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Old 08-27-2018, 02:05 AM   #1
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Jun 2018
Location: Seattle Area
Posts: 33
Year: 1995
Coachwork: Blue Bird
Chassis: All American
Engine: Cummins 8.3
Project:Otis

Project:Otis is our project to convert our 1995 Blue Bird All-American into a trip rig.

I'll attempt to document the conversion here.
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Old 08-27-2018, 02:15 AM   #2
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Jun 2018
Location: Seattle Area
Posts: 33
Year: 1995
Coachwork: Blue Bird
Chassis: All American
Engine: Cummins 8.3
First Step: Acquisition

Getting the bus was a bit of an adventure. Had to fly down to Oregon and take a 3 hour shared van ride to get out to the middle of nowhere in the high Oregon desert where the bus was located. After a night in a slightly sketchy motel, I started on my 9 hour journey back home.

Here's the bus and my crew.
Attached Images
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File Type: jpg 20180721_154721 (Custom).jpg (495.4 KB, 52 views)
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Old 08-27-2018, 02:21 AM   #3
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Jun 2018
Location: Seattle Area
Posts: 33
Year: 1995
Coachwork: Blue Bird
Chassis: All American
Engine: Cummins 8.3
Starting interior demo

After an uneventful trip, my oldest kids and I started ripping out the interior.

About half of the seats were able to be removed with an impact driver and a few sockets. The rest were cut off at the floor and left to be dealt with at a later date. I wanted to get the floor up and see the condition. In the meantime, the kids also took down part of the ceiling. At this point, we're two days into the renovation.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg 20180721_191223 (Custom).jpg (435.5 KB, 33 views)
File Type: jpg 20180722_182443 (Custom).jpg (381.0 KB, 45 views)
File Type: jpg 20180722_194753 (Custom).jpg (408.1 KB, 34 views)
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Old 08-27-2018, 02:32 AM   #4
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Jun 2018
Location: Seattle Area
Posts: 33
Year: 1995
Coachwork: Blue Bird
Chassis: All American
Engine: Cummins 8.3
Seats and flooring continued

Ugh. Those seats were a pain. Since I had no underside access to many of them due to the compartments under the bus, I was left to my old friend, the angle grinder. Eventually, they were all removed and I was able to start peeling away the layers and see the condition of the floor.

I was hoping for a pristine floor, but thought that was pretty unlikely for a 22 year old bus. My heart sunk a bit when I saw standing water under wet plywood. I've got some window sealing ahead of me! That said, once I got the rest of the floor up, I was less concerned. Overall, the floor was sound, with no perforations.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg 20180722_201027 (Custom).jpg (551.0 KB, 30 views)
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File Type: jpg 20180727_204908 (Custom).jpg (278.8 KB, 32 views)
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Old 08-27-2018, 12:19 PM   #5
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Join Date: May 2016
Location: Eastern WA
Posts: 6,121
Year: 2002
Coachwork: Bluebird
Chassis: All American RE (A3RE)
Engine: Cummins ISC (8.3)
Rated Cap: 72
Welcome!

Nice looking bus. I think you picked a good platform to build from

You have certainly hit the ground running. I look forward to watching your build.
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Old 08-27-2018, 07:11 PM   #6
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Move fast take no prisoners
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Old 08-27-2018, 10:11 PM   #7
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Join Date: Feb 2018
Location: Chattanooga, TN
Posts: 232
Year: 2000
Coachwork: Amtran
Chassis: Genesis
Engine: DT466
Rated Cap: 84lug
Quote:
Originally Posted by humangoogle View Post
Project:Otis is our project to convert our 1995 Blue Bird All-American into a trip rig.

I'll attempt to document the conversion here.

Congrats on the bus! Welcome to the family. My project is not much further along than yours is.. about to paint the outside the inside is deconstructed and insulated. We have some youtube videos of some if our projects if they are of help to you. Good luck on the project.
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Old 08-28-2018, 01:42 AM   #8
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Jun 2018
Location: Seattle Area
Posts: 33
Year: 1995
Coachwork: Blue Bird
Chassis: All American
Engine: Cummins 8.3
Ceiling and sealing

After picking my kids up from a week at camp, I enlisted them to help start removing the ceiling panels and sealing up the first batch of windows.

Rivets. So many rivets! My air compressor wasn't powerful enough to run the air chisel for any length of time, so I ended up having my son use the air hammer to punch out the centers of the rivets and then I came after with a large SDS hammer drill (in hammer only mode). While this worked, it was very heavy. Video here: https://youtu.be/j9rgxt4C9Jo

After that, I switched to a method of center-punching the rivets, giving them a whack with a cold chisel and small sledge before attacking with the hammer drill. This worked quite well and I was able to make good progress in this manner. At this point, about 1/3 of the ceiling is done. Video here: https://youtu.be/GyHn2sUPTXA

We also removed the first 6 windows, cleaned up the old sealant and re-installed them after applying butyl tape to the window frames. So far, no leaks (on those windows!).

So thankful for great kids who are up for an adventure and (mostly) willing to pitch in wherever help is needed.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg 20180728_153022 (Custom).jpg (301.8 KB, 27 views)
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File Type: jpg 20180728_160655 (Custom).jpg (304.7 KB, 26 views)
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Old 08-28-2018, 01:54 AM   #9
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Jun 2018
Location: Seattle Area
Posts: 33
Year: 1995
Coachwork: Blue Bird
Chassis: All American
Engine: Cummins 8.3
Moar floor!

Floor prep continued. Pulled dozens of nails that stuck to the floor when I pulled the plywood. A long prybar made short work of those.

So much grinding and dust! Used my angle grinder with a wire cup wheel, which turned out to be very effective as the rust was only superficial and fairly easy to remove. Video: https://youtu.be/Eow0IpLxjm0

After grinding, cleaning, rust conversion (I used Klean Strip Phosphoric Prep & Etch), and more cleaning was complete, I gave the floor a coat of pretty ugly paint (Rustoleum Rusty Metal Primer) Video: https://youtu.be/2GJ_bSiCt0c

First picture shows one side which had been attacked with the wire wheel and the other side, which hadn't yet.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg 20180729_162352 (Custom).jpg (464.9 KB, 26 views)
File Type: jpg 20180731_194658 (Custom).jpg (492.6 KB, 26 views)
File Type: jpg 20180801_204034 (Custom).jpg (285.8 KB, 26 views)
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Old 08-28-2018, 02:07 AM   #10
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Jun 2018
Location: Seattle Area
Posts: 33
Year: 1995
Coachwork: Blue Bird
Chassis: All American
Engine: Cummins 8.3
Sweltering!

I'm sure it's worse elsewhere, but up here in the PNW, it really stays pretty temperate most of the time, so working in the bus when it's hot can be pretty miserable.

My wife and kids usually go back to the midwest for a few weeks each summer to see family and friends. That gave me a little extra time to work on the bus. Work at my "real job" all day, tend to the dogs and grab a bite, then off to the bus for a few hours. Made for a long 2 weeks before I flew out and spent the last week with them in OH.

That said, I also made quite a bit of progress. Stripped the walls of the metal (oh so many rivets. Over 1500 in all and I felt every one!), removed the old insulation, and started to work on the new subfloor after sealing the old nail and bolt holes with polyurethane glue and pennies.

I chose to go with 1 inch XPS and 3/4 inch T&G plywood. Could have used another set of hands those days as wrangling a 4x8 sheet of plywood up and into the bus is not an enjoyable task, but harder when it's just you. Anyway, over the course of several nights, I was able to get the new subfloor down, secured with PL premium and weighted down with 5 gal buckets of water.

The last cut, by the driver's area was the worst, but thankfully, it went in the first time without a hitch. (Measure 500 times, cut once )
Attached Images
File Type: jpg 20180804_142113 (Custom).jpg (287.7 KB, 27 views)
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Old 08-28-2018, 02:09 AM   #11
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Jun 2018
Location: Seattle Area
Posts: 33
Year: 1995
Coachwork: Blue Bird
Chassis: All American
Engine: Cummins 8.3
Thanks. Looks like your project is coming right along!

Quote:
Originally Posted by HappyInTN View Post
Congrats on the bus! Welcome to the family. My project is not much further along than yours is.. about to paint the outside the inside is deconstructed and insulated. We have some youtube videos of some if our projects if they are of help to you. Good luck on the project.
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Old 08-28-2018, 02:21 AM   #12
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Jun 2018
Location: Seattle Area
Posts: 33
Year: 1995
Coachwork: Blue Bird
Chassis: All American
Engine: Cummins 8.3
Next up: hatch deletion and A/C #1

Removing the hatches was easier than I thought it would be, but for some reason, when I first tried to pull them out, they wouldn't budge. In any case, I got them out.

Next, I cleaned all of the old sealant up and thoroughly prepped the area for new 16ga steel. Using seam sealer, ratcheting straps to make the steel conform to the curvature of the roof, and rivets to hold everything in place, I successfully closed up those two gaping holes, only to create a new one moments later for the rear A/C.

Got it mounted and temporarily wired up for testing and temporary use. What a glorious invention! I have a mini-split that I'll be mounting in the front section for most common use cases, but I'm a fan of redundant systems (and cold air!)
Attached Images
File Type: jpg 20180812_134549 (Custom).jpg (336.5 KB, 18 views)
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File Type: jpg 20180812_193420 (Custom).jpg (193.8 KB, 20 views)
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Old 08-28-2018, 06:57 AM   #13
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Join Date: Sep 2014
Location: Eustis FLORIDA
Posts: 20,245
Year: 1999
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: Freighliner FS65
Engine: Cat 3126
Rated Cap: 15
Outstanding!!!
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Old 08-28-2018, 10:41 AM   #14
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Location: Spring Valley AZ
Posts: 1,314
Year: 2000
Coachwork: Bluebird
Engine: 5.9 Cummins
Rated Cap: 2 elderly children, 1 cat
Looking good!
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Old 08-28-2018, 10:59 AM   #15
Bus Crazy
 
Join Date: Jun 2013
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Year: 1997
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Chassis: GMC
Engine: Cat 3116
Rated Cap: 72
Nice to see your kids involved and learning. Is that angle grinder being used without the guard? That is something they should not do or will learn the hard way...just sayinn


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Old 08-28-2018, 11:20 AM   #16
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Join Date: Dec 2017
Location: Dawsonville, Ga.
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Year: 1999
Coachwork: Genesis
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Hard parts done. I love how you guys in the coolest corner of the PNW complain about how hot it is. Come down to the south east and we'll show you hot.
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Old 08-28-2018, 02:03 PM   #17
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Join Date: Nov 2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by humangoogle View Post
I was able to get the new subfloor down, secured with PL premium and weighted down with 5 gal buckets of water.

That's great! if i were to do my floor again it'd be done exactly that way. Very nice ;)
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Old 08-28-2018, 02:36 PM   #18
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Location: Damascus, OR
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Year: 2004
Chassis: International
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Rated Cap: 35
Nice start. great work. enjoying the progress. work and vacation (overseas) has me halted on any bus project, but I need to get back to work. Where in Oregon did you get your bus?
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Old 08-28-2018, 11:53 PM   #19
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Jun 2018
Location: Seattle Area
Posts: 33
Year: 1995
Coachwork: Blue Bird
Chassis: All American
Engine: Cummins 8.3
A small town near John Day (Mt. Vernon)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rovobay View Post
Nice start. great work. enjoying the progress. work and vacation (overseas) has me halted on any bus project, but I need to get back to work. Where in Oregon did you get your bus?
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Old 08-28-2018, 11:56 PM   #20
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Jun 2018
Location: Seattle Area
Posts: 33
Year: 1995
Coachwork: Blue Bird
Chassis: All American
Engine: Cummins 8.3
It's all relative

The weather and scenery here are horrible out here. [That's our way of keeping everyone else from moving here!]

Quote:
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Hard parts done. I love how you guys in the coolest corner of the PNW complain about how hot it is. Come down to the south east and we'll show you hot.
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