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: My new project  ( 3077 )
mike802
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« : August 16, 2010, 04:19:32 PM »

This project may take a little explaining.  My wife and bought a new 30 foot travel trailer back in 2000.  We were very excited to have it and we towed it around camping for a couple of years.  My father had a seasonal site at a camp ground and we had the opportunity to put our trailer next to his, so we rented a seasonal site there.  It was fun and nice to just jump in the car and spend a weekend at the lake, but I was busy in the shop and we ended up not using it enough to justify the expense, so we towed it home and parked it in our driveway.  I always had trouble chasing leaks around the roof, every time we used it I had to climb up there and reseal some section.  I figured the trailer flexed so much during towing that it needed regular resealing, so when we towed it home I cleaned the roof good and sealed the whole thing.  I was real busy in the shop, so we didn't use it for several years.  My father bought a new motor home and last year moved to a new camp ground.  My wife decided it was time we started having a life once again and we had the chance to park out camper next to my fathers, so we towed it out last fall and put it in storage.  This spring our site was not ready and we had to wait until mid summer to put it on the site.  Once in place we started going out to camp and getting the trailer ready.

I was so heart broken when I saw the look in my brides eyes, even my father who is normally as male dump as I am picked up on it and told her not to cry that it would be ok.  Our camper that we were so proud of just a short 10 years ago was all rotten.  I couldn't believe it, I first noticed it at the door bottom and figured I could fix that easily enough, but as we continued cleaning and getting it ready we soon found additional spots.  The floor on one side of the entry door was real spongy.  One corner in the master bedroom was all rotten, as well as the roof over the bunks and the fridge.  The floor under the slid out rotted and I have no idea how I am going to get the slid to go back in.  I usually do not hesitate to take on big projects, but this is one I cant justify putting the needed time and effort into.  It is junk, and rebuilding junk is just not worth it.  I have to take some credit, I should have tended to the roof while the trailer was sitting.  I made the mistake of thinking since it was not flexing from towing that it would be ok, dumb idea.  So what does a man do when he see's the woman he loves just about in tears?

"Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man's character, give him power" - Abraham Lincoln
http://www.mjamsdenfurniture.com
mike802
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« #1 : August 16, 2010, 04:54:02 PM »

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So what does a man do when he see's the woman he loves just about in tears?

He goes out and buys her one of these and turns it into a palace on wheels.



Yea I am probably in over my head, but I once rebuilt a pop up so I think I am up to the task.  I am also a furniture maker and upholster, so the inside should go well.  I don't know much about buses, but my son does. I have restored many car's, so I am confidant I can handle it.  I just have to get over it's massiveness and learn how to drive the thing.  My son drove it home, it was about 200 miles one way and the bus ran and drove well.  Once home we noticed some things that we over looked before I bought it.  The radiators are going to go south any day, I am surprised they survived the trip home.  I need a new alternator and I have already replaced the batteries.  Everything on this thing is commercial grade  (ie expensive) so it will be a few weeks, or longer before I can afford to fix it, but my son and I can do the mechanical work ourselves.

The bus was fully seated when i brought it home.


There is plenty of work I can do before I am able to order repair parts. Pulling out all the seats was one job that my son and I worked all one weekend on.
This picture shows the seats removed, I left a few in and turned one around just incase we decide to take her for a spin, but they to will have to come out soon.


The next weekend my wife, son and I tore out the luggage racks and the bathroom partitions


This thing is built like a tank and things come out hard.  I am glad for the help, there is just no way I could do this myself, or at least I would still be working on the seats.

This is a picture of the poo pot.  I haven't figured out how to get this thing out yet.  It looks like the holding tank is to big to fit out from under the buss and I think it will have to come out by coming up into the coach and out a window?  I will have to do some research, I have found a couple of bus conversion forums and someone their should have already done this.


I suggested to everybody that we just leave it.  I could build a nice lid for it, fill it with ice and keep some cold ones in there >:(  That didn't go over to well.

If anyone is interested in following this project I will post pic's as I go, don't know how regular thy will be, but I really would like to get this done within a year.
« : August 16, 2010, 05:05:43 PM mike802 »

"Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man's character, give him power" - Abraham Lincoln
http://www.mjamsdenfurniture.com
Mojo
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« #2 : August 16, 2010, 05:27:49 PM »

You got yourself an MCI ?  Dang dude. :)

The MCI is built like a fortress. The Prevost was always the popular one with Greyhound but I always preferred the MCI's myself.

I imagine it has a Detroit in it which is a great old engine. All the components ( steering, brakes, tranny, frame, etc. ) is extra heavy duty. Your very lucky you have a son who knows diesels. :)

There are several forums online for RV'ers ( IRV2.net and also RV.net ). There are also MCI bus conversion forums and I suggest you join as they will be a wealth of information. I will try and answer any questions you may have on the RV systems but I have my bus maintained by a friend of mine who is a diesel mechanic so I know little about them.

Now is a great time to be buying RV interior components. With the downfall of many manufacturers there are a lot of parts out on the market. Search carefully and you should run across some good deals. Keep a close eye on E-Bay.

There will be some items you can salvage from your travel trailer but some you wont want to put on your MCI. I suggest going with a 50 amp system and if your going to be traveling with it then consider a 6 house battery placement. If it was me I would go with a residential style fridge. Most new MH's these days are now being made with them as they are getting away from the dual system RV fridges ( propane / electric ).

Let me know if you have any questions. Congrats on your purchase. I have seen some awesome conversions with these MCI's. :)

Chris
mike802
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« #3 : August 17, 2010, 09:44:07 AM »

Chris: Thanks for the encouraging words.  What type of bus do you have?  There are a few things I can use from the trailer, guess I will figure out just which ones as I go along.  I have considered a house hold type fridge, but the rv fridge in our trailer works and is not to small.  It would be nice to install a residential fridge and avoid cutting into the roof and walls of the bus. I have room to tipple the size of the holding tanks used in the trailer, so I will be in the market for new tanks.  I have one good roof mounted air conditioner, bathroom fixtures, furnace and a large awning that I think will be usable at this point.  The engine is an 8v71 and according to the previous owner was rebuild 70 thousand miles ago.  The engine has a sticker on it from the company who rebuilt it, so I could "supposedly" call and get the details.  It has a manual 5 speed trans.  The clutch is stiff, but did loosen up some on the trip home, we oiled and greased all the linkage and that has helped some also.  I think I would have preferred an automatic, but my son insists I will be better off with the manual.  My only experience driving this thing is backing it up and down the driveway.  I am not real excited about the door, it is the bi fold type and not real conductive to rv use. I am thinking about fabricating an rv type door to replace it.

My son has a 1961 mci mc5 that he has been restoring for about 4 or 5 years now. He has not done much on the cosmetics, but instead has been working on the mechanical end.  He has taken it to AL. a couple times.  He has a friend there who has a scenicruiser, they are not into the rv conversion thing, they like buses as buses.  Ill give him a few years ;D

"Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man's character, give him power" - Abraham Lincoln
http://www.mjamsdenfurniture.com
Mojo
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« #4 : August 17, 2010, 10:49:19 AM »

I have an 05 Holiday rambler Ambassador. It's a 40 footer with 4 slides - Cummins 330 and the Allison 6 speed automatic.

Even if the RV fridge is still good I would strongly consider going with a residential. If you go through all that work of using the RV fridge and it pukes, your looking at HUGE bucks for a new cooling unit. My son had his replaced and it cost him $ 1,200 just for the coil. :(

This is why so many manufacturers are going to the residential fridges. The RV fridges are not the most dependable and are expensive as hell to have anything replaced. I just replaced the circuit board on mine at the tune of $ 230.

If you go the expense of adding any more air con roof units consider the combo heat pump / air con systems. We use our heat pumps all the time which cuts down on propane use.

The trend seems to be going all electric with RV's now. But you need a good battery bank/inverter system as well as a good generator. My generator is an 8 K diesel and does an excellent job.

See about joining one of the Bus conversion forums out here. Typically these guys are a wealth of information.

Best of luck and PM me if you have any questions. I cannot wait to see the pictures as the work progresses.

Chris
mike802
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« #5 : August 18, 2010, 08:59:22 AM »

Chris: Those are some nice looking rigs.  The slides are really nice, they open up the interior a lot.   We really liked the slide on our trailer, but I wont be adding one on the bus project, think I will keep it simple for my first conversion.  It looks like the only way to get a full size fridge on the bus is to remove one of the windshields. If I go that route might as well just replace both windshields as they are starting to cloud around the edges and the rubber is getting old and there are some signs of leaking around the dash.   I did join a bus conversion forum and those guys had some really good ideas for getting the black water tank out of the bus.  The one I like the best is to just leave it and fill with expanding foam.  What ever I do,  I hope to have it done this coming weekend.  I will keep the pic's coming as I get things done, my son just bought a digital video camera, so maybe we can get some video up.

"Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man's character, give him power" - Abraham Lincoln
http://www.mjamsdenfurniture.com
Mojo
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« #6 : August 18, 2010, 09:07:25 AM »

I think if I had to replace my tanks I would go with a 100 gal fresh water tank - 75 gal grey tank and a 40 gal black tank. I know in the conversion buses they go big because they have so much CCC ( cargo carrying capacity ). I forgot the exact numbers but we utilize the grey tank a lot more then the black tank. The grey tank always fills up fast.

I believe they have to remove the windshield on my coach also to get the fridge out. When my fridge goes, I am replacing it with a residential unit. I am sick of screwing around with this POS RV unit.

I do not know what your plans were for an inverter but I wouldn't go with anything less then a 2,000. Magnum makes some very good units which is what I have. It has the three stage charger with remote display. As I said before if you go with a residential fridge then your going to want to go with a 6 house battery setup.

If you get into the project and have any questions, let me know.

Chris
regalman190
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Custom Marine Canvas Rochester, NY


« #7 : August 22, 2010, 06:30:38 PM »

That is a big project. But, I bet it will be amazing when you're done!

Regal Canvas
mike802
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I'm a llama!


« #8 : August 24, 2010, 09:30:11 AM »

Quote
That is a big project
  Man you got that right.  I hope I get her done befor I run out of steam.  Last weekend my son and I wrestled with the old black water holding tank and we got it out, took most of Saturday morning.  Then I stripped out the carpeted wall panels and the baseboard heating ducts and removed the last few seats.  Next I will work on cleaning up my mess and getting a clear working space for removing the ceiling.  Then I will remove the inner wall panels held on with thousands of rivets.  Once that is done we can start insulating and putting things together.  Can't wait to start building instead of ripping out.

"Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man's character, give him power" - Abraham Lincoln
http://www.mjamsdenfurniture.com
Mojo
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I'm Always In Trouble


« #9 : August 24, 2010, 11:04:49 AM »

That is the fun part of a renovation project - putting it all together. Its always fuyn to watch a project come together.

Be sure to post pictures as you go. :)

Chris
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