We're currently in the process of turning a big yellow school bus into a tiny home (on wheels).
Harper won a school bus at a public surplus auction in 2015. We've been inspired to convert it into a
"Skoolie" / an RV-like vehicle that will allow us to live the mission of School of Home: to adventure and seek new understanding by transforming where and how we live.
Here's the latest on this massive conversion project.
Getting the bus:
As Harper was getting ready to move back to North Carolina, he decided that buying a bus to convert into a "skoolie" was an obviously stellar idea. On an online public surplus auction, he found and bid on our 16 year-old bus. It was in stellar condition for its age and price. In fact, the bus was only retired because Virginia law mandates it after a certain period of time.
Once he got it, so began the shell game of where to park it. After stints in the country, the city, and at his parents - Harper finally found its (temporary) home: Matt's driveway in Durham. She's got a long way to go, but she's a tough ole 1995 International, diesel and manual. And one day - she'll be home.
What we've completed so far:
Batteries: We changed the batteries and will soon have to change the tires once we start driving it more. But they'll survive for now (We hope).
Removing the seats: We went through the long and arduous process of removing the seats, which required one person under the bus to hold the nuts and the other person on board to turn the screws with a ratchet! WD40 was our magic helper. We took the angle grinder to a few of them that wouldn't budge. Then came the thousands of screws we had to remove... We had to take the angle grinder to some particularly stubborn sections of the interior paneling.
Removing the insulation: Once the panels were removed we took out the insulation. We'll eventually replace it and then add our lovely paneling of choice (as yet to be determined). The rubber flooring is mostly removed, but it needs a little more work.
Inside: The interior is basically stripped from the rear to the driver's seat, and this is where things got extremely daunting--the front is where all the electrical wires and mechanical components are located.
What we're putting on hold at the moment:
The Electric System: We didn't want to begin removing too much without the advice of an electrician, especially because we expect that will be where we put the master electrical panel.
It also was a significant marker in the whole process because once that is complete, we will have to finalize the plans and begin the construction. Demolition and stripping the bus is one thing. Working on the welding, electrical wiring and physical construction is another.
Our Next Steps as of June 2017:
Literally "Raising the Roof": The bus is in the capable hands of Chad McIntyre in Raleigh. He has begun the process of lifting the roof. We can't wait to feel the extra headspace!
Windows: We will replace many of the bus windows with vinyl awning windows for better insulation and also so that we can keep the windows open even when the weather isn't that great.
Interior Adjustments: Our next action step on the bus will be a little interior rust removing, sealing any holes, e.g. ones left after unbolting the seats, priming the floor, and replacing the windows.
Finalizing our plans: We're at the point of executing the plan. We'll probably have to do some real-time adjustments as we go along, but the design is basically finished.