Free 7 Day Trial RV GPS App RV Trip Planner Campground Reviews RV Maintenance Free 7 Day Trial ×


Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
 
Old 12-07-2015, 03:08 PM   #1
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Dec 2015
Posts: 41
Davo's G30

Hey all!

I just picked up a 1995 Chevy g30 short bus last night and figured I'd start up a thread as I'll have this bus for a while and plan to do some work converting it.

The backstory is that I am the best man in my friends wedding and he wanted his bachelor party to be a road trip over to Kentucky to do the Bourbon Tour over a few days with a bunch of guys. I ended up reserving a party bus there which would be $1800 for a guy to drive us around for a few days to all of the stops in his own converted mini-bus. We got to thinking, we might as well rent a bus or van to get us there also but then once we saw that it would be another $750-1000 for that we changed gears and decided why not BUY a bus, then use it to get us there AND do the tour! Then we could sell it once we got back and break even minus gas money and save a few thousand bucks...well after a few weeks of trolling craigslist I found a deal 3 hours away in Kansas and was there the next day to pick this beauty up for $1900. Gave it a quick inspection, gave up the cash, and drove it home!

It's got 212k on the odometer but a fresher 350 SBC out of a wrecked suburban, doesn't leak oil except from one of the hose connections to the oil filter housing so I'll fix that quick. One thing I noticed is that the temp gauge never got up to middle, it read that it was running cool so I'm wondering if the thermostat was stuck open or even removed because the gas mileage I got was only 9mpg (the radiator looked pretty dirty, might just replace it and the water pump and thermostat to be sure the cooling system works, but I drove 70ish the entire way home and it handled great. It had sat for a while before I checked it out so it died a few times at first but once we warmed it up and got on the road it did fine, hasn't died again yet. I just finished replacing the 5.4 on my ford f-150 and I'm prepared to put in a crate engine if I decide I'd like to keep this thing for a while. The neighbors, who I thought would be offended by seeing this in my driveway, are actually pretty stoked about the idea of a camper conversion and some road trips.

Anyways, the title didn't have the model type printed on it, but I had no issues getting an Oklahoma tag, and there was no penalty for it having a 2 year expired Kansas tag so that's good news! I just have to do the VIN inspection to get the hard copy of the OK title. I black-tagged it for now until I find out what I can do about insurance, I hear that's a big gray area and might be a PITA.

Davoarts is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-07-2015, 03:30 PM   #2
Bus Crazy
 
CaptSquid's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2015
Location: Billings, MT
Posts: 1,269
Year: 2003
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: HDX
Engine: Cat C7
Rated Cap: 84 passenger
Get Jim Beam to sponsor you!
CaptSquid is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-07-2015, 05:12 PM   #3
Bus Crazy
 
sdwarf36's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Moodus, Ct.
Posts: 1,062
Year: 1996
Coachwork: Champion
Chassis: Ford e-450
Engine: 7.3 Powerstroke
Rated Cap: 14
Good ride! Solid platform. Bad news is 9 mpg is all you are going to get.
__________________
Don't make a fuss-just get on the bus!

my bus build https://www.skoolie.net/gallery/Skoolies/Sped
sdwarf36 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-07-2015, 06:12 PM   #4
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Dec 2015
Posts: 41
I can definitely live with 9mpg. None of the upper controls (bus lights, stop arm, etc) work, but neither do the horn and wipers. No biggie about the horn, I'll put in an aaoogaah horn later, but wipers are a must so I'll track that issue down. It has the inboard heater fed from the coolant lines, I'm thinking maybe I should remove that when I clear out the seats.
Davoarts is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-18-2015, 07:24 PM   #5
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Dec 2015
Posts: 41
Finally had some time and daylight to work with so I opened up the old bus control panel up top and to my luck discovered that the only "decommissioning" they did of the bus was to disconnect the main 12v power supply to the bus controls. That wire was still live, however, and I pulled the panel out enough that it connected with the screw clip to the left and sparked up and scared me pretty good.

I hooked that back up to see what all circuits still actually worked and everything did! The fan fired up, the heater fan fired up, the running lights lit up (except for a bad bulb on one) and the flashers and stop sign even worked when opening the door. I'm going to disconnect the flashers and stop sign circuit and use that for something else (12v tv?) since I'm technically not supposed to use those lights anyways.

I spent a few hours after that with a razor blade and heat gun scraping off all of the reflective tape on the outside of the bus to get ready to prep for whatever paint job I decide on. I also took most of the interior decals off as well to get back to a clean slate.

For now, the seats are staying in until after the trip in April, but that will give me time to collect ideas and cheap materials. Tomorrow I'm driving a few hours to show my buddy the bus and talk ideas and cook out, then a group of us are going to pile in and tour the christmas light displays.

Also, I was able to get insured with liability only for the skoolie, which was easy since it was titled as a G30 van and not a bus. The tag agency gave me no hassle either, I'm totally legal! However, I need to see what I can do to cover all bases for this trip we are taking in April since there will be 10 of us on the skoolie most of the time.

Here's a pic of the inside as well as the cool seat cover that came with purchase.



Davoarts is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-19-2015, 09:41 PM   #6
Almost There
 
Low594's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2015
Location: Oakland, CA
Posts: 73
Year: 2002
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: Ford E-450 Super Duty
Engine: PowerStroke 7.3L Turbo Diesel
Rated Cap: 14,000 lbs
Nice! Looking forward to seeing what you do with it!
Low594 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-19-2015, 10:19 PM   #7
New Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2015
Location: N.E. Wy.
Posts: 7
What's the seating capacity? That's where you can get into legal issues. The limit is 16 people including the driver. Over that and you will need a cdl to drive it. To get around this, you could remove a seat or two.
Cheepsk8 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-19-2015, 10:27 PM   #8
Site Team
 
crazycal's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: NUNYA
Posts: 4,236
Year: 1995
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: 3800
Engine: DT408, AT545
Rated Cap: 23 500 gvw
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cheepsk8 View Post
What's the seating capacity? That's where you can get into legal issues. The limit is 16 people including the driver. Over that and you will need a cdl to drive it. To get around this, you could remove a seat or two.
It varies from state to state. In California, driver plus 9 = regular license. Driver plus 10 = Class B CDL.
__________________
I'm hungry!

You Gotta Let Me Fly
crazycal is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-20-2015, 05:11 AM   #9
Bus Crazy
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Winlcok, WA
Posts: 2,229
In most states the CDL rules kick in any time the bus is yellow, regardless of how many passengers.

In most states, if the bus isn't yellow, the CDL rules kick in when there is 16 or more including the driver.

Since that started out life as a school bus it most likely has seats that are rated for 13" rear ends. In other words, a 39" seat is rated for three people and a 26" seat is rated for two people.

While you can't legally change that definition without changing the seats, you can change the seating capacity by the number of seat belts.

If the number of seat belts is not more than 15 including the driver and you paint it any color besides National School Bus Chrome Yellow you shouldn't have any problem in regards to CDL rules.

The biggest problem in regards to CDL rules besides the need for a driver with a CDL with a passenger endorsement is the bus would also need a USDOT number. With a USDOT number comes all of the compliance issues regarding USDOT motor carriers, a quagmire you really do NOT want to get into.

Once your bus isn't seated for more than 14 passengers and it isn't yellow you should be good to go.

As far as the temp gauge is concerned, if we are talking about the GM factory gauge, those are notoriously inaccurate. I would invest in an infrared thermometer and see how inaccurate the factory gauge is. At that point you can either mark what is hot and cold with a piece of tape or put in an aftermarket gauge.
cowlitzcoach is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-20-2015, 10:27 AM   #10
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Dec 2015
Posts: 41
The plate says 21 capacity, which is 3 per seat for most of the seats, a few in the back only have two seatbelts. As far as adult capacity, it's more like 14 comfortably.

Anyways, the drive was nice, was able to maintain 75-80mph with plenty of reserve power, but that was with only two people and some gear. I'm going to install a different temp gauge and also probably a tachometer. Me and my buddy are researching inverters right now so we can get a tv/stereo system set up.
Davoarts is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-22-2015, 02:08 AM   #11
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Dec 2015
Posts: 41
Tracked down the oil leak, turns out one of the oil filter lines had a hole or crack, which occurred right below the exhaust pipe. The new line was only $18, although I might install some sort of heat shield to protect the new line. In the pic below you can see the oil bead growing in the upper left part of the line.



While under the bus, I noticed an air tank which I believe runs the stop arm, I followed one line to the stop arm assembly but what I don't know is how compressed air is actually fed to the tank. Anyways, the tank looks a little rusty and if I don't need it I'll take it out before I clean and paint the frame to prevent any future rusting.




In this picture you can see the air line going to the body wall and up towards the stop arm assembly. It's rubber hose so it's not high pressure like an air brake line.
Davoarts is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-22-2015, 09:06 PM   #12
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Dec 2015
Posts: 41
Well it turns out the other oil cooler line was leaking as well but not as bad. Unfortunately I got the last one in town and couldn't find another one so I ordered one online to swap the remaining bad one out when I do my next oil change.
Davoarts is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-23-2015, 05:45 PM   #13
Bus Crazy
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Winlcok, WA
Posts: 2,229
The stop paddle might be working on vacuum and the tank you have is for vacuum instead of air pressure.

The only way to find out for sure is to start the bus with the line disconnected. If it sucks it is vacuum and if it blows it is air pressure.
cowlitzcoach is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-07-2016, 09:10 PM   #14
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Dec 2015
Posts: 41
Picture time!

Had some cold weather come through so I didn't work on the bus much, plus holidays and all. I did spend some more time taking off the reflective decals and starting to get all the decal goo off which looks like it will take a while for sure, so paint will have to wait.

I gathered up my stereo components, got a pioneer package stereo/speakers and I built the enclosures for the 6x9's which I'll hang in the rear of the bus



The 6.5's will be cut into the interior sheet metal, as of right now I just stuck them to where I wanted them to be to see how it looked. I had to cut down the padding panel on the left side to have a clear spot for one speaker. I was just going to take the panel down but the sheet metal work under there is ugly, there's a big gap that needs to stay covered so I'll leave the vinyl pad there until after the bachelor trip. You can see where I marked the tv that my buddy has that we were going to use, but it is too big and will cover the drop down bus control panel, and I can't shift it right or I'll interfere with the 6.5 speaker. I think I'm just going to get a slightly smaller tv that will stay through the phase 2 renovation after the trip.



I installed the new head unit where the removable panel is that the flasher relay board was mounted to, the location seems perfect.



You can't see, but I put the 10" subwoofer behind the driver seat, it was an old one I had extra but it fit perfect. I ordered a factory refurbished amplifier (cheaper than new) and it should fit below the driver seat under the computer tray (not a great pic, just crammed it in there to see if it all fit.





I picked up these LED pen lights with magnets at the end and they have been an incredible investment at only $5 each from Academy sports, I can basically stick them anywhere inside the bus because of the sheet metal.



So next I need to cut the 6.5 speakers in, hang the 6x9 boxes, figure out a good spot for the inverter we are going to power the tv with, and then I need to wire it all up!
Davoarts is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-13-2016, 10:48 PM   #15
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Dec 2015
Posts: 41
Made some more progress on the stereo, got everything hooked up and it works great, I haven't hooked up the inverter yet because I need to wait for my inline fuse holder to come in, surprisingly those things are hard to find.

Still need to do paint, fix the windshield wipers, tune the motor up, new tires, and add some party lights!






Davoarts is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-21-2016, 02:33 PM   #16
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Dec 2015
Posts: 41
I was planning on painting this weekend but it has been so cold out lately I haven't had time to do all the prep work. I got an eraser wheel to see if it will take the decal goo off faster, haven't tried it yet though. At first I was going to rattlecan the paint because I did a suzuki samurai a while back and it turned out great, however I don't have a garage for this thing so I'm going to go the tractor enamel route and use foam rollers and brushes. I'm going to do light ford grey.



I found a truck ladder rack on craigslist for $100, these things are $600-800 new. I plan on cutting off the legs, mocking it up into position and welding new brackets on to bolt it to the bus roof framing. I'll document how that goes because I haven't seen a lot of close up walk-throughs of mounting a roof rack. This thing is heavy enough it will definitely work as a rooftop deck, in fact the one I got actually had deck boards on it already. It's HEAVY though. Aboout 200# heavy, but I will shorten it slightly and cut off the legs and extra brackets and maybe get it down to 150#. My friend has a solar panel kit he never used so I am going to buy that from him and see if I can build it onto the front part of the rack to double as a wind deflector, but obviously i'll have to use swivel mounts so I can tilt it towards the sun easier.
Davoarts is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-21-2016, 03:20 PM   #17
Almost There
 
Join Date: Nov 2014
Location: Paso Robles, CA
Posts: 83
Year: 1973
Coachwork: Gillig
Engine: 1160 V8 Diesel
Rated Cap: 79
WD-40 works great on gooey, greasy stuff! O'Reilly's also has some products that might work as well.
__________________
"Using our freedom to help gain theirs."

Helping victims & survivors of human trafficking regain their lives.
www.oasisprojekt.org
FreedomPanda is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-21-2016, 03:48 PM   #18
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Dec 2015
Posts: 41
I'll try that when I get home, I got the side done with goo-gone but it took a while and isn't totally gone either. The back side is where the most goo is and I'd go crazy using the goo-gone to get that all clean.
Davoarts is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-21-2016, 06:04 PM   #19
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Dec 2015
Posts: 41
Yeah so I spent about 10 minutes with the eraser wheel and got most of the back section done! that thing works wonders. The bad part is the wheel is $15 and I will probably go through 2 of them finishing the job, but it's so worth it.
Davoarts is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-23-2016, 05:19 PM   #20
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Dec 2015
Posts: 41
Got the bus closer to ready to paint, took the mirror frames off and finished removing the reflective decal residue. I also removed the stop paddle apparatus, it works on vacuum come to find out, I just plugged the line and taped the stop light wires off and shoved them back into the body cavity. There were a few spots I needed to bondo and sand around the wheel wells due to rust.



I cut all the unnecessary parts off of the roof rack frame and it's so much easier to move around now, probably at about 125-150lbs. I took a wire wheel to it and brushed off all the rust and loose powdercoat and re-painted it with some cheap block gloss spray paint I had left over.

Davoarts is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


» Featured Campgrounds

Reviews provided by

Powered by vBadvanced CMPS v3.2.3

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 09:59 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 4
Copyright ©2000 - 2021, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
×