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Old 11-28-2019, 03:54 PM   #221
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Thanksgiving

Bolted on some supports to connect the splint beam in front of the exit door to the remaining floor. Not a one-man job, needed by brother on the underside. Going to need one of these of every stiffener by the door, so two more of them.

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Trim job on the wheel well:

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Sad. Guy I hired to do this originally bought 14ga sheet metal instead of 16ga like I wanted. It will actually be better everywhere else I need it, but here I need to be able to bend pieces with my sheet metal break, which can do 16ga but not 14ga. Since everything's closed on Thanksgiving, I tried using part of one of my seat backs. Metal is just too thin and I kept burning it. I'm going to practice more on this once I get some 16ga to use, but I may end up screwing or riveting these pieces in if I can't weld it reasonably.

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Old 11-28-2019, 04:28 PM   #222
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New metal looks good.

Welding thin metal is one of the harder things to learn -- don't feel bad -- just keep practicing -- you will get it!

Also, MIG is a lot easier to do thin gauge work with -- it's cooler, and cleaner compared to using flux core wire...
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Old 11-28-2019, 07:54 PM   #223
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Also, MIG is a lot easier to do thin gauge work with -- it's cooler, and cleaner compared to using flux core wire...
Uh, I am using MIG. I hope this isn't your way of saying my MIG looks like flux core.
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Old 11-29-2019, 09:45 PM   #224
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Center tray done (for now)

I painted the underside of the three metal sheets yellow (read the label today and saw that it can be applied when it's 32F or warmer, as can the rusty metal primer - yay, I'll be under the bus much of the winter). I used self-tapping screws with washers to attach the sheet to the piece of 2X that spans it.

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Back piece in place, from the top. The 2" high 2X is there for some extra stiffening of the floor, but it's also damned handy for lifting the pieces.

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All three sheets with stiffeners in place. The other four thinner "joists" are only temporary; later on I'll put foam board insulation between the sheets and the plywood and have a different way of supporting the plywood over the steel t-bars.

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Screwed the plywood floor in place. Went to Lowe's this morning and they had one sheet of birch 3/4" plywood left but it was kind of bunged up in places. They sold it to me for half off ($25) and since it was cut down to 36" x 94.75" the bunged up parts didn't matter at all.

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Tonight was the first time since I bought the bus in January that the simple act of walking from the front of my bus to the back didn't feel sketchy as hell.

I'm going to screw temporary plywood covers over the four remaining holes and then I hope to weld the repairs for the wheel wells in place over the weekend.
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Old 11-29-2019, 09:52 PM   #225
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Attachment 39679







Tonight was the first time since I bought the bus in January that the simple act of walking from the front of my bus to the back didn't feel sketchy as hell.



I'm going to screw temporary plywood covers over the four remaining holes and then I hope to weld the repairs for the wheel wells in place over the weekend.

Looks good. I'm falling way behind in progress. It's too bad the weather here is in the 60s. Good building weather.
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Old 11-29-2019, 10:35 PM   #226
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Looks good. I'm falling way behind in progress. It's too bad the weather here is in the 60s. Good building weather.
We had our last stretch (probably) of good weather end a few days ago. I so desperately wanted to go for a bike ride but I forced myself to work on the bus.
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Old 11-30-2019, 07:29 PM   #227
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Temporary wooden hole covers

One of my ideas for attaching the metal sheets in the center tray to the angle steel was to weld short pieces of all-thread to the angle steel and bolt the sheets on. I decided to practice this when attaching four temporary plywood panels to the remaining open holes. Pretty easy and solid, but these are only working because I'm attaching 1/2" plywood which comes up above the weld metal goop. For 14ga sheet metal it will be a lot harder to make this work; I'll probably have to grind them and stack a few washers before putting on the nut.

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Temp panel attached to the all-thread bits and screwed into the center floor.

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I was finally able to give my neighbor and his young son a tour of the bus, without having to worry about the kid falling through a hole.

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Before this, I only had two loose pieces of plywood covering the holes. It will be nice to drive the bus without that crap rattling around in the back.
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Old 11-30-2019, 08:48 PM   #228
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One of my ideas for attaching the metal sheets in the center tray to the angle steel was to weld short pieces of all-thread to the angle steel and bolt the sheets on. I decided to practice this when attaching four temporary plywood panels to the remaining open holes. Pretty easy and solid, but these are only working because I'm attaching 1/2" plywood which comes up above the weld metal goop. For 14ga sheet metal it will be a lot harder to make this work; I'll probably have to grind them and stack a few washers before putting on the nut.

Is this because you want to (be able to) remove the metal sheets later?
If not -- just drill or punch a set of holes in the sheet -- then spot weld the holes closed -- done.

I'm assuming the "all thread" isn't for a very structural element this way.

If you taper the "all thread" a bit and drill a depression in the angle iron you can weld them together w/out exceeding the diameter of the allthread...

If this is gonna have a structural application I would drill through the angle iron. You can find grade 5 carriage bolts -- weld the square peg in the round hole! It's fun--DO IT! then you won't need two people to unfasten the nuts later.
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Old 11-30-2019, 09:57 PM   #229
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Is this because you want to (be able to) remove the metal sheets later?
If not -- just drill or punch a set of holes in the sheet -- then spot weld the holes closed -- done.

I'm assuming the "all thread" isn't for a very structural element this way.

If you taper the "all thread" a bit and drill a depression in the angle iron you can weld them together w/out exceeding the diameter of the allthread...

If this is gonna have a structural application I would drill through the angle iron. You can find grade 5 carriage bolts -- weld the square peg in the round hole! It's fun--DO IT! then you won't need two people to unfasten the nuts later.
Yeah, this is all so that the panels can be removed (relatively) easily to allow access to the chassis from above. It will be structural in the sense of holding something down, but it shouldn't be exposed to any extreme stresses. I banged on a practice one with a mallet and it just bent over a little bit.

I'm not worried about the diameter of the weld here, so much as how high the weld comes up on the threads. Even if the weld were the inner dimension of the all-thread, there still wouldn't be any thread for the nut to bite on.

I think a bolt from underneath and welded in place makes more sense, but I'm worried about welder access from underneath in some of the spots I'll be placing these. The ideal way would have been to place these bolts and weld them before putting the beams into the bus, but I hadn't thought that far yet.
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Old 12-01-2019, 12:42 AM   #230
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Drill a hole for a carriage bolt. Spin a nut down the bolt to pull the sq end snug into the hole. Then weld the open bits of the hole to the head of the carriage bolt. You'll weld this from above -- same as you're doing the all-thread.
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Old 12-01-2019, 03:16 AM   #231
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Drill a hole for a carriage bolt. Spin a nut down the bolt to pull the sq end snug into the hole. Then weld the open bits of the hole to the head of the carriage bolt. You'll weld this from above -- same as you're doing the all-thread.
Winner-Winner, chicken dinner!
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Old 12-01-2019, 08:33 AM   #232
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Drill a hole for a carriage bolt. Spin a nut down the bolt to pull the sq end snug into the hole. Then weld the open bits of the hole to the head of the carriage bolt. You'll weld this from above -- same as you're doing the all-thread.
I'm going to give this a try.
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Old 12-01-2019, 09:23 AM   #233
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LED headlights

I drove my bus in the dark last night for the first time, now with the cheapie LED headlights ($40 per). I adjusted them down basically as far as they can go and a bit to the right and then drove past in my car to see how bad they are. Really not worse than anybody else's headlights at that angle. And they do light things up nicely, especially with the brights on.

Unfortunately my running lights are not working at all, so I was basically a completely darkened object with bright headlights. No more night driving until I get that fixed.
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Old 12-01-2019, 09:50 AM   #234
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I drove my bus in the dark last night for the first time, now with the cheapie LED headlights ($40 per). I adjusted them down basically as far as they can go and a bit to the right and then drove past in my car to see how bad they are. Really not worse than anybody else's headlights at that angle. And they do light things up nicely, especially with the brights on.

Unfortunately my running lights are not working at all, so I was basically a completely darkened object with bright headlights. No more night driving until I get that fixed.
Yeah, I have to address that too -- with the "murdered out" paint job that came with my bus, the lower clearance lights and all the lower reflectors were painted over. With my lights off my bus truly disappears -- I can't park on a street at night like that -- hoping I can non-destructively strip some paint otherwise it's another junkyard trip.

RE: carriage bolts -- they are most commonly grade 2, but Tractor Supply or Fastenal will have grade 5. And sometimes Fastenal surprises me with reasonable prices -- last time I went was to get some weld nuts for my Scout
expecting to pay dollars a piece -- they were only .30cents! I cleaned out there entire stock!
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Old 12-02-2019, 12:10 AM   #235
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I drove my bus in the dark last night for the first time, now with the cheapie LED headlights ($40 per). I adjusted them down basically as far as they can go and a bit to the right and then drove past in my car to see how bad they are. Really not worse than anybody else's headlights at that angle. And they do light things up nicely, especially with the brights on.

Unfortunately my running lights are not working at all, so I was basically a completely darkened object with bright headlights. No more night driving until I get that fixed.
Checked out my bus today to see how it was holding up in the rain (another new window leak has appeared, this time I think on the gasket between glass and frame) and saw that there is actually a separate switch for my running lights and it works as do all the lights. I swear I've been looking at that switch panel for 10 months now and never noticed it.
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Old 12-02-2019, 12:16 AM   #236
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Checked out my bus today to see how it was holding up in the rain (another new window leak has appeared, this time I think on the gasket between glass and frame) and saw that there is actually a separate switch for my running lights and it works as do all the lights. I swear I've been looking at that switch panel for 10 months now and never noticed it.



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Old 12-04-2019, 07:13 PM   #237
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One wheel well down (mostly)

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I wasn't sure how strong my welds were going to be here, but to do the longer piece running on the side of the well I first welded it to the angle steel, bent it over a bit with a mallet, socked it to the well with self-tapping screws, then hammered it some more to round off the corners and everything held fine.

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I decided to leave up my piece of seat back on the front of the well - didn't feel like getting my sawzall working again to cut it out. I was able to weld it this time without burning it, but I'm still going to use 16ga for the rest of it to have the same blowout protection as everywhere else. It's cool to be able to say I did actually use part of my seats somewhere in the bus.

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So nice to look in the wheel well from outside and see something that looks like a wheel well. Obviously needs some cleanup, still. The wells seem to have been coated with that asphalt paint stuff, which is pretty disgusting-looking but it does seem to be incredibly effective at protecting whatever metal it sticks to. Also easy to ignite from welding, always a good time.

My welds are nowhere near watertight and even if they were there's a lot of weird angles of stuff in here that would catch water and retain it. I'm really going to have to go to town sealing these wells up.

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Got started on the other well before running out of gear (argon/co2 and self-tappers). The beam on this side is 2" closer to the center to accommodate the step tub, so I welded in a piece of flat bar that I'll attach the sheet metal for the well to. This was very difficult to weld because no matter what I did with the mask or the angle of the welder, I could not see the seam I was welding and kept wandering off it. I could basically only do a bunch of 1" welds - this won't be bearing any load, fortunately.

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Old 12-06-2019, 05:11 PM   #238
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Passenger side wheel well done

I had fun standing on this. Even when free-floating the well could bear my full weight, but tied into the frame it feels like a rock.

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Added a beam to the opening in front of the driver's side well. I had considered putting the condenser for the fridge on the underside of the bus in this spot, but I eventually realized that'd be a lot of work for not much point.

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It occurs to me looking at this that the side-to-side piece of angle steel could end up with water pooled on it if the bus is driven wet and then parked downhill. I should drill a couple of drainage holes before I seal this up.

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These four remaining holes are going to be progressively more difficult. This first hole will just be sheeted over; the hole behind it will have a simple sheet metal box (not load-bearing) projecting below the floor by about a foot (for my closet); the hole behind the well on the passenger side will have a similar box below the floor for the tub, but this will have to support my weight when standing in the tub so I'll have to frame it with angle iron; and the hole in front of the well will have a raised platform for the stove and underbody storage below it for two propane tanks.

I was hoping to get all this done before I have to break for the holidays next Sunday. I don't think that's going to happen, but at least I have my plywood patches and I can't see the tires when I'm driving any more.
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Old 12-06-2019, 07:27 PM   #239
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I was hoping to get all this done before I have to break for the holidays next Sunday. I don't think that's going to happen, but at least I have my plywood patches and I can't see the tires when I'm driving any more.
It was about the time I got to this forum you were driving down the road wondering if the exhaust was going to kill you because you had no floor lol.

What a massive amount of work you've done.

It's looking good.
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Old 12-06-2019, 10:31 PM   #240
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It was about the time I got to this forum you were driving down the road wondering if the exhaust was going to kill you because you had no floor lol.

What a massive amount of work you've done.

It's looking good.
Ha, I'm still worried the exhaust is going to kill me, since I've seen the rest of the exhaust now.

Thanks, man.
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