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Old 10-29-2019, 06:12 PM   #1
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Lady Liberty: School Activity Bus Conversion



Lady Liberty was a school activity bus. She's got adult sized headroom, serious air conditioning, overhead storage, storage below deck, a bona fide commercial duty diesel engine in the back rated at 300 hp, six forward speeds geared for the highway, air ride suspension all around. I'm no expert in these matters, but I've been calling her a coach since I first slapped some stickers on her announcing that to the world just before I rolled off the seller's property. If I am seriously in error in this characterization I will welcome constructive criticism. Not saying that it will change my mind, but I'm always willing to hear from good people who have more experience or cognitive ability than I do.


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Old 10-29-2019, 11:47 PM   #2
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So first, out came the seats:





Still toying with the idea of saving a row of seats for passengers to sit up front just behind the driver. It takes up a lot of space that might be better used for something else.




And possibly creating a dinette.





Then I got to ripping out the floor to make way for insulation.





I am thinking about putting down a layer of Water & Ice membrane before I put down two inches foam insulation board and a new layer of plywood on top of that. I am worried about condensation making its way under the insulation and rusting the floor. Water & Ice is a trade name for a peel and stick roofing underlayment made of modified asphalt with a plastic backing. Applying a little heat would get it to conform to any irregularities in the surface and make it close to 100% adhered and get it to seal up the many nail, screw and bolt holes in the metal floor. I think it would also contribute some sound deadening effect.
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Old 10-30-2019, 02:49 AM   #3
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Wow! That is a clean demo'd bus. I bet you have to search hard to find any rust at all!
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Old 10-30-2019, 09:05 AM   #4
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Looking awesome!

You sure scored a nice one.
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Old 10-30-2019, 09:09 AM   #5
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Thanks for the tip on water and ice. I'm going to have to look that up now.

I'm with you the seats might look nice on a dinette
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Old 10-30-2019, 10:49 AM   #6
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Thanks for the tip on water and ice. I'm going to have to look that up now.

I'm with you the seats might look nice on a dinette
I learn so much from people on this forum, I am glad if I can contribute any useful information.

Water and Iceģ membrane is available at both Lowes and Home Depot, and almost every other building supply business in North America. When I saw it in Lowes the other day, a roll that covers 108 ft.≤ was running about $79. If you are applying it in summer and you can get temperatures inside your bus of around 90įF or more it it will lay down nicely and the asphalt component will become gooey, allowing you to conform easily to the surface of your floor. If you're doing in colder weather I would recommend heating up both the bus and the material before application. It also wouldn't hurt to have something like a linoleum roller to go over it for maximum adhesion.

By the way, when I was a young carpenter many, many years ago, and this product first came out, it often went by its tradename, bituethene, which we quickly turned into bitch-a-thane, because once you peel off the protective backing it is like a terrible kind of flypaper. If you accidentally stick a piece of it to itself you will never get it apart, and likewise, if you stick it to something you didn't intend to stick it to or you install it with air pockets and wrinkles, you'll probably wish you'd never seen the stuff. But on the other hand, once you have it down you can be pretty sure it's doing its job and it is not going to come up. If you have never worked with the stuff before, I would recommend looking on YouTube for some videos about how to install it, which amount basically some tips and tricks for peeling off the backing material at the same time that you're rolling it down.

Water And Ice membrane at Lowes
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Old 06-29-2020, 11:35 AM   #7
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Well after months of delay, I am finally making some progress. The delay really served me well though. Having the bus to work with over winter really taught me a thing or two. Trying to heat it just so I could keep working was a real lesson. A 40,000btu, propane fired, residential, forced air heater that I installed was almost useless against all the heat loss through the uninsulated structure of the bus and the amazingly drafty windows. Likewise, dealing with the hot weather this Spring has taught me some lessons. I have also learned that their is a big difference between building a bus for recreational uses and building one for year-round living.

My plan now is to insulate the rear half of the bus so I can live in it while I finish the front. At the moment I am insulating the floor. I am putting down 2 1/2 inches of rigid foam board insulation that will be topped off with 5/8 inch tongue and groove subfloor plywoodI am putting down 2 1/2 inches of rigid foam board insulation that will be topped off with 5/8 inch tongue and groove subfloor plywood.

I was all set to go with two layers of 1 inch foam board, but then I ran across a load of free one-and-a-half inch insulation so I decided to use that in the floor, which increased my insulation by 1/2 an inch I was all set to go with two layers of 1 inch foam board, but then I ran across a load of free one and a half inch insulation so I decided to use that in the floor, which increased my insulation by 1/2 an inch.

I'm putting 1" lumber strapping on top of the 1-1/2" foam board, which I will screw to the floor beneath. Then I will fill in between the strapping with 1" foam board.





I chose to insulate the floor first so that I could hang the heaters from the overhead rack while I worked.





As soon as the floor is buttoned down. I will take down the rack and get ready to insulate the walls and ceiling. The walls will get a mixture of spray foam and insulation board. The ceiling will get the full foam treatment.
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Old 06-29-2020, 11:44 AM   #8
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In case there were any questions to where I was getting actual 1" lumber for floor strapping. I am using my power planer to reduce 2 x 4 and 2 x 3 to 4/4 thickness.

I have a video I wanted to post, but I am not sure if that is possible, or I don't know how.
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Old 06-29-2020, 12:51 PM   #9
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Then I got to ripping out the floor to make way for insulation. I am thinking about putting down a layer of Water & Ice membrane before I put down two inches foam insulation board and a new layer of plywood on top of that. I am worried about condensation making its way under the insulation and rusting the floor. Water & Ice is a trade name for a peel and stick roofing underlayment made of modified asphalt with a plastic backing. Applying a little heat would get it to conform to any irregularities in the surface and make it close to 100% adhered and get it to seal up the many nail, screw and bolt holes in the metal floor. I think it would also contribute some sound deadening effect.
Kinda hard to tell from the pics, did you go with the snow & ice shield? I have used that goo on roofing several times, in the hot summer, it is definitely a pain in the butt if you do it wrong. I hadn't even thought about using it on the floor, but it seems like a great idea! It's definitely going to create a water tight seal over all the holes in the floor. Do you think there will ever be any off-gassing of the tar to create problems?
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Old 06-29-2020, 05:20 PM   #10
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Kinda hard to tell from the pics, did you go with the snow & ice shield? I have used that goo on roofing several times, in the hot summer, it is definitely a pain in the butt if you do it wrong. I hadn't even thought about using it on the floor, but it seems like a great idea! It's definitely going to create a water tight seal over all the holes in the floor. Do you think there will ever be any off-gassing of the tar to create problems?

I did put down a layer of the membrane. It really seems to be sealing the metal floor quite well. I will admit that I am not very good at working with that stuff. On the latest go-around I wasted a pretty good sized piece when I let it get hopelessly stuck to itself. My solution is to put it on in smaller sections.

Is the water & ice membrane it off-gassing? I'm not noticing any overpowering odors or symptoms yet.
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Old 06-29-2020, 05:27 PM   #11
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Some of my earlier messages had repetitions of some of the text in the same paragraph. It is a problem that my computer currently has when I use the speech-to-text function. If this forum wasn't bound by the ridiculous rule that only allows 120 minutes to edit a post, I would correct it.
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Old 06-29-2020, 05:55 PM   #12
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We'll let it slide ... just this once! LOL!!!
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Old 06-29-2020, 07:13 PM   #13
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One of the many thoughts I had for a bus build was to have a series of 3 dinettes made from seats just like yours facing each other. Then, just like in an RV, I would have a drop down table to turn them into 3 twin beds, plus a big bed in the back for me and the missus. Or maybe 2 dinettes and a couch bed, plus ours. I have 5 kids, so thinking of a build that sleeps us all is a pain. Luckily I have no bus yet, so I can mentally rebuild it 3x a week...
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Old 06-29-2020, 08:15 PM   #14
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Foam board is only slightly compressible, so you can easily reduce the thickness of your underlayment (1/2" would be plenty, even 3/8" or 1/4" depending on the finished floor material & thickness) and it will be plenty stable. Saves a lot of weight, too...
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Old 06-29-2020, 11:10 PM   #15
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I wanted to use real subfloor plywood material (no OSB) 5/8 inch was the thinnest that I could find that still had the tongue and groove edge. It may be overkill, but the carpenter in me can’t help it..
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Old 06-29-2020, 11:21 PM   #16
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Here I am, milling 2 x 4 and 2 x 3 stock into actually 1" or 4/4 stock that I’m using for strapping on my floor installation.


https://youtu.be/GB5GcQA1uNI
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Old 06-29-2020, 11:35 PM   #17
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That is strange. Sometimes I put a link to a YouTube video into a post and the preview of the video appears in the thread. And other times just the link appears.

https://youtu.be/GB5GcQA1uNI
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Old 06-29-2020, 11:55 PM   #18
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I know, right?
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Old 06-30-2020, 07:24 AM   #19
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Quote:
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I did put down a layer of the membrane. It really seems to be sealing the metal floor quite well. I will admit that I am not very good at working with that stuff. On the latest go-around I wasted a pretty good sized piece when I let it get hopelessly stuck to itself. My solution is to put it on in smaller sections.

Is the water & ice membrane it off-gassing? I'm not noticing any overpowering odors or symptoms yet.
It doesn't look like you had any rust issues to deal with on your floors. Did you do any Ospho treatment, or prime and paint with anything before the snow & ice shield layer?
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Old 07-01-2020, 12:18 AM   #20
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It doesn't look like you had any rust issues to deal with on your floors. Did you do any Ospho treatment, or prime and paint with anything before the snow & ice shield layer?
The bus is a 2008 model that spent its working life in a very dry part of Colorado. When I pulled up the original plywood the metal floor underneath looked like it was brand new. The metal appears to be galvanized. I could be wrong, but I noticed that the welds along the edge of the floor where it meets the wall had a tremendous amount of spatter that also made me think that it was galvanized metal. To answer your question though, no I didnít do anything other than wash the floor before I applied the water and ice membrane.

I donít intend to be driving the bus on salted roads much, so I think it will remain rust-free and last a good long time.
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