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Old 07-31-2015, 01:51 AM   #1
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The bus for us

We have been the proud owners of our 1991 International bus for 3 weeks now. We drove up to the NC/VA border to pick it up, a 4 hour drive up. Which is about 5-6 hours with the bus. I had driven a manual twice before, both little trucks down back roads. My wife had much more experience than I and she was originally going to take the drive back down. But, anxiety of driving a huge bus with no registration or insurance and me needing to learn lead me to take a half hour down a back road in an attempt to learn. The bus seemed an easy vehicle to learn on, the PO had mentioned he had some of his boy scouts try and learn on it (the bus was originally bought to serve the local troop, but some change in regulations caused him to have to sell it and get a van instead).

So, we got it home without any troubles. Besides, of course, me stalling out on hills as people in small towns stare at me. I tried to play it off and smile and wave and start it back up and be on my way.

It, reportedly, has 1,022,XXX miles on the DT466 w/ manual spicer 5-speed transmission. This had me apprehensive, but from previous experience, I have learned that mileage is only half of the story when it comes to the condition of the vehicle. I think an engine can only really last that long with proper service and maintenance. Hopefully, it serves us well. We don't foresee a whole lot of driving or cross-country trips. Other than getting us and our home to Michigan, it will likely stay within the state boundaries.

Which reminds me- can anyone chime in on what state may offer better retitling? SC or MI?

So far, we have removed all the seats and de-paneled just under half of the interior. This is going to be a permanent home for us as we transition back to Michigan, I go back to school, get a job and settle in on our own land. So, who knows how long that could take. So far, the bus has seemed maybe a little small, but we are making it work! It had 11 windows and seems internal usable square footage is about 190.

A roof raise is not planned, though tempting. We will be removing all the interior and insulating for Michigan winters. I'll be attempting to hire a contractor to do it. We are trying to source some windows now, and I'm about at the point of contacting glass shops in town to try and get some dual pane units to make my own awning windows (open outwards from the bottom). Any ideas?
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1991 International. DT360. Spicer 5-speed manual transmission. Work in progress; spray foam, wood stove, etc...
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Old 07-31-2015, 01:56 AM   #2
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1991 International. DT360. Spicer 5-speed manual transmission. Work in progress; spray foam, wood stove, etc...
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Old 07-31-2015, 09:28 AM   #3
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good score on the bus! I love the idea you have a manual and you are now able to drive it.
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Old 07-31-2015, 09:45 AM   #4
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On your drive home, did you figure out that first gear can be skipped?
On the spicer five speeds first is almost 8:1 making it lower than reverse.
I find it easier to start in second than to try to get from first to second.
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Old 07-31-2015, 10:05 AM   #5
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The first 3 gears do go very quick. The reverse is fairly high, yeah. It was a bit scary the first time backing up, because it jumps right off. If I could come off a dead stop into second like that, that would be great. I will have to give it a shot next time.

Driving through Appalachia fully loaded up to Michigan will be interesting.
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Old 07-31-2015, 10:06 AM   #6
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5 speed Spicer?...sweet...but curious what your hi-way speeds work out to.
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Old 07-31-2015, 10:12 AM   #7
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Yea, highway speeds aren't so favorable. I was feeling maxed out at 60 down back roads. 50 felt more comfortable. Pushed the clutch down a big hill and got up to 65 and it felt real smooth, so that's good at least.
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Old 07-31-2015, 10:28 AM   #8
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Only reason I asked is that I recall someone with what sounds like the same set up swapping their axle gearing to get comfortable at 65. Apparently was not that big a deal.
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Old 07-31-2015, 12:22 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tango View Post
Only reason I asked is that I recall someone with what sounds like the same set up swapping their axle gearing to get comfortable at 65. Apparently was not that big a deal.
Not a big deal at all! Then you can use "granny-low" for an actual 1st gear... Mind you, reverse will be really QUICK!
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Old 07-31-2015, 02:34 PM   #10
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granny low is some times very nice!

I wonder if you could take the tranny apart, swap the 1st gear and reverse gears to get the slow reverse and an ok first?
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Old 07-31-2015, 08:41 PM   #11
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I have a layout going here. We sketched it out with my daughter's sidewalk chalk on the floor. Seemed to be okay... but those wheel wells are tricky. As this layout is now, you could not shower in the bath. The tub would need to sit on the wheel well. We have been thinking about picking up a water trough from tractor supply for that and building some heavy duty wood support to get the fit right. But, I'd still like to shower for real. Maybe the toilet can sit over the wheel well instead. That would create an awfully odd space though.

Maybe moving the bathroom to the front of the bus would be better.

The rear storage would be totally accessible from the rear door. Tubs could be slid underneath the bed. I would paint the inside of the door windows and hang tools on the reverse wall of the "headboard". There would be 2 or 3 levels of steps proceeding from the doorway and wrapping its way to the night stands. These could be accessed by pulling up pieces of wood that cover them and store clothes or whatever. More drawings to come on that. I may have to cardboard mock up that to see how it would really work in that space. The edges have the least headroom, but I'm not sure I would really use that small amount of space for real walking anyways, just scooting my way into or out of bed.
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Old 08-02-2015, 10:26 PM   #12
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Got the floor out today. There was no plywood subfloor, only deteriorated glue barely holding on to rubber. The rust wasn't too bad, shouldn't be too big of a chore to remove and treat. We got out the DSLR and the rest of our pictures should be a little nicer to look at.

The pictures speak for themselves, we tore that bus up. I have a friend coming to help next weekend, so hopefully we can drop the ceiling and walls and start treating rust.

I've included a imgur album since the forums won't resize my pictures for me, or at least I'm assuming that's why my uploads keep failing.

If you look at the pictures I have some of a link of the driveshaft. It seems to be separating. What might cause this to happen? Also, you'll notice the inner set of rear tires have quite a bit of wear. I am pretty upset at myself that I didn't notice that when I bought it.
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Old 08-04-2015, 12:21 AM   #13
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I think it would work a lot better to embed these images into my posts. Maybe I'll redo that last post. But, we are considering a roof raise, liek this wanderlodge here:

https://www.flickr.com/photos/25276600@N04/9496508246/

I'd like to leave the end caps where they are. doing one like this seems less daunting and I actually like the look it will provide. I will likely leave the front and back parts of the cab intact at the same length.
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Old 08-04-2015, 09:27 AM   #14
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I am all for leaving the factory caps intact, but you might consider sloping that roofline. It will make a world of difference in drag.
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Old 08-05-2015, 12:31 AM   #15
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I am reading through wmkailey's build thread, and it's causing me to still go back and forth on the raise. As I work on the bus, I have yet to have my head even graze the ceiling, but I know I will be loosing at least an inch.

Also, seeing his leaks makes me have second thoughts on doing spray foam insulation. I worry that that would be sealing it all up for life and whatever leaks that may develop, I would have no way to get to them and seal it up and ensure it dries out properly.
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Old 08-05-2015, 07:02 PM   #16
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Local craigslist has an old coal/wood stove.



From what I've read one important factor of having a wood or coal stove in your bus is a good seal on the door. I don't really know much about this type of stove. Any thoughts? The price seems right. Three and a half feet tall may seem a bit overkill, though.
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Old 08-05-2015, 07:07 PM   #17
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I feel roofs should be left one piece, as they are the strongest part of the entire structure.

When I cut mine loose, parts of the floor sagged from rusty floor supports. That means the roof was keeping the floor in position.

Nat
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Old 08-05-2015, 07:58 PM   #18
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I am not totally sold on a roof raise yet. I am wanting to build so that I can break into the walls with ease at later dates to address leaks that arise. This may allow me to do the raise at a later date. But, we will see how deep in $ I get once I have half of my window openings covered. I may not want to ever cut all that. I am on a timeline of about a year to be able to at least move in. That means new windows and insulated and plumbed. A battery bank and sockets for shore power.

If I am using the bus engine to charge house batteries, might I need an alternator with higher rating?
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1991 International. DT360. Spicer 5-speed manual transmission. Work in progress; spray foam, wood stove, etc...
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Old 08-05-2015, 10:26 PM   #19
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Leaks are fixed from the outside, not the inside.

You need a alternator with a higher duty cycle.

Using your alternator to charge your house battery's is the worst, and highest cost method of all options available.


Nat
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Old 08-05-2015, 10:33 PM   #20
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Nice looking heater, small footprint. I know nothing about them.
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