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Old 07-28-2021, 07:13 AM   #1
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Full rewire thoughts and inquiries

Planning on some significant modifications to my bus that will require relocating my panels. I had a no start issue when I got the bus home. Unsure what caused it, besides me testing all of my circuits when I drove it home, I hadn't modified anything. I jumped my interlock systems and regained control of my bus.

After reviewing the HDX wiring diagrams, finding that the previous mechanics didn't have much future proofing in mind when they made modifications, and just really not much caring for the condition of the wiring currently... I'm looking at completely gutting what is there one part of the system at a time.

I've got a full customizable harnesses in mind. I've used painless before but I'm open to alternative ideas if anyone has some.


Other ideas:

Simple laminated wiring diagrams.

Deutsch connectors

Spare circuits for unforeseen addons.

Make the vehicle's electrical system a floating ground system, with the idea of a solar and AC system later.


Some questions:

What kind of battery specs are common for these vehicles? Does the system frequently need all 4?

How many relays are left after the omission of school bus specific (lights, stop arm, etc) circuits?

How much average wiring is actually in a full size bus?

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Old 07-28-2021, 07:42 AM   #2
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With a wiring diagram and a buttload of wire in all gauges and markings it’s possible to do it. After all, the bus company did it. But OMG, don’t you want to have a life or something?

It’s easier to do what I did which was to leave it all in place and work around it
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Old 07-28-2021, 10:27 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Danjo View Post
With a wiring diagram and a buttload of wire in all gauges and markings it’s possible to do it. After all, the bus company did it. But OMG, don’t you want to have a life or something?

It’s easier to do what I did which was to leave it all in place and work around it

Quote:
Originally Posted by Danjo View Post
With a wiring diagram and a buttload of wire in all gauges and markings it’s possible to do it. After all, the bus company did it. But OMG, don’t you want to have a life or something?

It’s easier to do what I did which was to leave it all in place and work around it
I work too much to have "life"!

Nah, I'm seriously entertaining the thought of putting in a "driver's" door and making a "cab" of sorts. That will need the factory panels to be relocated and for that I'll need to modify the wiring.

I've had to follow to many splicing issues in my work to ever be ok with making that many splices in a harness in a potentially hard to reach location. Following with those thoughts make me feel safer when thinking a total rewire.

Just for a little context about me, I'm the kind of guy that wants to remove electronic ignitions and install points.

I like making things less proprietary if I can sometimes.

But I'm always open to have my mind changed! Let hit me with those serious thoughts and concerns.

My bus is out of Indiana and I have some substantial rust to deal with already so I'm already willing to put in the time.
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Old 07-28-2021, 11:00 AM   #4
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With all the work you're going to have to do just in a conversion why start something that will probably be OK until you've finished the conversion? When the conversion is done you can start poking yourself in the eye all you like in your spare time. My interior harness is exactly as it was when I started stripping the interior. The wiring in my bus was largely unmolested, there was little evidence of hamfisted work on the main panel. As I build the interior I intend to utilize the existing circuits where possible to support whatever interior lighting/power I choose to install. You might want to meditate on the philosophy, "if it ain't broke, don't break it."
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Old 07-29-2021, 08:16 AM   #5
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My interior harness is exactly as it was when I started stripping the interior. The wiring in my bus was largely unmolested, there was little evidence of hamfisted work on the main panel. As I build the interior I intend to utilize the existing circuits where possible to support whatever interior lighting/power I choose to install. You might want to meditate on the philosophy, "if it ain't broke, don't break it."


I love that philosophy. Like I mentioned before, mine was already largely altered with zero documentation before I ended up with it. I feel unsure about taking it any lengthy distance. By my definition that's broke and has had a Band-Aid applied.

Are absolutely all forums about belittlement and making people feel attacked for their personal situations?
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Old 07-29-2021, 08:53 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by Twepterzod View Post
Are absolutely all forums about belittlement and making people feel attacked for their personal situations?


The advise being given is good advice. I read it as:
fix the broken,
add the missing,
then replace the undesirable.


Ones own insecurity causes feelings to be hurt. You give the world too much credit for what happens in inside your body & mind. Only you have that power, we don't control your feelings.
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Old 07-29-2021, 09:23 AM   #7
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Ones own insecurity causes feelings to be hurt. You give the world too much credit for what happens in inside your body & mind. Only you have that power, we don't control your feelings.

You're definitely right with that

Apologies for misplaced assertiveness.
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Old 07-29-2021, 11:35 AM   #8
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I can see te wiring sections that have been damaged along the way
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Old 07-29-2021, 12:29 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Twepterzod View Post
I love that philosophy. Like I mentioned before, mine was already largely altered with zero documentation before I ended up with it. I feel unsure about taking it any lengthy distance. By my definition that's broke and has had a Band-Aid applied.

Are absolutely all forums about belittlement and making people feel attacked for their personal situations?
No intent to belittle but in a previous post you asked us to provide reasons for you not to do a complete rewire, that's what I was doing.

Based on what you've said about your skill level I assume you could do it but why do it now if you can put it off for a while?. With rust remediation (I know about that too) cutting in for a new door and designing and building the partition to create a cab (I shortened my bus by 7' so I know about cutting and reassembling) you've got a lot of work to do before you're going to be driving your bus when a rewire would become important.

Also if you're going to be putting in solar, where you relocate the buses fuse panels would become relevant. Have you already decided where you'll put your house battery bank and other house solar components? A wrong decision about that will cause you more work later.

FYI, about the only person I make fun of (belittle) on here is ME. I might show irritation with someone from time to time but I only want folks here to feel welcome and helped.
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Old 07-29-2021, 01:10 PM   #10
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Based on what you've said about your skill level I assume you could do it but why do it now if you can put it off for a while?. With rust remediation (I know about that too) cutting in for a new door and designing and building the partition to create a cab (I shortened my bus by 7' so I know about cutting and reassembling) you've got a lot of work to do before you're going to be driving your bus when a rewire would become important.
The main reason I want to do it earlier rather than later is to make sure I'm not stranded because of an electrical issue. I would like to do some travel with it a few times before I do major renovations, but the number of issues and weird omissions I found just from driving it home and around for legal stuff has me paranoid about a towing/repair bill, or doing troubleshooting on the side of the road.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Oldyeller View Post
Also if you're going to be putting in solar, where you relocate the buses fuse panels would become relevant. Have you already decided where you'll put your house battery bank and other house solar components? A wrong decision about that will cause you more work later.
The reason for the cab idea is to actually load up the utilities nearer the front axle. Batteries, water, HVAC, and such nearer to that. If I put the centralize all electrical up that way then I think I can keep it pretty clean.

I've also considered putting the fuse box in the back with the engine though... I've got some ideas for a larger generator and mounting my welders in the back that I can't seem to let go of, and maneuvering all stuff like that in a "service/fab" section sounds like something I would like to do.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Oldyeller View Post
FYI, about the only person I make fun of (belittle) on here is ME. I might show irritation with someone from time to time but I only want folks here to feel welcome and helped.

I want to help everyone that wants/needs it too. I am definitely sorry about any words earlier. I truly don't think that anything was meant by your words. I've had and experienced weird interactions on most forums I belong to and it's not fair for me to treat anyone like they're guilty until proven innocent.
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Old 07-29-2021, 01:54 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Twepterzod View Post
The main reason I want to do it earlier rather than later is to make sure I'm not stranded because of an electrical issue. I would like to do some travel with it a few times before I do major renovations, but the number of issues and weird omissions I found just from driving it home and around for legal stuff has me paranoid about a towing/repair bill, or doing troubleshooting on the side of the road.




The reason for the cab idea is to actually load up the utilities nearer the front axle. Batteries, water, HVAC, and such nearer to that. If I put the centralize all electrical up that way then I think I can keep it pretty clean.

I've also considered putting the fuse box in the back with the engine though... I've got some ideas for a larger generator and mounting my welders in the back that I can't seem to let go of, and maneuvering all stuff like that in a "service/fab" section sounds like something I would like to do.




I want to help everyone that wants/needs it too. I am definitely sorry about any words earlier. I truly don't think that anything was meant by your words. I've had and experienced weird interactions on most forums I belong to and it's not fair for me to treat anyone like they're guilty until proven innocent.
I didn't realize you wanted to travel in it before you started the conversion. Yea, you don't want to break down unless you have a policy for towing. I also didn't think about the possibility that you had an RE bus, not that it makes that much difference with regard to a rewire.

One of the reasons I've been careful NOT to mess with the body wiring harness (as opposed to the chassis harness) is because there are/can be connections between the body and chassis wiring for safety interlocks (which you've discovered). With some frequency we see threads here started by someone who decided it would be good to get rid of all the 'extraneous' wiring in the bus and discover they have a no start situation and no wiring diagram to reference as they try to remediate it and "oh by the way, I threw out the old harness". If I were in your shoes I'd seriously consider fixing now and rewiring later or you could find yourself going nowhere fast. On the other hand perhaps you're a good enough mechanic that a rewire from scratch might be a cake walk for you and if so go for it. I find it daunting to think about measuring, cutting and terminating every wire for every connector in the bus. I wonder how many times you'll discover the harness is clamped in a location to which you have no access because it was installed at the factory before assembly to a larger component. LOL, maybe I'm making more of it than there is, I tend to be very careful.

Re. putting fuse panels in the engine compartment of an RE bus, I think about what my neighbor told me when I was looking at RE buses. He's a heavy equipment mechanic for the state of NJ and he works on about everything including school buses. He told me that every time he works in the engine compartment RE buses he discovers all the wiring and hoses are baked hard by the heat inherent in a RE bus. REs are inherently quieter inside than FEs but his warning led me to go with an FE bus. LOL, if I ever get insurance on it and can drive it I'll be able to decide if I made a wise decision or not.
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Old 07-29-2021, 03:03 PM   #12
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Are absolutely all forums about belittlement and making people feel attacked for their personal situations?
You'll have to point out the belittlement here for some of us to comment. Yes, these are open forums, which means absolutely anyone can come in and start to be annoying.

Reading through the thread, I didn't see where the offense was. I think you're just getting blunt advice. That doesn't mean there's an intent behind it-many here do not always take the time to dress up the response, but their feedback is good.

Do we have to put up with belittlement? Absolutely not. I've called out abnormal behavior wherever I've seen it. The most common response to this kind of question is 'oh no another question about snarky posters' just scroll on by.

My choice is to address crappy behavior head on. I also block posters. Helps reduce the peanut gallery.
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Old 07-29-2021, 03:30 PM   #13
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But OMG, don’t you want to have a life or something?
Best. Argument. Ever!
OP, don't take it personally. Its hard to see rationale for upending the chassis wiring more than just culling the superfluous, and even in that case one needs lots of caution. Builders usually have bigger fish to fry.
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Old 07-29-2021, 03:51 PM   #14
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Best. Argument. Ever!
OP, don't take it personally. Its hard to see rationale for upending the chassis wiring more than just culling the superfluous, and even in that case one needs lots of caution. Builders usually have bigger fish to fry.
Yea, I've decided that I'm NOT going to touch the chassis harness beyond reconnecting for interior lighting UNTIL I'm out on the road. This winter, assuming I make it this year, while I'm enjoying the warm (by New Jersey standards) Arizona weather while boondocked, I'll think about figuring out which wires in the bundle of wires in the interior harness are for the flashers, stop sign and other 'safe to delete' wires and get rid of them. BUT NOT BEFORE I think about it and drink beer and think about it some more.

Hah!!! Now that I think about it why delete the flasher wires? Why not repurpose them from flashers to floods or spots for when parked . . . it does get dark in Arizona doesn't it?
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Old 07-29-2021, 06:24 PM   #15
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I didn't realize you wanted to travel in it before you started the conversion. Yea, you don't want to break down unless you have a policy for towing. I also didn't think about the possibility that you had an RE bus, not that it makes that much difference with regard to a rewire.
Oh yeah, I'm really big on trial runs to see what I feel like I'll need in the long term. I took a motorcycle trip from Indianapolis to Las Vegas last month and did a couple of motocamping trips beforehand to see what all I would need and what I could hopefully leave behind. That's the same concept that I want to apply to the bus.

Like, romantically I want to raise the roof, but I need to verify that the current roofline won't be enough. I'm not that tall, but I don't like stooping to look out the windows. Will I come up with a better layout than I have in mind? Maybe and hopefully.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Oldyeller View Post
One of the reasons I've been careful NOT to mess with the body wiring harness (as opposed to the chassis harness) is because there are/can be connections between the body and chassis wiring for safety interlocks (which you've discovered). With some frequency we see threads here started by someone who decided it would be good to get rid of all the 'extraneous' wiring in the bus and discover they have a no start situation and no wiring diagram to reference as they try to remediate it and "oh by the way, I threw out the old harness". If I were in your shoes I'd seriously consider fixing now and rewiring later or you could find yourself going nowhere fast. On the other hand perhaps you're a good enough mechanic that a rewire from scratch might be a cake walk for you and if so go for it. I find it daunting to think about measuring, cutting and terminating every wire for every connector in the bus. I wonder how many times you'll discover the harness is clamped in a location to which you have no access because it was installed at the factory before assembly to a larger component. LOL, maybe I'm making more of it than there is, I tend to be very careful.
In my experience utilizing what is "extraneous" is usually a better option. I like have some available redundancies, or what I like to call fail-safes. I've also been saved COUNTLESS times with troubleshooting forklifts and having unused circuits to swap into wires that are undamaged. Like where mast cables have worn over time.

What I picture is divorced circuit panels. Think one for the critical vehicle components (like an old fashioned fuse box), one for the lighting, one for some 12v inverter circuits, and so on... I've done a few product searches and I'm still trying to figure out how in depth I want to go.

I've rewired a thing or two. And after a few classic cars, the bus actually seems like it would be kinda easy in comparison. Open spaces, no need to worry about sweating on the upholstery.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Oldyeller View Post
Re. putting fuse panels in the engine compartment of an RE bus, I think about what my neighbor told me when I was looking at RE buses. He's a heavy equipment mechanic for the state of NJ and he works on about everything including school buses. He told me that every time he works in the engine compartment RE buses he discovers all the wiring and hoses are baked hard by the heat inherent in a RE bus. REs are inherently quieter inside than FEs but his warning led me to go with an FE bus. LOL, if I ever get insurance on it and can drive it I'll be able to decide if I made a wise decision or not.
That right there lets me know that I don't want any fuse panels in my engine compartments. It also lets me know that I want to actually have some sort of terminal block to be able to easily replace the engine compartment wire sections without having to unwire large sections of the vehicle in the event of some damage, or utilize splicing.
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Old 07-29-2021, 06:34 PM   #16
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My choice is to address crappy behavior head on. I also block posters. Helps reduce the peanut gallery.
Agreed here.

But it felt like someone saw the subject line and stopped by to chastise without context.

But the biggest thing is what DeMac commented. No one has control over how I feel other than me.

I also realized that I can approach a forum like a new job in a technical field.
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Old 07-29-2021, 06:39 PM   #17
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Its hard to see rationale for upending the chassis wiring more than just culling the superfluous, and even in that case one needs lots of caution. Builders usually have bigger fish to fry.
I get that, but someone else has had their beaters in my circuits and some of it makes sense, and most of it is the charred remains of what once was. I'm quite confident that there's plenty of circuits bypassing the fuse panels altogether. I really only want to do anything like it is to have peace of mind in my critical systems. Me just jumping ALL interlocks to get the bus running is kind of unsafe. I would like to know what changed from when I picked it up, to when I parked it.
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Old 07-29-2021, 06:51 PM   #18
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I get that, but someone else has had their beaters in my circuits and some of it makes sense, and most of it is the charred remains of what once was. I'm quite confident that there's plenty of circuits bypassing the fuse panels altogether. I really only want to do anything like it is to have peace of mind in my critical systems. Me just jumping ALL interlocks to get the bus running is kind of unsafe. I would like to know what changed from when I picked it up, to when I parked it.
Perhaps you could introduce breakers or fuse panels just upstream of some of this bypass work to get some protection in without having to refactor it all..



I feel for you, sure sounds like a setback...
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Old 07-29-2021, 06:51 PM   #19
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You will know everything about the wiring if you redo it.
It will take some effort, and you are not going to get much specific help, so you will need a wiring diagram, etc.

I ripped the wiring out my shuttle bus.
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Old 07-29-2021, 09:08 PM   #20
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A final thought. When working on your skoolie there are no rules. You can do whatever you want. BeNimble is right in that often you're going where no one else has gone before so you may as well go boldly and you may have to go it alone. First thing I did when I got my bus was hack 7 feet off the rear. I had a specific plan in mind and I did it. Sometimes I questioned my own sanity but I did it. You wanna rewire your bus, go for it.
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