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Old 03-20-2018, 10:08 PM   #21
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Jan 2018
Location: Western NY
Posts: 54
Year: 2003
Chassis: Chevy 3500
Engine: 6.0L Chevy
Quote:
Originally Posted by leadsled01 View Post
I just built and installed a new battery holder for that battery. I had to cut 1" of fiberglass to get the old battery out. I don't see how the factory got it in there.
I had that thought as I was laying in the snow looking up at it. I decided that if you take the back tires off you might be able to slide it out through the wheel well. I am contemplating making a portion of the fiberglass panel hinge up for easy access to the battery I mount in there.

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Old 03-23-2018, 08:28 PM   #22
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Jan 2018
Location: Western NY
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Year: 2003
Chassis: Chevy 3500
Engine: 6.0L Chevy
Couple teaser photos



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Old 03-25-2018, 11:57 PM   #23
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Jan 2018
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Posts: 54
Year: 2003
Chassis: Chevy 3500
Engine: 6.0L Chevy
got the flooring out, all the plywood looks great.



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Old 03-26-2018, 12:19 AM   #24
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Jan 2018
Location: Western NY
Posts: 54
Year: 2003
Chassis: Chevy 3500
Engine: 6.0L Chevy
Of the skills I have, air conditioning is not one of them. Currently we have a nice evaporator at the back of the bus powered by the engine. Is it possible for me to install a 120 condensor that connects to the same evaporator? Its a bit tricky to search for the answer to this so I'm hoping someone on here might have some experience.
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Old 03-27-2018, 08:57 AM   #25
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Jan 2018
Location: Western NY
Posts: 54
Year: 2003
Chassis: Chevy 3500
Engine: 6.0L Chevy
I believe this will be the layout for the cabinets and freezer behind the drivers seat. Just have to cut down the wheel well and get everything looking pretty

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Old 03-28-2018, 10:12 PM   #26
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Jan 2018
Location: Western NY
Posts: 54
Year: 2003
Chassis: Chevy 3500
Engine: 6.0L Chevy
I cut 5" off the height of the wheel wells inside the bus. Zipped them off with a cut off wheel and sawzall, used a plasma cutter to remove the sidewall, hammered them flat, cut to length, stitch welded them back on the top and added a piece of angle against the wall for added support.







I also got the battery today, just one of these is mine. Should be plenty of power for what we want to do

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Old 03-31-2018, 08:27 AM   #27
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Jan 2018
Location: Western NY
Posts: 54
Year: 2003
Chassis: Chevy 3500
Engine: 6.0L Chevy
I put in a new blower motor resistor/ controller so now the motor doesnt run non stop. One off the list. While working on that I noticed that the passenger side of the front clip wasn't attached at all so more bolts and screws were put in . I removed the headlights to get the lenses cleaned up since they are pretty frosted over. We started getting all the glue scraped up from the floor, dump a bit of acetone on there, wait a minute, then it glides right off. Also pulled up all the front carpet, drivers seat, and cover paneling around the engine. Surprisingly little rust so that was a nice treat. Of course the rear manifold bolts were snapped off on each side... like every chevy v8 of this generation, luckily the heads snapped off so I can do the nut weld trick to get the remaining stud out.




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Old 04-04-2018, 09:26 PM   #28
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Jan 2018
Location: Western NY
Posts: 54
Year: 2003
Chassis: Chevy 3500
Engine: 6.0L Chevy
Got the sub floor installed and the charge controller for the solar system.





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Old 04-10-2018, 10:31 PM   #29
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Jan 2018
Location: Western NY
Posts: 54
Year: 2003
Chassis: Chevy 3500
Engine: 6.0L Chevy
I was about to put up the bed supports across the back of the bus when I realized that the fridge and cabinets wouldnt fit after that..... so I called it a night. Getting closer.
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Old 04-10-2018, 11:20 PM   #30
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Nov 2016
Location: NorCal
Posts: 33
Year: 1996
Coachwork: Girardin
Chassis: Ford E350
Engine: 7.3L Powerstroke Diesel
Are there any safety/structural concerns with lowering the wheel well like that?

I'm thinking about doing the same, but then I realized that perhaps the engineers put it that high for a reason.
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Old 04-11-2018, 07:17 AM   #31
Bus Nut
 
Join Date: Feb 2014
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Chassis: Ford e-350 single wheel
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Rated Cap: 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by vroom View Post
Are there any safety/structural concerns with lowering the wheel well like that?

I'm thinking about doing the same, but then I realized that perhaps the engineers put it that high for a reason.
I highly doubt it has any structural support. Mine are built from plastic in my shuttle bus.
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Old 04-11-2018, 07:23 AM   #32
Bus Geek
 
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Engine: DTA360 / MT643
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even in my bluebird my wheel wells are plastic / fiberglass. there is structural components around them but suspension travel is the only thing id be concerned with.. (make sure tire wont hit on a large pothole or dip that flexes the suspension fully)..

-Christopher
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Old 04-11-2018, 09:09 AM   #33
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Rated Cap: 46 Coach Seats, 40 foot
Quote:
Originally Posted by cadillackid View Post
even in my bluebird my wheel wells are plastic / fiberglass. there is structural components around them but suspension travel is the only thing id be concerned with.. (make sure tire wont hit on a large pothole or dip that flexes the suspension fully)..

-Christopher
This ^^^

You can measure the distance between the bump-stop and the frame. You need that distance, plus a bit, from the top of the tire to the underside of the well.

It's highly unlikely that an axle will ever hit the bump-stop in RV trim ... you just don't have the weight on board.
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Old 04-11-2018, 10:32 PM   #34
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Jan 2018
Location: Western NY
Posts: 54
Year: 2003
Chassis: Chevy 3500
Engine: 6.0L Chevy
Quote:
Originally Posted by vroom View Post
Are there any safety/structural concerns with lowering the wheel well like that?

I'm thinking about doing the same, but then I realized that perhaps the engineers put it that high for a reason.
I know that on mine there is no structural support linked to the wheel wells. I welded mine back in place just because every little bit has to help. When you measure the bump stop clearance on your axle to determine how much you can remove from the wheel wells here are a couple of my thoughts:

- make sure you measure from the axle to the part of the metal frame that will hit when you bottom out, it doesnt take many smacks for an old corroded bump stop to just fall off. Once it is off the axle will go even higher until it hits solid metal (I live in the center of the rust belt so most of the older vehicles have that bump stop and its mounting metal dissolved)

- once you figure out how high the tires will move up at max compression be sure to add in at least 4 inches of space on top. That space is for mud and snow to build up above your tire and have room to bounce around and fall off, or if it does start to build up inside the wheel well above the tire at least you will have 4" of space for the mud to compress instead of crushing it straight through the wheel well and into the bus. I know this isnt a likely situation but bad conditions and pot holes happen.
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Old 04-11-2018, 10:43 PM   #35
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Jan 2018
Location: Western NY
Posts: 54
Year: 2003
Chassis: Chevy 3500
Engine: 6.0L Chevy
bed frame is in, cabinets and freezer are mocked up. Just waiting for lots of silicone to dry.







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Old 04-12-2018, 10:52 AM   #36
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Nov 2016
Location: NorCal
Posts: 33
Year: 1996
Coachwork: Girardin
Chassis: Ford E350
Engine: 7.3L Powerstroke Diesel
This might be a dumb question, but since I'm a few weeks behind you on my own project, I figured I should ask. How did you secure the wood frame for your bed to the floor/walls?
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Old 04-12-2018, 09:54 PM   #37
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Jan 2018
Location: Western NY
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Year: 2003
Chassis: Chevy 3500
Engine: 6.0L Chevy
Quote:
Originally Posted by vroom View Post
This might be a dumb question, but since I'm a few weeks behind you on my own project, I figured I should ask. How did you secure the wood frame for your bed to the floor/walls?
Dont worry, not a dumb question. I have learned a lot from forums all over the Internet so this is a way to hopefully pay back into some karma. Please ask away, there is no shame in seeking knowledge.
I have unistrut that runs along the side of the bus 10" above the floor. I just used strut nuts and threaded rod to bolt the veticle boards to the wall. I will get some pictures tomorrow and a better explanation.
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Old 04-13-2018, 05:17 PM   #38
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Nov 2016
Location: NorCal
Posts: 33
Year: 1996
Coachwork: Girardin
Chassis: Ford E350
Engine: 7.3L Powerstroke Diesel
Awesome, thanks.

Also I went out and measured the bump stop, axle, and wheel well, and have decided to just leave mine where they are since there really isn't much extra room.
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Old 04-15-2018, 01:30 PM   #39
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Jan 2018
Location: Western NY
Posts: 54
Year: 2003
Chassis: Chevy 3500
Engine: 6.0L Chevy
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bork View Post
Dont worry, not a dumb question. I have learned a lot from forums all over the Internet so this is a way to hopefully pay back into some karma. Please ask away, there is no shame in seeking knowledge.
I have unistrut that runs along the side of the bus 10" above the floor. I just used strut nuts and threaded rod to bolt the veticle boards to the wall. I will get some pictures tomorrow and a better explanation.
Sorry that took an extra day, I have been busy helping my father with his camper/tow rig:



Alright here we go. This is Unistrut or Kindorf. Those are the two major brands that make the stuff so thats what people call it. (Just like all tissues are Kleenex). It comes in different sizes, typically 0.75" and 1.5" tall, whatever length you want, and the hole spacing and location varies based on the installation uses.



The rail I was talking about horizontally along the bottom of our bus walls and in the floor that was used to bolt in the seats is a type of unistrut that is riveted to the frame of the bus body.



These are called strut nuts. The ones I have here also have a spring on the back to hold them in place ( I had to cut the spring shorter to get them to fit in the 0.75" unistrut channel). If you look at the corners of these nuts you can see that two of them are rounded. This allows you to put the nuts into the channel of the unistrut and rotate them clockwise until they are perpendicular with the unistrut and then they will not turn any more. This allows you to put them in and tighten the bolt without needing a wrench inside of the unistrut channel.











I used threaded rod and a nut with a washer through the board instead of a bolt so you dont have to have the length exact. That and we have piles of the stuff laying around.





Hot tip: put the bolt through the wood and thread the strut nut on with a bit of slack first, then push the whole assembly into the unistrut and rotate the strut nut with your finger inside of the unistrut channel. That keeps you from having to try and line everything up and thread the bolt or rod into the strut nut that you cant see behind the board.




Hopefully that will help a bit. Industry uses this stuff by the truck load on job sites and we personally use it for all kinds of projects as it is quite versatile and pretty strong. I dont recommend buying it from a big box store as they will charge you 10$ per foot. Check a place like VP supply or Ferguson. Or better yet, if you know a guy in construction or know an active site Im sure there is a guy that is willing to get you a few pieces for a box of doughnuts.
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Old 05-01-2018, 09:40 PM   #40
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Jan 2018
Location: Western NY
Posts: 54
Year: 2003
Chassis: Chevy 3500
Engine: 6.0L Chevy
I got a bit behind on posting so here are some updates.

New headlights installed because the others were frosted through and very dim



I installed LED lights in the ceiling. These are great and I highly recommend them because the dont have that bright industrial look, more of a normal incandescent slight yellow tone. I put them where the 4 stock lights were and added two more at the front of the bus.
















I spent quite a few hours chasing wires and figuring out how this bus is configured. Some things were done well, some things are done very poorly, so i have quite a bit of work to do to get this thing a bit more efficient. I now have it wired up so that the lights will be able to turn on when the engine is on or off and they are no longer hooked up to the courtesy lights for the doors. I also got the speakers and the stereo installed because you have to have music and light to work late into the evenings. The radio has a separate switch installed so I can turn it on when the vehicle is off and it will run on the aux battery so it doesn't drain the engine battery.

We also painted the entire bus on the inside!

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