So I decided, half-assedly a bit ago, that I would live in a bus and soon there-after gave up on the idea. After a few life changes and making some realizations about where I am and where I wanna be, I have decided that it is time to revisit the idea. So here she is; my 1986 diesel e-350 shorty. She doesnt have a name yet, so I'm open to suggestions. I just drove her home today, and soon I will start the stripping and reengineering. Stay tuned!
Thanks for the welcome folks! No floor plans drawn up as of yet. I plan on gettin started with the physical side of things today. I'll pull out the seats and possibly the floor and measure things out to see what I've really got to work with. Then I plan on drawing up a layout. As of now, I'm thinking like a double bed across the back wall on a custom built platform with storage from the rear door and drawers from the front. Then a kitchenette with a small sink, and propane burners on one wall. On the opposite wall I might do a fold down table with two seats that fold down into a bed, though the more I think about it, the less likely that seems. I'm not gunna have a ton of space to work with and I need to have some cabinetry and closets etc. for storage so we'll see how it goes.
So tonight I swung by the shop where she is parked (still remaining unnamed at the moment, waiting for her to talk to me and tell me what she wants to be called) and got to work. I pulled all the seat out of her, except one, which I will likely pull out tomorrow. I will also likely start to pull up the rubber flooring tomorrow. She is mighty pretty, and I took some measurements and made more observations about her specifics tonight which I will post shortly. I also snapped quite a few photos and got the wheels turning in my head. Here are some of the photos:
Welcome to skoolies! I think if I were working with that small amount of space, I would get a jackknife couch that folds into a double bed. That way you have both seating and sleeping without taking up additional space. That's what I did in my bus, and I've got twice as much space to work with as you. But I've got a fairly large family, so I had to conserve space. Good luck on the project - the planning phase is really fun and exciting! I went through many, many designs before landing on the best solution for my needs.
I only had about 40 minutes to work on her last night but it was just enough time to pull up the rubber flooring. The plywood doesn't look all bad considering its as old as I am (Funny fact, the door panel states the bus was manufactured by Ford 3/86 and Collins produced it 5/86 which is my birth month and year!). BUT! I still think I'd like to have the knowledge that it has all fresh wood for a good solid foundation to build from. And in all honesty, I'm kind of just curious to see how its put together. After undoing the mini "angle-iron" piece of tin connecting the wall to the floor I reached my entire hand to my wrist underneath the wood and couldn't feel anything but air
I guess I'll see whats under there tonight since I have the whole evening to tinker.
In 1986, we had bought a 1974 Apache pop-up that used plywood under the floor and for the bed decking. We had originally thought about replacing the plywood until David got to looking at it and realized that it was marine grade plywood (and oversized sheets on the bed decks). We couldn't buy plywood that was made as well as the old plywood. So we kept it. We finally sold the pop-up in 2005 and the floor & bed decking was a solid as he day we bought the pop-up. There is a good chance that if the plywood is as old as you say it is and still solid, it may be marine plywood. Lumber products over the past 10 years has gotten really crappy. We put down fake decking (like on Smittys "back porch") rather than buy the crap that is being passed off as lumber today. And that is NOT #! LUMBER. I know what #1 is and the stuff we have been seeing is what used to be sold as NON-GRADED because that is no grade for anything that low in quality. Sorry, we were in Home Depot and Lowes this past weekend. In the lumber section... JUNK, JUNK, JUNK! How do they build houses nowadays!
...Sorry, we were in Home Depot and Lowes this past weekend. In the lumber section... JUNK, JUNK, JUNK! How do they build houses nowadays!
I agree. Am I imagining this, or did we used to be able to buy sanded ply for a reasonable price? The only way to get decent looking plywood now days is spend like $30 per sheet! That's just not right!
We used to buy a decent plywood at a decent price! Now we buy plywood full of voids. 2X4's are so twisted that you can't build a plumb wall. Does make you rethink metal studs (and yes we did find some in Albuquerque) and plastic wood! And the cabinet grade stuff leaves a bit to be desired. Meanwhile I'm trying to figure out how to make a decent cabinet with indecent materials without breaking us! I need to win the lottery jackpot!!!
So I just got back from another evening of tinkering, that was unfortunately, cut short. I did get all the wood up though and there were a few pieces that had some decent rot so I'm glad I did. It will also be nice to really scrub everything nice and clean and make sure all the seams have a nice bead of fresh sealant. As aforementioned, the evening was cut short by our old friend anti-freeze. I was baffled for about 5 seconds as to why I couldn't lift the stock heater from the floor after unbolting it, then what my cousin at I had discussed about it popped in my head...radiator lines? A trip outside and a crawl under the fender well affirmed my assumption. Though this was annoying, it is also pretty cool that there are already two coolant lines running the full length of the chassis right to the middle of the two fuel tanks. This would make a WVO conversion of the front fuel tank quite easy. Maybe, someday...
So I instantly jumped into removing the lines with the plan of hose clamping the two ends to a short piece of tubing joining them to one another but in my haste, I didn't stop to think through the action. As soon as I cut into the more easily accessible line anti-freeze started gushing everywhere emptying the radiator.
I would have dove under the bus and started pulling the other right then to try to rush the process and join the two together stopping the flow, the only problem was that the coolant was dumping right where I would have to lay. So after the flow slowed a bit I did manage to get the lines connected to one another but not without getting it all over my hand arms and some in my hair and neck. My paranoia of the toxicity of the stuff made me call it an early night to rush home and take a shower.
Well, sorry if that post was a bit long winded but heres some gratitude, Picturas:
So since my last update I have been doing alot of measuring and brainstorming and reading info here. I have decided that I will run a charger/inverter that I recently purchased with the 2 6volt golf cart battery setup that I will wire seperately from my starting batteries.
I went to pick-n-pull yesterday hoping to score a sink and water pump but the place was pretty well picked over. I did however score a few nice lights, a switch bezel and a nice looking emblem. The rest of the night I spent with the heatgun, razor blade, sand paper and rattle can stripping the lettering off the side of the bus.
Here's a pic of my few treasures:
Just a quick update, haven't done much worthy of pictures lately hence the lack in there of.
I have been doing a lot of the not-as-exciting stages of making this thing a reality though. I have been doing research into a house battery system and collecting some essential parts and visiting the DMV. I've got about 90% of the stickers peeled off the outside and about 50% of the affected areas prepped for a paintjob. Just got my tax money in, so that should help with the Maaco bill. I trimmed up the eyelids on the 7 inch flashers and I've still got to finish up cleaning up a few scuffs and dents here and there in the body. Then its time to pull out the middle two windows on each side and close em off with some sheet metal, insulation and sealant. Then she'll be ready for paint. As for the interior I've put some elbow grease into scrubbin her up. I'll do a bit more cleaning, a bit of painting and some sealing, then the plywood floors will be replaced and I'll start building the skeleton of what will be the bed and cabinets etc.
Well, when I have more pics I'll post em up. Keep posted