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plfking 12-09-2017 08:29 PM

The Busted Flush
 
8 Attachment(s)
This is the build thread for my shorty.....some of you will understand the reference.....if you don't, rest assured it is not related to faulty plumbing. :smile:

Particulars -- 1997 Blue Bird, 34 passenger, DT466E, Spicer 5 speed manual, 180K miles.

I plan on removing the seats and vinyl floor, addressing any rust issues and priming, then start using it for weekend camping trips as I visualize where I'll be putting what. Long term plan is to hit the road in my retirement (about 7 more years) and travel west of the Mississippi, to revisit places I've liked and hit up the new ones on my bucket list.....and stopping along the way to hopefully buy many of you a beer or two, as thanks for all the fantastic info you've posted on this site.

I feel like I've got a head start as this bus is already a solid platform in a mechanical sense....runs great, steering and shifting are fantastic, and all the gauges and lights work. It got 11.2 mpg on its maiden (to me) voyage home, and hovered at 185-190 degrees for the entire trip over the Smokies from Kentucky to North Carolina. Oil and filter change and fuel filter change coming in next couple of weeks.

First items up are new rear tires and a trip to the International dealership to optimize the engine parameters.....then, the usual --

couch/bed, counter space/desk area, propane cookstove (to start), sink, shower, bucket toilet, overhead cabinets

And the slightly unusual --

install 2 swiveling captains chairs up front, skin over the main entrance, cut a new door (probably 2nd window behind driver's area), roof deck, insulate roof interior then rehang existing skins

And the highly unusual (or at least I have yet to see these on this site, and there may be reasons why :smile:)--

cut off the bottom step at the main entrance for better ground clearance, build a door there for access to house batteries, a 4-6" "awning" over the windows (at eyebrow level) to keep out the rain, a long, low box over the driver's side windows to store a roll-up awning (lift the lid and unroll), and a 12" square x 8" tall protrusion under the deck (on the outer curve of the roof) to house a 'rainwater' type shower head (I HATE crouching to shower, but don't want to lower the floor), and a bucket toilet that will be housed on the shower floor, but will roll through the wall and into the aisle for showering.

All subject to change, of course......but those are the plans going in. Let the good times roll !

(.....I will hold onto the 'vomit control' until our next bar-hopping night....it may come in handy.....).


Don

Robin97396 12-09-2017 08:44 PM

Congrats. As shorties go, that is the size everyone wants. That's the engine everyone, who knows, wants.

EastCoastCB 12-09-2017 08:44 PM

What size tires does that bus have on it?

plfking 12-09-2017 08:51 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by EastCoastCB (Post 238193)
What size tires does that bus have on it?

Right now it's got 265/75R22.5s all around.....but that will soon change. :smile:

Odd thing is that the VIN sticker above the driver's seat says 19.5 wheels, but the build sheet spec'd 22.5s.

Don

EastCoastCB 12-09-2017 08:54 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by plfking (Post 238198)
Right now it's got 265/75R22.5s all around.....but that will soon change. :smile:

Odd thing is that the VIN sticker above the driver's seat says 19.5 wheels, but the build sheet spec'd 22.5s.

Don

My shorty had 22.5's on the back and 19.5's on the front originally. School switched em all to 22.5's with 255/70r22.5's.

What are you gonna go with? I know 10R's will fit mine, but I'm wondering if I can squeeze 11R's on, at least in back.

plfking 12-09-2017 09:10 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Robin97396 (Post 238192)
Congrats. As shorties go, that is the size everyone wants. That's the engine everyone, who knows, wants.

Yes sir......searched for 18 months because I was holding out for that drivetrain, or at least a 466 with a MT643.

Happy I waited now, but the last year and a half was definitely a trying time for me. :smile:


Don

Robin97396 12-09-2017 09:21 PM

I know what you mean.

I wanted this bus 20 years ago when I first saw it. I found it on auction with 90 minutes remaining. Didn't have time to look at it first. But I think you may have been anxious longer than I was.

plfking 12-09-2017 09:36 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by EastCoastCB (Post 238199)
My shorty had 22.5's on the back and 19.5's on the front originally. School switched em all to 22.5's with 255/70r22.5's.

What are you gonna go with? I know 10R's will fit mine, but I'm wondering if I can squeeze 11R's on, at least in back.

My cousin has a 'tire guy', so we're going to experiment.

I'm hoping for 11Rs, or at least 295/80s.


Don

Johnny Mullet 12-10-2017 09:25 AM

That is a nice sized bus with a great drivetrain! I also have a shorty and love it so far. Currently building it right now.

cadillackid 12-10-2017 09:57 AM

great bus!!!! almost the same as mine body-wise.. you have a morew powerful drivetrain!. my step is super low too.. I dont worry about it.. but insteresting idea to cut it off.. though some of my friends that ride with me. like that low step as it helps with a bum knee or such for them to get in and out..

nothing a fold out step wouldnt solve though..

-Christopher

plfking 12-10-2017 08:33 PM

4 Attachment(s)
Got initiated into the Schoolie Club today.......60 minutes of rolling around on the cold wet ground removing all the seat bolts. My helper arrived late, so I only got half of them completely detached, but at least I'm finished with the underneath-the-bus part of it.


While waiting, I removed the rear view mirror and visor. The visor will be trashed....I'm going to see if I can refurbish the mirror and mount it at the top of the windshield, under the front cap. Glad to get it further away from the driver's seat, because I've already banged my head on it at least 5 or 6 times.

And removed those half-moon mirrors from the hood......they've got me 3-4 times too. Thankful there are no sharp edges on this bus, or I would have bled to death already.




Don

Robin97396 12-10-2017 08:43 PM

I've taken chunks out of my scalp on those bugeyed mirrors. I pulled them off too, taped the heater wires and pushed them into the body.

The only use I had for those bugeye mirrors was they were flat on top and it was a good place to put a cup of coffee.

jazty 12-11-2017 09:47 AM

Nice bus! I bet that thing's fun to drive with a 466 and 5-speed.

I cut the bottom step off, too. It kept getting smashed up by boulders :) Also, I put the house batteries in a hatch under the stairs. It works ok. A little tight for the batteries. Takes a half hour to get them all in or out. Watering the most forward battery (I have 3) takes some care since the clearances are tight.

"Body fluid clean up kit". EWWWWWWW....

cadillackid 12-11-2017 10:59 AM

I kept and use my visor.. even with shades on that bright summer sun is nicely dimmed with that visor... the student mirror i keep too simoply because my bus is never going t ohave its back windows covered so i can use it. id probably ditch that mirror if I was going to convert where the back windows were covered over..

Locve my bug-eye mirrors too.. since I drive my bus to the grocery store, coffee shop, restaraunt, hotel, etc its nice to be able to see all around it when maneuvering.. in fact i think im going to install cameras on the back of it too..
-Christopher

Robin97396 12-11-2017 12:10 PM

I removed both of my bugeyed mirrors. I did mount one mirror, without the frame, at the top center of the windshield. With that mirror mounted on the interior at the top of the windshield I can still see my front bumper. The big plus is I don't hit my head on those darn mirrors in the dark anymore.

plfking 12-11-2017 08:11 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by jazty (Post 238513)
Nice bus! I bet that thing's fun to drive with a 466 and 5-speed.

I cut the bottom step off, too. It kept getting smashed up by boulders :) Also, I put the house batteries in a hatch under the stairs. It works ok. A little tight for the batteries. Takes a half hour to get them all in or out. Watering the most forward battery (I have 3) takes some care since the clearances are tight.

"Body fluid clean up kit". EWWWWWWW....

I see that now.....I've been following your build but didn't notice the step removal.....that's exactly how I want mine to look. Since I'm moving the door, I'll have all of the step area for house batteries.....the plan is to put them on heavy-duty drawer suspensions so I can pull them out for servicing.

It is mucho fun to drive! The handling's not as tight as it was on my old 944T, but, on the flip side, everybody gives me lots of room. :smile:


Don

plfking 12-11-2017 08:19 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by cadillackid (Post 238528)
I kept and use my visor.. even with shades on that bright summer sun is nicely dimmed with that visor... the student mirror i keep too simoply because my bus is never going t ohave its back windows covered so i can use it. id probably ditch that mirror if I was going to convert where the back windows were covered over..
-Christopher

I really like all of my windows, so I'm going to try to keep open sight-lines to them all.....the aisle will be open to the rear door, and almost everything will be built no higher than halfway up the bottom windows. The only stumbling block will be the closet. I really dig the student mirror....I can see three lanes of traffic and half the median strip in that thing. :smile:


Don

Twigg 12-11-2017 08:30 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by plfking (Post 238672)
I really like all of my windows, so I'm going to try to keep open sight-lines to them all.....the aisle will be open to the rear door, and almost everything will be built no higher than halfway up the bottom windows. The only stumbling block will be the closet. I really dig the student mirror....I can see three lanes of traffic and half the median strip in that thing. :smile:


Don

I only have one 500-mile drive to go on but I didn't use the student mirror much. I have a rear engine, so the rear view is limited to the narrow emergency hatch above the engine cover.

Properly adjusted side mirrors gave me a great view of everything around except a car tail-gating too close. I figure that's his problem. I've seen pictures of cars that hit the back of a school bus, it ain't pretty.

cadillackid 12-11-2017 08:32 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by plfking (Post 238672)
I really like all of my windows, so I'm going to try to keep open sight-lines to them all.....the aisle will be open to the rear door, and almost everything will be built no higher than halfway up the bottom windows. The only stumbling block will be the closet. I really dig the student mirror....I can see three lanes of traffic and half the median strip in that thing. :smile:


Don

indeed.. i use that mirror all the time.. plus when I have friends in the bus I feel like i can actually look at them and talk.. even though the yare usually just yelling at me that they are frying in the back.. oops left the back heater on high..
-Christopher

Robin97396 12-11-2017 08:44 PM

I took my student mirror and visor out. If I'm looking in that mirror while I'm driving it's not good. The side mirrors are what I'm accustomed to using.

There don't seem to be a whole lot of other uses for those student mirrors, but I'm thinking of putting it on my tractor for a wider field of view while backing.

Twigg 12-11-2017 08:51 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Robin97396 (Post 238679)
I took my student mirror and visor out. If I'm looking in that mirror while I'm driving it's not good. The side mirrors are what I'm accustomed to using.

There don't seem to be a whole lot of other uses for those student mirrors, but I'm thinking of putting it on my tractor for a wider field of view while backing.

I want to keep as much "School Bus" character as I can.

I have a wife and daughters, I'm thinking it would make a great bathroom mirror with a few lights around it.

Robin97396 12-11-2017 09:24 PM

That was the same use I came up with for the student mirror, other than on the tractor as a spectacular backup mirror. For a bathroom I thought it could mount vertically in a corner quite easily for a dressing mirror without taking up much space.

I didn't bother building a bathroom so I don't have quite as many corners to put the mirror in as some might have.

plfking 12-13-2017 10:37 PM

1 Attachment(s)
Quote:

Originally Posted by Twigg (Post 238681)
I want to keep as much "School Bus" character as I can.

Definitely the same here.

Refurbished the first item. $25 for new mirror glass, and reused the metal frame and backplate, gasket, and brackets from visor. A little Krylon "Hammered Finish" spray I had floating around, and it looks great. Thing feels like it weighs 10 pounds.....no cheap plastic here.

The helmet sticker elevates it from 'ordinary' to 'an extraordinary expression of refined taste and class'. :smile:


Don

Robin97396 12-13-2017 11:14 PM

It sounds like you need the champagne of beers.

debbiejay4444 12-14-2017 08:04 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Robin97396 (Post 238192)
Congrats. As shorties go, that is the size everyone wants. That's the engine everyone, who knows, wants.

Indeed! This is exactly what I want. (Hand ME one of your beers so I can cry in it.) Sob sob

Sent from my SM-N950U using Tapatalk

plfking 12-14-2017 10:38 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by debbiejay4444 (Post 239115)
Indeed! This is exactly what I want. (Hand ME one of your beers so I can cry in it.) Sob sob

Sent from my SM-N950U using Tapatalk

They're out there. You just have to look at every site you can think of and hit the nationwide CL every day or two.....I got lucky in that mine was listed late on a Sunday night and I saw it about two hours later, and I called the guy early Monday a.m.

Patience is the key. Can't tell you how many times I almost pulled the trigger on something less than I wanted out of sheer frustration. And like everyone here says....another bus comes up for sale every day.


Don

debbiejay4444 12-14-2017 10:46 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by plfking (Post 239150)
They're out there. You just have to look at every site you can think of and hit the nationwide CL every day or two.....I got lucky in that mine was listed late on a Sunday night and I saw it about two hours later, and I called the guy early Monday a.m.

Patience is the key. Can't tell you how many times I almost pulled the trigger on something less than I wanted out of sheer frustration. And like everyone here says....another bus comes up for sale every day.


Don

Thank you, Don. I MUST be more diligent!

Sent from my SM-N950U using Tapatalk

plfking 12-16-2017 11:01 PM

4 Attachment(s)
VERY productive day out at the bus today. All the seats and dividers are out.....filthy job, but I was rewarded with 35 cents and some kind of token. If that happens 10,857.142 more times, I got my bus for free. :smile:

Even though it was nasty, boring work, I was pumped by the fact I was getting it done, and getting closer to my vision for this mofo.

TIP -- when removing seats, start at the front and work your way back.....lots more working room.

And I don't know why, but I find myself constantly moving around with my head bent forward, even though I have a good 2.5" - 3" of head clearance. I hope that goes away after awhile.....my head doesn't touch the ceiling until I get about 12" from the windows.

Tomorrow will be spent seperating the foam and vinyl from the seat frames in preparation for a trip to the metal recycler. Next weekend will be stripping the linoleum and getting a look at the floor, although it's looked good in the 4 test areas I've examined. This bus doesn't have a plywood subfloor, so it may go quickly.

Ain't it purty? :dance:


Don

plfking 12-17-2017 07:09 PM

3 Attachment(s)
Seats are deconstructed. Anyone need any foam?

This was the worst of the floor rust in the 4 test areas......60 seconds with a putty knife and I had shiny metal. I think my wire wheel will make short work of it next weekend. Just have my fingers crossed that the rest of the floor is no worse.

And tried out my $13 heat gun from HF on the back decals.....worked great! I think I'll buy 3 more and use them for my secondary heating option. :smile:


Don

EastCoastCB 12-17-2017 07:16 PM

Man, its coming along nicely!
I'm so glad you scored that shorty, man.

plfking 12-17-2017 07:43 PM

I don't think I've stopped smiling since I got it home.

My face hurts. :smile:


Don

EastCoastCB 12-17-2017 07:51 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by plfking (Post 239640)
I don't think I've stopped smiling since I got it home.

My face hurts. :smile:


Don

Even with all the little and not so little issues mine has, I'm feeling the same way.:thumb:

plfking 12-24-2017 07:50 PM

4 Attachment(s)
Another productive, nasty, smelly, lucrative weekend out at the bus.

I feel I've paid off the balance owed on my Skoolie Club Initiation Fees......6 hours of grinding rust. And I found where the 'school bus' smell comes from......burning powdered rust! (..or maybe the burning rust just releases the school bus smell....).

Linoleum peeled right off in 8 big pieces....all done in 10 minutes. Same with the rubber on the wheelwells. Wire-wheeling the rust took considerably longer, but for the most part is done.....I still have a couple of spots I want to hit with a grinding wheel.

Gluing pennies down tomorrow, then next weekend I'll remove the seat, doghouse, shifter boot, etc. and wire-wheel that area, then ospho and paint the entire floor, weather permitting....it's only supposed to be in the 30s for the next 10 days or so.

This floor, and the wheelwells, are SOLID with a capital S. I can't find a soft or spongy place anywhere, and the only holes are of the drilled variety. Very pumped about that.

And the 'lucrative' part? Found another quarter. :dance:

Hope y'all have a great Christmas, or Holiday, or whatever you wish to call it.:smile:


Don

(...I must be getting old.....my pictures used to be in better focus...).

Tango 12-24-2017 07:56 PM

Mmmmm...nice!

Twigg 12-24-2017 08:02 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Tango (Post 240949)
Mmmmm...nice!

Concur.

A good job, well done!

Robin97396 12-24-2017 09:24 PM

If you had a coach, you'd have to be glueing down quarters instead of pennies.

plfking 12-30-2017 07:37 PM

3 Attachment(s)
On a dark note, not as much accomplished this weekend (so far) as hoped. As easily as the rear linoleum came up, the driver's area linoleum is a whole 'nother beast.....it is fighting me every inch of the way. If I have to take my angle grinder or blow torch to it, so be it.

On a brighter note, check out my paint.....I needed a nice bright cheery color after grinding rust all last weekend.Will add 1 more coat tomorrow or Monday.

On an additional 'brighter' note, my new LED headlights came today.....if I can feel my fingers tomorrow, they'll be installed. My heater burns me up in the bus, but doesn't warm up the great outdoors very much. It's been in the mid-30s the last 2 days, but inside the bus (just above the windows) it's around 90......and that's with both doors and 2 windows open. Maybe I don't need insulation. :smile:


Don

EastCoastCB 12-30-2017 08:58 PM

Man, this isn't fair! Now you're way ahead of me!

plfking 12-30-2017 09:46 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by EastCoastCB (Post 241996)
Man, this isn't fair! Now you're way ahead of me!

It's not a race......plus I haven't had the down-time you've had....I hope that changes quickly, and in a big way.

And as long as your dinette seats are in my possession, and not yours, I'll ALWAYS be a little ahead.

And if you start to catch up, I'll threaten to incinerate them. :smile:


Don

EastCoastCB 12-31-2017 03:46 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by plfking (Post 242014)
It's not a race......plus I haven't had the down-time you've had....I hope that changes quickly, and in a big way.

And as long as your dinette seats are in my possession, and not yours, I'll ALWAYS be a little ahead.

And if you start to catch up, I'll threaten to incinerate them. :smile:


Don

Funny- yesterday we tore down and burned a good sized garage/shed on my friend John's property. I have a hard to find four legged seat for one occupant sitting ten feet away and it caught fire! Good thing I was gonna replace all the vinyl anyhow.
https://i.imgur.com/K3KYbym.jpg

Yeah I know its not a race but I've been watching folks enjoy their buses and I can't wait to get this one of mine on the road for real!

cadillackid 12-31-2017 08:35 AM

dang!! you burnt down the shed? im thinking we almost burned it down with that hellacious bon-fire we had the last skoolie get together!! was it intentional or did your bon-fire nail it this time?
-Christopher

cadillackid 12-31-2017 08:36 AM

4 legged seats seem to come in a lot of thomas cutaways.. the 2 i use as dinette seats in my DEV bus were freebies on craigslist that came out of a thomas 4 window cutaway..
-Christopher

EastCoastCB 12-31-2017 08:40 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by cadillackid (Post 242053)
dang!! you burnt down the shed? im thinking we almost burned it down with that hellacious bon-fire we had the last skoolie get together!! was it intentional or did your bon-fire nail it this time?
-Christopher

Yeah, they're trying to clean up a bit and get rid of the rotting structures since they're having a house built. The only things holding that shed together were the spiders and termites.

Quote:

Originally Posted by cadillackid (Post 242054)
4 legged seats seem to come in a lot of thomas cutaways.. the 2 i use as dinette seats in my DEV bus were freebies on craigslist that came out of a thomas 4 window cutaway..
-Christopher

The seats by the exits on my Ward were single, four legged seats. Glad I held on to one.:smile:

cadillackid 12-31-2017 08:48 AM

id love to find some property like that in FL.. or like shaun's. that place is Bad arse!!!! a place klike shaun;s I could live work and play!!
-Christopher

plfking 12-31-2017 04:42 PM

2 Attachment(s)
Quote:

Originally Posted by EastCoastCB (Post 242035)
Good thing I was gonna replace all the vinyl anyhow.

And you've tempered the steel as well.....nicely done. :smile:


Quote:

Yeah I know its not a race but I've been watching folks enjoy their buses and I can't wait to get this one of mine on the road for real!

You and me both. Couple more weeks to strip the walls and ceiling, then will be driving around to have the body work done....can't get here fast enough. Will also be getting the new tires and the engine parameters optimized just before that.

Too cold for painting, or much of anything....supposed to get down to single digits tonight, and didn't want to see if the paint would gel or not. So today I removed the rear heater and tied the lines together, then ran it to make sure I had heat and no leaks....A-okay. One more thing crossed off the to-do list.

Happy New Year! Going out to dinner, then it's time to pull my annual drunk that spans two years. :smile:


Don

plfking 01-08-2018 08:24 PM

3 Attachment(s)
Screw this cold weather.......can't do anything outside the bus that takes longer than 10 minutes, 'cause I can't feel my fingers. And on the inside, it's too cold to paint, and I need to finish the floor before starting on the walls.

So this weekend I replaced a mirror head that was missing, and 1 mirror glass that was cracked. Also hung the rearview mirror and got the doghouse off and out of the way.

Don

Robin97396 01-08-2018 08:37 PM

It always feels like baby steps.

plfking 01-08-2018 09:24 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Robin97396 (Post 244004)
It always feels like baby steps.

Baby steps frustrate me.....I'm a 'put your head down and go 100 mph til you get the job done' type.

Didn't realize until the last two weeks that actually feeling your fingers is an important part of getting tasks accomplished. :smile:


Don

Robin97396 01-08-2018 09:34 PM

For a lot of us, these buses are a lesson in patience. We'd all like to get them done within a month.

plfking 01-14-2018 10:26 PM

2 Attachment(s)
Still hampered by the cold weather. Took the day off work Friday and finished stripping the floor in the driver's area, then re-painted the entire floor.....still tacky this morning, so I installed my new LED headlights and painted the trim rings.

Next weekend I'll demo the interior walls and pull the insulation. Will also re-install the seat so I can start driving this thing again. It's been almost a month. Will also remove the HurriHot beside the stairwell, if it isn't ducted to the windshield.

Don


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