Friday, March 6, 2009
Different Other Stuff It's interesting that Michael wrote on this topic of stuff. I've been thinking about it myself for the last few days and wanted to write about it, but wasn't sure what direction to take. It's interesting that as we get rid of stuff that we have been lugging around for years, we must at the same time gather new stuff for our pending adventure. By the way, we have lived in an RV before, though it was more of necessity than choice and we were parked pretty much the whole time. Living that way was much like the proverbial, 10 pounds of crap stuffed into a 5 pound bag. After almost 2 years, I was so anxious to get out of that rig, that we bought a trashed fixer upper (house) and moved into it in 2 weeks. We had plywood floors and just the bare essentials. But it felt like a mansion. So why would I even consider moving back into an RV again? Well, this time is much different. This time we are doing it because we want to. While Michael has toured before, this will be a first for me. I've had a small, but sweet, taste of what touring will be like and I can't wait to get on the road. As usual, I've gotten off the subject. This recent focus on stuff started about a week ago. We've been seriously down-sizing around the house, although there is still alot that must go. We sold one of our vehicles to a neighbor who, hearing of our plans, asked if we were interested in selling. It seemed the flood gates opened after that. Living in a small town can be a pain in the neck, but it has it's good points, too. It's hard to miss a 40 foot bus in someone's yard, so word go out. People slow down and gawk as they drive by. Another thing about a small town is that, after some trial and error, you find out who your real friends are. Almost all of our real friends have shown up with a contribution to our new venture. It's as if they want to be a part of it. Either that or they can't wait till we leave! I have to say thanks to Rocky, George, Doc, brother Bill and we can't leave out another Bill who gave us redneck decorating advice. (It is a bus after all). He suggested leaving the carpet runner on the ceiling and add rope lights. But the best yet...I told him about Michael wanting to keep our king-size bed because his feet hang over the end of smaller beds. He said, (you have to read this with a southern accent), "You don't need no king size bed, just push open that winder and stick yer feet out!" Thanks again, Bill. But the best and most surprising part of this has been the feeling of rightness. I was stressing about getting this bus, right now, in this economy, with our construction business verrrry sloooow. Money is tight. What the hell are we doing?? But as I drove behind Michael the day we brought the bus home, I knew it would be alright. I didn't know how for sure and I knew we had a lot of work ahead of us, but it would be OK and fun. And since the day we sold my car, it seems everything is falling into place. As if it's supposed to happen this way. I can't help but glance up at the Big Man Upstairs and say, "Thanks". All the Best, Michael & Christi Please Comment Below
Other Stuff Stuff is a cunning beast. Just when you think you have gotten rid of the dead weight, it changes it's tactics. Oh yes, the Thrift Store still sings our praises as we arrive for our weekly deposit. Bags and boxes are carted inside while my hard fisted, eagle eyed wife stands guard like an Amazon warrior (a dream of mine) at the SUV making sure the beast doesn't sneak back into our realm. But then the oddest thing occurred. Other Stuff started showing up. Our friends began bringing Stuff. Good Stuff. They see a large MCI in our driveway as they follow the small town rumors to our door step. They give a courteous "hello", slow down and say "Hi" or start an idle conversation to get a peek inside. "Oooos" and "aaahhhs". We tell them our conversion plans and how much there is to do. Then, as if we asked them to volunteer to vanquish a rabid wolf, they vanish! I did say odd things were happening. An hour or perhaps, a day goes by and they come back with Stuff. Good Stuff. Each time they arrive with this Stuff, Christi stands with wonderment in her eyes. "Hey, this is good Stuff". We are getting water tanks, both fresh and gray, tile for the bathroom and kitchen, a power converter, an RV toilet, a gas generator and lots more and it keeps coming. Good Stuff. Great Stuff! Today, Christi went to the computer and started making a list of all the good Stuff. She showed me the Stuff list. "Look, look at all this Wonderful Stuff", she says. Can you see what has happened? The Beast! The Beast has changed into a cute, cuddly, little have to have it. My Amazon warrior has been hood winked. And I must say that I too have fallen back under the Stuff Spell. The sleepless dream of swimming in Stuff. I love Stuff, but we must keep our heads. Now it has to be the right Stuff. The Stuff that will help us get on the road again. The Stuff that dreams are made of. All the Best, Michael & Christi Please Comment Below
Thursday, March 5, 2009
Removal of the Int. Side Panels I had a idea. Let's save some work and leave the side panels in place. We can insulate and cover them over. But the wall chair support has to go which also supports the panels. So I got some self-tapping screws and set them at the bottom of the lateral supports. With a 1/2 inch drive drill motor I removed the large Phillps head screws and........... BANG. The whole unit hit the floor. LOL, so much for saving time. Back to the old addage"if you do it right the 1st time...". On the bright side, we have more salvage. Now I have to remove all the self-tapping screws. Once I got it cleaned up, I found a nice clean wall we can properly insulate and cover with bead board. Also, the panel spacers are held in place with a sealant and come right off. I can't wait, I have to do some framing.
Wednesday, March 4, 2009
About our MCI Bus
MCI 102A3 Bus 1985 - 1992 Advantages - great value, high quality, designed for 30 years/3 million miles, sub-frame/engine area 90% stainless steel/aluminum, easy to find parts, after market parts and body upgrade kits availableDisadvantages - popularity increases priceNotes - 102A3 means 102" side with 3 axles, heavier than the 102A2, only the passenger section of the bus was widened, with front windshield and assembly remaining 96-inches wide, body widens at an angle from the drive backwardsConversion Issues - good for all conversionsSpecifications - Length: 40 feet, Width: 102 inches, Height: 133 inches, Wheelbase: 285 inches, Turn radius: 44 feet, Typical Engines: DDA 8V-71, DDA 6V-92TA, DDA 8V-92TA, Seating: 43-49, Luggage: 319 cubic feet, Aisle width: 14 inches, Front door width: 24 inchesWhat more could one wish for and have it come true?
Removal of the ramp Everything on this rig is built like a tank, even the ramp. 1st we need to clean the crud out of the screw heads. Lots of dirt crammed in them. I used a knife blade to break it up then blew it out. Remove the large Phillips screws then the small screws along the front sides. Then take your trusty flat bar and work it under the edge of the ramp to pry it up. When it pops loose, place a wedge under it so you can grip it with hands and lift it up and out of the floor. Do not step into the void as the plywood decking is only 1/4 inch thick and you may go through it. You will find more trash and coins here. Mmm, treasure! This ramp is stout, I'll have to find a good use for it. Mmm, salvage. Tomorrow, we frame in the void. Honey, get me the hammer and saw. We're Building, Baby!
Removal of the Upper Air Vent System This mostly consists of air shafts that run along the base of the side walls. Made of stainless steel ducting, it is rumored to be the resting place for all the lost small objects. Start in the front and remove all the screws (Philips) from the floor. Now the duct was built in sections. Remove the screws that connect each section. With a flat bar, lift the section, grab it and pull up and toward you. The top of the duct is only in a groove and will come free. Each section you remove is like a treasure hunt. Lots of coins, postcards, casino memorabilia, ballpoint pens, tokens and 2 ear rings (1 gold and 1 small diamond) Oh, and a lot of trash. Lots of good stainless steel to be salvaged here. On to the air defusers we just uncovered. These are made of aluminum and are riveted to the wall. Drill out or shear them off to remove the fixture. You will find one on each side. OK, to the rear return air housing. these are also on both sides. These are again made of aluminum and are riveted to the wall. Drill out or shear them off to remove the fixture. You will find more stuff in the duct in the floor. Next the ramp.
All the Best, Michael & Christi Please Comment Below
Monday, March 2, 2009
Removal of the Over Head Storage Compartments. Part 3
The last thing to do is remove the horizontal supports on the walls and ceiling. 1st along the wall. There is the main heavy aluminum rail that is affixed with Star screws. The ballast aluminum plate base is riveted to it and is supporting both the black aluminum shield, attached by 2 Philips head screws and the lite aluminum bottom rail that is held by rivets.
In approx. the middle of the supports, you will find a connection point for all 3 components. You can separate the rails here to make for more manageable pieces. Go ahead and drill out or shear off the 2 rivets, then remove the 2 screws from the shield. Then un-do the heavy aluminum junction plate from the main heavy aluminum rail. Now remove the star screws, grab one end and wiggle the rail off the wall. The components are a little long and should be fed out a window but can fit out the door. Once outside, you can disassemble the components for salvage. We will be re-using a lot of this.
Note the bin over the driver's seat. We'll leave it there for maps and such. Our new place is getting larger by the day and I can't wait to get on the road again!
All the Best, Michael & Christi Please Comment Below
Sunday, March 1, 2009
Removal of the Over Head Storage Compartments. Part 2
It's time to remove all the wiring. We'll start with the lower wires that went to the comfort centers. These are held fast by rivets in insulated grommets. Drill out the rivets if you are going to re-use the grommets. If not, a wonder bar will pop them out and save a lot of time.
We were careful not to nick the wire so we could re-use it later.
We cut and capped the wires at the front where they came out of the wall leaving 6 to 12 inch pigtails. Fish them through the compartment supports. Roll it up and set the bundle aside.
Now remove the wires for the fluorescent lights.
There are a lot of connectors every 4'. Disconnect all of the wires. These insulated grommets are the crimp style. Open with a small flat bar or flat head screw driver and then fish them through the compartment supports. The space is narrow so feed the wire with one hand and pull with the other. The connectors will hang up on everything so just be patient. We again cut and capped the wires at the front where they came out of the wall leaving 6 to 12 inch pigtails. Roll it up and set the bundle aside. We need to remove the fluorescent light lenses. You will find them nearest the windows and under the compartments. They run the length of the over head storage. With needle nose pliers, grab the rubber keeper strip and pull. This will release one side of the lens. The other side is held by a rubber compression gasket. Grab the lens firmly with both hands and pull it free. There is a lot of dust on the lens, so go slow.
Once this is complete, you can remove the ballasts. There are two sitting side by side every 4'. Unscrew and pull them down. Cut the ground wire to free it.
Now you can cut the aluminum plate base that is riveted to the compartment frame work with a Saws-All. Use a bi-metal blade. Be careful of the blade grabbing at the end of the cut. Now you can cut the padded compartment frame work in 8' sections with the Saws-All using a bi-metal blade. Start the cut about 3" away from the vertical supports to reduce blade vibration. Continue cutting thru the plastic under side, to and thru the rear frame. It's time to remove the vertical supports. First, unfasten the nuts along the wall, then unscrew the supports on the ceiling freeing the 8' section. This will just fit out the door. Almost done.
All the Best,
Christi's Virgin Blog So, I've finally decided to sit myself down and give this a go. So, please be gentle in the comment section. :) I've been waiting for the right time to add my input to this blogging thing. As I was drying my hair this morning, (a mindless mundane chore that allows my thoughts to wander), I was going over Michael's last couple of blogs. I realized that now that the rig is here, a lot of his writing will be interesting only to those who are nuts enough (our soulmates), to take on this type of project. While it may be a learning experience or guideline for some, for others...BORING!! Much like Michael's favorite TV shows. You know, The History, Science and NASA channels, or, are you ready?... THE RESEARCH CHANNEL, (can't they make this stuff more exciting?). Ok, so I have a short attention span. Anyway, back to the task at hand. Right now Michael is taking out all the overhead compartments, which seem to be built to hold Tammy Faye's cosmetic case instead of the average person's carry-on luggage. This job requires taking out every screw, nut and bolt, one at a time. Too tedious for me! My idea of demolition requires a crow bar sledge hammer and a Saws-All. MMMM, love those power tools! But then he is a much more patient soul than I. I look forward to the part where we get to start putting in flooring, walls, replacing windows, etc. Now that's excitement! Ok, so I probably could use a little help in the excitement department, too. Now that the bus is finally here, I find myself wanting to say, "Is it done yet? Can we go now?" Alas, there's sooooooo much to do before we can go anywhere, and not just readying the bus. It's a bit overwhelming. But I'll save that for next time. Oh, Honey! Where's that sledge hammer?? All the Best, Michael & Christi Please Comment Below