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Old 12-05-2018, 08:01 PM   #1
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Nov 2018
Location: London, Ontario
Posts: 14
Year: 2004
Coachwork: Bluebird
Chassis: International 3800
Engine: T444E 7.3L
Rated Cap: 72
Rio the Curiosity Bus

My name is Destiny, I'm 20 years old and in my third year of university in Ontario, Canada. Long story short; I've never been the 9-5 kind of girl. I hated school growing up and always had wild, ambitious, and "unrealistic" dreams. I used to fear that I'd grow up never having achieved any of them, but I quickly realized that at the center of all those dreams was one simple desire: to lead a life that was anything but ordinary. Which is why... I bought a bus.

This is Rio. She's a 2004 International 3800 with a 2003 T444e engine, hydraulic brakes, and Bluebird body. (I have not been able to figure out the transmission yet).
47388793_270471963816742_3544048777474080768_n.jpg
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47687209_565395000573473_5639635906139783168_n.jpg
47573000_380255939376429_5459319074381103104_n.jpg

The interior overall is pretty decent. A little rust around the edges, but the seats and ceiling look clean and solid.
47450255_2250806975199090_6817104699326464000_n.jpg
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47358983_2210436162502064_5706267659402739712_n.jpg

One of the panels is broken but we're replacing it with a custom wood one. Side note, anyone know what that red button is for?
47576702_2263710177197922_4686017054619205632_n.jpg

The metal for the seats along with their bolts are pretty corroded, so I'll have to grind them out, but hey, blood sweat and tears, right?
47430892_508648636307158_3341482696567160832_n.jpg

The roof and rear of the bus look pretty good, with minimal body rust on the back door. The rest of the body is clean and rust free. Light covers look to be almost new too, but again, anyone know what that blue thing is for?
47572770_292624068055760_1803789361267867648_n.jpg
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And finally, the underneath. This was the part I was most worried about when looking for a bus in Ontario because of all the salt, snow and water that could cause A LOT of rust, but, after looking at a few buses, Rio's rust isn't too bad and she looks pretty decent.
47214527_191481318473719_3365782784009306112_n.jpg
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47686635_347653589345094_4511940758802006016_n.jpg
47681510_572876086515988_2961924908927418368_n.jpg

Overall, I feel pretty confident in the bus I bought. We'll see if I still feel that way after ripping the floors up... but the good thing about Rio is that she's already certified and e-tested so I don't have to worry about her mechanically (at least for now).

I'm really excited to start ripping everything out!!
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Old 12-05-2018, 10:56 PM   #2
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The red button is the ejection seat.

Welcome to the club.
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Old 12-06-2018, 06:12 AM   #3
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Great to see a young person doing something, and jumping into their dream.

I would use rust converter on all the rusty spots. Gemplers is a brand I have had very good luck with. Paint it on with a brush and it turns the rust black. Best to do two coats.

Blue thing may well be a back up beeper.
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Old 12-06-2018, 06:20 AM   #4
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nice bus!! the rust looks mostly superficial.. like ronnie said get rust converter on it and you'll be fine..



+1 on grinding off those seat bolts.. they wont come out of there easily.. grind em off.. beat em down through the floor..




transmission - does your shifter have R-N-D-3-2-1. or R-N-D-4-2-1 ?


-Christopher
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Old 12-06-2018, 06:31 AM   #5
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Wear gloves, glasses, and a face shield when using an angle grinder!
Enjoy!
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Old 12-06-2018, 01:02 PM   #6
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Join Date: Oct 2015
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More power to you for jumping in. I built a 66 pas. GMC Bluebird in 75 when I was about 22. I drove it from Tennessee to the West Coast two times, New Orleans 4 times and Texas once Florida 2 times and all over the south. I was a steamfitter by trade which allowed me to travel and make pretty good money at the same time. I don't know what you do for cash but you will need something. I lived in it full time for 8 years. I still miss it. When I became wheelchair bound 11 years ago I could still climb into a pickup. When I deteriorated to the point I needed a lift to get in and a decent Handicapped van was 50 grand I bought Mikes Last Ride. A 25 foot ( overall ) Ford b8000 with a Cummins and Allison drive train. I have an adjustable twin bed porta- pottie, Two captains chairs and a swivel drivers seat. I drive it my self and it is my only transportation. Whatever you need to do You can do it to build out what you need! Don't fall into the trap of a two year build and making every thing perfect . Put some tags and Insurance , A bed ,some heat , and a way to cook and go some where. Good luck!
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Old 12-06-2018, 01:39 PM   #7
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Chassis: AmTran
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Rio the Curiosity Bus

Nice bus! Iíve had my Ď02 IC RE3000 since April, and have been slowly chipping away at it since. Good to see another younger person in the community, gotta keep this going for future generations Hopefully that ďlittle bit of rust around the edgesĒ doesnít turn out to be too bad in the end. Salty roads really do wonders to busses

The blue thing is a backup warning speaker. Does it beep when you put it in reverse?
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Old 12-06-2018, 01:54 PM   #8
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The absolute best rust converter I've come across-


I use this on light rust-


Always wear protective clothing etc.
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Old 12-06-2018, 02:14 PM   #9
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Rio the Curiosity Bus

Quote:
Originally Posted by EastCoastCB View Post
The absolute best rust converter I've come across-


I use this on light rust-


Always wear protective clothing etc.


To add to this, after you rust treat your bus (namely your floor, if you decide to rip up the floor?) and fix any rust holes you may have give it a good cost of anti rust paint. I used rustoleum primer and rustoleum protective enamel, but I know there are some other brands that people around here like.
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Old 12-06-2018, 02:23 PM   #10
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Yep. That's what I do too.
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Old 12-07-2018, 05:50 AM   #11
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Nov 2018
Location: London, Ontario
Posts: 14
Year: 2004
Coachwork: Bluebird
Chassis: International 3800
Engine: T444E 7.3L
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cadillackid View Post
transmission - does your shifter have R-N-D-3-2-1. or R-N-D-4-2-1 ?
-Christopher
The believe the Shifter says R-N-D-3-2-1. Iíll double check when I get home.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ronnie View Post
Great to see a young person doing something, and jumping into their dream.

I would use rust converter on all the rusty spots. Gemplers is a brand I have had very good luck with. Paint it on with a brush and it turns the rust black. Best to do two coats.

Blue thing may well be a back up beeper.
Thank you! And yes, youíre right about the back up beeper. Thanks for the recommendation.

Quote:
Originally Posted by reedy View Post
I was a steamfitter by trade which allowed me to travel and make pretty good money at the same time. I don't know what you do for cash but you will need something.
This is a great story, looking forward to these kinds of travels. Currently I have a full time job, making $17+ an hour so the plan is to just save as much as I can and then go from there.

Quote:
Originally Posted by eethan View Post
Nice bus! Iíve had my Ď02 IC RE3000 since April, and have been slowly chipping away at it since. Good to see another younger person in the community, gotta keep this going for future generations Hopefully that ďlittle bit of rust around the edgesĒ doesnít turn out to be too bad in the end. Salty roads really do wonders to busses

The blue thing is a backup warning speaker. Does it beep when you put it in reverse?
Yes, I figured that out! And thank you. Looking forward to meeting more of my Skoolie community.

Quote:
Originally Posted by eethan View Post
To add to this, after you rust treat your bus (namely your floor, if you decide to rip up the floor?) and fix any rust holes you may have give it a good cost of anti rust paint. I used rustoleum primer and rustoleum protective enamel, but I know there are some other brands that people around here like.
Thank you for the suggestions, Iím definitely ripping up the floor and plan on using Rustoleum to prime and convert any rust. Thatís the very first thing I plan to do in the bus after gutting the seats and floor.
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Old 12-07-2018, 06:48 AM   #12
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Join Date: Oct 2017
Location: Virginia
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speaking of meeting others, there is a post on this forum, and a facebook page too, about Skooliepalooza, a gathering of skoolie owners in Arizona in January.
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Old 12-07-2018, 06:54 AM   #13
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I used the rustoleumk tiust reformer on places in my DEV bus 2 years ago and its held up really well so far..

-Christopher
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Old 12-12-2018, 04:12 PM   #14
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Oct 2018
Location: SW Ontario, Canada
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Year: 2008
Chassis: G3500
Engine: 6.6 Duramax
Awesome! Good to see someone local, I am in Sarnia.
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Old 12-13-2018, 02:48 AM   #15
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I would get under the bus and get as much of that rust cleaned up and then apply some sort of rust convertor to seal it all up. Those body floor joists really need something done to them right away.

Years ago we had a Ward body bus that came from Wisconsin. Mechanically it was great. The rust in the body wasn't bad at all. Nowhere in the body panels was there any rust that was bubbling the paint or any cancer eating through. The only exception was the rust in the floor and floor joists. One day a hole appeared in the linoleum which alerted us to a real problem. It required us to rebuild the floor and all of the floor joists from the rear axle to the rear bumper.
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Old 12-18-2018, 02:04 AM   #16
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Rusty fasteners

I cant make out what sort of bolts or screws are holding your seats down but in my biased opinion grinding is a last resort. An impact wrench is a super tool. I have a little 20 volt, 1/4 inch, cordless impact driver and also a drill that came as a set, super handy throughout the bus reno. For the specific task of the seat bolts the 1/4 inch might be a little light but guaranteed it's the ticket for any screws you have to deal with.

If your bolts go right through the floor with a nut on the bottom the job is best done with a partner, know somebody with a larger impact wrench? If the impact breaks the bolts that's a plus, better than grinding. Make sure you have a snug fitting socket before you start, tapping the socket on with a hammer is better than stripping the bolt head.

A grinder is a handy multi purpose tool and you will want one for just about any metal work you might do. I do my cutting with the thin zip cut blades, much faster and tidier than grinding. You can also do sanding and buffing. Get a grinder with handles that you can grip easily, some of the small grinders require you to hold the grinder by the body, not very secure. I have a 5 inch model with handles that is my go to.

Grinders demand respect or they will hurt you bad, if they can hook something loose - shirt - hair - scarf they follow it to the source, instantly. That stream of hot sparks is hard on eyes and always a fire hazard. Loose objects being worked on need to be held securely - use a vice or clamps. If you already know this stuff great! pass it on, better a dirty look than a hospital vacation.

Another tool that I found essential in my build is a pop riveter. I like all my cupboards and walls secured in multiple places. You can bolt to the floor and to seat rails (if you have them) but there is always a need to attach to the sheet metal skin. I quickly discovered small pop riveters were not up to the job. I bought a model with 24 inch handles that will do 1/4 inch diameter steel rivets, it works but requires a lot of muscle. I'm keeping my eye out for a well designed power riveter.

I used a lot of angle brackets for fasteners, mostly aluminum, different sizes and thicknesses. Dunno what the consensus is here but I like aluminum cause it's easy to work with, maybe steel would be better as I used steel rivets and popped to a steel skin? I was able to get most of my stock from the local dump and cut it to the sizes I needed. You might be able to scrounge in the waste bin at a fabricating shop? Pop rivet the bracket to the bus skin then bolt your renovations to the bracket.

Oh, for getting the model #'s off your Trans and rear diff, stuff like that just go under with a clean up rag and a camera. Shoot from different angles and you will probably come away with something readable.
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Old 12-21-2018, 05:06 PM   #17
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Engine: CAT 3126
One way to get those seat bolts out that worked pretty well for me and may work great for you with all that rust is to use a breaker bar and tighten them a swift 1/4 turn. This will often shear the head off even with no one holding the nut down below.
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Old 02-10-2019, 11:27 AM   #18
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Nov 2018
Location: London, Ontario
Posts: 14
Year: 2004
Coachwork: Bluebird
Chassis: International 3800
Engine: T444E 7.3L
Rated Cap: 72
So, a lot has happened in the bus since my first post and Iíll be making a reply with picture updates very soon.

I wanted to discuss batteries quickly. Also itís not confirmed but I believe I have an Allison 2000 as a tranny.

Anyways, Iíve been having a problem with the batteries in my bus... basically the batteries donít last more than 3 days.

I once ran it in aux mode for 15 minutes while I was measuring and the next day the bus wouldnít start. So we charged it up completely and then it ran! 3 days go by (I havenít started the bus during those 3 days), and theyíre completely dead again. Like absolutely drained to nothing. Not even enough for the bus to try and turn over.

That same thing has happened 4 times now, and I havenít been able to start my bus since mid december because it just keeps dying. Itís odd because they passed the safety but Iím new to the world of bus mechanics.

So I was wondering if anyone had any battery recommendations. I need ones capable of enduring strong and cold weather climates as Iím in Canada and it can get to be super cold here.
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Old 02-10-2019, 12:14 PM   #19
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Oct 2018
Location: SW Ontario, Canada
Posts: 17
Year: 2008
Chassis: G3500
Engine: 6.6 Duramax
more importantly, perhaps is finding the source of the drain. something has to be on, somewhere...start pulling fuses while you have a multimeter on the battery and check for a voltage change in the positives as you pull fuses....
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Old 02-24-2019, 11:50 PM   #20
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Pretty easy to leave the ignition in auxiliary position on that bus. Do the batteries go flat when in off position with key removed?
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