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Old 01-09-2012, 11:57 PM   #1
Mini-Skoolie
 
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Merlin

Before i start uploading pictures ill give you an explanation.

Some of you might ask "WHY?!" when the practical question is "why not?"

im 23 years old and ever since the age of 16 my friends and I have had a passion for taking roadtrips. Washington D.C. and Philly for 4th of July this past year. Panama City Beach in Florida for spring break, we've went 4 years... Times Square in New York City for New Years, we've went 2 years. along with random trips for random reasons to chicago, st. louis, Cincinnati, Louisville, Louisiana to pick up a couch lol, North and South Carolina, Indy for the Colts Superbowl, Michigan, etc. So the main reason for this bus is to ROADTRIP. We really wanted a 5 or 6 window shortbus but settled with a 4 window one.

1995 GMC Vandura 3500 (body by Thomas) automatic gasoline with 130,000 miles for $1600. but we had to go up by wisconsin to pick the s.o.b. up. lol when we go on roadtrips we like to travel cheap. sneakin in to continental breakfasts in the morning at a hotel after tossing and turning in a car all night. We jus hate to fork up the cash for a hotel room we are only gonna be in for 6 hours to sleep. So anyway after driving 350 miles back home close to evansville indiana the bus ran like a champ. There were only 2 of us that drove up there to get it so the ride home was lonesome and verrry boring and very long. The shortbus does not have a radio at the time so we talked to a yard gnome the previous owner had left in the windshield of the bus along with the rest of his trash.Yes. we were pathetic enough to talk to a yard gnome to pass the time. There was also a sticker on the window where he got his oil changed at "Merlins" so the name jus stuck. We shall call him "Merlin".

Its been a couple weeks now and the exhaust could use a little work and it seems to have a very slow oil leak. the emergency exit hatch hole leaks a little also when it rains hard. but after we cleaned er out.. looks pretty descent
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Old 01-10-2012, 01:04 AM   #2
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Re: Merlin



























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Old 01-10-2012, 01:33 AM   #3
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Re: Merlin

After we did a MAJOR cleaning.. We took out all the seats which is a MUCH bigger job than i expected. One guy inside the bus with an air impact and one guy under the bus with a ratchet holding the nut. EACH SEAT had 6 bolts that we had to do the "in and under the bus technique" + 4 bolts mounted on the side of the seat to the inside wall which could be unbolted from the inside (10 bolts each X 7 seats = 70 bolts) . we thought we could sell them but nobody wants a bus seat that has to be mounted to a wall for it to be used. Otherwise all the rednecks around here including my dad would want them for deer stands or jon boat. So with that said we cut the upholstery and foam off and threw it away and took the metal frames from the seats to the scrap yard. For those of you who has always wondered. each seat frame weighed around 45 lbs. With 6 full seats we were close to 300 lbs. which we got $31 bucks for at the local scrap metal yard.

We also took off the big bulky mirrors up front that are standard on most school busses. 9 mirrors was just overkill and another easy way to make me dizzy while driving.

We were going to take the entire floor up and possibly put down insulation but after peeking under the black matting there was only one piece of plywood that had some rotting to it (piece up from by the steps)

And although there is some controversy about "removing the rub rails" we decided to start taking them off. on the bigger busses rivets are the biggest hassle but on this bus about 80% of the fasteners for the rails are screws so we thought we might as well jus take them off for a better canvas for the paint job ill be doing.

Next step is electric which is a lot more complicated and complex than i originally thought. after countless hours of late night websurfing and research i still had no clue. but thanks to icnivad .. he took the time to help me better understand it.

we should be able to start this week on the framing on the inside. believe it or not this bad boy merlin will be able to sleep 6 full size adults. originally i wanted to go with metal framing on the inside but thinking more practically we're gonna go with wood.

Let me know what you guys think!
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Old 01-10-2012, 09:16 AM   #4
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Re: Merlin

I hope your keeping the gnome in Merlin...I almost always end up keeping something that comes with a vehicle
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Old 01-10-2012, 03:35 PM   #5
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Re: Merlin

Hey Levi --- great start on that shorty. Just get your plan straight and everything else will follow. Do it your way.
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Old 01-15-2012, 08:37 PM   #6
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Re: Merlin

alright. this week.

hopefully we will get the carpet on the ceiling which i might make a separate forum for a "how to" section. cause i haven't seen one that demonstrates it step by step. i know its kinda common sense, but myself being a visual person, i thought someone else might benefit from it.

i think we are gonna go with a outdoor carpet mostly for the sound deadening.. i hate the "echo-ish" sounds on a bus. probably a light grey or light tan color (no dark colors.. makes the ceiling seem shorter psychologically) and the walls probably a darker color. .. with using a brush on adhesive..

in the meantime i want to start more on the designing of the bus. so as far as color schemes whats you guys' favorite? goin for somethin fun.. but nice. so with that said.

TOP RIGHT
MIDDLE LEFT
BOTTOM RIGHT .... you get the gist. what do ya think? the floors will be a dark wood.

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Old 01-15-2012, 08:55 PM   #7
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Re: Merlin

Home depot has rolls of indoor/outdoor carpet in nice neutral gray 6'x6'?for like $13. I did our whole interior with it.
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Old 01-15-2012, 08:59 PM   #8
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Re: Merlin

Hard to tell from a screen shot. I would suggest that you go to the paint section of Lowes or Home Depot and get some of those colour samples that show whole rooms and give the colours used. Pick out one you think you like, then get the colour chips used in the sample room. Stick the chips at eye level, so you can't miss seeing it every day.

In long dreary winter, light "beachy" colours are great.
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Old 01-15-2012, 09:06 PM   #9
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Re: Merlin

If you are going for fun and colorful, I would go with the right middle (green, yellow, purple). If you make the yellow closer to orange, you'll have a great tertiary pallet that is both bright and reminiscent of spring time.

Great thing about a small bus is, if you find you really don't like the colors, it won't take much to change them.

Looking forward to seeing your results.
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Old 01-15-2012, 09:50 PM   #10
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Re: Merlin

dang! thats pretty good for a 6X6. i thought id check at Menards first. i use to work at home depot, unfortunately the city it is in is rather upper class so the prices there are kind of high. lol

and i was leaning more towards the warmer colors too. im really indecisive but the decision will be rather permanant because i plan on doin an upholstered booth and bedding so i better
make it right the first time.. haha. i think the top right or bottom left could really be classy in case later on down the road we ever decide to sell it.
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Old 01-22-2012, 02:14 PM   #11
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Re: Merlin


merlin the infamous gnome

we replaced the board up front. i had a picture of before and it was nasty but somehow my phone made it disappear. =(



after a little hoaxing with crown royal and monster energy, Jerry was up for anything! he started roughing up the surface on the ceiling




before we glued the carpet we took out the lights, speakers, and emergency exit so we could do the job as neatly as possible.


we learned from our mistakes. trying to put a the whole 6 foot roll at one time took 4 people and was exhausting. lol so the next one we cut in half and then applied it.

we bought a 1 gallon pail of contact cement. the original kind. and it was working but when i was cleaning out the roller it happen to break lol sooo..

Jerry screwing the emergency exit back in.

WARNING: DO NOT TRY AT HOME.. the roller broke. so as i was looking for a brush or something in my brothers garage we were working in.. i found GEL contact cement..
i tried applying it with a piece of cloth so i wouldn't get on my hands. epic fail. it was all over my hands. so i jus bit the bullet and applied it with my hands since they were already
covered in it. it worked GREAT surprisingly.. the carpet adhered faster and seemed more efficient. but my hands.. VERY NASTY.



We went to Lowes a couple days ago and bought close to 300 dollars worth of materials for construction.. let the fun begin!!!!!
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Old 01-22-2012, 05:29 PM   #12
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Re: Merlin

Crown can get $$.......... you need to find cheaper friends
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Old 02-02-2012, 06:19 PM   #13
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Re: Merlin

carpeting the walls
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Old 02-05-2012, 01:28 AM   #14
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Re: Merlin

zach and brandon like handling the wood. haha left side frame. without subframing. we spent a LONG time trying to figure out a layout everyone agreed on but we finally got it. ill upload all the sketches of possible layouts if anyone is interested.basically we wanted a booth. fridge/microwave. and 4 beds. originally we were gonna do twin beds but practicality kicked in and we went with split queen. aka hospital bed size. 30"x80" beginning of the right side.
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Old 02-06-2012, 09:04 AM   #15
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Re: Merlin

You may want to consider making the bunks dual purpose. If you design the upper bunks so they move out of the way using hinges or pulleys then the bottom bunks can be used for seating during non-sleep hours. With a shorty bus you need to use your space wisely. You can check out my thread for details on how I rigged my upper bunks on pulleys. It works great.
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Old 02-06-2012, 09:18 AM   #16
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Re: Merlin

SPLIT QUEENS great idea,we didn't want the 39 in twins(lost 18in that way),this may fit the bill perfectly....damn now I have to redraw what I already re-draw'd (mountain english)
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Old 02-06-2012, 06:05 PM   #17
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Re: Merlin

I agree with the other posts. I am doing a short bus conversion; but it is on hold due to an injury.
One idea would make the upper bunk when "unlatched" swing down ( mattress secured to it ) and lock against the wall; you now have a back rest when people are sitting on the lower bunk?

I am also using a "Marine - boat" toilet. They use a 1 1/2 inch non permeable hose ( use that so the items of Doom don't ooze through over time ). Because of the hose I have allot more option to where I can install the toilet with out being stuck to limited places due to having to cut a hole in the floor where the Black water tank is.
With the Marine toilet it can be eight feet away.

For cooking I bought this at CostCo. - I don't know if they are still selling it; I got it for 99.99.
http://reviews.outdoorcooking.com/produ ... -Oven.html

I did buy a three burner stove top and found it took up allot of counter space.
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Old 02-06-2012, 11:01 PM   #18
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Re: Merlin

yeah. originally i thought the upper bunk/swing down method would be best but after much reconsideration we changed our minds. we can still prop the top one up at a 45 degree angle or jus move it under the bottom one and still have the frame but anyway.

our couch/hang out area is up front. its like 2 love seats with a removable table in the center. so we can hangout and chill with 2 love seats or put the table in and have a booth. for those of you still sketching up your builds i found it easiest to buy some graphing paper and have each square on the graph paper equal to a half of a foot. Sooo i made a template from cardboard of the surface area we had to work with (about 7.5 X 11 feet) and then made a template of the bunk beds (about 2.5 x 6.5 feet) and could rearrange and easily draw up different arrangements on the bus with my graphing paper and little card board templates.

ill be posting more pics about every other day so you guys can see the progress but we are alot farther than what the pics have up. we actually upholstered the booths today!! we have incorporated some very unique and awesome ideas that i think you guys will like!!
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Old 02-08-2012, 12:35 AM   #19
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Re: Merlin



idk if you can tell but the back wall is not straight on the bus. so we pushed the bunk beds back about 4 inches to give us more room up front.

sparks a flyin and beds bein constructed


in this pic it doesnt look like much room for one side of the booth but its 40 inches wide. and its going to go across the width of the bus. (7.5 feet) behind each seat and the window there will be about a 3 or 4 inch space that we can store the removable table in, to give us 2 booth seats without a table. we wanted the booth up front close to the driver.
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Old 02-13-2012, 10:02 PM   #20
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Re: Merlin


Booth starting frame. much better detailed pics to come of the booth.

brandon upholstering the plywood with carpet padding and "pleather" (fake leather).
there are 4 of these s.o.b.s .... very nice once finished. reminds me of a doctors
examining table. the mattress will go on top of it once in place.


these plywood pieces are obviously not upholstered yet but this is progress.
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