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Old 11-13-2023, 01:09 PM   #1
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Join Date: Feb 2023
Posts: 1
DesertTortise Skoolie Conversion

Hey Skoolie Community,

It’s time to begin my Skoolie Conversion Journey!

First up: Remove school bus seats.
As of now, plans are to tackle this one solo.

I haven’t nailed down my nickname or the nickname for my bus yet. November 10 is the start of my Skoolie’s new life. It’s making a career change. Sometimes, you have to take a few steps back before going forward.

2007 Thomas Saf-T-Liner C2, 72pax, CAT C7 diesel engine, Freightliner Chassis, 169,000 miles, always an Arizona bus since delivery from the North Carolina Thomas Built Plant. Here’s a cool video about ThomasBuilt Buses: https://youtu.be/eNnqDFu-JEU?si=481fhH-Oqfn4bRCn

“School Bus Chrome Yellow” was originally chosen as a school bus paint color in 1939 at a National School Bus Conference.

Sarcasm:
Seeking unsolicited advice if one or most of the following criteria applies to you…

Never owned a bus? Don’t work in the trades? Can’t visually ID the 1/2” wrenches and bits at first glance? Not a mechanic? Never been under a bus? Maybe even never been on a school bus? Sure, go ahead and tell me your better ways of removing seat bolts. Oh, you weren’t volunteering? Just telling me why I’m not doing it right or faster? Hmm. So, you’re telling me if I do it right with the right tools, I should be able to remove all the seats, or at least all of the nuts and bolts in about 30 minutes right? What? Dynamite you say? I’m not sure you are on the same page as me with my objectives for the bus? Oh, but you tell me there must be an easier way? Okay.

When you share your thoughts with others, if they are listening, they probably have an opinion:
“Don’t raise the roof. It won’t look original anymore.”
“You know, some underpasses have height restrictions.”
“Why would you want to raise the roof anyway?”

Random question:
Does anyone else have a text message autocorrection issue where your phone wants you to type “bud” instead of “bus”? I’m sure there is a way to fix it, but I haven’t cared enough to Google it yet.

Photo: November 10 — my first seat bolt I removed as a one person, human tortoise job! PB Blaster, dry Arizona dirt and a damn fine bus seat bolt. This nut was located between the fuel tank and the bottom of the bus box. It required a blind feel to locate the nut and attach some 4” locking pliers. I had to get my second hand in the narrow space to lock the vice grip. This wasn’t the hardest bolt/nut to access, but not one of the easiest either.

Ha ha, my first post!
Jac,
The Desert Tortoise 🐢
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Old 11-15-2023, 12:38 AM   #2
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Oct 2023
Posts: 16
I use three different grinders to do the seat removal. I used a air grinder and a DeWalt battery grinder and a air die grinder . I ground the heads of the bolts off and didn't mess the seat mounts up either but it didn't matter because I took all the vinyl off and scrap the medal and got about 85 dollars for the metal.
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Old 11-15-2023, 01:21 AM   #3
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Location: South Carolina
Posts: 769
Year: 1995
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: International 3800
Engine: T444E
Rated Cap: 29
Just get you a second person to hide under the bus while you undo all the seat bolts. Quickest and easiest way. Grinding heads that are tight take a really long time.
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Old 11-15-2023, 01:50 AM   #4
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Oct 2023
Posts: 16
Well when you don't have a second person that's the best way I found to do it . I tried the vise grip on the nut trick then the vise grip on the head trick and that was way to much under and out so the grinder was the way to go . I didn't want to mess the mounting feet holes up cause I thought I might find a buyer for the seats but no luck I even tried the free thing and that didn't work so I scraped them and made some change . I have another bus to do someday but I'm not gonna be so nice to the feet mounts so I will probably just use the air grinder or the 110 grinder and destroy the mounts . The bolts on my buses are rusty so the nuts don't come off to easy .
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Old 11-15-2023, 09:50 AM   #5
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Location: Central Tx.
Posts: 1,788
Year: 1999
Chassis: Amtran / International
Engine: DT466E HT 250HP - Md3060
My build is also a one man job. You will amaze yourself as you go along how you somehow turn into an octopus and get a 3 man job done with just me, myself and I.

I too used a grinder to remove all the seat bolts, just please do not remove the disc guard! Remember always, safety first!
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Old 11-15-2023, 10:35 AM   #6
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Join Date: Jul 2023
Location: Tennessee
Posts: 54
Year: '05
Coachwork: IC
Chassis: RE300
Engine: DT466 HT
Rated Cap: 69
Good luck on your build. All of the other things you mentioned will come in time, if you have any interest (or need) to learn them. My first bus was 98% converted by myself and I learned everything I thought I needed to from YouTube over my 4 month build. I did have help removing the seats and it was in a FE bus, super simple being under and having someone on top. My current bus is a RE and there just seems to be less room underneath (I know this mostly isn't true) so I took to using the grinder and found it to be much more enjoyable of a process. I'm a sucker for sparks.
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Old 11-15-2023, 01:22 PM   #7
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Posts: 4
Durango Bus Build

Hello everyone! My name is Ryan, I moved to Durango and bought a bus. I've been building out this bus for a lil over a month now, & it is getting a tad cold. Does anyone have tips for insulation?? I only have a couple inches to spare for headroom inside, some solar panels on the outside. The original roof is in tact, apart from the back 20ft, its been torn off and made into a deck. I am considering investing in Prodex, does anyone have experience w/ this material?
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Old 11-15-2023, 08:44 PM   #8
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Join Date: Nov 2020
Location: TX
Posts: 123
Year: 2010
Coachwork: Blue Bird
Chassis: Blue Bird (6-window Handy Bus)
Engine: Cummins 6.7l ISB
Rated Cap: 15 + 3WC
Quote:
Originally Posted by SkepticalPineapples View Post
Hello everyone! My name is Ryan, I moved to Durango and bought a bus. I've been building out this bus for a lil over a month now, & it is getting a tad cold. Does anyone have tips for insulation?? I only have a couple inches to spare for headroom inside, some solar panels on the outside. The original roof is in tact, apart from the back 20ft, its been torn off and made into a deck. I am considering investing in Prodex, does anyone have experience w/ this material?
Ryan - you should start a separate build thread...

That said, do you plan to remove the interior ceiling or leave it? If removing, you will note that there is some crappy fiberglass batting that can be replaced with spray foam and still maintain the original interior height, less whatever ceiling you decide to install. Getting a little cool to put in spray foam now, but with a good space heater may be possible...I went the spray foam route and added Havelock wool batts to fill in the excess void from my less-than-professional spray foam effort.

(As a side note, I was in Durango in early September with my bus, and get up that way several times a year, so happy to give any advice if wanted...)
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Old 11-16-2023, 09:55 AM   #9
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Join Date: Sep 2023
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You're right, I am still new to the schoolie forum and that was my first post. I started a new thread... somewhere else. Im trying to avoid spray foam and I wont be removing the roof. The 38ft 2003 bluebird is currently my full time residence. I won't be moving it all winter long. My current thoughts point towards throwing an insulated blanket over the roof to mitigate the cooler effect from the metal roof. if you have any cheap alternatives, that would be appreciated!
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Old 11-16-2023, 11:13 AM   #10
Bus Crazy
 
Join Date: Apr 2020
Location: Northern California (Sacramento)
Posts: 1,403
Year: 1999
Coachwork: El Dorado Fiberglass
Chassis: Ford E450
Engine: V10 Gas
Quote:
Originally Posted by arizona View Post
Hey Skoolie Community,


Sarcasm:
Seeking unsolicited advice if one or most of the following criteria applies to you…

Never owned a bus? Don’t work in the trades? Can’t visually ID the 1/2” wrenches and bits at first glance? Not a mechanic? Never been under a bus? Maybe even never been on a school bus? Sure, go ahead and tell me your better ways of removing seat bolts. Oh, you weren’t volunteering? Just telling me why I’m not doing it right or faster? Hmm. So, you’re telling me if I do it right with the right tools, I should be able to remove all the seats, or at least all of the nuts and bolts in about 30 minutes right? What? Dynamite you say? I’m not sure you are on the same page as me with my objectives for the bus? Oh, but you tell me there must be an easier way? Okay.

When you share your thoughts with others, if they are listening, they probably have an opinion:
“Don’t raise the roof. It won’t look original anymore.”
“You know, some underpasses have height restrictions.”
“Why would you want to raise the roof anyway?”
Fortunately, this forum is not like Facebook, so you'll get fewer stupid replies.

Welcome to the fun!
Rucker is offline   Reply With Quote
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