Hi, former member here. Not sure who here will remember my prior tenure here, had to create a new account, old one was wiped out...
I had to get rid of my previous project years ago, and am considering possibly purchasing another for a full build, depending on how a few things line up in the foreseeable future, so I am looking for ideas I can incorporate into my build.
I am more interested in a full-size bus, for a multitude of reasons, but mostly because I am sort of a pack-rat, and also have a great many hobbies. I will definitely be minimizing at some point, but as far as I'm concerned, when it comes to space, better to have it and not need it, than to need it and not have it. I already have a Class A CDL, so driving a bus that size won't be a problem.
Besides, I like the idea of a more open floor plan to make the finished product seem more spacious. I have been living in a 35-year-old RV for years, and unfortunately, space efficiency and interior design were not Fleetwood's strong suit in the 1980s. I've actually considered stripping the body off of it and using its chassis for a foundation, as it is a 30-foot GM P30 chassis with a gas 454 and low miles with a lot of the basics already in place.
I am curious as to what little tips and tricks anyone else has come up with, or seen others do, to help with heating/cooling efficiency and just overall make bus life easier. I am seriously considering full-timing as a boondocker (location not yet chosen, though for reasons stated in the next paragraph, I am considering anywhere north of TX, west of OH, CA excepted), so solar, battery bank, and heating/cooling are a big consideration.
One thing that will make bus life a challenge is that I have easily-triggered asthma combined with a plethora of allergies that stir it up easily. Heat and humidity are also a problem for me, (max ambient temp above 73 degrees or so) so obviously I am interested in any ideas that can help keep the temperature range fairly stable, preferably in the 66-68 degree range.
Obviously, insulation is a given. I have thought about running PVC pipe inside a sub-floor, the walls, and roof to use radiant heat, possibly with a liquid-cooled gas/diesel generator. An APU unit from a Class 8 road tractor would greatly assist in this, as they use the chassis engine's coolant system, helping to keep the engine warm for easier cold starts, and I thought this might also be useful for a radiant heat loop inside the body. Although, most APUs are set up to power an electric auxiliary heat pump setup, so while it may not be necessary, it certainly wouldn't hurt to have it for emergency heat.
I am a single guy, so while I'd like to build a good bang-for-the-buck conversion with all the comforts of home, I don't have little ones or a significant other to consider. I am, however, interested in any easily-implemented interior tricks to help with space management, as well as easing bus life. Also, anything I need to know as far as pros and cons of a particular aspect (propane heat vs electric, etc.) Oh, and if anyone can get MuddaEarth
in on this, I may want to enlist their help in the project. I sent them a message, but I'm not sure they are still active on this site. Fire away.