need it. THe downfall, cant drive using that heat source and im sure we will find places we cant stay because of the wood stove. But for living where we live I don't think you can get any better. In the video I think the bus had been warmed up for about 10 to 15 min and it wasn't plugged in before hand. She was still pretty cold and it was about 10 degrees out at the time hence the smoke.
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Old 01-17-2012, 12:07 PM   #5
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Re: Our new 1986 International House!!!!

I have to question the wisdom of having the LP tank inside your living quarters. I have had more than one LP tank "out gas", both in summer on a hot day and ,more recently, when the tank was sitting in the shade, covered in snow, back in November. First time we've ever had an LP tank out gas in the winter. It is flammable... as in "Boom" if near a flame source. It also stinks. Put your LP tank outside on an LP quick connect or build a properly vented LP locker.

I liked your choice of songs. I did find it surprising that you used CCR's "Keep on Chooglin'". I didn't think anyone outside of the South knew about that one.
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Old 01-17-2012, 12:30 PM   #6
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Re: Our new 1986 International House!!!!

Better relocate that propane tank that you currently have nest to your cook stove and I think too close to your wood stove. Yikes! Set up an exterior, ventilated compartment and run the supply line in from there. Safety first.
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Old 01-17-2012, 01:03 PM   #7
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Re: Our new 1986 International House!!!!

Great stuff! I like the innovation with the crank and pulleys for the bed. My bunk beds have a similar set up. I couldn't quite tell by the video what you have under that bed (I was getting a bit dizzy from all the camera movement), but if you have to crouch/walk back there much you're going to end up with a bad back like me! Regarding the propane tank... yeah, like the others said, that's a little scary, better outside. Hate to see nice folks like y'all blown up or gassed out. Looks like you are well on your way to a super cool bus though - congrats!
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Old 01-17-2012, 01:59 PM   #8
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Re: Our new 1986 International House!!!!

im glad the bed idea was liked, that took a lot of trial and error to get it working smoothly. my wife makes jewelry, which is the reason for the bed being able to lift. she wanted an office area where she could work and also a little easier access under the bed when needed, hence the pulleys. also that is our "closet" space on each side below the bed, they also serve as a strong support to rest the bed on while we are sleeping. my idea is that under the bed will be more of an office/work area where we would be sitting mostly rather than moving around. a good word of advice from my parents when i was designing the layout was to try and make every space serve at least 2 purposes in a bus, that way you utilize as much space as possible. in addition to the bed i also have 3 tables that are foldable for more variety on useful space. we also wanted to keep a plan that was as open as possible, which i am very happy with our results so far.

Thanks for the input on the propane tank. i have been tossing around ideas for that. do any of you have any input on the large propane tanks that mount underneath the body? i have access to one that i was thinking about using as it would require less fill up and be located outside the living quarters, but i wasnt sure if there are any drawbacks to using the larger, nonmovable, mountable LP RV tanks. also, as i mentioned i have a propane fridge that we will install soon, would i be able to run both the fridge and stove off of propane at the same time if needed? also, how are the big tanks at holding gas? do they have the same problems of gassing out as the smaller LP tanks do? if so i may go with a few small ones so that if i do have a gas leak i wont lose ALL my propane.

also, we are currently in the market for Solar, so if anyone has any input as far as recommendations it would be much appreciated!
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Old 01-17-2012, 02:07 PM   #9
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Re: Our new 1986 International House!!!!

You might look into forklift tank mounts and mount them so the tanks stay upright... I have a Chevy blazer that runs on propane and they have out gassed on me... The concern isn't losing all the propane, it's the big boom that could happen... Small tanks are easier to handle as well...
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Old 01-17-2012, 03:13 PM   #10
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Re: Our new 1986 International House!!!!

I gotta' second (or third) hanging the propane anywhere but inside. Small leaks on outdoor tanks get diluted by the atmosphere...indoor leaks build up and go boom...big boom...big badda boom. And any "gassing out" is by another name...a leak, and needs to be corrected asap. Manchester makes outstanding underbelly RV tanks and are worth the extra bucks in my simple mind, but any tank needs to be checked regularly and every connection really needs to be accessible for that purpose. A faulty connector permanently hidden in a wall is just asking for trouble...put them where you can slather a little soapy water on them from time to time.

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Old 01-17-2012, 03:56 PM   #11
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Re: Our new 1986 International House!!!!

Down side to a permanent mount tank is that you have to either have the truck come to your site and fill you up (that's about 9 gallons on a typical 40# RV tank). With the 20# BBQ tanks is that you can get them filled at many places. When they start getting old, or all the LP filling stations are closed so everyone can take the holiday weekend off, you can SWAP them out (higher price... watch out for Blue Rhino as they don't really fill the tank swap tanks to full). 30# tanks can't be swapped. The Class C that my daughter now lives in, has a 40# permanent tank. We bought the Class C in 2006 and have filled the tank up ONCE. We built a homebrewed "extend-a-stay" and run 20# tanks. When we lived in TN/NC we simply hooked up our 100# LP tank we had at the time. States are getting tougher on the tank transporting rules... many state will no longer allow you to transport the long tanks on their sides. We have no way to transport a 100# tank upright. When we wintered in TX (2009-2010) the LP truck came thru the campgrounds. That was the first I had ever seen that happen. Last winter (2010-2011) I started seeing posts stating that the cities/towns /counties were passing regulation preventing that. Only once have I seen it cheaper to swap than refill. that was in GA where it cost $25+ to refill and $16 (including tax) to swap at an unmanned 24hr Amerigas tank swap outside of Home Depot (you need a credit, debit or a pay-as-you-go Visa/Master card to access).


As a fulltimer who stays in one spot for months at a time (private park monthly site rent is usually much cheaper than public park nightly site rent), moving to get LP is a PITA. Finding an LP filling station (with the best prices in town) that you can get a 40 ft RV into the station is a PITA. Running 20# LP tanks are better for us. We currently have 3 (we left two with my daughter). One tank for the food cart, one tank for the bus and one tank to replace whichever tank emptied. LP tanks always run out at two times... in the middle of the night OR when it is raining, snowing or sleeting... depending on the season. And if possible, you will run out of LP when it is dark, raining, snowing AND sleeting. Last tank we filled (Dec) ran us about $15 including tax. Tank swap at the time was running between $26 (WalMart) up to $29 (no taxes included). We keep an eye on the manufacture date (stamped on the tank collar) when they start getting old (10 yr from date of manufacture) or the tank starts getting "rough" looking, we will do a tank swap and pick out a better, newer tank. We have measures. We can put our LP tanks under the bus IF the tank is positioned to where the collar is between the smaller floor ribs. David has an idea to set the tanks on a pivoting shelf so that the tank will tip enough to where we can get it out thru a door cut into the side skirt. I want to use a auto changeover valve on the two bus tanks and pick up one extra tank to use as the floating refill. Right now, we transport tanks in the food cart and once set up, use the LP quick connect to hook a tank up to the bus.
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Old 01-17-2012, 07:21 PM   #12
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Re: Our new 1986 International House!!!!

We were living in a travel trailer back on 06. Instead of having to refill the tanks all the time, we rented a large portable tank from a propane dealer. It was as tall as a 100# tank but was bigger in diameter. I can't remember exactly how big it was. Each refill lasted over a month and the truck came to us. The price was comparable to always refilling the 2 30# tanks. The propane dealer just required that we show them our reciept for the monthly stay at the RV park. It's not like we could have picked up the tank anyway. Even empty it took a special lift on the truck to move it.

All we needed was a longer propane line to run from the tank to our extend-a-stay setup. The RV park also wanted us to run the line through a piece of PVC drain pipe anchored to the ground so that no one would damage it if the walked on it. Used that setup for the 4 months we were at the park. Most of the people staying at the park long term used the setup.
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Old 01-17-2012, 08:21 PM   #13
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Re: Our new 1986 International House!!!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by RavensOracle
... we rented a large portable tank from a propane dealer. It was as tall as a 100# tank but was bigger in diameter. I can't remember exactly how big it was....
Sounds like 250#. Not all RV parks will allow that. The one we are in now and the one in Soccoro allowed it. But the one in TX (which was also a mobile home park) did not for the RV's.
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Old 01-19-2012, 07:40 AM   #14
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Re: Our new 1986 International House!!!!

J,
a permanent under mount LP tank is great as long as you can get it filled. If you are out in the toolies for an extended time, which you probably will be, the ability to take a tank to town and get it refilled is very handy. You could easily have both, especially if yo have access to a underbody tank already at a deal of maybe even free. A couple ball valves and switching would be a breeze. Something I learned from my Wanderlodge was duplicate/backup systems are a good thing...
It does not really matter if the portable tank is inside or outside, you will have lines and fittings inside the bus and they can leak too, so no leaks is the challenge. If the regulator is outside, vaporing off would be addressed. I would consider an airtight cabinet with an outside vent if you choose to have the tank and regulator inside.
Something like this or similar:
http://www.amazon.com/White-Enamel-A.../dp/B0054HT53W
Similar to how lots of slide-in campers are setup. You can have the door on the outside or the inside, with just the supply line coning into the living space.
Regardless, the one thing you can't get away from is they take up valuable inside space and really cannot serve dual purposes. You have lots of unused space underneath, take advantage of it!
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Old 01-19-2012, 03:26 PM   #15
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Re: Our new 1986 International House!!!!

LOVE IT!!!!!!!! i LOVE the enthusiam!!!! I can just tell it is going to be Great!!!!!!!!
keep on this webpage and you will find all the help you could need
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Old 01-19-2012, 03:32 PM   #16
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Re: Our new 1986 International House!!!!

LP vapour is heavy and will "puddle" on the floor. You need venting in the FLOOR or put the bottom louver flush with the interior flooring.
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Old 01-20-2012, 10:18 AM   #17
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Re: Our new 1986 International House!!!!

Roger the "puddling" issue. LP is much denser/heavier than air and will settle into whatever space is lowest and concentrate. One more argument for putting it under the unit where it is more likely to be dispersed rather than collect.
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Old 01-28-2012, 03:39 PM   #18
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Re: Our new 1986 International House!!!!

I have an automatic switch over regulator for my 30 gallon tank and three of the portable 4 gallon ones. That way, i can either use the small ones when i want to park for a long time, or use the large one as necessary, partly for backup. I do the same for my gasoline tank with having 5 gallon gas cans to refill it when dry camping. And an extra 59 gallon diesel tank in the compartments as well, as well as 25 exta gallons of water in case i run out of my 135 gallon tank.
Found out over the last 30 yrs or so, and 4 previous busses, that having extra supply makes for no suprises...
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