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Author Topic: Conversion question!  (Read 3159 times)
steve5B
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« on: July 18, 2007, 03:50:15 PM »


  Hello everyone,

  Ready to start the conversion of my MCI-5B. As of this moment Interior removed, Restroom, windows, road air. etc.  I have re skinned the sides, windows in place roof air installed  Walls covered with plywood.

Floor also remove and new plywood replaced.  So far I thought it would be a cake walk , what was I thinking!  So, back to the Subject CONVERSION QUESTION!  Can one purchase a set of blueprints for a 35' conversion or do you build as you go? 

Any input would be Great!

Steve5B,

Thanks in advance.

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Busted Knuckle
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« Reply #1 on: July 18, 2007, 03:59:27 PM »

So far you "been building as you go right"? I'd say take and get some graph paper and draw some layouts that suit you! then take and get some kinda non permenant marking utensil and go out and draw in actual size on the floor to exact measurements what your thinking! Then walk back and forth in the aisle and see if it's gonna be comfortable and still suitable too you! After all it's yours do it your way!
Now keep in mind I don't have a conversion, haven't built a conversion and don't have a clue about starting one, but this is what I'd do! So let the flames begin!
Grin  BK  Grin
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Dreamscape
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« Reply #2 on: July 18, 2007, 04:03:07 PM »

Get some blue paint masking tape, mark your floors where walls and other important things go. You can always remove and reposition the tape. This of course after you have a plan drawn up to scale to make it all fit as you like.
Good Luck, you are well on your way to having more fun.  Grin

Happy Trails,

Paul

Dreamscape

It would also help to know where you are located, maybe someone close can give you some on the spot guidance.
« Last Edit: July 18, 2007, 04:51:27 PM by Dreamscape » Logged
Busted Knuckle
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« Reply #3 on: July 18, 2007, 04:04:40 PM »

Get some blue paint masking tape, mark your floors where walls and other important things go. You can always remove and reposition the tape. This of course after you have a plan drawn up to scale to make it all fit as you like.
Good Luck, you are well on your way to having more fun.  Grin

Happy Trails,

Paul

Dreamscape

See told ya I had no clue!

Thanks Paul! Why didn't I think of that! LOL!
Grin  BK  Grin
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Busted Knuckle aka Bryce Gaston
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Dallas
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« Reply #4 on: July 18, 2007, 04:08:31 PM »

I agree with Bryce on that, except you might think about using masking tape or Duct tape for marking things out.

I'm not sure what kind of blue prints you really need, but you could look through a bunch of the Stick and staple manufacturers websites and peek at the floor plans they use.

One problem you will run into is that the bulkheads aren't the same in every bus, and where you have to put things like tanks, toilets and the keg refrigerator is going to be a lot different then where someone with a GMC or an MC7 will put it.

Everything you lay out on the floor will need to match with where the lower bulkheads are.

Bryce:
I'm sure we can find one of those Setras that would make you a good conversion, then we can tear it down and build it back up just the way you want it!

Dallas
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« Reply #5 on: July 18, 2007, 04:19:40 PM »

Quote from: Dallas
Bryce:
I'm sure we can find one of those Setras that would make you a good conversion, then we can tear it down and build it back up just the way you want it!

Dallas

Ah Dallas you catch on quickly! As you are aware of I do sorta have a "spare or parts bus (Setra of course)" that is a very likely candidate for a conversion to a party bus/single mans conversion (company titled, insured, built, maintained, etc.)! Have I split the beans enough on the other post about "a project Dallas and Dad are unaware of yet!?"
Grin  BK  Grin
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« Reply #6 on: July 18, 2007, 04:31:23 PM »

You didn't mention if you insulated the walls and ceiling?  Hopefully you did.
As to blue prints, there are suggestions that can be made, but each bus has its' own design features that have to be addressed.  For example- what do you design around the wheel wells?  Where do you place the toilet for the ideal direct down to the tanks-although it isn't a must?  What wiring do you need to do first?  Plumbing ideas?

I don't know exactly what you need, but in a 35ft'r, this is what I'd do.  Starting in the rear have a queen size (80" x 60") island bed.  That pretty much will take the last 8ft of the bus.  Then on the left wall in front of the wheel well will be a shower, toilet and sink for the next 6ft.  Then 7ft for the kitchen and the remainder for captains chair with lamp table over the front wheel well.  On the right wall in front of the rear wheel well can be your closets with the reefer close to the kitchen.  Then 7ft for a dinette, another 7ft for the pull out sofa/bed, then a captains chair over the front right wheel well.  Just a thought.  Good Luck, TomC
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« Reply #7 on: July 18, 2007, 04:45:05 PM »

For those of us who are who are paper(design challenged) I buy what I am going to put in an area. ie the
 mattress. I move it around until I like the feel show the wife then start building. For the bathroom I got the shower toilet
 and sink lined up where I want them and designed the wall around them. I found out that I am always wanting 2 inches more
 than what I put on paper.

   It probably is a slow way on doing it but then this isn't a race (if it was I already lost)


   Skip
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Barn Owl
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« Reply #8 on: July 18, 2007, 04:46:04 PM »

In addition to marking the layout on the floor, I would go to an appliance dealer or a bike shop and get some large cardboard boxes. Then I would make a full size mockup of the interior. There are also books that help with ideas. I have seen the link posted here on occasion. Also, go to a bus gathering an look at some real life examples.
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steve5B
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« Reply #9 on: July 18, 2007, 06:00:02 PM »



  Hey everyone,


 Thank you for your input,  Looking forward to putting it all in thought!   Have a Question for Tom C,

 Tom, what do you do for the wheel wells on the inside? I like your Idea as to start from the rear of the bus.

Once again, thanks to all

Steve5B.........
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« Reply #10 on: July 18, 2007, 06:23:45 PM »

Steve, I was going to mention the cardboard mockups, but Laryn beat me to it.  In some cases, you need the three-dimentional reality.   

We're redoing the interior of the 4107, originally designed with kids in mine - now unlikely to carry anyone that hasn't received at least one AARP solicitation.  It's amazing the difference one or two inches makes.  We recently installed two sets of coach seats, facing, and I'm building a dining table to go between them.  A couple of weeks ago, I took the table top to the coach and we tried it out.  It worked on paper, and was do-able, but after trying it, I shaved a total of 1.5 inches off the table to make it more comfortable getting in and out of the seats.  It meant re-mortising six hinges to gain the 1.5 inches, but that little bit will make a world of difference.  The tape layout is a good start, but here's the difference.  My oversized rear end will fit fine by the tape marks on the floor, but if there's a fixed object 2-4 feet high, I find out if I have to exhale first.

It's kind of like looking at furniture in the store, it all looks like it'll fit.  Then you get it home, and find out that five pounds of stuff really won't fit into the three pound room. 

I also want to replace the original, household size refrigerator with an apartment size, to pick up a couple of inches of aisle width (yeah, that's really the reason, it only helps that the ugly yellow color of the darned thing won't go with my cherry, maple, and walnut woodwork).

Now, a request (or suggestion).  If you put your location in your profile, or, even better, in your signature, there are a lot of folks here that can help you by showing you their coaches.  If I remember correctly (I'm a GM guy) - the 5 and the 4107 were competitors at 35 feet.  That brings up another issue as you're looking at coaches ---  the difference between a 35 and a 40, and the difference between a 96 and 102 inch width.  If I had the extra 5 foot length, or six inch width, my design considerations would be totally different.   Important to remember when you're looking at other folks' creations.   

Arthur
« Last Edit: July 18, 2007, 06:28:36 PM by Runcutter » Logged

Arthur Gaudet    Carrollton (Dallas area) Texas 
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« Reply #11 on: July 18, 2007, 06:34:00 PM »

OK, all you GM owners out there, I don't mean to hi-jak this very good thread, but I also have a question that may help our newbie.

When you're cutting your walls and cabinets and all that, how do you get all those beautiful curves in your woodwork to fit so perfectly with the ceiling curves?  I always managed to have about an inch gap somewhere in mine.  I tried to use a cardboard cutout, but even that was never satisfactory 

I have no idea how to get that perfect finished look that so many of you have achieved.  In fact, my wife suggested that I hire a carpenter to build the interior of my next bus  Cry but I want to do it myself...

Any ideas would be appreciated...
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Dallas
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« Reply #12 on: July 18, 2007, 06:45:52 PM »

OK, all you GM owners out there, I don't mean to hi-jak this very good thread, but I also have a question that may help our newbie.

When you're cutting your walls and cabinets and all that, how do you get all those beautiful curves in your woodwork to fit so perfectly with the ceiling curves?  I always managed to have about an inch gap somewhere in mine.  I tried to use a cardboard cutout, but even that was never satisfactory 

I have no idea how to get that perfect finished look that so many of you have achieved.  In fact, my wife suggested that I hire a carpenter to build the interior of my next bus  Cry but I want to do it myself...

Any ideas would be appreciated...

Jimmy,
The inside radius is pretty easy, once you figure it out.
I asked on a lot of boards how to go about it and no one would tell me.
I got the answer from watching Tommy Silva on "This Old House".
Cut a piece of cardboard to fit at the bottom and roughly close to the wall curve and the ceiling curve. Keep it within an inch or two.
Get a compass or a pair of dividers with a pencil tied on one side.
Now, while someone holds the cardboard steady, put the point of the compass on the ceiling and the pencil on the cardboard.
Keeping the compass at the same angle all the way, follow the wall to the floor.

cut out the cardboard adding the width of the compass at the bottom.

Waa----Laaa you have a perfect pattern.

IHTH

Dallas
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maria-n-skip
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« Reply #13 on: July 18, 2007, 06:52:07 PM »


 And then I take From where Dallas states and Make a template from the cardboard onto 3/8 plywood.
  hand file the template for any glaring bad spots
   I lay the final peace on the plywood clamp it together, Cut it close with a jigsaw and then use
  my router with laminent bit.

   Not alway as good as the pros but  I can repeat all day long and not worry.

 Skip
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brojcol
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« Reply #14 on: July 18, 2007, 07:01:17 PM »

OK, one more reason to think Dallas is awesome! Roll Eyes

And thanks Maria-n-Skip.  If I could make just one good template, I could definitely just do the cut-outs...

Now I can't wait to try this out!
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« Reply #15 on: July 18, 2007, 07:24:16 PM »

Steve, You were asking about wheel wells?  On my 5C I plan on a closet over one in th rear and drawers or the vanity over the other. In the front it will be a couch and a dinnet.  I put some double bubble and 1/2 inch pywood over mine also.  Tom Y
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« Reply #16 on: July 18, 2007, 07:30:31 PM »

Brojcol,
     I made  template out of the foam insulation board that I used.  I made the template when I had the bus stripped to the ribs and outside skin. The template was made by several rough cuts then tracing along a rib and rasping to fit. After I had my furring strips and interior panels in I marked the template with their thickness (using a block cut to the total of furring and paneling) then re cut the template along that line with a saber saw.  I then used this one template to mark the stock (plywood) for all walls cabinet ends etc.  When i cut the stock I'd leave about 1/4" beyond the template.  Then I'd scribe and rasp till I was happy with the fit.  I used aluminum channels to mount my walls to the sides and ceiling  So for the walls I'd scribe 1/16 way from the side and ceiling then form the aluminum channel to fit the panel (lots of hammering).  The aluminum Chanel is screwed onto the furring strips and nicely holds the wall.
Regards
Jerry 4107 1120
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« Reply #17 on: July 18, 2007, 07:31:55 PM »

Quote from: Tom Y
I put some double bubble and 1/2 inch pywood over mine also.  Tom Y

Was it already chewed or still in the wrapper?
Sorry I couldn't resist as we've been buying huge bags of "Double Bubble" gum lately and the land lord takes them and pokes a hole in the mole hills in the yard with his walking stick then drops a few peices in each hole! He swears it'll get rid of them suckers! But so far I ain't convinced! It seems too me they just go spastic and dig straight up instead of tunneling across the yard! LOL!
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 #18 on: July 19, 2007, 12:08:47 AM »

As far as radius template, I first used cardboard to make a template for the template.  Then transfered it ont 1/4" plywood.  Even at that, you have to fit, fit, fit, to make it fit.  My ceiling is painted semi gloss white over plywood, so any gaps, I used white silicone smoothed with the finger.  When using silicone always use about a half of what you think you need, then smooth with your finger.

As to the wheel wells, in the back, since my 130gal water tank is under my bed, that caused the bed to be rather high.  So I made a step up platform on either side of the bed on top of the wheel wells. Now the platform height is correct to the raised bed for getting in and out of bed.  Just have to step down from the platform. It is just the right height where my 5'5" wife can stand straight up next to the bed-I have to stoop a bit, but it isn't really much of a problem.  Between the rear of the wheel wells and what used to be the back bench is storage under a trap door on each side. 
In the front-on the right side, the passenger captains chair is directly above the wheel well with the sofa/bed also at the same height as the wheel well.  On the left side I made a wood cabinet (not real attractive, but works) that has my complete electrical system in it.  It is a 100amp system with one breaker box for the gen/land line switch over; another breaker box for the direct powered 120vac; another breaker box for the inverter powered items; 12v circuit breakers; 2500 watt Trace inverter; and strangely my generator radiator expansion tank that is enclosed in a wood box with drain in case it leaks.  My 10kw Powertech generator is next to the drivers seat like a front engine.  But on your 5B can mount the gen in the under storage. On my bus, I have 22" of under floor space.  Yours is more like 36"?  Good Luck, TomC
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Tom & Donna Christman. '77 AMGeneral 10240B; 8V-71TATAIC V730.
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« Reply #19 on: July 19, 2007, 09:07:18 AM »

Steve,
How do you plan on using your bus?  Just one or two on board traveling from RV park to RV park or occasional friend or two dry camping or a lot of entertaining with two or three couples? Try to think of how you are going to use the bus and plan your layout to support that. We plan on just the two of us most of the time so the living room will suffer to support bigger bed and bath; wife said we will have a full bath tub. 

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« Reply #20 on: July 19, 2007, 10:44:15 AM »

Steve5B,

Ah, a fellow 35'er.

Hope you insulated every thing you can.  Pay extra attention to the over the engine area.  Both for noise control and keeping the bedroom cool.  Nothing like a ton or so of hot cast iron to keep you 'warm' on that hot summer eve.  We bought our first conversion already converted and learned many things we plan to do differently with the 4107, also a 35 footer.

Some of the things we learned and plan for the 'new' bus.

1. Insulation is more important than you can believe. 

2. White is where its at for heat control, roof and sides with tasteful, minimum accents, see number 1.

3. Old bus has queen bed.  Hard to make, tight in a 96" coach.  We are use to king.  New bus will have twin beds.  Two twins equal a king.  Takes less length for the bedroom.  In your case also solves the rear wheel well problem.  Makes storage easier too, overhead cabinets for the entire length of the beds.

4. We want to avoid the long tunnel look.  That is some type of L shaped kitchen/bath so you don't see the bedroom from the front of the coach.

5. Don't ever want to listen to a roof air again.  Will use basement air based on minisplits.  Also want to keep the roof line clean since the 4107 is already 11' plus.  Looks better, less drag.

6. No dinette.  Keep the front area as open as possible with table, chairs, desk, recliners.  Easier to rearrange if needs or wants change.

7. Screened windows a must have.

8. Build in accessible wire runs to make changes/additions/repair easier.

9. Hold off on major items as long as possible to get best/latest/freshest technology when most of conversion is finished.  Also to keep warranties from expiring before use.  Stuff like tires, airbags, electronics, inverter, genset, ect.

Good luck and enjoy!



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Don 4107 Eastern Washington
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« Reply #21 on: July 19, 2007, 12:00:45 PM »

For me the layout all centered around the toilet. Figure out which bay your poo tank goes in (usually the rear bay) then place your toilet over the tank so you have a straight shoot into it, then design each way from the toilet.
Ron
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« Reply #22 on: July 19, 2007, 12:22:42 PM »

Don,
    Glad to hear someone else opting for twin beds for more sleeping area.  I made mine 82" long 36" wide, a slightly narrowed twin XL.  Also put fresh water tanks under the beds for a total of 180 gallons.  I however only have overhead cabinets on the left side because on the right side the closet over my jetted bathtub rolls back over the bed when the tub is use.  I also have no roof air.  I have a 10,000 BTU/h window unit through the center of the rear cap, nice and quiet and really cools the rear of the bus.  The front has an 18,000BTU/h ductless split heat pump which by itself cools the whole bus up to 95 outside and I can run it off of the inverter while driving.
Regards
Jerry 4107 1120
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« Reply #23 on: July 19, 2007, 09:45:36 PM »

Listen to these guys.... Grin

Danny
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« Reply #24 on: July 20, 2007, 04:48:47 AM »

LAy out the bays first

Make everything easily removable,

go ahead and run wires,  then run a bunch extra, make accessable, run some more wires

run plumbing, use pex and make drainable

-use velcro to hold on panels cause youll be using them a lot with your method (reduces rattles too)

make walls from panelling glued to insulation board,  light and easy to work with

put hatches in floor and use that space too

-haven't converted one but bought a converted one and trying to change it

Most importantly!!!  get a camera and keep us posted Smiley
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« Reply #25 on: July 20, 2007, 07:15:27 AM »

As far as having the toilet directly over the black tank, it isn't a requirement.  Because of my limited under floor space, I mounted the 45 gal black water tank in the middle running fore and aft.  This made the necessity of running about a 3 ft 3" pipe from the toilet to the tank.  Except for one time my wife did not use enough water (nothing a bucket of water didn't take care of) it has never been a problem.  Especially with buses with under storage that have the possibility of extra drop, I would personally mount my tanks in the middle of the bus with the black tank on the bottom and the gray tank above it.  Then you would have both a good drop for the black tank, and when dumping, could first dump the black tank then use the gray water from the tank above it to rinse out the black tank.  With the tanks in the middle of the bus you could have the  rest of the area to the baggage doors as storage.  Good Luck, TomC
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« Reply #26 on: July 20, 2007, 08:34:53 AM »

I did some drawings and we did the layout of our MC-8 on the floor of the coach with masking tape, but then placed the major components in the planned locations.  Some of what seem good on paper did not feel right when we did the mock up so we moved a few things around until they felt right. 

DaveD
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« Reply #27 on: July 21, 2007, 04:19:11 AM »

Also make sure you aren't loading up one side of the bus more than the other.  Nothing worse than a lop sided weight distribution.  If anything, the left should be just a bit heavier than the right to combat the usual crown in the roadways.  Also try to put heavy stuff forward since the engine is in the rear.  This is why my gen is in the very front of the bus. Good Luck, TomC
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« Reply #28 on: July 21, 2007, 09:35:29 AM »

A few more thoughts, when thinking about cabinets, think Quality and Quantity.  An old retired cabinet maker, in 1979 on the Oregon Coast, who specialized in boats, built our cabinets.  He used Ash (small grain) and stained them Maple.  Built to take on the Ocean, and are as solid today as the day they were installed.  Twenty five years later, a simple update of carpets and upholstery (done twice and last time added corian), gives the old girl a new look.  It is easy to update a well built home.  MCI and Solid cabinets will last forever.  We have replaced old original items: now a Wrico Diesel 8KW, Freedom 2000, 6 Golf Trojans.  We love to Boon Dock,  so first class electricity is mandatory for us.  It allows for Sony Surround Sound, 120v lighting, elect refer, and to run the elect/gas furnace all night, when needed. 
Just changed out the 3 way refrig, always ran on gas, with an elect Summit CP97.  No defrost.  It draws .9 amps.  Which uses less juice that the 5 halogen indirect lights in the parlor.
120 gallon fresh water under the sideways bed.  120 gal grey, 60 black in the bay.  While Boon Docking, I can refill fresh from the creek or river, easily dump grey, and wait a long time to dump the black. 
Pulling out the “Over the Road A/C”,  good idea.  I put the Wrico Diesel 8KW in the condenser compartment with its remote radiator in the spare tire compartment.  Quiet!!   With thru the roof exhaust.
I just converted the original indoor Bus Heater Core, into a third radiator for the main engine.  I used the original a/c blower motor, to circulate air thru it, and out the bottom.  I can now climb the 7% grade north of town on a 100^ day with no having to shift down for cooling.  No misters!
Consider an 18”wide Sears dishwasher, it is a good place to hide the dirty dishes, until you get enough to actually wash, and a place to store a dish rack.  And it even washes dishs.
Enjoy your endeavor.  If done right, it will last you for the rest of your life, and then you can give it to your kids.  I know, cause I inherited this one.
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