Stubbs' conversion: Day 1 & 2

10.28.15 - Day 1.

Our biggest challenge once getting Stubbs back to Searcy, AR, was finding a place to do the conversion. We'd foolishly counted on a solution we'd come up before we went up to look at the bus, but it fell through. With a quickly dwindling timeframe, we had to hustle to find a solution.

The perfect solution came in the form of an old friend of mine named Willie that I knew well from frequenting a coffee shop called Midnight Oil in Searcy while I was attending college at Harding University. He owns a house just down the road and offered up his backyard to us. It is perfect. Stubbs fits just fine and not only did Willie run a power cord out to us, but he enjoys the entertainment of us working enough to sit outside and give us tips and help us out when the mood strikes him.

With a spot to work all lined up, we dug into the first project late yesterday afternoon: removing the seats.

The barriers in the front were held in by screws, which gave us a false sense of hope regarding the remaining 24 seats. It wasn't until the next day that we realized they were indeed bolts and needed to have someone bracing a wrench underneath the bus while the person above went at the bolt with a socket wrench.

 The front barrier came out easily, as it was held in by screws and not bolts with nuts below.

The front barrier came out easily, as it was held in by screws and not bolts with nuts below.

 This led us to the wrong assumption that the rest of the seats were held in by screws, so we spent a decent amount of time trying to remove the seats the wrong way.

This led us to the wrong assumption that the rest of the seats were held in by screws, so we spent a decent amount of time trying to remove the seats the wrong way.

 We had a furry supervisor join in the fun.

We had a furry supervisor join in the fun.

 The supervisor gave up on us.

The supervisor gave up on us.

 "Let's just jack it out of the floor!" Ten minutes later, we'd bent the handle on the jack. Oops.

"Let's just jack it out of the floor!" Ten minutes later, we'd bent the handle on the jack. Oops.

 Christian finally resorted to an angle grinder to grind away the screws.

Christian finally resorted to an angle grinder to grind away the screws.

 One seat removed! Only 11 more to go!!!

One seat removed! Only 11 more to go!!!

10.29.15 - Day 2.

We got an early start today, knowing our goal was to get all of the seats out. My grandpa was excited to see the bus and interested in helping, so he showed up with us to get to work. With the new knowledge of the nuts beneath the bus, Christian and I swapped out laying on a tarp underneath while someone used a socket inside.

About half of the bolts were a total pain to get out. Christian and I did most of the grunt work, but when one was too much for me to get started, Willie and my grandpa would step in and give me a break.

While the bolts were being undone one by one, we worked on the seats as well. We could unscrew the bases and pull those off, making the bolts easier to access. Plus, we had a pretty nice pile of scrap metal starting from all the hardware, so we wanted to pull all the cushions off of the seats so we could scrap that metal as well.

 Willie on the left and my grandpa on the right, helping me with a bolt I couldn't get to break.

Willie on the left and my grandpa on the right, helping me with a bolt I couldn't get to break.

 Prying the aisle runner up. The bolts were so rusted we just used hammers and a pry bar to pop the tops off one by one.

Prying the aisle runner up. The bolts were so rusted we just used hammers and a pry bar to pop the tops off one by one.

 A nice pile of bus seats forming.

A nice pile of bus seats forming.

I've had a few people ask if we're going to keep any seats to use in the future layout. The answer is no. If you saw the foam inside those suckers you'd throw them out too. If there's one thing Christian and I learned while converting the Campbulance, it's that you're better off starting from scratch with most everything when it comes to a heartily used 20-year-old vehicle.

 Slowly, but surely, the seats finally came out.

Slowly, but surely, the seats finally came out.

 Pulling up the remaining aisle runner.

Pulling up the remaining aisle runner.

 Pulling up the aisle vinyl to check out the wood underneath.

Pulling up the aisle vinyl to check out the wood underneath.

We worked until dark to get the seats taken apart and ready to haul to the scrap metal place and dump in the morning. Willie came in incredibly handy once again when he three-pointed Stubbs into position to pull out of the yard in the morning.

On the docket for tomorrow is a 9 am appointment at a mechanic to remove the heater element from the back of the bus and hopefully wire up a switch to the alternator for a bay of deep cycle batteries that will serve as our house power. After that, it'll be the dump and scrap metal place, then back to Willie's to continue demolition on the plywood floor (which we plan to replace with new plywood + some insulation).