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Old 09-14-2020, 11:32 AM   #21
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Apr 2020
Posts: 38
Our bus is a '99 Ford E450 with six windows, fiberglass. Ceiling is 6-5 at center, 6-2 where it starts to curve down on the sides, so very roomy ceiling.

Since this thread continues to get attention I thought I'd drill down on the details of our shuttle conversion to give you something more to chew on. We're about halfway done. I encourage others to share where they have done it differently, and why.

Bed in back. Queen will fit but thinking Full is enough. Plumbing core behind driver seat-shower, doubles as bathroom (composting toilet slides forward into shower space from enclosure under kitchen counter), with a pull-in slider to make the bathroom roomy but not so it overwhelms the interior space.

It's evolved a little from this design. Dual propane tanks in sealed enclosure just behind driver's seat (not shown in this diagram); and the freshwater tank is over the rear driver side wheelwell. It's 25 gallons, and I'll carry 3 five gallon jerry cans for a total capacity of 40 gallons.

The stove is in a drawer that pulls out, freeing up some counter space. The Camplux instant water heater is right between the shower and the sink, so very tight plumbing core. Graywater tanks are directly below.

The battery bank is jammed alongside the second chassis battery in the original slideout underfloor just to the left of the passenger door, two lead-acid house batteries, and feeds a panel right behind the driver's seat, just above the propane enclosure.

Fridge is a dorm room style 110v unit controlled by an external temp control and fed by a 1200 watt inverter, which turns on only when the unit calls for cooling. That inverter has a vampire draw of 1.5A so I didn't want it to run it all the time, only when the fridge needs it (there's also an override in case I want the juice for something else temporarily) Fridge is in an insulated enclosure to increase R.

Passenger seating are two Ford removable passenger seats. The front one will mount forwards and backwards, though I may spend the two hundred bucks for a pivot to make it more simple to use.

You can see I left the handicapped ramp in. Same with the shuttle A/C and cabin heater (it's under the sink). Since those run only while the van is running I bought a Buddy heater and expect to have to manage the condensation if we end up in cold locations.

The interior is stock linoleum with a rug, and the walls and ceiling are stock white fiberglass. I have not ripped anything out or added any insulation. I have two marine evacuation fans (quiet and powerful), but I haven't mounted them yet. They are about half the CFM of a Maxxair but much cheaper, and the outflow can be ducted through the side vent windows without penetrating the walls or roof.

I've not fully designed the boondocking A/C yet. I'm thinking I'll buy a room a/c unit (or floor model with ducts), and run it off a generator. This summer at the peak of the heat outside air was 108, and inside air was 112 above the windows (with no shading), so that is about the max temp you can expect doing absolutely nothing. With a swamp cooler and big fan I could work inside it only until the temp reached about 101 outside. By that time it was 95 inside and you can't really be productive. It was a dry heat...

We are making blackout shades for the windows to help with heat gain and loss. We live in California and will be chasing the sun so our design criteria is 32 degrees Fahrenheit except for overnight dips.

We've been working on this since May, so three or four months of weekend work. We're about half done. I hope.

I hope this gives you some helpful information about practical design considerations. As I've said elsewhere, two people, 16 feet of space is about the minimum to fit everything in. If you skip the bathroom, maybe 14, but two people will be climbing over each other all the time. If it is too hot, or too cold, or raining, that will get old quick.

A conversion is more than just how much you can fit in a five pound bag; it has to work for your planned usage. I recommend you search on YouTube for 'five things I learned as a van-lifer', or 'they don't tell you this when you convert a school bus' etc. Those practical videos that explain the downside of some design choices may be eye-opening.
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Old 09-14-2020, 11:35 AM   #22
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Aug 2018
Location: Biggest Little City
Posts: 36
Year: 2003
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: Ford E450
Engine: 7.3L Powerstroke
Here's my build to check out for reference, it has a similar garage concept.

Moto Bus

Interior ceiling height is 6', overall length interior from rear of drivers seat is roughly 15'. Its a 2003 Thomasbuilt on a E450.
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Old 09-15-2020, 07:07 AM   #23
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Aug 2020
Location: Highlands, NC
Posts: 11
Rucker, Nice layout. Not sure why you are putting the bed " north to south" rather then " east to west", would seem to give you a bit more cabin space. Also like the 40 Gallon tank placement, better weight control. I am wondering how the slide out , for the bath works. Overhead sliders? And is the flooring all the same material, and does it slant into the center of the bath drain? Overall, really like your post. I haven't pulled the trigger on my choice of shuttle V short bus. Like a lot with the shuttle, but would really like a roof top platform.
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Old 09-15-2020, 10:21 PM   #24
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Aug 2020
Posts: 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by 2planker View Post
Here's my build to check out for reference, it has a similar garage concept.

Moto Bus

Interior ceiling height is 6', overall length interior from rear of drivers seat is roughly 15'. Its a 2003 Thomasbuilt on a E450.
I like your layout. Im doing a 2 bike garage as well.
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Old 09-16-2020, 11:09 AM   #25
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Apr 2020
Posts: 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by zen builder View Post
Rucker, Nice layout. Not sure why you are putting the bed " north to south" rather then " east to west", would seem to give you a bit more cabin space. Also like the 40 Gallon tank placement, better weight control. I am wondering how the slide out , for the bath works. Overhead sliders? And is the flooring all the same material, and does it slant into the center of the bath drain? Overall, really like your post. I haven't pulled the trigger on my choice of shuttle V short bus. Like a lot with the shuttle, but would really like a roof top platform.
North to south versus east to west: I like the idea of having a little storage space on either side of the bed for the two of us.
About the 40 gallon tank straddling the wheels: I actually changed that tank from a 40 gallon to a 25 gallon and put it over the driver rear wheel. With three Jerry cans itís the equivalent to a 40 gallon tank and that 25 gallon tank cost me under 100 bucks where is the 40 gallon tank wouldíve been several hundred. Filled with water itíll weigh about the same as two kids in the two seats that it replaces so I donít think weight is going to be a factor.
The shower slide in feature is kind of unique. It will ride on rollers overhead and be able to be retracted when weíre driving. The composting toilet will still be able to be used with these slide in retracted. Iím still working on the final design but it will be three-quarter inch plywood and will be raised off the floor a couple of inches.
The shower pan will just fit in the existing walls and not extend out into the walkway or aisle Down the center of the floor plan. It will be fiberglass and Iíll have to fabricate it.
my Shuttle Bus came with the pair of rails on top for a roof rack. I donít really think Iím going to put a platform up there at least not initially. Iím really trying to keep the exterior of the shuttle bus as plain and simple as possible so it doesnít stick out.
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Old 09-17-2020, 08:39 AM   #26
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Aug 2020
Location: Highlands, NC
Posts: 11
Good idea with the split tank / jerry cans. I thought that you would probably have an over head sliding system for the shower. And I think the Natures Head is the way to go. I ran an RV dealership for my family in the mid 70's, and what a pain dealing with black tanks. Convenient, you bet, especially with the ladies , but ....
Take care and safe travels. jeff
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Old 09-17-2020, 01:54 PM   #27
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Apr 2020
Posts: 38
Regarding a Nature's Head: I would be good with this except for the size of the unit. I think they are worth the price if you have the budget. My issue was their size. My design requires the toilet to slide out of the way when using the shower (slides towards the back of the bus in the diagram).

So I needed something that would fit under the counter, and the best solution I found was a DIY composting toilet consisting of a 5 gallon plastic bucket fitted with a urine diverter in a plywood enclosure, all mounted on a drawer slide of sufficient capacity.

The width and height are 19", and the drawer slides are full extension 36" rated at 450 lbs. When it slides out of the way, the right side of the enclosure forms a watertight seal to the shower area.
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Old 09-18-2020, 07:15 AM   #28
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Aug 2020
Location: Highlands, NC
Posts: 11
Ah, I didn't understand that it would " live in the shower area " and slide forward to use. I have seen similar designs. There is a Van builder ( Humble Travels) I think , that has a design similar. He is very good with his designs, check him out.
Also like the idea of 19" tall toilet, the tallest home units that I have installed is 15.75" , so a 19" tall would be very comfortable .
What are you going to build the shower enclosure out of?
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Old 09-18-2020, 07:20 AM   #29
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Aug 2020
Location: Highlands, NC
Posts: 11
Just checked your diaogram again, Now I see the slide system. What is the object between the kitchen and the shower? Water heater?
Also, maybe the name of the van builder is "Humble Roads" sorry, at 69, I can remember as much as I want to.
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Old 09-18-2020, 10:12 AM   #30
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Apr 2020
Posts: 38
Yes, the CampLux is mounted on the partition between the shower and the kitchen core. It vents to the outside through the little slide window. When not in use, the exhaust pipe is removed and stowed so there's no permanent external penetration.
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Old 09-18-2020, 10:15 AM   #31
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Apr 2020
Posts: 38
I'm still noodling on the shower enclosure material. I like the idea of tile but I like the idea of sheet material even better. The shower pan is site-built fiberglass. Any other materials or treatment you can think of?
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Old 09-19-2020, 07:06 AM   #32
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Aug 2020
Location: Highlands, NC
Posts: 11
I like tile, and have tiles a number of showers, but, and there's always a but, Im not sure how well it would last. I have heard some You-tubers talk about elastic grout, I do not have any experience with that . I have to think that the bus would dislodge tiles ,especially over uneven roads. Just my thoughts.
As for wall materials, good question. seems to be a lot of materials out there that people are using. Me, I like a bright area, especially in small locations. Once framed , with whatever your using, maybe apply 1/4 " ply to the walls , ending slightly above the top edge of the pan, then 3/4" foam which could come down over the upper lip of the pan slightly , then maybe FRB glued to the foam. ( i think it is called FRB) "Fiberglas reinforced Board". I would also tape seems and coat with a product like "RedGuard" prior to the foam.
Seems it would tic all the boxes. 1. Sound backing, 2. insulated, 3. light waterproof outer panels.And, 4 light weight.
I think that it would also be easier to use when cutting and installing on the toilet enclosure.
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