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Old 07-18-2016, 07:46 AM   #121
Almost There
 
Join Date: Sep 2013
Location: Mount Victory, OH
Posts: 85
Any updates? Awesome project.
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Old 07-18-2016, 12:32 PM   #122
Bus Crazy
 
Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: Salt Lake City Utah
Posts: 1,614
Year: 2000
Chassis: Blue Bird
Engine: ISC 8.3
Work has continued. Slowly. Unfortunately I've continued to let the camera roll but haven't sifted through it to pick out and post photos. They'll come.. I can't believe it's already 10 months since I posted an update!

Current status is that the roof raise is completed and all new hat channels and extensions are secured. I've poured far more time than I had anticipated into building basement storage. This bus had no basement from the factory; I'm building one that consumes all the space between the front tires and the wheelchair lift, less the space in the center where the 100 gallon fuel tank hangs. There are five access doors each about 45 by 19 inches; two on the right side and three on the left. Also on the left is a generator bay something like 39 inches wide by 23 high. As if those six doors and frames weren't enough to build, there are two more going in front of the front wheels. The front entry and stair well have been deleted. Next, just for good measure and consistency, I have to build a new door for the battery compartment at the back so it'll match the other 8. All but the battery door are formed but three still need to have their corners welded up.

The frame for the two basement doors on the right side was the first one built. Quite frankly, it turned out terribly. The gaps between some pieces were a bit too big, I tried to hurry too fast, and it warped something awful when I welded it. The left side turned out much better so now I'm rebuilding the one for the right side. Last fall I bought a metal brake and a bunch of 20 gauge sheet metal (mostly galvanized; it wasn't until later that I learned where to buy galvanneal or electro-galv locally) and have formed all these pieces myself. It's taking a looong time.

I picked up the new skin (16 ga galvanneal for the bottom course; 18 ga galvanneal for the top course) about two months ago. The pieces are kinda-sorta fitted; the rear two on both sides have been trimmed, the wheel arch cut out, and openings for engine cooling, battery access, etc cut. Rivets, paint for the interior side of the metal, body seam sealer, etc are all on hand.. The excitement to get to work hanging those panels is making me crazy, but there's a bit of bubble in them that I need to figure out how to shrink out before installing the sheets to the bus.

Unfortunately the time has come to move out of the shop where I've been working the past three years. It has to be out by Saturday. This week will be focused on packing things up. It's a bit of a problem; I don't like the idea of moving the bus 30 miles with no sides attached to keep the walls and roof steady. Probably I'll end up parking it outside at the property next door to the shop until I finish the basement doors and frames and get at least the first few pieces of exterior sheet installed.
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Old 12-04-2018, 10:26 AM   #123
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Oct 2018
Location: Michigan
Posts: 22
Year: 2004
Coachwork: Blue Bird
Chassis: CS RE
Engine: 300HP ISC 8.3L w/ B3/400R Trans
Hey family_wagon!

Thanks for posting all of the detail. I'm looking to potentially purchase a similar bus (BB CS RE) and the pictures you've provided and steps so far have helped immensely with my not dismissing it due to the fiberglass front cap and rear end. I'm still not sure though, especially with all of the trouble you've seen. Your pictures have really helped my not knowing the internal structure on these vs. all of the skoolies everyone's working on. We definitely want to do a roof raise and figuring out how to replace/modify the fiberglass pieces (or modify the rear somehow) has been the challenge. taskswap makes fiberglass not seem too bad, though would be quite a learning process, I'm sure.

What did you end up doing for your front cap? And how did you modify the rear end following your cuts to get it modified, aesthetically pleasing and re-attached? Would it be possible for you to dump the remaining pictures you took to a Google drive so I could look through them? Did you end up continuing your project after having to leave the garage? Thanks for all the documentation!
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Old 12-09-2018, 05:56 PM   #124
Bus Crazy
 
Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: Salt Lake City Utah
Posts: 1,614
Year: 2000
Chassis: Blue Bird
Engine: ISC 8.3
Still working.. slowly.. The "pace" (if we can call it that) for the past several years has amounted to several weeks up to maybe 3 months of work done during the entire year. And of course that's just a handful of evenings and a moderate chunk of the Saturdays. I get myself involved in way too many projects! I honestly hoped I'd actually spray some paint this fall -- primer, at least -- but didn't quite get there. I did get the wheels sanded and painted, and some body filler...

Yesterday I got out and took a few pictures. Here's how the front stands now. The new sheet metal is full height all the way to the windshield frame. I held the cut-up pieces of front cap in place for a mock-up two months ago, and I think I'm going to have to cut off part of that front-top corner of sheet metal, but I don't recall now.
frontend.jpg

It was about two months ago that I finally got brave and took a saw to the front cap. It'll need more trimming, but this was sufficient for the purpose of doing a little mock-up. Here are the pieces, supported by my local snow bank. I think the upper portion should actually be higher than what the snowbank could accommodate: there should be about 16 inches vertical change at the cut line. The top piece is cut more-or-less how it'll be; the lower piece needs to have more removed. The plan is to craft a curve going from the top, there where it steps down below the marker lamps, arching down to the lower piece just above the destination sign cutout.
frontcap.jpg

Finally, a view of the rear. The fiberglass there hasn't changed a bit since I cut it something like 4 years ago.. In this picture the back is (still) covered with a temporary piece of sheet metal. You can see the large outline of 1x2 square tube which formed the opening for the rear window. Into that space I've built a smaller framework. One of the sliding windows removed from the side of the bus will be installed there.
rear.jpg
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Old 12-23-2018, 10:45 AM   #125
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Oct 2018
Location: Michigan
Posts: 22
Year: 2004
Coachwork: Blue Bird
Chassis: CS RE
Engine: 300HP ISC 8.3L w/ B3/400R Trans
Glad to hear you haven't given up on it. And thanks for the additional information!

We ended up making a purchase. I've been sick since we got home, so haven't started the demo yet. Our bus is similar, but slightly different (it's a prison bus), so I'm curious to see how similar they are structurally. Our front cap is very similar to yours. My thought is to use the existing cap as a partial mold/base for a new cap that custom fabricated via fiberglass also. It sounds like we could get a bit more creative with the "transition" than the skoolies have been doing because it'll be carved into foam. I've entertained trying to tackle this myself, but it'll depend on how long the other prep work takes me to get to that point. I'm going to ask the guy I've been talking with for a quote so I'm prepared if we want him to handle it. The challenge will be we'll need the roof raise completely done before we can start molding so the piece fits correctly.

Our rear end also has a fiberglass cap, and my thoughts after talking to a local fiberglass guy is to cut it where you cut it, but while it's on the bus, and then fill it after the raise. We have an additional challenge here because our bus has a large Carrier AC unit above the engine that we'll be removing, and a grate in the roof above that which will need to be filled with sheet metal.

I'll get a thread going once I get to start tackling it. Thanks again for all of the information! I'm hopeful it'll be helpful as I start working on ours.
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