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RVing message boards => Bus Conversions, Buses => Topic started by: Nelson_Danforth on June 26, 2013, 09:20:28 PM

Title: Conversion photos
Post by: Nelson_Danforth on June 26, 2013, 09:20:28 PM
Our bus conversion took a few years, but finally got it the way we want.  Wife and I decided if we wanted a comfortable interior we had to do it ourselves.  Tore out the original interior down to bare ribs then carefully designed and built it back up.  Hopefully we don't have one cubic inch of wasted space.

Not shown in this batch of photos are the walk-in closet, and tub/shower area.  I'll try to push a few more pictures into the Dropbox folder to show more.  Won't bore everyone with a ton of the "in process" photos.

A lot was learned by doing our own conversion from a hollow "bowling alley" through all the electrical, plumbing, and cabinet building phases.  At least we know who to contact if something needs fixed !!  ;D

https://www.dropbox.com/sh/r5n4yhhs5iq4o3v/gUFYwSAfcr
Title: Re: Conversion photos
Post by: Kim (skyking4ar2) Bertram on June 26, 2013, 09:26:47 PM
I am a real sucker for these types of renovations and yours is gorgeous!

Congratulations and thanks for sharing. Do you hire out?  8)
Title: Re: Conversion photos
Post by: Wigpro on June 26, 2013, 09:27:58 PM
Beautiful job and I particularly like the custom drawer under the sink to allow for the bowl....great idea!!

I am considering a similar project and appreciate the ideas....

Enjoy,

Jim
Title: Re: Conversion photos
Post by: halfwright on June 26, 2013, 09:48:00 PM
Absolutely gorgeous. The best do-it yourself conversion I have ever seen.

I was working on converting a MCI MC8 when I boke my femur. I was off work for 6 months, so I sold it to by unimportant stuff, like groceries.
Title: Re: Conversion photos
Post by: SamHill on June 27, 2013, 12:56:46 PM
Nice work! I wish I had the luxury of gutting our bus and starting with a blank slate. If you don't mind,  I'd like to pick your brain a bit on some of the difficulties you ran into.
Title: Re: Conversion photos
Post by: Nelson_Danforth on June 27, 2013, 04:36:04 PM
I am a real sucker for these types of renovations and yours is gorgeous!

Congratulations and thanks for sharing. Do you hire out?  8)
I'm more like .. worn out !!  :P

However I really do enjoy offering advice and ideas.
Title: Re: Conversion photos
Post by: Nelson_Danforth on June 27, 2013, 05:05:09 PM
Nice work! I wish I had the luxury of gutting our bus and starting with a blank slate. If you don't mind,  I'd like to pick your brain a bit on some of the difficulties you ran into.
OK ... but my snags may not be the same ones you will have.  Just to generalize, I consider an initial plan to be critical to the success of the project.  We measured the available interior space carefully then set down with AutoCAD to build it on screen first.  I mean tiny detailed drawings ... down to every nook and cranny.

Electrical and plumbing designs must be figured into the design of the cabinets too.  I'm not happy with lumping bundles of 12v and 120v wires into the same areas.  Most places I used conduit for wiring protection and of course ease of pulling through more wires in the future.  All fresh water plumbing is PEX, with NO fittings between the distribution manifold and end of run (faucets, washer, toilet, etc.).  I don't like to introduce the potential for leaking joints. Although PEX connectors are really very reliable.

Insulation was another of my quirks.  Gotta have lots of it .... says I.  The interior of our bus is surprisingly quiet.  Whereas fellow campers gripe about traffic or train noise, we only hear a faint whisper when we are buttoned up inside.

I made the mistake of putting in two large marine style skylights.  Looked super but let in WAY too much light.  We keep them covered all the time now.  A big waste of effort, cost, and time to do all that when they are not used.

As per my wife's command, I was forced to design in a full bath tub with shower.  She loves it, but I sure could have put the space to better use.

Other thoughts ... keep the paint color light, not dark.  Our bus was a garish combination of red, black, silver, orange, and brown.  The heat from the darker colors could be measured with a laser temp gun on the inside of the bus.  I knew where the black stripes were by aiming the laser on the interior walls.  Now that the bus is painted a lighter color, the temp is much better.

Materials selection can be frustrating ... Carpet is nice feeling, but in a confined single path situation like an RV, the wear is right down the middle.  If you use carpet, install it in such a way that is will be easy to pull up and replace.  Personally, I like an easily cleaned floor.  We purchased Karndean PVC strip flooring.  Tough as nails but still looks like wood. For the entry area we put in heavy duty "dot rubber" flooring, as well as in the drivers area.  There is thin rubber flooring then there is the heavy duty stuff.  For as little as is needed for our bus, we decided to get the more costly thick rubber 24"x 24" blocks.  The thin rubber will telegraph any imperfections in the underlayment.  Don't purchase the uber-expensive mastic that they sell for this rubber flooring.  It will not adhere to stainless steel bus steps.  I tested contact cement and it seemed to grab better. 

Many high line bus converters for some reason stick in outlandish wall sconces that are sized for large homes.  I was fretting over what to do for sconces to get a better scale appearance.  When my wife was shopping at Lowes, she phoned me to ask how many wall sconces I needed.  She came home with a set of stainless steel outdoor patio post lights.  Got them at a close-out sale table for $6 (set of six).  They are 12v, and came with a small transformer.  I tossed it out, kept the lights and machined Corian backplates for the lights.  They are the scale that I was wanting, and in 12v too.  Bulbs are cheap and easy to replace.

Notice that panel of lighted switches over the driver?  They are low voltage switches that control all electrical circuits in the bus.  They are connected to the master relays hidden behind the air operated step cover in the doorway.  From the drivers seat I can kill any or all electric in the bus almost immediately.  There is a logical reason for the different colors. Behind that switch panel (it hinges up) there are terminals that look like a mainframe computer.  Great flexibility there for adding or changing wiring.

Something that many people never see when looking over the interior is the hidden storage under all cabinets in the toe-kick space.

All drawers are full depth all the way back to the walls.  No wasted space there either.  Somewhere (I'm not saying) is a hidden floor safe, and computer thumb drive fireproof storage.

Might not show from my bedroom pictures, but there is an easy access to the top of the engine.  I've seen too many bus conversions where they make that access hard to unearth or even impossible.

Bay areas are in another set of photos and more long-winded explanation.

In case you haven't noticed, I keep adding to this post as I remember things.