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Old 06-15-2024, 12:37 AM   #1
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Your regrets and improvements

For those here living in, travelling, and experience building their busses (or whatever tiny home you prefer):

What would you do differently on your build? How would you improve it?

What types of designs would you go with nowadays?

What do you regret doing or not doing on your build?

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Old 06-16-2024, 07:03 AM   #2
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I'm still in building stage.



I've got no regrets thus far. I've done my time reading everything there is to be read in this forum, and I feel I'm taking the longer route to building but setting my bus up for a 60 year run on top of the 30 years it's already made it. I'm taking the bus completely apart, and removing what little rust does exist and spraying and protecting the metal. Ribs, under carriage, everything that isn't already painted and protected, I'm covering.


If I regret anything it'll be how long it takes me to finish the build, but even that really won't be a regret if the bus lasts me 60+ years. I'll of course be dead by then, but the bus could be an heirloom item for my family.


It will also need a new engine by then, but a re-power isn't too bad when it's the only major thing that will need done to it 20-30 years from now.



I think I would regret taking shortcuts more, living with them, looking at them, and thinking "Man I should of done that".



I want to at the end of this build be like, I've done every aspect of one of these builds that can be done, and can say I've done it.
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Old 06-16-2024, 10:12 AM   #3
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OK from a bus enthusiasts poiunt of view.. biggest regret - ever buying a bus without factory road air conditioning... its a lot of work to add..
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Old 06-17-2024, 09:35 AM   #4
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Bus has been done 10 years now. I wish I had been able to finish the build when I was 60 rather than 70 but other than that I wouldn't change a thing.
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Old 06-17-2024, 10:32 AM   #5
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I'm with Cadillac-- whenever I get to travel in the bus some day-- it will be in the summer-- and I don't want to sweat going down the road. I installed a Red Dot roof top AC on the first bus, had to find compressor mounting brackets, compressor, fabricate lines-- pretty expensive undertaking. Second bus has a large TransAir unit-- one compressor was bad, replaced that-- cleaned out the evaporator, and this thing blows snowballs. My deceased father said he had rather have a vehicle that the AC worked and it not be able to move--than vice a versa.

So-- road AC of some kind....

Hot and Humid in Alabama...
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Old 06-18-2024, 06:12 AM   #6
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The only thing we would have done differently was to put the tiny wood stove in the living room instead of mid bus, everything else worked as we hoped/planned.
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Old 06-18-2024, 06:39 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by cadillackid View Post
OK from a bus enthusiasts poiunt of view.. biggest regret - ever buying a bus without factory road air conditioning... its a lot of work to add..
I'd agree but man do I ever hate those ugly nasty biggo units that hang down in the bus. That's why I decided to suffer a bit and take my chances with the bus I bought. I didn't want emissions, but I decided I'll live with EGR Cooler and DPF, thankfully no DEF even though it's a 2010 model since it was built in 09/2009 and not after 1/1/2010 which mean it required DEF too. But when I seen this bus had many features I wanted like the taller 77in ceiling instead of 74, the shoter length of 32 foot bumper to bumper instead of 38-40 feet, air ride, flat floor which I think I'm going to give up and install wheel wells to have bigger tires, the side handicap door, OD transmisison with lock up, but when I seen the AC units built into the bulkheads front and rear, and that there was 2 separate compressors on the engine so that both units work independent of each other and each unit has it's own separate controls. I said Ohhh yeah, I gotta get this bus and I'll tolerate the emissions and work with them. The AC units seem to work good as far as blowers and fans but they are not blowing cool. I'm hoping that's minor, but I for sure like how the AC units are installed in this bus.
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Old 06-18-2024, 01:46 PM   #8
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No A/C, but no real regrets.

I removed the two A/C units from my bus. I don't regret it. I'm glad to have the headroom. One evaporator was on the driver's side behind the seat, and the other was in the rear center. They were BIG, and so were the dual condensers under the floor. They were also very noisy. I tried to use them while driving the bus home from Alabama to Washington in August 2017 (during the eclipse), but they were just so loud I couldn't stand it. Temps were in the 90s, but I just ran with all the windows down. It was only really hot when I stopped, when they wouldn't be running anyway.

I removed both systems: evaps, condensers, refrigerant lines, wiring, and the compressors and mounting brackets from the engine, keeping all the components clean and intact, thinking I would be able to give them away to someone. Alas, no one wanted the stuff. Put on a shorter serpentine belt.

I made use of the under-floor space for waste tanks, and the interior headroom for upper cabinets and a shower. I also added 7 inches to the body skirt to conceal the tanks, etc.

I live in the Pacific Northwest, and enjoy the winter weather in the Southwest.

If it's too hot, the bus has wheels.

The only thing I would do differently is build the solar panel rack a little higher so it would be easier to wash the roof under it. But I manage. Basically, I couldn't be happier with my build. All the systems work exactly as I hoped they would, the solar electric even better than I imagined.
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Old 06-18-2024, 06:11 PM   #9
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If this is your first bus build stay simple, and use it. then you can continue building it out with the experience you gain. It is ok to change things. Many people build a bus then decide the bus is too big or too little and get another. You have to experience it for yourself to know and sometimes that means trying something then saying good idea but not what I really wanted then you buy the bus of your dreams with a much better idea of what the dream bus is.



I am building my third bus now, partly because I love building. Partly to serve a different purpose. The second bus I am keeping, and it has worked out well, and would not change anything.
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Old 06-18-2024, 06:29 PM   #10
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i just have a queen bed. sleeps 2 max.

i wish i had thought that out a bit. if i did it again, a ricky lucy setup would be my choice.

i envisioned traveling with my partner. reality is that i've gone with my dad, my nephews, grandson, son in law, people other than my partner about half the time i use it. i didnt consider other people when i built it.
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Old 06-19-2024, 12:58 AM   #11
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If this is your first bus build stay simple, and use it. then you can continue building it out with the experience you gain. It is ok to change things. Many people build a bus then decide the bus is too big or too little and get another. You have to experience it for yourself to know and sometimes that means trying something then saying good idea but not what I really wanted then you buy the bus of your dreams with a much better idea of what the dream bus is.



I am building my third bus now, partly because I love building. Partly to serve a different purpose. The second bus I am keeping, and it has worked out well, and would not change anything.
This isn't bad idea either. Just SO LONG AS, you do your insulation/spray foam and your subfloor right in the beginning. Then you can do a minimalist build so you can at least use it, them build it permanent as you use it and decide what you'd like and don't like.
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Old 06-19-2024, 01:09 AM   #12
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i just have a queen bed. sleeps 2 max.

i wish i had thought that out a bit. if i did it again, a ricky lucy setup would be my choice.

i envisioned traveling with my partner. reality is that i've gone with my dad, my nephews, grandson, son in law, people other than my partner about half the time i use it. i didnt consider other people when i built it.

I think this is why many people do what they call that, "pull out" couch. I'm not a huge fan of those couches. But I think a person could make a couch long enough for an adult to move the back cushions off and then be able to sleep a single adult there.

Also, I don't think many people are aware of Twin XL or Full XL mattress sizes. Sometimes you need just a few inches. So rather than do a Queen to get a tall adult length, you could actually do a Full XL. Which is the width of a full but the length of the a Queen/King. A Queen is 5 foot wide known in the mattress world as a 5/0 and a Full is 4 foot 6 inch known as a 4/6 in Full XL, known as 4/6XL. So the full being 6 inches narrower, many times will fit the build better and I see people cutting down foam. Good thing about Full XL, you can also order sheets to fit it. BTW, Twin is 3/3 wide and King is 6/6 wide. So if you need a box spring or foundation for a Twin XL, you just use half of a box for a king mattress since king uses 2 3/3XL boxes. I beleive I'll be doing a Full XL mattress in mine. Using a Twin XL at the moment but it's temporary.
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Old 06-19-2024, 01:49 AM   #13
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i did a pair of sofas when i "planned" my bus. they are sleepable, but.... you'd only do that to a kid. it was my thinking of discouraging rugrats.

when i took my dad on trips, i became the kid on the sofa.



beyond that.... just sleeping schedules, crawling over someone in the middle of the night, next time i'd do twins. everyone needs their own bed.
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Old 06-19-2024, 03:41 AM   #14
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i did a pair of sofas when i "planned" my bus. they are sleepable, but.... you'd only do that to a kid. it was my thinking of discouraging rugrats.

when i took my dad on trips, i became the kid on the sofa.



beyond that.... just sleeping schedules, crawling over someone in the middle of the night, next time i'd do twins. everyone needs their own bed.
Yes, I guess that's what a good host would do. Let the visitor have the comfy bed. My guests better be happy I didn't throw then a sleeping bag out on the ground and tell them good night. Of course, I'm nice enough to ask if they want a pillow and a blanky.
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Old 06-19-2024, 03:59 AM   #15
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Yes, I guess that's what a good host would do. Let the visitor have the comfy bed. My guests better be happy I didn't throw then a sleeping bag out on the ground and tell them good night. Of course, I'm nice enough to ask if they want a pillow and a blanky.
my dad was 77 on his last trip on the bus. he gets the comfy bed

this was 100% my mindset when i did my set up. tell them to bring a tent and sleep outside. but... it just doesnt work out so easy like that.
traveling i may overnight at a walmart, a loves, a rest stop, or a just the roadside somewhere. pretty much, everyone needs their own spot on the bus.

last year we had 2 eclipses. the annular in october and the total in april. 4 of us traveled to the annual eclipse. me, wife, son inlaw, grandson. on the way back, we worked out sleeping arrangements to include the daughter inlaw for the total eclpise.

that would have been the 3 of them in my bed, and wife and i on the sofas.

turns out i went solo to the total eclipse in april. it was for the best.
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Old 06-19-2024, 04:32 PM   #16
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I think I would not put in the "in floor" heat. I would still use the hydronic heat system but just not the in floor heating loops. It is way more practical to just use my Ac / heat pump most of the time and the two hydronic / air heat exchangers to heat the bus if needed.
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Old 06-19-2024, 07:26 PM   #17
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Not installing solar!! Would have saved money on campsites & had less stress finding RV sites with electric!
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Old 06-19-2024, 09:36 PM   #18
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Not installing solar!! Would have saved money on campsites & had less stress finding RV sites with electric!

Oh yes solar is wonderful to have, would not build a bus without it.
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Old 06-20-2024, 09:02 AM   #19
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Not installing solar!! Would have saved money on campsites & had less stress finding RV sites with electric!
The good news is, it's not hard to retrofit solar and make that change. So I assume you must have used like an RV Converter system to has both 12 volt and 110 volts as well as trickle charge to your coach batteries? You can keep that, and still add solar. The way I've understood it, just do your solar and come out of your inverter and take that power to your RV Converter and it's like being hooked to shore power all the time. You still have the option to shut your inverter off and connect to shore power. Victron makes many good products that makes all this possible. I'd talk to some of the solar and electric gurus and let them help you design a system then start acquiring your parts to make it happen.
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Old 06-20-2024, 10:26 AM   #20
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Really good electrical system tutorial here: https://faroutride.com/electrical-system/
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