Hello everyone! I've been lurking on the forums for a bit over a year, but only recently registered for an account. Due to me moving around a lot, I wasn't actively looking at a bus until I moved to Oregon.
Now I know nobody wants a gasser, but I found a bus in Idaho that was in good shape for it's age, and the best part is that I got a steal of a deal! My new bus is a 1989 F-600 Thomas school bus with the Ford 429-4V Lima engine. Almost ZERO rust on the whole thing (the worst of it is some light surface rust on the top of the bumper), and runs quite well. It's got 22 seats, so not quite as long as some of your buses, but it's no short bus either. It currently has one fairly large storage bay on the right underside (hopefully I can rig up one or two more along the way).
I've got many dozens of pages bookmarked from this site and will be nabbing some of your useful ideas that I've come across. While this will be the most carpentry work that I will have done, I'm a little familiar with wrenching on things and have some basic plumbing, pipe fitting, and welding knowledge; also, I used to be an aircraft mechanic, so hopefully some of those skills will be useful in the bus build.
I do have a couple of questions right off the bat that hopefully someone may be able to answer:
1) Does anyone know what the switch labeled 'Pump' does that is located on the left side panel with the lights, heater, audio controls, etc? I hear a pump running when I turn it on, and it seems like it is coming from the right side under the dash, but I can't notice a difference from the heat output of the vents, or any difference for that matter.
2) It seems that my floor doesn't have any plywood between the metal floor and the rubber, is this normal? I haven't tried to pull it up yet to see how the rubber is secured. I just noticed it as I started to remove a few seats (which luckily are SUPER easy to remove on this bus).
3) Just from peeking through a couple of holes in the interior ceiling skin, where I assume some racks used to be, the insulation seems dry and pretty well intact. If I pull one ceiling skin down to get a better look at the insulation, and see that it still looks in good condition, is it even worth taking down the rest of the skins to put in different insulation, or is the 25 year old insulation's R value likely not worth keeping in?
I will try to include some pictures, but since this is my first post, I apologize if I fudged it up. I'm super excited to jump into this project, and will keep lots of pictures to post my progress as it happens.