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Old 05-31-2017, 08:59 PM   #1
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1988 GMC G3500 Vandura

Hey guys,
This is my first build and post. Bought this bad boy about 6 weeks ago and just started the conversion a few days ago. Got the walls and crappy insulation out and about half of the old subfloor out so far.

I'm currently stuck because my wheelchair lift's hydraulic fluid seems as if it is connected to the power steering. Anyone have suggestions on what to do from here? Been looking at other threads but have come up empty with suggestions on dealing with this specifically.

Thank you and happy skooling
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Old 05-31-2017, 09:02 PM   #2
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I didnt have the lift in mine when i got it. Sorry cant help with that. If your short enough insulate the floor up front good. My biggest issue is too much floor heat in the front half of the bus.

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Old 05-31-2017, 09:23 PM   #3
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I've never heard of a chair lift powered by the power steering pump, but anything is possible. Generally they are electric/hydraulic with their own electric motor. You should be able to identify a couple large electrical cables under the floor.

There are more qualified people here that will know and you'll have lots of answers within a couple days.

Congrats on the shorty.
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Old 05-31-2017, 10:03 PM   #4
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Wouldd posting a couple of pics of your eering pump from a couple of angles. This all seems like a y way of running a liftpump but who knows, not me.
Are you positive this is the case?

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Old 05-31-2017, 11:56 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Robin97396 View Post
I've never heard of a chair lift powered by the power steering pump, but anything is possible. Generally they are electric/hydraulic with their own electric motor. You should be able to identify a couple large electrical cables under the floor.

There are more qualified people here that will know and you'll have lots of answers within a couple days.

Congrats on the shorty.
the chair lift is powered by its own pump that is hooked up to the electrical, but the fluid line runs all the way to the front of the bus and seems to connect to the hydraulic fluid lines that run out of the power steering area.
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Old 06-01-2017, 09:44 AM   #6
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Very interesting. That will be the new thing I've learned today. It's astounding how difficult it is to find information on older buses. I'm not even an expert on my bus.

Maybe CowlitzCoach will weigh in here and shed some light on your lift issue.
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Old 06-02-2017, 01:13 AM   #7
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Ooh, it's so cute! That is the perfect size bus for me, and is just like what I hope to find when I am ready. Would you mind sharing the length, width, and height of your shorty? Exterior would be helpful, but if you have interior dimensions, too, that would be great.

I hope you sort out the hydraulic issues soon.
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Old 06-03-2017, 12:40 AM   #8
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Ooh, it's so cute! That is the perfect size bus for me, and is just like what I hope to find when I am ready. Would you mind sharing the length, width, and height of your shorty? Exterior would be helpful, but if you have interior dimensions, too, that would be great.

I hope you sort out the hydraulic issues soon.
The bus is about 18' long and a little less than 8' wide at its widest point
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Old 06-04-2017, 01:19 AM   #9
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The bus is about 18' long and a little less than 8' wide at its widest point
Thanks, that's very helpful!
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Old 06-04-2017, 02:23 AM   #10
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Update

So I've got somebody coming to take out the wheelchair lift and he says he can disconnect so I'm crossing my fingers there.

As for the rest of the build, finished gutting everything yesterday and also scraped off all the old caulk and resealed the Windows the day before that. It's moving along nicely, now to insulate and get this lift out so I can finish the floor
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Old 06-04-2017, 02:24 AM   #11
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Oh yeah, and there's no rust anywhere except in some old nail holes in the floor! Gotta love a bus that's been in the dry Colorado air for all these years
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Old 06-05-2017, 11:47 AM   #12
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Insulated the ceiling with 1.5 inch rigid foam board and filled the gaps in with gaps and cracks. Gonna reinstall the sheet metal on the ceiling today to retain that school bus feel.
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Old 06-05-2017, 11:56 AM   #13
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I was just under mine this weekend and mine has a plugged port on the power steering resv. so I think mine had the same hydraulic electric set up

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Old 06-05-2017, 12:27 PM   #14
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If you reinstall your sheet metal ceiling you'll be transferring heat/cold back inside your bus largely defeating the purpose of the insulation. The metal to metal contact from the ribs to the interior ceiling panels will be significant in extreme temperatures.

You're not the first one to choose to put back your metal ceiling panels. Most people end up giving up on that idea because the holes don't match up well, plus the panels usually take a bit of a beating while getting them out. They no longer look pristine.
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Old 06-06-2017, 09:45 AM   #15
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There has been a great deal of discussion regarding the issue of the interior sheet metal on the roof. And, once again, I will relay what I was told by a retired Blue Bird engineer I lived down the road from in Georgia:

The interior sheet metal is a critical component of the structure and should remain intact. Actually...he said "must". (I was working on a 40' BBAA at the time.)

I know lots of folks here have opted to leave it out after insulating but feel obligated to share this info considering the source. Besides, a little butyl tape or other material will minimize any heat conductivity across those small areas.

Just passin' it on.
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Old 06-06-2017, 11:05 AM   #16
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Out of curiosity, do you think the interior sheet metal has the same integral strength after it has been removed and then replaced?
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Old 06-06-2017, 02:25 PM   #17
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As long as it is replaced using the same fastener system, it should remain the same. Rivets for rivets...screws for screws. As long as you never plan on taking it down again...Sika makes some industrial adhesives that would make it stronger than either.
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Old 06-06-2017, 03:12 PM   #18
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I will second Tango's comments that the inner skin is indeed structural.

They never would have spent the money on riveting it so securely if it was just to look nice- much cheaper options.

My BlueBird was designed to not have the inner steel and the build sheet specifies 16 ga sheet exterior instead of thinner 18 ga on the exterior to compensate for missing inner skin and subsequent lack of strength, it seems. The Coachbuilder finished the interior ceiling using those fiberglass white textured panels instead.
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Old 06-06-2017, 06:12 PM   #19
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Whatever structural integrity I've lost by removing my interior steel panels should be replaced by the structural strength plywood I've installed as the new interior. Definitely not the same and possibly not as strong as the original steel interior panels. I was definitely not going for the bus look, and there aren't to many other ways to install insulation without removing the interior.

Best of luck reinstalling the panels. I've seen people try to reinstall the steel ceiling panels about four times since I've been on this site.
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Old 06-06-2017, 08:21 PM   #20
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Dude, I've "off roaded" my bus for the last two years with no interior skins.
IF they're structural, its so minuscule that leaving them out of fear is simply silly to the point its laughable. But you folks that wanna live in a tin can to maintain that bus condensation and funk feel free to do so, takes all kinds!
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