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Old 05-11-2018, 06:32 PM   #1
Mini-Skoolie
 
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New to the Skoolie World

Hey everyone!

I just bought a 2001 Thomas Built 3800 and am excited to turn it into a RV!

Im sure ill have a ton of questions along the way, but my first one - anything you would tell a newbie in terms of the order pf conversions? Like "make sure you do X before Y or else its a pain"

My plan for now is to get it painted and gutted, put down the flooring and rough in the bunks, couches, and bar and then run my electrical and HVAC. Am I on the right track or am I missing something?

I guess my first thing is to fix the leaking coolant hose

Thanks!
Brian Krebs
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Old 05-11-2018, 07:45 PM   #2
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Hey,

The first thing I would suggest, is take tons of pics, and then take even more.
This will help you when you're putting things back and when you pose a question to the group.
Aside from that everyone attacks things in a different fashion, for a whole host of reasons, funds, time, availability of certain items, etc.
For the more knowledgeable people here than I, it would be helpful to know the extent of gutting you plan on doing. I see no mention of insulation, skins or headliner?
If you're installing HVAC not sure why you wouldn't do insulation;
Also depending on where you are putting your electrical, may or may not be easier to run before roughing/framing

I'm sure some of the more experienced folk will chime in and provide more seasoned advice, very helpful crowd here.

Start a build thread and spend time reading, the search function in the forum I find to be actually helpful, lots of other forums I've been on not so much but this one is pretty good.

Welcome and have fun.

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Old 05-11-2018, 07:45 PM   #3
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Your missing the most important step, that's insulating everything once it's gutted. Starting with the floor all the way to the roof.
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Old 05-11-2018, 11:36 PM   #4
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Your order sounds pretty good. I'm with them on the insullation though being the first step after gutting it. Some like to paint right away but I'm going to wait. I guess it depends if you're replacing windows or flashing lights with metal or not.
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Old 05-14-2018, 04:20 PM   #5
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IMHO Step #0 is to get any mechanical or electrical issues squared away.
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Old 05-14-2018, 06:32 PM   #6
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Welcome aboard! Hope to see pics of the bus.
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Old 05-15-2018, 10:56 AM   #7
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I have not thought much about insulation, as it stands right now I have about -1/2" (im 6'2'') of head room in the bus. Is there a decent way to insulate without sacrificing more head room?

I have been taking a ton of pictures!
Is there a way to upload them directly from your computer or do they need to be on a photo sharing site?
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Old 05-15-2018, 10:59 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by iHunt View Post
I have not thought much about insulation, as it stands right now I have about -1/2" (im 6'2'') of head room in the bus. Is there a decent way to insulate without sacrificing more head room?

I have been taking a ton of pictures!
Is there a way to upload them directly from your computer or do they need to be on a photo sharing site?
All my pics are in the download folder on my Mac, Using the "attach files" option below makes transferring the pics a snap. Roof raise is about the only way to gain more height when adding layers of insulation.
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Old 05-15-2018, 11:07 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by iHunt View Post
I have not thought much about insulation, as it stands right now I have about -1/2" (im 6'2'') of head room in the bus. Is there a decent way to insulate without sacrificing more head room?

I have been taking a ton of pictures!
Is there a way to upload them directly from your computer or do they need to be on a photo sharing site?
Sure ... raise the roof 10". It's not all that expensive and more time-consuming than hard.

I have quit uploading photos to the site. The mechanic is horrible and I believe there is a 200 picture limit. I use SmugMug and link the pics.
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Old 05-15-2018, 11:07 AM   #10
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The intent of this bus is weekend camping trips in the summer, and hunting trips in the fall and spring. In both scenarios, we will be outside for a majority of the time we are on the trip.

Is it worth it to go through the hassle of insulating and sacrificing interior height in a trade off of efficiency? My plan for right now is to run a generator for AC and propane heat. I definitely would agree that if I spent a considerable about of time living in the bus that it would be worth it.

Also, this is my first bus build, I don't really want to get crazy with the conversion. I could easily see my self using this bus to learn how I want a bus and then selling it and doing another one.

All that being said, if there are no-brainers and easy insulation ideas I am all for that. My initial thoughts are if we are used to tenting with no HVAC in both hot summer trips and cold hunting trips, would a bus with HVAC and no additional insulation still be a huge step up?
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Old 05-15-2018, 11:09 AM   #11
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Quote:
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Sure ... raise the roof 10". It's not all that expensive and more time-consuming than hard.

I have quit uploading photos to the site. The mechanic is horrible and I believe there is a 200 picture limit. I use SmugMug and link the pics.
Not sure I have the skill or resources to do a roof raise
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Old 05-15-2018, 11:28 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by iHunt View Post
The intent of this bus is weekend camping trips in the summer, and hunting trips in the fall and spring. In both scenarios, we will be outside for a majority of the time we are on the trip.

Is it worth it to go through the hassle of insulating and sacrificing interior height in a trade off of efficiency? My plan for right now is to run a generator for AC and propane heat. I definitely would agree that if I spent a considerable about of time living in the bus that it would be worth it.

Also, this is my first bus build, I don't really want to get crazy with the conversion. I could easily see my self using this bus to learn how I want a bus and then selling it and doing another one.

All that being said, if there are no-brainers and easy insulation ideas I am all for that. My initial thoughts are if we are used to tenting with no HVAC in both hot summer trips and cold hunting trips, would a bus with HVAC and no additional insulation still be a huge step up?

I don't know where you are or what kind of hunting you do, but I can tell you the last thing I would want to do in the fall/early winter when its wet/cold after a days hunt, is fight to dry out kit and be comfortable/warm. So if it were me I would definitely do the insulation (which I am in my build) and propane is ok but I find it damp, and it's hard to beat wood heat during the rainy fall and early winter. I've spent over a decade hunting out of a wall tent and the best investment was a small woodstove I could take with me.
The roof raise thing is what it is. if this isn't your final bus, and you don't want to give up the time to get it done, then don't. I'm 6'3" and I will not be able to stand up right in this bus. I won't be living in it full time, so I'm not overly concerned, as aside from food prep, I don't see too much other time spent randomly standing around for hours.
These are just my thoughts on the subject

P.S if the weather holds this week I'm going to fish my stove out of the shed and start a separate thread on tiny/small stoves.
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Old 05-15-2018, 11:28 AM   #13
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welcome. please fill out your registry and tell us where you are. I plan to use my bus for hunting too, but I will be hunting elk in late fall in Eastern Oregon where temps will be low. insulation for me is a must.
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Old 05-15-2018, 02:42 PM   #14
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Most of our hunting trips are bow hunts out west, we have done the tent thing before in blizzards and rain and it doesn't bother us too much. Usually the weather is supposed to be 60 and nice, but that hasn't happened yet. But you are right, it is nice to stay warm. I remember last year we had a 12x20 Alaknak and it was teens at night and 20s during the day and our propane heater kept us warm. I don't think I needed the heater with the gear I had.

Has anyone mounted a propane heater outside the bus and ran the heat in? I was wondering if that was an option to keep the moisture down.
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Old 05-17-2018, 01:40 PM   #15
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So I got excited about painting and took off.. Im half way through and am starting to gwt worried I used the wrong paint.. its an exterior latex paint that the guy at menards suggested.. it rained this morning and some of the most recently painting areas are peeling off in big sections. I also didnt rough the existing paint before i started

What are my options? I don't have the ability to paint with a gun.
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Old 05-17-2018, 01:48 PM   #16
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So I got excited about painting and took off.. Im half way through and am starting to gwt worried I used the wrong paint.. its an exterior latex paint that the guy at menards suggested.. it rained this morning and some of the most recently painting areas are peeling off in big sections. I also didnt rough the existing paint before i started

What are my options? I don't have the ability to paint with a gun.
The guy/gal at the hardware store or the kids at a tiny house show are famous for suggesting this "paint".
Your options depend on how good you want it to look and how well you want it to hold up.
A proper paint job would consist of lots of prep, then an oil based enamel if you're on a budget. Automotive paint if you have the money.

Here's what latex house paint looks like even with surface prep!



It peels away with even the slightest provocation-


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Old 05-17-2018, 01:58 PM   #17
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Yukon ... I'd really like to see the stove thread.
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Old 05-17-2018, 02:02 PM   #18
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OK .. newbie question. Wouldn't it be best to find something with an aluminum body? And just let the paint go to hell. I guess we all have different levels of what we are OK with .. but I don't care what the paint looks like if the body is sound. I thought .... most buses had aluminum bodies???
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Old 05-17-2018, 03:11 PM   #19
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OK .. newbie question. Wouldn't it be best to find something with an aluminum body? And just let the paint go to hell. I guess we all have different levels of what we are OK with .. but I don't care what the paint looks like if the body is sound. I thought .... most buses had aluminum bodies???
School buses are made of mild steel. Except Crowns.
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Old 05-17-2018, 03:19 PM   #20
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OK .. newbie question. Wouldn't it be best to find something with an aluminum body? And just let the paint go to hell. I guess we all have different levels of what we are OK with .. but I don't care what the paint looks like if the body is sound. I thought .... most buses had aluminum bodies???
Some of the short bus makers (Corbeil, Giardin I believe) use aluminum, but I don't think it's standard practice for all buses. I am significantly less knowledgeable than many others in these forums, however, so I'm sure someone will correct me if I'm wrong.
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