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Old 03-24-2019, 07:09 PM   #81
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Looks great!

You taped the ribs - I assume to be able to easily get back to raw steel to bolt onto? Hadn't thought of that. Sounds like you planned really well (other than the floor ).

Congrats on the insulation!

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Old 03-25-2019, 09:25 AM   #82
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Looks great!

You taped the ribs - I assume to be able to easily get back to raw steel to bolt onto? Hadn't thought of that. Sounds like you planned really well (other than the floor ).

Congrats on the insulation!
Yeah, we taped the surfaces of the ribs so that we can peel back the tape and have a clean surface to attach our ceiling and whatnot to. I try to do a lot of research and learn from other people's successes and failures. I don't recall where I saw the tape suggestion, but it seemed smart. I'm hoping someone will read about our mess and think to mask off their floor, too.

And thank you! It feels like a really big milestone to have finally reached.
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Old 03-26-2019, 08:55 AM   #83
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Taping the ribs definitely helped maintain a clean surface. It wasn't perfect and we didn't get to just rip the tape off and be done with it, but it is highly recommended. We tried to be careful about not getting too much over-spray or over-filling the cavities too much, but we did still end up having to trim. Unfortunately I didn't have any saws or blades or anything that were as wide as the span of the ribs, so I had to get creative. I used an old cross-cut saw and followed each rib.

If I had to do it again, I might look into renting one of those electric carving knives with the big, flexible blades that the professionals use. I can definitely see the benefit to having two solid guides in the ribs. One more thing checked off the to-do list! Now we've got to clean up the floor and get to work on putting together a sub-floor.
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Old 03-26-2019, 09:33 AM   #84
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Looks great! Now you have me thinking about spending money on one of those kits!
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Old 03-26-2019, 09:44 AM   #85
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Wow that looks great! Thanks for the inspiration, as I'm still quite a bit away from that, I think, but in any case that's what I'd like to do, at least from the windows up.

Below I think I'll end up with board insulation as I don't want to cut the panels below the windows (which I'd have to do unless I remove the chair rail).

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Old 03-26-2019, 10:37 AM   #86
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how would an electric chainsaw or hedge trimmer, with guides attached to the saw that bridged between the struts, work for trimming the excess foam?
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Old 03-26-2019, 10:48 AM   #87
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or hedge trimmer?
I like it. I think you're on to something.
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Old 03-26-2019, 10:55 AM   #88
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how would an electric chainsaw or hedge trimmer, with guides attached to the saw that bridged between the struts, work for trimming the excess foam?
I would venture not great. The blade would have to be long enough to span the void of two ribs, which is around 24" give or take. I'd also worry about the blade marring or getting caught on the ribs. There's a company that makes parts to retrofit a Sawzall, and supposedly they're compatible with a Harbor Freight reciprocating saw. If I were to make spray foam insulation a regular thing, I'd get myself a $46.99 HF Saw, the $75.00 blade adapter and $21.75 36" blade. $143.74 is a bit better than buying a saw that's already retrofitted. The blades have enough flex that you can have the saw offset from the wall but still run right along the ribs for a good, clean cut.
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Old 03-26-2019, 11:02 AM   #89
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I would venture not great. The blade would have to be long enough to span the void of two ribs, which is around 24" give or take. I'd also worry about the blade marring or getting caught on the ribs. There's a company that makes parts to retrofit a Sawzall, and supposedly they're compatible with a Harbor Freight reciprocating saw. If I were to make spray foam insulation a regular thing, I'd get myself a $46.99 HF Saw, the $75.00 blade adapter and $21.75 36" blade. $143.74 is a bit better than buying a saw that's already retrofitted. The blades have enough flex that you can have the saw offset from the wall but still run right along the ribs for a good, clean cut.


that's why l mentioned the guide - you could set the guide as wide or narrow as you wanted and every cut would be exact - as it happens I already have a seldom used, still almost new hedge trimmer - hate to see it sit idle and while I work up a sweat - lol - when I first started contracting larger jobs than I was not equipped to do, Mr Tool Rental was my friend
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Old 03-26-2019, 11:21 AM   #90
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https://sasquatters.com/electric-foam-saw/
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Old 03-26-2019, 11:24 AM   #91
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that's why l mentioned the guide - you could set the guide as wide or narrow as you wanted and every cut would be exact - as it happens I already have a seldom used, still almost new hedge trimmer - hate to see it sit idle and while I work up a sweat - lol
The issue I'm seeing is concocting a guide that would still allow the blade to be at the same height as the ribs. I feel like the saw would end up at least a few millimeters above the ribs, so you'd have to shave the remainder down to the height of the ribs. I suppose a router sled would do the trick, since the depth could be adjusted to account for the thickness of the guides.
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Old 03-26-2019, 11:32 AM   #92
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That's a clever way to do it!
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Old 04-02-2019, 10:58 AM   #93
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Lots of preparation and purchasing going on, lately. We've started making some of the bigger purchases so we can spread them out and not get hit all at once. We bought ourselves a really nice off-grid stove. It comes preset for Propane, with a conversion kit to Natural Gas and uses a D battery for the igniter. It seems extremely well-built and nicer than most of the other 20" ranges I've come across.

This past weekend we went to Home Depot and picked up the foam board and plywood for the sub-floor and I ended up picking up a table saw, too. My wife had started on cleaning up the floor to prepare for the sub-floor and I did a bit more, last night. All that's left before we can put it down is to cover the existing holes in the floor. I'm hoping to get that sorted out during the week so we can get the sub-floor down and start on the process of building up!
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Old 04-02-2019, 11:37 AM   #94
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The stove has my attention. Can you tell us more about it?

I have been shopping for a compact stove but the reviews on the ones that I have found are not great.

Thanks
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Old 04-02-2019, 12:04 PM   #95
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The stove has my attention. Can you tell us more about it?

I have been shopping for a compact stove but the reviews on the ones that I have found are not great.

Thanks
Absolutely! It's a 20" range from Unique Off-Grid. I perused their site a bit yesterday and they also sell DC fridges and freezers for solar/off-grid homes. We ordered ours from Home Depot. Like I said, it seems super solid and well-built. The grates are nice, heavy cast-iron and not ceramic-coated metal rod, like a lot of others. It has a pretty decent capacity and even has a broiler tray (which I can't wait to make nachos in). My wife and I are both bakers and we decided that wasn't something we wanted to miss out on with bus life.
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Old 04-04-2019, 12:26 PM   #96
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Got a little more prep work done last night. I finally worked on getting my single-swing door adjusted so that it didn't scrape the gutters. The hinges had two slotted holes which I was able to use to drop the door down about 1/8". After that I just had to drill out the remainder of the holes to align the hinge holes with those in the door frame. I ended up getting all but three done before my package of Harbor Freight 1/4" bits all bit the dust. The hardened steel that they used in the hinges does a number on those bits!

Once I ran out of drill bits I worked a little more on stripping the cab area of the bus. We're planning to replace the rubbery floor covering with an OEM-replacement carpet, so I'm going to need to get down to the bare metal, eventually. I was able to get up the plywood that covered a portion of the floor. This weekend I'm hoping to get the sub-floor installed in the main area. I'm excited to start teaching my wife more about tools and building. Our next lesson is going to be tapping holes for our sub-floor stringers to attach to.
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Old 04-08-2019, 09:44 AM   #97
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We're a couple steps closer to finally having a subfloor! Yesterday we went out to get all the holes in the floor sealed up. We had planned to use Protecto Wrap to seal the holes, but it ended up not being as flexible or adhesive as we had hoped. When that failed, we decided to use the OEM solution - duct tape! Along our center aisle Corbeil used strips of duct tape to seal the floor. We decided that if it's good enough for the manufacturer, it's good enough for us. We used multiple layers over each hole and now feel pretty good about it.

After the floor was sealed up, I had to come up with some form of bracing to span the aisle ramp. Being infinitely more comfortable working with wood, my initial plan was to secure some blocks to the sides of the ramp and then screw wooden joists to those blocks. It turned out that the aluminum that was used to form the ramp pan was unbelievably strong and my drill bits were struggling to do much of anything. So I took some of my leftover angle aluminum and made some bracing out of that. It's probably more than was necessary since the span was only 15 inches, but my philosophy has always been to do it right so you don't have any concerns or regrets in the future.

Once that was done, I turned my attention to the stringers for the subfloor. I cut a piece of the XPS to size and laid it across the floor so I made sure my stringers hit the same height as the surface of the foam. I took a 2x6 and ripped a bunch of pieces to the proper height with the new table saw. Because of the corrugated/uneven surface of the floor pan, I needed to add a bevel to the bottom edge in order to sit flush against the floor and the wall. After I got the profile right, I cut the ends of each of the four pieces so we can have a nice, strong lap joint. That was where we called it a day.

This week I want to get the stringers installed so I can lay down the subfloor as soon as possible. In order to get the stringers in, I'll have to cut them down to size, drill through to the ribs, tap out the holes in the ribs and then bolt them in with some 1/4" x 20 bolts.
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Old 04-12-2019, 12:00 PM   #98
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I am happy to report that our custom stringers were a success! They fit in perfectly and we were able to get them all bolted in, last night! First we did some minor tweaks that needed to be made, including notching some pieces to go over a patch on the floor by the fuel filler, gluing and screwing together the long stringer for the passenger side and cutting them down to size. Then we drilled through the wood into the ribs. We tapped each hole to 1/4"x20 threads with my Harbor Freight Tap and Die set and some thread cutting oil. I started to tap the holes by hand, but that was taking a while. I put the tap in the chuck of our drill and carefully tapped each hole. I made sure not to work too quickly and to keep everything nice and straight to avoid any issues.

As I got the holes tapped for each section, my wife got to work putting the bolts into the ribs and getting everything tightened down. Once all of the stringers were in place, I cut another piece that will support the plywood where it spans the old aisle ramp. I left about a 2 inch void in the front for running wiring across the bus (in particular the 120v wiring for our fridge will run across there). Once we've got all the wiring in there, I'll add additional blocks or even another piece of wood that runs the full width to keep that edge supported.

I roughly cut all of the rigid foam to size and laid it in place to see how we did. We've got some minor trimming to do on the forward-most piece, but we're so close! It should be only about an hour's-worth of work to get the subfloor ply installed this weekend. We're going to use liquid nails above and below the foam to make sure we have a rock-solid foundation on which to build our home. It feels like so long since we've started this project, but we're finally getting to the heart of the conversion!
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Old 04-15-2019, 08:22 AM   #99
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It is amazing the little milestones that feel so significant! My wife and I finally got our subfloor down yesterday afternoon! We used construction adhesive to keep things nice and secure and screwed down the plywood to the stringers. We also ran a few rows of screws directly through the plywood and into the sheet metal to minimize flex on the remainder of the floor. It feels very solid and stable and it feels so much cleaner in the bus, already! When we were done my wife and I were so excited that we just laid down and appreciated the fruits of our labor! We should be receiving our shower pan today, so we can start framing things out!
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Old 04-15-2019, 08:50 AM   #100
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Congratulations! Looks great!! This is great to see and a step I aspire to get to, hopefully shortly.

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