Month: November 2019

The roof needs to be higher!

Even before we bought the school bus, we knew we had no other option but to raise the roof. Julian could not stand upright at a height of 185 cm in the interior and that is probably one of the most important things for a comfortable life in the bus. It was a little harder for me to come to terms with the idea of cutting the bus open all around, lifting the roof 30 cm with jacks and props, and then welding the cut beams back together and covering the now vacant areas with sheet metal. Even though many people advised us against our project, we didn’t let it influence us. Most of the time we put into the preparation, precisely because this is the first time we raised a roof. There are several ways to proceed, but which is the best for us? Should we cut under, or above the windows, borrow or buy welding equipment, use galvanized steel or paint, do we need additional building supports, what profile should the new beams have and so on…. Our heads were really smoking and our time was running out. It was time to choose a variant and it is explained in the following video….

Obwohl es an dem Tag relativ windig war  ist alles reibungslos abgelaufen. Wir haben es zu fünft in einer Stunde geschafft das Dach sicher und gerade 30 cm zu erhöhen und die Hauptträger wieder zu verschweißen. 
Die nächsten Wochen bestanden darin, die nun freien Stellen wieder mit Blechen zu verkleiden. Wir haben uns dazu entschieden die Bleche mit einer Luftdruck Nietzange zu nieten und zusätzlich mit Karosseriekleber abzudichten und zu fixieren. 
Nach vier  Wochen harter Arbeit haben wir es geschafft und die Karosserie nach unseren Vorstellungen verändert.

Everything must go out!

Since we didn’t want to spend the next few years carting 40 kids from A to B, the first step was to completely gut the bus.

2 days and about 50 flex discs later, all the benches were out. This immediately created a completely new feeling of space, we now had 20 square meters at our disposal and of course immediately began to think about how best to expand the bus….

But the seats were only the beginning…

The floor was covered with rubber mats, which had to be scraped off with the spatula in painstaking work, shred by shred. As a reward, we got to see more and more of the rusty floor.

The hardest work, in the truest sense of the word, was tearing out the interior trim, which was made of a ton of steel. Puuuuhh, we probably knew that the Americans in terms of cars on a massive construction value, but that it is so hard we would not have thought. After a few trips to the scrap yard, everything was disposed of and the tons of steel even earned us some money.

Now the bus was completely empty and you could see any rust and weak spots. One beam was rusted, the floor got some and here and there some rust, but honestly, we had expected it worse.



Why did we choose an American school bus?


To be honest, we didn’t necessarily decide on a 30-year-old school bus, it just turned out that way. It was clear to us from the beginning that we wanted a somewhat larger vehicle than our previous VW T3 bus. There were several models to choose from, but an American school bus had always been our dream. Unfortunately, we could not afford the taxes, as well as costs for shipping, so we did not even think about it. But as it often happens, the solution is closer than you think. For about 20 years the school bus of our dreams was used for rentals and advertising purposes of a beach sports hall, in our area. We had been eyeing the bus for a while, but didn’t really expect them to want to sell it, but it was worth a try. After a few nice conversations with the owner and some thinking time on his part, he was really willing to sell and thus support our project. We could hardly believe it, we actually got the vehicle we always dreamed of and at a price we could afford.

The bus was not exactly in a good condition: The TÜV had expired three years ago, there were some leaks and accordingly a lot of rust, the right side including the window was sprayed with graffiti’s and what was wrong with the engine, we did not even want to know. 30 years have just left their mark….

But we didn’t care, we were full of energy and started right away.