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Old 01-23-2012, 01:09 PM   #1
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1996 Bluebird Conversion

I picked this bus up a couple years ago and am 1/3 of the way through my conversion. This is the 3rd I have done, by far the biggest. This will be used primarily as a mobile hunting/fishing cabin. I have too many updates to post all of these at once, but I will keep freshening up if there is interest.

As I bought it, inside and out.





Seats, wheelchair lift, AC units out and sold. Now the total insulation of the floor and walls. Both have a heavy layer of plastic vapor barrier. Floors have 2"foam board and 3/4" sub-floor. Walls are 1/2 inch foam board and paneling. Entire inside was repainted and sealed before covering.





Some framing started. I'm using 2x2's and 1x3 strapping.





Next some cosmetic work on dash and door. Basically just recovered the dash and painted the doors. Looks decent.




[img]http://i1218.photobucket.com/albums/dd410/pstatesofmind/Dash%20n%20Door%207-11/door4.jpg[img]
[/img]http://i1218.photobucket.com/albums/dd410/pstatesofmind/Dash%20n%20Door%207-11/door5.jpg[/img]

The bus will have a complete solar system linked with house and shore system to handle all power. It's my goal to be able to camp for a month or so. I had to build 1 of the 2 banks of batteries into the floor over the front axle. This is a rear-eng. model so there's TONS of room underneath. Both banks are fully functional and hooked to charger/monitors. The solar panels go on this spring.








Now onto the bunk area. The bus has a master cabin in back (queen-sized) and 2 bunks.




Now the galley area.







Heat.... It's cold here in Maine. I will not be using propane as a main source of fuel. I will use wood. With the heavy insulation I installed, this little stove can get me up to 65 degrees over ambient. It takes a couple hours, but the fuel is free.





Now the shower.







More to come...
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Old 01-23-2012, 01:33 PM   #2
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Re: 1996 Bluebird Conversion

Since this is an RE, are your house batteries in front of your fuel tank? and what size are they?
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Old 01-23-2012, 08:49 PM   #3
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Re: 1996 Bluebird Conversion

nice bus, nice work
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Old 01-24-2012, 09:45 AM   #4
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Re: 1996 Bluebird Conversion

Great looking bus. Great craftsmanship. Awesome pictures. Of course we are interested in your project.

What part of Maine? I grew up there.
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Old 01-24-2012, 09:45 AM   #5
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Re: 1996 Bluebird Conversion

I have 2 banks of house batteries. The first bank (4) is located towards the rear, over the rear axle. The second bank (5) is located just in front of the fuel tank, under the floor over the front axle. Both have 3 stage charger/maintainers hooked up.

I will have to get back to you on the size and AH's. They are all 12v, deep cycle, acid based. I received them all from my work at no cost. We are required by law to change them out every year or so regardless of use. These particular (9) batteries were tested and rated at 98%-99% capacity. I understand at some point I will need to replace these, but for free, these will do just fine for some time top come. Very limited use.

A nice side note, I can use this set-up as a back-up power supply for my home if the power goes out. I can easily run my pellet stove and other must-haves off one of 3 on-board inverters. The solar panels will be installed this spring to give me more redundancy.
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Old 01-24-2012, 09:49 AM   #6
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Re: 1996 Bluebird Conversion

I have never seen batteries like those.
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Old 01-25-2012, 09:53 AM   #7
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Re: 1996 Bluebird Conversion

I think the batteries will last a long time. Looks like you are doing good work, thanks for the pictures.
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Old 01-26-2012, 02:19 AM   #8
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Re: 1996 Bluebird Conversion

Quote:
Originally Posted by igloo
Yeah I'm enjoying this thread. The battery box already is giving me ideas.
I was thinking the same (about getting ideas) for my RE... battery boxes under the floor. I like that! Keep the pics comin!!

BTW, with 2" of floor insulation, and 3/4" flooring, where does that put your finished ceiling height? About 73 1/4" ?
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Old 01-31-2012, 07:21 AM   #9
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Re: 1996 Bluebird Conversion

Thom... Height is about 72. To be honest I don't recall exactly. I know that I am 5'10" and don't bump my head! (It's close)

I am finishing up the desk, computer and office station in the "master bunk" area. I'll send more pics later this week. Thanks again the responses.
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Old 02-12-2012, 05:57 PM   #10
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Re: 1996 Bluebird Conversion

Looking really nice...I really like the kitchen work and how it looks
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Old 03-02-2012, 02:33 PM   #11
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Re: 1996 Bluebird Conversion

Here's a few new pics. Computer desk area, new wood stove and flooring going in. The stove will ride under the desk when traveling. I have 2 radiant shields to protect the walls, it will work very well in any temperature.





Now the new stove and flooring.













Still a few things to do with the new stove. Pipe will be installed this weekend, and I need to finish the spot where it will be safely stowed away during transport. It's very easy to move and install. About 20 minutes and I can have a fire going.
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Old 03-03-2012, 10:00 AM   #12
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Re: 1996 Bluebird Conversion

I see the chopping block... where's the chicken?
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Old 03-10-2012, 08:16 PM   #13
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Re: 1996 Bluebird Conversion

I like the hearth... I have some slate I plan on using to do the same thing...
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Old 06-22-2012, 03:35 PM   #14
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Re: 1996 Bluebird Conversion

Long time no see... lots of updates. I'll just get to the pics. Questions? Fire away!

Wood stove in mobile location. I can stow it away or set it up in less than 15 minutes once the fire has cooled. I have high tension mounts and HD straps to keep in place for all but a catastrophic accident.




New charger. 1 handles the single bank up front under the floor, the second handles 2 banks, 1 is a second house bank, the other are the 3 engine batteries.




Master cabin is taking shape.
New beds, inverter, decor, etc.





Bunk area upgrades...




Living area updates...





Roof painted for solar panels...





2 of the 4 panels and components installed and operating as expected...





New fridge/freezer chest (110v or 12v)...






HD TV and DVD set-up w/ inverter...






A little R&R... a cold beer, a decent cigar and a good flick... priceless.


Let me know your comments or questions. I'd love to hear from ya. Later All.
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Old 06-23-2012, 01:13 PM   #15
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Re: 1996 Bluebird Conversion

Very nice job. Do you have a pellet and wood stove?
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Old 06-25-2012, 08:00 AM   #16
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Re: 1996 Bluebird Conversion

I picked those nets up at a yard sale and also a few out of some various car trunks. I think I have seen something similar at Walmart as well. Basically cargo nets.

I have just used wood stoves. I have found a really cool camp pellet stove that runs off ZERO electricity, one of my main goals. BUT, I reside in an area that is blessed with unlimited firewood. Anywhere I will take this vehicle, there is plenty of fuel. Here is the link to that cool little camp pellet stove in case you are interested.

http://www.walltentshop.com/RileyPellet.html
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Old 06-25-2012, 04:54 PM   #17
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Re: 1996 Bluebird Conversion

you can actually make your own tent stoves and water boxes. my neighbor built several for another tent company, but they are labor intensive to make for what you can sell them for. they are just steel that has to be bent, etc, and some stainless, etc...but they take a whole day to make one if you have a machine shop with metal breaks, etc... a small one would be great for a bus.

i just have my small glo king in mine...
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Old 06-29-2012, 09:10 AM   #18
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Re: 1996 Bluebird Conversion

I had considered making my own, there are a ton of plans available. But since I live an extremely cold Northern climate and plan to use this vehicle year round i wanted something that will stand up to the demands I will put on it. I wanted something of an "overkill". I didn't want the stove to have to work too hard to keep up with mother natures cold winters.

But with that said, if I had a smaller vehicle in a warmer climate, a small home-made stove would be perfect. I did start with such a stove, but needed more.

This weekend I'm building a small frame for the forward couch/bed. I will also be installing a new trailer hitch. I'll try and post a few pics early next week.
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Old 06-29-2012, 02:15 PM   #19
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Re: 1996 Bluebird Conversion

I'm looking to put an lcd tv in the very same spot you did. What size tv are you using? It looks to be the perfect size for the space.
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Old 06-30-2012, 08:49 AM   #20
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Re: 1996 Bluebird Conversion

i dont know about his bus, but i put a 22 inch lcd tv in that position in my bus, but i have an 18 inch deep overhead cabinet behind it with 2 doors. in order to open one of the storage doors, i bought a swing down tv wall mount that is articulated for $40 on ebay, so that the tv can either be at almost ceiling height - and flat against the overhead cabinet, or around 24 inches off the floor.
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