I am fortunate to have an amazing person here who is a former diesel mechanic who has patiently given me a crash course in diesel engine care and eased my anxiety. They spotted the source of my oil leak to a new rocker housing that didn't sealed well when replaced. So I my bus to a referred mechanic to fix the leak and get it all ready for driving from NC to OR!
During the few days away from the bus, I plan to work on putting together my solar system! I have everything at the house including the panels. I am glad I planned far enough in advance that I have all the essentials to avoid delays due to supply chain issues.
Working on my bus continues to be more and more exciting as I finish and task and see it coming together, all while spending quality time with my chosen family before I relocate to a dream job in a region that I love. This is a summer I will never forget.
Turns out the piece was poorly installed and cracked. So it needed replaced. I was VERY lucky to have people who know people, who are awesome. So It was all fixed in two days. And I got right back to my 11-13 hour days working on getting it livable asap!
I finally finished the floors and I LOVE it!
I placed 6 millimeter underlayment and bamboo flooring over the liquid rubber layer. In this process, I have learned that I am not very good at flooring -- at least, not with used flooring with nails. I started on the corner by the lift. This was a mistake because 1) the place I start is never as good as after some practice and 2) it was not flush so it created some weird angles that skewed the rest of the floor. With the spaces it looks more like a deck than flooring, which I am actually cool with. Plus, I screwed in each plank so they should be solid in place (again, extra). I will probably research something to fill the gaps and provide more water sealant to the floors.
All that to say, I love how bright the floors look and it is all nice and smooth. So happy I found the used bamboo on Marketplace! It took me the equivalent of 2 full days spread over a few shorter days. I completed it during 90+ degree days. It definitely feels more home-like and I am now able to start moving in the base cabinets I have collected (again, Marketplace). The flooring was a bit step to seeing it come together and be my home. <3
I had an epic scavenger hunt on Marketplace one restless night. I previously mentioned finding the bamboo flooring from Marketplace. I have also found:
The base cabinets I found were a lime green that I painted white. I like using rustoleum because it is an enamel and gives it a great smooth water and chip resistant surface.
I love upcycling something used and saving money!
I cleaned up and finished the rubber around my driver's seat. Since I like that so much, I also picked up some 4'x8' rubber mats from Tractor Supply Co. that are 3/4" to match the thickness of the bamboo flooring. I put this under my bed area becuase it will just be for storage. and the texture will help to keep the rubber bins in place. The amount of bamboo I had would have probably covered it but it would have been close and I would have had to use pieces that were less than ideal. So this felt like a good solution.
After much debating, I went ahead with a new seat that swivels and provides way more space in the driver's area. The previous air ride driver's seat was comfortable but huge and not aesthetically pleasing. The nice thing about the post seat is that I can switch out to another chair if I find this one isn't a good fit. But so far I like it.
And so this is how it looks currently:
After the mess of applying all the spray foam, I spend two days smoothing it over and filling gaps.
Continuing my over the top approach, I added a coat of Flex Seal Liquid rubber paint to the plywood subfloor. Once it has cured, I can start laying the bamboo flooring!
My dear friend, Richard, came with me when I returned to NC . He was a tremendous help with insulating the bus - it was messy and hot!
I handled several smaller updates this last week before moving on to insulation and adding those lovely bamboo floors.
1. Coolant lines
I obtained the right brass bends to properly reroute the coolant lines after removing the back and front heaters.
2. Air line
I had previously removed the air ride seat because it was bulky and I wanted something smaller and that could swivel. This meant that a pressurized air line was cut and flung around when the bus was turned on. As a solution, I found a pressure fitting for the tubing in plumbing that I then adapted to a larger ball valve for a pneumatic tools. For now I am keeping it closed and capped. But this stray air line turned into a possible source to air up bike tires and such. And I was able to conveniently tuck this inside the storage space below my bus that is empty after removing all the lift equipment. All I need to do is remove the cap and screw on whatever attachment I want.
3. Lock doors
Security has been a concern of mine and how I want to lock my doors. It is not prefect yet, but my bus is now lockable. For the back and side doors, I took the simplest approach, drilling holes in the handles and connecting piece of metal then securing a lock through the holes. The main doors now have a BIG 'OL LOCK on them! When drilling the 3/8" holes for the carriage bolts, the two inner screws ran into some thinking supporting steel beams, which led to getting a diamond drill (I couldn't find a 3/8" metal hole saw). After getting through all that, I had a partially used spray foam canister that I decided to fill that section of the door with to keep moisture out and slightly dampen some sound. Since the two doors don't sit flush, I placed a piece of wood behind one side of the lock, which I will replace with some welded metal sheets in the near future. But in the meantime, it is very secure.
4. Miscellaneous stuff
It rained a lot last week, which was an opportunity to identify leaks. I found some small drips here and there which were easy enough to treat with Flexseal puddy since it was wet. But there was one area that was just gushing a stream of rain in the corner in front of my main doors. Long story short, I spray foamed those leaks into oblivion! And it worked. :) I have been in the bus a couple more times while it rained and all seems well (fingers crossed).
No photographed -- I also climbed underneath and completed the dirty task of removing the remaining tubes from the old AC units. I swear I had dirt and debris all over, including inside my ears! So glad that bit was done. The silver lining was becoming even more familiar with the underneath of my bus.
5. Got it running again!
I had trouble getting my bus started again a few weeks ago and have since removed a LOT of wires. So I was anxious to double check I hadn't removed anything I shouldn't have. I was methodical about tracing wires before cutting...but I am not an electrician.
Get the bus going again wasn't so straightforward. Finishing the coolant line reroute was part of it. Then I had to filter and add there coolant that came out of the lines (approx. 5 gallons!). I have also been dealing with some oil leaks. It took about 2 gallons to get to the middle of operating range. Last, I went a head and got two deep cycle marine batteries in case it was a battery issue. So after all these steps, I got her running again and she is doing great -- and no electrical issues! Yah!!
So this is what she looks like at the end of this trip.
When I return, I will have one of my closest friends, Richard, coming with to help with the upcoming projects:
While cruising FB marketplace, I found approx. 200 ft2 of bamboo flooring that someone had pulled out of their house. The price was reduced to $60 -- I was on it!
I debated whether to floor the entire space then build up furniture and counters or to add flooring after the other items. Since I have so much and for such a great deal, I might as well just cover the entire flooring and allow myself more options for the future. It helps that I am only 5'4" so the additional space does not impact my comfort moving around.
Soon after I finish the subfloor, I will start on the flooring. Cutting off the nails will be tedious but still very happy with my find. They will just live in the back of the bus until then!
This week I have been building the subfloor with 1x3 furring strips, foam insulation, and 3/8" plywood. Supply chain issues and increased cost of materials has been a challenge but I am managing to find a middle ground.
The work has been slow but steady with some awkwardness maneuvering 4'x8' sheets alone but I have been enjoying the workout. That and it has been real hot and muggy here in Asheville.
My bus has two cutouts for the diesel tank and access to the engine. I am going to keep both accessible, which means some additional planning and cutting. I am very happy with how they are turning out.
I am wrapping up the subfloor tomorrow! I already have supplies for the next projects... :)
Today the bus bit a chunk out of me! I was moving 4'x8' sheets of plywood around the inside of the bus because it was raining. As I lifted one up, my hand grazed a railing in the ceiling (not a rounded rib). I am sharing because 1) be careful! and 2) I found my skin chunk! There it was stuck where it was scraped.
Fortunately, I finished the night with dinner with my chosen family. I brought some tasty dessert!