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Old 11-01-2020, 12:25 PM   #61
Skoolie
 
Join Date: Dec 2017
Location: North East
Posts: 141
Year: 2011
Coachwork: Girardin Microbird G5 HC
Chassis: GMC 4500
Engine: Vortex 6
Rated Cap: 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by peakbus View Post
Hi Clyn,
I haven't gotten to insulation the ceiling or ends yet in this bus, but in my 1st one, I used rigid in the back wall. I used one piece under and one piece above the wiring, but depending on the configuration you could go side by side around it. I cut little grooves where needed to accomodate wires too.
It's weird that there is no way to remove those trim pieces on the ceiling. Seems like they would have gone on last to hold the ceiling in. Luckily my 2003 doesn't have those. I should begin my ceiling strip soon so I'll know when I'm in for.
Best of luck!

Hi Peakbus,


Lol, those trim pieces are coming out whether they want to or not, but it may take awhile. My wrist just cannot handle all the jarring/vibrations from the hammering needed to accomplish the task. A little at a time.



Once I can get one side of the ceiling panel's bent edge out of the trim's channel, I can then use the hammer to break the glue seal along the roof ribs; once the glue seal is broken along the ribs, the other side of the ceiling panel will pop out easily; then I can pull down the trim pieces.



In hindsight thought, if I had known it would be such a challenge to get the center panels out, I probably would have left the ceiling in- I did like the look of it, and it was very easy to keep clean.


If you have any questions about your bus, Girardin in Quebec has been awesome, and taken the time to answer my questions, explain features and why they are built that way.


I told Girardin that I wanted to put in a sunken shower in my floor. They said it would not be a problem. The top floor is supported by I-beams to support the weight of wheel chairs.



In our discussions about the floor, I learned that if I wanted to remove the top floor- in my bus's case, the second floor was pre-assembled then installed with bolts. It would be a matter of cutting/removing the bolts. The base floor is a standard bus floor with wheel wells.


I actually thought about removing the second floor, but decided for me it would be a case of biting off more that I can chew, and I don't really need the floor to ceiling height,nor did I want to deal with wheel wells.


As far as insulating the wire wells, I think I will go with the yellow insulation idea mentioned above. My bus ribs are only 1 inch deep, so to alter the rigid foam to accommodate the wires doesn't make much sense.


Thanks, and have a great day!


Clyn

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Old 11-01-2020, 02:00 PM   #62
Skoolie
 
Join Date: Dec 2017
Location: North East
Posts: 141
Year: 2011
Coachwork: Girardin Microbird G5 HC
Chassis: GMC 4500
Engine: Vortex 6
Rated Cap: 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Oscar1 View Post
I used the froth pack 200 spray foam kit to fill the lower walls and completely cover the ridged foam pieces under the windows. This kit is available from the big box stores, here in Canada it was $299. One kit was enough to cover everthing and after finishing, the bus was much quieter driving and there was a lot less hollowness and tin rattle noise in the bus. You may find that the Great Stuff cans don't go very far as they are not designed for large expansion, they are for sealing up door and window installations and don't expand the same rate as the two part kits do.
Cheers
OscarAttachment 50577

Hi Oscar,


On the island where I live, we only have mom and pop shops, no chain stores of any kind or fast food outlets. In order to find a HD or Lowe's means a trip to the city. I have friends off-island who travel here daily for work. I will hit one of them up and see if they can grab me a kit.


I see you are from BC. I am NB born and raised. Came to the US in the mid 90's thru a job transfer. I am looking forward to going home and visiting with the bus, hopefully in the not too distant future. Haven't been home since 2006.


I have a general floor plan in mind- kind of follows the layout of Fern The Bus. I know this basic layout will work for me. There are a couple of other similar bus layouts and features that I like. Before I finalize my layout, I am giving so serious thought to my wants and needs. I am fortunate that living in my van for almost 3 years has given me some solid insight of what does and doesn't work for me. Now it is just a matter of deciding my wants versus my needs, and what my budget allows.



As crazy as it sounds, I would like to have my counter-top dishwasher installed in the bus. I can hear everyone's thoughts....is she crazy!? It is a want versus a need, but the simple truth is, the little dishwasher only uses 3 gallons of water per wash; and I would only have to use it once a week. Washing my dishes in the van everyday I certainly use more than 3 gallons of water doing them.


The same goes for a washer and dryer. In the winter months I spend $50/week at the laundry mat. Each washing machine cost between $7-$9 to use. Adding a little washer/spin dryer along with a small dryer will be a huge savings to me.




A health club membership on the island is $125/mo. Kind of expensive for showering, while off island a health membership is $22/mo. Do I need a dedicated shower space in my bus? No, but the ability to shower would be nice, so maybe a temp shower set up could work instead. Or perhaps something like would work.



The bottom line and finalization of my bus layout will be determined by my needs, what I choose for wants, and how I can make it all work within my limited bus space, my electrical system, my build budget, and what state of build chaos am I willing to live in.


Have a great day!


Clyn
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Old 11-01-2020, 09:00 PM   #63
Bus Crazy
 
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Join Date: Dec 2015
Location: pa
Posts: 2,136
Year: 98
Coachwork: 1. Corbeil & 2. Thomas
Chassis: 1 ford e350 2 mercedes
Engine: 7.3 powerstroke & MBE906
Thanks Clyn for making me aware of this guy.
We also converted an e350 elfbus and would like to do some upgrades. This fellow had some good ideas. Specifically the bathroom / closet combination.


Johan
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Old 11-01-2020, 09:19 PM   #64
Skoolie
 
Join Date: Dec 2017
Location: North East
Posts: 141
Year: 2011
Coachwork: Girardin Microbird G5 HC
Chassis: GMC 4500
Engine: Vortex 6
Rated Cap: 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by joeblack5 View Post
Thanks Clyn for making me aware of this guy.
We also converted an e350 elfbus and would like to do some upgrades. This fellow had some good ideas. Specifically the bathroom / closet combination.


Johan

I have followed Humble Road for some time now on YT. There are some awesome ideas out there for buses and vans. I actually came across an Instagram account for a member here (@Skidfrog), who had a couple of great ideas he created for his bus build. I would like to incorporate them for my bus.



Clyn
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Old 11-01-2020, 09:25 PM   #65
Bus Crazy
 
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Join Date: Dec 2015
Location: pa
Posts: 2,136
Year: 98
Coachwork: 1. Corbeil & 2. Thomas
Chassis: 1 ford e350 2 mercedes
Engine: 7.3 powerstroke & MBE906
Before Dory we were in vans for about the last 15 years. We like compact and build elfbus 4 years ago for 4 people and a dog. But there are limitations. With the 4*4 conversion I did a little while ago we have renewed interest in making our e350 more space efficient and with a shower / bath. I will check skidfrog out.
Thank you,
Johan
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Old 11-01-2020, 10:29 PM   #66
Skoolie
 
Join Date: Dec 2017
Location: North East
Posts: 141
Year: 2011
Coachwork: Girardin Microbird G5 HC
Chassis: GMC 4500
Engine: Vortex 6
Rated Cap: 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by joeblack5 View Post
Before Dory we were in vans for about the last 15 years. We like compact and build elfbus 4 years ago for 4 people and a dog. But there are limitations. With the 4*4 conversion I did a little while ago we have renewed interest in making our e350 more space efficient and with a shower / bath. I will check skidfrog out.
Thank you,
Johan

I love my little high top Astro van. Believe it or not, despite being highly organized in the van, I still lose stuff in it- drives me crazy at times that I can misplace something in such a small space. But on the other hand, people are astounded by what I have in my van for a nice quality of life.



I want to spent less money on some things like the laundry mat, storage fees, etc. and while we have a good system in place, it is a tight fit sharing a twin bed with a 120lb bulldog- a double bed again would be nice.



There are some things I would like to have in the van, but there just isn't enough space- I miss my bread bucket and baking bread every week in the winter months, making jams/jellies, my big Instapot, etc., so having a bit more space will nice.


I have been waiting for almost 10 years for the right buses to come up for sale. Originally, I wanted 115 but would take 114. Both are mid-sized buses with 8 windows, which I drove on a regular basis. But after taking a hard look at the big picture a few years ago, I opted to go for one of the small SPED buses. It was just in August the buses I was interested in came up for sale. There were 2 SPED buses in the first group. The sister to mine had less miles/hours on the engine but was the waterfall (leaky) bus, so I didn't want that one. There is one more like mine coming up for sale whenever they get around to it, but I don't remember much about it. 114 is also coming up for sale, but I believe it needs a new turbo. There is one other bus, a long nose International which is a workhorse, and if it weren't a full sized bus, I would snag it in a heartbeat.


Sorry for the deviation...I am going to miss my little van when the time comes.
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Old 11-01-2020, 10:54 PM   #67
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Location: Sandpoint, ID
Posts: 373
Year: 2003
Coachwork: Girardin Microbird MB-IV
Chassis: Ford E450
Engine: 7.3 Diesel
Rated Cap: 25
Hi Clyn,
That's interesting info about the double floor. Mine has that only in the rear, from the wheels back. The floor is flat throughout but there is a lower panel underneath in back. I assumed it was protection from the fuel tank. Your mention of it made me wonder if you could somehow insulate between the floor layers- maybe pour in place foam? That would be interesting to look into. Drill holes, pour in. I'm sure there is a down side to that idea though.
Your van dwelling experience is such a benefit to a bus build. So many people find it challenging to fit in what they want/need, while you see it as a vast space for things you've done without. Yet still so much smaller that a house. Whenever we travel in our bus or previous campers, I come home wondering why we need so much space, and stuff.
Enjoy your week!
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Old 11-01-2020, 11:35 PM   #68
Skoolie
 
Join Date: Dec 2017
Location: North East
Posts: 141
Year: 2011
Coachwork: Girardin Microbird G5 HC
Chassis: GMC 4500
Engine: Vortex 6
Rated Cap: 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by peakbus View Post
Hi Clyn,
That's interesting info about the double floor. Mine has that only in the rear, from the wheels back. The floor is flat throughout but there is a lower panel underneath in back. I assumed it was protection from the fuel tank. Your mention of it made me wonder if you could somehow insulate between the floor layers- maybe pour in place foam? That would be interesting to look into. Drill holes, pour in. I'm sure there is a down side to that idea though.
Your van dwelling experience is such a benefit to a bus build. So many people find it challenging to fit in what they want/need, while you see it as a vast space for things you've done without. Yet still so much smaller that a house. Whenever we travel in our bus or previous campers, I come home wondering why we need so much space, and stuff.
Enjoy your week!

Hi Peakbus,


I had thought about adding spray foam between the floors- which I may do to some extent. But I was thinking beyond the sunken shower to water tanks- one 5.5 x 92 inch section between the beams could hold quite a bit of water, or in the floor storage areas for misc items, etc. Fortunately, my top floor runs from behind the driver's seat to the rear door, which could be wonderful storage space.


As far as the living in the van, I have thoroughly enjoyed myself these past few years. It wasn't a big adjustment, perhaps because I have been interested in tiny houses and alternative housing for years. I don't need to pay $1200/mo to rent a room in someone's house (very common), or pay $5K/mo plus utilities for a 3 bedroom house here. It is just me and Rebel, and I don't need a lot of space for myself and 'things'.


My friends thought I was crazy and told me the local headlines would say 'Woman Found Dead In Van From.... I told them not to be so dramatic, common sense applies. Over the past few years they have gotten used to the idea, albeit they still think I'm crazy, and should get married instead, LOL.



Things I have learned...I really enjoy a simpler life; my needs are well looked after, and my wants are the gravy on top; I work hard for my money, and don't part with it as easily as I did previously on the newest, shiniest object that media/society tells me I need to spend my money on.



I honestly don't think I would ever go back to a regular housing. The only thing that would prompt me to reconsider would be if I moved back home to NB and built a tiny house on the old homestead, which has been in my family since the late 1700's.
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Old 11-02-2020, 09:24 AM   #69
Bus Crazy
 
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Join Date: Dec 2015
Location: pa
Posts: 2,136
Year: 98
Coachwork: 1. Corbeil & 2. Thomas
Chassis: 1 ford e350 2 mercedes
Engine: 7.3 powerstroke & MBE906
It is funny that most home stead's in the 1700 were a size pretty comparable to tiny homes.
We lived for years in a DAF vanHool city bus in Amsterdam on a campground. In that time I never had the feeling for anything bigger.

Not sure why one would want a tiny house if you can have a tiny bus..but that is me.

Can you replace all your windows with double factory pane?

We have a second girardin 2003 e350 and really like the high ceilings and emergency windows. They swing open to the side. Would like to find a couple more of those. I am taking that body of and mounting it on a unimog 404.. just for fun..

Good luck with the project.

Johan
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Old 11-02-2020, 10:19 AM   #70
Skoolie
 
Join Date: Dec 2017
Location: North East
Posts: 141
Year: 2011
Coachwork: Girardin Microbird G5 HC
Chassis: GMC 4500
Engine: Vortex 6
Rated Cap: 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by joeblack5 View Post
It is funny that most home stead's in the 1700 were a size pretty comparable to tiny homes.
We lived for years in a DAF vanHool city bus in Amsterdam on a campground. In that time I never had the feeling for anything bigger.

Not sure why one would want a tiny house if you can have a tiny bus..but that is me.

Can you replace all your windows with double factory pane?

We have a second girardin 2003 e350 and really like the high ceilings and emergency windows. They swing open to the side. Would like to find a couple more of those. I am taking that body of and mounting it on a unimog 404.. just for fun..

Good luck with the project.

Johan



Hi Johan,


That sounds like a very interesting project you have going on there. That is way above my skill limit, but I would love to see the finished product.


There is not much left of the homestead now, just a few acres, the old stone walls, and the foundations of some of the buildings. Over the years as it has passed through the family, some have sold off pieces. I intend to keep what is left as the local area is a vacation destination and I see real prices rising everyday in the area. I want a place where my descendants can return to if they so choose. Personally, I would like to retire there and have a small homestead- a few chickens, garden, couple of goats, etc. Not to mention that it is a great hunting spot thanks to the old apple orchard.


A tiny house offers more space to move around. I can always keep and use the bus for travel or rent it out for a small fee.


I have explored adding double windows to the bus, but right now that cost is over my budget. I am sure it will be fine for now using insulated curtains. I am not that worried about it.


I noticed in the Girardin G5 style of buses, the emergency exit windows in the HC buses are directly across from each other, while in non-HC buses the emergency exit windows are staggered. I like mine too, but need to figure out how to add window screens but still be able to open them.


Thanks, and have a great day!


Clyn
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Old 11-05-2020, 08:22 PM   #71
Skoolie
 
Join Date: Nov 2020
Location: Long Island, NY
Posts: 102
Year: 2009
Coachwork: Girardin
Chassis: Chevy
Engine: 6.6 turbo diesel
Rated Cap: ?
Hi Clyn. Just wanted to let you know that you definitely inspire me. We just purchased a 2009 Girardin, similar to yours. I know that we will not be nearly as committed to detail as you are, but love reading you posts and seeing your pics. We have owned little Buster for 1 week now and our dogs, Rebel and Rookie are already on board nosing around. I know you have a Rebel also ��. Thanks again for taking time to post...very helpful. Elizabeth
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Old 11-05-2020, 11:11 PM   #72
Skoolie
 
Join Date: Dec 2017
Location: North East
Posts: 141
Year: 2011
Coachwork: Girardin Microbird G5 HC
Chassis: GMC 4500
Engine: Vortex 6
Rated Cap: 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Buster Junior View Post
Hi Clyn. Just wanted to let you know that you definitely inspire me. We just purchased a 2009 Girardin, similar to yours. I know that we will not be nearly as committed to detail as you are, but love reading you posts and seeing your pics. We have owned little Buster for 1 week now and our dogs, Rebel and Rookie are already on board nosing around. I know you have a Rebel also ��. Thanks again for taking time to post...very helpful. Elizabeth

Hi Elizabeth,


Congratulations on your bus purchase! I love my Girardin. I have been driving the G5 version for years and love how it handles like a car and I can take it almost anywhere. We have many nasty dirt roads on the island and the G5 handles them like a champ.


Thank you for your kind words on inspiration. My inspiration comes from the many here who have shared their build outs. Without them, I don't think I would have the courage to tackle my own. It's an awesome group of people here!



There are only two reasons why I post so much about my build- I have only seen three or four builds of Girardin buses (non-G5 versions), like Peakbus's build, but I have never found a G5 build documented anywhere in all my internet searches; so I want people to see how Girardin has constructed the G5 version, and what one will encounter when tearing it apart for a bus build.





And, the second reason I post is to keep me on track and motivated.


My handsome man Rebel, wasn't too sure about the bus at first, but now he is quite comfortable with it and doesn't mind my construction mess inside. Once finished, I know he will love having the extra space to lounge about in.


I love the name Buster. A name for my bus, still eludes me...but it will eventually get here.



I am looking forward to seeing your build!


Thanks again, and have a great evening!


Clyn
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Old 11-06-2020, 10:47 PM   #73
Skoolie
 
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Location: Long Island, NY
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Chassis: Chevy
Engine: 6.6 turbo diesel
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Buster Junior

This is day one of his joining our family.
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Old 11-06-2020, 10:54 PM   #74
Skoolie
 
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Location: Long Island, NY
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Year: 2009
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Chassis: Chevy
Engine: 6.6 turbo diesel
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Buster Junior

These are his start point images.
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Old 11-06-2020, 11:02 PM   #75
Skoolie
 
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Engine: 6.6 turbo diesel
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Buster Junior

Starting to clean house.
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Old 11-06-2020, 11:09 PM   #76
Skoolie
 
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Chassis: Chevy
Engine: 6.6 turbo diesel
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Buster Junior

I know that i am partial, but i feel like he is a handsome devil💞
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Old 11-06-2020, 11:13 PM   #77
Skoolie
 
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Location: Long Island, NY
Posts: 102
Year: 2009
Coachwork: Girardin
Chassis: Chevy
Engine: 6.6 turbo diesel
Rated Cap: ?
Buster Junior's true owners

The supervisors, after an exhaustive day of seat removal.
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Old 11-06-2020, 11:13 PM   #78
Skoolie
 
Join Date: Dec 2017
Location: North East
Posts: 141
Year: 2011
Coachwork: Girardin Microbird G5 HC
Chassis: GMC 4500
Engine: Vortex 6
Rated Cap: 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Buster Junior View Post
These are his start point images.




Hi Buster Junior,


He is nice looking! I haven't seen a 4-window version before. Buster looks good on the inside.



One thing I absolutely love about the Girardins is the larger entryway- one doesn't feel squished as you are entering the bus and have elbow room if you are carrying a package, etc.


Damn! You have the seats out already! It looks awesome inside! I have the suspicion that Buster's underneath is going to be in great shape like my bus is.


Buster is a handsome devil! His exterior looks awesome with no fading.



I am so happy to meet you and Buster. It is going to be great to have a partner in crime doing a Girardin G5 build out!



Clyn
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Old 11-06-2020, 11:17 PM   #79
Skoolie
 
Join Date: Dec 2017
Location: North East
Posts: 141
Year: 2011
Coachwork: Girardin Microbird G5 HC
Chassis: GMC 4500
Engine: Vortex 6
Rated Cap: 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Buster Junior View Post
The supervisors, after an exhaustive day of seat removal.

Those are two very handsome boys!
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Old 11-07-2020, 09:18 AM   #80
Skoolie
 
Join Date: Nov 2020
Location: Long Island, NY
Posts: 102
Year: 2009
Coachwork: Girardin
Chassis: Chevy
Engine: 6.6 turbo diesel
Rated Cap: ?
I only wish he was clean underneath. Lots of Rochester NY rust. Looks can be deceiving. Hopefully he is mechanically sound and will fit our needs. I was full of rust from seat removal and developed a bit of anxiety thinking we should have gotten a bus from the South. But, alas, he is now ours and we do love him so. And, yes, the large entry in addition to the extra corner head room was a huge draw.
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