School Bus Conversion Resources

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TheHubbardBus 07-18-2019 03:45 PM

AC Evac
 
1 Attachment(s)
In order to move forward with the conversion, we need to temporarily remove the two indoor AC units, which are preventing forward progress on both the floor (lines running up through it) and the roof (evaporator/blowers mounted to it). At least one and maybe both will be going back in eventually, possibly in a different location and definitely in more pleasing enclosures, but for now they gotta go. So our first step to doing this was having the systems evacuated.

After a few phone calls to local auto shops (one balked at the bus size, another quoted us a ridiculous price), We happened upon AZ Auto Air in South Tempe. The owner, Steve, took time to listen to my needs, then told me to just come on down when ready... no appointment needed. He told me his hourly was $100.00, but said it shouldn't take long, so I figured maybe $50.00 or so.

Today I did. From the time I pulled in to the parking lot 'till the time the job was done was all of 10 minutes. But I probably spent another 20-30 minutes receiving a free education on the economics of maintaining these systems, the logistics of shortening or lengthening lines during relocation, how to cap off lines properly, how to account for any lost oil, etc. They happily answered every question I had, as well as some I never thought to ask. They didn't try to sell me on anything - quite the opposite, really - if anything they talked themselves out of potential business giving me the straight scoop on everything. I don't know much about AC, but being a mechanic myself, I do have a pretty-well developed sense of when people know what they're talking about & when they don't. I have no reason to doubt these guys (and gals!) know their stuff. They know it well.

So at the end of my AC lessons, I ask Blaine (the gent who evacuated the system and did most of the 'teaching') if I pay him or at the front desk, and I'm told, "no charge. it's free" :biggrin: Oh, did I mention the short-tour of the van conversion they were working on? It was more like meeting up with old friends than patronizing a new (to me) business.

So yeah, I'll DEFINITELY be going back when it's time to get these AC units back up and running. I can't even remember the last time I was this impressed with a business. HIGHLY recommended if you're in the Phoenix area.

https://www.azautoair.com/

Sleddgracer 07-18-2019 06:14 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by TheHubbardBus (Post 338750)
In order to move forward with the conversion, we need to temporarily remove the two indoor AC units, which are preventing forward progress on both the floor (lines running up through it) and the roof (evaporator/blowers mounted to it). At least one and maybe both will be going back in eventually, possibly in a different location and definitely in more pleasing enclosures, but for now they gotta go. So our first step to doing this was having the systems evacuated.

After a few phone calls to local auto shops (one balked at the bus size, another quoted us a ridiculous price), We happened upon AZ Auto Air in South Tempe. The owner, Steve, took time to listen to my needs, then told me to just come on down when ready... no appointment needed. He told me his hourly was $100.00, but said it shouldn't take long, so I figured maybe $50.00 or so.

Today I did. From the time I pulled in to the parking lot 'till the time the job was done was all of 10 minutes. But I probably spent another 20-30 minutes receiving a free education on the economics of maintaining these systems, the logistics of shortening or lengthening lines during relocation, how to cap off lines properly, how to account for any lost oil, etc. They happily answered every question I had, as well as some I never thought to ask. They didn't try to sell me on anything - quite the opposite, really - if anything they talked themselves out of potential business giving me the straight scoop on everything. I don't know much about AC, but being a mechanic myself, I do have a pretty-well developed sense of when people know what they're talking about & when they don't. I have no reason to doubt these guys (and gals!) know their stuff. They know it well.

So at the end of my AC lessons, I ask Blaine (the gent who evacuated the system and did most of the 'teaching') if I pay him or at the front desk, and I'm told, "no charge. it's free" :biggrin: Oh, did I mention the short-tour of the van conversion they were working on? It was more like meeting up with old friends than patronizing a new (to me) business.

So yeah, I'll DEFINITELY be going back when it's time to get these AC units back up and running. I can't even remember the last time I was this impressed with a business. HIGHLY recommended if you're in the Phoenix area.

https://www.azautoair.com/

that's the kind of story I like to hear :thumb:

TheHubbardBus 08-04-2019 03:16 PM

Lots more progress to report. Well, not lots more. But it feels like a lot with the temperatures we've been dealing with (see last pic... that was yesterday's temp inside the bus)

After we got the AC systems evac'd we pulled and shelved both underskirt condensors, and both in-cabin evaporator/blower units. All wiring and lines were capped off, pulled down under the bus, and secured so we can drive if need be until we put them back in.

Metal interior roof was removed, metal side skirts removed, and all fiberglass insulation (which was in great shape, but we're going w/ spray foam for the win). The roof was relatively easy... all screws except a few rivets holding the AC brackets in place. The roof insulation was stuck pretty well to the asphaltum lining. After pulling down what I could I used a nylon bristle brush to remove the rest. That worked like a charm, but it was literally snowing insulation, so tight-fitting goggles, a respirator, and long sleeves/pants were a must.

The side skirts we removed by temporarily pulling the windows and cutting through each spot weld with a spot-weld cutter bit in a drill. There were around 25-30 spot welds per window, so 150-180 spots welds. But the cutter worked great, using only one bit out of the 3 that came with the kit.

The floor we've started grinding with wire cup brushes in a big angle grinder, but I've still got plenty work to do on that. The floor remains solid throughout, no rust even thinking about breaking through, but that won't be the case if we don't seal it well and arrest it now. What I have finished I've coated in ospho to deal with the rust and prevent any more before we prep and paint the floor after summer's over.


https://www.skoolie.net/forums/member...cture22115.jpg

https://www.skoolie.net/forums/member...cture22117.jpg



https://www.skoolie.net/forums/member...cture22120.jpg


https://www.skoolie.net/forums/member...cture22118.jpg


https://www.skoolie.net/forums/member...cture22121.jpg

plfking 08-04-2019 07:26 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by TheHubbardBus (Post 341973)
But it feels like a lot with the temperatures we've been dealing with (see last pic... that was yesterday's temp inside the bus)

That is a lot of progress......the un-glamorous but necessary steps that preclude greatness. :smile:

I had to check and make sure you didn't live in Death Valley.....I'm guessing 122 degrees and long sleeves/pants don't play well together. I'll keep my whining about working in 90 degree temps to myself. :smile:

TheHubbardBus 08-04-2019 07:40 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by plfking (Post 341990)
That is a lot of progress......the un-glamorous but necessary steps that preclude greatness. :smile:

I had to check and make sure you didn't live in Death Valley.....I'm guessing 122 degrees and long sleeves/pants don't play well together. I'll keep my whining about working in 90 degree temps to myself. :smile:

Thanks Don :smile: If our bus wasn't already named, I might consider 'Death Valley' a viable option. The respirator & goggles were the worst. My goggles kept filling up with so much sweat I had to step outside and dump them a couple times before they filled up to the bottom of my eyeballs :biggrin:

Sleddgracer 08-04-2019 07:48 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by TheHubbardBus (Post 341994)
Thanks Don :smile: If our bus wasn't already named, I might consider 'Death Valley' a viable option. The respirator & goggles were the worst. My goggles kept filling up with so much sweat I had to step outside and dump them a couple times before they filled up to the bottom of my eyeballs :biggrin:



if you have a car radiator and a fan kicking around, set the radiator up on a makeshift stand, mount the fan so it blows through the rad, and trickle water from your garden hose through it - just enough water so the petcock can drain it away so it doesn't overflow in the bus - use a piece of rubber tubing on the petcock to drain the water away from where you are walking - that is guaranteed to drop the temp in your 122 degree bus to a chilly 65 or 70 degrees, or lower if your fan and radiator are of a larger size

TheHubbardBus 08-05-2019 10:52 AM

2 Attachment(s)
Thanks for the advice, Sledd. Sure wish I had that kind of stuff lying around. I'd be tempted to rip the radiator out of the wife's truck, but then she'd just take mine :smile:

Today I think I've finally decided on the size, configuration, & location of our battery bank. THAT has been a challenge! Getting all that mass (480lbs in batteries alone) centered, forward of the rear axles, and near where I can mount our inverter has been a pain... particularly in a short bus.

The cardboard box pictured is cut to the external dimensions of the battery box. It will house 2 strings, each string consisting of 2x400AH 6V AGMs (total 800AH bank). I really wanted to orient the box 90-degrees to that pictured, so it would block the step less, but it was then impossible to get in & out of the seat like that.

This will serve both as a battery box and center console. The inverter/charger & solar charge controllers can go right beside it, to the immediate right of the step's entryway. The wiring to the panels will run inside the dash, over to the driver side, then up the wall. Venting the box will be a breeze (I love it when a good pun comes together) in this location.

CMORGANSKOOL 08-05-2019 04:01 PM

Hey, just make sure that you have enough usable power. 800ah on agm is 400 usable if as you can only do 50% depth of discharge. My calculations for my bus said I needed about 1000ah to do everything I want. Offgridskoolie has 900ah of lifepo4 and 1000 on the roof and just scrapes by on cloudy days. ($15,000 initial investment) Buy as much as you can afford but leave room to expand if you need to. Also remember to factor in that you will get 500-700 full charge cycles out of an agm at best before you lose about 30% of your usable capacity which would make your 400ah usable 280ah in about a year and a half of daily use. One of the reasons I switched to Lifepo4 chemistry which go 5000 cycles before losing about 10%.

PatrickBaptist 08-05-2019 04:01 PM

Looking awesum-OHh

TheHubbardBus 08-05-2019 05:03 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by CMORGANSKOOL (Post 342082)
Hey, just make sure that you have enough usable power. 800ah on agm is 400 usable if as you can only do 50% depth of discharge. My calculations for my bus said I needed about 1000ah to do everything I want. Offgridskoolie has 900ah of lifepo4 and 1000 on the roof and just scrapes by on cloudy days. ($15,000 initial investment) Buy as much as you can afford but leave room to expand if you need to. Also remember to factor in that you will get 500-700 full charge cycles out of an agm at best before you lose about 30% of your usable capacity which would make your 400ah usable 280ah in about a year and a half of daily use. One of the reasons I switched to Lifepo4 chemistry which go 5000 cycles before losing about 10%.

I sincerely appreciate the advice, and it is sound. :thumb: However, I've done an exhaustive workup of our solar requirements. Our storage will give us 2 days no-sun autonomy for everything we need (and then some). And we'll have 2 parallel-capable 2200W generators on top of that. 900-1200W in tiltable panels (paralleled) w/ MPPT, which is good for keeping them charged in 3.5 - 2.9 peak sun hour environments (respectfully). Anticipated daily DoD is 20%, not 50... our batteries should die a heat-related death long before they lose enough capacity to matter.

More storage is always nice. But in a short bus, both our power requirements as well as our space are limited. 800AH + backup generators seems to be a functional compromise. I may in the future switch to LFP, but on top of everything else, the up-front cost isn't something we can swing at the moment. If we do, the same battery box will then be more than sufficient. Just have to change the internal layout. But yeah... I'd love LFP, if for nothing else, the weight savings alone.

TheHubbardBus 08-05-2019 05:06 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by PatrickBaptist (Post 342083)
Looking awesum-OHh

Thanks!


https://www.comedycentral.com.au/site...?itok=OZZFhxhx

TheHubbardBus 11-11-2019 09:51 AM

2 Attachment(s)
After sweating out the last two months of summer, we're happy to report further forward progress! Namely, prepping, painting, & sealing the floor.

Before stopping due to heat, we had done some preliminary prep to tide us over & prevent further corrosion... angle grinder w/ wire wheels to knock down the worst areas in terms of rust, followed by a liberal application of ospho which we allowed to sit & dry.

Once the temps & humidity hit a happy range for paint, we reapplied ospho & allowed it to sit for a bit, then blasted it out with a power washer in order to completely neutralize it (failure to get all the ospho up could cause adhesion issues). Next was sanding (orbital w/ 80-grit followed by 220), power-washed again, applied a water-based cleaner/degreaser, power-washed a third time, & then dried thoroughly. In the end the floor itself was down to bare metal (or ospho-converted rust), while the fenders were a mix of clean/etched bare metal & prepped oem paint.

For the paint, we chose KBS Rust Seal, a water-cured high-solids urethane similar to POR15. Much of the prep done above was as per their requirements (though we didn't use their versions of cleaner or phosphoric acid). One cool thing about this product is you can use it along with fiberglass mesh to repair small holes, so we decided to go this route to seal the floor and patch all screw / bolt holes in the floor all at the same time.

After cutting more squares of fiberglass mesh than I can count, we laid down the first layer of KBS via foam brush to only the seams and areas surrounding the holes, pressing the fiberglass mesh patches into the paint as we went. After that cured enough to apply the first 'real' coat, we used a combination of foam brushes and low-knap (more like no-knap) foam rollers to paint as you'd expect. KBS recommended thinning 10% for rolling, which we did, & that was pretty much dead-on advice. You want to put it on as thin as possible, which is still way thicker than you expect.

Not counting the first coat on seams & holes, we put down 4 coats total, allowing to cure ~ 6 hours between coats. The less humidity the longer the cure, so in our dry climate it took some time. So yeah... it took us a good 24-hours to do the job, including waking up @ midnight for one coat. Even with the fan providing ventilation, we used half-mask respirators with new organic vapor cartridges, and are very glad we did, based on a couple times when my mask shifted. Painters booties & nitril gloves kept us from getting oil/dirt on our work as we went.

As far as KBS Rust Seal goes, their customer service is OUT OF THIS WORLD. I asked countless questions both before & after purchase, & their responses were extremely prompt, well-detailed, and dead-on accurate. As for the product, I couldn't be happier. The fiberglass patches worked great, and the paint itself looks to be pretty much indestructible. Adhesion appears to be excellent on everything, including the oem paint on the fenders/sides.

For those interested, for our 6-window short bus, each coat required 48 oz (1 qt + 1 pint). We bought both quart & pint containers so we didn't have to worry about resealing them between coats (which can be problematic). Each coat we just used up everything in the cans, then threw them away along with the foam brushes & roller pads. New brushes & pads for each coat.

The pics aren't show-car pretty (there was significant pitting / scale in spots, not enough to significantly weaken the metal, but enough to uglify it plenty), but our goal has been achieved: An impermeable sub-floor that will rust no further. This will all be under foam insulation & plywood in the near future anyway. :wink1:

PatrickBaptist 11-11-2019 10:20 AM

Congrats, I read half this thread. DO NOT USE STARTING FLUID ON THESE, don't care what others have said before, it's a great way to cause piston ring damage.
I've worked on many a 7.3 and seen several ruined by spraying crap, I call it "idiot spray". WD40 is a little less harsh but I still would advise against it.
I NEVER use that crap, always best to just plug in the block heater.
If it still won't start use a propane torch in the intake to heat up the air works much better without risk of screwing over the engine.
Also if the glow plugs still work and you use starting spray you risk an explosion which can hurt you or do other damage like busting/cracking the air filter housing which will later on allow dust into the engine dusting the turbo and running the rest of the engine.

If the bus suits you then you got a great deal. Happy camping!

TheHubbardBus 11-11-2019 10:42 AM

Thanks Patrick! Mr Beefy never had any problems starting, but if he had, your advice would have been heeded I guarantee :thumb:

PatrickBaptist 11-11-2019 12:36 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by TheHubbardBus (Post 358282)
Thanks Patrick! Mr Beefy never had any problems starting, but if he had, your advice would have been heeded I guarantee :thumb:

Awesome like a possum buddy. Def a good name fer yer bus.
Yeah you have to watch some peoples advise, I've seen some real bright ideas that make people like me money when I run off with the left overs to junk out.

tugboater 11-21-2019 11:12 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Sleddgracer (Post 332941)
interesting - doesn't seem logical with the cab being in front of the steering wheels - l'll have to see if i can find one to ride in

A bit late to the party here...we drove our 32' FE flatnose up the ALCan. I was impressed with the ride. I drove it hard too, Alberta oil country was one helluva test drive. Admittedly, it wasn't quite the ride of an '83 Lincoln Continental, but definitely less tooth jarring than I remember my high school sport trips in a dognose.

PatrickBaptist 11-22-2019 08:19 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by tugboater (Post 360120)
A bit late to the party here...we drove our 32' FE flatnose up the ALCan. I was impressed with the ride. I drove it hard too, Alberta oil country was one helluva test drive. Admittedly, it wasn't quite the ride of an '83 Lincoln Continental, but definitely less tooth jarring than I remember my high school sport trips in a dognose.

I had 2 pace arrow RVs, they rode far worse than my flat not RE bus does, both RVs were air bagged same as my bus is. Then again the RVs were GM garbage (what moron decided it was a good idea to put a wimpy 5.5k IFS on a medium duty chassis needs horse whipped). My 39' bus is easier to drive than either the 30 or 37 ft RVs I had. I scrapped those things out and my oh my you wouldn't want to wreck or God forbid roll one over, they were built with one thing in mind, not a care and couldn't be done cheap enough.
Yeah it def rides better than the old ford buses my school used LOL.

Emissary 11-22-2019 09:00 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by TheHubbardBus (Post 358272)
After sweating out the last two months of summer, we're happy to report further forward progress! Namely, prepping, painting, & sealing the floor.

Before stopping due to heat, we had done some preliminary prep to tide us over & prevent further corrosion... angle grinder w/ wire wheels to knock down the worst areas in terms of rust, followed by a liberal application of ospho which we allowed to sit & dry.

Once the temps & humidity hit a happy range for paint, we reapplied ospho & allowed it to sit for a bit, then blasted it out with a power washer in order to completely neutralize it (failure to get all the ospho up could cause adhesion issues). Next was sanding (orbital w/ 80-grit followed by 220), power-washed again, applied a water-based cleaner/degreaser, power-washed a third time, & then dried thoroughly. In the end the floor itself was down to bare metal (or ospho-converted rust), while the fenders were a mix of clean/etched bare metal & prepped oem paint.

For the paint, we chose KBS Rust Seal, a water-cured high-solids urethane similar to POR15. Much of the prep done above was as per their requirements (though we didn't use their versions of cleaner or phosphoric acid). One cool thing about this product is you can use it along with fiberglass mesh to repair small holes, so we decided to go this route to seal the floor and patch all screw / bolt holes in the floor all at the same time.

After cutting more squares of fiberglass mesh than I can count, we laid down the first layer of KBS via foam brush to only the seams and areas surrounding the holes, pressing the fiberglass mesh patches into the paint as we went. After that cured enough to apply the first 'real' coat, we used a combination of foam brushes and low-knap (more like no-knap) foam rollers to paint as you'd expect. KBS recommended thinning 10% for rolling, which we did, & that was pretty much dead-on advice. You want to put it on as thin as possible, which is still way thicker than you expect.

Not counting the first coat on seams & holes, we put down 4 coats total, allowing to cure ~ 6 hours between coats. The less humidity the longer the cure, so in our dry climate it took some time. So yeah... it took us a good 24-hours to do the job, including waking up @ midnight for one coat. Even with the fan providing ventilation, we used half-mask respirators with new organic vapor cartridges, and are very glad we did, based on a couple times when my mask shifted. Painters booties & nitril gloves kept us from getting oil/dirt on our work as we went.

As far as KBS Rust Seal goes, their customer service is OUT OF THIS WORLD. I asked countless questions both before & after purchase, & their responses were extremely prompt, well-detailed, and dead-on accurate. As for the product, I couldn't be happier. The fiberglass patches worked great, and the paint itself looks to be pretty much indestructible. Adhesion appears to be excellent on everything, including the oem paint on the fenders/sides.

For those interested, for our 6-window short bus, each coat required 48 oz (1 qt + 1 pint). We bought both quart & pint containers so we didn't have to worry about resealing them between coats (which can be problematic). Each coat we just used up everything in the cans, then threw them away along with the foam brushes & roller pads. New brushes & pads for each coat.

The pics aren't show-car pretty (there was significant pitting / scale in spots, not enough to significantly weaken the metal, but enough to uglify it plenty), but our goal has been achieved: An impermeable sub-floor that will rust no further. This will all be under foam insulation & plywood in the near future anyway. :wink1:

I followed your story and its quite remarkable making it this far. You should post a before and after pic and it will be perfect.

dzl_ 11-26-2019 10:54 PM

Really good looking bus you've got. Looks like you are off to a great start with the conversion, and are taking the time to do things the right way.


Your bus is very close to what I think is the idea size (for my taste/use case), I've been hunting for the right 5 window, but your 6 window doesn't look much bigger than some of the 5 windows I've been looking at. Have you measured the overall length of the bus, or the usable interior space? I'd be curious to know how long it is, it looks very well proportioned!


I'm looking forward to following your build!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Edit: oh and also I saw in your original post that you've got an Allison 2000 transmission. I found a few useful reference resources for this transmission the other day and posted them in the mechanical and drivetrain forum. One is a tech spec sheet for the transmission, the other is the operators manual (big ole' 91 page document). Here's the link for you, should be the 4th comment I believe.

TheHubbardBus 11-26-2019 11:57 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by dzl_ (Post 361032)
Really good looking bus you've got. Looks like you are off to a great start with the conversion, and are taking the time to do things the right way.


Your bus is very close to what I think is the idea size (for my taste/use case), I've been hunting for the right 5 window, but your 6 window doesn't look much bigger than some of the 5 windows I've been looking at. Have you measured the overall length of the bus, or the usable interior space? I'd be curious to know how long it is, it looks very well proportioned!


I'm looking forward to following your build!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Edit: oh and also I saw in your original post that you've got an Allison 2000 transmission. I found a few useful reference resources for this transmission the other day and posted them in the mechanical and drivetrain forum. One is a tech spec sheet for the transmission, the other is the operators manual (big ole' 91 page document). Here's the link for you, should be the 4th comment I believe.


Muchas Gracias, Mi Amigo!


Oh yes, I've got numbers ;)


The interior behind the steps (imagine a line drawn from the back of the steps perpendicular to the plane of the bus) is 14', 7" long x 7', 6" wide (rib to rib). Steps themselves are 3' wide. Overall length is ~24'. Height from the stripped floor to bottom of roof ribs is 6'6". Weight with seats & flooring removed is 13,500 lbs. Each window is ~24" wide x 30" tall, including framing, with a gap between each window of ~ 3" (window specs vary a hair depending on emergency window or not). Wheel wells are HUGE (much bigger than I anticipated)... 24" wide x 42" long x 9" tall.

TheHubbardBus 12-13-2019 04:39 PM

Air brake whack-a-mole
 
Working on the air brakes now. From the time we picked up the bus, the parking brake / push-pull valve was leaking. So we replaced that. But as some Dutch punk once figured out the hard way, you plug one leak, another pops up somewhere else. So far we've replaced one bad T-fitting under the bus (branch off to driver's chair), and all 4 fittings off the foot brake control valve (only 2 were leaking, but I replaced all anyway). Now we've got a leak in the engine compartment where the lines connect with the foot valve through the bulkhead. And on top of that, the governor just stopped working. I guess I know what I'll be doing next week. :wink1:

While I was plugging leaks, I decided to service the foot control valve. Aside from the new fittings (Parker) mentioned above, I cleaned it up, greased the plunger & pivot areas, inspected for excessive wear / play, inspected the electrical switches & wiring plugs, and adjusted the pedal stop. There was very little lube before I got to it, and one washer missing on a pivot pin that should have been backing a cotter pin. Still waiting on some new air line to come in on order. When I do (next week), I'll finish the job by replacing all the air lines in the bus interior running to/from the foot / parking valves. Probably not necessary but I'd since I've gone this far I'd rather go all the way.

Our new parking brake valve:
https://www.skoolie.net/forums/member...cture23069.jpg


The foot valve assembly before service:
https://www.skoolie.net/forums/member...cture23067.jpg


The foot valve assembly after service:
https://www.skoolie.net/forums/member...cture23068.jpg


We are STRONGLY considering installing new footprint gas/brake pedals:
https://www.sheknows.com/wp-content/...-3_goosr0.jpeg

TheHubbardBus 01-29-2020 02:31 PM

A little bit behind documenting our progress, so this is a summary of what's been done between last post & last week. I'll save our current work for the next:
  • Removed front swing-out bar assembly on bumper (motor assembly was heavy so good weight savings too)
  • Replaced leaking air door regulator
  • Replaced faulty air dryer check valve
  • Serviced air door actuator assembly
  • Greased & visually inspected everything with a zerk
  • Cleaned ~ 2 decades of combined grease & dirt from the area surrounding everything with a zerk. (THAT was a pain!).
  • Finalized our design plan once & for all

jimburke77502 01-29-2020 07:03 PM

Finalized your design plan once and for all.......... Anyone else find that funny? LOL!!!

JDSquared 01-29-2020 09:35 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by TheHubbardBus (Post 371031)
A little bit behind documenting our progress, so this is a summary of what's been done between last post & last week. I'll save our current work for the next:
  • Removed front swing-out bar assembly on bumper (motor assembly was heavy so good weight savings too)

I removed mine and it's still sitting on the ground in front of the bus. I wish I could think of a use for that motor.

TheHubbardBus 01-29-2020 10:11 PM

Ditto that, JD. Seems like such a waste to scrap, but I've got enough to do w/o figuring out what to make of it!

musigenesis 01-29-2020 10:17 PM

Are these rotary motors or actuators or what? My bus already had its kid-smacker removed when I got it, or else it never had one - NY buses seem to lack them in most of the photos I've seen.

Could they be rigged up to open and close the exit doors?

TheHubbardBus 01-29-2020 10:18 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by jimburke77502 (Post 371063)
Finalized your design plan once and for all.......... Anyone else find that funny? LOL!!!


https://i.pinimg.com/originals/3a/e0...a2f7281854.jpg

TheHubbardBus 01-29-2020 10:22 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by musigenesis (Post 371108)
Could they be rigged up to open and close the exit doors?


Possibly. But man, they're heavy. At least mine is. I was surprised. Didn't seem like you needed that much weight to do the job. I never looked inside. It's the proverbial black box to me. You want it it's yours. Just pay for shipping :biggrin:

Land Cruiser 04-19-2020 03:07 PM

6'4" HEADROOM MAN You lucked Out Please tell me details about the coach works. IC ?

TheHubbardBus 04-27-2020 02:25 PM

Meant to keep up on our progress since the last summary post, but didn't, so here we go again. Since the last time:

The tires on the bus got us home from the TX bus barn, but didn't go much past that. Once home we noticed sidewall cracking on the drive tires. So... we got new rubber all the way around! Firestone FS561s in front, and BEEFY FD663s in the back. Time will tell, but I think we're going to love these tires, especially for boondocking.

FINALLY got the air brake system safe & functional! After replacing even more fittings that were leaking (including every one connecting the foot valve through the engine bulkhead), we got to the point she'd hold air, but were still having problems with constant purging out the dryer. Completely rebuilding the dryer didn't help. I was about at my wits end before figuring out the problem (with considerable help from awesome forum members here): the port off the governor that signals the compressor to cut out was pipe-plugged. Turns out it was configured this way (wrong!) by the school. I had replaced the governor already, but just copied the way the old one was set up. Once I got this sorted, everything works great! Still a very minor leak or two, but passes pre-trip inspection easily, and will hold pressure parked for at least a day before bleeding down.

Replaced all 4 shocks. This has made a HUGE difference in ride quality. I was laughing each time I pulled one off & stroked it by hand. They were sooooo shot. Still completely gutted & it's a 1000% improvement over when we picked it up with the seats still in. Once we get some weight in her it will be even better. 230HP pogo-stick begone!

Got all the stickers, decals, & reflective tape off! Sharon's hours of laborious scraping, spraying, grinding, & heat-gunning have come to a well-deserved end. One step closer to paint. Unfortunately it switched from spring to summer seemingly overnight, so chances are good we won't be painting until it cools down again in the fall.

Replaced the sealed weaksauce headlights w/ Hella H4 conversions, along with upgraded 55/100W halogen bulbs. There were 'ears' on the stock buckets that prevented the conversion housings from seating fully, but some quick work w/ an angle grinder took care of that. The 100W makes them off-road only on high-beams (low-beam is road legal), but since we won't be using high-beams when approaching traffic, I'm don't see any problem. Plus with quality lenses & bulbs, the 100W is more eye-friendly to other drivers than the average 'road legal' Chi-Com LED replacements. Big plus is the stock wiring & relays support the 100W draw. We bought ceramic sockets I can wire in if heat becomes an issue, but I'm going to wait to see how the stock sockets perform first.

Got the roof dents out! Unfortunately this wasn't a job we could do ourselves, but fortunately, we stumbled upon THE MAN who could. Major Props to Cliff @ Firebird Truck & Auto Body Repair here in Phoenix. This is who the local school district's use, & this cat definitely knows his stuff. You couldn't meet a nicer guy either. You pay for the privilege (first words out of his mouth were "You're not expecting this to cost $200, are you?"), but we easily got what we paid for. Aside from a couple really ugly gouges in the cap, we had quite a few dents where the lights mounted that prevented them from sealing properly. Now everything's flat, pretty, & ready for paint.

Pictures coming soon...

TheHubbardBus 05-03-2020 12:59 PM

https://www.skoolie.net/forums/membe...cture23900.jpg
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TheHubbardBus 05-03-2020 07:24 PM

This makes me smile
 
A birthday gift from my wife these were, and without a doubt, the best gift ever. Not just your average air horns, but marine air horns! Sounds like a yacht, but it's not! The decibel level is in the 'makes me laugh every time I think about it' range, so no complaints there. Yep... chuckling again. These things make me smile.


https://www.skoolie.net/forums/membe...cture23916.jpg


You can get an idea of the character of sound from the video, but the volume does not come through at all. They're hilariously loud. The below doesn't come close to doing them justice.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V6Ft_GJCoZI

johnbloem1974 05-03-2020 08:34 PM

Those are great!! Please let me know the details about them, I want to buy them!!!

Thanks!

John

plfking 05-03-2020 08:39 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by TheHubbardBus (Post 384719)
A birthday gift from my wife these were, and without a doubt, the best gift ever.

We need a "I really like that" button. :smile:

TheHubbardBus 05-03-2020 08:47 PM

@johnbloem1974 Here ya go!!
https://hornblasters.com/collections...-nautical-horn

johnbloem1974 05-03-2020 09:08 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by TheHubbardBus (Post 384738)

Thanks!!! Appreciate it!

TheHubbardBus 05-14-2020 09:46 PM

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas!
 
Lots of new toys arrived recently (critters not included)! Goal is to have the newly un-dented roof prepped, primed, & painted (inside & out) before it gets too hot to do so, with new lights &/or bulbs filling the holes. This is about what we need to do it.


https://www.skoolie.net/forums/membe...cture23967.jpg


https://www.skoolie.net/forums/membe...cture23968.jpg

TheArgobus 05-15-2020 09:45 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by TheHubbardBus (Post 383707)
Replaced all 4 shocks. This has made a HUGE difference in ride quality. I was laughing each time I pulled one off & stroked it by hand. They were sooooo shot. Still completely gutted & it's a 1000% improvement over when we picked it up with the seats still in. Once we get some weight in her it will be even better. 230HP pogo-stick begone!


Can you expand on this please? I desperately want my ride to be more comfortable in the back, and am not sure if there's anything we can do to improve the shock/suspension. The aft axle has a bunch of leaf springs and a lot of folks have said there's not much I can do.

TheHubbardBus 05-15-2020 10:09 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by TheArgobus (Post 386756)
Can you expand on this please? I desperately want my ride to be more comfortable in the back, and am not sure if there's anything we can do to improve the shock/suspension. The aft axle has a bunch of leaf springs and a lot of folks have said there's not much I can do.

@TheArgobus,

Not sure I can offer much advice, but I'll try. Our bus was a pogo-stick from the time I picked it up. Replacing all the shocks really helped, but if you don't start with shocks as trashed as ours, the improvement might not be as noticeable. I'm pretty sure they were the original shocks, which means they likely had 15 years of wear on them. They were horrendous. Replacements (not pictured) were Monroe gas. Really hoped to find some Bilsteins, but as best I can figure, OE (international), Monroe, or Gabriel are the only games in town.

Our bus is also over sprung, especially now when gutted. It's something like 14K GVWR in the rear (going off the top of my head), so basically big-bus suspension on a short-bus chassis. Once we complete the conversion we hope that situation to improve, particularly since we'll be putting ~70 gallons of h20 right behind the rear wheels. How much of an improvement I have no way of knowing.

Removing leaves or having a new pack built is usually an option, though not the easiest job. I'm hoping it doesn't come to that for either one of us.

JuntiusVT 05-15-2020 10:13 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by johnbloem1974 (Post 384740)
Thanks!!! Appreciate it!

some more options for the horns. take a listen to these...

https://hornblasters.com/collections...me-marine-horn

TheHubbardBus 05-15-2020 10:22 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by JuntiusVT (Post 386761)
some more options for the horns. take a listen to these...

https://hornblasters.com/collections...me-marine-horn


LOL. We looked at those. I'm afraid our bus would tip over like Fred Flintstone @ the drive-in if we mounted those on the side :biggrin:

TheHubbardBus 05-22-2020 07:23 PM

It's gettin' real
 
A few pics from where we are now and where we hope to end up.
Interior is all clean and ready for upper painting. (first pic is a actually before ospho on ceiling.. so.. no more rust now)
Furniture colors are not correct... but you get the idea ;)

https://www.skoolie.net/forums/membe...cture23985.jpg

https://www.skoolie.net/forums/membe...cture23980.jpg

https://www.skoolie.net/forums/membe...cture23981.jpg

https://www.skoolie.net/forums/membe...cture23982.jpg

https://www.skoolie.net/forums/membe...cture23979.jpg

https://www.skoolie.net/forums/membe...cture23983.jpg

Big Tim 05-23-2020 12:28 PM

looks great!

plfking 05-23-2020 01:42 PM

That will be a nice, clean layout. I especially like that back door.

Sevier 12-22-2020 10:26 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by TheHubbardBus (Post 358272)
After sweating out the last two months of summer, we're happy to report further forward progress! Namely, prepping, painting, & sealing the floor.

Before stopping due to heat, we had done some preliminary prep to tide us over & prevent further corrosion... angle grinder w/ wire wheels to knock down the worst areas in terms of rust, followed by a liberal application of ospho which we allowed to sit & dry.

Once the temps & humidity hit a happy range for paint, we reapplied ospho & allowed it to sit for a bit, then blasted it out with a power washer in order to completely neutralize it (failure to get all the ospho up could cause adhesion issues). Next was sanding (orbital w/ 80-grit followed by 220), power-washed again, applied a water-based cleaner/degreaser, power-washed a third time, & then dried thoroughly. In the end the floor itself was down to bare metal (or ospho-converted rust), while the fenders were a mix of clean/etched bare metal & prepped oem paint.

For the paint, we chose KBS Rust Seal, a water-cured high-solids urethane similar to POR15. Much of the prep done above was as per their requirements (though we didn't use their versions of cleaner or phosphoric acid). One cool thing about this product is you can use it along with fiberglass mesh to repair small holes, so we decided to go this route to seal the floor and patch all screw / bolt holes in the floor all at the same time.

After cutting more squares of fiberglass mesh than I can count, we laid down the first layer of KBS via foam brush to only the seams and areas surrounding the holes, pressing the fiberglass mesh patches into the paint as we went. After that cured enough to apply the first 'real' coat, we used a combination of foam brushes and low-knap (more like no-knap) foam rollers to paint as you'd expect. KBS recommended thinning 10% for rolling, which we did, & that was pretty much dead-on advice. You want to put it on as thin as possible, which is still way thicker than you expect.

Not counting the first coat on seams & holes, we put down 4 coats total, allowing to cure ~ 6 hours between coats. The less humidity the longer the cure, so in our dry climate it took some time. So yeah... it took us a good 24-hours to do the job, including waking up @ midnight for one coat. Even with the fan providing ventilation, we used half-mask respirators with new organic vapor cartridges, and are very glad we did, based on a couple times when my mask shifted. Painters booties & nitril gloves kept us from getting oil/dirt on our work as we went.

As far as KBS Rust Seal goes, their customer service is OUT OF THIS WORLD. I asked countless questions both before & after purchase, & their responses were extremely prompt, well-detailed, and dead-on accurate. As for the product, I couldn't be happier. The fiberglass patches worked great, and the paint itself looks to be pretty much indestructible. Adhesion appears to be excellent on everything, including the oem paint on the fenders/sides.

For those interested, for our 6-window short bus, each coat required 48 oz (1 qt + 1 pint). We bought both quart & pint containers so we didn't have to worry about resealing them between coats (which can be problematic). Each coat we just used up everything in the cans, then threw them away along with the foam brushes & roller pads. New brushes & pads for each coat.

The pics aren't show-car pretty (there was significant pitting / scale in spots, not enough to significantly weaken the metal, but enough to uglify it plenty), but our goal has been achieved: An impermeable sub-floor that will rust no further. This will all be under foam insulation & plywood in the near future anyway. :wink1:


Hello there - youre descriptions of floor prep are so helpful (i\I've tracked them down through multiple threads). Was wondering if you could give a little clarity on the metal prep? We know to clean with degreaser, then use wire brushed to clean off all the rust, then we have the "Klean Strip" metal prep, and know to spray it on with a bug sprayer. This is like "ospho". So, do we let it fully dry, then wipe off with a damp rag? Or dont let it dry, and wipe off with a damp rag? Or leave it to help the primer adhere?

We plan on painting with primer right away after prepping, wont leave it for days or weeks.

Thanks and so sorry to ask a question with an answer that may seem obvious to others!

TheHubbardBus 12-26-2020 09:54 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Sevier (Post 418961)
Hello there - youre descriptions of floor prep are so helpful (i\I've tracked them down through multiple threads). Was wondering if you could give a little clarity on the metal prep? We know to clean with degreaser, then use wire brushed to clean off all the rust, then we have the "Klean Strip" metal prep, and know to spray it on with a bug sprayer. This is like "ospho". So, do we let it fully dry, then wipe off with a damp rag? Or dont let it dry, and wipe off with a damp rag? Or leave it to help the primer adhere?

We plan on painting with primer right away after prepping, wont leave it for days or weeks.

@Sevier,

Apologies for the late response. Been absent from forums as of late. I'll shoot you a PM to make sure you see this post.

Yes, degrease and thoroughly clean bare metal, then mechanically abrade. Definitely clean / degrease before or you'll just drive contaminates into the 'pores' of the metal you're creating.

We used both a wire wheel / angle grinder on the well-rusted / flaky / scaled areas, as well as an orbital sander on anything that was still relatively flat. The better you do here the better the adhesion. Just because the ospho will etch the metal doesn't mean thorough mechanical prep isn't much better than ospho alone. Just because they say you don't have to doesn't mean it isn't a really good idea to. We left zero bare metal untouched by grinder or sander.

Lots of controversy & differing opinions on the necessity of removing all ospho, and to an extent it depends on the paint you're using. But no matter what you're using, residual ospho will NOT help anything adhere, and from all the info I've gathered, could very well lead to paint failure. The safest bet is to let it do it's work (it needs to stay wet while working, so don't let it evap.), and then rinse every bit of it away thoroughly with water and get the surface bone dry before priming. A power washer is REALLY helpful here, assuming your bus is gutted to the point you can. Here's the owner of SPI (paint manufacturer) laying down the law, which is the advice I followed, & I'm glad I did.

How to neutralize Ospho | Southern Polyurethanes Forum

FYI, the Klean-Strip ospho you have is exactly what we used, and the MSDS shows it to be pretty much the same composition as ospho-branded phosphoric acid.

I'm actually well-positioned now to comment on the long-term durability of our KBS-coated interior floor, which most people probably don't get the opportunity to do as they often put their wood flooring and/or insulation down right after. COULDN'T BE HAPPIER. We've now been working for months on that floor - which is not yet covered. Sliding bare-metal ladders around, dropping heavy tools, drips & spills from various cleaners & solvents, etc. Constant under-foot flexing (I'm 260#) of weakened areas where rust was heaviest. Yet zero signs of delamination or lifting, and even the 'worst' scratches from the most careless boo-boos (like dropping claw hammers & drills from 6' height) could be buffed out if I cared to. The combination of flexibility + durability is outstanding. When we finally get wood over the top, I'm confident the underlying metal will be protected from further corrosion for years & years to come.

Finally, don't do the fiberglass mesh thing we did. It works - and it's really cool to see just how durable these patches + paint are - but I see now in retrospect it's unnecessarily labor-intensive, and it's easy to leave small voids that require touch-up later. The pennies / construction adhesive bit most people do makes a lot more sense. Sometimes creative solutions are a bad thing lol.

TL;DR:

1) Clean & Degrease thoroughly with water-based cleaner (Simple Green, TSP / TSP sub, etc) and abrasive scrub pads
2) Rinse thoroughly then dry
3) Mechanical abrasion (wire wheel, sanding)
4) Apply ospho liberally, keep wet (by adding more if needed) the entire time until ready to rinse (15-30 mins)
5) Rinse thoroughly, Dry thoroughly
6) Primer / Paint

TheHubbardBus 12-26-2020 11:39 AM

Holy Progress, Batman!
 
1 Attachment(s)
We've been absent from the forums for a while. I'm happy to report it was mostly due to getting stuff done! Lots of progress made, so here's a summary of the past few months:


First, we got the interior paint completed. Our focus was to eliminate any chance of future corrosion while also providing a good primer upon which our future spray-foam will adhere. Product of choice was PPG Amerlock 400, a 2-part epoxy as recommended by a super-helpful PPG industrial rep. It was applied by brush & roller @ ~4 mils DFT. We've been working in the bus for a while now since it cured, including doing plenty to the roof (painted) surface, and we're very pleased with the performance. Prep was extensive, which is the big reason it all worked out so well.

TheHubbardBus 12-26-2020 12:03 PM

And then...
 
1 Attachment(s)
Next we started cutting holes. Lots of holes. We would have cut the holes prior to painting the interior, but there was a large time gap between the 2 (aka summer), & we wanted to get the interior done before the weather got too hot to paint.

  • Gravity water fill
  • City water fill
  • A/C inlet & passenger-side outlet
  • Composting toilet vent
  • Grey tank vent
  • A/C (14" RV opening)
  • Maxx Fan (14" RV opening)
  • Multiple NMO mounts for antennas
  • Cable glands for other antennas, future roof-rack items, rear view camera, solar panels
  • Water & propane outlets
  • Back-door washdown / shower station
  • Air horn
  • Other stuff I certainly forgot

TheHubbardBus 12-26-2020 12:14 PM

While making holes...
 
1 Attachment(s)
We were also filling a couple. We replaced our front roof emergency hatch with an 18g cold-rolled patch (SS 3/16" rivets + 3M 550FC adhesive sealant), then cut a 14" hole in it as the future home of the Maxx Fan. We also patched over the factory passive roof vent, holes cut for ill-placed antenna mounts, and more holes in the roof where the rear A/C was mounted with ~20g steel cut from the interior sheet we removed.


After all the necessary holes were dealt with, we created the internal frame / support structure for the Maxx Fan & A/C. For the maxx fan we simply re-used the support braces that formerly framed the e-hatch we deleted. For the AC we used a combination of Superstrut, 2x3 pine, and 550FC adhesive. Maybe overkill, but we could transport elephants instead of a rooftop AC now & be fine :biggrin:

TheHubbardBus 12-26-2020 12:22 PM

Paint prep sucks
 
5 Attachment(s)
We already knew paint prep sucked from doing the floor.
We already knew paint prep sucked from doing the interior.
But the exterior... that was a whole new level of suck!


But - we sucked it up, we did the job right, and after literal weeks (yes, weeks) of back-breaking labor, we finally were ready to paint. Or eat off the bus. Or both.


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