Monday, August 31, 2009

Day 88 - Laying Stone Tile | School Bus Conversion

Today I worked on laying stone tile for the kitchen counter. We had considered doing a solid piece of granite but after figuring the cost (cutting the stone was the most expensive) we decided to go with the stone tile.

It is real stone.

We payed about $27 a bundle. One bundles covers roughly 5 sq. ft. We picked up 4 bundles. The kitchen counter took exactly 2 bundles.

It was a time consuming job with lot of little cuts and small pieces.

I used a 1/16" spacer to space out all the tiles. It turned out looking good.

I plan to apply the grout tomorrow.

One bit of cool news:

Today we went and picked up all the foam that we ordered for the dinette seats, all the bunks and the master bed.

We were blessed to find out that the manufacturer was out of the grade of foam we had ordered so they bumped us up to the next best grade they had in stock at no extra cost! It seems like really nice stuff. We got it all for around $550.00.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Day 87 - Kitchen Counter | School Bus Conversion

Today, (because of weather keeping me inside) I decided to start on the kitchen counters. I already had a piece of plywood cut so I just had to cut out the sink and stove openings, glue it and screw it into place.

After that was done I cut out and screwed the hardy backer in place. It is ready for tile.

The sink opening is far left and the stove is on the right:

Stove opening and counter space:

Maybe I can get the tile installed tomorrow.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Day 86 - A Visitor

Today when I went out to work on the bus I noticed I had a visitor. He (or she) was sitting on the window of the door to the bus.

Ok...I know many of you out there have arachnophobia but here me out. We have these spiders that live around here that are the coolest spiders ever. They are jumping spiders or Salticidae. They are called jumping spiders because they have the ability to jump around 30 times their length. These spiders (if given a chance to live) actually show personality. Call me crazy LOL! They are the only spider I can't kill.

You will notice how in every picture it looks like the spider is looking at the camera. Why? Because it is! These little guys are very attentive and actually move to look at you.

You just have to marvel at God's creativity. This particular spider was black with white spots and bright green mandibles.

If you ever see one of these in your window sill, take a breath. Don't run to the nearest fly swatter. Instead, see if you can find a fly buzzing around the room. Injure the fly by removing a wing or something and place it near the spider. It is the coolest thing to watch. The spider will spring upon it's prey and have a tasty meal and entertain you at the same time.

Maybe it is just a guy thing but I think these little bugs are cool. They keep your windows free of bugs (besides itself of course) without spinning a web.

Ok now, The Bus:

Today was staining trim board day. We are doing our best to match the color of the flooring (still yet to be put down). Minwax makes a color called Gunstock that looks like it matches very well so we choose it as our color. The bus will have a 2 tone look. All trim will be the same color as the floor. Hope it turns out good.

Here is the other stack stained and ready for varnish.

There is supposed to be rain tomorrow so I am not sure what I can do.

We will have to see!

Friday, August 28, 2009

Day 85 - RV-500 Water Heater Done! | School Bus Conversion

Today I finished touching up around the water heater opening. I had also filled the rub rails with Great Stuff Gap Filler foam at the end where it has been cut. After it dried I cut the foam flush, sanded and painted it white to match the rub rail.

Next, I screwed the RV-500 water heater in place and put silicone all around it. Then I mounted the door. The exterior is done! (The blue tape in the pic below is the pilot hole for the side fridge vent/access door.)

On the inside I hooked up the appropriate gas line and attached it to the main 1/2" line.

I wired in the 12V and ground wire also.

All that need to be done is the water lines.

More soon!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Day 84 - Fridge Vent | School Bus Conversion

To start the day I finished foaming around the water heater opening. Due to the cutting, there were some marks and scuffs on the paint so I sanded the opening and prepped it for fresh paint.

Here is a pic of the surface sanded:

Here is the opening ready for paint:

Here it is painted:

All I need to do now it touch up the white and it is good to go.

Fridge Vent:

To get a starting point I drilled two pilot holes from the inside all the way through the roof.

Then using the vent as a guide I traced a line all the way around it.

Using my Skill saw with a metal cutting blade I cut the roof section out.

Then I cut out the ceiling metal panel using a Sawzall while still on the roof.

Before installing the vent I put a bead of silicone around on the flange of the vent and a bead around the newly cut opening. Then I screwed it in place using roofing screws.

Next I installed the vent cap:

Weather permitting I hope to have the side fridge vent in tomorrow.


Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Day 83 - Water Heater Installation | School Bus Conversion

Today we decided to go ahead and cut into the side of the bus and install the RV-500 water heater. I have to say I was a little apprehensive to mess up our new paint job. I double checked my measurements to MAKE SURE all was correct.

The following pictures show the step by step process:

At this point the metal cutting blade on the skill saw would not reach the inside metal panel so the sawzall helped get it cut.

Here the RV-500 is set in place to make sure it fits right. It fit very snug. It is supported well because it sits right on the floor.

After this we pulled the RV-500 back out and foamed in between the two metal panels around the opening.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Day 82 - RV-500 Hot Water Heater | School Bus Conversion

Today we received our hot water heater. We decided on the PrecisionTemp RV-500 instant hot, tankless, hot water heater available through Precision Temp.

They offer this water heater at a great price. Also mention the "Good News Bus" when buying the RV-500 hot water heater and get a discount.

The RV-500 is a little bit more expensive that the other RV water heaters on the market but the the features outweigh the price. For example, this water heater will heat 900 gallons of water on one standard size propane tank.

Check them out and remember to mention us.

Here is the factory description of the water heater:

The RV-500 delivers on demand hot water
efficiently and conveniently with up to 55,000 BTU’s of power. At a flow of 1.5 gpm it can provide shower temperature water with incoming temperatures as low as 40 degrees. A 20 pound tank of propane (a barbeque-type tank) will provide approximately 940 gallons of shower temperature water.
The RV-500 is quiet and efficient. For the same amount of propane the RV-500 produces 15% to 20% more hot water. And because you are not constantly reheating a tank, many people find that they use 50% less propane.
Whatever the incoming water temperature, the patented gas modulation of the RV-500 gives you consistent water temperature.
Water as hot as you it for as long as you want.
Get more specs here:

I told the people at Precision Temp about our project and they said if any of our readers wanted to order the RV-500 to mention that you saw this post on the Good New Bus blog for a discount!

We will be installing the RV-500 soon so check back for updates!

Day 81 - Bunk Room Paint | School Bus Conversion

We decided to paint the bunk room ceilings. We had considered paneling but decided against that.

The two top bunks have metal ceilings so I again lightly sanded them, wiped them down with thinner and put plastic up so not paint would get on the newly varnished wood.


We wanted to do different colors for each. We have children that will be traveling with us so we thought it only right to let them pick out the colors for their bunk rooms.

Our daughter of course wanted pink. My son chose green. We did not want the colors to stand out to much so we picked a very light pink (almost white) and very light green (almost white). This way it does not give the affect of "Oh my gosh...what have you done?" and it keps the kids happy. We both win!

Here is the pink bunk:

In the picture the pink tint is almost impossible to make out.

The left shows the old paint. The right shows the new.

Here is the pink bunk done:

Here is the Green bunk done:

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Day 80 - Paint and Lighting | School Bus Conversion

Today we started by sanding all the remaining paneling that only has one coat of varnish. They are now ready for their last coat.

Next, we put plastic up in the master bedroom and the bunk room and prepped the ceiling for paint. Prepping consisted of lightly sanding the surface with 100 grit sandpaper and wiping it down with thinner.

Here is the ceiling in the master bedroom ready for paint:

We chose to go with a satin finish paint. The color we chose is a grey/white with a hint of blue.

I know it is hard to see the difference in this photo but here is the ceiling with 2 coats of paint:

This picture makes it a little easier to see the difference. This is the ceiling in the bunk room:

After the paint was done I was able to get 3 lights installed. I even tested them and they WORK!

More soon!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Day 79 - Lights, Camera....Sound! | School Bus Conversion

Today I received a shipment of items that I just had to work on.

I ordered all new markers lights from They offer a direct LED replacement light for the Weldon lights that were on the bus.

So these are now all installed on the bus and look great.

Next was the rear view camera.

Here are the features:

Farenheit CCD1
  • 1/3" CCD 1 LUX Low Light Color Camera
  • Din Connector & RCA Outputs
  • 3000 pixel resolution
  • Adjustable Impact Resistant Swivel Housing
  • Reversed Image
  • 12 infrared LEDs for night vision
Here it is installed:

I still have to run the wire that will go from the camera to the front 7" LCD screen that still has to be installed.

After I was done with the Camera I installed a JVC CD Player with a 400 watt Power Bass amplifier and 2 - MTX 6x9 Speakers.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Day 78 - More Varnish | School Bus Conversion

Progress...sometimes it seems so slow. Especially when you are the one doing the work.

Today I was able to get the second coat of varnish on all the wood that already have the first coat.

The dinette seats and wall and the fridge opening is the only paneling that has one coat.
Tomorrow I should be able to get a second coat on.

Cabinet over drivers seat. Varnish done!

Fridge opening. One coat to go on the face.

Uppers and back wall are done.

Kitchen drivers wall done!

More to come!

Day 77 - More Varnish | School Bus Conversion

Today I paneled the refrigerator opening.

I was able to get the final coat of varnish on in the bunk room.

After that was completed I was able to get one coat of varnished on almost every other piece of paneling that was left over.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Day 76 - Sanding | School Bus Conversion

Today I sanded the areas that got their first coat of varnish yesterday. Tomorrow I should be able to get the last coat of varnish on.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Friday, August 14, 2009

Day 74 - Varnish & Fridge | School Bus Conversion

I didn't post yesterday because I didn't have pics ready to go. So this post will include yesterday.

Yesterday I sanded and put a final coat on the master bedroom:

Passenger Side:

Drivers Side:

To be honest I hated the first coat. First problem: The varnish we got is a super heavy duty marine grade varnish. That part is ok. It is also semi gloss, we wanted a satin finish. I didn't want to go back to Lowe's so i decided to go with it. I applied it with a lambs wool applicator. DON'T DO THAT! The varnish is dark to begin with and as it dried it left darker spots where it went on thick. On the second coat I used a brush and it turned out better.

I also did a coat in the bunk room with the brush and it looks nice.

THE FRIDGE HAS COME! We wanted a high quality fridge so we went with the Norcold N-641 6.3 Cubic Feet Fridge. It will run on Gas, 120V AND 12 Volt. Very cool.

After receiving the shipment yesterday I started on the refrigerator opening.

Today I picked up where I left off. I pushed the opening as far to the ceiling as I could get it. At the same time I wanted to make sure that the back of the fridge would not hit the ceiling.

Space is tight but here is a pic:

After the opening was framed to the proper width I had some wires to re arrange and here's why.

I am going to be ordering the hot water heater in a couple days. I had originally planned to mount it under the sink in the kitchen. Doing so would take up almost all of the left side kitchen cabinets. I have decided to install the hot water heater directly under the fridge instead. All the wires that are run in the wall where I am going to cut my water heater opening needed to be moved. So...I moved them.

I cut out my furring strip and moved it up:

Then with a little difficulty and wire stretching I moved the wires up over the furring strip:

After this was done I built my fridge platform:

More soon!