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Old 04-18-2019, 11:41 PM   #1
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Year: 1994
Chassis: GMC
Engine: 454 Big Larry
Squally the Trolley

....
"Hey... Woah, now that's a trolley! Not a bus!"
*Crowd roars, some hastily light torches while others sharpen their pitchforks*
....
Me:"But... I just want to hangout and share ideas!!
.
.
OK, are we cool? Can I stay?

Details on the trolley:
Named Squally
1994 GMC 2500 chassis with 6.7l gas engine
big round tail light that says 'STOP'
working bell
...That's most of the important stuff

Details on me:
Named Erik
1994 Human Male
Makes a bunch of art and tries to persuade people to buy it.
*** www.StayWildNeverMild.com ***
Takes pictures, sometimes they are in focus and people like them.
Started mobile life in a Jeep Wrangler TJ converted into a camper, moved into a Chevy g30... Next, a trolley!

1low.jpg

2low.jpg

3low.jpg
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Old 04-19-2019, 10:31 PM   #2
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*So what IS this thing and what did it DO....?*

It's been 6 months since I handed over a small piece of paper and in exchanged received 10,000 lbs of metal and a significant amount of rotted wood. After years of neglect and water leaks, Squally (the trolley) sat lonely in a commercial heavy equipment trading yard begging for someone to come and rescue them.

Some online research and phone calls, I've been able to piece together a reasonably good story of WHAT this silly looking box on wheels got used for...

Most of its life was spent servicing the Cape May - Lewes Ferry in New Jersey / Deleware - after a CarFax report, I see it bounced around from side to side every couple years. An internet search revealed hundreds of pictures from its years of service... Pictures of spooky haunted hayrides, breakfast rides with Santa and Mrs. Claus, historical downtown tours, Coast Gaurd Bootcamp shuttles and fashion photos are all over the internet.
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Old 04-19-2019, 10:51 PM   #3
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Cool that you found out that much history on it.
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Old 04-19-2019, 11:12 PM   #4
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*So HOW did you get this thing..?*

When I saw Squally for the first time, I fell in love. It was hands down the most unique vehicle I had ever seen in my life. It has charm, it has grit, it has style, and it has a story.

The price was listed at $28,000 when I saw the ad on Craigslist. My friend sent it to me AS A JOKE, and as I would to any joke- laughed. A few weeks later the ad was reposted, but this time for $18,000. How could that be? I sent an email to the seller, my interest was peaked, and I wanted to take a look at this thing. But the asking price was still WAY out of my budget by OVER DOUBLE.

The trolley was at an equipment trader - NOBODY knew anything about it. They got it as part of a larger deal, and it was just sitting around- they wanted it gone. It was somewhat frustrating to have someone show you what could be your most significant investment, project, and commitment to date - and be of no help. They just opened the door and watched me poke, pry and crawl around.

*So who manufactured this?" - "no idea.*
*What does it have for an engine?" - "no idea."
*Where did it come from" - "no idea."
*How much will you take for it" - "no idea, but ill ask the boss."
.
I should have known when the owner reported multiple bus companies coming to inspect the trolley, all of which walked away from- that I was about to get into a much bigger project than anticipated. But I was stoked and knew this was the perfect platform for my camper conversion.

*After meeting with a few banks to see about taking out a loan and eventually selling my soul- I took it home for $11,000. *

yeah!7 (1 of 1).jpg
yeah!5 (1 of 1) copy.jpg

yeah!4 (1 of 1).jpg
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Old 04-19-2019, 11:26 PM   #5
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It sure was fun having seats to drive around 21 of your friends comfortably.. and you can bet I packed as many of my ski bum friends into the back as I could for some late night drives around town! A part of me wishes I enjoyed that phase more than I did. But I didn't get the trolley to give out tours. I got it to create an art studio and a home to live! So the seats came out pretty darn fast. Solid oak, with genuine gum, stuck to the undersides. For sale, $120 each if anyone is interested.

seats (1 of 1).jpg
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Old 04-19-2019, 11:59 PM   #6
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swlow.jpg


*Storytime*

Immediately after getting the trolley, I left for Joshua Tree, CA on assignment to take pictures of an acro yoga and rock climbing retreat. I didn't come back for over a month..

Staying out it California put me behind schedule on getting the trolley livable for the winter season, and there was already a TON of snow in New Hampshire! As a ski photographer, and 18" of white fluffy stuff in the forecast, I threw together the quickest conversion one could imagine. A cheap kerosene heater from Home Depot, a folding table, and a bed I stole from my parent's house. Boom.

Trolley conversion Phase 1.
*It was terrible.*
* Self-reflection.... Yet so much fun...*

inside o me (1 of 1).jpg

heat low.jpg

Although the skiing was EPIC, the living was the worst. Seriously. Kerosene heat + sub-zero temps + late night makeout sessions with the ski bunny staying with you + snowy ski gear + 60 glass windows = the worst case of freezing condensation you can imagine.

Every morning I would scrape THE INSIDE of the trolley windows and accumulate around 3 modest snowball-sized heaps of frost into a bowl and toss it out the window. Hilarious. Yet, not a sustainable way to live. So I drove south back to the workshop to build Phase 2.


Did I mention the trolley doesn't have any heat? Ya. It was COLD.

Picture taken after driving a drafty trolley 4 hours on the highway in a snowstorm, thank goodness for loud electronic music to keep the blood flowing, otherwise, I'd have gone entirely hypothermic-

itscold (1 of 1).jpg
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Old 04-20-2019, 12:35 AM   #7
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*So where are you at NOW..? (Part 1)

It's been 3 months of deconstruction. Early morning, late nights. Where has the time gone? What month is it? How did I get here? Yikes. I think this project is making me crazy.

Initially, I only wanted to fix walls that were affected by water leaks. Easy enough, Right? Wrong. The damage was unimaginably worse.

The rear windows are removable - when it was beautiful and sunny, 6 bolts would quickly remove the entire window structure to reveal a giant view hole - "YAY, LETS GO FOR A TROLLEY RIDE!" But the foam gasket that sealed that gaping hole got as dry as an old kitchen sponge and water would leak right in with every rainstorm.

After removing the window brackets, I found all the wood had decomposed to an unrecognizable state. Mushrooms of some sorta were growing behind it and there was mold everywhere. Pictures show damage better than words.

mold3.jpg

mold1.jpg

mold2.jpg
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Old 04-20-2019, 12:56 AM   #8
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*So where are you at NOW..? (Part 2)

As I made progress on taking the walls apart, evaluating the damage (Which turns out to be EVERYTHING) I notice the floor was spongy... I crawl underneath, and it appears to be metal. How can that be?

*Deep sigh..*
*It was not metal...*

The floor was fiberglass. Above that, wood, and that - had become rotted as well. Spongy, water saturated, and moldy as can be. So it all came up. Which, involved a painstaking estimated 40+ hours of human-powered effort to remove every screw (there was over 300) filled with glue or rust, that needed to get removed.

floor tikes 2.jpg

floor yike.jpg

At this point, I am down to the frame. The sub skeletal structure of the trolly body is welded to the frame, so I can't take it apart anymore... I think I finally removed all the rotting wood! Besides the ceiling, there are only a few pieces of wood left: the dash, and the instrument panel.

*Ha... Haha...*
*Crazy eyes, hands shaking, lots of sweat and bloody knuckles."

It should be mostly forward-ish progress from here.

The picture was taken today of my dad helping prep the frame for paint.

floor yikes 3.jpg
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Old 04-20-2019, 02:15 AM   #9
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Looks like you are living up to your tag line ... stay wild.


You have one wild ride there. It is a gem and will be even moreso once you are done with it!
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Old 04-20-2019, 08:08 AM   #10
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very unique - I'm looking forward to following the build
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Old 04-20-2019, 08:15 AM   #11
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Hard to find a nice trolley. They usually get beaten to death.
Very cool to see one getting built out. Be VERY careful not to break any windows. They're the most expensive windows I've heard of in a modern bus.
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Old 04-20-2019, 10:46 AM   #12
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Very cool! Gotta like a misfit!



How fast and hows it handle at highway speeds?
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Old 04-20-2019, 10:56 AM   #13
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You got your hands full. cool about the history. How is it geared? good highway speeds? handling? keep those pics coming. looking forward to seeing the progress.
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Old 04-20-2019, 01:42 PM   #14
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Join Date: Apr 2019
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Year: 1994
Chassis: GMC
Engine: 454 Big Larry
d1.jpg

The trolley drives live a yacht on land - quiet, smooth and built to cruisssseeeee!

Faster than any vehicle I have ever owned. (Also the newest) I'm not going to burn any rubber at the track, but step too hard on that skinny floor pedal, and you'll feel the g-force send you back into your seat a bit! Cruise control will hold steady at 65-70 on the highway. Yes, it has cruise control! Feet up on the dash and it holds straighter than an OH slot car. Hydraulic steering means U-turns with a pinky finger on the wheel as I sip a latte in the other.

Right. On. Right. On.

d2.jpg

There appear to be airbags in the suspension - embedded in the front coils up front, and out back they sit in their own buckets. Dangly little airlines run from nipples on the bumper with standard tire pressure valves- What be these? Ride stability? Ride height? Can they be adjusted? If you know, let me know!

The front sits very low - I assume to compensate for its previous life of driving around a bunch of hot chocolate drinking, mitten-wearing, wide-eyed little children as it cruised around town with Santa telling Holliday tales over the built it PA system-

However, I don't plan to have 20+ kids just a lot of rock climbing and ski equipment. I'd love to level it off. Preferably by lifting the front! Think I can pump up those front bags adjust the height? Bad idea? Try it? Don't do it? Maybe?

*edit* the engine is a 7.4l big larry, not a 6.7l
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Old 04-20-2019, 02:30 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Squally the Trolley View Post
Attachment 32114

The trolley drives live a yacht on land - quiet, smooth and built to cruisssseeeee!

Faster than any vehicle I have ever owned. (Also the newest) I'm not going to burn any rubber at the track, but step too hard on that skinny floor pedal, and you'll feel the g-force send you back into your seat a bit! Cruise control will hold steady at 65-70 on the highway. Yes, it has cruise control! Feet up on the dash and it holds straighter than an OH slot car. Hydraulic steering means U-turns with a pinky finger on the wheel as I sip a latte in the other.

Right. On. Right. On.

Attachment 32115

There appear to be airbags in the suspension - embedded in the front coils up front, and out back they sit in their own buckets. Dangly little airlines run from nipples on the bumper with standard tire pressure valves- What be these? Ride stability? Ride height? Can they be adjusted? If you know, let me know!

The front sits very low - I assume to compensate for its previous life of driving around a bunch of hot chocolate drinking, mitten-wearing, wide-eyed little children as it cruised around town with Santa telling Holliday tales over the built it PA system-

However, I don't plan to have 20+ kids just a lot of rock climbing and ski equipment. I'd love to level it off. Preferably by lifting the front! Think I can pump up those front bags adjust the height? Bad idea? Try it? Don't do it? Maybe?

*edit* the engine is a 7.4l big larry, not a 6.7l
should be a simple matter of inflating those airbags to raise the front of your bus - I used to have air shocks on my pickup - they worked great when I was hauling top heavy horses, or a heavy load - I found it was best to pressurize the shocks before I had a load than after - I had trouble lifting a load with them, but once inflated, they were able to hold up a substantial load - - I like the idea of a skoolie made from a street car - I can picture hauling my sleddogs in a street car and arriving at a race in that - lol
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Old 04-20-2019, 03:55 PM   #16
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should be a simple matter of inflating those airbags to raise the front of your bus -
Great! I will pump pump pump them up! Any speculations as to how much PSI an airbag can hold? I'd rather not experiment by taking them to failure. I have not yet put a chuck on them. So I do not know if they are even pressurized in the front- however, the ones in the rear are collapsible by hand. I'd imagine 0psi at the moment.
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Old 04-20-2019, 04:56 PM   #17
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Awesome rig you have there, love the ceiling in it, the glass etc.



It'll be worth every effort you put into it to redo her.


I would add air to each side on the front gradually and see how it reacts being lifted. It will make a difference in the ride harshness also, inflating those bags.



I'm thinking they would make a difference in how any drain lines work if you are building in plumbing, so would take it to full height aat some point for a better idea how it sits overall.


John
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Old 04-20-2019, 06:03 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Squally the Trolley View Post
Great! I will pump pump pump them up! Any speculations as to how much PSI an airbag can hold? I'd rather not experiment by taking them to failure. I have not yet put a chuck on them. So I do not know if they are even pressurized in the front- however, the ones in the rear are collapsible by hand. I'd imagine 0psi at the moment.
I'd say enough to level out your 'street car' and I'd make sure there was at least some air in the rear air bags
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Old 04-24-2019, 06:08 PM   #19
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Holy ****.
WOW.
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Old 04-24-2019, 06:37 PM   #20
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So heres some small-ass world stuff. I overheard you talking about this a few weeks ago when you were playing day laborer at Lawless. Im the guy with the yellow box. Ive been lurking here for a while as I wait for the perfect bus to show up in the general New England area.


That said, this thing is pretty damn cool!
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