Now that the engine is not smoking, let’s get an alignment

We spent the night at a hotel in Fort Pierce as we waited for our bus to get fixed. We didn’t have a car, so we walked from the mechanic to West Marine and then out to the hotel, about 5 miles. Luckily it was overcast. The next morning we walked back to the mechanic and got our bus. And off we were, or so we thought.

We had to go to St Lucie Tire and Battery and get the an alignment, for we just got new tires and that put everything out of align. So we went over there and they said they didn’t have time today to do it, but could get to it tomorrow. Oh Boy. We have to get Marina to Boston for her shots and her flight leaves tomorrow from Orlando. So..off we go again. Rent a car, drive to Orlando and get her on the plane for her monthly trip to Waltham, MA. I spent the night in Orlando waiting for her return the next night and we both stayed again at the AirBnB for the 3rd night.

Now it’s back to Fort Pierce to pick up the bus from the alignment shop. Of course it’s never just an alignment, we also had to replace a long arm metal arm that connects the front tires together and the tie rod ends. It’s only money.

We pick up the bus, drop off the rental car at Enterprise. Do we dare try again. Off we go.

Stuck in Florida

Our hope was to leave Stuart in June. The sun is really starting to heat things up here in Florida, summer is coming. It’s getting too hot to work outside on the bus so we must be leaving.

Or so we thought. We brought the bus to our apartment in Stuart. Our plan was to load up our things and leave in the AM. Well, on the 3 mile drive from our build location the exhaust was blowing so much black smoke that James Bond would have been impressed.

We had no idea why this was happening, so we decided to go to the mechanic. Stuart is more of a quaint little town with nice shops and a marina, where we stayed for quite some time too. Stuart is not a place to get a heavy duty truck fixed. Fort Pierce is a much better location for that, so we drove 15 miles to Rechtien International Trucks to let the professionals figure it out.

Near the end of the day Rechtien called and said they could fix it. But it will take a bit. We need 1 fuel injector, ICP sensor, fix a coolant leak, and replace one sensor that has the wrong sensor in its place. I must have done that one.

Luckily we had a rental car for the week and we were able to drop the bus off, spend the night back at our apartment and come the next day to get it.

Our hosts at Riverview apartments, Veronica and Armond, were very flexible with us and allowed us to stay longer than we had a originally planned. At this point we were in the weekly notice schedule and moving towards the daily schedule.

Hard to admit, but we are behind in our work… we need another month

We planed to finish our conversion by the end of the April, but that did not happen. We worked every day, including weekends, long hours, but.. we are behind. The weather in Florida is getting less bearable with every day. Temperature is steady 90s. It’s humid. The paint is not drying for 3 days. Our little apartment doesn’t have AC. We have to stay here for another month, May.

But we did a lot of interior and “under the bus” work. Our “skoolie” start looking like we can live there!

Our kitchen is almost ready – cabinets are done, the Unique fridge is installed and working, faucet and drain working, settees are done, bedroom cabinets are done, the ceiling is REdone and finally sturdy, shower drain installed and working, the air system is fixed and we feel confident about the breaks.

Ready for good night sleep?

Marina has been hard at work staining and varnishing the walls. After hours and hours of thoughts and trips up and down the aisles of Home Depot, we decided to keep the walls “au natural”. This decision, or there lack of, gives us the most flexibility. For when we tire of the natural look, we can stain it another color, or paint them, or spread some wall paper on them. The choices are endless and that is what got us into this current situation.

We added some shelves give the bed to hold our all important items we bring with us. The doors are yet to be manufactured, but I am sure that will happen in the next week or so.

But we are getting closer to being finished with the bedroom. I suppose we will never be “finished”, just done enough.

Marina has forbidden Kevin to touch any of the walls with his dirty hands. This will be fun to enforce

“Bunny suit” and foamy disaster

Dressed up in the “bunny suits” we created foamy disaster in our bus. We decided to apply foam insulation by our own, and save about $700. Yes, we saved those money. But, first 100 sq. feet were spent on figuring out “how to” apply this crazy foam. It definitely was not the best application of the expensive insulating chemical. Big amount of this insulation got stick to the floor, water heater, wires and such. The walls and ceiling got a good portion of insulation, but it definitely could be improved. Oh, well. We tried…

Dirty oil vs clean oil, oh yes, you can tell difference.

Since we don’t know the history of the maintenance of our skoolie, we decided just to change the oil. We were very happy that we did. Because the drained old oil was dark blackish brown color. It’s definitely was not good for the engine. The new oil is nice pinkish color.

A/C woes

The story is familiar.  We purchased a Coleman 15k btu air conditioner from a mobile RV mechanic near West Palm.  He said it worked an was 4 years old.  To his credit, it may have worked when he pulled it from the RV in which he placed a new A/C.  But we are not having much luck getting it to give us any cold air.

Yes, I watched the video.  I watched several videos. Lots of good, and bad, stories out there. Nevertheless, I ordered the infamous capacitor, a small price to pay for fix. The problem is I don’t think that’s the last price I will have to pay. It may also be the control board. Luckily Amazon Prime will have that capacitor to us tomorrow and the truth will be told.

Cleaning up the wires.

How many lights do we really need? Life is not always about needs. Nevertheless, we are running enough wires to light the place up like a Christmas tree. On the last vessel that we owned, Chief Yoga guru used to turn all the lights on and go outside. With the added lights on this new machine it will take her a bit longer to turn on the lights on. My mom would not be a happy camper to if we did such a thing in our house growing up. To make matters worse, we can now turn on all the lights, the air conditioner, open the windows and then go outside.

There is lots of talk about the correct way to run wires. Don’t do this, do that. One rule is don’t run 12v and 120v wires parallel to each other. This is a tough rule to follow on a small bus.

We purchased electric panels from the Marine Connection Outlet in Fort Pierce. This store sells used boat parts. We spent about 2 hours in there “shopping”. We used to shop here for our boat supplies.

The electric continues. Maybe tomorrow we will install the distribution panels.

The Plumbing Maze

Well, I don’t want to be a plumber someday. There are so many connections, pieces, parts and sizes. We have been working on the plumbing for quite some time now. It seems that we are getting it done, but there is always another fitting that we need. So we go to Home Depot, nope, they don’t have it. So we go to Lowes, they have one of the fittings. Next stop Peter’s Hardware, formerly Ace Hardware, they typically have something close to what we need. Last stop is John’s Plumbing, a real plumbing supply shop, nope, we don’t sell barb fittings. So we end up back at the bus with something that might work. It certainly now looks like I did the plumbing. We have a blend of pex, nylon, PVC, stainless, bronze and brass. I am sure that goes against some code somewhere. With that mix we are able to make 1/2″ barb, 3/4″ barb, 1/2″ npt, 3/4″ npt, 3/8″ npt, 1/4″ connections and we are not done yet. No metric yet on this project, but the rest of the bus is littered with metric as well. We have not even tested for leaks yet. This project is far from over.

So many barb fittings, so many places to go.