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Old 01-09-2022, 09:56 PM   #1
Skoolie
 
Bear Gerschafer's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2020
Location: Las Vegas, NV
Posts: 245
Year: 1995
Coachwork: Bluebird
Chassis: International 3800
Engine: DT466 / MD3060
A Bus Called Quest - Checking In!!

Skoolie Fam!
It's been a while and I just wanted to check in to thank everyone again for all of their time and advice during our buiild.

My wife, our 2 dogs, and myself have been living in our bus full-time now since November 1st, and have driven over 3500 miles from Las Vegas, to Reno, Salt Lake City, Iowa, Missouri, Arkansas, and Texas!!

The bus has driven like a dream after a bit maintenance in the beginning of the trip: new fuel lines, new radiator hose, new headlights.

We made it through the -20F temps and snow of the I-80 and upper mid-west. We only needed to be jumped one time in Iowa after not starting for over a week in the cold! We have a few small gasket leaks that I'll be taking care of in Florida most likely, and I think I'm going to try to change the oil myself while here in Texas.

Just wanted to drop in again - I know this thread gets lit up during the build process but I'm sure many members fade away. You all helped me so much I just wanted to say thank you again.

There is a wonderful Discord channel that I've been pretty active in, as well as the Redidt r/skoolie thread.

Hope you all are staying safe, staying warm, and are having a great New Year!


-A Bus Called Quest:
Adam, Samantha, Melodee and Fronald Smallmon
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Old 01-10-2022, 08:10 PM   #2
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Mar 2019
Location: San Antonio TX
Posts: 11
Year: 1999
Coachwork: Blue Bird
Chassis: Freightlinner
Engine: Cat 3126
Rated Cap: 5 window
Welcome, What area of Texas?
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Old 01-11-2022, 06:29 PM   #3
Skoolie
 
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Join Date: Dec 2020
Location: Las Vegas, NV
Posts: 245
Year: 1995
Coachwork: Bluebird
Chassis: International 3800
Engine: DT466 / MD3060
Quote:
Originally Posted by gotjuice? View Post
Welcome, What area of Texas?
Currently in the Dallas / Ft Worth area, then off to hill country, Austin, San Antonio and Houston before hitting the gulf
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Old 01-11-2022, 08:44 PM   #4
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Mar 2019
Location: San Antonio TX
Posts: 11
Year: 1999
Coachwork: Blue Bird
Chassis: Freightlinner
Engine: Cat 3126
Rated Cap: 5 window
I can help change you oil if you have not changed it yet. I am just north of central San Antonio in the Bulverde area.
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Old 01-12-2022, 12:08 AM   #5
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Dec 2021
Location: Iowa
Posts: 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bear Gerschafer View Post
We only needed to be jumped one time in Iowa after not starting for over a week in the cold!
Greetings from Iowa. Our winters sure are hard on starting batteries! On my fleet of passenger buses we have permanently installed a small trickle charger in the battery box and just plug them in each night to keep the voltages up. I found it to be less work than doing full-blown battery disconnects and its healthier for the batteries anyway. And I really really disliked jumping buses out in the cold

If you only have one or two starting batteries you might also look into adding a third. Three batteries with 800+ cold cranking amps each really does help in the cold weather. Just gotta watch having mismatched batteries of age and size. We use these: https://www.farmandfleet.com/product...l-battery.html

I'm still planning my build but am planning on doing the same permanent trickle charger trick on the skoolie that I do on my fleet.
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Old 01-12-2022, 09:59 AM   #6
Skoolie
 
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Join Date: Dec 2020
Location: Las Vegas, NV
Posts: 245
Year: 1995
Coachwork: Bluebird
Chassis: International 3800
Engine: DT466 / MD3060
Quote:
Originally Posted by gotjuice? View Post
I can help change you oil if you have not changed it yet. I am just north of central San Antonio in the Bulverde area.
Hey thank you!! I have not gotten to it yet

If it is anything like the coolant flush, the hardest part will be disposing of the old fluid lol
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Old 01-12-2022, 10:02 AM   #7
Skoolie
 
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Join Date: Dec 2020
Location: Las Vegas, NV
Posts: 245
Year: 1995
Coachwork: Bluebird
Chassis: International 3800
Engine: DT466 / MD3060
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dbacks2k4 View Post
Greetings from Iowa. Our winters sure are hard on starting batteries! On my fleet of passenger buses we have permanently installed a small trickle charger in the battery box and just plug them in each night to keep the voltages up. I found it to be less work than doing full-blown battery disconnects and its healthier for the batteries anyway. And I really really disliked jumping buses out in the cold

If you only have one or two starting batteries you might also look into adding a third. Three batteries with 800+ cold cranking amps each really does help in the cold weather. Just gotta watch having mismatched batteries of age and size. We use these: https://www.farmandfleet.com/product...l-battery.html

I'm still planning my build but am planning on doing the same permanent trickle charger trick on the skoolie that I do on my fleet.
Thanks for the feedback!! I have a 10w solar trickle charger but we had no sun for a week lol
Now that we're driving again we haven't had any problems, thankfully the batteries appear to be recharging and holding just fine now! (Saves me $400 for new batteries. We have 3x 700cca starters)
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Old 01-12-2022, 05:45 PM   #8
Bus Nut
 
Join Date: Jul 2019
Location: Suburbs of Winterset, OH
Posts: 337
Year: 2005
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: FS65
Engine: Mercedes 6.4L
I'm glad things are going well for you...
I'm curious about your front bumper...is it modified? In your pictures, it looks like it may be taller than regular bumpers and doesn't have a dozen holes in it for tow hooks, foot steps etc. If it is modified, did you notice any improvement in fuel consumption?
TIA...
Don
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Old 01-13-2022, 09:38 AM   #9
Skoolie
 
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Join Date: Dec 2020
Location: Las Vegas, NV
Posts: 245
Year: 1995
Coachwork: Bluebird
Chassis: International 3800
Engine: DT466 / MD3060
Quote:
Originally Posted by BarnYardCamp View Post
I'm glad things are going well for you...
I'm curious about your front bumper...is it modified? In your pictures, it looks like it may be taller than regular bumpers and doesn't have a dozen holes in it for tow hooks, foot steps etc. If it is modified, did you notice any improvement in fuel consumption?
TIA...
Don
No modifications to the bumper, just your standard i-beam with zero aerodynamics

I suppose they could have swapped it out at the bus yard before selling.... but it seems to be stock.

It only has 2 holes for the tow hooks.
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Old 01-15-2022, 09:59 PM   #10
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Jan 2022
Location: Indiana
Posts: 16
Year: 1999
Coachwork: Bluebird
Chassis: TC2000
Engine: 24v Cummins
Rated Cap: 6BTA5.9/ISB
This post is so inspiring!! We can't wait to hit the road with our pack of 3 dogs - any dog-traveling tips you think might be useful? (We've been on the road with our dogs before, dry camping for about 5 days straight, but that's nothing compared to your current adventure living full-time on your bus!)

Also, you mentioned a Discord channel - could you please elaborate? I'm very familiar with Discord and would love to join a skoolie-related server!

Thank you and happy travels!
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Old 01-15-2022, 10:46 PM   #11
Skoolie
 
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Join Date: Dec 2020
Location: Las Vegas, NV
Posts: 245
Year: 1995
Coachwork: Bluebird
Chassis: International 3800
Engine: DT466 / MD3060
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tina Best View Post
This post is so inspiring!! We can't wait to hit the road with our pack of 3 dogs - any dog-traveling tips you think might be useful? (We've been on the road with our dogs before, dry camping for about 5 days straight, but that's nothing compared to your current adventure living full-time on your bus!)

Also, you mentioned a Discord channel - could you please elaborate? I'm very familiar with Discord and would love to join a skoolie-related server!

Thank you and happy travels!
Thank you

We have 2 dogs, one small guy (13lbs kind of chihuahuha / terrier mix) and an one old 65lb full-size black lab / golden retreiver mix.
The biggest hurdle for the dogs is actually the stairs into the bus, unfortunately. I worry about the litle guy's joints jumping in up and down the stairs so often, and our old girl phyiscally needs us to pick her butt up to help her get onto the first step - she has back leg problems due to age and genetics.

The other problem for us is the living space floor is only approx 30" wide, so we're always shuffling past eachother. The humans understand, but our big dog doesnt so she's always in the way, lol. We have a giant dog bed that we leave on the floor in the middle of the room for her, and when we can we put it outside so she can lay outside the door.
The little guy hangs out in bed all day so he is out of the way and happy.

Lastly - when we're in cities, or anywhere really, having to get the dogs out for bathroom breaks all day can be a disruption to your daily activities. We had a doggie door at home so both dogs got used to being outside whenver they want. We haven't had any accidents or anything inside, but it can be a pain in the a** to have to take them out all the time, especially when it is freezing cold and I always worry we're blowing up our parking spot by entering / exiting with dogs. Again, no problems yet so maybe it's all in my head.


The discord has been an amazing resource for me. The conversation is much more real-time than this forum (which was priceless during my build phase) and/or Reddit (also helpful, but full of everyone's opinions)

Disord invite here: https://discord.gg/wUCy44GP It's a great bunch of people from US and Canada mostly. Some great electric and mechanical pro's there that have helped me out of a few situations already Stop in and say "Hi", welcome aboard!
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Old 01-16-2022, 06:57 PM   #12
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Jan 2022
Location: Indiana
Posts: 16
Year: 1999
Coachwork: Bluebird
Chassis: TC2000
Engine: 24v Cummins
Rated Cap: 6BTA5.9/ISB
This all sounds VERY familiar - from the difficulties for older dogs in getting in/out to feeling like frequent potty breaks were disturbing everyone around us (and driving us crazy to boot)!

We actually now use a ramp for our dogs to help them get in/out of the bus - I covered the one I bought with a piece of carpet to make it easier for them to grip, as I found the plastic ramp material to be slick, especially when wet (which thwarts the whole concept of helping them out!). It was pretty easy to teach them to use the ramp.

Next, we're going to design a platform to go over the step area while we're driving. This will allow them to sit up front as co-pilots and look out the windows from their dog beds. We're trying to figure out how to make it sturdy, yet something we can fold up and store when we are boondocking - and easy to assemble/disassemble for the aforementioned frequent potty breaks! Probably conflicting design criteria, but I'll get some pics here when we get it done in case anyone finds it useful.

Our dogs don't stick around off-leash, so we also bought a couple of sets of 4' high dog pen panels off of Amazon that we're hoping to use when we boondock to set-up an enclosed area around one side of the bus. One of our dogs doesn't like to potty on-leash, which was a HUGE issue the last time we hit the road. I've been working with her, and now she will, but that issue caused me to look into and order the panels - so we'll be trying that out here soon as well. Going to set them up before we leave to test them out,. We're thinking we might attach plastic fencing to the bottom of the bus that we could roll out and stake down to keep them from going under the bus. Yes, we pretty much design EVERYTHING to cater to our dogs. ;)

Thank you so much for the Discord invite - I will be joining momentarily!
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Old Yesterday, 08:31 PM   #13
Bus Nut
 
Join Date: Apr 2020
Location: Northern California (Sacramento)
Posts: 624
Year: 1999
Coachwork: El Dorado Fiberglass
Chassis: Ford E450
Engine: V10 Gas
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bear Gerschafer View Post
Thank you

<snip.
The discord has been an amazing resource for me. The conversation is much more real-time than this forum (which was priceless during my build phase) and/or Reddit (also helpful, but full of everyone's opinions)

Disord invite here: https://discord.gg/wUCy44GP It's a great bunch of people from US and Canada mostly. Some great electric and mechanical pro's there that have helped me out of a few situations already Stop in and say "Hi", welcome aboard!
I checked in on that site. Facebooky on first glance but I'll give it a few weeks of attention.

Not immediately obvious how to get to specific technical content. Feels a lot like stream of consciousness with some recipes thrown in. I'll check around and report back.
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Old Yesterday, 11:32 PM   #14
Skoolie
 
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Join Date: Dec 2020
Location: Las Vegas, NV
Posts: 245
Year: 1995
Coachwork: Bluebird
Chassis: International 3800
Engine: DT466 / MD3060
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rucker View Post
I checked in on that site. Facebooky on first glance but I'll give it a few weeks of attention.



Not immediately obvious how to get to specific technical content. Feels a lot like stream of consciousness with some recipes thrown in. I'll check around and report back.
Discord is definitely more of a chat room than traditional forum, but it can be great if you need some real-time info, ides or just conversation.
I haven't used Facebook in years, just too toxic an environment for me.

The Skoolie Discord has been a huge help for random roadside mechanical diagnostic & support for me
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Old Yesterday, 11:35 PM   #15
Skoolie
 
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Join Date: Dec 2020
Location: Las Vegas, NV
Posts: 245
Year: 1995
Coachwork: Bluebird
Chassis: International 3800
Engine: DT466 / MD3060
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tina Best View Post
This all sounds VERY familiar - from the difficulties for older dogs in getting in/out to feeling like frequent potty breaks were disturbing everyone around us (and driving us crazy to boot)!

We actually now use a ramp for our dogs to help them get in/out of the bus - I covered the one I bought with a piece of carpet to make it easier for them to grip, as I found the plastic ramp material to be slick, especially when wet (which thwarts the whole concept of helping them out!). It was pretty easy to teach them to use the ramp.

Next, we're going to design a platform to go over the step area while we're driving. This will allow them to sit up front as co-pilots and look out the windows from their dog beds. We're trying to figure out how to make it sturdy, yet something we can fold up and store when we are boondocking - and easy to assemble/disassemble for the aforementioned frequent potty breaks! Probably conflicting design criteria, but I'll get some pics here when we get it done in case anyone finds it useful.

Our dogs don't stick around off-leash, so we also bought a couple of sets of 4' high dog pen panels off of Amazon that we're hoping to use when we boondock to set-up an enclosed area around one side of the bus. One of our dogs doesn't like to potty on-leash, which was a HUGE issue the last time we hit the road. I've been working with her, and now she will, but that issue caused me to look into and order the panels - so we'll be trying that out here soon as well. Going to set them up before we leave to test them out,. We're thinking we might attach plastic fencing to the bottom of the bus that we could roll out and stake down to keep them from going under the bus. Yes, we pretty much design EVERYTHING to cater to our dogs. ;)

Thank you so much for the Discord invite - I will be joining momentarily!
Haha life with dogs!!
Where do you stow the ramp while driving, and do the humans use it also??
I'm also trying to think of a fold-down stair cover-hatch of some kind - same reason as you...
If you figure it out I would love to see!
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Old Today, 04:27 PM   #16
Bus Crazy
 
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Join Date: Sep 2017
Location: Swansboro,NC
Posts: 1,774
Year: 86
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: Ford B700
Engine: 8.2
Rated Cap: 60 bodies
maybe someone here can help me remember there name but there used to be a member here that did the platform over the stairs like yall are talking about and they documented there thread.
maybe try searching
????
one nation under goat?
there name had something to do with goats.
east coast CB can probably remember them.
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Old Today, 06:38 PM   #17
Skoolie
 
Bear Gerschafer's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2020
Location: Las Vegas, NV
Posts: 245
Year: 1995
Coachwork: Bluebird
Chassis: International 3800
Engine: DT466 / MD3060
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jolly Roger bus 223 View Post
maybe someone here can help me remember there name but there used to be a member here that did the platform over the stairs like yall are talking about and they documented there thread.

maybe try searching

????

one nation under goat?

there name had something to do with goats.

east coast CB can probably remember them.
Ha, I do remember it now that you mention goats. They had pet goats, right?
I think I remember a hatch, and maybe even a folding passenger seat.....
Good call
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