Water tank assembly

So the water tanks that need to go into the luggage bay are huge – I suppose my eyes were larger than my appetite, because after I got the tanks I realized that they were about an inch higher than the gap between the deck of the bay and the frame rails. After a little bit of hydraulic jack  assistance, I was able to squeeze two of the tanks between the rails.

After this however, you can’t just (in good faith, anyway) leave them there and fill them up. Each tank when full of liquid is 390 LBS. Two of the tanks will be clean, and two are waste (gray). Technically, all four could be full, with a combined tankage weight of 1560 lbs, which is 3/4 of a ton.

That’s a lot of weight!

This is a 3/4 ton “pickup truck”, which means that what is pictured below is what’s required to haul 1500 lbs around in the bed safely. Yes, that is a gross simplification – I know that truck can carry more…


Anyway, after crunching some numbers and throwing about numbers related to young’s modulus, moment of inertia, and point loaded cases, I came up with a design to cradle the tanks off the frame rails that makes me happy enough.

Here it is pictured with the tanks and the chassis frame rails. The three across is towards the back of the vehicle. Not pictured are the cross members of the truck frame.


Here’s a simplification with the tanks removed to see the cross beams. Most of this assembly is in tension, so it’s more about hanging below than supporting. I have not built a lot of suspension style assemblies like this.

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And here’s a picture of just the bits I want to assemble. Not shown are the fasteners and assembly join plates so I can actually put it together in the bus. Each truss section is individually built, and the cross-legs are then bolted onto the truss sections. 2016-07-21 (2)

All in all, it’s a compromise – cost, weight, ease of assembly… I would have wished to have added the structure outside the luggage bay but it would require complete deconstruction of the bay floor. The bus is pretty low at the belly already as well.

The dynamics of carrying water are daunting, from all the movement, to the fact that it’s riding along in a moving vehicle and bouncing/sloshing is sort of scary.

I have a materials quote available, so maybe in the next week or so I’ll get my pile of steel and get to putting this monsterpiece together.

Skoolie roof raise cab jacks

I built some roof jacks today. They are designed to be used in conjunction with a high cut on the column that the jack is attached to, and the next inner columns from the ones they’re attached to will have the reinforcement inserts attached to one side probably the lowers. Those will keep the whole roof centered during the lift and prevent it from paralleling sideways.

They’re made to attach to the two bolts on the rib at the top, and a middle bolt lower on the rib.


Slight modification, because that first idea was sort of half baked.


Bus structure recalibration modules mostly installed. I just need to verify they’re set in the right starting point to give me enough lift.


Oh god what have I done


Just kidding. It all still works. I think I pulled close to 1000 feet of wire out of the bus.

There are three wires on the main dash/cluster connector that confuse me however – hot pink, light brown with stripes, and dark brown with stripes. I’m not sure where they go, because they were connected to the terminal strips. I have a feeling they were/are part of the ignition interlock related to the emergency exits.

Any ideas? 1998 BB TC/2000. It looks like bluebird doesn’t have wiring harness records.

I forgot to grab my wire terminal tool to pull the excess pins out of the connectors. Plus, I need some split loom and tape to clean things up a bit again. I’ll take an “after” photo tomorrow.

Roof raise lines

Which cut line is better? I prefer the straight back instead of the uh “fast back”, but the straight back will be a bit more work to pull off.

Straight back


“Fast” Back



I’ve read in a few places that endcaps are not really supposed to be messed with. When looking at it closely, I see a number of things that tell me someone has gone through some thought on them:

* Rib spar connection bolts at the front and rear are brazed so the threads won’t come undone
* Front rib is doubled up
* A ton of bucked rivets connecting the skin to the cap
* Deep draw stamping to lend the sheet metal considerable strength

All of those are why I am considering the sloped rear end. When you mentioned adding a new rear cap, you gave me an idea I’m going to work on. I’ll leave the end cap and rib, as well as a small stub of the original roof. Then I can rivet on a small roof extension on the lifted section, getting me flush with the rear wall, and instead of a full rib, I’ll cut a sheet panel in the same arch and connect it together for the rear end. Then I can just rivet the bottom of that to the end cap.

Possibly clear as mud, when I have a moment I’ll sketch it out.