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Joseph97297 10-12-2007 01:21 PM

Just bought a bus, wondering what order to tackle
Hello to all.

Just purchased the bus I mentioned earlier in my post a 1985 International, 9.0 Liter with the ST545.

Going to pick it up on Saturday. First plans are to go through the bus on all the mechanical issues, hoses, lines, bearings, etc and etc. Want to get her up to par on that before anything else. After that, well therein lies my problem. For the first trip, which will be next June out to Missouri to start work on our property out there, it will be just my 13 year old son and me. So really not a need for the frills that I will need for the wife, you know, flushing toilet and the likes. So after the mechanical work I was planning on the floor and interior (basics like painting and such). Then get the outside paint done. Not really planning to make it "wife" ready until after our trip so that she can work out what she wants and I can convince her what we need (you know, the really loud stereo to match the really big t.v., or at least some 135 watt solar panels on the top.)

So does this seem feasible, my plan to hold off on the major part of the conversion, or should I just go all out right now? Also, if I need to replace the insulation, which probably will do, should I go with the foam board or what? Basically, can someone tell me a general order in which to do this? I know, every circumstance is different, each person has their opinion, but I would really like to hear some of those opinions from those that have been there, done that.

Many Thanks


KC10Chief 10-12-2007 01:55 PM

Re: Just bought a bus, wondering what order to tackle
Are you planning on painting this bus or are you going to be using it a lot? If you're parking it permanently and not painting, then I wouldn't worry about it. But I was required by my insurance company and state laws to paint the bus some other color than school bus yellow. Also, if you have it parked at your house, the neighbors don't seem to mind as much. Also, removing the seats is a real chore. I'm planning to lay down some subflooring next and build on top of that. I have also taken care of all my windows. I tinted some, and painted the others where a wall or counter is going to be. I also permanently fixed some of them into the up position. It looks pretty sharp so far. But if you can get the thing painted, seats out and your flooring taken care of, then you can throw some stuff in there for sleeping. I see free couches on Craigslist almost every single day. I have one in my bus that folds out into a bed. It's butt ugly, but works fine. Also, you can get a little ceramic heater at Wal-Mart that will heat your bus if you have electricity.

Joseph97297 10-12-2007 08:19 PM

Re: Just bought a bus, wondering what order to tackle
Hey, thanks for the info.

Looking at painting the interior and the exterior. The seats have already been removed so no problems there. They did leave two in the middle, but probably will remove those. It has already been painted white by the church, but I am looking at a different color.

I'll probably put down some insulation and then some plywood for a smooth base interior. Any ideas for covering? I was leaning toward those adhesive laminated tiles just for ease and "durability". Not hosting any tailgate parties, so style doesn't matter.

The windows are a toss up. Want to tint the ones in the back and read where some removed them to aide in that.

It will be parked either here at my house or over at my dad's where we can pull it into the shop to work. Only problem there is the 35 minute drive one way to work on it. Like you said,a little ceramic heater and I'll be ok out back.


KC10Chief 10-12-2007 11:24 PM

Re: Just bought a bus, wondering what order to tackle
Yeah, I was the one who removed the windows to tint them. Removing the window assemblies themselves is easy. I can have all 20 out in my bus in under 5 minutes. But then, I took each one apart down to the individual panes of glass. After the first couple, I could have one apart and down to the glass in a couple of minutes. I cleaned up each one really good and then tinted away. I let the tint dry for a couple hours before I put it back together. My whole bus looks like it was tinted by a professional. The windows are painted on the inside too. The tint definitely needs to be on the inside of course. It took me three days to do all of my windows, but I'm a pretty slow worker. I sit around a lot, stare at the bus, BS with my neighbors, drink beer, etc while I'm working. I probably could have done everything in a day if I had worked hard.

I don't much care for the sheet metal over the window look. Where there's going to be a wall in my bus, I painted the windows and used some screws to fix them up permanently. Before I did any of the tinting or anything, I evaluated all the windows in my bus. Some of them work better than others. There were a couple that wouldn't stay up all the way. Those are the windows I moved into spots where I painted them and fixed them up foreverrrrrrrr....

I painted the outside of my bus with Dupont Imron paint, but I got it from a friend who works for Dupont. It's AWESOME paint, but very expensive if you have to buy it. It only took one coat and it's super shiny. No clear coat needed. The black I used to paint my bus runs about $140 a gallon. The yellow I have for the flames is $700 a gallon! Geez. This guy has a ton of this stuff and just gives it to me. Anyways, I think that most people use the Rustoleum professional paint. I've used this stuff on some other things on my bus like the wheels and mirrors. I actually used the hammered paint for that stuff, but Rustoleum seems to be quality stuff at a great price. When I painted the outside of my bus, I spent a LOT of time sanding and prepping the outside. I also removed every single light, mirror, window etc. It was a pain in the ass but worth it. I'm still getting ready to paint the inside of my bus. I did a lot of sanding on the inside too. Those kids are dirty. There were stickers and gum and stuff all over the place. I masked everything and removed all the windows again and started painting. Then realized I didn't like the color. Oh well. I'll paint again next weekend. My wife's car blew a head gasket so I get to fix that this weekend! :(

I'm going to lay down some Norboard sub flooring too. It took me forever to get all of the little trim strips out of the floor. 75% of the screws were stuck like chuck. I had to grind and cut them out. Then removing the heater was an all day job and a huge mess. But I've got all that done. After I paint, I'm going to put the subflooring in. It looks easy, but I'm sure I'll run into some sort of disaster along the way! :D I'm going to build on top of the sub flooring. I'll build all of my cabinets, bunks, bathroom etc. The last thing I'll do to my bus is lay down the actual flooring. I'm going to have heated floors as well. But on top, I'll have the linoleum tiles in the bathroom, and some of the linoleum wood strips in the living area. Back in the bedroom and the bunk area, I'm going to lay some carpet pad and carpet. I'm also going to BUILD my couch. That will be a big adventure I'm sure!

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