Licensing and thoughts.

I went to issaquah and I’ve already got the bus converted to a vehicle type “MH” and have plates. No inspections no nothing. I got the run-around from kent licensing, as they were demanding an emissions test (try wedging a 40′ bus in the emissions stalls!) and scale weight.

I’m considering removing all the bucked rivets from the front and back and lifting, however, I’m concerned about how much strength I can put back into the fasteners – I don’t have the tooling to put bucked rivets back in. This is why I have been considering a sloped front and rear, because the inherent strength of the “book ends” of the bus are still there.

I went to issaquah and I’ve already got the bus converted to a vehicle type “MH” and have plates. No inspections no nothing. I got the run-around from kent licensing, as they were demanding an emissions test (try wedging a 40′ bus in the emissions stalls!) and scale weight.

I am really looking forward to working on the skinning project so I can get it prepped for paint before it gets too deep into fall. I’d love to be out working evenings in the dark inside the vehicle instead of the exterior.

I am really looking forward to working on the skinning project so I can get it prepped for paint before it gets too deep into fall. I’d love to be out working evenings in the dark inside the vehicle instead of the exterior.

Ceiling panel removal progress

Got the ceiling panels removed. That’s a lot of rivets.

I think I’ve got my cut lines figured out. Sorry for the shaky ms paint line. My intention is to ramp it up to keep a neat looking “face” on the front of the bus, and on the rear, ramp down directly into the giant stamped structural member, so I’m not actually cutting or messing with it. It seems pretty seriously engineered.

I’ll have to fabricate a new solution for holding the seat belt, should be easy enough.

 

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Ceiling panel thoughts

So I guess I’m pulling down the interior roof panels. I thought about leaving them up until after raising the roof to get more rigidity, but decided they’d just get in the way more.

Also since there will be a height transition in the front, they will get in the way for that too.

I don’t mind some marring and scratching around the pop rivet area, so I am finding this is the fastest removal process:

With an air impact point tip, knock out the center of the rivet.
Next, use the same tool and bit to work the rivet loose so it’s head is no longer flush to the sheet.
Finally with a giant pair of flush cutters (they have handles a foot long) work under edge of lifted rivet head and squeeze, then while squeezed rotate 90 degrees and pry/roll the rivet out, removing it like you would a nail with a claw hammer. I can take down a whole row of rivets in about 15 minutes that way.

Seats out

Took about two and a half hours. Started at 7 pm. It wasn’t too bad.

Grossest part? Reaching between the seat and the wall to find the bolts.
Stinkiest? Setting dried up pine-sol on fire with the grinder.
Most satisfying? Popping out the bolts through the floor with the air chisel.
Hardest seat? The rear right seat next to the exit door.

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Got the bus home!

I picked up the bus today, some new batteries and a hub seal and bearing replacement (the front left oil was water contaminated)

The DOL in Kent wants to see a Washington State Patrol inspection before they’ll issue me a title change from bus to RV. I was thinking of “shopping” around to some of the other offices and see what they do. Previously they also told me that I needed to get the scale weight and emissions tested. I’m half expecting the next time I show up they’ll tell me it needs to be retrofitted with air bags or an emergency parachute system.

Next step is disconnect batteries and pop on a tender, and remove seats.
Then windows
then make roof taller
then close the roof up
then put sheet metal on the walls
etc.

Size comparison to a Unimog.

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Getting the emissions tested in Renton. Yes, it passed.

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It fits beside the garage! Level ground = roof raise. I am happy.GooglePickerAPI_IMG_20140729_181803

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Priorities

4 kids, a house we’d rather eventually downsize from, a side business rebuilding Unimogs, and an actual full time IT job. I think it’s all about prioritization, and I’d like to make a large push to rearrange a few things in my life so my family becomes higher on the list. Not sayin’ this is the means to an end, but I think it’s a fundamental shift in the way my wife and I are going to be doing things.

Licensing and paperwork and fixing.

I’m leaving it at the service dept. for a few days for some work – new batteries and a front left hub bearing and seal replacement. I stopped by the DOL and I need to get it weighed and emissions tested first before converting the title to an RV.

I know it’s probably been talked about all over, but I’m nearly 100% certain I’m going to lift the roof.

I can’t remember which member I saw also did a lift, but I think I’d like to leave about the first 6′ or so of the cab original, then add a ramp up to the higher section and leave the rest to the back higher. There appears to be a lot of benefits to a raised roof.

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Cargo Dinner Design

We went out for dinner last night, and all three girls were drawing their bus design ideas on the back of the kids menus. I hope they’re this enthusiastic when I’m removing dry rotted plywood and a grillion bus seats.

After the comments about the insulation, I’m considering pulling one or two panels to inspect the insulation and either put it right back, or pull it all down and replace with foil backed hard foam. I like some of the other techniques I’ve seen replacing with wood paneling and whatnot, but I think that steel lends a lot of strength to the body. I am also most comfortable working with metal over other materials.

As for the lower cargo area, I’m pretty excited to have that, there is a ton of room in there for the utility closet/garage as far as water tanks and generators and whatnot go.

I forgot to add, it seems like it’s got 5 speeds, and turns over about 1600 RPM @ 65 MPH indicated.

New Bus

I purchased a 1998 Blue Bird All American – I knocked the price down a bit so the place I bought it from would do a hub seal repair and fresh batteries. I am planning on building an RV.

We drove it around the block and it seemed to run good, without any hard shifting and made lots of power. I hear there’s a possible way to give it a second overdrive for 6th gear as well.

My goals are to get the seats out, pull the old subfloor, and replace all the plywood. The storage boxes below I’ll get some marine grade ply or something to resist the moisture better.

I see a lot of people taking out the steel headliner and replacing the insulation. Is the insulation in those busses that terrible? It seems to me if I were to do a metal stud wall construction, the ceiling would make a great place to rivet walls to.

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Dad, this is embarrassing.

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