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Old 11-23-2019, 03:52 PM   #1
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Pilgrim Days

Well, now that I've got a bus and started the conversion it is time to stop being just a lurker.

New guy intro here

The bus in question is a 2005 International with the DT466. The occupants will be two adults, two toddlers, two dogs, and any friends/family willing to be a part of all that mess. The plan (once complete) is to spend up to a year touring North America before finally settling down near family. We've moved a lot with the Army and we are tired of not really having roots, but we think this is a great opportunity to do one last big trip.

I bought the bus in June and have been working on it since then so I'll do a couple of posts to recap what I've done so far.

Looking forward to all the wisdom, feedback, comments, snide remarks, and good-natured ribbing I'm sure to receive.

Cheers!

IG: https://www.instagram.com/pilgrim_days/
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Old 01-15-2020, 01:51 PM   #2
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Recap of work so far

Ok, time to recap how I got to where I am today.
(my apologies for the sideways photos, not sure why they uploaded that way)



First demo:




Nothing much to say about that, other than we found $5.37 in change under the seats. We are going to credit that against the purchase price. Bargain!



Did an oil change. I had a heck of a time getting the right filters from Autozone. Where do you all buy you filters?




Taped the floor layout to get a sense of what it feels like in real life.



Cut a hole in the floor...



...to lower the shower pan (sorry for the upside down picture)



Got my fresh water system built and installed










Unused window holes covered...




And the removed windows repurposed to create...bay windows!















Currently I am working on my grey water tank, but I am having doubts about my plan. I've got two 55gal drums and made a bracket to mount them at the very back on the drivers side, but it doesn't leave me much ground clearance back there. Now I am thinking of making a fiberglass tank or wait until my buddy back home can make me an aluminum one.






Also, working on my propane tank brackets.



WHEW! Ok, well, it hasn't gone as fast as I would have liked, but I am a stay at home dad right now and they tell me that welding is hazardous to children. Anyway, there it is for the moment.



Thanks for taking a look.
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Old 01-15-2020, 02:43 PM   #3
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Wow, I wish I had your fab skills.

That being said, weren't you concerned about compromising the structure by cutting through the chair rail for those bay windows? Not really sure how IC builds their buses but in mine that's a pretty crucial element for body rigidity.
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Old 01-15-2020, 03:03 PM   #4
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The bay window idea is extremely cool, well done. I happen to have four extra emergency exit windows from a different bus, and I would consider using them like this - if I was going to have any clear wall space, which I'm not. Oh well, I have a side exit door that I'm basically going to use in the same way.

We need a secret handshake for the lowered shower society. I just welded in the tray for my sunken tub a couple of days ago. I'm curious to see how you're going to handle running the drain into your gray tank.

Great work!
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Old 01-15-2020, 03:12 PM   #5
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Wow, I wish I had your fab skills.

That being said, weren't you concerned about compromising the structure by cutting through the chair rail for those bay windows? Not really sure how IC builds their buses but in mine that's a pretty crucial element for body rigidity.
My bus has a complete cutout of the chair rail for the side exit door, but the door also has a very elaborate structure on each side of it to maintain stiffness. You can also see the lengths they go to in order to maintain stiffness where the partial cutouts for the wheels are (there are additional panels spot-welded between the ribs here) and where the hole for the fuel tube is.

However, I think all of this engineering is to maintain the body structure in the case of an accident where something impacts those specific areas - since without reinforcement of the chair rail at these cutouts, those areas would be more likely to collapse inwards. In the case of this bay window, you would certainly not want to be sitting right next to that middle rib when a truck ran into it. But otherwise it should be fine.
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Old 01-15-2020, 04:44 PM   #6
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But otherwise it should be fine.
I would agree.....not a huge span, and it looks like the ribs, rub rail, and windowsill were left intact, forming a framed box.

Personally, I'd weld in a piece of angle iron along the bottom of the bay window, welded to the chair rail on each side of the bay and to the floor below it.

Another 'cool' vote on the window idea.......sharp. Your pets will be fighting over that spot while in transit.
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Old 01-15-2020, 08:54 PM   #7
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Your pets will be fighting over that spot while in transit.
That they will. We have two dogs and I had planned on putting in one of those bubble windows until I came up with this idea.
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Old 01-15-2020, 08:57 PM   #8
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Wow, I wish I had your fab skills.

That being said, weren't you concerned about compromising the structure by cutting through the chair rail for those bay windows? Not really sure how IC builds their buses but in mine that's a pretty crucial element for body rigidity.

Thanks! I've heard the "chair rail structural element" concern, but I am not entirely convinced. Does it provide rigidity? Absolutely. Will the bus fall apart with out that section?...well, I hope not! (I'll let you know if it does!)
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Old 01-15-2020, 09:06 PM   #9
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Oh well, I have a side exit door that I'm basically going to use in the same way.

Do a draw bridge deck!!! That was my plan if I got a side exit door. (actually, I briefly considered building one right where the bay window is now but decided I did not have the time and fabrication experience to make a good product)


Quote:
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We need a secret handshake for the lowered shower society. I just welded in the tray for my sunken tub a couple of days ago. I'm curious to see how you're going to handle running the drain into your gray tank.

Man, I wish I knew. I knew I wanted more head room in the shower and I told myself I'd figure the rest out later. Right now I think my options are:
A. Accept the fact that my shower will start backing up at 60% of my grey tank capacity (not ideal).
B. Use a small storage tank and a secondary pump to pump that up into the grey tank (I got the idea from "ol trunt" on the other thread you started http://www.skoolie.net/forums/f13/clearance-needed-between-shower-drain-bottom-and-waste-water-tank-29824.html)
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Old 01-15-2020, 09:37 PM   #10
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Thanks! I've heard the "chair rail structural element" concern, but I am not entirely convinced. Does it provide rigidity? Absolutely. Will the bus fall apart with out that section?...well, I hope not! (I'll let you know if it does!)
I cut mine to install my new stepwell 18 months ago......all still well. As you can see, I bolted it to the floor, skirt, and rub rails.......basically anything that wasn't moving.
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Old 01-15-2020, 10:05 PM   #11
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Do a draw bridge deck!!!
I'm actually considering that, although it's going to be something for my cat and a nice breeze rather than something that could support people's weight

Quote:
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Right now I think my options are:
A. Accept the fact that my shower will start backing up at 60% of my grey tank capacity (not ideal).
B. Use a small storage tank and a secondary pump to pump that up into the grey tank
I'm considering using a hepvo valve which is a sort of horizontal p-trap. It should let me mount the gray tank so that its top is 3" or so below the bottom of my tub, which will keep it right at the bottom of my side skirt. My big concern is insulating the whole arrangement so it doesn't freeze up in winter.
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Old 01-20-2020, 09:49 PM   #12
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long weekend

Had the weekend to myself to work on the bus and got a good amount done.
1. Replaced the front hatch with a sheet of polycarbonate to make a skylight.




2. Made a propane cage and mount to go under the bus. I made sliders out of a plastic cutting board so it goes in and out pretty smoothly.







I still need to decide where to put it. It is going on the right side, but the question is in front of or behind the rear wheels? I am on the fence about keeping the existing storage box that is right in front of the rear wheels. However, to put it behind the rear wheels I would have to re-route the exhaust to run down the center of the rear rather than the right side (I kind of want to do that anyway to give myself more storage options in the future). I think the easy way would be to use a section of 4 inch flexible exhaust pipe and flip the hangers around to the inside of the chassis. Anybody had experience with that???


3. Made brackets to hold my battery/storage box and cut the side skirt out.




Everything looks pretty good, I just need to paint them and then I should be able to install my battery/storage box. Should be a lot easier than my fresh water tank monstrosity.


As always, it went slower than I had hoped, but I got almost everything done that I had planned for the weekend. My goal is to get all of this under body stuff done so that I can do the final seal on the metal floor. Once that is done I can start on the interior! (I hope...)
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Old 01-20-2020, 10:51 PM   #13
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Really nice work.... especially the propane cage.
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Old 01-21-2020, 08:07 AM   #14
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Great work on everything.

I used the flexible stuff to repair the rusted-out section of my exhaust pipe over the rear axle. I found it fairly easy to work with although it's a bit less flexible than I had imagined (I figured it would be like drier exhaust hose but nope). It does not seem to have the same longevity as regular exhaust pipe, but the place you'd be putting it is fairly easy to access and replacing it in a few years (or however long it lasts) would not be difficult. The band clamps are easy to put on. My four-foot section of flex pipe was about $50 and the band clamps were $10 each.
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Old 01-21-2020, 08:11 AM   #15
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Just realized you're the bay window dude. That looks cooler every time I see it.

I've never had any of my windows drop while driving, but apparently that happens from time to time. You might want some additional way of securing the bottom bay windows while driving, if your dogs will be sitting there.
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Old 01-21-2020, 10:04 AM   #16
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windows dropping is an easy fix... pul the windows back out , disassemble them and replace the likely-worn plastic latches now with brand new ones before you finish the conversion.. the only other reason windows drop open is if the bus flexes around where the chair rail was cut and causes those windows to drop open.. that isnt a likely scenerio.. but the plastic latches can and do wear.. esp if the bus was a non A/C bus where the windows were opened and closed all the time
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Old 01-21-2020, 11:18 AM   #17
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Very slick those bay windows. Like it that you repurposed them as well. Nice job.
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Old 01-21-2020, 03:19 PM   #18
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I was checking out your water tank setup on IG. Looks pretty cool, insulated box, heat transfer plates, etc. So the plates will warm the tanks and the lines that are run through them. How do you plan on heating the lines that leave the box and go into the bus?
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Old 01-21-2020, 10:53 PM   #19
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I was checking out your water tank setup on IG. Looks pretty cool, insulated box, heat transfer plates, etc. So the plates will warm the tanks and the lines that are run through them. How do you plan on heating the lines that leave the box and go into the bus?

I didn't really articulate the plan fully but basically I have a Webasto coolant heater that will act primarily as a hydronic heater for the bus. I will have radiant floor heat and possibly some radiators, not sure if I need those or not. The primary thermostat for the Webasto will be in the cabin since that is the highest set temp (~68 F). I will have a valve controlled by a second thermostat in the fresh water tank box that will divert the return water from the cabin to run through the loop for the tanks (I plan to run it back to the grey tank as well). This should come on around 40F to ensure the pump and tanks don't freeze up. I also plan to incorporate another circuit in the hydronic system to run through a heat exchanger to actually pre-heat the engine on cold days that we actually want to move. I have recently realized that it is a good idea to keep your batteries warm but I'm not sure if I want to run another circuit over to my battery box.


I am only smart enough on the hydronic stuff to be dangerous to myself and others so don't take this as a good way to do it. It is just my current plan.
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Old 01-21-2020, 10:56 PM   #20
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Just realized you're the bay window dude. That looks cooler every time I see it.

I've never had any of my windows drop while driving, but apparently that happens from time to time. You might want some additional way of securing the bottom bay windows while driving, if your dogs will be sitting there.

I was not aware that was a thing that happens, I will definitely keep that in mind. My bus was in service in Alabama so they probably opened them quite a bit, but maybe all the sticky middle-schooler grime that was on everything else will keep them up
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