Different Wisdom

Discussions about all things to do with buses, trucks, and the homes made within them.

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somewhereinusa
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Re: Different Wisdom

Post by somewhereinusa »

Jim,
Hey Somewhere, Not sure what cloud parking is,
On your post the picture of you standing in front of your bus is upside down. At least on my computer, maybe it's not that way on all, just a little leg pulling on my part. :lol:

Dick

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Lostranger
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Re: Different Wisdom

Post by Lostranger »

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:

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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:

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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:

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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:

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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:

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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:

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And here they are after I finalized the dimensions for the 3/4" plywood floor:

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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:

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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:

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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:

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And here it is with the valve installed:

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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:
Last edited by Lostranger on Thu Nov 21, 2013 9:34 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Lostranger
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Re: Different Wisdom

Post by Lostranger »

Oops! I hit submit when I meant to hit preview. Not sure what happened to the photos. Maybe they'll show up. I'm going to finish the post, but I won't submit it unless the photos are showing in preview. Sorry.

Jim

I'll try a bathroom wall photo here to see if it shows:

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Even a single is not showing. Anyone know what's up with that?

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Lostranger
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Re: Different Wisdom

Post by Lostranger »

I'm not going to wast time trying to post more until the photo issue is resolved. Stay tuned....

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somewhereinusa
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Re: Different Wisdom

Post by somewhereinusa »

Jim,
Looks like progress is being made, I like your attention to detail.

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Lostranger
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Re: Different Wisdom

Post by Lostranger »

Obviously the photos are up now, so I'll continue. Here's a shot with both walls up at what I call the "split level" which divides the front, low floored, living area from the higher-floored bed/bath/utility area at the rear of the bus. The right wall is, of course, the bathroom, and the left side encloses the laundry room. I'll eventually have a sliding door here. For now, we have a curtain.

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Here again is the shot of the "door handle" that turned sideways in an earlier post. The door still needs lots of work, but it's functional. Simple matter to insert a metal rod in the little hole and trip the bear claw. I've been looking into mounting the paddle latch, but no actual progress on that front:

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I had a temporary drain system installed for our recent trip, but that's all gone now. If the rain stops, I hope to get the black water tank mounted today. I still plan to eventually fabricate all my tanks from heat welded polyester sheet, but I'm using what I have for now. That includes a couple of ABS holding which, I think, are 40 gallons each. The gray tank was in our old bus, and the black tank was never installed. I believe I have the mounting/plumbing figured, but time will tell.

The bus did incredibly well for not having been out in over six months. We drove over 1000 miles with only minor problems. Several of my gauges don't work. That includes speedo, oil pressure, water temp and fuel. That last one proved to be somewhat inconvenient. Not had time yet to investigate the problem. Much of the wiring on this bus is multiplexed, and I wouldn't be surprised if that's the case with the gauges. This is my first experience with multiplexing, and I'm not up on troubleshooting it. I guess this is a learning opportunity.

As I mentioned earlier, Sophia drew enthusiastic response at every port of call. Many of the folks who came through the campground in eight days wanted to know about her. People turn and stare where ever we go. We were having lunch on Ocracoke when the owner of the restaurant announced to the patrons that she wanted to know who owned the big, yellow bus. Thought I was blocking her service entrance, but she just wanted to know more. I offered her a tour. While inside, she noticed instrument cases. One thing led to another, and I ended up being booked in the dining room for two nights that week. That got us several meals and paid for all our camping fees. More significantly, it led to my first gig in a topless bar:

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Topless oysters are high on my list.

Here's a shot of our campsite beside the Ocracoke dunes:

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We came to refer to the front seating area as the "observation deck." Great view of the world as we drank our morning tea and ate most of our meals. The large windshield and side windows are delightful.

Here's one on the early Sunday ferry as we left the island:

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We arrived on a Friday, early afternoon, and that ferry was packed. Leaving at seven A.M. on a Sunday put us on a mostly empty boat.

I hope I've given the impression that I'm thrilled with this bus and with the conversion as far as it goes. We're living in it now, but here at home base we still have an effective utility building and the step van we moved out of for storage and temporary sleeping if necessary. I should be able to get a lot done over the next few weeks, but I also have a lot of instrument building to do, so....

Anyway, thanks to all who contribute to this site. I've loved it since the day I found Sharkey while surfing. All of you with active threads or helpful input are a joy and an inspiration. Hopefully, I can keep mine more up to date.

Be well and do good work,

Jim

P.S. Here's one more shot. Sunrise over Hatteras Island from the deck of the leaving ferry. Something about this is near the heart of why I love living mobile:

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ol trunt
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Re: Different Wisdom

Post by ol trunt »

Jim, I always look forward to your updates and I'd have to say that what you call temporary fixes look better than the finished work of most of us busnuts.

Do you happen to know if the polyester resin and glass mat uesd to repair fiberglass can be used on FRP? I'd like to use a sheet of FRP to replace a wall in my one piece (now several pieces) bath shower combo. If that won't work, any suggestions on a way to attach FRP to fiberglass? Thanks, Jack

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Lostranger
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Re: Different Wisdom

Post by Lostranger »

Dick and Jack, thanks for the nice words. Means a lot coming from you two. I do admire your work.

Jack, I've only had one experience with what you ask about. In the old bus, I replaced the large plexiglass panel that covered the original destination sign in the front. After removing the panel and its gasket, I secured a piece of FRP to the inside of the opening, then covered the area with two layers of fiberglass cloth using standard polyester resin. Seemed to work fine. I had no problem with delamination, but I only had the bus about a year after that. You might want to check with someone who has more experience. Maybe someone else on this list knows more. I'd like input since I plan to do the same thing again. Eventually. One thing about living in a bus is that I will never have opportunity to be bored. Always something to change or improve.

Jim

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Lostranger
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Re: Different Wisdom

Post by Lostranger »

On second thought and second reading of your question, Jack, I'll bet that Liquid Nails panel adhesive will do what you need. I'm amazed at its tenacity, and I know that it bonds with fiberglass.

Jim

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Re: Different Wisdom

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Occurred to me last night that some might be interested in our temporary kitchen. Here it is. All stuff we had on hand:

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The commercial sink, we've had forever. It will be replaced with a 9" deep, two compartment full sized SS unit. The propane range is an RV sized unit we had in our old bus. Works great, but is small for people who love to cook. Will be replaced with a full sized propane range built to work with solar power. That is, spark ignition and no electric accessories like clocks or timers that would keep our inverter excited. The dorm-size refrigerator belongs to our daughter. We used it during daylight on the trip to make more room in the coolers. Unplugged it at night since our battery bank would not run it all night. It will be replaced with a Sundanzer, chest-type DC powered refrigerator. The industrial-looking table with a towel-covered lump is our sewing machine. We had planned to sew while at the fair, and we could also use that table as work surface. It's sitting where the permanent refrigerator will go.

It all works fine in the meanwhile. We currently do some cooking in the bus, some in the utility building, and a lot outside in Dutch ovens. Here is a pizza I baked last night in a 16" Dutch oven and a loaf of sourdough bread from day before yesterday.

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Seems to me that everyone who is nomadic (other than walkers and bicyclists) should use Dutch ovens. You can cook anything in one if you know how, and the food is usually delicious. Baking fresh bread and biscuits in a campground is a guaranteed way to make friends. Most folks are flabbergasted at the mere possibility, but all those cowboys and prospectors can't be wrong. A campfire works well as a heat source, but so does charcoal. If we have any interest, I may start a separate thread on the subject to share some techniques and recipes.

Here's a shot of me baking bread behind the bus on our recent trip.

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And that's enough kitchen stuff. Now, I'm back to work.

Jim

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stuartcnz
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Re: Different Wisdom

Post by stuartcnz »

That is a fantastic looking double sink!

Is it possible to convert the stove you are thinking about to piezo-electric starter (like on camp stoves), so you don't need any electrical hookup, to it?

Yes to the new thread on the Dutch Oven. That pizza looks impressive.

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Lostranger
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Re: Different Wisdom

Post by Lostranger »

Hey Stuart, The range we're considering uses battery ignition. Here's a link: http://www.backwoodssolar.com/products/ ... -palletize We want the 30", porcelain model.

For the Dutch oven thread, where should I put it? My first inclination would be with housebuses and housetrucks, but you may feel that it fits better somewhere else.

Jim

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stuartcnz
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Re: Different Wisdom

Post by stuartcnz »

Jim, I would suggest using the Food forum, for the Dutch oven thread.

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Lostranger
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Re: Different Wisdom

Post by Lostranger »

stuartcnz wrote: I would suggest using the Food forum, for the Dutch oven thread.
Well, duh! Stuart, I feel stupid. Didn't know we had a food forum. Of course that's the place. I'm working on the first Dutch oven post now. Hope to have it up in the next couple days.

Jim

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Lostranger
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Re: Different Wisdom

Post by Lostranger »

You can read some about my instrument building in the current issue of Mountain Xpress Magazine. Here's the link: http://mountainx.com/article/54014/With ... n-his-knee

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