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Old 07-22-2020, 06:56 PM   #1
Mini-Skoolie
 
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Join Date: Jul 2020
Location: Eastern Shore of VA and Fleming County, KY
Posts: 68
Year: 2004
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: Saf-T-Liner
Engine: CAT 3126E210
unleashed 2.0 - or "let's try this again shall we?"

So it was apparently 2009 when I started my last conversion, as seen here:
https://www.skoolie.net/forums/f11/b...shed-3721.html

Life has a funny way of changing your path, no matter how much you plan.

I ended up being busless for many years, but now I'm back at it again. I just re-read my initial posting in the old thread, and it brings back memories.

I have spent the past several days catching up on some of the newer build threads. PorkChopSandwich's build of a 98 or 99 Montgomery County MD bus was a great read. Kazetsukai's thread was another great read. I've picked up so much inspiration and motivation from the various threads.

Currently, the bus is a 2004 Thomas Saf-T-Liner, CAT 3126E210, MD3060 (with 6th locked out), from Montgomery County MD, bus # 03008. It has air brakes, air door, and an air ride seat. Leaf spring + shocks suspension. No idea on the rear end gearing, but 65mph on the highway is about 2300/2400 RPM.

When removing the seats last summer, the bolts were too rusted to deal with, so we chopped the legs off as low as possible, built up the floor with some 2x2 boards, filled in the rest of the space with foam insulation, and put 3/4" plywood on top. That was fine for the time, but now, I'm reconsidering these decisions.

I think I need to radically re-think my approach, rather than continue as I have been. I was trying to not undo any work that wasn't strictly necessary, and aiming to be able to move in by fall.

This week, reality has been slapping me silly with 100+ degree days with sauna levels of humidity. There's just no way that time line is realistic unless I can find indoor temperature controlled space to work on it. Considering it's a huge bus, that's not easily done.

Now I'm setting my target date as January 1. I have no illusions that I'll actually hit that date, but if I set that as the goal, it'll be more motivation. I anticipate it'll be closer to April or May that I can live within it.

Today I had to drive 3 hours each way to a customer site to do some work, and driving has always been my best cogitating time.

Many factors contributed into the mix. Having difficulty fitting everything inside the bus is a factor. Hating the entire front door area is a factor. The driver side emergency door is a factor. Closing in the windows is a factor. It's a high ceiling bus, but that's still not very tall, that's a factor. What to do with tankage, weight distribution, HVAC, electrical, battery banks, generator, appliances, etc... more factors.

It would be easy to be overwhelmed. But seeing completed (or near completed) projects so close to my own are helping avoid the overwhelming sensation.

So I determined, I need to pull up my wooden floor, the insulation, and the spacers. I need to seriously attack the remaining pieces of seat supports and get them out of there. I need to get the rubber flooring up. I need to inspect what I find under there, and keep going until I reach metal flooring, and then address any rust I find. This is the foundation everything else relies upon.

I need to remove all the school bus windows. They just leak too much, and transfer too much heat. So I need to skin over the windows, then install windows I like where I need them. Good windows.

I need to deal with the entire driver's area. Eventually, that means replacing the driver side glass with something better and e-rated. It also means removing the front door and steps entirely. Yes, you read that right. This means building a new door and steps somewhere amidships on the curb side. This means metal fabrication. I finally have a line on metal supplies reasonably close, and I have a friend that welds that I'm attempting to convince to help me. I might need to throw some money that way to make it happen, but it'll be worth it. I need to add a front passenger seat, because it is nice to have a navigator.

I also am considering replacing the air ride driver seat. It leaks, and only stays aired up if it is at the full height position. Worse, when the bus porpoises as it tends to do, you end up slamming down to the bottom and jarring your spine badly. I've gotten good at catching myself with my feet when it happens. Most of the time. But surely there is a better solution.

Speaking of porpoising, I really need to get more weight on the front axle. With a full fuel tank, and otherwise basically empty, it has 6,440 pounds on the front axle, which is rated for 12,350. I figure I need 8,000 to 10,000 on the front axle to offset the engine behind the rear axle. Also, when towing, I need to use the WD hitch instead of letting that tongue weight ride on the rear of the bus.

Speaking of metal fabrication.... I'm seriously giving thought to a roof raise after all. There are many good examples in this forum of making it happen, and I'm pretty sure I can do this safely with the help of my friend, and my dad's help as well. The possibilities that this opens up are staggering.

I intend to delete the driver side emergency exit door. It's just in the worst possible place, and if I put the primary entrance on the other side, it is redundant.

I still want the bedroom in the back, but I'm considering making the space right behind the driver's area into the living room, assuming the 2 front seats can swivel towards the back.

Bathroom would be on the driver's side in front of the bedroom, and galley forward of that, leaving most of the passenger side as a clear walkway. At least, in theory.

This is still a very fluid concept in my head. I'll have to start over with sketchup to refine them. And I still have to get my friend on board to help.

In the meantime, I'll be hitting the bus in the early mornings, undoing all the previous work. And relocating it to the shadiest spot in the yard, because 100+ degrees really sucks inside a solar oven.

Oh, another thing. I was planning to leave the ceiling insulation in place, and not take down any of the panels. Now I want to drop the panels and add insulation up there, and seal it really really good.

There are some other thoughts rattling around upstairs, but not yet ready for the light of day. They're really out there, and require some more research and measuring for feasibility. And sanity checking... probably won't pass a sanity check.

I originally approached this conversion as wanting to do a really really fast and basic conversion, reusing as much of the previous work as possible (see my intro thread for details here: https://www.skoolie.net/forums/f6/re...net-32192.html), and minimize out of pocket expenses.

After the weather's murderous intent lately, and re-evaluating my budget (time, and money), I think I have a better plan, even though it is much larger in scope, but also I hope more realistic in timeline.

This time I also have a 7x14 cargo trailer that I can use with the bus. That can be handy. And I still have my eye open for a short bus.

This bus is shorter than my original bus, and so my old plans don't fit. And the weeks of work I put into my "quick and cheap" conversion plans just got tossed out the window.

I'm very excited about this. I am grateful to the people that have inspired and motivated me to do a better job than I originally intended. With luck, I'll attain that goal now.

Jim
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Old 07-22-2020, 09:59 PM   #2
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I find if I leave most of the windows and door open (and with the shade of some trees!) my bus will stay at ambient temp so I can work on it -- rain can hamper this plan...

You want to get the old floor up -- it will suck a lot -- embrace the suck and do it!

You'll gain an inch of height with the old rubber mat and ply out. Once you see the mold on the old plywood you'll thank yourself twice for getting rid of it!

Just plan to get a grinder with a cutoff wheel and remove the bolt heads from above. Your welding friend will have grinder/cutoff wheel experience and can give you some tips. If you don't already own one -- I highly recommend you resist getting the cheapest one you can find and instead get one with a trigger switch -- or at least ensure the on/off switch is easy to use.
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Old 07-23-2020, 05:15 PM   #3
Mini-Skoolie
 
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Location: Eastern Shore of VA and Fleming County, KY
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Year: 2004
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Chassis: Saf-T-Liner
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Quote:
Originally Posted by banman View Post
I find if I leave most of the windows and door open (and with the shade of some trees!) my bus will stay at ambient temp so I can work on it -- rain can hamper this plan...

You want to get the old floor up -- it will suck a lot -- embrace the suck and do it!

You'll gain an inch of height with the old rubber mat and ply out. Once you see the mold on the old plywood you'll thank yourself twice for getting rid of it!

Just plan to get a grinder with a cutoff wheel and remove the bolt heads from above. Your welding friend will have grinder/cutoff wheel experience and can give you some tips. If you don't already own one -- I highly recommend you resist getting the cheapest one you can find and instead get one with a trigger switch -- or at least ensure the on/off switch is easy to use.
Yeah, ambient has been murder here lately, with a "feels like" temperature that has hit 125 a few times. There's only so much of that my body can take.

I pulled the floor in another bus once, that's a good way to put it. Embrace the suck. I know it'll be worth it in the end. Gut it down to the raw floor and "studs" so to speak. I'll get there, I just first have to remove the stuff covering all that stuff.

I have an angle grinder. I saw how PorkChopSandwich did a really deep cross cut across the tops of his bolts, then hit them with an air chisel. I need to get some cut off blades for the angle grinder, and do the same. And an air chisel.

I have a corded and cordless angle grinder. I think the corded is called for with this project.

Thanks for the feedback. I know that all my progress will be in the negative direction to start with, but that it's actually a good thing in the long run.

jim
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Old 07-23-2020, 07:11 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bp1791-unleashed View Post
I think I need to radically re-think my approach, rather than continue as I have been.
Hmm.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bp1791-unleashed View Post
Now I'm setting my target date as January 1. I have no illusions that I'll actually hit that date, but if I set that as the goal, it'll be more motivation. I anticipate it'll be closer to April or May that I can live within it.
I went for a year and a half time frame. I'm just getting out at year three. Some of it was periods of burnout, some of it was helplessness in winter.

The keys are to always be productive and avoid unnecessary work.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bp1791-unleashed View Post
Many factors contributed into the mix. Having difficulty fitting everything inside the bus is a factor. Hating the entire front door area is a factor. The driver side emergency door is a factor. Closing in the windows is a factor. It's a high ceiling bus, but that's still not very tall, that's a factor. What to do with tankage, weight distribution, HVAC, electrical, battery banks, generator, appliances, etc... more factors.
Sounds like you could benefit from organizing the work you have ahead of you:
  • Write each section down, giving a brief overview of what capabilities you'd like in each aspect of the bus.
  • Make note of dependencies- plumbing to a degree may depend on DC electrical as to power the pump.
  • Make note of planned iterations- DC electrical may start off as a 12V power supply just to give you the ability to test things or keep the lights on. A second iteration might be a basic battery and charger to allow you to go mobile. A third and final iteration might be full solar.
  • Don't expect to get all the details in one go. Start with a basic overview so that you have plenty of work you can dive into.
  • If there is an easier way to meet the same objective, consider it seriously. Delete that door, or just cover it up? What is the benefit of going the extra mile, and is it worth the additional time, effort and resources?
We use Scrum methodology at work and I tend to apply it to other efforts.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scrum_...re_development)


Elephants, one bite at a time. Mountains, one shovel at a time.


Quote:
Originally Posted by bp1791-unleashed View Post
I need to remove all the school bus windows. They just leak too much, and transfer too much heat. So I need to skin over the windows, then install windows I like where I need them. Good windows.

Oh, another thing. I was planning to leave the ceiling insulation in place, and not take down any of the panels. Now I want to drop the panels and add insulation up there, and seal it really really good.
Both are good ideas for a well insulated, quality build. Doing the floor isn't so bad. The ceiling was soul crushing. Virtually all the rusty screws had to come out with the pry bar or the air chisel.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bp1791-unleashed View Post
In the meantime, I'll be hitting the bus in the early mornings, undoing all the previous work. And relocating it to the shadiest spot in the yard, because 100+ degrees really sucks inside a solar oven.
If you can get yourself a tarp large enough over the roof to keep the sun off the metal, that will help quite a bit. Tropicool certainly helped. During the first summer, I paired this with a hastily installed window AC unit and a box fan just to take the edge off.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bp1791-unleashed View Post
I'm very excited about this. I am grateful to the people that have inspired and motivated me to do a better job than I originally intended. With luck, I'll attain that goal now.
Hoping I might be able to lend a hand at some point, we'll see.

Also, don't forget the pics man! Take lots of pics. Don't miss a thing either. My build thread is full of nostalgia and cringe. You will outright forget half the things you agonized over for weeks, sometimes as little as a month into the review mirror.
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Old 07-24-2020, 11:03 AM   #5
Mini-Skoolie
 
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Location: Eastern Shore of VA and Fleming County, KY
Posts: 68
Year: 2004
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: Saf-T-Liner
Engine: CAT 3126E210
Yeah, my timeline is aggressive. But, I'm home teleworking during the day, so that makes things easier. Most of the time, I just need to make sure to answer the phone for an emergency. Even when we return to work, there will be a very strong encouragement to telework.

I do have some in-person in-server room projects to work on in July and August, and possibly into early September, but the rest of the year should open up considerably after that.

Winter can be cold here, and miserable. But it can also be t-shirt weather on thanksgiving. That variability has always irritated me in the past because those nice weather days always landed on work days, and miserable days on weekends. With teleworking, I can work around that problem.

My hope is that the worst of the outside work can be handled in the fall, and once it is closed in properly, progress to interior work and get the mini splits installed to make it comfortable enough to work inside.

Scrum is interesting. I've been following Agile development practices for decades now. I'm constantly refactoring things, which is one reason a job takes longer. On the plus side, I've been refactoring my bus build since 2007 or so in my head and on the computer screen. And I am very aware that once you start puting ideas into wood (or steel), you quickly find the "best" way it should be done in your situation, and it's best to bend to that path rather than try to force things the way you had in your head. As long as it comes close to your original concept, and works and lasts well, that's all good.

I think I'll start with getting a solar shield. It's a lot like a tarp, but doesn't catch the wind as badly, and still lets light and rain through. It just reduces the amount of light (and IR heat) dramatically. I also need an air chisel, I thought I had one, but it seems nope. I'm also thinking it might be good to invest in a quality air compressor with some capacity to run multiple tools. All the ones here are old and worn out and have leaks and other issues.

One bite at a time is definitely a good approach.

A hand would definitely be appreciated. My welder friend is overwhelmed with needing to relocate his small engine repair business (the place he was renting is selling now), so I'll have to go it alone on that part. I've done some welding in the past, but nothing I'd be proud to show anyone, ever. LOL

Pics will be forthcoming. Right now it just looks like a standard rear engine bus with no seats. We've all seen those, so many times it isn't funny. But I'll scare up some I had to take for the insurance company last year.

Curently the bus is in my mom's name, tagged in kentucky as a private vehicle of some kind, with good sam insurance. Once the conversion is done, there's a process to get it reclassified as an RV, and I'll do that process. Right now it is tagged, insured, and drivable, and insurance is cheap enough, about 330/6months. Once it's titled as an RV, the farm bureau will insure it without issue.

So it is overcast and only 79 today. We had a major storm with lots of lightning last night, and a few buckets of rain. So, it is very muggy out there. Inside the bus is a sauna more than an oven.

I went out to make sure I had good measurements. For one thing, I never had good outside dimensions. The bus is right around 96" wide. I did not count mirrors or lights or eyebrows or bumper extensions (hitch) because that stuff isn't counted by the DOT. The height outside at the highest point (front roof vent, hatches, and strobe light) is right at 10'6", perhaps a smidge shy of that. That means my absolute max roof raise height is 36". Since I want to add solar panels at some point, my realistic max raise height is more like 30". So as the time approaches, I'll be thinking in terms of 24" to 30", and I will reduce as necessary for any factors I haven't thought of yet.

Outside dimensions:
Length: 408" = 34'
Width: 96" = 8'
Height: 126" = 10'6"

Inside dimensions:
Height: 77" = 6'5" behind the driver area, a bit lower at the very front (high-top thomas)
Width: 90" wall to wall below the chair rail, tapering in once you hit the windows.
Length: I only counted floor space, so that is from the dash to the engine compartment: 337" = 28'1". The engine area takes another 47" at the most and tapers as you go up from the top of the engine. Total usable front to back footage: 32'. The dash takes about 2' then. And the front and rear walls of course.


I'm starting to put together a plan of attack. What I want to do is define "jobs" that need to happen, along with their dependencies. This way I can nibble away at the various jobs, and not start one that depends on another. Some of the jobs will be small and have few dependencies, like wig-wag light removal. Others will be bigger, or have more dependencies. For example, I can't remove the driver side emergency exit and the front door until after the new amidship door opening and steps are in, because you still gotta get inside.

I also crawled under the bus and took a look in the amidships region on the passenger side. I have 2 and 2/3rds rib space in which I can put the steps without encroaching on a wheel well or an air tank. I also noticed that the floor sections always are in groups of 3, with every 3rd one landing at a rib. I filed that tidbit away for future reference.

Under the driver seat is steering stuff, and basically not a good place for extra storage. Where the front door is currently there will be a huge spot after that's removed and closed in. It might be a good place to stick a generator.

Before I can do any kind of body modifications, I first have to empty out the interior. That means removing all the previous work (much of which is just laying around in there now) as well as removing the fridge (and that was a real PITA to get in there, let me tell you) and the chest freezer (simple job).

I realized I need a place to put my in-progress stuff. I can't keep storing it inside the bus and working around it.

There's a 12x24 shed right next to the work area that currently is full of stuff that needs to be sorted and dealt with. Some of it needs to go to KY, some of it needs to be given back to the rightful owners that stored it there, and some of it needs to just go to the dump. So it looks like I'll be starting there, making room for my project work. This is all stuff that needed to happen anyway, I just now have more motivation to get to it.


there is approximately 26' of plywood down on the floor, from just behind the driver to the engine compartment, side to side, but not over the humps. This all needs to be removed and stored. The foam insulation board under that flooring needs to be removed and stored. The 2x2s used to help space it up from the floor need to be removed and stored. Only then can I start ripping out the old seat legs and the floor itself. I've given it a lot of thought, and I plan to remove the driver seat temporarily and pull up the flooring there as well. I'll leave the pedal area alone. Oh, did I mention I have adjustable pedals in addition to tilt/telescoping steering? It's nifty.

At some point, I need to address the whole dash area, because it's fairly crappy at the moment. The gauge cluster is off to the right. There are switches that seem to do nothing. There's a radio that sucks, hooked to speakers that suck. The main heater does not work, but the defrost does. The switches to the left are easily bumped sometimes. The electric mirror adjustments and heater switch are inconvenient at best. There's a webasto control panel (but no webasto heater, dangit) that needs to come out. I envision a dash rebuild in the future.

Ok, I'll post some pics soon. Enough rambling for the moment.

jim
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Old 07-24-2020, 12:35 PM   #6
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Location: Eastern Shore of VA and Fleming County, KY
Posts: 68
Year: 2004
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: Saf-T-Liner
Engine: CAT 3126E210
First day pics

The hopefully attached pics are when we got it home the first day, taken for the insurance company.
IMG_0470.jpeg

IMG_0471.jpeg

IMG_0472.jpeg

IMG_0473.jpeg

IMG_0474.jpeg

IMG_0475.jpeg
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Old 07-24-2020, 12:39 PM   #7
Mini-Skoolie
 
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Location: Eastern Shore of VA and Fleming County, KY
Posts: 68
Year: 2004
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: Saf-T-Liner
Engine: CAT 3126E210
The first 2 are the interior after a very basic ripout of the seats, installation of spacer + foam board + 3/4" plywood, with under seat heaters still installed. We removed those later.

IMG_0476.jpeg

IMG_0477.jpeg


These 2 pics were at one of the Pilot stations in Hagerstown MD. This was in November of 2019, driving back from Kentucky with an empty trailer. This was the first time towing the trailer with the bus, and the first time backing it into a parking space with the trailer and bus together. Nailed it!

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Old 07-24-2020, 01:10 PM   #8
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Location: Eastern Shore of VA and Fleming County, KY
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Year: 2004
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Chassis: Saf-T-Liner
Engine: CAT 3126E210
2020-07-24 outside images

If you look closely, you can see the 50A Marine power input, the white square above the bumper. On the bumper is a bolt-on hitch receiver, used to carry a cargo carrier with generator and fuel tanks.
IMG_1231.jpeg

Looking down the driver's side, you can see white spots that are Eternabond stuck over the holes left when removing the side stop signs. The paint is shiny where the equipment was removed. Under the emergency exit is a compartment where the webasto lived, but now is just a useless flimsy excuse to take up space.
IMG_1232.jpeg

Looking down the passenger side. The air operated door has little resistance to motion on its own when not aired up, so the bungie cord keeps it shut when the wind blows. Not a good long term solution, but it's worked so far. It helps to keep out the critters too. You can also see the cargo carrier off to the left that is usually on the front.
IMG_1233.jpeg

Rear of bus, with a bolt-on trailer hitch bolted to (if I remember correctly) 1/2" thick solid steel plate, which is bolted to the frame. The hole in the bumper was made by the installer. The D rings are bolted to the bumper for chain attachment. Combo 7pin/4pin trailer jack just above the bumper. Tiny hitch alignment camera above the hitch. Also works to keep an eye on the hitch when driving. Where the right side plate attachment goes there is a backup camera, also used to keep an eye on things and know when something has been passed. Trailer also has a setup like that, which is really useful.
IMG_1235.jpeg

Close up of hitch area.
IMG_1236.jpeg

Battery compartment. Extension cord runs a 6A battery minder, which keeps them from running flat on their own. That webasto controller is a parasitic load, amongst many.
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Driver side emergency door, and webasto compartment beneath it. Very poorly supported too. Can't store much more than 50-60 pounds in there. Lots of holes for things to fall out, and water to get inside.
IMG_1247.jpeg

The electrical access under the driver side window.
IMG_1248.jpeg
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Old 07-24-2020, 01:12 PM   #9
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Location: Eustis FLORIDA
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Chassis: Freighliner FS65
Engine: Cat 3126
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Great bus! Very clean, too.
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Old 07-24-2020, 01:18 PM   #10
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Location: Eastern Shore of VA and Fleming County, KY
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Year: 2004
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Chassis: Saf-T-Liner
Engine: CAT 3126E210
2020-07-24 Engine compartment

Wide view of the engine compartment open.
IMG_1237.jpeg

passenger side, hydraulic operated fan, radiator, intercooler, transmission cooler integrated. Nice gap between the air inlet and the radiator for adding electric fans.
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The side hatch for the radiator access open. plenty of room.
IMG_1239.jpeg

engine itself, that salt really took its toll.
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mystery control box that is impossible to remove or gain entry to due to rust. Top two switches and bottom center switch do operate, starter does not, and engine compartment illumination only sometimes works. Relays to the left and fuse panel to the left added by us for the "bypass all the interlocks" push button start.
IMG_1241.jpeg

alternator, air cleaner, etc. also, coolant lines for heater, with a filter and a pump hidden back in there.
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closer view of the same.
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top of engine label. really needs to be cleaned and information preserved.
IMG_1244.jpeg

the other end of that label.
IMG_1245.jpeg
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Old 07-24-2020, 01:20 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EastCoastCB View Post
Great bus! Very clean, too.
Thanks!

Well, it *looks* clean, but there's a lot of rust still.

34' total exterior length. And I plan to make it better of course (for my definition of better).
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Old 07-24-2020, 01:31 PM   #12
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Location: Eastern Shore of VA and Fleming County, KY
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Year: 2004
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2020-07-24 Interior pics

Standing about at row 1, looking back. The black fridge to the left was on top of the wheel hump to the right, but I'm dismantling things. That's why there's a huge pile of lumber. The whynter chest fridge/freezer is in the back. The pallets were free, and let me have things up off the floor where the water doesn't reach.

To the left are a black 100' 30A 220V power cord, and a yellow 40' 30A 220V power cord. Both have been used when needed. There is also a 30A 220V to 50A 220V adapter segment, perfectly sized to go straight to the generator or plug into one of the extension lines and plug in in the garage. Eventually want to replace with a 50A 220V cord, and add a circuit in the garage for it.
IMG_1249.jpeg

Same spot, looking forward. One of the donor campers is out the windshield, and you can just see my suburban dead ahead, and the cargo van off to the right.
IMG_1271.jpeg

looking up the stairs to the driver's seat. Under the grab rail to the right there is a fuse panel.
IMG_1272.jpeg

The most important add-on to date. A place to set the phone and hold a cold beverage while driving. Does really well too. Screwed into the floor.
IMG_1273.jpeg
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Old 07-24-2020, 01:35 PM   #13
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Engine: CAT 3126E210
2020-07-24 dash fuse panel

First two pics are the label under the fuse door. Lots of dust there because it's also the airway for the defroster. Great design.
IMG_1250.jpeg

IMG_1254.jpeg

Fuse panel
IMG_1251.jpeg

Data link connector and the little box that controls turn signals, wipers, etc.
IMG_1252.jpeg

2 more fuse panel cover things I haven't gotten open yet. Need to undo a screw and it swivels up, then you can open them.
IMG_1253.jpeg
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Old 07-24-2020, 01:50 PM   #14
Mini-Skoolie
 
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Join Date: Jul 2020
Location: Eastern Shore of VA and Fleming County, KY
Posts: 68
Year: 2004
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: Saf-T-Liner
Engine: CAT 3126E210
2020-07-24 dash/controls

Left side of driver, under driver window. both mirror adjustments, the webasto control unit, mirror heat, id marker lights (parking lights equivalent), strobe switch, driver area fan switches
IMG_1255.jpeg

more switches
IMG_1256.jpeg

That fuse panel was added by me (obviously) to feed the GPS, ham radio, cellular router, etc when traveling. Also powers the displays for the rear cameras only one of which is still mounted above the driver at the moment.
IMG_1257.jpeg

close up of the corner. You can see the pedal adjust switch. Also, that silver push-button switch is the starter. It triggers a relay that puts 12v to the starter solenoid in the back.
IMG_1258.jpeg

another view of the panel to the left.
IMG_1259.jpeg

and another one...
IMG_1260.jpeg

Defrost works, but heater is totally non-functional. brrrr.
IMG_1261.jpeg

ecm diag switch. no idea what to do with it.
IMG_1262.jpeg

fast idle switch, headlight switch, and alison controls. note, this bus has DRLs.
IMG_1263.jpeg

dimmer for the dash lamps, and the ability to turn off traction control. I think this also has ABS.
IMG_1264.jpeg

turn signal and wiper controls. One control for both wipers, but they are NOT synchronized. Intermittent is nice though.
IMG_1265.jpeg

tilt/telescoping control
IMG_1266.jpeg

pedal adjust
IMG_1267.jpeg

instrument cluster. meh. hard to read when driving.
IMG_1268.jpeg

crappy stereo, totally useless.
IMG_1269.jpeg

wig-wag light controls.
IMG_1270.jpeg
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Old 07-24-2020, 01:56 PM   #15
Mini-Skoolie
 
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Location: Eastern Shore of VA and Fleming County, KY
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Year: 2004
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: Saf-T-Liner
Engine: CAT 3126E210
Ok, so I also crawled under the bus to see the feasibility of relocating the door from the front to amidships.

amidships_door_potential.jpeg

You can see the back of the air tank extends about 1/3rd of the way into the one rib area, leaving 2/3rds of it open, and there are 2 more complete rib areas before the wheel hum. Plenty of space to add steps for a relocated door. yay!

And of course, no bus conversion picture set is complete without the obligatory pile of seats photo:
seat_pile.jpeg

We stripped off everything but the metal, and piled them in the old goat pen that was later turned into a chicken isolation ward, and then later had no animals. Now it just has weeds and steel seat bits. Eventually, that'll all go to the scrap yard, but in the meantime, it's steel I can practice plasma cutting and welding on without spending money to do so.

And thus ends my picture posting for the day. whew. That took considerable time.

jim
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Old 07-24-2020, 02:29 PM   #16
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Join Date: May 2017
Location: Windham NH
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Year: 1999
Coachwork: Amtran
Chassis: International RE
Engine: International T444e
Rated Cap: 76
That center beverage holder, I need to get one of those. I think I've got a RAM ball up front for a cup holder.


You have not only enough space for a new entryway, but underbelly storage from the looks of it. Having a trailer you might not need it, however. One of my first additions, but my current use for it (noisy inverter and future LiFePO4 bank bay) is totally an after-sight.
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Old 07-24-2020, 02:37 PM   #17
Mini-Skoolie
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kazetsukai View Post
That center beverage holder, I need to get one of those. I think I've got a RAM ball up front for a cup holder.
This is it: https://smile.amazon.com/gp/product/B000FGLQCK/

Quote:
Originally Posted by kazetsukai View Post
You have not only enough space for a new entryway, but underbelly storage from the looks of it. Having a trailer you might not need it, however. One of my first additions, but my current use for it (noisy inverter and future LiFePO4 bank bay) is totally an after-sight.
The driver side is just as empty, except that it has that stupid webasto box. And the air tanks hug the frame, so there's still about 16-18 inches of space between the skirt and the air tanks from those points forward. The passenger side does have that fuel fill line running through there, and an air release tube along with it.

It is definitely promising for future tankage and/or batteries.

Once I pull that webasto control out and any associated cabling, I'll need to offer it up here on the forum, in case someone needs one.

jim
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Old 07-24-2020, 06:27 PM   #18
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Location: Eastern Shore of VA and Fleming County, KY
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Chassis: Saf-T-Liner
Engine: CAT 3126E210
a little progress is still progress, right?

today's progress...

I went out there several times, as heat would allow. I removed the built structure around the driver side front wheel hump, and removed all the screws from the 2 plywood floor panels forward of the 2 front wheel humps.

I also walked down the line dropping the clamps that keep the windows in. only one shifted even a little, and it's still too tight to pop out easily. But, the clamps and screws are removed, so it'll be trivial to pop them out later.

I removed the front half of the wire channel (hah, it's empty on the right side, but whatever) above the windows on the passenger side, and found a cute little maryland license plate logo magnet that says THANKS. So I stuck it to the door over the windshield.

I realized I had neglected that area in earlier photos. So here it is:
IMG_1274.jpeg

and a close-up of the magnet:
IMG_1275.jpeg

And inside, a little "data radio" module, probably 800 or 900 mhz, likely tied in with the fleet maintenance software. The coax goes to a tiny antenna over the main door:
IMG_1276.jpeg

And finally, someone disconnected but forgot to remove the Fleet Manager 200 module:
IMG_1277.jpeg

Eventually I will go through and clean out all that junk. I currently treat that compartment like a glove box, with the registration, etc in there. And spare bulbs, etc.

Another thing I did was inspect all the panels. Ceiling panels are held in with screws that are a combo of robertson and phillips head. Same for the wall panels. I was worried it might be torx like my last Thomas or worse: riveted like a bluebird I saw once. So I'm ready to drop those panels when the time comes.

Speaking of dropping the ceiling panels and raising the roof, any suggestions on which to do first? I'm thinking the panels will add some rigidity and anti-racking ability to the roof during the raise, but once raised, it'll be harder to reach the panels and clean things from the inside. Opinions anyone?

There's also a breather vent thing shortly behind the driver. Anyone just seal that up or is there a good reason to keep it?

And one last question for the moment... for the emergency roof hatches, I can pop them up, down, one end up, etc, but I have not for the life of me figured out how to disconnect one side so I can open it like a hatch without breaking something. Is there a trick to this?

thanks,
jim
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Old 07-24-2020, 06:46 PM   #19
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Join Date: May 2017
Location: Windham NH
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Year: 1999
Coachwork: Amtran
Chassis: International RE
Engine: International T444e
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bp1791-unleashed View Post
And one last question for the moment... for the emergency roof hatches, I can pop them up, down, one end up, etc, but I have not for the life of me figured out how to disconnect one side so I can open it like a hatch without breaking something. Is there a trick to this?
Usually there's a big bright red lever that disconnects the hatch from the gas struts on one end.


Take a picture of it if there's no lever. Hatches are meant as emergency egresses, so it should open some way.
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Old 07-24-2020, 06:59 PM   #20
Mini-Skoolie
 
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Join Date: Jul 2020
Location: Eastern Shore of VA and Fleming County, KY
Posts: 68
Year: 2004
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: Saf-T-Liner
Engine: CAT 3126E210
Quote:
Originally Posted by kazetsukai View Post
Usually there's a big bright red lever that disconnects the hatch from the gas struts on one end.


Take a picture of it if there's no lever. Hatches are meant as emergency egresses, so it should open some way.
IMG_1278.jpeg

Now I feel stupid. It clearly says "turn then push knob to open". Very clearly. And all this time I've been reading "turn knob then push to open". So that's what I've done. turned it to "to exit" and pushed up on the whole thing to open it up a few inches. Looking at it in the picture it is so clear how the knob works as the egress mechanism, and the gas? spring? cylinders really just keep it up or down.

In my defense (and does anything good ever start with that phrase?) this is the first time I've been on a bus with hatches, and I do have dyslexia, and sometimes get things backwards.

It did take a while to get everything to line up and lock again though. whew. And I had left it open earlier, so it's good that I went out there to check on it.

Thanks for the pointer.
jim
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