11.03.15 - New Floor - Day 7.

We showed up at Ace Mufflers and Welding this morning to see if the guys had started on the floor yet as we were anxious to get Stubbs back to start work again. We were excited to see someone inside welding and noticed the old rusted out flooring piled outside the bus.

The guys at Ace didn't mess around, which made us extremely happy with our decision to take Stubbs to them. They'd pulled out all of the worst parts of the floor and were busy making new reinforcement framing to weld the new panels to. They estimated it'd be done by tomorrow morning, so we left them to it and went to find something else to do with our day.

After wandering around the Habitat for Humanity Restore in Searcy to check out some paint we were mildly interested in, we noticed an RV repair shop next door that seemed to have a scrap yard out back. Intrigued, we walked over and asked if we could go picking through the old motorhomes in search of a chair to use as a passenger seat.

Most of the motorhomes were fairly gutted already and either burnt or rotted to the extent that one glance inside was enough to inform us that we wouldn't find what we were looking for. We had a few nice small finds (a woven screen folding door in an old Winnebago that I might return for later and a folding counter extender that I bought mostly for the hardware), but overall it was a bust.

After the RV graveyard, we decided it was time to hunker down with some graph paper and finalize our layout plans. We knew once we got Stubbs back, we'd need to really push to get as much done as possible before we have to leave (tentative shove-off date is November 12th…eek!), so we didn't want to dilly dally simply because we were unprepared with our layout.

Part of our design woes involved not knowing dimensions for our planned kitchen space. We'd happened upon a kitchen section with drawers and cabinets in tact yesterday at one of the Restores in Little Rock, so we started experimenting to see if it would fit into our space.

Amazingly enough, the kitchen looked like it would fit perfectly, so after a few more shuffles of graph paper cutouts, we decided to pull the trigger and go back to Little Rock for the kitchen.

We weren't 100% sure it would fit in the Campbulance for the ride home, but once you've paid for an item they'll hold it for three days, so we figured we could come back with the bus later.


It doesn't look like much, but for $100 and the time it will save us not having to build one, we are pretty pleased with the find. I plan to sand and paint it before we install it as well, so hopefully with some effort it'll look as good as new…or better!

Amazingly, it fit into the Campbulance with about a 1/2 inch of clearance on either side. We were pumped to not have to make another trip down for it later and I figured if the floor took longer than expected, at least we had a new project to work on until it was ready.

On our way back, we got a phone call from Ace Mufflers informing us that they'd finished the floor and Stubbs was ready to pick up. This is the second time a service for Stubbs has been completed ahead of schedule! Who has ever heard of that? Not us. 

The new floor was expensive, but sturdy, and Stubbs needed it. We can't help but think how lucky we are to have pulled all the subfloor out. Now we can really start building. Tomorrow we will scrub the floor, sand the rust away, fill the gaps in the floor with silicon, and lay down a coat of Rustoleum paint.

11.01.15 - Wall Panels and Flooring - Day 5.

Today, we set out to remove the wall paneling to check out the insulation with plans to remove and replace it. After fighting our way through about half of the screws, we were no where close to removing them (Fun Fact: Much like ambulances, school buses were never built to be taken apart later by amateur RV builders.) 

Admitting defeat wasn't something we wanted to do without proving to ourselves that there wasn't black mold growing in the walls, so we got two panels undone enough to pull back and check. To our surprise, the original insulation appeared relatively clean and still had it's "bounce"…so to speak.

Satisfied that we weren't leaving anything more than old insulation behind the walls, we buttoned them back up and continued working on the remaining flooring left at the front of the bus.

Removing the captain's seat wasn't a project we wanted to tackle knowing we were still needing to drive Stubbs around to a mechanic and body shop tomorrow. Christian instead put some cuts into the wood surrounding it and we worked to pull it up with pry bars.

I strained some sort of tendon or muscle in my upper right wrist on the day we removed all the seats, so any sort of side to side or squeezing actions causes excruciating pain to shoot down into my hand and up my arm. Sadly, this rendered me mostly useless when it came to the heavy work. Sometimes I'd get frustrated by my own inability to help and jump back into the action only to have to sit out even longer because I was in so much pain.

Sometimes you've got to take a break from wrenching to "supervise" from the sidelines with the rest of the peanut gallery!

Sometimes you've got to take a break from wrenching to "supervise" from the sidelines with the rest of the peanut gallery!

We got most of the wood removed from the front at last, as well as some of the weird (and now disgusting) foam-backed vinyl that had been used on the footwell and sides of the stairs. 

We did our best to clean everything to get Stubbs ready to go to the body shop. We drove her over to the mechanic to drop the key off with them so they'd work on her first thing in the morning. Hopefully Danny and the guys at Integrity Auto will have a solution or a referral for the floor.

As you can see in the photo below, the rust is the worst over the rear wheel wells and just behind them. Makes sense, given the fact that years of water and road crud were kicked up into it. We hope we can get someplace to fashion some new steel supports and reinforcements to allow us to move forward with the conversion. We'll know more tomorrow!

Fingers crossed the rust issues can be taken care of, because we're falling in love with the space and potential!

Fingers crossed the rust issues can be taken care of, because we're falling in love with the space and potential!