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Old 07-28-2018, 03:00 PM   #1
Mini-Skoolie
 
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Doing the impossible. Converting in under 30 days.

So here's the background. We were living in Gainesville Florida while my wife got her Ph.D. during that time we purchase a home here. After she graduated she got a job teaching at Iowa State University for one year. A few months ago we discovered that she got a teaching at the University in Bellingham Washington. We had already planned on selling our house before we got this notice. So here is the problem, we had a bunch of our crap in Iowa that needed to get down to Florida. We also needed a vehicle that could haul trash from her home renovations to the dump and to the hardware store. Since it's probably going to be a couple years before my wife gets on a tenure-track oh, and I was really tired of packing up and moving every year, I bought a school bus. It was about the same price that U-Haul wanted if we were to move our stuff from Iowa to Florida and back up to Pennsylvania to see family before heading out to Washington. So the plan is to finish up with the house in Florida here this week, drive the bus up to my parents house in Pennsylvania and literally spend 12 to 15 hours a day for the next 25 to 30 days renovating the bus. I'm going to keep it fairly simple. The idea is to basically turn it into a studio apartment that I can work on further when I get to Washington State . First the bus needs to be painted because the RV Park near the University is expecting a fairly nice vehicle from the designs I showed them. Since the vehicle came from Iowa there's a decent amount of rust on the undercarriage. So that all needs to be angle ground down and Corosealed. Next I'm going to rip out all the walls and flooring and clean out the inside of the vehicle. I'll build the subfloor and frame out the different areas of the bus and spray foam it. I plan on putting acoustiblok all throughout the engine area near the driver. And if the house sells and time I'll put acoustiblok all across the subfloor. I'm going to be putting in a combination of tongue and groove and shiplap Cypress boards because there cheap as crap here in Florida. Couple of my cousins are electricians so I'm going to have them do the wiring for me. I'm not going to bother building a bed because I have a decent steel frame that I can bolt to the floor and build a bed with storage compartments later. I am putting in a kitchen counter and a bathroom area with a composting toilet. I probably won't put in a shower until I get to Washington because we can probably use the University's gym shower till I get one put in. Before all of you tell me I'm absolutely crazy, I probably am. Unfortunately I don't have a choice. I've already committed to the project and because of my wife's career choice, I'm tired of packing and unpacking every year. That and the town will be living in has really expensive rent.
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Old 07-28-2018, 03:46 PM   #2
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Quite an ambitious project. Possible, Yes. Probable, not likely. Especially if there's outside help you're counting on.
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Old 07-28-2018, 05:37 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by o1marc View Post
Quite an ambitious project. Possible, Yes. Probable, not likely. Especially if there's outside help you're counting on.
I know right? I've been basically working non-stop on my house here in Gainesville to get ready to sell and then I'm going to turn around and drive up to Pennsylvania and work even harder for the next month to get this bus converted. I left out the part where last week I got a pinched nerve so bad but my left shoulder is partially paralyzed. I can barely move it past 45 degrees. Anyone here know who holds the record for a bus conversion on this group?
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Old 07-28-2018, 05:49 PM   #4
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I had a sign in my shop that said:
We offer the following:
"Fast Service
Quality Work
Cheap prices
You can have 2 of the above."

I think this rings true here. A good, quality build is going to cost money and a good bit of time. Record breaking builds usually end up cutting corners. I have residential construction experience, race car fabrication experience, and if I had all the money up front I wouldn't attempt a build in 60 days.
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Old 07-28-2018, 05:55 PM   #5
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whats your wife PhD in ?
Did she do it with the idea of going into teaching?
I want to teach college eventually and might go the PhD route in the future.

Given the time frame, I assume, you might want to keep the conversion minimal.
gl !
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Old 07-28-2018, 08:27 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by oricha1984 View Post
whats your wife PhD in ?
Did she do it with the idea of going into teaching?
I want to teach college eventually and might go the PhD route in the future.

Given the time frame, I assume, you might want to keep the conversion minimal.
gl !
She has a degree in biological and forensic anthropology. If you're thinking about getting a Ph.D I can't say I'm going to encourage you. If you're single or not yet married, go for it. If you're planning on getting married or you are married understand that 80% of PhD candidates wind up in divorce. It's not only a rough ride for you but it's a really rough ride for your spouse or partner. Also keep in mind once you do have your PhD it may be 5 or 10 years till you're on a tenure-track position. So plan on moving every year once you have your degree until you get on a tenure track. And whatever you do don't adjunct. The last thing in the world you want to do is be pegged as an Adjunct professor. You don't want to be permanently cast into adjunct teaching hell.
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Old 07-28-2018, 08:40 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Anthrobus View Post
She has a degree in biological and forensic anthropology. If you're thinking about getting a Ph.D I can't say I'm going to encourage you. If you're single or not yet married, go for it. If you're planning on getting married or you are married understand that 80% of PhD candidates wind up in divorce. It's not only a rough ride for you but it's a really rough ride for your spouse or partner. Also keep in mind once you do have your PhD it may be 5 or 10 years till you're on a tenure-track position. So plan on moving every year once you have your degree until you get on a tenure track. And whatever you do don't adjunct. The last thing in the world you want to do is be pegged as an Adjunct professor. You don't want to be permanently cast into adjunct teaching hell.
The idea of teaching in college is just another mountain to climb; It is a bucket list item, so is the PhD. If or when I go for the PhD, it will probably be after my kids go to college ( they are 3 y/o and 7 months now, hehe). No idea what to do it in yet. But probably something that involves education/teaching/social work.
I know exactly what you mean about it taking lots of time and energy. My wife and I started dating when she was on her junior year of med school. I was the last thing on her mind.
Show this to your wife:
https://www.keyt.com/news/education/...gree/771419912
87 years old. it is never too late to do what ever you want !!!
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Old 07-28-2018, 08:52 PM   #8
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How disappointing Raul!
I had you pegged to become a master diesel mechanic/technician.
How many careers can one have?


John
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Old 07-28-2018, 09:09 PM   #9
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How disappointing Raul!
I had you pegged to become a master diesel mechanic/technician.
How many careers can one have?
John
hey john,
I dont know about master mechanic, but definitely want to learn enough to work on my own car but who knows, maybe I love it so much that I forget about any other plans.
careers, what is that? I just study & learn what ever I find interest in.
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Old 07-28-2018, 09:47 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by oricha1984 View Post
hey john,
I dont know about master mechanic, but definitely want to learn enough to work on my own car but who knows, maybe I love it so much that I forget about any other plans.
careers, what is that? I just study & learn what ever I find interest in.

We know you are hooked now, gonna have dirty hands all the time now


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Old 07-29-2018, 03:20 AM   #11
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Nice that your wife is moving around. What do you do for a living? Curious where you got you 80% divorce rate. Smita got her Phd in Mechanical Engineering 2 years after we got married. I am sure I was not the most supporting guy, then I had an aircraft engine testing business and was working a lot in China.

I think it depends more on your wife if you bus idea is going to work out, at least you will have a place to live if things are not working out.


Good luck ,J
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Old 08-15-2018, 03:56 PM   #12
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Use what you got!

Congratulations on this fantastic adventure! I just returned from the PacNW and I can certainly say I'm jealous of your eventual destination.
Can the bus build be done in 30 days? Yes!!! Especially if you can work on it at least 8 hours a day/6 days a week. And you use furniture you already have. Function may not equal pretty but it gets the job done. You can use that as your motto!
Kind regards
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Old 08-15-2018, 04:48 PM   #13
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If you just need some affirmation that itís possible, youíve got it. I think your timeline isnít unreasonable, especially if you focus on the have-tos first and put some of the rest off for later. Iím a tinkerer and over-thinker, so no disrespect to others like me, but a build does not have to take all that long. Yeah, itís a whole lot of work and such, but donít dink around and itís doabke.

Provided youíre skilled enough, able bodied enough, motivated enough, and have access to the right tools, even solo, you can have that thing gutted to its bones, at least the future living area, within a couple of days. The right tools in decent conditions otherwise can have bench seats out in 2-3 hours and all the ceiling and wall panels out in under four or five hours, for example. Floors could be a couple of hours or, if theyíre a particular PITA, a day or more.

From what you said, count on a few or several days, at least, for rust management, but, again, the right tools and materials are important.

So, week one, youíve gutted it and treated the rust.

Priming, painting, sealing, etc. is a few days at least, but thereís an awful lot of cure time involved during which you can be cutting framing timber, maybe prefabbing some sections to drop in when youíre ready for them, building cabinets, etc.

Thatís week two.

Iíd lean more toward mineral wool insulation since itís good stuff, no curing like with spray foam, easier to manage than foam board, etc., but itís likely youíll want to utilize a couple of types. Either way, getting that insulation in shouldnít take you long.

If youíve precut, at least, your framing lumber, you ought to be able to frame and insulate in under a day.

On your timeline, I would probably keep fresh and grey tanks in the bus to start with. Mark out where you want them to go and make it easy to mount them underneath later. But, deal with it later. Run lines in such a way as itís easy to move stuff without having to duplicate a lot of work or buy all new materials.

Bed could be something stupid-simple, like a mattress on the floor, until all the mega essential stuff is dealt with.

Now, youíre only about 2.5 weeks in and itís virtually habitable. Still needs a lot, sure, but once the core systems and structures are in place, the rest can be tackled in chunks.

Granted, thatís also barring no major setbacks. Itís all fun and games until someone loses a pancreas. Donít shoot your eye out, kid. That sort of thing happens. Donít be a statistic. Inclement weather is another thing, but, with basic prep, like a big ass tarp, that ainít so bad.

Donít cut corners, as that generally leads to regret, but you can figure out the things that are easy enough to deal with later and handle it all in chunks. If you wonít have a workshop where youíll end up, it can make stuff like building cabinetry and furniture more difficult, but, if you install conduit or channels thoughtfully, plumbing and electrical can be finished off later.

Having the right tools makes much quicker work of a lot of tasks. And, even to be budget conscious, you can always buy them used and then resell them when youíve no need of them anymore.
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Old 08-15-2018, 07:35 PM   #14
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Less than 2 weeks to go, how far are we in the build at this point?
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Old 08-15-2018, 08:13 PM   #15
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JR0913, Energetic first post--nice to see that. I'm a tinkerer and an over thinker like you. I expect the gas bill to heat the hot water in my think tank shower cost me nearly as much as my bus! Still, it took me 3 years to do my build.

So how about an update Anthrobus, how is the "impossible" build coming along?
Jack
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Old 08-16-2018, 03:02 PM   #16
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Look at my pics. First a motor tune up and turn up. I did a complete interior strip, rust repairs, POR 15 floors, ceiling in rustoleum white, and 2 coats of Henrys tropic roof. Then a complete RV interior with running water and 300 watts of solar. Total rebuild in 6 weeks. We did a 10 day trip on the first drive the day we finished. A dead line give you motivation!!
YOU CAN DO IT!!
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