…still can’t be insured.
So the good news is: I got a title that says Auto Home!! YEAH! Auto Home is what Massachusetts calls motor homes. When I originally talked to my insurance company they said this was the key to getting insurance and a camper license plate. Two things I would like very much to have.
The bad new is, I struck out on getting insurance so far…
Now that I have my title (actually it’s in the mail, should be hear next week, but I have a title receipt which the RMV says should be just as good) I figured I’d take a stab at getting insurance. I started out with progressive. Their website actually had a category for bus conversion on the insurance quote form! I thought I was golden. But when I called to buy the insurance, they said “We no longer write those risks.”
Then I tried GMAC (a favorite among RV owners I guess) but they don’t offer coverage in Mass.
So I think I’m going to wait for the actual title to arrive and go back to my insurance company. Perhaps I’ll have better luck there.
No posting sometimes means no progress, sometimes it means I’m too busy making progress to post. This time it’s the latter.
This past weekend brought propane (which you already know) and my new little hot water heater, which I haven’t posted pics of just yet. Also new this week: a closet, some paneling in the bunk area, a new propane regulator and a big hole in the floor for the shower drain.
The black and gray water tanks showed up today. So visions of waste water are dancing in my head.
First things first, let’s see some pictures, because I know that’s the only reason anyone actually checks the updates…
Here’s the new water heater in all it’s water-heating glory. Constant hot water means all five of us can take a hot shower (assuming we have enough water).
Here’s a wide angle so you can see the propane tanks too. Propane isn’t hooked up yet because my auto changeover dual regulator wasn’t here yet. But I have it now, so it’s going on this weekend.
Here’s the new closet. The first picture is looking from the front of the bus back. I know it’s a mess, but the new closet is there on the left, opposite the fridge.
Now here’s a close up. Kerry and I are planning to line the closet with slat board. You may never have heard the term but you’ve seen slat board in stores a million times. It’s everything peg board should be but isn’t. Google it.
Tomorrow, and this weekend, I’ll be working on the gray water tank mounting bracket and the shower plumbing. I can’t wait to run hot water down the drain
Finally got some time today to get back to the bus. Today I wanted to get the hot water working. To accomplish this I needed to make a mount for the propane tanks and a mount for the water heater. I bought a cheap constant hot water heater which I tested Thursday. This unit is meant for outdoor or very well ventilated area, so I’m going to mount it under the bus.
I managed to start the water heater mount and complete the propane mount. I’m really happy with how it came out. I wanted to make sure it was absolutely rock solid and high up enough that it wouldn’t be hit by road debris.
I bought steel for this a few weeks ago. I didn’t have an actual plan but there was a few ideas floating around in my head.
The final mount has three supports to minimize material and mount points. The bottom is 3/4″ plywood with circles cut out for the tanks. A threaded rod with a cross bar holds the tanks down. This is a pretty common system for mounting propane.
Once the basic frame was done I climbed under the bus (about 30 times) to take measurements and weld the needed brackets onto the frame. My motorcycle lift came in handy holding the frame in place while I measured. Here are some of the details of the welds.
Some of the brackets are recycled from the bus seat brackets. Then I painted everything up. Metal got flat black and the plywood got some left over paint from the home theater. I clamped the tank frame to the bus frame and drilled through the bus frame. Let me say that bus frames are not fun to drill through! That’s some hard and thick metal.
Five grade 8 bolts hold the frame in place. Once it was installed it was difficult to take photos in the tight space. It turned out ROCK solid. I’m confident that this could hold about 10 times the weight of these propane tanks. The first photo shows how far the new bracket hangs down (or doesn’t hand down). You can barely see a bit poking below the door.
One drawback to all this is I thought I was going to have ample room for the water heater in this same area. As it turns out I’ve used up more space than I thought in this area where the handicap lift used to be. But there’s lots more space to choose from. Tomorrow, the water heater.
I received my water tank, pump and accumulator tank so I went off to Lowes for some pex connectors and started the plumbing. Pex is so fast and easy it took no time to rough in the initial plumbing. I fabricated a metal mounting bracket for the water tank. This tank is only 30 gallons but there’s room for a second tank so I can add capacity to the system later.
The goal here is to keep things simple and accessible.
Here it is installed. It’s welded to the bracket that used to hold the rear most seats.
Here is the pump and accumulator tank. The pump is the larger 3.5 GPM model. I figured it’d be nice to be able to run the sink and shower at the same time, plus I got a good deal on it.
Grid is 1 foot per division. Note the toilet has moved. There will be overhead cabinets too, wherever it makes sense to put them.
I received my water pump and fresh water tank today. I’m looking forward to starting the plumbing. I’ve decided to change the floor plan. I’ve learned that most (if not all) RVs have the sewer pipe on the driver’s side. To make it easier to route the sewer pipe I’m changing the location of the toilet.
So now the shower and toilet will go in the back. I’ll post an updated floor plan soon.
The second bunks are almost complete. I’ll be glad when they’re done. I have a good idea of how the kitchen will be laid out now. I guess I should really work on that new floor plan.
Anyway, here are some photos of the progress. The space inside is getting tight so I broke out the wide angle lens for these pics.
This is one of the new lights I’m using to replace the light that are already in the bus. They’re standard RV lights you can get on Ebay for like $3.
A nice little score… The was a cable supplying power to the wheelchair lift. It took a bit of effort to extract it from under the bus, but the reward was 20 feet of #2/0 copper wire! Sweet, that’s all the connection wire I’ll need for my battery bank, and more.
Plus, I found a local guy who has some HDPE barrels. 30 gallons only $20 which I’m going to try and use for a gray water holding tank.
Last few days I’ve been dealing with the side door opening. I first bolted the door closed. Then I ran a bead of silicone around the outside and inside. After removing the door handle I filled the holes left behind with bolts.
Then I put strapping on the inside of the door and furred it out to the level of the inside wall. I used the same 1/2 foam insulation to insulate it. Then on to the floor…
The floor has been a bit more challenging. I had a piece of steel from the lift that fit pretty well but I wanted to make sure it was well sealed from moisture. I cut some flashing I had and made some pans to fit the hole. Then inside the pan I’ll put plywood.
Here’s some photos…
The door covered and pan visible.
Just the floor pan…
Once the plywood in over the pan I can frame in the passenger side bunks, shower stall and bathroom.
There is a rear heater in this bus that was in the way of the plans for the fridge. I was going to just eliminate it but Kerry pointed out that is will come in handy, not only while driving in the cold (like heading to Florida in winter) but also as a backup system in case the main propane furnace dies. So the only thing to do is relocate it. I thought it would only take a few minutes, but it was more like a couple hours. It ended up fitting perfectly under the bottom bunk. I extended the heater hoses and turned the heater on it’s side. I had to move one part of the bed framing, but now the heat should shoot out from under the bed.
Here’s the top of the heater
and the front.
The passenger side wall is now framed insulated and clad in panels. The beginnings of the shower walls are coming together. The freshwater tanks are on their way along with the water pump. Once those have arrived I can install them and finish the the shower walls.
Here is the wall clad in paneling
And the beginning of the shower walls
Rainy Saturday today. Just about finished with the first bunks.
My daughter making sure the top bunk is good and solid.
Cutting this panel to fit the ceiling and wall was the biggest challenge so far. Not looking forward to cutting more of them, but there will be more.
Tomorrow I start framing the closet between the bunk and the master bed. I need to secure the side door so I can frame over it. I also need to run some wires before things get too closed in.
Rainy Saturday today. Just about finished with the first bunks.
Man, I’ve been so busy with the bus I can’t find time to blog
The windows we planned to cover are finally all covered. Here’s some pictures, but the drivers side actually has two more windows covered (I haven’t taken a newer picture though):
I insulated the individual openings with some 2″ styrofoam I already had and some 1 1/2″ foil backed styrofoam from Lowes. The 1 1/2″ fit much nicer but at $18 a sheet I decided to use up what I had of the 2″. Then I put strapping horizontally at 16″ on center.
Then I put more insulation between the strapping. I put 1/2″ foam R3 insulation between the strapping. This was cut from a 4′x8′ sheet. Much easier to cut this stuff than the white styrofoam.
Finally I got to put some panels over the strapping. I ran the panels horizontally from just below the wire chase to the chair rail. I’m not planning to cover from the chair rail to the floor since this area will be covered by closets and bunks and whatnot. I figure I’ll use this space as a chase way for wiring. I also left a gap at the top so I can unscrew and remove the wire chase at the top. I’m not sure if I’ll need/want to remove it, but I will cover that area with molding to finish it.