School Bus 101, long technical post

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Postby lapeer20m » Wed Dec 10, 2008 11:42 am

did someone say convertible bus?

here is jacuzzi bus II with the 12 foot convertible roof in the closed position. It was made of vinyl much like a tonneau cover. Nothing beats watching the stars while sitting in a jacuzzi.
Image

i can't seem to get the image to load...

here's the link

http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2374/2229334968_93335f52b7.jpg?v=0


i may have originally cut the hole for a silly concept that never quite worked out.......I wanted the jacuzzi to raise through the roof. I thought it would be cool to go to the drive in movie theatre and watch from the roof of the bus.
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Postby fciron » Wed Dec 10, 2008 4:52 pm

When I link to flickr images I delete the final charachters of the url so that it ends in ".jpg" It is almost always "?v=0" that needs deleting.

Your url:
http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2374/222 ... b7.jpg?v=0

Corrected url
http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2374/222 ... 5f52b7.jpg

Oh, and looking good.

When I do my school bus conversion it's gonna have flamethrowers and a jacuzzi on the roof-deck right under the mounts for the laser light show and a stable for my pony and a robot bartender and the thumpinest sound system for the eighteen stripper poles on top of the sound insulated and air-conditioned bunkroom and the dognose is gonna look like a skull with plasma balls in the eyes and flames coming out of its mouth!

Where's my oreos?
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Postby gyre » Wed Dec 10, 2008 5:27 pm

Image
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Postby fciron » Wed Dec 10, 2008 7:09 pm

D'oh!

Thanks, Gyre.
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Postby Sail Man » Thu Dec 11, 2008 12:19 pm

Elliot, check out Sailrite. They sell heavy duty sewing machines, plus the grommets your referring to, as well as a myriad of sewing materials.

http://www.sailrite.com/
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Postby Toolmaker » Thu Dec 11, 2008 1:19 pm

I stopped using grommets in my designs after I found these.

http://shelter-systems.com/gripclips/

Sometimes you still need to use grommets but these are better if you can work em into your design.
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Postby Elliot » Thu Dec 11, 2008 5:46 pm

:D
Much good stuff.

And two separate companies both named Shelter Systems.
:D
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Postby gyre » Thu Dec 11, 2008 6:00 pm

I think there are a million more with the same name, especially local ones.
It's much harder to come up with an original name than you would think.
The one I posted has catered to the racing community for many years.
The one doing domes is interesting though.
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Postby cullen » Fri Dec 12, 2008 6:28 pm

what if the bus was water tight with a drain in back so you cou;d power wash the inside.
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Postby Elliot » Fri Dec 12, 2008 7:24 pm

cullen wrote:what if the bus was water tight with a drain in back so you cou;d power wash the inside.


Huh?
You mean to remove Playa dust? You are worrying too much, my friend. The dust can be a problem if you rent a Fancy RV. But in your own Old School Bus, you can happily ignore it. An hour of vacuuming when you get home and all is well.
:D
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Postby cullen » Fri Dec 12, 2008 8:07 pm

but i don't want dust to clog my keg chiller.
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Postby BAS » Fri Dec 12, 2008 11:54 pm

I think I remember reading that to get the dust out of RVs it was better to use an air hose or leaf blower-- that getting it wet would just make a mess. Then again, I used a tent and swept the dirt out (about a year later...), and then tried hosing out the inside to get what was left-- and discovered that the tent was well designed to keep the water OUT, which meant once it was in it wanted to STAY in.

For the dashboard of my car, the Chem Sponges worked well-- which isn't a real surprise, since we were using them for fire clean up at a couple sites. (I was temping at a restoration company.) So, maybe a broom, air hose/leaf blower, vacuum cleaner and Chem Sponge would work well. (And the outfit I was working for was a franchise of a national chain, if you just want to hire someone... :wink: )

You would probably be best off just enclosing the things you are concerned about playa dust messing up. Then cover the outside of the enclosure with something you can easily clean. That's what I would do. Or only have stuff you don't care if it gets playa-fied. (Actually, maybe that's what I would do. Or some combination.)
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Postby jkisha » Sat Dec 13, 2008 9:10 am

Toolmaker wrote:I stopped using grommets in my designs after I found these.

http://shelter-systems.com/gripclips/

Sometimes you still need to use grommets but these are better if you can work em into your design.


I'm assuming that you have used them on the playa and they stand up to the wind? They look like they'd pop right off. Anyway, on your recommendation, I'm adding them to my list of possible useful items for BM.

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Postby Toolmaker » Sat Dec 13, 2008 10:03 pm

jkisha wrote:
Toolmaker wrote:I stopped using grommets in my designs after I found these.

http://shelter-systems.com/gripclips/

Sometimes you still need to use grommets but these are better if you can work em into your design.


I'm assuming that you have used them on the playa and they stand up to the wind? They look like they'd pop right off. Anyway, on your recommendation, I'm adding them to my list of possible useful items for BM.

JK


They were designed by burners and have been used by myself and many others. If you assemble them to your guy line they will always be under tension nad stay put. Make sure you buy the proper size/strength clip, the light fabric clip while being the cheapest might not be suitable for the playa.
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Postby cullen » Sun Dec 14, 2008 12:02 am

i was on skoolie earlier and saw a few buses with a deck. what do you think is the best and easiest way to add one?
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Postby Elliot » Sun Dec 14, 2008 12:37 am

cullen wrote:i was on skoolie earlier and saw a few buses with a deck. what do you think is the best and easiest way to add one?


Best and easiest? I have no experience and no opinion. Most decks seem to be simply bolted to the crossmembers in the roof. That would be plenty strong -- the only real issue would be to seal the holes against water leaks.

But if I had it to do over again, I think I would combine the deck supports with the roof raising extentions. The extensions slip into the "hat" shaped wall studs (which continue into the roof and over to the other side). I would simply make the extensions four feet long instead of two feet, and cut clearance for them in the roof skin. This would also have to be carefully sealed, but the structural integrity would terriffic, and it would be... elegant. In fact, if I do decide to install a deck or some such up there, I just might cut those clearance slots and slip the mounts into those channels and bolt them on the inside.

You could also bolt uprights to the outside of the walls, thus minimizing roof leaks. But it would look crude.
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Postby cullen » Sun Dec 14, 2008 1:05 am

Image

like this?
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Postby gyre » Sun Dec 14, 2008 4:55 am

I have seen decks clamped to gutters and weight spread over stronger areas of the roof.

I want to recommend Schnee-Morehead sealants.
I am going to use the polyurethane adhesive on my trailers to seal aluminum to steel, aluminum and wood.
I have used the acrylic seam sealer with tremendous success.
It seemed expensive at first, but was so effective with so little material, I actually saved money over cheaper sealants, which mostly don't work in very narrow gaps anyway.
http://www.schneemorehead.com/
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Postby Sail Man » Sun Dec 14, 2008 8:47 am

Here is some good reading on the properties of various sealants, the author is well respected in the sailboating community for his DIY and Restoration books and projects.

http://www.boatus.com/boattech/casey/35.htm
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Postby Elliot » Sun Dec 14, 2008 10:35 am

cullen wrote:Image

like this?


Yes.


This is the “hat sectionâ€
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Postby cullen » Sun Dec 14, 2008 2:02 pm

what would you recommend buying for the buses destruction and rebirth?

i was thinking
shop vac
air compressor
angle grinder
sand blaster
paint sprayer


i know i'm missing stuff suggestions?
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Postby Elliot » Sun Dec 14, 2008 3:21 pm

cullen wrote:what would you recommend buying for the buses destruction and rebirth?

i was thinking
shop vac
air compressor
angle grinder
sand blaster
paint sprayer


i know i'm missing stuff suggestions?


:D



Protective gear.

Image



Perhaps you could start by deciding what needs doing to the bus. Next you would consider what tools are needed for your first task. I don’t mean to be a smart-aleck -- I just want you to approach this with logic. For example, if you are going to raise the roof, you might want four jacks. If not, well, then you won’t need them.

That said, for all manner of steel de-construction and fabrication, I use abrasive cutting tools a great deal; chop saw, 4 ½ inch angle grinder, and sometimes an abrasive cutting wheel in my skil saw. I don’t know how I ever fabricated anything without a chop saw to cut the materials to length.

As the above (staged for fun) photo suggests, there is a price to pay for all this spark-throwing efficiency. The angle grinder is specially dangerous, both for cutting your fingers off, and for taking your eyes out with red-hot steel chips.

As in the photo -- no joke --I wear BOTH goggles and face shield when I use abrasive cutting wheels.

The saws-all (in the photo) is a useful tool, but I think of it as a last resort because it is so uncontrollable. It is violent in a different way from the abrasive cutting tools -- it jumps and bounces around from the moment you pull the trigger.

Drill press. Get the biggest drill press you can.

Air compressor. Sure. Big one -- not the little buzzing kind. Even if only to run an impact wrench -- which is a huge work saver.

I bought an el-cheapo paint sprayer a while back but may never use it. You can paint an old school bus with brush and roller.

Cordless drill/driver with two batteries. Big one. I use my 110V drill also, but let’s face it, the cord is a perpetual nuisance compared with a battery drill. Lots of nut driving bits for sheet metal screws and such.

Shop vac -- oh yes.

I had a sand blaster 35 years ago and found it not very useful. It's probably great if you are restoring vintage machinery. But for a Playa-grade skoolie conversion, I don't know what I would use it for.

Pop rivet tool(s). Depends on what you are going to do, but sheet metal screws tend to fall out from the vibration of a moving bus. I have found that consumer grade pop riveting tools are junk. They are for Grandma who needs to put two rivets in a flower pot. For any serious riveting go to a commercial fastener store and buy commercial stuff. Same with the rivets themselves -- big difference.

I could go on forever, but there are others in line to post their own suggestions. When it comes to tools, you will no doubt get as many opinions as there are people -- and much of the information will be conflicting. There is no substitute for your own experience.

As for the famous angle grinder, I have burned up several of the $39,- ones, just on Millicent. Probably better to invest in better ones right up front. And I keep two of them; one with a cutting blade and one with a grinding blade -- saves a lot of time swapping blades.

Here's a clever tip -- no extra charge: For cutting large thin sheets of aluminum, you can use a plywood blade in a skil saw. INSTALL THE BLADE BACKWARDS. And rub cutting wax lubricant on it. And be sure the work is firmly supported. Again, the blade goes in backwards or you'll murder yourself the instant it hits the work.

Welder, if you need one. A topic in itself -- and there is a whole thread about it. A MIG welder, most likely.

Next contributor!
:D
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Postby cullen » Sun Dec 14, 2008 6:01 pm

I think i have the majority of what i want planned out as much as i can, with out having you know an actual bus. ;) that will have to wait for a bit. I've been going through skoolies galleries and saving pics of ideas i like for inspiration.
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Postby Captain Goddammit » Sun Dec 14, 2008 7:06 pm

I'll just elaborate a little on what Elliot The Silly Contraption Racer said.
Big compressor! Nothing less than 5 or 6 horsepower. Less than that will eventually inflate a tire but just isn't up to power tool use.
Good tools in general. Yes, they seem expensive - but in the long run, hell even in the short run, they end up cheaper and better. This is how I think of it: I can spend $100 on a good item, or waste $40 on junk that I'm gonna hate real quick.

Eye protection. I still don't see as clearly in my right eye as I used to because of a chunk of metal that hit it while using a set of bolt cutters.
If you ever see a pic of me on the playa from '02 with an eye patch on, it wasn't part of my boat costume, it was real.

Personally I think spraying the paint is the way to go, much easier and much faster and looks a HELL of a lot better. The paint job on my Land Yacht is just regular house paint, but it's sprayed on... it doesn't look too bad!
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Postby cullen » Sun Dec 14, 2008 9:16 pm

okay i got a very rough plan, i'm sure it will be adjusted once i buy the bus and can plan more based on length. i'm probably missing some things so point out all the flaws you guys see. this plan is mainly for the playa and short trips where i can stop at a rv park or camp ground with showers and shitters.

the deck on top is where i plan to store my camo netting and poles deck chairs ect.

the porch is similar to crazy cals on skoolie but with fold up rv steps, and maybe a railing so i can lock up bikes while in transit.
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Postby Tiahaar » Sun Dec 14, 2008 11:29 pm

Nice looking layout! The less complicated and fussy the better is my opinion. The back porch is great, wish I could do one on mine but that's where the engine access is. If you're not putting in a potty/shower closet you could tote along one of those little camp potties and keep it on the back porch for 'emergencies' :)

Oh yeah, and countertop space is invaluable! Put in as much as you can, for fixing things on, food prep, tabletop, whatever, make it foldup out of the way over the beds even, can never have enough.

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Postby cullen » Sun Dec 14, 2008 11:33 pm

i was thinking the back porch could be slanted to the center so i could use it as a shower drain into the grey water tank.

hmm more counter space? i need to think about that more then.
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Postby Elliot » Mon Dec 15, 2008 12:06 am

:D
Careful about the back porch. Front engine buses already have a long rear overhang, and you can wag that tail into the ground in driveways and into things on the outside of a turn.

Putting water tanks inside takes up a lot of precious space. Just a bit more work to hang them underneath.

Once you have a bus that you can sleep in, I think you will sooner or later wish you had a toilet in there.

Storage space for luggage. Racks like in airport shuttles, so all the darned bags and boxes are out of the way, yet accessible.

I have "rearranged the furniture" many times already in Millicent, suggesting that experience is a more powerful teacher than a sheet of paper. But you are doing good, thinking ahead -- that certainly never hurts.

One thing we desperately need in Millicent is a way to keep food and beverages secure while we are driving. We are often a half dozen people, and boxes of cookies and jugs of beverages are flying everywhere. I'm thinking "fences" and recessed bottle holders on the tables.

One bunk always available for a passenger to snooze while in transit.
:D
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Postby cullen » Mon Dec 15, 2008 12:32 am

Elliot wrote::D
Careful about the back porch. Front engine buses already have a long rear overhang, and you can wag that tail into the ground in driveways and into things on the outside of a turn.

Putting water tanks inside takes up a lot of precious space. Just a bit more work to hang them underneath.

Once you have a bus that you can sleep in, I think you will sooner or later wish you had a toilet in there.

Storage space for luggage. Racks like in airport shuttles, so all the darned bags and boxes are out of the way, yet accessible.

I have "rearranged the furniture" many times already in Millicent, suggesting that experience is a more powerful teacher than a sheet of paper. But you are doing good, thinking ahead -- that certainly never hurts.

One thing we desperately need in Millicent is a way to keep food and beverages secure while we are driving. We are often a half dozen people, and boxes of cookies and jugs of beverages are flying everywhere. I'm thinking "fences" and recessed bottle holders on the tables.

One bunk always available for a passenger to snooze while in transit.
:D


hmm...i was thinking cup holders in the arms of the "couches" maybe i could make some 4" wide trays then just section them. see the spot i mean in the framing of this guys seats?
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good point about the water tanks that would free up about a queen size worth of space. but what about freezing in cold climates?
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Postby gyre » Mon Dec 15, 2008 3:28 am

Tanks can be insulated and heated or not used in adverse weather.
Antifreeze can be used for storage.

I like furniture that can be moved or removed with as much ease as possible.

A booth with a table that drops to make a bed or removes so the bench seats convert is a handy design.
Slats can be fitted into slots to form storage areas or bunks and can be removed when needed.
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