The Troubles converting a bus

Yes, there are troubles and problems with converting a bus, we knew that before we started but decided to buy our bus, Freyja, anyway. Reasons for our buy were that this bus was well maintained (mechanically) and had the 5cyl diesel engine from Benz that has the “immortal” stamp on it. The engine is said to be the best Benz has ever produced and, with the right maintenance, can live on to go between 800-1.600 thousand km. That’s a top of 1.6 MILLION km driven, that’s just insane.

Dirty, dirty girl!

But with that said, the interior of the bus was not well maintained. It is dirtier than anything we’ve seen before. Not with things such as rubbish, trash or things we humans leave behind. But dust.. endless, reddish, fine grained dust. It’s everywhere! Every nook and cranny in the bus seems to be full to the brim with this stuff. And to top it off, after we removed all the wood panel on the lower walls (under the windows) we found out that the bus had been insulated there with glass wool. Which is the worst thing (besides asbestos) we could have found in the walls.
My fingers and hands still itch from the damn thing, many days after we removed it. And yes, we did wear gloves and masks.

Water and condensation

The second bad thing we’ve found out with this bus is that it is wet. Or, was really wet at some point. The company that owned the bus before us is a river rafting company here in Iceland and this is one of the buses that they used to transfer people from the base of operations to the river where they would start from, and then back from the end of the river rafting track to the base again. That meant that the people and their stuff would be wet and dirty on the ride back.

As can be seen on the picture here above, that means the wood panel has gotten wet and soggy at some point in time, but thankfully we haven’t found any mold in the bus.
This has made it harder to remove the wood paneling though since it breaks in strange ways.

Trash and leftovers

Another thing you must think about if you are thinking of converting a fully loaded bus is what you are going to do with all the things you rip out of it. Eg. seats, flooring, insulation, panels and such. Here in Iceland we have a fairly good recycling system so we were able to sort through what we got out of the bus and put it in to the corresponding containers at the recycling depot. But we have heard that some countries aren’t that lucky. There might be some/great cost to getting rid of the interior of the bus depending on where you live.

It’s not all bad though

But enough of the bad sides, what about the good sides of converting our bus?

Well, for one, we have double pane window glass on the sides of the bus and that means no condensation on those windows. And it helps with insulation as well since there is that air gap in between the individual panes. And having windows does mean we don’t have to make holes in our bus to put windows in.

There was also a nice two directional, weather-proof fan (turns out it wasn’t) on ceiling and a nice sunroof from Webasto installed there as well.

Bottom line

We’re may be having some troubles with the build, but it’s nothing we can’t overcome. We’re slowly nearing the end of the conversion and will move into the bus after that. This bus has thrown a lot of curve-balls and seemingly dead ends, but with stubbornness and perseverance we will finish this project, finally move in and start our wonderful journey.

What’s next?

Well, she needs to pass her yearly inspection so in order for that to work we need to fix a few things, so on Monday she’ll be going to the garage to fix most of them. The rest is simply missing/broken light bulbs in a few spots and she needs new tires. After that we’re going to finish setting everything up and move into our lovely home on wheels, even though she’ll be a bit rough around the edges 😉