Sunday, 24 March 2013

Carpet (sort of)

I promised myself that I wouldn't post half completed jobs on this blog but I couldn't resist today.

I think we did quite well. Hubby added the GPS antenna, ran some new speaker wire in the hard to reach places and set up the multimedia unit so we could test it with our new speakers. It works!

We started and almost completed laying the carpet.

Here's the before shot:
If you look closely, you can see the heat proof fabric we have used to insulate where our legs will go when we are driving. Another sheet of heat proofing will go on top of that engine access door, then we will cover it in carpet too.
Here's what we got up to today:
MOST of the carpet is in. Just have to complete the hatch and the small curved step (closest to the front of the photo). As I said, we need to insulate the access door and cover that too. 
I've spray painted the seat mount on the left because I think we will need it for the new seats, even though we do need to ask the engineer's opinion when we see him next week at our initial inspection appointment. Sadly the new seat didn't fit on the driver's side as we expected so we had to remount the old one for now too.
Here's a little sneak peek at the new seats:
Cool huh? 

Saturday, 23 March 2013

Front end and dashboard refurbishment

The dash of the bus was a dusty, mission brown mess.

Cracks were starting to appear and it kinda smelt funny after years in the sun.

After a good clean and scrub the dashboard looked a bit like this:

Left hand side has some screw knobs and a board covering the washer fluid. The cassette and radio does not work so it is to be replaced. The dash on the driver's side is a challenge. Lots of knobs, bumps and holes. 

Someone at Nissan decided it would be a good idea to install a dash which comes off in twelve pieces! What a jigsaw. Luckily we took lots of pictures of the process.

Next up is respraying the wheel with plastic spray. In some places it is rubbed so shiny, the paint won't hold but that will be covered with a cover later.

Knobs and ashtray (now 'spare change keeper') gets a freshen up too.

I thought these flat panels would be easiest to start with. This is felty/carpety stuff which has a line through it. Quite difficult to get straight and running all the same way.

Pegs hold the edges while the glue dries.

I resprayed the parts which could not be covered over andcut around the vents etc with a heated foam cutter (my mother, knowing I like 'projects' bought it at Christmas time. At the time everyone thought she was crazy. Turned out to be VERY handy!)

The 'inside the bus' part.

With vents re-attached. I AM rather proud of that seam too!

The tricky part. It took me a while to figure out the best way to do this part.
All done! The new GPS/multimedia/reversing camera unit fits perfectly in the hole which once housed a cassette AND radio.

You can see that we have started sticking some heat proof mat down on the floor (the engine is housed beneath it) and we will carpet tomorrow.

We also bought new seats because the others were falling apart and revealing the sharp steel frame. No chance of re-covering. We purchased two new SAAS seats from Supercheap Auto which are ADR approved. We will have to get them signed off by an engineer as they are replacements but the rest of the bus needs signing off anyway, so luckily that isn't a problem or extra cost.

I'll be sure to take photographs of the carpeting process too!

Saturday, 9 March 2013

Stripping.. not me, the bus.

As promised, here are some pictures of the bus strip-out.

I started on the seats while hubby washed the car and got the dust out after the horrible trip yesterday.
As you can see, the seats really needed to go. Under that duct tape on the back one was a pool noodle! The school children must have been hard at work, picking the foam out of the seats. Little rats!

Seats are out and started working on the internal panels. Lots of little bits of chrome edging and millions of screws to hold it all in place.

Looks like the bus had made the dirt road trip on more than one occasion... yep, that's at LEAST an inch of dust inside the walls, on every structural 'shelf'. Hope the vacuume is up for it. (By the way, my nails and hands aren't usually that beaten up and grubby!)

Almost done. Hubby has removed the heaters that you can see in the photos, if you have a Civilian and want to remove yours, be aware that the radiator pumps through them. You'll need replacement coolant and joiners.

Still working on that back seat (it seems to be fused into place through years of bums being planted on it). I'm getting stuck into the flooring vinyl but haven't finished yet. It has puckered in some areas which would make laying new flooring difficult (floating timber laminate), that means the old stuff has to go!

Here's a shot of the 'business end' before I ripped everything out.
The tired old seats will go and be replaced with nice racey ones from Supercheap Auto!
I will wrap all the dashboard componants and sun visors in felt to give them a fresh start.
Knobs will be sprayed black and the engine area under the seats will first be insulated and then recovered with carpet... snuggly! We are hoping to get a new stereo system and a reversing camera with GPS (maybe santa can afford one at Christmas in 30 more years!)
Tomorrow's jobs are to finish the flooring strip-out and clean, clean, clean, inside and out.

Bringing the bus home

Collecting the bus has been a drama.
Not only was it five and a half hours away, it was way over the hills and almost at the state boarder!

We got up before six am and were in the car, on our way by five past six. I had planned for the trip and the car was full of fuel, with munchies and drinks for the long road trip.

I wasn't looking forward to it.
I'd been there before, about eighteen years ago.

The main reason I wasn't keen to go was that I was well aware that there was going to be lots and lots of winding road ahead. Tight hairpins and narrow roads going up and down the mountains. The second reason I was pretty bloody reluctant to go was because of the sixty four kms of dirt road winding through the hills which was clearly marked 'unfit for caravans' (rough as guts) and was shared by log trucks. I was going to have to brave it by myself on the way home, while hubby followed along in my rear vision mirror, in the new bus. YUCK.

This was the 'nice' bit. At this point I was over it already and had only gone  eight kms in.
Rather tricky to see but there is a cliff which drops steeply away along the side of the road.
At least the view was nice.
So, we got home without killing the bus through over heating (it was a thirty six degree day) or denting either my car or the bus. There was at least an inch of dust throughout both vehicles. We are currently stripping the bus out and I've just popped inside for a break (and to write this blog post) I'll post some photos of the internal stripping process later.
 Home safely!

Saturday, 2 March 2013

Here... we... GO!

Hi everyone!

So, it has all started, this morning I made a verbal contract with a guy to sell us his bus, so we can renovate it into the motor home of our dreams.

A little about us:

My hubby and I are just seeing the kids grow up and leave home. Not that we have them here all of the time, they live with their mother but our holidays have pretty much been 'reserved' for the kids since hubby and I met. Now that they are leaving the nest and finding apprenticeships and girlfriends, we are coming to the realisation that we won't see them as much and will have more time to ourselves over the holidays.

We also have dogs. 2 big silly greyhounds. These guys are 'special'. Super needy. They require us to be around at some stage every day. As a result, the most we have been away from home in the last 11 years is about 3 overnight stays... or maybe 2. They are around 10 years old now and looking every bit of those years. It will not be too long before they won't be with us any more. Maybe a few years, the perfect amount of time to get this show on the road!

I am a school teacher and hubby is a school bus driver. This is fabulous for the children visiting us on holidays but means we are stuck here at other times of the year. Our holiday times aren't very flexible.

Staying at home is nice, we do like it but are starting to get a feeling that we'd like to go away occasionally. I'm not sure that we are keen to travel for months around the country but we want to be able to wake up on a Saturday morning and say 'Lets go to X overnight and do some fishing!' How great would that be?

Which led us to think that we wanted a bus.

No hitching anything to a car. No setting up of this and that, checking poles and pegs and packing it all in. No real packing required except food and clothing and if you wanted, you could get food on the way!

We hunted on the internet and found a pair of buses which would do the trick. Not so big that you can't park them or take them anywhere, not too small, so we can fit everything we want in.

Here are the original pictures. There wasn't much info.
Ex school buses.
19 seats.
3 monthly inspections (this is required for all school buses so we feel quite confident buying this one over the internet, unseen).
1994 Nissan Civilian.

(Photos from the original listing)

We will try to pick it up next weekend (all going to plan) so keep an eye out for the updates!