Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Rippin' Out the Seats and other delights....

Hey all,

We got the bus right before we went our vacation to California - so that's where we are right now.

In the few days that we've had it, we've managed to rip out all the seats and un-bolt the heater system from the left-hand side of the bus. We found a pretty awesome tool chest in the bus under one of the seats. It has a lot of the right-sized tools for the various screws and bolts in our bus. Nice! Of course, we also have a garage-ful of Julia's dad's tools at our disposal, which is real handy. He's more of a carpenter than a mechanic, though, so we'll have to pick up some extra things for our conversion.

In other news, we developed a woman-approved system for removing rusty bolts and screws without the use of toxic crap like "liquid screwdriver." You take your appropriately sized screwdriver and attach a vice-grip to the handle. Then you have one woman balance all her wieght on the screwdriver while the other one yanks real hard on the vice-grip. Most all of them gave under this system. The ones that didn't got smacked with our mallet until they fell into line. ;)

We bought a corded electric drill for this purpose too. It's not a champ at loosening the real stuck ones but it is good for run-of-the-mill unscrewing. It'll come in handy for drilling holes for the various pipes that we'll need to run to the outside of the bus, too. We almost bought a Sawzall but we're holding out until we make it to the used tool place outside of Eugene. They run about 60-80 new...of course you *can* pay more....but we'd like to pick up a quality used one if at all possible.

The heater is an interesting doohickey to play with because it runs off of the engine coolant - it's just basically a big loop of hose that runs the engine coolant down the left hand side of the bus and uses a fan to blow it out at the far end of the loop. We haven't capped the system yet but we got it and the housing for it up from the floor so it's free-floating and able to just perch on the driver's seat while we work on the floor. Since the veggie oil conversion is going to probably use the same lines (since it uses the coolant to heat stuff, too) we're leaving it until that aspect of the project begins to take a more concrete shape.

We've ripped up part of the vinyl floor, too. There's funky plywood under there - screwed down with disintegrating screws. I think we'll just take a crowbar to it and see if we can't rip them up in one go....that's for when we return!

Also- scored some angle iron out of a dumpster behind the goodwill here in Santa Rosa! Woohoo...only got a small scolding as we were driving away with it.... :)

J's boss also happens to be a reclaimed wood-dealer who resells dismantled school bleachers so he's looking into our wood floor while we're away. Hopefully he'll have it for us when we get back...he thinks he can hook it up for $1 a square foot plus $50 to plane it. It's either going to be ceder or southern yellow pine. Nice!

Pics of the gutted interior to follow when we return from our Californian vacation.

-E and J