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Old 05-01-2018, 08:14 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by 1olfart View Post
Make sure you take MANY pictures, for us "slower" old farts.

I’ll keep posting my pics and vids as I my build moves forward
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Old 05-02-2018, 12:41 PM   #22
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Love the shelf idea. Might steal it.
watched your video coming along great!!!
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Old 05-02-2018, 09:06 PM   #23
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Originally Posted by MovinOn View Post
Love the shelf idea. Might steal it.
watched your video coming along great!!!

Thanks for watching!

I still need to install some netting to the front of the shelves to keep my clothes from falling out.

My to to do list is endless!
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Old 05-06-2018, 09:57 AM   #24
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Meet Skoolio the 1990 GMC Vandura Short Bus

IMG_9243.JPG

In the rear of Skoolio opposite the driver’s side once lived a rather large and obnoxiously loud space heater.

When running, this heater would use hot water pumped from the engine to the back of the bus and though a radiator. It’s noisy fan would blow hot air emanating from the radiator into the rear of the bus.

The rear heater is far from where I will be when the engine is running and I am driving.

No matter, the same heating system is employed for the driver at the front of the bus and does one heckuva a good job of it.

In fact, when I brought the bus home I came through the cascades near Mount Shasta where the temps were in the low 50’s. I had to keep my side window cracked in order to keep myself from overheating during the drive back to California from Oregon.

At this point in my love life there is nobody else to keep warm, so the space the bulky heater occupied could be put to much better use. So out it went!

IMG_9244.JPG

Firstly, I shut off the valves in the engine compartment which direct the hot water from the engine’s radiator towards the back of Skoolio.

Nextly, I disconnected and drained the coolant from the rubber hoses and heater into a 5 gal bucket. Keep that green poison far away from your pet’s folks!

Once drained, the heater was ready to come out by simply loosing up the screws that held the heater in place in the back of the bus.

However, I should have removed all of them before I installed the bed platform. Some of the more stubborn of the lot did not want to be evicted.

Getting into the tight space to remove them was cramped and difficult, but I persevered and in the end won the stand off.

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A few holes in the floor, some lost pencils and some filth was all that remained once I pulled the heater out.

Also left behind was the wiring that powered the heater’s fan. This will come in handy for hooking up a 12 volt outlet in the rear of the bus.

IMG_9318.JPG

After the heater and it’s brass fittings were removed from the area behind my bed platform, I used the same fittings to re connect my hoses and close the water system’s loop.

A large zip tie held everything in place and out of the way.

The drained coolant from the hoses and heater were strained for funk then returned back into the cooling system via the coolant reserve tank.

I debated removing the hoses entirely, but really did not see the point of going through all that effort.

Who knows, maybe they can be hooked back up if I ever need reinstall another heater in the rear to keep a future girlfriends from sulking in the cold while we are on the road.
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Old 05-08-2018, 09:40 AM   #25
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Meet Skoolio the 1990 GMC Vandura Short Bus

IMG_9242.JPG

With Skidog's endless knowledge, help, and amazing collection of tools we fabbed up a nifty set of support brackets and made room for the propane tank beneath Skoolio.

The brackets were made with the scrap metal from an old garage door opener. Their duty is to support the forward end of the ASME propane tank I had bought last month.

Proper angles were calculated, then an acetylene torch was used to heat the metal to red hot and a hammer and vice to bend it as needed.

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The brackets were permanently secured in their locations and will later be bolted to the ears on the tank.

The other side of the tank will be secured directly to an aft beam which we had drilled holes into.

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All this happened after cutting away a sizable section from the cross beam that runs between the two beams the tank is to be mounted too.

Using a cardboard template of the tank's diameter, we marked the circular shape onto the beam.

With a lot of cutting using a heavy duty Milwaukee jig saw and a band saw we notched out the beam so the tank could be mounted as high up from the ground as possible.

Those cross beams are beast and the cutting took a long ass time.

When built, Skoolio was made designed to be heavy duty. Angular gussets welded to the cross beams created layers of steel over 1/4' thick in some areas!

Now that the tank is in place, we are able to see exactly where the access door needs to be located so when it comes time to refill the tank it can be easily done.
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Old 05-09-2018, 10:44 AM   #26
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Meet Skoolio the 1990 GMC Vandura Short Bus

https://youtu.be/92npBwp38Gg
Skoolio gets a propane tank & access door installation in my latest vlog update.
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Old 05-11-2018, 10:14 AM   #27
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Meet Skoolio the 1990 GMC Vandura Short Bus

IMG_9382.JPG

Now that the propane tank and access door are in place, the copper tubes that will move the gas from the tank into Skoolie can be plumbed.

Once again Skidog came through with each and every tool needed.

He had it all; pipe benders and cutters, a pipe flaring tool, clamps and more!

IMG_9383.JPG

Then as if he was some kind of mechanical magician, Skidog magically pulled out a tool box filled with assorted fittings.

He had everything needed to attach the pipes to the tank as well as a T-fitting to split the gas flow to a stove and a water heater.

IMG_9384.JPG

Metal hanging strap was used to make custom fitted pipe brackets. These DIY brackets will hold the line and keep them in place.

Tin snips cut through the strap easily and tidied up the corners. The pre punched holes in the strap did not line up and needed to be bigger to fit the diameter of the screws and rivets we were using to attach the brackets.

Skidog’s 50 year old metal punch made holes in the strap like it was still a rebellious teenager in the 60’s.

Rubber hose was cut with a razor knife and wrapped around the copper tubing to protect where the brackets and other friction points could damage the pipes.

As an extra bonus overkill, zip ties were employed to keep the rubber sections in place.

IMG_9379.JPG

After we got the pipe measured and bent we ran it from the tank, along the inside of Skoo’s body and up to the entry point of the bus.

We then fed the tubing through a hole just forward of the wheel well that I had drilled earlier.

Once inside the bus, more brackets and rubber hose was used to keep the pipe in place along the inside of the cabinets.

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IMG_9380.JPG

Now I need to pick up a 5′ propane hose that will run from the end of the copper pipe up to the kitchen area where my stove will live.

Another hose will then run to a tankless water heater once I buy and get it installed.
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Old 05-11-2018, 10:54 AM   #28
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A Roper Whitney hole punch Yeah!
Also a proud owner.
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Old 05-11-2018, 11:01 AM   #29
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A Roper Whitney hole punch Yeah!
Also a proud owner.

Uncle told me that was one of the first tools he ever bought as a kid. Also says the design has not changed a bit. I love stuff that works and continues to do so for years!
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Old 05-16-2018, 08:18 AM   #30
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IMG_9378.JPG

Last week saw me mostly working on the little odds and ends on Skoolio. Little kine stuff that didn't take Skidog's expertise.

An attempt was made to fix the small cracks and dingos in my windshield using Rain X windshield repair with lackluster results.

I suppose the resin I gooped into the imperfections will help prevent the chips and crack from getting bigger. However it was nowhere near the "invisible" results advertised...meh.

IMG_9440.JPG

There is a storage spot beneath the passenger seat where I plan to keep a tool box. A small metal box already occupied the area but it did not maximize the space.

So I built a larger wooden box using scraps left over from the cabinet and bed platform. I still need to slap some paint on it when another lazy day presents itself.

The metal box may be used as a battery box, that is if the batteries will fit. Hopefully will pick them up this week as I move into the electrifying stage of Skoolio's build
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Old 05-17-2018, 10:08 AM   #31
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Meet Skoolio the 1990 GMC Vandura Short Bus

IMG_9466.JPG
IMG_9467.JPG
When I bought Skoolio, the first upgrade I invested in was a tow hitch which was bought from Uhaul.

My thinking was that I was going to need a way to bring a motorcycle with me when I hit the road.

What I did not realize then was that there was a whole lotta other enhancements required.

Things that would amount to me being comfortable and cozy whilst traveling all about.

Other projects quickly took prioritity, and so the new hitch has been waiting patiently in Skidog's garage for it's installation time to come.

That time is now!

IMG_9455.JPG

Like 95% of mechanical projects, the tow hitch installation was not a simple bolt it on, wash your hands and call it good to go type of deal.

The bumper needed to be marked, removed and then be notched out so the hitch tube would be accessible.

This involved both the hitch and the bumper being put on and taken off several times in order for accurate cut lines and hole locations to be determined.

Again Skidog had just the thing we needed to make this process much easier and we called on our old buddy the motorcycle lift to jack things up and down when needed.

IMG_9457.JPG

There was also the matter of some steel plates being in the way that also needed to be cut away to allow the hitch to be mounted.

Using a plasma cutter, which has become one of my favorite tools, made cutting through the metal an easy task.

After the unwanted steel was removed, burrs were removed and the cuts cleaned with an angle grinder. Primer was sprayed on the bare metal to help keep the rust away.

The hitch was bolted on with four grade 8 1/2" bolts that I has to go out an buy because Uhaul forgot to include them in the package. (Thanks guys.)

There was also 2 carriage bolts, that did come in the package, that needed to be fished through holes in the frame using a wire which threaded onto the bolts.

This was way easier than I thought it would be and Skidog was very impressed by this simple but ingenious device.

IMG_9456.JPG

Since the bumper was bent and we had it off, we took the time to straighten it out the best we could.

With a lot of direct heat from an acetylene torch, the weight of a Kubota tractor and the hammering on with a mallet we managed to get the thing pretty darn straight.

The already shabby looking paint on the bumper looked even worse after all the bangin' and a-torchin'.

After the was hitch installed I decided that would take the time to repaint the bumper.

So stay tuned for all that...
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Old 05-26-2018, 08:59 AM   #32
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IMG_9490.JPG

The new Trojan Batteries for Skoolio’s house electrical system are going to be housed below the bus in a custom made steel support frame.

Fortunately for me, Skidog once again has everything needed to fabricate our next project.

I have some previous experience with welding and braising. Now with some instruction from Skidog, I am going add wire welding to the list of handy things I have learned.

IMG_9514.JPG

After using a chop saw to cut the angle down to a size (approx: 10.5 x 14″) I set about to cleaning up the area where the joints will connect with the help of a grinder and vice.

A clean surface free of rust, goop and grime is crucial to getting a strong bond and good bead when welding.

Obviously eye protection and gloves are essential. However, I learned a little late that a long sleeve shirt will help stop the tiny slivers of metal flying off the grinder from irritating the skin on your arms!

IMG_9515.JPG

With all the pieces of steel cut and cleaned, I am now almost ready to get to welding them together and fabricate the top and bottom of the frame.

In the meanwhile, I am on the look out for some metal rod to bend into “J” hooks. Also needed is some sort of pipe or tube to use for the “J” hook guides.

Once I have all my bits together I will be ready to start welding the sections together
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Old 05-26-2018, 09:55 AM   #33
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Small welding tips...


...in addition to cleaning all the weld joints...bevel both pieces at about 45* on the side you'll weld from. Makes for a much stronger joint than just laying a bead on top.



Also, the best beads are those made with a very small air gap between the pieces rather than the metal being pushed together.
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Old 05-27-2018, 08:58 AM   #34
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Small welding tips...
Thanks, I will keep them in mind next time I put on the welding mask
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Old 06-03-2018, 07:56 AM   #35
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https://youtu.be/8Io7Yw06i5E

Another skoolie update and vlog is uploaded!

I now have an inside propane line, a tow hitch and a few rear bumper mods.
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Old 06-19-2018, 09:39 AM   #36
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Location: HI, CA, OR, PU (Parts Unknown)
Posts: 81
Coachwork: Ward Vanguard
Chassis: GMC Vandura 3500
Engine: 350 Chevy V8
Meet Skoolio the 1990 GMC Vandura Short Bus

IMG_9766.JPG

Once back in California after our road trip to Nevada, I got to work on getting the battery box finished and installed.

More wire welding went down and my bead chops are getting better, but I still have a long way to go before I am a “master welder.”

IMG_9798.JPG

“J” hooks were made with threaded metal rods that Ski had lying around and a bending tool.

These rods will slide through a couple of fittings that were welded to the upper frame and serve as guides for the “J” hooks.

A couple of chain links were welded onto the lower frame for the “J” hooks to latch into.

IMG_9797.JPG

Steel uprights were cut, drilled then attached to the lower frame, I was now ready to spray paint the box with primer.

4 Holes were then drilled into the crossbeams and 5/8″ bolts were used with mechanical locking nuts to mount the box.

There were some minor design flaws.

I miscalculated the amount of room needed between the frame and body.

So I had to fiddle with the “J” hooks to get them into the guides which help secure the top half of the frame to the lower.

Also, the wingnut for the “J” hook on that same side did not have the clearance to spin. It was easily replaced with a tall bolt so that it could be properly tightened.

IMG_9794.JPG

After battery box was installed, The exact location for where the access door was measured, marked then cut out with a jig saw and plasma cutter.

The rough edges were then de-burred and smoothed with a grinder.

Since the ball was rolling and motivation was set on maximum, I fabbed up a hatch from scrap diamond plate that Skidog had scavenged from a wind turbine.

IMG_9795.JPG

A piece of wood was cut to fit the dimensions of the access hole and the diamond plate was drilled and then screwed to the top of the plywood.

IMG_9796.JPG

Apart from the fiddly “J” hook, everything went together and fit pretty darn good.
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Old 06-21-2018, 05:45 PM   #37
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Posts: 81
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Chassis: GMC Vandura 3500
Engine: 350 Chevy V8
Meet Skoolio the 1990 GMC Vandura Short Bus

https://youtu.be/ayRQRwg8ADw
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