I bought my bus in August 2020 and had been searching and planning for an entire year before I found the right one. I would spend hours scrolling through Facebook Marketplace or Craigslist looking at different types of vehicles, converted ones and non-converted ones. After doing extensive researching, I decided I wanted to DIY, so that way when something breaks, I will know how to fix it since I had built it. For those of you considering joining the life on the road community, I cannot stress enough not to rush through buying your bus or van. Do thorough research about what type of vehicle you want. Ask yourself if you want a van or bus? If you want a van, do you want to be able to stand up or would a low top work for you? For buses, do you want the full-sized bus, and would you be comfortable driving something that big almost daily? The short bus, like I have, is great sizing but probably won’t be able to go on back roads like a van would be able to. These are just a few things to consider while hunting for your home on wheels.
The first thing I did on my bus was remove all the seats, which was a huge freaking pain. The seats were bolted down through the floor in a way that I had to have someone on the inside of the bus and someone under the bus, working together to get the bolts undone. After removing the seats, I was able to start tearing out the rubber flooring. Thankfully, the plywood floor was in good condition so I was able to just leave it as was. After the flooring was out, I tore out the inner ceiling layer, the wall paneling, and the insulation. Make sure you use a good drill and the right screwhead, otherwise you’ll end up stripping the screws like I did. There were several screws I ended up needing to cut the head off to get them out. In my down time I would work on removing all the school stickers and taking off things like the stop sign and unnecessary lights.
Once everything was out of the bus, I could start putting in the insulation. I did two layers of insulation, one an inch thick and one-half inch. I got the one-inch insulation from a friend and bought the half inch at Home Depot for $50 for all of it. The one-inch insulation was harder because I couldn’t bend it to fit to the curve of the ceiling. I ended up having to cut the insulation into segments of 5 inches in length and 37 inches in width. Thankfully, the half inch insulation was thin enough to bend over the curve without breaking.
Currently I am working on putting together a rooftop deck.
The deck will be 6ft by 5.5ft, on just the back half of the bus, right behind the roof hatch which I am keeping. I bought a few new boards from Home Depot and cut them to fit the curve of the bus from side to side. I also had to cut out a spot for the part of the frame that sticks up on the roof. I'm using old boards from a deck for the flat part of my deck. Always keep an eye out for anywhere you can find things to recycle; it will help you save money in the long run. And so this brings us to the present. Stay tuned for more updates.