I apologize for being so tardy posting construction photos, but I have been extra busy. Believe I finally have time to correct the situation, but first, yes, Dick the photo came through upside down. I have no idea why. I'll try that one again since it shows how low to the ground the top of this bus is:
In a recent post, I complained about how long it was taking to insulate and sheath the rear bulkhead. When it was finally done, I could not imagine how it had taken so long. My dear wife was kind enough to test it before the last panel was secured. Keep in mind that all plywood you see in this update will eventually be covered or replaced. All the ply on the bulkhead will be covered:
At about the time the bulkhead was finished, I bought a new work stand and two vises for instrument building. The stand is made to bolt to the floor, but I bolted it to 114 lbs of 3/4" steel plate I've had for a long time and used to hold other stands like a bicycle repair stand. Getting four new holes drilled and tapped through that plate took several hours, but the result and the investment were worth it. The new angle vise turned out to be the perfect fixture for final assembly of my cold water manifold:
The finished manifold works great. Every shutoff is in one place that's easy to reach. The only lines connected in this photo are the 3/4" PEX supply through the floor and the one on the opposite end to feed the tankless water heater:
This is the best method I've used for securing 1/2" PEX. The two-hole steel strap is made for 1/2" iron pipe. It fits the short section of 3/4" PEX, and that houses the 1/2" PEX. I also use 3/4" PEX as a sleeve when I'm running 1/2" through a wall or floor:
I had planned to use a 32" square shower pan like in our last bus, and we were going to splurge for the plastic walls to match in spite of the ridiculous price, but I had some fit issues in the bathroom that would not go away. Those issues were being able to get into the shower without climbing over the toilet and room for large feet while occupying the plastic throne. When we went to the accursed big box store to pick up the shower parts, this neo-angle pan caught my eye. It is 35" on both long dimensions. The store attendants gave me strange looks as I spent about a half hour measuring mock layouts on the floor, but in the end, the angle shower was the solution to both my problems. Did not buy the even more ridiculously expensive walls for this one, however. They would not have worked for my install, and we decided we would be happy with FRP over plywood for shower walls.
Here is the new pan and the Thetford toilet mocked in place:
And here they are after I finalized the dimensions for the 3/4" plywood floor:
Once that was done, I sent Wifey back to the big box store for a piece of vinyl flooring. I'll lay ceramic tile eventually in the small area that shows, but this was quick and easy. I like to lay vinyl before the cabinets and fixtures are installed:
The next job was the most frustrating thing I've done on this project. Gillig builds these busses on a continuous, stainless steel floor pan. I needed to get a 3-5/8" hole through that pan. It's nearly 1/4" thick. No tool I own for cutting that size hole would make an impression. To make it worse, both sides of the hole were, at this point, difficult to access. I began by cutting an access port in the outer skirt panel:
I'll eventually hinge and latch this piece to use as a cover, but it's going to have to have a bubble added to clear the dump valve.
The hole through the bulkhead was a beast. I spent about three hours with drills, hole saws, grinders and a jig saw before I finally dragged out the torch. I've never been good at cutting SS with oxy/acetylene, but this seemed particularly ugly. Didn't help that I was lying on the ground in the rain. Had Bev stationed inside with a fire extinguisher just in case, and her fear did little to ease my anxiety. Even the torch was not enough, but it gave me room to finish the job with grinder and jig saw. Looked like this:
And here it is with the valve installed:
The next step was bathroom walls. I'm having to build with the knowledge that most of what I'm putting next to the outside walls will come out when we reskin. Even if we had time and money to do that now, cold weather is not the time to be gluing up large sheets of 12g aluminum. We need to be living in the thing in the meanwhile. I used a lot of 3/4" plywood for walls in the last bus, but it always seemed like overkill. To enclose this bathroom, I decided on a box of 1/2" plywood held together at the corners by what I call "functional trim." I went to the local lumber yard (not the big box, thank you) and picked through their stack of 8' yellow pine 1x6. Got several nice pieces. Took that with me to the college shop where I was teaching at the time and milled a stack of mostly clear pieces measuring 3/4 x 1-1/2. These work well to screw the corners of the box together, and they look pretty good. All exposed interior walls will eventually be cypress or pine paneling, but this is good for now: