The JukeBus 1979 Ford Shorty Renovation project
Let me tell you a story.
In July of Aught Nine, I was going to be running a communal camp kitchen feeding a hundred or so people off the grid for about a week. I needed to either rent a truck, or maybe...I could find something to buy that would meet my hauling needs now, and into the future, that would also be fun for tailgating and who knows what. A good friend and I had talked about going in together on an old skoolie so... I started looking around and, in July I found a 1979 Ford/Carpenter B600 Short Bus that looked like it would really fit the bill.
The owner and 3 friends had modded it out for river rafting trips (kayak & paddle racks on top, navy cots inside to sleep 5+) but after a number of years of faithful service, the three other friends had moved away from Portland and now they no longer needed the bus. The owner had taken good care of it (he was an auto mechanic), and wanted to see the bus put to good use...and...the price was right - about equal to the cost of renting a Ryder truck.
So, I purchased the bus, drove it the 100 miles home to Eugene, and set about getting ready to take it on it's maiden trip, a 850 mile round trip to Nevada and back. And, as things go, unfortunately RIGHT after I got it I had to take an emergency trip out of town and didn't get the opportunity to thoroughly check out the bus, get a tuneup, or any such BASIC things one would do before setting out on a long trip (with a bus full of food and kitchen equip that 100 people were counting on). But nothing could go wrong, right?
Well, to make a long story short (I know, too late), we had a few breakdowns on the way to the campout, when the bus just...um...DIED...and we got towed 3 times and had to spend money on new fuel filters and new ignition coil and about $300 bux on mechanic work before we figured out the problem was just some loose ignition wires(engine quit when it got hot and the connection got loose) AND got there a day late, we made it back in one piece and once back home I planned with my friends to spend the winter fixing up the bus for future trips.
Unfortunately, that winter I got hit with a nasty kind of arthritis that laid me up to the point I couldn't walk for a while, much less work on the bus project. So the bus sat for a year.
...thanks to the miracles of modern medicine the arthritis is under control and I am back on my feet (and back into the bus) I have FINALLY started my renovation of the JukeBus into a combination Tailgater/Camper/Equipment Hauler and Mobile Kitchen (of sorts).
So, when looking at the bus as it was originally set up, far too crowded with forward facing seats, tight spaces and a carpet that was a bit too long in the tooth (and full of about 10lbs per square foot of detritus from years of tracked in river mud). To achieve my goal of a bus that could easily convert from carrying people to carrying equipment I decided I would replace the forward facing seats with benches along each side, with a captains chair for the shotgun passenger.
So, here are a few pics of the bus from when I purchased it. I've just added a gallery of pics showing the progress so far (just layed down the first coat of primer on the floor) and I will update the gallery with a few notes here as things progress.
The bus, as it appeared in the original craigslist ad:
The day I picked up the bus:
We are now working on the floor first. We've removed the carpet, cleaned up the metal floor with an angle grinder with a wire brush and just layed down a coat of Rustoleum primer. Will be putting in some Red rosin paper, rigid foam insulation and a plywood subfloor, then building some benches and adding a rubber floor on top (so I can hose the thing off when it gets dirty).
More to come.
Any and all suggestions & feedback welcome!