Our Progress

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The Tear Down

    •  Remove seats
      • This ended up being easier than we thought it would be.  Not nearly as difficult as grinding off all the rivets holding on the interior wall sheathing.  I did have a bit of trouble at first trying to use DeWalt cutting discs… they’re crap.  I broke two in a row on the same seat.  The next day I went to Home Depot and got four Diablo metal cutting discs and I was able to complete the entire job including some extra tasks I wasn’t expecting to do.
      • Grinder Time
    • Remove old sub floor
      • Alison pulled up most of the old plywood sub floor whilst I was taking out the seats and wall sheathing.  She was pretty sore the next two days…
      • Exposed Floor
    • Remove wall sheathing
      • This ended up being the worst part of the tear down.  I wasted $20 on two Milwaukee cobalt drill bits which I thought would be the best way to get past the rivets.  They were both dull and useless by the time we got thru the first 50 rivets… that’s cool, only 950 more to go.  We ended up taking the cutting wheel off the grinder and going back with a grinding wheel and powered through the rest of the rivets in about 6 hours spread across two days. (Completed on 5/25/16)
      • Removing Side Panels
    • Clean rust/prep floor for rust converter
      • We spent most of Memorial day weekend at the bus working on projects including the rust.  I used the grinder with a cutting disc to take off all the bolt and screw heads still sticking up thru the floor and Alison used a drill with a wire brush wheel and “grinded” the surface rust from the entire floor.  She was covered from head to toe in rust dust when the Saturday was finished.
      • Say hello to my little friend! @toolees #rustkiller #prioritiesbus #priorities #skoolie #busconversion

        A photo posted by Priorities (@prioritiesbus) on

    • Apply rust converter
      • Another project Alison completed on Saturday after I swept and blew the rust and dirt out of the bus after she had done all the grinding.  A leaf blower works wonders in this scenario!
    • Patch floor holes
      • I was going to do this before we sealed the floor but decided to wait until just before I put down the insulation, so we’ll come back to this later.
        • 6-22-16 UPDATE: After using the rust converter and then sealing the floor with Kilz Complete oil based primer we used HVAC Foil Tape to seal all the holes in the floor.  This is the same tape we’re using to seal the seams between the wood floor framing and the foam board floor insulation.
    • Remove reflective stickers from exterior
      • Alison spent a couple hours Saturday, and we spent all of Sunday morning at the car wash removing reflective stickers and washing the bus, including the roof.  Whoever created these things should burn in hell!  Goo Gone would hardly touch these things.
    • pressure wash exterior
      • As stated before, spent most of Sunday morning, and $25 in quarters, on this project.  It wouldn’t have taken so long if not for the damned reflective stickers.
    • Seal floor
      • Alison completed this project too… starting to sound like I’m not pulling my weight.  On Sunday after letting the Ospho rust converter cure overnight, Alison painted the vast majority of the floor with a roller.  After letting it dry I went behind with a brush and did the detail areas.  Per the recommendation of the lady working the paint counter at Home Depot we used Kilz Complete oil based primer for this project as well as the exterior paint primer.Funny side note, the lady at the paint counter showed us pictures of of her own tiny home she is currently working on.
    • Remove old caulk on windows (exterior)
      • While Alison was grinding and rust converting the floor I was doing this… to half the bus.  The old caulk is sticky like chewing gum and covered with fungus and mold.  It took me all day Saturday to get the old caulk off the exterior of the windows and new 100% Silicone caulk back in place.  My shoulders were very sore from reaching up all day.  It also sucked that it seemed like I was getting so little done compared to the great progress Alison was making.  I still have to do the drivers side…
        • 6-22-16 UPDATE:  Still haven’t finished this on the driver side, though I have started it.  The old caulk is really a pain in the ass and we’ve been focused on sub-flooring and exterior paint…
        • 4-17-17 UPDATE:  Still haven’t finished this… I know, I’m bad.  Other projects have taken priority.  It’ll get done eventually.


The Build Up

  • Re-caulk windows (interior/exterior)
    • Half way done with the exterior.  Will do the interior when we’re done with paint.
  • Exterior paint
    • We progressed into exterior paint quickly.  Now that it’s unofficially summer the temps are going to do nothing but go up. We decided we wanted to hurry up and get the exterior paint work done so we could move inside and put a window unit in while we work.  I was able to get two coats of Henry’s Elastomeric roof coating on, and Alison was able to get the bottom half of the bus almost completely primed.  We’ll hopefully wrap up the paint in the evenings this week, or next weekend at the latest.
      • 6-22-16 UDPATE: Still trying to wrap up the paint… check out the blog post: Slow Going
      • 4-17-17 UPDATE:  Exterior paint has been complete for some time now.  A few touch-ups will be required in the future but it’s done for now.
  • Verify no leaks
    • 6-22-16 UPDATE:  We have at least one leak that I am pretty sure is coming from the flashing white light on the roof.  I’m trying to decide if I need to take the light off and seal the hole or just caulk around the light and leave it in place.
    • 4-17-17 UPDATE:  This leak is still pestering us.  It seemed to vanish for a long time then it came back.  I’ve caulked around the light on the roof and it still seems to be an issue when we get a sustained rainfall.  Gotta figure this out.
  • floor framing
    • 6-22-16 UPDATE:  We finished up the floor framing last week.  We used 1×3 planks cut to the width of the bus (90 3/8″) with additional support running down the length of the bus and glued them to the floor with Gorilla Glue Construction Adhesive.
  • floor insulation
    • 6-22-16 UDPATE:  Alison wrapped up cutting the foam board to fit between the floor framing as well as sealing the seams with foil tape.  I’m not sure who’s method this is, but I saw someone on the Skoolie Converters facebook group do it.  So far, so good…
  • plywood sub floor
    • 6-22-16 UDPATE:  This is about 1/3 finished.  Should wrap it up tomorrow.
  • wall insulation
  • interior framing
  • wiring
    • 4-17-17 UPDATE:  Wiring is mostly complete but we do have a little to do.  Will be wrapping up some loose ends over the next few weeks.
  • plumbing
    • 4-17-17 UPDATE:  Plumbing is the next major project.  Will likely begin plumbing in 2-3 weeks.
  • Water tanks
    • 4-17-17 UPDATE:  Will be included in the plumbing process.
  • Propane
  • HVAC
    • 6-22-16 UPDATE:  I’ve been trying to figure out the best method for heating and cooling.  At first I figured the rooftop units would be the best since that’s what all RVs use.  But then I figured out, or so I thought, that they didn’t have heat unless you used the heat strips which everyone says suck.  So then I found some Skoolies using the ductless mini split systems.  So I started looking into those and found there is a wide variety of them on the market and the ones with the best warranties are all pretty expensive, not to mention I had so many people suggesting that the installation of the outdoor unit would be tricky on the bus.  So I had an HVAC guy come take a look at putting one in and he suggested I not do a mini-split system and go back with the rooftop unit.  He informed me that models exist which have a heat pump.  So I started looking back into the rooftop units.  Phoenix Conversions gave me a ballpark estimate of $1500, including parts and labor, for a 15K BTU Coleman HVAC & Heat Pump.  Sounds like that’s the way I’ll be going.
    • 4-17-17 UPDATE:  I ended up pre-wiring the power to the front and rear rooftop locations so that I could close up the side panels above the windows.  We had Phoenix conversions install the rear unit only, leaving the front unit for future expansion should we decide we need it.  We ran into a bit of a pitfall with the unit we chose.  Even with all the research I did, I never discovered that heat pumps must be above ~40°F in order to provide heat.  Luckily the winter wasn’t very harsh so we were able to use a blanket to block of the back of the bus and the heater we bought from Home Depot was able to keep us fairly warm at night, and the Mr. Buddy propane heater helped during the day.  Hopefully next winter we’ll either have a different heat source or we’ll head further south to avoid the colder temps.
  • cabinets
    • 4-17-17 UPDATE:  This is the most recently completed project.  This may be the thing I’m most proud of.  I seriously didn’t think I could build cabinets.  I ended up finding a YouTube video by Anna White where she talks about building “Euro” style cabinets and using these super easy drawer kits.  Before finding her video I was concerned that I couldn’t build the face frame that is a standard of American style cabinets and I didn’t think I could make proper drawers because of my lack of wood working tools.  Her video addressed both concerns and gave me the confidence necessary to do the job.  It worked out marvelously.
  • flooring
    • 4-17-17 UPDATE:  We settled on the “reclaimed oak” 5mm vinyl plank flooring from Lumber Liquidators. It has a great look about it and it comes with a 50 year warranty.  Here’s the problem though:  We installed it as a floating floor and we’re discovering that the planks are sliding very slowly to the back of the bus.  The bus is slightly off level from front to back and so the planks are working their way to the back door.  I’m totally unsure of what to do about this.  I think if we’d have gone with a thicker options (8mm) this may have been less of an issue, or if we’d have installed it from side to side on the bus instead of front to back.  If you have any suggestions on how to fix the shifting we’ve had and prevent further shifting PLEASE contact me.
  • finish walls
    • 4-17-17 UPDATE:  Most of the walls are in but a few still require finishing.
  • tile shower
    • 4-17-17 UPDATE:  This may very well be the last thing we’re able to do.  I’m not sure what method we’re going to use or if I’m going to hire it out or not.