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Old 01-10-2017, 08:57 PM   #1
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Jan 2017
Posts: 30
Year: 2001
Engine: vortec 5.7
My mid bus conversion recomendations are welcome

I figure its a good idea to have a thread dedicated to this conversion in the long run to show my progress and maybe help someone else who goes down this road. First i had some electrical issues and this thread helped me out alot.

http://www.skoolie.net/forums/f27/20...ons-16247.html

Yesterday i moved from electrical to cleaning out the bus then insulation, the day i chose to do this my hair and beard literally had icicles hanging from it. Luckily the bus back heater works great, the front heater still smells of dead mouse where the bus sat for so long. I didnt get a pic of the bus with the seats but i did get an after pic.

Ill post more pics in a second to add to this thread
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Old 01-10-2017, 09:22 PM   #2
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Jan 2017
Posts: 30
Year: 2001
Engine: vortec 5.7
After removing the seats i came across an issue , the main rails that the seats mounted to are a 1/4 inch higher then the floor if i strip the rubber. Plus the rails are welded to the frame, so are the sidewall rails. Removing them is a possibility but in my opinion not worth the effort. The original flooring in the bus is pretty solid , if i leave the rubber mats in then the step to the rails is maybe a 1/16. This became a decision point , if the floors hadn't been fine i would have ripped them out and ground the welds out to the the channels then started from scratch. Instead i decided to utilize these rails in the long run for possibly mounting cabinets/whatnot then running electric in the side rails.

The original plan was to lay laminate flooring for the floor so the 1/16 inch rise would be an issue( warped floor ). The same issue would come into play when it came to screwing cabinets/tables/whatnot into the flooring. I came up with the idea of using Styrofoam sheets for the walls and the floor ( nothing is square in a bus so its forgiving ).Prior to glueing the insulation board to the walls and beneath the floor i put down a plastic vapor barier but i didnt get a pic. I plan on screwing 1/4 inch plywood to the walls then 3/8 to the floor over top of the insulation.
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File Type: jpg before3.jpg (86.1 KB, 47 views)
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Old 01-10-2017, 09:55 PM   #3
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Jan 2017
Posts: 30
Year: 2001
Engine: vortec 5.7
In this bus the rear walls and ceiling are insulated just not the side walls and floor. Given the amount of single pane windows insulation is hit or miss in the long run. If someone had to do it for extreme efficient issues id recommend spray foam insulation for the under carriage and side walls. ( the windows would still be a heat/cooling loss)

Ive laid some boards across the insulation and i believe i can level it using simple cheap cans of foam injected or how tight i screw the plywood down./ etc. Once the plywood is screwed down and the floor is level i decided the fake vinyl textured hardwood flooring would be my best bet. It looks like hardwood but isn't as thick, It doesn't need to float , plus clean up after spilling something is easy.

Anyone got any recommendations on how to lay the floor? Its always said to do it with how the light comes in , but on a bus its every direction.

The side walls i havent given much thought to , not sure what i plan on mounting to them. I do plan on using them for unforeseen wiring issues.
Tips i thought of :

1. Depending on your bus make an access panel to the fuel pump. (Removing a fuel tank sucks no matter the vehicle)

2. Whatever the flooring you plan on putting in do the entire bus. It might cost a few bucks more but your floor plan will change.

3. When doing this project start with the floor, if its not good then the whole project will be crap in the long run.
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Old 01-10-2017, 11:06 PM   #4
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Join Date: May 2010
Location: Farmington Hills, Mi (Detroit area)
Posts: 1,951
Year: 2000
Coachwork: Eldorado Aerotech 24'
Chassis: Ford E-450 Cutaway Bus
Engine: 7.3L Powerstroke
Rated Cap: 19
Looks like you've got a good start. As far as the flooring direction goes, running it lengthwise will make the bus look longer and running it widthwise makes it look wider.

Many here have skipped screwing down the sub floor and just glued their plywood to the insulation board. I would cut clearance into the bottom of the insulation panels so they'll lay flat over the floor rails.
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Old 01-11-2017, 10:44 AM   #5
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Join Date: Oct 2016
Location: Pensacola and Crystal River, FL
Posts: 554
Year: 1998
Coachwork: AmTran International
Chassis: 3800
Engine: Navistar 7.6L
I have been researching floor and wall insulations and found these.
2.5" Styrofoam impregnated with graphite R-13 has steel furring strips imbedded on one side.
I think it could be used on the floor under your final floor.
As well as the walls under the final surface.
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Old 01-12-2017, 07:15 PM   #6
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Jan 2017
Posts: 30
Year: 2001
Engine: vortec 5.7
Hopefully this weekend ill be putting in the sub flooring over top the insulation which leads me to my next issue. Has anyone ever removed a rear heater from one of these buses? Ive only seen the topside of the unit and how the fan hooks up ( its been raining ). Im picturing myself getting under the bus then finding hoses going to the coil that when i unclamp cover me in coolant. Im good with getting drenched in coolant but how am i going to refill the coil when i put it back in?
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Old 01-12-2017, 10:27 PM   #7
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Jan 2017
Posts: 30
Year: 2001
Engine: vortec 5.7
The brain works in mysterious ways and im glad i caught this idea before i went to far on the floor. Saturday im going to pull up the floor insulation and try a few ideas that include 2 of the original seats being bench seats for the kitchen table.
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Old 01-12-2017, 11:12 PM   #8
Bus Crazy
 
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Join Date: May 2010
Location: Farmington Hills, Mi (Detroit area)
Posts: 1,951
Year: 2000
Coachwork: Eldorado Aerotech 24'
Chassis: Ford E-450 Cutaway Bus
Engine: 7.3L Powerstroke
Rated Cap: 19
The rear heater coolant lines in my bus ran over the back of the engine and were accessible from inside the bus after pulling the engine cover. I clamped mine off with wood working clamps, cut them then connected the two lines together with a hose connector so the coolant looped back into the engine. Using 4 clamps I was able to cut and reconnect the two hoses and barely lose a drop of coolant.

If you're going to remove then reinstall the heater just clamp off the hoses at the heater and you'll only lose a cup or so of coolant.

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Old 01-13-2017, 08:06 PM   #9
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Jan 2017
Posts: 30
Year: 2001
Engine: vortec 5.7
Im guessing that gravity/the water pump will fill the rear coil back up once its drained and reinstalled? The temps dropped here back to in the 30s and rain for the next week so i may or may not get to taking the heater out since i cant fit this big bastard into my garage.

However im kinda glad i got slowed up by the rear heater it gave me an idea last night. Im going to pull up the floor insulation i have put down tomorrow Due to a slight design change. At first i was trying to figure out how to level the floor due to the rails left over from the seats but now im thinking why not just use them.

Take the preexisting wall that was mounted to the left when you enter the bus stairwell and combine it with a seat bottom from the opposite side of the bus. Then remount one of the original seats ( on the stairwell side ) facing towards it . Between the two seats that now face each other mount the drop down table from my old pop up. Instant dining area for 4 plus bed for 1 when you drop the table.Of course this requires some fabrication plus padding then some upholstery but hey its damn bolted to the frame via the channel.

Behind the now dinning area take three seats and remove the seat backs from them and remount them to where they where and you have a start on a bed frame. A little more fabrication using legs from other seats i can extend that frame to make it wider. ( essentially cutting and welding or bolting 2 seats together) Its kinda hard to describe but in the end a bed frame that is bolted to the stairwell side of the bus that the center support post is bolted to the channel thats welded to the frame. Above the master bed frame i can mount cabinets that allow storage or i can make it a couch by day thing and bed by night ( drop table like the dinette area )

On the drivers side that leaves plenty of room for a kitchen , shower and toilet if i do it right. When putting in the floor insulation last week i kept smacking my head on the rear factory ac unit and thinking there is no way to put a shower back here. A little thinking got me going and i thought " you don't need head room on the toilet, why not put the shower before the toilet?" . Im not sure what country i was in but i seem to remember taking a shower then wiping the water off the toilet because it was a combo thing like im thinking. The shower toilet combo although available commercially will need to be a custom thing i build for my rig i build but i think will work. ( ill use the ceiling of my old pop up to fabricate, its shower stall siding )

The main thing that ill have an issue with is precision , i still plan on putting the insulation board down then a thin layer sub flooring. My issue is i plan on putting down the peel and stick laminate flooring on top of it. It looks like hardwood but is super thin and water doesnt seem to bother it . But say i need access to the rails welded to the frame to adjust dimensions during building. Pretty much this tells me i need to get it all lined out before i put the floor in .....lesson learned.

Ive attached a rough plan i did last night using paintbrush.
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File Type: png layout.png (7.3 KB, 37 views)
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Old 01-16-2017, 09:08 PM   #10
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My bus also has floor and wall rails. I filled the floor rails with spray foam insulation and then cut grooves for them in the 1" polyiso I used to cover the floor.

I'm putting 2" of polyiso on the walls but leaving the rails open as conduit for my electrical. After the electrical is run I'll cover the rails with 1" polyiso.
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Old 01-17-2017, 05:37 AM   #11
Mini-Skoolie
 
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Location: Ravenna, OH
Posts: 37
Year: 1991
Coachwork: MetroTrans
Chassis: Ford E350
Engine: 7.3 IDI
Rated Cap: 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by DoubleO7 View Post
I have been researching floor and wall insulations and found these.
2.5" Styrofoam impregnated with graphite R-13 has steel furring strips imbedded on one side.
I think it could be used on the floor under your final floor.
As well as the walls under the final surface.
Do have a link for this product? I might have a few uses for something like this.
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Old 01-20-2017, 12:14 AM   #12
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Jan 2017
Posts: 30
Year: 2001
Engine: vortec 5.7
I may be repeating myself but here is an update.

I got a little side tracked on other projects as well as getting sick for a week probably from cleaning out the bus. ( mice enjoyed makeing nests in the dash ). But now im semi back on track and i did a little playing tonight after work. First i pulled up the insulation board id put down on the floor. Wasnt real hard given id yet to glue it. Then i got to playing with the floor layout from the pics below i tried two original seats making the dining area. Thats going to work but they will need new fabric. With the drop table top i plan on putting in its the same size as the tables at the local subway restaurant. Making the table drop then adding cushions can fit a 6ft man semi comfortable or two kids for a bed with still enough room for a queen size bed for the adults behind it.

The bed behind it i can easily use some of the original seat legs for a frame like i thought. In order to accommodate the shower/ bathroom ill need to make it a couch area by day bed by night setup ( similar to the dinette area ) There simply isnt enough room to get past the wheel well no matter how i lay it out.

I may slightly mutate this idea in the long run with dropping the shower. A self composting toilet takes up so little room and makes life so much easier. A bus side mounted shower curtain with an roof mounted solar heater would work. But the ultimate goal is fitting it all in.
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Old 01-21-2017, 10:23 PM   #13
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Jan 2017
Posts: 30
Year: 2001
Engine: vortec 5.7
today was a high temp so i decided to do a little work. First i decided to disconnect the rear heater. Sorry roach but the clamps didnt work the antifreeze just kept coming. Luckily i found a shut of valve in the engine compartment. Even after cutting the hoses i fought to get the rear heater out. Old rubber is a bitch to remove im glad they made long lines with slack.


Since i redid my original idea and im keeping the rails i decided to spray paint them a close color to the flooring. Even with all the windows open and a box fan blowing out the rear door im pretty sure im high. I giggled thinking what my neighbors where thinking, i dont smoke pot but i was in a school bus at 9 listening to bob marley loud as can be laughing my a$$ off.

Since im keeping the frame mounted channels exposed there was a few scraps of what i would call channel guard in them when i bought the bus. A plastic/rubber snap in piece that tried to keep dirt out. I may have asked this question before but hell im high on paint fumes but does anyone know a sources for that? If i can find it in clear im thinking i could run a cheap set of led light strips down it. Kinda like a run way lighting setup. Please if any one has a link to a self composting toilet at a reasonable price throw that in too.
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Old 01-22-2017, 06:54 PM   #14
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Jan 2017
Posts: 30
Year: 2001
Engine: vortec 5.7
Re did the floors , they are now insulated and the subflooring is down.
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Old 05-24-2017, 09:33 PM   #15
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Jan 2017
Posts: 30
Year: 2001
Engine: vortec 5.7
ive been horribly bad about updating my progress so here is a massive dump of what ive done the first it the kitchen counter and the kitchen table area.
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Old 05-24-2017, 09:34 PM   #16
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Jan 2017
Posts: 30
Year: 2001
Engine: vortec 5.7
next is the kitchen dining area which i mixed up a little in the end
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Old 05-24-2017, 09:38 PM   #17
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Jan 2017
Posts: 30
Year: 2001
Engine: vortec 5.7
Then i moved on to making more cabinets and yes i made all of it. I used subflooring wood from home depot for the cabinet walls and some old cherry i had as trim.
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File Type: jpg 20170515_183620_resized.jpg (158.3 KB, 14 views)
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Old 05-24-2017, 09:41 PM   #18
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Jan 2017
Posts: 30
Year: 2001
Engine: vortec 5.7
Then you have the bed/ couch , i layed out the old cushions from my old pop up to get an idea then i made a custom pull out bed. Its like a futon minus the bar in your back. The cushions will not be the ones i use , they are hideous.
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Old 05-24-2017, 09:44 PM   #19
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Jan 2017
Posts: 30
Year: 2001
Engine: vortec 5.7
Then i moved on to electrical, i used the old breaker box/inverter from my old pop up. the shelf above it is for a battery bank i plan on hooking to solar.
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Old 05-24-2017, 09:49 PM   #20
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Jan 2017
Posts: 30
Year: 2001
Engine: vortec 5.7
Then i went to a local guy to see about re upholstering the old bus seats to match my color scheme. When the guy gave me a quote of 400 ish i decided to do something i did when i was a teen. I washed the crap out of the unripped old seats i had and applied vinyl paint. Tommorow ill need to massage the distressed parts of the vinyl and apply a second coat but so far it looks good.
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