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Author Topic: Heat while on the road  (Read 4297 times)
Chopper Scott
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« on: January 08, 2010, 08:47:35 PM »

Love this heat wave we have going on at the moment. As we are planning on a trip to Orlando/Daytona the end of February I got to wondering. What about heat? I'm in Nebraska and it could be cold still. I've never went anywhere in the bus when heating it was an issue. All I have is the heater/ defroster in the front. I know running the Suburban is not intended for use while moving. I guess running the gen with electric heaters is the most viable option. What do you guys do?
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« Reply #1 on: January 08, 2010, 09:04:06 PM »

Hi Chopper -

I run the OEM coach heat... toasty as can be. Even stopped, same thing, and I've gone through more than a few -26 (and even lower) nights. Not the best choice but - unless I'm plugged in - it's all I've got. Some guys - even with all sorts of fancy stuff on board (Webastos, Pro -Heat, etc.) use a little 100 buck Buddy Heater." Keeps things comfy at minimal cost. FWIW.

All The Best!

Nellie Wilson
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« Reply #2 on: January 08, 2010, 10:29:23 PM »

I don't have the original coach heat as per say, just the front drivers heat/defroster on my MC 7. Maybe I should start chopping wood!!! Grin
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« Reply #3 on: January 08, 2010, 11:57:36 PM »

Wood's good. I know a guy that actually does use wood. Built in a vented thermo-glass stove with a metal (aluminum?) chimney - carries wood in his bay. But he's nuts. Guess you can take a Quebecer out of the woods, but you can't take the woods out of a Quebecer?

Maybe it keeps him from getting homesick?

Nellie
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« Reply #4 on: January 09, 2010, 04:28:39 AM »

The front defroster on my bus can put out an incredible amount of heat and it warms up the front living area pretty good.

Don't folks with regular motorhomes run their furnaces going down the road?  They gotta have heat somehow.
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« Reply #5 on: January 09, 2010, 04:48:36 AM »

 That is true Brian people do run their furnace in motorhomes going down the road they are vented to outside so it is not a problem.
I had a bus with 2 propane units and always used it that way and have friends with buses that have propane furnaces that do.
Keep plenty of propane aboard and go for it

good luck
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« Reply #6 on: January 09, 2010, 05:43:12 AM »

If you're talking about actually while driving on the road, the MH guys do two things - they do run the propane furnace, the idea being that the co-axial or symmetrical nature of the intake/exhaust keeps wind pressures equalized to the extent that the flame is not too compromised, or they simply hang a curtain behind the cockpit and run the dash heat.  If you have dash heat, hang a curtain, and make sure there are no leaks and drafts around the door, I bet you will be nice and warm while driving.  Running the propane all day as well as all night could get pretty spendy.

Brian
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« Reply #7 on: January 09, 2010, 05:49:24 AM »

We have a 40,000 btu Suburban & run it whenever we need heat..... driving or not.

Make sure to check the heat exchanger for cracks periodically or have it done if you don't know how. They will leak co2 into the bus just like a home furnace if not maintained.

TOM
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« Reply #8 on: January 09, 2010, 05:55:17 AM »

One quick question on this subject, a lot of people put the furnaces in the bays, for the outside vent are anyone using the fender wells to vent into or just cutting into the bay doors to create the vent opening.  I realize that when a furnace is mounted in the living area it can be tucked into a cabinet and direct vented outside thru the side wall but was wondering for those that mount in the bays what techniques are prefered.
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« Reply #9 on: January 09, 2010, 05:56:10 AM »

we shut bathroom door (1/2) coach and go from SW Ind to fla in January..you"ll be surprised how fast its gets warmer going south...Use gen set if we get a little chilled and turn off and front heat keeps up(bus)after bus is warm.we also removed all bus heat except front heat & defroster.We had a surban before and used it on the road...co2 detectors are cheap.
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« Reply #10 on: January 09, 2010, 06:18:50 AM »

My Suburban is installed in a bay, and it is problematic.  It is designed to be installed in a cabinet in the living space.  the combustion air intake and exhaust go outside the bus through the side wall, not into a fender/axle space - the MCI bay has a 20" or so space with side wall beside the bay door at the rear passenger side.  The exhaust of the furnace is very very hot, hot enough to ignite combustibles, you have to treat it with respect.  There are length limits to the intake/exhaust piping as well, and 9" is about the longest they discuss in the manual.  The other problem is cold air return.  You need a significant cold air return capability to the furnace, or hot air delivery into the bus will be compromised.  Also, my furnace is in the bay holding the water tanks - and the black water tank is sometimes not the freshest thing.  Without cold air return ducting to the furnace, it was pulling the smelly air out of the bay and pumping it into the bus.  Creating a well enough sealed cold air duct was not the work of a single day, it was quite complex, and a PITA.

If it is in the living space, cold air return is a doddle, but hot air ducting is harder.  It's a trade off, and probably why MH's that use furnaces either have a couple or more smaller ones distributed along the length of the space, or build in venting and ducting from the beginning of the project.  Retrofitting such into a finished bus is hard.

Brian
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« Reply #11 on: January 09, 2010, 06:46:05 AM »

My furnace heat exchanger was cracked and it dumped huge amts of co and co2 into the interior.  I am fortunate the leak was as big as it was cause it made my eyes sting and I couldn't stand it.  Should have killed me and would have if it had been smaller.  Small leaks kill you just the same.

Get a carbon MONoxide detector before you use the furnace again.  Also get a separate Carbon Dioxide detector and mount it as well.  The dioxide will KILL you also.  If you can't find these monitor/alarms local get on the eBay.  Trying to impress on you that you NEED these devices.

My CO monitor chirps and then resets every time my furnace starts.  It kicks of with a slight "whump" and that pressure slips a tiny bit of co out.  It is my "test" that the system is on and sensitive.

John the lucky fool survivor
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« Reply #12 on: January 09, 2010, 07:07:29 AM »

I removed the original bus heat, but used fittings to plumb in a smaller heater core from a 5 ton army truck (24v,3spd fan and big btu's) and put it under the couch with the propane furnace.  It works great!  It's a really easy job as long as your original plumbing wasn't hacked up.  I used a short piece of the original heater hose attached to an appropriate piece of pipe, into a reducer down to heater hose for the hot side and the return side.  No worries about co2 or wheter it's legal to run propane while on the road.  I also kept the core from my old winnie, since it was a nice box style unit as well, and I am going to put it into the bathroom or attach it to the genset. 

Glenn
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Glenn Williams
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« Reply #13 on: January 09, 2010, 07:58:16 AM »

When on the road we use two propane cat. heaters. One in the drivers area and one in the hall near the bath. area. The old girl ( the bus ) is drafty enough the co alarm has never gone off. When parked we use the suburban heaters. One up front and one near the bath. area...Cable
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Ed Hackenbruch
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« Reply #14 on: January 09, 2010, 08:06:09 AM »

We don't have a furnace in our 5A, when going down the road we use the bus heat and it works just fine.
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« Reply #15 on: January 09, 2010, 08:10:03 AM »

I removed all the bus heat but have a 4024 inverter that will run two small electric heaters.

I have never been in REAL cold country but have driven through a snowstorm

The two heaters do just fine but one needs to be in the very front of the bus while driving

So if you have drivers heat and an inverter I would think you should be fine for some cold driving.

Melbo
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« Reply #16 on: January 09, 2010, 08:27:51 AM »

Thanks everyone. I wasn't aware that I could run the Suburban while going down the road. Thanks for answering my question.
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« Reply #17 on: January 09, 2010, 11:01:55 AM »

Or you could put in a fireplace. Shoot the wind going over the smokestack should pull enough draft to keep her burn'n Grin
Grin  BK  Grin
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Busted Knuckle aka Bryce Gaston
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« Reply #18 on: January 09, 2010, 11:34:49 AM »

Ok, here is a crazy thought....... (I have them fairly often)  Grin
 I have an old Model A stainless radiator housing. I was planning on getting a radiator at a swap meet to fit and attach an electric fan used to cool Hot Rods behind it. The PO had a heater, of sorts, plumbed into the line in the AC bay (of my 4108) going to the front defrost so I was going to use that and see if I could create a cool looking heater. It would be kinda narrow so I think I could just make a stand for it.
  Now the questions:
  Anybody even try this or something like it?? Is that something like you did Glenn?? Will that take too much heat from the line going to the defroster?
 
Always thinkin  (and gettin into trouble for it)
  Chaz
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« Reply #19 on: January 09, 2010, 12:25:44 PM »

Chaz,
By golly I think you do use yer head fer something other than a welding helmet holder! Grin

Sounds like it should work!

I'd run the flow thru the defroster first and then thru the "heater" that way it's sure to have defrost and heat! Grin
Grin  BK  Grin
(I still like the idea of a fireplace, and cutting, splitting, and stacking the wood gives you the extra benefit of staying warm while doing the work Grin !)
Grin  BK  Grin
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Grin Keep SMILING it makes people wonder what yer up to! Grin (at least thats what momma always told me! Grin)
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« Reply #20 on: January 09, 2010, 01:13:01 PM »

I kept the bus heat for up front area and also installed two diesel hot air heaters front and rear. Jerry
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« Reply #21 on: January 09, 2010, 01:58:31 PM »

I have the original heating systems in the bus as well as the front heater and defroster.

I took a second front heater out of my parts bus and installed it in my utility room.

This allows me to route the webasto  water thru the add on heater, or while running down the road.

I also have the air top heater to install also.  Over kill yes  but I live in the frozen north and to get outa town it 36 hours before you hit warm weather Smiley
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« Reply #22 on: January 09, 2010, 04:45:25 PM »

Chaz,
That's an awsome idea!  Only drawbacks, is that you can't duct the heat and you would want to keep curious fingers from getting burned.  You could hang it from the wall (with hoses run in the wall) and put a set of Model A headlights and light bar up too!  That would be sweet!

Glenn
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Glenn Williams
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« Reply #23 on: January 09, 2010, 05:46:06 PM »

Chaz,
That's an awsome idea!  Only drawbacks, is that you can't duct the heat and you would want to keep curious fingers from getting burned.  You could hang it from the wall (with hoses run in the wall) and put a set of Model A headlights and light bar up tooThat would be sweet!
Glenn

Grin

Those curious finger will learn real fast to stay away! Look at all the lessons we all had to learn that way! (beside if my memory serves me correct Chaz is unmarried and has no "little fingers" running loose in his bus, besides his dates should all be old enough to know better by now!  Wink !)
Grin  BK  Grin
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« Reply #24 on: January 09, 2010, 05:59:49 PM »

Gee, BK,
Can ya tell I've got a 3 year old boy?  Grin

I've also got an old model A shell.... Nah.  Too much else to spend money on!

Glenn
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Glenn Williams
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Nellie Wilson
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« Reply #25 on: January 09, 2010, 09:55:45 PM »

Hi Ed H. -

You said:

"We don't have a furnace in our 5A, when going down the road we use the bus heat and it works just fine."

Same as me... but what about when you're parked? After this last couple weeks, I see I've got to do something different. Thought I could just follow the sun and be okay, but that ain't workin' out so good. I see you're full-timing too, so maybe you're thinking likewise?  (Or maybe you find better weather than I do?) Anyway, just wanted to pick our brain.

I'd hoped to nab one of Bruce's Pro-Heats by now, but finances haven't permitted. BTW, what's a 'suburban' heater? I see it's pretty popular.

Nellie Wilson
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« Reply #26 on: January 09, 2010, 10:21:02 PM »

Okay, sorry... forgot a couple things.

Tenor, you said,  "I removed the original bus heat, but used fittings to plumb in a smaller heater core from a 5 ton army truck..." What's the advantage... don't you still have to run the coach engine to get heat?

I see others have also removed the coach heat and replaced it with something else. Why? The A/C I understand ($$$) but if the coach heat works, why replace it? What am I missing here?   

Maybe I'll just go with wood.  Smiley

Thanks,

Nellie Wilson
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« Reply #27 on: January 10, 2010, 06:34:40 AM »

Nellie,
I pulled the original system out because it just put out WAY too much heat since the wall ducting had been removed along with the temperature controls.  It also took a huge amount of space in the first bay.  I put 4 milk crates of stuff and a hot water heater in the same space!  When I'm parked, I use 2 Suburban brand propane furnaces that put out about 19K BTU each.  I like these over the Atwood brand because you only need to put 2 small holes in the side of the coach for intake and exhaust.  The Atwood brand requires a large hole big enough to put the whole furnace in from the outside.  When I first started planning the conversion, I thought about a Webasto, or another diesel fired system, but since we use our bus as a well built camper, I couldn't see the expense and necessary maintenance.  Additionally, we already needed propane for the stove and the fridge while dry camping.  I hope that kinda helps all of this make sense.

Glenn
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Glenn Williams
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Ed Hackenbruch
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« Reply #28 on: January 10, 2010, 07:17:53 AM »

Nellie,  1st off, be aware that Glenn has a 7.  Has one more bay than we do in our 5's. Sad   We have a couple of small cube type electric heaters that we use when we are plugged in somewhere.  We also have 2 Olympian catalytic propane heaters that we can use if it gets really chilly, but we try to be somewhere warmer before we need to use those. Smiley  Our bus was converted in 1983 and the PO spent a lot of time in  Mexico so i don't think it is insulated real well, for one thing the insulation available back than was not near as good as what you can get today.  We did put in new double pane windows which were spendy, but did make a difference as did new window shades.  And i guess there is always the option of more clothes. Grin
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« Reply #29 on: January 10, 2010, 07:59:52 AM »

Hello;  heating and cooling can be an issue.  We opted for a webasto with a few extras because comfort is #1 whilst travelling and boondocking. A webasto system is in the bus with an industrial heat exchanger connected into the old bus heating system lines. THe original system is removed.  The dash heat is the only part that is still in use. If needed I can turn a switch and the bus motor heat is piped through the webasto system and provides heat into the coach while underway.
    When boondocking the webasto provides heat thru 5 fan heaters  .  Three thermostats are installed so that each area can be modulated  front; bath; and bedroom (rear).   The other option is that if required the webasto can pump heat back into the engine to warm it up for a cold weather start.   One other option is a valve and some lines into the rear bay to keep the bay warm during extreme cold. Have not had to use that one yet.
   So far the system has performed well.  We had to install a bigger water pump than the system originally called for because other people had problems  and we did not want to go down a similar road.
     The system has worked well so far with one year of operations now.  Probably 7 or so full days use and 10 or so one time runs to get the coach warm.   
    We are very happy with the system.  The price is steep around 3500 although now you can get proheat units used out of trucks and buses for a more reasonable figure.
  Regards and happy bussin  mike 

 
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« Reply #30 on: January 10, 2010, 09:28:09 AM »

We have a 40,000 btu Suburban & run it whenever we need heat..... driving or not.

How much gas does that use?

For that matter, can you tell me the make and model of your LP regulator?  I need to find one larger than what I have.
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« Reply #31 on: January 10, 2010, 04:09:10 PM »

Nellie,

Unless you are in VERY cold country you can easily heat your bus with two small portable electric or LP heaters.

The electric ones are only about $20 at WM and the LP ones are around $70 at Camping World or any RV dealer.

The LP heaters do make a lot of condensation inside the bus but really throw out the heat, we've never used ours on the high setting yet. They use the one pound camping type LP cylinders which only last about 4-5 hrs. I have one of ours hooked up to a 20lb tank in the baggage with a hose which allows moving it around where I want it and it lasts much longer.

The electric ones have 1000 and 1500W settings and are very small and lightweight. If you get these be sure to get ones with thermostats, the others run all the time. If you are hooked up most of the time these do the job.

Both types work much better if you are able to isolate sections of the bus. Heating the whole bus at night is a waste of energy as is heating the bedroom during the day.

These are inexpensive and you can move the heat around to where you want it.
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« Reply #32 on: January 10, 2010, 04:12:39 PM »

I use the coolant to heat running down the road. Defrost core and 2 heater cores. Also 2, 3 way valves. I run the coolant to the hot water tank with a 3/4 inch line welded to the outside. 1 valve allows heat to rear heater and 1 valve to the front for defrost and other heater. Both are manual (simple) so I can heat domestic water without heat in the heaters ( summer ) Both are truck type heater cores with 12v fans. I have a couple larger heaters from buses to sell here or Ebay if anyone is intrested.  Tom Y
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« Reply #33 on: January 11, 2010, 05:48:21 AM »

In my case, I don't use the bus enough to have seperate stationary and on rhe road heat sources.  I will just run my Proheat when going down the road once I get that system installed.  I could put in a flat plate exchanger for heat from the engine, but even that requires expense for a circulating pump.
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« Reply #34 on: January 11, 2010, 10:59:11 AM »

Thanx BK. Since I am also Hot Rodder I thought it might be cool. And as far as little fingers, you're right, no crumb snatchers. But I have known a couple girls with little fingers!  Wink   Grin    Grin 
But either way, the fan has a decent shroud on it but I can always screen it if necessary. BTW, I am setting up another radiator fan as a "Fantastic Fan" in the vent hole of my 4108. It will be a BUNCH cheaper and them bad boys move some air and not too loud. I'll post pix when I get it done.

Ducting the heat is not do-able as you mentioned, Glenn, but then I think I will be ok. I really want it for heating the front of the bus while driving. For that I am VERY glad to hear small electrics will work. I use a small Pelonis in my office and also in the bus. I think I'll get another one. If you got an "A" Shell, just start watching around for a good deal on a radiator. It should be able to be built pretty reasonable since you have the shell. I also do have a light bar which really would be cool but not sure I have the room. I have it on the wall in my Hot Rod shop.

Also, BTW, I have a Big Buddy, which I do love, but like was mentioned, it puts out a butt-load of moisture. The 1# tanks can be rather expensive but I have the adapter that you can use to fill them off a larger tank so I don't even know what the 1#er's actually cost. I also have the hose for large tanks.

And here is my point and question: I also have a 1K watt Honda Gen. that just purrs like a kitten. I'm pretty sure it could run two electric heaters (??) so I wonder if it would be a better deal to go that route as oppsed to the drawbacks of using propane? Thoughts?

Nelli, do you have a small gen. that you could use the two small electric's? That might be the "hot Ticket". (No pun intended Grin) But if I had my druthers, I'd do a Proheat or Webasto when I got the money. Obviously, I don't right now either.  Grin Grin Grin

I think your setup is the best, Mike. But as you said, kinda pricey.

I've thought about your way too, Tom. When I get to that, I may ask and find out what you thought worked and what doesn't. I may even increase the size of my tank.
Thanx Guys!!!
Chaz
 
























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« Reply #35 on: January 11, 2010, 11:58:55 AM »

Chaz,
the 1k generator would only run one 1000 watt heater that is a pretty small heater. most heaters are like 1500 watt.
I guess you could run one on low.

John
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« Reply #36 on: January 11, 2010, 12:39:46 PM »

You guys are the best!

Picking up so many ideas. And sure nice to know I'm not alone in muddling through alternative solutions. I look at some of these buses and think "Amazing what $$ can buy." I look a mine and think, "Amazing how lucky you've been."

But knowing other folks are 'making do' and getting through gives me great hope.

Some day, God willing, a Pro Heat. But today I'll just pray for a break in the weather.  Smiley

Nellie Wilson
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« Reply #37 on: January 11, 2010, 01:03:11 PM »

Chaz,
That Model A setup would look great in the middle of the dash at the top step facing the rear of the coach.  You could tie it right into the defroster line. 

Glenn
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« Reply #38 on: January 11, 2010, 03:25:34 PM »

Quote
Some day, God willing, a Pro Heat. But today I'll just pray for a break in the weather. 
Hey, my buddy, who lives there, says San Diego is still fairly warm!   Roll Eyes   Grin  I know, fuel is a bite!
But as for fuel, ya might want to contact Charlie Davidson. He is running on waste veggie oil and seems to be doing real well with it! I gave him about 100 gallons or so on his way thru. He plays gigs all over and is getting a good network of "oil stops" together.......... just a thought.  Grin  You'd need to be willing to get kinda dirty and learn a lot about the stuff. Both realistic deterrents.

Glenn,
 That would be an awesome looking spot but space, the need to get into the dash and the need for heat a little further back lends me to believe it should be further back. But that would be a very cool spot!!!
Maybe in the side of the sink cabinet.  Huh Huh Huh

Chaz
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Pix of my bus here: http://s58.photobucket.com/albums/g279/Skulptor/Motor%20Coach/
What I create here:   www.amstudio.us
 
"Imagination is more important than knowledge". Albert Einstein
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