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Old 01-26-2014, 05:30 PM   #1
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Any and all advice welcome on my 96 Bluebird short bus

Hello, everyone my name is Ashlee and I am just getting started on my new short bus conversion. It's a rough machine but I'm taking on the challenge. So far I have taken out the seats and ripped up the rubber mats (they were in real bad shape and I needed to see if there was any damage underneath. It's just an empty canvas now. I am looking into solar panels, electrical wiring, and insulation next. I have a question, if anyone has a suggestion, Should I strip down the inside metal and insulate from there, or is that an extra step that would be too much hassle? Could I insulate the walls and ceiling onto the metal already present? I will be living in harsh winter climates during the season so I do need it to be insulated, also, the floor as well, what kind of method is best? And does anyone have a preferred solar panel type of company that they would recommend? I truly appreciate everyone suggestions and I plan to get plenty of ideas from other's projects thanks!
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Old 01-27-2014, 08:40 PM   #2
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Re: Any and all advice welcome on my 96 Bluebird short bus

Budget?

I say pull it all, and spray foam.

The workout of pulling the interior is what seals the bond between the owner and the bus. It's like changing your baby's poopy diaper

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Old 01-29-2014, 01:31 PM   #3
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Re: Any and all advice welcome on my 96 Bluebird short bus

X2 on the spray foam if you can afford it. It insulates well and makes the bus much quieter on the road. The spray-in stuff also is preferable if you'll have humidity problems from many people living in the bus or from using catalytic propane heaters which put out a lot of water vapor.

Most of us here have used foam insulating board with good results, but in high humidity situations the water vapor can get behind the foam boards and condense on the outer wall causing mold.
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Old 01-29-2014, 06:12 PM   #4
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Re: Any and all advice welcome on my 96 Bluebird short bus

Spray foam is the best/ultimate way but I thought opening the walls and insulating behind them was too time consuming, I just put one inch thick purple insulation board from home depot on my walls (floor to just above the windows) and then screwed in 22 ga factory painted galvanized metal sheeting into the frame, the interior of my bus is all white so I can save watts on lighting the interior, I covered most of the windows with the metal panels, I also insulated and covered the windows from the outside in the same manor, my bus had no wall insulation but it did have roof insulation,

dont use wood or deck screws, only use tek screws, tek screws are much stronger and you can get them in the self drilling format,

DMsolar.com ,, I just bought 6 of their 158 watt panels a few weeks ago, I know several people that have used their panels and they liked them, they have the cheapest sub 200 watt panels I could fid

I used POR-15 on the few bad rust spots on my bus, you just have to break off the thick rust spots with a metal brush and then paint it on, it bonds with the rust, you can put several coats on and it will strengthen the metal floor, get it in the half pint containers since it will dry once opened and you dont want want to waste a whole quart,
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Old 01-30-2014, 07:14 AM   #5
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Re: Any and all advice welcome on my 96 Bluebird short bus

I pulled mine, cleaned out the walls, sprayed some sound deadening, then 1 1/2 Styrofoam board, used can spray foam to get into some nock and crannys, them covered with a 1/2inch foil insulation board. nice and sealed up 1/2 plywood then my panel works good
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Old 02-11-2014, 08:13 PM   #6
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Re: Any and all advice welcome on my 96 Bluebird short bus

I thank you all so much for the helpful hints. I'm thinking of leaving the insulation the way it is and building on top of that, I'll be researching the foam a little more in depth in my area, which is currently MD near the Appalachians, cold and snowy : ) so I'm riding out a few weeks.

And since you all have so much more info out there than me, Should I get my electrical wiring and hooks up installed before the insulation as I do the framing as well? This is another serious issue I am having in the drafting process. Thanks again everyone : )
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Old 02-12-2014, 09:32 PM   #7
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Re: Any and all advice welcome on my 96 Bluebird short bus

Buy yourself a nice cozy sticks and staples, complete your degree(s) and move on--we'll still love you anyway!
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Old 02-12-2014, 11:08 PM   #8
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Re: Any and all advice welcome on my 96 Bluebird short bus

Quote:
Originally Posted by MissJaneStrummor
I'm thinking of leaving the insulation the way it is and building on top of that.
If you want to take short cuts, afraid of hard work, not ready for hours and hours of reading, learning, don't have the budget, skills, ect, than like Trunt said buying one already done is your answer.

You must be able to put this stuff together, and keep it working through out the life of the bus. That is part of what being a skoolie is about. Being independent, and skilled.

Like a fellow member said in a different thread. Find the build thread section, and start reading. Read till you can't anymore, then look at pics. Take a break, read the good builds over again a few times to make sure you understand the tech and details we have posted. That's 90% the reason why I take the time to post. To pay back to the vast sea of knowledge I gain so much from.

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Old 02-13-2014, 06:20 PM   #9
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Re: Any and all advice welcome on my 96 Bluebird short bus

Hmmm, well I appreciate the advice, or should I say tough love. But no, I'm not afraid of the hard work that I need to put in, honestly I wanted to rip the walls out and insulate, my partner however has been very admit that that would be a wasted of time, extra work, and cost more resources than would be worth just building on top. You all have given me a lot to think about. Off to the message board for more information from other's projects. cheers
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Old 02-13-2014, 07:25 PM   #10
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Re: Any and all advice welcome on my 96 Bluebird short bus

All good, sorry I didn't mean to be harsh.

Looking forward to pics of progress.

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Old 02-14-2014, 10:13 AM   #11
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Re: Any and all advice welcome on my 96 Bluebird short bus

I'll give you advice: dont put into it more than you will get out of it.
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Old 02-16-2014, 04:44 PM   #12
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Re: Any and all advice welcome on my 96 Bluebird short bus

Well sounds like solid advice. I'll put up pictures soon and let you know what I decide. Thanks
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Old 02-17-2014, 03:43 PM   #13
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Re: Any and all advice welcome on my 96 Bluebird short bus

the beginning stages
Attached Images
File Type: jpg bus seat cutt.JPG (1.95 MB, 1665 views)
File Type: jpg bus without the seats.JPG (1.62 MB, 1663 views)
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Old 02-17-2014, 03:48 PM   #14
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Re: Any and all advice welcome on my 96 Bluebird short bus

tried to upload a picture of the outside of the bus and the bare metal floors after the plywood was ripped up, but it seems they are both too big, going to have to wait until I can figure out how to make them smaller. But there she is so far, my beauty Onye.
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Old 03-12-2014, 05:39 PM   #15
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Re: Any and all advice welcome on my 96 Bluebird short bus

Something else to think about in the pull the metal down and reinsulate from scratch idea. more than one member here has done this and found mold in the original insulation.

That's why I'm going to do it.
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Old 03-12-2014, 06:53 PM   #16
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Re: Any and all advice welcome on my 96 Bluebird short bus

I can't recall ever seeing an older unit that came with batting that didn't have mold. Just a question of how much. And some are reeeaally nasty. It seems to hold moisture like a sponge. And not just from leaks...condensation can be a real moisture maker. The spray in foam is indeed a chore, but nothing else comes close as far as insulation value whether yer shivering in Saskatchewan or toasting in Terlingua. Lots of easier ways, none better that I know of.

That said...I'll be using lots of HyTech beads and fairly thin sheet foam. Then too...I don't want to ever stay anywhere that isn't at least semi-tropical for very long.
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Old 04-02-2014, 10:51 AM   #17
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Re: Any and all advice welcome on my 96 Bluebird short bus

Well, it has bee a couple of weeks, since then I finished sanding down the floor, cleaned it was some heavy duty rust cleaner, and applied the POR-15 paint. Then sealed up the holes left from little nails and the bus seats with silicone and aluminum tape. Then I cut and glued down 1/2 inch think foam boards for insulation. I will be putting down heavy plastic as a moisture barrier with staples or glue and then plywood on top. Once the floor is finished, until I decide what will go on top, I will be taping plastic up on the windows and I think I am going to strip the ceiling panels off and insulate and do the electrical. It is all moving along, and now that the weather is finally staring to warm up I think it will be faster going. I am not sure how I will be mounting the wood to the steel frame of the ceiling though, any ideas? and also, I have decided on a 1500 to 2300 watt power invertor, does anyone have a brand recommendation or thoughts on the matter. Thanks again for the input, been reading a lot the the tutorials which have helped tremendously. Good luck to everyone.
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Old 04-02-2014, 02:34 PM   #18
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Re: Any and all advice welcome on my 96 Bluebird short bus

There is a screw meant specifically for attaching wood to metal. It has a self tapping point and a wafer style head that takes a Robertson style screwdriver [square]. Check out your local bolt supply warehouse. There is three of these businesses in Red Deer, pop. 90,000 .
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Old 04-02-2014, 04:12 PM   #19
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Re: Any and all advice welcome on my 96 Bluebird short bus

Yup, fine thread self taping metal screws. They come in many different heads, some like deck screws, or 5/16 bolt head. If your not needing a flush, counter sunk head, I recommend the bolt head ones for much easier driving. Also use a magnetic driver bit to avoid much frustration. Most hardware stores have them. Bigger sizes run almost $1 each.

Vapor barrier plastic go's just under your finished flooring. No need for staples, gravity will hold it down. Seal the seams with acoustical sealant.

What will you be using for a finished flooring?

Nat
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Old 04-16-2014, 10:56 AM   #20
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Re: Any and all advice welcome on my 96 Bluebird short bus

I took some of the panles held in by srews off, and found no mold, and even better it was in great shape, decided not to rip out the ceiling or walls. I have the plywood flooring all nailed down, with the insulation foam board underneath and a plastic vapor barrier. Now I am looking at power inverters and and electrical systems. I've read a few posts mentioning, smaller inverters (1000w) and using several of them for different hook ups, and others say buy a bigger one (3000w) and just use the one. I will have a mini fridge/freezer that I will only run a few hours of the day, about 5 outlets for lamps, a computer laptop (charging a few hours a day, a juicer and a few other small appliances. any suggestions of which brand or size of inverter to purchase?? Thanks everyone and good luck on your projects : )
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