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Old 02-23-2017, 10:12 AM   #41
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We have been busy on the bus lately. We got the floor and interior painted. I then installed the furring strips for the plywood to attach to.
IMG_0972 by Zach Elseman

Then we framed in the wheel wells with the same plywood used for the floors. The boxes aren't going to be visible so we weren't really worried about the appearance.
IMG_0976 by Zach Elseman

Then we cut and laid down our insulation between the furring strips to keep the bus a little cooler/warmer.
IMG_0977 by Zach Elseman

Then down went the OSB for the floors. We went with OSB simply out of cost. This is a budget build and will not be our forever tiny house, so the extra cost for plywood was simply not worth it to us.
IMG_0983 by Zach Elseman

That's all for now. We have begun working on VLOG episode 2 so please keep an eye on our YouTube channel for more updates. And as always you can follow us on Instagram @okienomads.
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Old 11-15-2017, 09:56 PM   #42
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We have been kinda MIA on the build thread, but we are back and here is an update on our progress (or lack there of):
https://youtu.be/O2ZE4a9cvM8





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Old 02-25-2019, 12:02 PM   #43
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Big, overdue update!
We finished the bus a while ago, almost a year ago and spent most of 2018 traveling the US in our skoolie. We work remotely and therefore have been able to live full-time since April. Here are a few progress photos of the completed rig...

Completed interior- All of our electrical and solar is complete and functioning like we like. We will likely add another set of batteries before we set off again for added capacity when we want to stay lost. No worries, in our remodel this year we are moving all electrical away from all water.

Interior tour- https://youtu.be/WFJ9SYrLwME

More on the solar here: #Vanlife Solar System: 300 Watts Solar, MPPT Controller, and Pure Sine Inverter OKIENOMADS





We also added some conversion van seats that match the exterior color really well...The passenger side swivels and reclines for another sitting spot inside.



We painted the exterior and will soon be touching up the rub rails as they are showing some signs of age (and tree limbs).







Plans for the remodel in June include:
Hellwig Sway Bar + Airbags (maybe)
2" Weldtec Lift- Fox 2.0 shocks, coil spacer, AAL
Kitchen gut and rebuild to fit CampChef oven
Adding a cassette toilet
Losing the kayaks
Adding 2 6V batteries to the bank and moving away from sink
Paint touch ups on the exterior
Additional exterior lighting (headlights suck)

Keep watching, there will be more soon!
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Old 03-01-2019, 06:12 PM   #44
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I’m going to look at 3 different 6 windows tomorrow A 2001 and 2 2002s
I like your build. Did you go with a buddy heater or something else.
Also how is the solar working along with how you attached the roof rack
I’ll be watching for updates
Looking good.
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Old 03-01-2019, 11:18 PM   #45
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr mac View Post
Im going to look at 3 different 6 windows tomorrow A 2001 and 2 2002s
I like your build. Did you go with a buddy heater or something else.
We use the buddy heater and love it. We have reflectix in our window curtains and insulation in the floors and have never been cold.

Quote:
Also how is the solar working along with how you attached the roof rack
Ill be watching for updates
Looking good.
We used unistrut for the roof rack, bolted through the inside of the bus. The solar is fantastic and we are looking to add 2 more 6v batteries to increase our capacity.

More on the solar here: https://youtu.be/M-GpfFbC0us
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Old 03-11-2019, 11:59 PM   #46
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What model hitch do you have? Is it weld in or bolt in? What wiring did you do for trailer lights?
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Old 03-13-2019, 10:25 PM   #47
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What model hitch do you have? Is it weld in or bolt in? What wiring did you do for trailer lights?
It's the Curt Universal RV hitch. It is a bolt on unit. We have not towed with it yet so we haven't had a need for lights. We use it for our hitch bike rack. When the time comes, I will just splice into the rear tailights for the trailer wiring.

This is the model: https://www.curtmfg.com/part/13704
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Old 03-14-2019, 08:02 AM   #48
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Good looking rig! Have you ever had it weighed after completion?
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Old 03-14-2019, 04:11 PM   #49
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Good looking rig! Have you ever had it weighed after completion?
We unofficially weighed it at a roadside scale that had been closed, but was still on and it came in around 9600 lbs. That was fully loaded with a full water tank, full fuel, and all the other junk we lugged around the west.

We are lightening up before we leave this year and adding a few things, so trying to stay under 10k is the goal. I don't actually know what the GVWR is for our chassis(need to look it up), but it has to be close to 10,000.
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Old 03-16-2019, 03:52 PM   #50
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Originally Posted by zelseman View Post
We unofficially weighed it at a roadside scale that had been closed, but was still on and it came in around 9600 lbs. That was fully loaded with a full water tank, full fuel, and all the other junk we lugged around the west.

We are lightening up before we leave this year and adding a few things, so trying to stay under 10k is the goal. I don't actually know what the GVWR is for our chassis(need to look it up), but it has to be close to 10,000.
I wasn't aware that they'd changed the weight ratings that significantly in the 2003 refresh? The 2003+ 3500 chassis I've had have been rated at ~12,000lbs. If it's still there, there may be a sticker on the drivers door that has the ratings or BlueBird might still have the records.
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Old 03-16-2019, 07:02 PM   #51
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Have you had any issues with the roof rack.


Will you be going to the Missouri van life show by chance.
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Old 03-19-2019, 10:38 AM   #52
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Have you had any issues with the roof rack.


Will you be going to the Missouri van life show by chance.
The roof rack has been pretty solid. If I get time this Summer I will likely extend it to cover the whole roof and mount the solar panels on the front of the rack and add decking or something to the rear for storage or lounging.

No, we won't be able to make it. We will have already left for Overland Expo in Flagstaff by then. Looks like a cool event though!

Quote:
Originally Posted by dazdconfsd View Post
I wasn't aware that they'd changed the weight ratings that significantly in the 2003 refresh? The 2003+ 3500 chassis I've had have been rated at ~12,000lbs. If it's still there, there may be a sticker on the drivers door that has the ratings or BlueBird might still have the records.
They might not have changed it much, I am operating off of memory. My wife and I are in Mexico right now in our old 4Runner so I can't inspect the door sticker plackard for confirmation. If GVWR is 12,000, I feel much better about coming in around 10k.
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Old 03-19-2019, 11:27 AM   #53
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The E-350 and G-3500 van/cut-away chassis are normally rated at about 12,000 GVWR.


The E-450 and G-4500 van/cut-away chassis are normally rated at about 14,000 GVWR.


What the difference is between the two chassis I have no idea. Back in the day I had two 1990 E-350 chassis mini-buses and one 1994 E-350 chassis mini-bus. The two 1990 had 11,900 GVWR and the 1994 had 13,900 GVWR. The brake parts were identical. The spring packs looked identical even though the newer one had the ball joint Twin-I-Beam suspension instead of the king pin Twin-I-Beam suspension. I used the same tires and wheels on all three buses. All three had 4.56 rear gears. All three had the 7.3L diesel engine. The only difference was the 1994 was one row of seats longer than the other two. Why an extended wheelbase would increase the GVWR 2,000 lbs I have no idea.
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Old 03-19-2019, 12:03 PM   #54
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It's not just the gvwr. You have to look at the gawr and even down to the individual tire load ratings if you're that close.

The bus here is likely identical to yours.
https://www.purplewave.com/auction/151216A/item/BR9417

It has a gvwr of 10k lbs, but the front is only good for 4100.

Some people disregard weight ratings. I don't advise doing that.

A lot of people with full sized flat nose front engined busses will go over the front weight rating without even realizing it.

Just some food for thought.
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Old 03-20-2019, 09:31 AM   #55
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Booyah45828 View Post
It's not just the gvwr. You have to look at the gawr and even down to the individual tire load ratings if you're that close.

The bus here is likely identical to yours.
https://www.purplewave.com/auction/151216A/item/BR9417

It has a gvwr of 10k lbs, but the front is only good for 4100.

Some people disregard weight ratings. I don't advise doing that.

A lot of people with full sized flat nose front engined busses will go over the front weight rating without even realizing it.

Just some food for thought.
I wonder what the difference is in the Bluebird build vs a Thomas? I see the tire pressures listed are 10lbs off in the front, but otherwise I'm at a loss




https://www.govdeals.com/index.cfm?f...36&acctid=4211
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Old 03-21-2019, 11:25 AM   #56
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Funny enough the Thomas placard shows load range D and mine definitely has 10ply tires.

Most of my weight is centered over my rear axle anyways, I would venture to say that I have reduced weight in the front from the standard configuration. My remodel this summer will redistribute the weight more forward between the front and rear axle for better handling.

I can't imagine what could be different between the two builders to justify the GVWR difference of that much. I will likely split the difference and stay around 11k and not worry about it.
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Old 06-26-2019, 06:59 AM   #57
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We have spent the bulk of the Winter and spring in Mexico housesitting and running around Baja in our 4Runner. The bus got a much needed rest and we got to realize how much we really enjoy traveling and living in our skoolie.







We traveled back to the states to switch out vehicles and to work a bit before heading north. We traveled to South Dakota for another house-sitting gig and had some interesting travel conditions.





It's hard to believe that Colorado is still getting snow in June, we even put off a trip to Rocky Mountain National Park due to the road being closed. We made it to SD and we are super fortunate to be housesitting for a family member with a wood-shop and garage!



The first item on the list was to replace our worn out shocks front and rear. From what I could tell, these were the original shocks from the factory. Both sets were easy to compress with my hands and once compressed, there was no rebound. I replaced the rears with Bilstein 4600's and KYB's in the front. Installation was super easy and it seems like the bus sits just a bit higher after the fact.







I haven't had a chance to drive it yet as there is more work to do on the bus, but the build quality looks great and I am really excited for new shocks! Also, we added some branding to the side windows and the back window.

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Old 06-26-2019, 08:56 AM   #58
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Man, you guys are living the dream! Good stuff.
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Old 06-26-2019, 10:47 AM   #59
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Man, you guys are living the dream! Good stuff.
It has it's ups and downs like anything, but once we dialed in remote jobs, the rest has been really fun!
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Old 06-26-2019, 11:42 AM   #60
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cowlitzcoach View Post
The E-350 and G-3500 van/cut-away chassis are normally rated at about 12,000 GVWR.


The E-450 and G-4500 van/cut-away chassis are normally rated at about 14,000 GVWR.


What the difference is between the two chassis I have no idea. Back in the day I had two 1990 E-350 chassis mini-buses and one 1994 E-350 chassis mini-bus. The two 1990 had 11,900 GVWR and the 1994 had 13,900 GVWR. The brake parts were identical. The spring packs looked identical even though the newer one had the ball joint Twin-I-Beam suspension instead of the king pin Twin-I-Beam suspension. I used the same tires and wheels on all three buses. All three had 4.56 rear gears. All three had the 7.3L diesel engine. The only difference was the 1994 was one row of seats longer than the other two. Why an extended wheelbase would increase the GVWR 2,000 lbs I have no idea.
I'm thinking of bidding on a similar length bus tomorrow, only it's a 550 series with a 26000 gvwr rating
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