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Old 01-15-2020, 08:51 PM   #21
Skoolie
 
Join Date: Jun 2018
Location: NC, TN, and CA
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Year: 2001
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Engine: Turbo diesel 6.5L
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Keep the faith

If you are losing faith, then I am definitely going to Hell. I have been working on my shuttle bus for almost 2 years and am just now putting in insulation, bedframe, and cabinets. It took over a year to get all the mechanical taken care of (to the tune of about $10,000). I don't have plumbing yet or electrical for the living area. My bus spent the first 18 months at my older son's home while he worked on electrical and mechanical stuff. We did drive from TN to CA about 2 weeks ago. I am at my younger son's house and he is helping me with the physical stuff. My older son installed some of the electrical wrong. My younger son who went to school to be an electrician also noticed that my camera system was installed improperly. We are going to take the bus to Los Angeles and have the electrical fixed properly for a reasonable (I hope) price. I have the bus hooked up to my son's house electrical, but it has been too cold to sleep in the bus. So ultimately it is going to be almost at the 2 year mark before I actually do some traveling and living in my bus. Keep the faith. Maybe take small trips to boost your morale.
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Old 01-15-2020, 09:05 PM   #22
Bus Nut
 
Join Date: Feb 2018
Location: Golden Valley AZ
Posts: 643
Year: 1993
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WanderWoman View Post
Start by finding and fixing the roof leak.
I pulled seats, put down floor, had my friend run 110 electric, threw down a mattress and moved in. Took me an add’l 8 months to convert it while I lived in it.
Sandi



Sandis right, fix the roof first, test it with a hose, then do the ceiling, find some batteries.
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Old 01-15-2020, 11:22 PM   #23
Bus Nut
 
Join Date: Feb 2018
Location: Golden Valley AZ
Posts: 643
Year: 1993
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ajankows38290 View Post
Hi,
I have a 1998 for e350 decommissioned school bus. I've had it for just over a year now. We've come along way in the conversion process, but I've honestly lost steam in the process. We did all of the demolition inside anand we started at bare metal basically. Ripped out all the old wiring. Put down insulation and subflooring on the floor, and insulated the lower walls. Because there was a leak in the roof, we couldn't insulate the roof. We installed solar panels, but they are charging nothing because I cant afford the "correct" batteries. We have all the wiring installed, but no shore power yet. We have the bathroom framed out and the bed framed out and ready to use.
I know we have made a lot of progress from where I started, but I'm honestly lost on where to go now. I had been living in an apartment, so I had limited funds to work on the bus, and now that I am staying with a friend at a cheaper rent price, i have more funds but I'm kind of lost. I have boxes of stuff on the bus, because its things i use often, so my bus is more packed than it used to be. It's harder to move around.
I had set a goal to be living in the bus by now...but that plan got derailed. I dont have electric, water, heat, or a/c. Its currently too cold for life, and I can barely function.
I took a break for the holidays and I hoped when I came back I would have an idea of where to start, aaaannnnndddddd NOPE. I'm just as lost and confused of where to start.
Do I do water?
Do I do propane?
Do I order the composting toilet?
Do I order more solar panels?
Do I hook up batteries?
Do I just live in it and get over it? With no power, water, heat, or like insulation
I just dont find the conversion fun anymore. I dont know where to start anymore. I feel hopeless. I feel like a mooch to my friends. Everyone says itll be okay, but they aren't technically homeless. That's how I feel, homeless, I have a 25%done bus and a suitcase and a dog. I feel like a failure. I dont think I'll ever finish this bus.
Can anybody give me advice on where to start or how to stay motivated to keep working?

**I'm the shorter girl in the dress, I was Ms. Frizzle from Magic Scool Bus for halloween. Trunk or Treat was a success **





Fix the roof first, leak test it with a hose, leak test the windows while you are at it, then do the ceiling work that you put off, find some batteries and get the solar working... you will want electricity, make the doors lock - if they don't already.

Don't buy anything that you don't need to progress RIGHT NOW. It will just get in your way, get torn up, and consume your financial resources. Think twice before you buy anything that you are not ready to install/use, "just because it is such a good deal".

If you have to temporarily live in it....Been there, done that.

Restroom...buy a 5 gallon bucket and a toilet seat to fit it (camping supplys) and some plastic trash sacks to fit the bucket to make it easy to keep clean and dispose of the mess. You now have a seat, an emergency toilet, and a lightweight stool to stand on. If you live in a city get a membership at a nationwide fitness center for showers.

Kitchen....Buy a 5-7 gallon blue water jug (camping supply), a good used camping cook stove (propane is safer indoors and fuel is probably cheaper), some paper plates, an aluminum pan to cook on and use for a small sink. A small, heavy iron skillet can be used to cook and if left on the burner (clean and empty) it will get hot and radiate heat to make a small heater (don't heat the aluminum pan empty...it may melt). 2 small trashcans or 5gal buckets (best), a bottle of Windex type glass cleaner, and some paper towels (I find the half sheet to be best) for cleaning your hands & light dish washing. Use the towel to dry your hands and throw it in clean trashcan #1 (clean towels only) Reuse these paper towels as necessary for cleaning messes and throw in trashcan #2 with the rest of the trash

Bedroom...Buy 6-8 plastic storage tubs, all the same size (large?) Load all of the crap that you need to live (get by) in the tubs, put the rest in storage or get rid of it. Put the tubs on the floor in 2 rows. This is your bed platform. Find a small lightweight mattress to fit on top.


Privacy... used blankets from Goodwill for the windows act as insulation and curtains.

Now that you have "all of the comforts of home" in a compact, tidy, easily moved mess you can pick one end of the bus to start on then move your living area when you need to.

You should realize that plans change due to circumstances so....RE-make/check your ToDo lists every time you stall and when you stop for a while or before you go to sleep. If you are having a hard time getting started, count 1, 2, 3, 4, 5... go do whats on your list (the only way to keep big projects from overwhelming you is to break them up into little chunks then plan/do each little chunk). That's why you made the list so you will know what to do next.

Plans are seldom perfect, mistakes will be made. I think the old military saying goes something like this "No plan survives the first encounter with the enemy"

In construction it is customary to work in a certain order to facilitate the work. It goes something like this...survey, measure, plan, re-measure, re-plan, site/ground work, preliminary utilities to the structure (ditches for incoming electric, plumbing and outgoing sewer along withe the associated wires and pipes... stuff that will be hard to put in place later in the build in or under the floor), foundation, structural walls, roof, doors, and windows.

Now we are secure and "in the dry". Then.... non structural walls if not already done, run electrical and plumbing wherever they need to go, temporailly cap the plumbing and do a pressurised air leak test. Leaks are easier to deal with now while the plumbing is exposed. Then....wall coverings, interior paint, cabinets and millwork (trim), most of the plumbing fixtures and electrical trim out, floor coverings, toilets are usually set after the floor is done.

After the "dry in" is complete, the exterior and interior is usually done at the same time. Thats because multiple trades are working at the same time and the contractor/owners job is to try to schedule them so that the are not in each others way and the work flows smoothly with no one putting the cart before the horse.

If you are doing it all your self you need to think through the order of what needs to be done first. This is true no matter what you are building/fabricating. You will want to do outside stuff when you have good weather for that particular type of work (example: paint= no/low humidity, no rain for x hours before and after application, correct temperatures during application and dry/cure, paint containers can not be allowed to freeze and may have to be stored at a certain temperature.) and inside stuff during bad weather
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Old 01-16-2020, 12:07 AM   #24
Bus Nut
 
Join Date: Feb 2018
Location: Golden Valley AZ
Posts: 643
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ajankows38290 View Post
Thank you, as soon as I have insulation, electric, and heat I can live in it partially. But I will not leave my dog in it while I'm at work. Until it's safe for him, I wont live in it full time, its not safe.
Insulation is nice but not necessary. Most of the people on here think that it is an absolute priority. But that is because of the way that they approach heating. They think that they need to heat the air and blow it all around and let it heat up every thing else. Which is crazy. That heats the ceiling and walls but does them little good. Radiant heat is the answer. No fan. Just heat what needs heating...you. Radiant heat (infrared) works similar to a flash light, it just heats up what ever it is pointed at and can heat up something on the other side of the room if it is focused correctly. That is also the way that the sun heats the earth, the way that cast iron wood stoves heat up a room, and a camp fire heats up the area around it.

In my earlier post I advised you to put a iron pan/skillet on the camp stove to heat the bus. If you just leave the burner on it will heat the air and all of the heat will float up to the ceiling and go away. You waste most all of the heat. But the iron pan will heat up and start radiating out to the room and heat up everything in line of sight, which in turn will re-radiate the heat as it heats up enough. If you used aluminum foil to reflect/focus that heat then you could be even more selective on what you heat.

In the old days, before fans, people used to heat water in a pan on the stove so that the water vapor would travel all over the house and heat the place up, Of course condensation was a huge problem. Then they learned to heat the water in a boiler and pipe it (hot water or steam - steam designs need no pump.) to different locations. Then somebody figure out that they could use air,duct work, and fans which was cheaper to install, but the least effeceint system that I know of. And that's why insulation is so important now days

As for the dog getting too cold, I don't think so, not unless he is a very short haired and/or unhealthy dog. just let him get acclimated to the cold a little bit. Dogs can take the cold, but can't take the heat. This is because they wear a fur coat and can not sweat like you (their normal body temp is 101 F, best I remember). He is not even going to be exposed to the wind or rain. I would be more afraid that he tore the place up or burned it down. Might want to put him a doggy bed in an aluminum foil lined cardboard box in there if it is really cold.


NOTE: If you manage to get shore power or even your solar working....as far as I know, all electrical energy used for whatever purpose converts to heat as the device runs. This is bad for summer, but great for winter. Everything electric running indoors is a heater, so you get double use per watt in the winter. Watch an old style crt TV and warm up. Refrigerators are the best bang for the buck. If you use a extension cord, use the heaviest cord you can.
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Old 01-17-2020, 02:33 AM   #25
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Location: SoCal
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Chassis: MicroBird
Engine: 7.3L powerstroke
Quote:
Originally Posted by ajankows38290 View Post
Thank you, as soon as I have insulation, electric, and heat I can live in it partially. But I will not leave my dog in it while I'm at work. Until it's safe for him, I wont live in it full time, its not safe.
I agree that you are probably over thinking it. There are a lot of moving parts and interconnected systems in the final product. Try to quiet the noise and focus on the most critical items one at a time as has been said.

If it was me, I would try and find a place to store all your excess items temporarily. That way you can eliminate the visual "noise" and clutter so maybe it'd help to make the process seems less daunting.

You don't have a finished bus yet... But you DO have a structurally sound metal tent that will shelter you from the elements extremely well. Patch the leaks, then try and prioritize the rest over time. I wouldn't dwell on the " I can't heat it, til I finish insulating it". Ppl have been heating tents for thousands of years successfully. Ppl live in Yurts successfully. The military houses their finest human assets all over the world in various climates without R30 insulation in tents.

I know that it seems overwhelming... But, try and focus on what you have (the positive), not what you lack (negative). Trust me, throw some soft, plush blankets in there and your dog will be Happy as can be as long as you are around. Good luck!! After all it's now 2020... And anything is possible. It all starts in the mind! Take care of that and the rest will follow.
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Old 01-17-2020, 03:48 PM   #26
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Join Date: Feb 2018
Location: Golden Valley AZ
Posts: 643
Year: 1993
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Quote:
Originally Posted by maddmaxx View Post
I agree that you are probably over thinking it. There are a lot of moving parts and interconnected systems in the final product. Try to quiet the noise and focus on the most critical items one at a time as has been said.

If it was me, I would try and find a place to store all your excess items temporarily. That way you can eliminate the visual "noise" and clutter so maybe it'd help to make the process seems less daunting.

You don't have a finished bus yet... But you DO have a structurally sound metal tent that will shelter you from the elements extremely well. Patch the leaks, then try and prioritize the rest over time. I wouldn't dwell on the " I can't heat it, til I finish insulating it". Ppl have been heating tents for thousands of years successfully. Ppl live in Yurts successfully. The military houses their finest human assets all over the world in various climates without R30 insulation in tents.

I know that it seems overwhelming... But, try and focus on what you have (the positive), not what you lack (negative). Trust me, throw some soft, plush blankets in there and your dog will be Happy as can be as long as you are around. Good luck!! After all it's now 2020... And anything is possible. It all starts in the mind! Take care of that and the rest will follow.



i agree...
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Old 01-17-2020, 04:13 PM   #27
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Join Date: Feb 2018
Location: Golden Valley AZ
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kidharris View Post

You should realize that plans change due to circumstances so....RE-make/check your ToDo lists every time you stall and when you stop for a while or before you go to sleep. If you are having a hard time getting started, count 1, 2, 3, 4, 5... go do whats on your list (the only way to keep big projects from overwhelming you is to break them up into little chunks then plan/do each little chunk). That's why you made the list so you will know what to do next.



This is actually an edit, I just wanted to correct something.


"count 1, 2, 3, 4, 5..." should read "count down 5, 4, 3, 2, 1...". Counting down is actually a method to set a definite time schedule ... NOW, whereas counting up just puts it off into the future (indefinite time schedule) because you can count forever and it allows you to delay. The point being it is simply a mental trick to start me in motion. After all, "A body in motion tends to stay in motion"... LOL. Without a definite start time, few things get done.


Speaking of which...I got things to do....5, 4, 3, 2, 1...
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Old 01-18-2020, 04:32 AM   #28
Mini-Skoolie
 
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Rated Cap: 78
The end goal is for you to live in the bus. As others have pointed out, there are many ways to live in the bus with things partially done. There is the safe way and the unsafe way. People have run extension cords through windows to power the necessary things like heat. You have to start off with a list of what you absolutely need, and another list of wants.

For instance, I would love to eventually have solar, but as I can get shore power elsewhere, I had to put it in the 'want' category. So I'm still planning on having it, and when I do things like insulate the ceiling, I will already know where and how I want to bring in that power from the roof. That future planning will keep me from having to tear out insulation, because I will have already roughed in something for it. But I can still add it later. Having a good drawing and plan of the finished design is essential. After you have that, then you can go through and decide what is essential for a place to live.

Can you get water from somewhere?
Can you plug a heavy duty extension cord in somewhere? Heat is your main concern if you are somewhere really cold, whether that is supplied via electrical means, or via a propane heater. (Electrical is much safer, although propane is safe if you have a good carbon monoxide monitor)
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