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Old 01-07-2019, 06:26 PM   #61
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SS, id want to coat the bottom of it with something to make it anti-slip.. soap on SS and you are gonna be dancin in the rain!
-Christopher

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Old 01-08-2019, 08:29 AM   #62
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Originally Posted by cadillackid View Post
SS, id want to coat the bottom of it with something to make it anti-slip.. soap on SS and you are gonna be dancin in the rain!
-Christopher
This is a very good point! No one wants my slippery body to come falling through the shower doors!
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Old 01-09-2019, 08:08 AM   #63
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Mat it...just trim to fit.


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Old 01-10-2019, 10:48 AM   #64
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Some more prep work done last night. I finally had time to grind down the JB Weld I applied to the old screw holes in my window delete panel. On what will be the backside I only ground off enough to smooth out the area that will overlap with the skin on the bus. I left a pretty sizable plug over and around the screw hole, itself, to prevent the repair from falling out. Then I flipped the panel over and ground down flush with the sheet metal. After this, some of the plugs had a slight divot in the center or around the edges where the JB Weld met the old metal. Since this is going to be my rolling home, I want things to look better than that, so I mixed up some more JB Weld and applied that to each of the holes. In a day or two I'll go out and grind it flush, again. I'm never going to end up with a museum quality paint job, but I want to be proud of my work when I'm done.

After dealing with the window delete panel, I decided to grind off the rivets holding on the caps and window sills I'm going to be replacing. I grabbed my worklight and a chair and set to work. The 30 or so rivets were a piece of cake, now that I've really figured out the rhythm of grinding the heads off. I left the caps and sills in place for now, since I don't know what the weather is going to be like in the next few days. Hopefully I have clear skies this weekend so I can complete the window delete and get the electronics in order for some spray foam!
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Old 01-13-2019, 06:59 PM   #65
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Two windows deleted today! I started by pulling the two windows to be deleted and the one just forward of those windows. I scraped the excess sealant, punched out the old rivets and pulled the caps and window sills being deleted. After that, I had to make a rudimentary brake to form the 90 Degree bend where the delete panel turns on the hat channel. A few years back I made a portable workbench that sits on a barrel and can be expanded and used for clamping. I was able to put the edge of the delete panel in, clamp it tight and bend the panel down. After getting the panel as far as I could, by hand, I used a piece of 2x3 and and a hammer to finish it off. When I was done, I had a pretty good looking bend, which then had to be notched for the window sill at the remaining window.

After some minor adjustments to my notch, I was able to get the panel dry-fitted. Luckily my measurements and cuts were pretty spot on. I gobbed on plenty of seam sealant around the edges and on the hat channel and got to work with the drill and riveter. Doing everything unassisted proved to be a little bit challenging, at times. Since I was trying to use the factory holes, I was drilling from the inside, which forced me to get creative. I weighed down a patio chair with some stones and wedged an old table top between the chair back and the window delete panel to create some back pressure. Eventually I was able to get all of the holes drilled and the rivets installed.

Everything looked good all around, but the top was not very well supported, so I cut some pieces of 2x4 to span the deletes and secured the delete panel to the supports with some panhead screws. Altogether, things went better than I expected. I always form a plan in my head and hope that it works, but anticipate extra challenges. Today, things went off almost without a hitch. The end of the demo is in sight!
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Old 01-13-2019, 07:15 PM   #66
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I had to make that short 1/4" bend on a few pieces, tried it with 14 gauge and there was no way the brake would accept it that thick. Had to do it out of 18 instead.
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Old 01-13-2019, 08:19 PM   #67
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Good work! As always... It's looking great!! Your bend line looks pretty good given the tools you have setup there! It's amazing what one can do (or figure out) when you don't have all the right tools!!
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Old 01-14-2019, 08:50 AM   #68
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I had to make that short 1/4" bend on a few pieces, tried it with 14 gauge and there was no way the brake would accept it that thick. Had to do it out of 18 instead.
My lip was a little bit deeper - about 3/4". I did this with the ceiling skins, so I'm not sure what gauge they were, but I'd imagine 14 would be a bit of a bear, especially with such a small lip.

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Good work! As always... It's looking great!! Your bend line looks pretty good given the tools you have setup there! It's amazing what one can do (or figure out) when you don't have all the right tools!!
Thanks! I've been very fortunate to have great teachers for most of my life. When I was about 5 my family did a big addition to our house (basically a teardown and rebuild), so I learned a lot from assisting on anything and everything I was allowed to. I had a neighbor who was a machinist, another who was incredibly gifted at anything mechanical and both were excellent woodworkers. Any tools they didn't have were improvised out of what was readily available. Between the two of them, I learned almost everything I know. In fact, I assisted in building the kitchen table in my house in my neighbor's basement, using the roof rafters of my childhood home. Well, half of it is in my kitchen. It's an expanding table that accommodates 10 people when it's closed up.
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Old 01-18-2019, 03:31 PM   #69
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So one of the big things that's been looming is the electrical deletes. This week I went out to the bus and started pulling apart the wiring harness to make it easier to do that work, once I've traced all the wires. I'm planning to scavenge as much of that as I can so my 12V system is basically free.

Besides doing that work, I've done quite a bit of shopping. I picked up the angle aluminum I'm planning to use for the solar rack and some more seam sealer. I realized the other day that if I want to get the whole bus sealed up and sprayed, I'm going to want to tackle the door sooner, rather than later. Like some other people on here, I'm planning to convert my split doors to a single-hinged door. Today I grabbed some angle aluminum, flat stock, square stock, aluminum flashing, bolts, nylon nuts, self-tapping screws and spray foam. My plan is to use a piece of angle and bar stock for the top edge of the door and a piece of the square and bar stock towards the bottom of the door. The flashing will cover the gap between the doors, which will be filled with the foam insulation. Eventually I will likely reinforce across the middle of the door, as well, but I want to figure out my door knob/lock situation before I add anything to that area.

With some snow in the forecast, I'm trying to figure out what I can get done this weekend.
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Old 01-22-2019, 09:20 AM   #70
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So I realized a few days ago that the door opening and closing mechanism made some sizeable holes in the bus that I want to patch up before we insulate, so I decided to get to work converting the split door into a single-swing door. The first thing I did was to pull the mechanism from the top of the door that allowed them both to open and close simultaneously. This was a simple job that just involved loosening two bolts and gently prying up. Next I detached the arm that actually pushes the door open. This was another two-bolt affair and took only a minute. After that I started removing the screws and nuts supporting the doors. I decided that the door would retain the hinge closest to the front of the bus, so I removed the other door by unbolting the hinge from the bus, first. Once that was done, I pulled the other door off of its hinge. Once I had both doors down, I removed the hinge from the rear door section.

My next task was removing the square bar welded to the door frame. Using my angle grinder I very carefully started cutting along the welds. Patience paid off here because I ended up with a nice clean cut. After those were removed, I ground off and cleaned up the old welds. Then it was time to remove the weather stripping from the split. I retained the weather stripping because I had plans to reuse one of the pieces to create a good seal with the bus. Then it was time for assembly!

Since it was pretty darn cold in New Jersey this weekend, I brought the door project into the basement. I had already cut my aluminum to size, so it was just a matter of doing the assembly. My wife and I cut one long strip of aluminum flashing to skin over the gap in the doors. After that was put in place I started clamping my bar and angle aluminum in place. I used a piece of angle from the outside over the top of the door with a piece of bar on the inside. I drilled through for some ¼” bolts with washers and nylon lock nuts. The bottom of the door is built so that the skin overhangs the frame in order to cover the bottom stair, so I used a piece of bar and some square stock to reinforce the lower part of the door. This was all clamped in place and through-bolted like the top.

The skin on the gap of the door has a bead of seam sealant along the edge and, on the outside, over 50 rivets. Once the rivets were installed, I flipped the door over and filled the cavity with some expanding foam insulation. Once cured, it was trimmed down and the inner skin was attached with seam sealant and a ridiculous amount of self-tapping screws. I then attached the weather stripping to the edge of the door and got ready to start the mounting process.

I realized that it would probably be smart to add some additional support to the door and hinge since I was adding the weight of the other panel. I took the hinge I removed from the other side and cut off the portion that had previously attached to the door. I figured this would help distribute some of the stress of the bolt more evenly over the door. I pushed some of the screws through that plate and the door and tried to get everything lined up with the hinge. The bolts I added to the top of the door were interfering with some weather stripping, so that had to be pulled down. After that was removed, it got a lot easier to start getting things bolted up. We got a couple of bolts through before our fingers stopped being useful in the cold. I tested the swing of the door and it does appear to have some rub on the gutter overhead due to the angle I added to the top, but I want to fully bolt up the door before I make any adjustments. If I do have to make some changes, I may just elongate the holes in the hinges in order to bring it down a little bit. The repurposed weather stripping seems to make a really good seal and, for a first fitting, I’m very happy!
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Old 02-04-2019, 09:35 AM   #71
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When I’ve had time, I’ve been plugging away at the electrical overhaul on the bus. I’ve gotten some electrical schematics from Ford, so I’ve got a pretty good idea of how the bus systems were tied to the van systems. I’ve been working on breaking down the loom of wires so that I can reuse them for our future 12V systems. I’m hoping to be able to get all of the electrical work dealt with this week.

While we had some nice weather yesterday, I decided to finish up my roof patches and set up the solar racking. On Saturday I figured out that, based on the location of the mounting screws, I would need to raise the panels up about 3 inches in order to clear the high point of the roof. I used 2 inch angle aluminum with a 1 inch overlap in order to get up the 3 inches we needed. I prepped and labeled everything to make sure everything goes back together smoothly.

On Sunday, while the weather was nice, I put up the patches and the racking. I pulled the passive roof vent and a variety of antennae and skinned over them with more of the ceiling skins. I put a dab of seam sealant at each of the screw holes and a ring around the larger holes, along with a bead around the edge of each of the patches. One of the antennae was directly forward of the vent, so I covered both of these holes with one long patch. The other was covered with a small square patch. A bunch of rivets and seam sealant later, and both of those patches were installed. The cellular antenna ran through the fiberglass cap, so that will end up being patched with epoxy. For now I’ve prepared for that patch by covering the hole with some packing tape.

After I got the patches done, I decided to install the angle I’m going to attach the solar panels to. I took careful measurements and set to work. Like my patches, I used seam sealant at each rivet hole to prevent leaks. I didn’t have anyone around to help me hoist the panels up on the roof, so that’s where I left the roof.

Once I had my projects all buttoned up, I decided to do some cleaning. I had been letting the inside of the bus accumulate all of my tools, supplies and trash. I took out pretty much everything and did a clean sweep of the interior. I started sorting through the pieces of the bus that I’d removed and created collections of “going back in,” “may or may not go back in” and “save for scrap.” Anything that I didn’t think I would be reusing ended up in the trash. It was nice to see how much progress we’ve made so far.
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Old 02-04-2019, 09:46 AM   #72
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Mmmmm patches.... I love those. Sure beats leaks!
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Old 02-04-2019, 09:48 AM   #73
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Mmmmm patches.... I love those. Sure beats leaks!
I couldn't agree more! It was a pretty unpleasant surprise to see a puddle in the area all of the bus electronics had come out of! I'm ripping almost all of it out, anyway, but still makes me a little uncomfortable.
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Old 02-14-2019, 09:04 AM   #74
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Slaying Medusa!!!

One of my goals with this bus was to make sure that I had a handle on all of the systems at work. As part of that, I decided that I wanted to get the vehicle electrics down to a bare minimum and completely separate from the house electrics. It's been a slow, tedious process, but I think the effort will be well worth it. Some of this mess will be going back into the house build in one form or another. I plan to reuse some of the switches from the Multiplex and some of the light gauge wire for my 12V wiring. Finally nearing the end of our demo!
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Old 03-06-2019, 05:43 PM   #75
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There’s been a lot going on, so unfortunately bus stuff took a back seat. The one thing that I was able to get done was the removal of the flashers. The first thing I had to deal with was Weldon’s poor design. The flasher bodies seem to have collected every bit of rainwater, causing the body and screws to rust. In particular, the bottom screw on every single flasher was eaten away. The heads were so corroded that they needed to be backed out with vice grips from inside. Once that was done I had to scrape away some of the rubbery adhesive/sealant that was behind the lights. Since The Charlotte has fiberglass end-caps, I used an old boaters’ trick that I came across online to patch the holes. The trick is to cover the holes with packing tape on the “finished” side and fill the holes from the backside with epoxy. Over the larger holes I used some mesh tape to reinforce the plug. The packing tape on the outside helps to keep the patch relatively flush with the surface so less finishing work is needed later. Hopefully in the next few days I can finish up the last few bits needed before insulation gets sprayed in. All that’s left before that can happen is to remove the stop sign, install our backup camera and reverse spotlight and tidy up the existing wiring. It’s all coming along.
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Old 03-06-2019, 07:44 PM   #76
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Hey, I was just reading through you thread. Nice job on the door. I'm about half way through the same process and just found yours. Looks like you kept the gap between the doors. I ended up welding my panels together and will add a piece of rectangular tube to the back end to fill the void. What are you doing for a lock/latch? Hard to find hardware for this type of install. I ended up ordering a storm door handle with deadbolt.

Also do you have a good pick for your backup camera? I'm on the hunt for one. Ideally I'd like to find a gps with ability to display the backup camera so I only need one screen.
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Old 03-07-2019, 08:32 AM   #77
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Hey, I was just reading through you thread. Nice job on the door. I'm about half way through the same process and just found yours. Looks like you kept the gap between the doors. I ended up welding my panels together and will add a piece of rectangular tube to the back end to fill the void. What are you doing for a lock/latch? Hard to find hardware for this type of install. I ended up ordering a storm door handle with deadbolt.
Thank you! For the front door I'm planning on incorporating storm door hardware, as well. I'm thinking I'll end up cutting out a portion of the square tubing of the frame and then welding on a plate to the inside and outside to create a little more space inside for the hardware. That part of the plan is still a work in progress. For now the big gasket on the edge keeps the door shut up pretty tightly.

Quote:
Also do you have a good pick for your backup camera? I'm on the hunt for one. Ideally I'd like to find a gps with ability to display the backup camera so I only need one screen.
I have a Pioneer AVH-4100NEX and will be using the Natika Backup Camera. I was planning on using Pioneer's own backup camera but it's quite a bit more expensive and the reviews for it weren't great. I haven't installed the backup camera, yet, but when I took it out of the box it was basically a 1 1/2" cube. It's pretty heavy and feels sturdy and well-built.
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Old 03-07-2019, 10:27 AM   #78
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I have a Pioneer AVH-4100NEX and will be using the Natika Backup Camera. I was planning on using Pioneer's own backup camera but it's quite a bit more expensive and the reviews for it weren't great. I haven't installed the backup camera, yet, but when I took it out of the box it was basically a 1 1/2" cube. It's pretty heavy and feels sturdy and well-built.
Thanks for the info on the head unit. I was so focused on what wiring I need to install prior to insulating that I hadn't even considered something like this. I'd have to custom install it as I don't have a dash location but to have all units in one makes sense. Honestly, my bus has been so loud prior insulating around the engine that I hadn't thought much about music.
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Old 03-07-2019, 10:51 AM   #79
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Thanks for the info on the head unit. I was so focused on what wiring I need to install prior to insulating that I hadn't even considered something like this. I'd have to custom install it as I don't have a dash location but to have all units in one makes sense. Honestly, my bus has been so loud prior insulating around the engine that I hadn't thought much about music.
Yeah, the nice thing about this head unit is that it has Android Auto (and Apple Carplay if you're an Apple User) built in, so I can use Google Maps right on the display and all of my music and such.
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Old 03-24-2019, 06:59 PM   #80
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So things have been a little quiet in this thread, but we have been working here and there. We finally took down the stop sign, patched up a few holes and installed a new light at the rear for when the bus is in reverse. Since we plan on carrying kayaks where the rear lights are and visibility is extremely important, it was imperative that we add a nice big light. I picked up this number from Harbor Freight with a 20% off Coupon.

With all of that prep work done, it was time to buckle down and get the bus insulated. Today my wife and I donned our Tyvek suits, gloves and respirators and sprayed our interior! Since neither of us have done this before, it was a learning experience. The Dow Froth-Pak 620 was very easy to work with and I can't recommend it enough! We do still have some left in the tanks, but I'd rather have too much than not enough. We did lots of prep work, but could definitely have done some more. We masked off the faces of all of the ribs and covered the windows with plastic sheeting, but next time I would definitely put something down on the floor. Otherwise, I think things went very well! We've definitely got some trimming and scraping to do, but we're so excited to have a fully insulated bus! Now it's time to start building up!
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