Water tank assembly

So the water tanks that need to go into the luggage bay are huge РI 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.

Gluing surfaces together

My asbstract shapes.

Lots of gluing plastic to ply backing going on. This stuff never ends it seems. The finished panels seem to take the temperature swing and durability test when done though.

Panel finishing and struggle.

Feels like every panel and finish piece is a struggle. It looks good enough so I’m happy with the result.

Carpet/ply panels in riding cabin area keep noise down. I have picked the hardest panels to complete first, naturally.

Stairwell entrance gets the same sorta thing.

Preview of the other areas. Birch with teak oil finish and aluminum trim over black painted steel frame.

A little more.

This sort of reminds me of something…


Entry/starwell wall

Got the stairwell wall and handrail thing built. I’ll cover with an upholstery panel soon. This frame was difficult, because of all the little connectors and features it needed.

Forgotten Rust

So if you recognize what movie scene this is, you’ll know how I felt tonight about my entry steps…

I am now working on the entry and the kneeboard/barrier/thing that keeps passengers up front from falling into the stairwell and also something to bolt the handrail onto.

Since I’ve had the bus I have left the original vinyl step covering on the treads. Well, time to fix that.

I thought I’d get back to the project roots and show some rust removal.

First step was to unscrew most of the screws holding the vinyl down, then grind the rest off. (Hey there’s that burning pine-sol smell when grinding, ah memories…)

Next was ripping up the vinyl up, then these terrible tin tread covers/rust traps.

Thus behold the rusty glory:

I don the full face respirator and hearing protectors, and needle scale the rust and old adhesive to this:

Follow up with a flap disc to remove more rust to this:

Then phosphoric rust converter attempt 1 and 2 get it better, but the pits are really deep still.

So, wire wheel, DA sander, and a belt sander again. An application of rust Mort later gets me this:

Clean up with some lacquer thinner, and let everything chill for the night. I’ll spray a decent 2k epoxy on the floor (no more galvanized metal there…)

After that, I’m undecided on the final look other than a big rubber floor mat for catching dirt. Maybe some grip strips on the tread…


Plywood panels on steel frame

Sticking some plywood where it needs to go. To be covered by birch ply, plastic, aluminum, or other.

Metal framing makes all of this so easy. Self drilling lath screws are perfect. The gap between is filled with wires, plumbing, nothing, or sound deadening material.

Panels and ply experiments

Goofing around with the panel stuff. I’m finding steel framing affords a lot of flexibility for interesting ways to connect stuff.

Precision cutting plywood sucks. I hate working with wood.

Got the last interior surfaces on the bed area. This was a pain in the butt too, because of tight clearances and the need to ensure that everything is laid down flat. This will become a set of shelves for the kids stuff, I have place 9″ deep x 74″ wide by about 30″ tall for each of the 4 bunks. Some sort of shelf with bungie netting to hold things in probably.

Last bit of ceiling and more framework.

Getting that last bit of something done always seems to take the longest. I am pretty sure I just finished all the major structure for the interior – the steel tubing and such. To celebrate I re-hung the interior overhead panel in front too.

I am undecided on cutting a big hole in the middle of that front panel for storage, leaving it alone, or something else. Like everything else, it needs a trim panel because the ceiling is higher than before.

This bus is a series of tubes.

Nice to beige you again, beige.