Skoolie Build – Removing The Bunks & Junks!

It is time to get the old girl cleaned out. Lindsay and I have been dreaming about getting her fixed, drawing up floor plans and hoping for a better year, where we have the ability to get the transmission looked at and repaired or replaced. Dreaming isn’t good enough though, it is time to get something done, we do not just talk about doing a thing, we actually do the thing. Planning is great, and it is necessary, but eventually it needs to be followed by action. This is action.

For those that have joined the channel more recently, just over two years ago we took a leap of faith and bought our Skoolie project. We worked hard, and for a little while, getting her ready for a trip was all of our content on this channel. We had her looked at by two different shops, both of who gave her a clean bill of health. We tore out her extra seats, removed the wheelchair lift and built bunks in the back. Put in a table and a bed for Lindsay and I and took off on our first adventure. Then we watched in horror as the transmission overheated ten miles outside of town. We managed to limp her home and park her back in the driveway, where she has sat since February of 2017.

She has hosted slumber parties and movie nights. She has kept visiting family warm at night and made a fantastic storage unit. We have made the absolute best out of the last two years, but this has been stagnation and we know it. Stagnation is how dreams die, little by little, day by day fading out until finally they are simply gone. We don’t want that. We want to be out discovering new places, finding pieces of this world and ourselves that we didn’t know. Away from this suburban world that we do not fit into, away from these people that we do not fit in with. That is our dream.

The struggle is to bring that dream into being while also balancing the needs of our family. We have four kids, and we stay grounded in this house for them, so that they can have the continuity in their schools and friends that will be the most beneficial to them. We bought the school bus when we did because we wanted to work towards our dream and at the same time have some grand adventures with the kids before they started moving out of the house.

Well, that obviously didn’t work out, and while we have had adventures with the kids they have been with our van and they have started moving out of the house and into their own lives. May is in her first year of college and Kat will graduate from high school next year. Sam has another four years before he graduates while Noah is quite a ways off, though when Sam moves out we may move into Skoolie life with Noah if he is still interested in the thought of it. He is all for it right now, but he is also still an eight year old.

We don’t know what is going to happen with the transmission, and to be honest we want to replace it anyways. The Allison 545 that is in there doesn’t lock up, which feels really sketchy when you are coming down a big hill. We would prefer to get an Allison MT643 installed, and that is the direction we will likely go when we can afford it. That is the current goal, the thing that we are working towards that will get the bus on the road creating adventures. That might happen this year, it might happen next year, but it will happen.

However, we are no longer going to wait on the transmission to start on the things we can still do. That starts with this video, emptying all of the things out of it that we have been storing in here. There is honestly more of it than I had expected, but it is out now and stacked neatly in the garage. It means taking the next step and tearing out the bunks that we had installed.  They were always meant to be temporary, just something that would allow us to adventure with the kids on a cheap budget. It is all still good lumber, and it will get used in future projects, whatever those happen to be. Some may be in the bus, some may be in the garage and some may be in the garden. Who knows, but it will definitely not go to waste.

Looking forward, we will tear out the remaining four seats and the floor heater, capping the coolant lines off. The existing flooring will get torn up, and with the soft spots we can feel underneath it we know that we have some repairing to do on the metal decking underneath. The wall paneling, ceiling panels and existing insulation is going to get pulled out. All of that will cost us nearly nothing to get to that point, and it will let us get a better idea of what other repairs need to be made. It will also let us get to the wiring, and start cleaning up that mess.

After that, hopefully summer will have arrived because our windows leak. Not a lot, but they definitely need to get pulled out, cleaned up and resealed. At that point, we start to run out of free stuff that needs to be done and get into things that are going to cost money. Obviously, getting the mechanical issues with the transmission figured out and fixed one way or another is the top priority when it comes to money, but that is going to cost a bit and honestly, we should probably get the outside of the bus painted. Our neighbors would probably appreciate the bus looking more like an RV, and less like the yellow goddess that she is. We haven’t really gotten hassled about the bus after the last time it happened, but there is no reason to tempt fate for much longer.

To be honest, it just feels good to have some forward momentum again. To be moving in a positive direction, towards our dreams instead of watching them fade away. Did anyone actually make it to the end of this? If so let me know in the comments, as I know that this has been a lot of me talking at once and you are a trooper if you managed to make it this far.

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