Wednesday, January 28, 2015

DAPtex Plus

Having replaced two windows with sheet aluminum, one window was transferred to the other side of the bus so that both the plexiglass windows which were located on one side were replaced with an aluminum window followed by a real window such that both sides had the same situation. It was reassuring to note that neither of the aluminum windows had any leaks. The seal put on the real window which was a real window seal strip was not as effective. There was a leak and a puddle underneath when I checked it after a heavy rainstorm.

Clearly the leak needed to be sealed. Grabbing a tube of silicone sealant I realised that if this was used, removing it would be awkward and would involve at the very least a heat gun. Thus I tried DAPTex plus again. I had tried DAPtex plus before and had mixed results. It seems to be a product that works occasionally but the rest of the time just makes a nasty mess that's hard to clean up and which wastes more time cleaning up than silicone sealant ever would to remove with a heat gun.

Twice I have had horrendous disasters with DAPTex plus. I cannot believe this product ever managed to slime its way onto the market. It doesn't expand and form a sealing waterproof foam. Instead it runs and dribbles and drips and then expands. It doesn't come off with a wet rag either because by the time it begins to drip and dribble, the user has long gone. This is without doubt that nastiest, most worthless product it has ever been my misfortune to spend $6 on and to my shame I bought two cans of it.

All is not lost however, the cans will make supurb rifle targets and should release a white spurt when hit with a bullet. It's a pity that the people that made this garbage aren't in front of me. Perhaps forced to clean up the God awful mess that their garbage makes, they might take it off the market so people like me won't be suckered into believing the lies on the label.

In other news, I know a mechanic and he looked at the photo of my engine and spotted what he thinks might be an oil leak. That would not surprise me and I wanted him to look over the system anyway so that should get done this weekend. His comment upon viewing the engine was that he hadn't seen one quite that old for a while. It might even be older than he is!

Monday, January 26, 2015

Plan of action

What with the toilet floor costing $50, I can quite see the bathroom floor costing $100 and the rest of the floor in that area costing another $50 or $100. The big bonus is that it will be rot proof. It was an unexpected bonus to find the original rubberized floor was still present.

The gameplan is to complete the toilet to a point where it has a toilet (of sorts), walls and a door. The next thing is to complete the shower room to a point where it has walls, the bath, a shower head and a working drain. After that it's a case of completing the bedroom. The bedroom will be completed in full.

Following completion of the bedroom, I'll work on the water and electricity supply. After that I will consider the bus to be livable and will move into it. The kitchen will be the next thing to be completed followed by the construction of the dinette.

All the time I am not living in my bus I am paying through the nose for both rent and electricity. Although my electricity is but $30 a month, it's not free unlike solar electricity. The goal is to be bill free by March or April. Now that construction has commenced, I feel that the speed of progress can only increase.

There was a suggestion that there should be a full, king or queen bed in the bus but given that the interior is but 91 inches wide and a full bed is 54 inches, a king is 76 inches and a queen is 60 inches, that really won't allow much space either side for people to get in and out. Better to have a 39 inch wide twin and maybe have bunk beds. That's something I'd been thinking about anyway. I have a quantity of stuff to store and I'd want one side of the bus dedicated to storage and wardrobe. The very back of the bus will need space for my bicycle and various tools.

I measured the bus - not the outside as that's really not too interesting - and found that my load bay is about 24 feet by about 7.5. This makes for a living area of about 180 square feet. This is definitely doable. Organisation and space optimisation is the key. My big thing is that I want a wide aisle and that cuts down on storage but does make the place feel less cramped.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Driving and buying

Somebody suggested "furing strips" as being an economical way of building things inside the bus. Today being a bright and sunny day, the first thing done today was to take the bus to Lowes. It really was a pleasant drive and I noticed something odd with the gauges.

Starting the engine (which started sweetly), the gauges all maxed then dropped to zero. Then neither the rev counter nor the speedometer read anything bar zero. Reversing, the rev counter flickered. Then after stopping, I fetched the fuse box a whack with my fist and the rev counter leapt into action and driving forward, the speedometer also worked. Clearly that must have something to do with the drip that has been falling on the fuse box. Mindful of that, later in the day I stood on the hood and sealed every conceivable place where water might be getting in bar sealing the roof vent.

At the store I had a list of things I wanted and whizzed around getting them all. Basically I was after plastic boards to use on the toilet floor, screws to fasten them to the floor, some white paint to paint the inside of the toilet and the inside of the kitchen cabinet. While I was there, having sanded the floor, it makes sense now to stain it so stain went into the basket.

Ages ago, browsing the store I'd seen plastic planking sold as vinyl siding. It was over an inch thick, eight wide and twelve feet long. Being rot proof, it sounded ideal for the toilet and shower floors. Something that sounds good as it's rot proof. It was devilishly expensive at $50 for a single plank but if it works, it's good. I also got some foaming sealant to spray around the gaps on the leaky window.

Returning from Lowes, not really feeling like doing much, I worked on the floor where I'd removed the rotted plywood. There were several screws that had refused solidly to come out even with the aid of an electric screwdriver. Most succumbed to the power of a pair of pliers. A couple didn't come out even then and met the angle grinder. Huge showers of sparks flew into piles of sawdust which I was very glad did not cause a fire.

Then, sweeping the rubbish off the floor, I noticed the door sill looked rusty. As it was plastered with silicone adhesive, that had to be pulled away and while that was being pulled away, the tarry paper I'd noticed on the floor came up. This revealed a rubberized coating which was the original Carpenter floor. Thus all the paper that wasn't covered by plywood was pulled up.

The rust was dealt with via a steel brush in the drill and then a squirt of Rustoleum Rust Converter. When that was dried, I cut the plastic plank into 3 four foot lengths and had an inch left over. The plank must have been longer than 12 feet which is excellent news. Having done that, I tried spraying foam sealant in the window gaps and the stuff just dribbled and made a hell of a mess instead of foaming. I get this with that DaptX stuff. So far it has worked well about 10% of the time. The rest of the time it just makes a terrible mess. I'm hoping it's a temperature thing. Maybe when the weather's warmer, it'll work better.

I had a fancy to put the bath in situ which I did and then felt like putting up some curtains over the kitchenette windows. The curtains were cut from a shower curtain. Being presented with the shower curtain to trim, the lady in my life looked at it and exclaimed how cheap and nasty the curtain was. There's a backstory behind that curtain of course. That was originally purchased to put with the toilet for the photo for State Farm (the bad neighbor). After State Farm welshed on the RV insurance, I had no need for the cheap dollar store shower curtains.

Having cut the curtains, I taped them into place much to the chagrin of the lady in my life. Basically, with all the reflective and plastics on the kitchen countertop I just wanted to have something to diffuse the sunlight so it didn't start fires.. It also made me feel more as though I'm getting somewhere with my bus.
Next week I want to complete the toilet and get started on the bathroom. Then I will work on the bedroom before finally the dinette.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Construction starts in earnest

Today was a day of discovery. I found that the window I transplanted is leaking around the top of the frame. I will seal that tomorrow. The seals at the front had reduced water ingress but not eliminated it. There's more yet to seal though For today though the plan was to sand the floor of the bus.

The sanding went reasonably well - not quite as well as I would have hoped because the plywood the hillbillies laid was pretty cheap stuff and full of areas that had been covered over with some kind of filler. Needless to say, I sanded down the kitchenette area to reveal fresh wood. The damage to the plywood is not something I could sand away or repair so I'll leave it as it is. In use, I'll probably install unbacked carpeting along the aisle etc that I can just whip up if it gets wet..

While I was working, it became necessary to move the kitchenette from where it was standing to where it will be located in order to free space to sand further. Having moved it into place, I found myself fastening it in the kitchenette. I still need to do a lot of fastening and particularly gluing it to the body-paneling in order to eliminate rattling as I drive.

Having secured it in place, I looked at the other stuff on the floor and decided against sanding the other side of the bus until tomorrow. For one thing, the wet patch needs to dry. I ended up removing almost all the debris that had built up, especially from removing the rotted floor panel. After that it was a case of removing most of the screws that had been holding it down. As I paused doing that, my lady managed to locate a free filing cabinet and that proved to be sufficient diversion that by the time I'd returned to the bus having picked up the filing cabinet, the light had gone.

Here are some photos from today.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

The hunt for fasteners

At the moment, with internal construction about to commence in earnest, I'm looking for internal fasteners to use that are waterproof. I've heard of closed-end blind rivets but today in my hunt for some with enough length to be usable, I discovered something interesting - rivnuts. They're apparently like a rivet but have a threaded core and can be used like a nut.

It's interesting that I found rivnuts because the hillbillies that had the bus before me had used four rivnuts on one of the windows. This kind of thing has potential! Despite being just discovered by me, they have apparently been around for slightly longer than I have.

As with closed-end rivets, closed-end rivnuts look to be quite pricey. Having said that, the problem with rivets is that while it would be possible to seal the edges of a rivet against the hole it was put into using solely the natural crimping action, sealing the hole in the center is another thing entirely. This is where closed-end rivets come to play as a solution as the end is sealed and no moisture can get through.

The rivnut has two options - open and closed. As with rivets, they will seal against the hole with no problem. Sealing the thread is where issues come in. Many people will opt for the closed rivnut as a solution. The cannier individual however, will spread adhesive over each screw as it goes in and will seal the rivnuts individually.

I'm swinging in favor of the rivnut on two grounds - firstly it's easier to undo than a rivet and secondly, it looks as if they're cheaper. Cheaper is the key factor!

Monday, January 19, 2015

The donut run

Today was a day of much work. The two aluminum windows are now in situ. Both are secured with silicone caulk and 4 steel brackets each. The window from behind the driver's seat is now situated on the other side of the bus.

The people that installed the plexiglass windows had used some kind of expanding screw hole fitting which I had to grind down. Thank Heavens for my $15 Harbor Feright angle grinder. That has been a Godsend.

Standard double-glazing weather sealing strips were used to ensure a good seal around the edges. Due to the original strips being so much thicker, two layers of strips were used.

It doesn't sound a lot but there was a lot of work involved and I was busy from breakfast right through until 3pm when I knocked off for the day.

Other achievements for the day - I climbed up on the hood and painted the areas at the top of the bus with a spray can that needed extra paint. There are still areas devoid of grey paint but they're getting fewer and further apart. Silicone caulk was applied to the suspected leak area at the back of the hood.

As I have not driven the bus for 3 weeks, today I started it and went to a store some 7 miles away and picked up a box of donuts. The journey there and back was unremarkable aside from the truly lamentable driving of an individual driving a maroon SUV who decided to overtake when I was indicating to turn left.

Driving my bus since the metal garbagework of a previous owner had been removed is a load quieter. I could actually hear my GPS. I contrast that with what it was like when I picked the bus up from Augusta when my lady had to read the GPS on my phone and we could barely hear each other, shouting at the tops of our voices.

There are two cooling fans for the driver as there is no onboard air conditioning. One was siezed solid and today I detached it with the intention of installing a new fan (which was kindly left loose in the bus by a previous owner). I could not detect current going to the fan and then realised just as I was writing the blog that the red wire is the high-speed power and the orange wire is the low-speed power, not positive and negative because the body is negative. The fan still might not be right because it has a red and a black wire. Only time will tell and I have no time to rush out to work on the bus now.

After I returned to my parking place, I parked in a slightly different spot and was impressed by the hollows in the ground where the wheels had been. 3 weeks had caused the wheels to sink about an inch into the sandy soil.

If anybody remembers, last time I drove the bus, the speedo stopped working. It was working again today. It could be a water leak causing the problem. That was something else I worked on today with my silicone caulk.

The following are a selection of photos from today. Note the gap under my newly installed aluminum window. That's not my inaccurate cutting but rather, Carpenter's ripply metalwork. Carpenter has applied some lamentable workmanship and it's not really surprising that they went bust 6 years after making the bodywork for the bus.

Interestingly I found a plaque stating that the bus is a 59 seater. I thought it was a middle sized bus.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

More on windows

Today I learned several really important lessons. First that when applying silicone caulk, disposable rubber gloves would be very useful. Secondly that securing a single bus window replacement in place requires an entire tube of silicone caulk and I'm not sure that I don't need more. Finally that freshly cut aluminum shelf draws blood from an unguarded finger quite effortlessly.

As astute readers may have assumed, today I finished the cutting on the sheet of aluminum for window number two but used it in window number one instead. I also trimmed about 1/8th of an inch off the other sheet of aluminum in order to make it fit the window aperture.

Having cut the aluminum, I took out a bus window - the one behind the driver's seat to be precise. That seemed complicated but was actually quite simple. It was a case of removing an interior bulkhead that actually turned out not to be a bulkhead but a cover over an electric cable. Then it was a case of removing the six screws that held the window in place and wiggling the window loose. Of course, I went the extra mile and loosened interior panels just in case. In order to loosen the panel I had to open a cable duct and inside the cable duct was more proof that the bus had just sat in a field - there was an insect nest made of concreted mud.

My intention had been to replace two windows and switch one over to the passenger side today. I ran out of caulk and daylight. Tomorrow the idea was to take the bus to the locksmith to get some decent lock solutions. That's on hold now though. I want to finish securing the windows first. Once the caulk has dried, I have some brackets glued in place that I want to rivet to the bulkheads just to make sure the window does not accidentally come out.

The next thing to do since I have tomorrow off is to head to Lowes to get some rubber gasket and some more silicone caulking. Tomorrow also I have to start the bus engine or it will end up being a month between starts. I can already see light rust forming on the brake disks. That's not good. I have to drive my bus soon. The odometer still does not function and the mechanic fellow that gave me his number is not responding to my messages. He's probably busy  but it's frustrating when I have but two days a week to work on my bus.

There was an urge to go to Lowes before dinner but my lady forbade me to do so. Apparently I spent longer in Lowes than I spend in the shower. I guess it could be said that I'm clean and well-equipped.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Window works

Today started fighting unfamiliar tools but ended reasonably successfully. The goal was after measuring the window apertures for the windows that had been replaced by plexiglass by a former bus owner, to cut sheet aluminum to fill the apertures as a permanent replacement for the plexiglass.

I'd measured the windows several times before but remeasured them just to make sure. They came out at 25.5" wide and 25.75" tall though the height was more of a generous approximation. Then came the marking and cutting. After marking the aluminum sheet which came from the folding shelf on the side of the bus that one of the former owners had installed, the cutting began.

Having used the reciprocating saw once before with a scraper blade (which didn't flex) to remove the vinyl floor tiles, I was unprepared for using it with a saw blade. It was alarming to see the blade flexing violently from one side to the other. Eventually I discovered that starting the cut with a manual saw and pressing the saw hard against the surface of the aluminum while letting the saw cut under its own weight. Then I discovered an even easier way.

Scoring the surface deeply with an angle grinder produced a much straighter cut and worked out much faster than cutting with either the angle grinder or the saw alone. Thus the aluminum sheet was cut into two window-sized pieces. Well, almost. The light went before I managed the second and final cut on the second piece of aluminum. The first sheet was cut to 25.5" by 25.75". Holding it into the back of the window aperture without removing the plexiglass, I discovered my 25.75 estimate may have been overgenerous. Still, it's way easier to cut a shade off rather than put it back on. Measure twice, cut once and undercut rather than overcut.

Tomorrow's task is to replace the first window with an aluminum sheet, to transfer a window from the other side to where the second plexiglass window is situated then to replace the missing window with the second aluminum sheet. This is a task I'd intended to start today but haven't quite finished cutting the aluminum.

It's been about 3 weeks since I last started the bus engine so I'm laying off any battery usage until I crank the engine which, all being well, should be on Monday when I take the bus to a locksmith to see about getting real locks for the front, side and back doors.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Cheap fuel?

Yesterday I noticed gasoline at $1.89 a gallon. This compares very favorably with the almost $4 a gallon of six months ago. The price of oil has plummeted and the Arabs are being very coy about why they choose to drop the price of oil by nearly 50%. The Arabs say market forces but we all know better than that poppycock!

Arabs always want more money for their oil. This is a fact of life and like so many near monopolies, they use the price as an economic weapon. Make no mistake, we are in a constant economic war with the Arabs. A fine example was the 1970s when oil went so high that Britain (where I lived at the time) had severe shortages. Electricity was only available mornings and evenings. People lived and worked by natural light and by candlelight. With the discovery of North Sea oil, the Arabs backed down with their prices rather than lose all their trade to the new oil fields.

To disguise the economic war, the green movement was encouraged. There's a strong correlation - vehicles get more efficient so the oil price rises. The Arabs need lots of money to support their opulent lifestyles, their cocaine habits and their mission to conquer the West and convert the world to Islam. Heaven forbid that they do so because without a shadow of doubt women would become second or third class citizens and school bus motorhomes would probably be banned.

Due to the excessive oil prices, the West has been developing oil resources from less profitable areas that due to the prices became economically viable. Elton Musk has also thrown a spanner in the works by developing an oil-free electric car that's increasingly popular. Many alternatives to gasoline are being used fairly extensively. The Arab's goose was getting cooked.

Because Arabs need money for themselves and the terrorists they support in the name of Mohammed, they reduced oil prices in order to destroy the profitability of alternatives. This is exactly what happened around 100 years ago to the first batch of electric cars though that time it was the Rockerfeller oil company that squeezed them out and for exactly the same reason.

I do swear that if Mohammed were alive today, he's be carrying an AK47. Mark my words, when the Arabs have put enough hurt on alternative energy sources, electric cars and driven the less profitable oil producers out of business by undercutting them, prices for oil will rocket. The high of $4 a gallon will be $5 a gallon within months of their hollow victory.

One of the beauties of diesel engines is the wide range of fuels they will take - from straight gasoline to kolza and corn oil. Any combustable oil will run a diesel engine though the injectors may need adjustment. If the world stopped buying Arab oil, international terrorism would collapse overnight.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Flo, the cheap hooker

I just wondered where my insurance cards are and asked my agent since I had to go see him today - that's the cards for my SUV and my bus. I'd had to see him because the police had given me a form to file with him after I'd encountered yet another of South Carolina's supremely incompetent drivers for whom the rear window and observation through the rear window while reversing from a parking bay into a road was a truly novel idea that he had yet to embrace. Needless to say, seeing that he was reversing into my path, I stepped on my brakes while he happily reversed at increasing speed before ricocheting off my front bumper. This meant damage had been caused for my front number plate and mount had been ripped off by his carelessness. Suspecting there might be more damage than was obvious, I informed the police who gave me the form to take to my insurer - Progressive.

So, my insurer informed me that I would be receiving the documents shortly. Then I discovered they arrive in e-format. Trying to get them in a real, tangible format would cost me the princely sum of $26 a go. Progressive isn't really any cheaper than my old uninsurer (State Farm - may they roast for all eternity on the fires of eternal damnation) but they want extra for providing documents that they're legally obliged to provide! That just has the feeling of a cheap hooker. Maybe I should have taken heed of Progressive's TV advert that features a woman in a white smock that's as heavily plastered in cheap make-up as the average street hooker.

Interestingly, I went online to chat with a Progressive representative. I suggested they sent my documents to my PO Box but apparently it's too challenging for them to have two addresses on file. Christ help them if they find I live in a different location from my PO Box and that my bus is parked at a 3rd location. They'd probably have to book a six month session at the Penthouse suite of the funny farm to recover from the shock!

This weekend is the weekend I'm hoping to get real locks for the bus. I can't really start putting stuff on while it's so easy for people just to push the door open and get in. This will involve a nail-biting drive with the only functioning speedometer being the app on my mobile phone. I still have not discovered what's happened to the existing speedometer. I suspect the cable has popped off the back of the engine somewhere though I cannot yet see where even after raising the hood. Maybe rolling around in the dirt underneath might help but I'm not certain.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Cold weather

Yesterday was so cold that despite desperately needing to run the bus engine to keep the batteries topped up and desperately needing to work inside the bus, I opted to stay in the warm. I'm becoming soft in my middle age!

Last night and today we had torrential rain. It was so torrential that I only dashed to the bus quickly to see if my water leak repairs were working. I'm pleased to report that the leak over the bedroom area has been cured. The leaks at the front are not quite as bad as they were but need more work. Somebody has tried to seal the front before but their repair attempt has flaked off and needs to be scraped and resealed. Looks like I have a day of sitting or standing on the hood to complete the paintwork and to do the leak sealing.

Having done that, there're the windows that need work and finally the interior although I'll probably end up mixing it up and doing a bit of everything.

Meanwhile, my girlfriend's house uses something called a bladder tank. I wonder whether I could use something like that underneath the bus as a white tank. That would solve all the pumping issues though I'd want an internal reserve just in case I ran out of water just after lathering up for a shower!

Saturday, January 10, 2015

The floor

Today was the day designated toward working on the floor of the bus. The plan was simple - sand the plywood until the screw heads became visible then unscrew the screws and remove the plywood. It wasn't that simple though!

After sanding furiously with an electric sander for an hour or so, I was no nearer to revealing screw heads. The plywood had been dreadful plywood with large areas of filler added to fill in huge gaps in the wood. Having decided that sanding was just not going to work, I pulled out a pry bar and pulled away and the plywood splintered up nicely, revealing deeply sunk screw heads. That was slow process so I pulled out a bigger pry bar and managed to lever up much larger chunks of plywood. Doing that, it was possible to see printing on the plywood that declared it to be an exterior grade. That hadn't helped much though as the 48 inch wide by 91 inch long section that I eventually removed had rotted pretty thoroughly where the water tank had been situated and where the emergency door is situated.

Thinking laterally, horizontally and perhaps upside down as well, it made sense to put plastic planking down in the shower and toilet areas. This plastic planking is expensive at $40 for a 12 foot length but I should not need many lengths to cover the toilet and shower floors.

I had been struggling with ideas for doing the shower until I realized that I had removed a perfectly adequate bath from the bus initially. That would seem at 5 feet long to fit in the space allotted to the shower area albeit overlapping by 8 inches. That's something I can work with however. It does mean that I have to remove more of the wood from an adjacent sheet of plywood on the floor - on both sides of the bus. Where I had thought there was a join, turned out not to be a join so this is going to be a tricky operation using a chisel.

Another thing that was done today was that I went up and sealed a couple of areas on the roof and around the windscreen where water might have been entering. I'll have to wait for the next rainstorm to see if the leaks have been sealed. There was a potential area further up on the roof but as I was on a stepladder, I couldn't quite reach. I did see areas I'd missed when painting with the roller but that's a job for another day - when the weather's warmer. I have doubts as to whether the sealant I put will cure with the current sub zero temperatures.

I did nothing to the flooring in the bedroom area that needs to come up. Despite my intent to work the bedroom area, I worked the kitchen and shower areas instead. Before much more can be done, the windows that need attention need to be attended to. That's replacing one that's been replaced by a sheet of plexiglass with a sheet of aluminum then moving another to where there's a sheet of plexiglass and replacing the donor window hole with aluminum.

Underneath the plywood that I removed, for some strange reason, somebody had seen fit to lay a sheet of something that was covered in black tar. Below that is a bright, galvanized floor. Clearly the tar paper is something put down by the hillbillies.

Today I was having to take breaks to lie down in the dark between sessions of pulling up flooring. At first I thought it was a bug or mold spores. Then I realized it was the same feeling of yuckiness that I'd had before I got reading glasses. Perhaps it's time to invest in a swanky pair of ordinary glasses. I'll have to look into that as I can't go on feeling yucky.
Meanwhile, I don't yet know where the odometer cable has disconnected but I have got a nifty app for my phone that calculates my speed from GPS. It beeped successfully after I set it to warn me when I went over 45mph. Whether I can hear it over the bus engine is debatable. I'll have to get the odometer fixed. There're a growing number of things I'd like looked at anyway.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

A very productive day

Today, after my voluntary work (I work as a hospital volunteer on Tuesday mornings), I went to my Post Box. There, I found a check from the insurance company (State Farm) dated December 26. Last week I had a letter from them dated December 23 stating that my insurance would be canceled on January 13th. This means effectively that my bus had been uninsured since December 26th. Thank Heavens I didn't take it out to get supplies!

So I am in possession of a letter that says I can drive my bus until January 13th and another letter that indicates that it ceased being insured 3 weeks prior to that. The insurance agent (whose name shall not be mentioned as there's a diminishing chance that the agent is innocent of wrongdoing) pushed me to install a kitchenette and a toilet then when I had, yesterday told me that the insurance company wouldn't like it because it didn't have a cooktop oven combination.

My girlfriend had mentioned how fishy the insistence that photos of a kitchen and a toilet be produced sounded when the agent knew full well that the bus was being remodeled. Needless to say, there was little else I could have done bar press on with construction.

Interestingly, I checked online and found a new insurance company that was happy to insure my bus as a motorhome. Thus, it is now insured as a motorhome with another company for less money. While I was at it, my car insurance was up in a few days and so that has now been transferred to the new company. Doing this gave me the chance to review the terms and I found my car had been woefully underinsured. Part of that was because at the time an external individual had arranged the insurance for me. That individual's judgment was as I later discovered, poor to say the best.

So, a positive day for insurance. I even took a trip to a lock company who reckoned they could fit decent locks to the bus quite easily. Big bonus - no more clambering in and out of the back door!

Future plans - to get back to fixing the problems with the bus and then to work on swapping out the missing windows with plate metal and erecting a partition behind the driving compartment. After that, completing the kitchen and commencing the dinette.

Monday, January 5, 2015

You can't make up stuff like this! @statefarm

Today was a day in which the real world took over. I had to run missions, most of which were unsatisfactory. The most surprising thing was what my insurance agent said.

Apparently, State Farm (who I can no longer recommend as an insurer) will not insure my motorhome because it does not have a power hungry oven-cooktop combination. Apparently the underwriters don't consider it a motorhome unless it has an oven-cooktop drop-in combination. That strikes me as so utterly bananas that somebody at State Farm has got to be trying to yank my chain.

This is not the first time I have heard of State Farm being a bunch of kooks. My girlfriend found they wouldn't insure her home because it was over 30 years old. Another insurance agency had no such problem.

I had been working my butt off doing things inside the bus to please the insurance company rather than things that needed to be done. I was told it needed a kitchen and a toilet area. I was NOT told their kooky definition of a kitchen was a drop-in stove. Which is it? A kitchen or a stove? There's a big difference between the two.

I have been living for years doing my cooking entirely from a microwave, steamer, slow-cooker and a kettle. I don't even possess a saucepan nor a frying pan. I do have a wok that I have never ever used. I've had that for several years and never had the need to use it.

Aside from the fact I just don't use a stove, I just don't envisage the electricity generated from solar power would be sufficient to power it. Oven-cooktop combinations really suck up electricity. The alternative would be to use propane and live with a potential bomb near my living quarters or just have a totally wasted space housing an expensive chunk of metal that would never get used.

All I can say, having had this experience of State Farm is that I'm changing my insurance company and will not be renewing any of my State Farm policies. Interestingly they're all due in January or thereabouts.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

A stinkin bucket

Today was partly thwarted by the power drill running out of power and simultaneously out of steel angle brackets. The upshot was that the toilet unit was not completed.

The toilet room however was completed although for obvious reasons the walls were not secured. The main problem was the floor which has rotted.

While working in the bus today it rained heavily. During this downpour I noticed and marked a small roof leak and noted a puddle by the emergency exit. This is in addition to the leaks by the windscreen. Clearly something that I will have to work on.

As stated, nothing has been truly secured in place until the floor has been sanded and colored. The section at the back has been affected by a leak that I fixed that previous owners never bothered with. There is also a bus wide section of about 6 feet of plywood that's rotted on both sides of the bus. On one side is the leaky emergency exit door. On the other side is where a water tank installed by a previous owner was situated. That had leaked badly.

The toilet itself was constructed around a blue plastic bucket. The idea was to use the bucket as a toilet with the bucket in a wood box with a toilet seat. Needless to say, the plan did not reach completion today. Tomorrow a trip to Lowes should provide enough brackets to complete the task.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Cooking up something

Today and yesterday I worked on the kitchenette. It's not quite finished but it looks pretty darned good. For the insurance company, a photo with a microwave on the countertop should suffice. The toilet still needs to be constructed but that's not hard.

After building most of the countertop over the past few days, the toilet which is smaller should be very easy by comparison. This will be just a box with a hole at the top and a door that opens to take the bucket out when it's full. The door will probably be at the top such that the top and the seat flip upward. I'll have to put a toilet roll holder on the back of the partition. I might even have a second door so that by simply opening the emergency exit, the door can be opened to remove and dump the toilet contents.

As far as finishing the kitchenette, I need to put a big drawer and three smaller drawers plus one cupboard door and possibly two small bars on one side. The plan is to keep it as open as possible in order to eliminate places where bugs can hide and to make cleaning easier.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

That sinking feeling

Today was a day of much greater accomplishment than expected. I started early to saw wood using the new saw I bought the other day and low-and-behold, the legs of the kitchenette are now all the right length. They're all 31 inches. Previously I'd struggled with the legs using my older saw. Handholding the wood had not helped either. This time the wood was anchored down on the back shelf by chunks of angle iron.

Having done that I proceeded to cut a hole in the countertop for the sink. The first cut was too small but that's always good. Better to cut off too little than too much. Eventually, the sink sank into the correct space and the wooden framework that I'd assembled a few days ago was screwed to the countertop.

As I now needed smaller brackets to attach the legs to the countertop than I had, a trip to the store was necessary. Thus since the water at my girlfriend's house has stopped working, it was time not only to go shopping but to head home for a shower. On this shopping trip, not only were brackets purchased but also a plastic toilet bucket and cat litter. The plan is to have a semi-composting toilet like many DIY motorhomes have. I'm probably not going to put a wood stove in but never say never.

Cutting the hole for the sink was a load easier than I'd imagined. Rather than going all complicated and drilling a hole and using a jig saw, I used an ordinary saw and simply scratched lines with it until I was through. I have very much a feeling that if tomorrow goes like today then the kitchenette may well be completed tomorrow and the toilet may be completed the day after. That should give me something to photograph for the insurance company. I was mightily impressed by my work.