First Freeze Of The Fall

The overnight low was 26F. It dropped below freezing around 8PM and didn’t get above 32F until around 2AM. I’m guessing this was when the cold front rolled in. It was 34F this morning when the dog decided she needed to go out to pee & poo. Bus was fairly warm. I don’t typically keep it warm overnight but I forgot to turn the space heater in the front off last night. I typically keep the bus between 50F & 65F overnight. Tace likes to leave the space heater in the bedroom on fairly high plus crank her side of the bed up. The dog gets cold (not much fur to keep her warm) so keeping the bedroom warm overnight will be a given. Nothing froze overnight. So I’m guessing I’m good until I can get the rigid insulation bought to make the boxes. I’ve decided to rethink using the waterbed heating pad on the holding tanks. Tace & I did our grocery shopping yesterday and had to stop in Wal-Mart to buy canned diced potatoes (for Stoup). While there Tace saw some little tiny (250 watt) space heaters and mentioned that she had used them in the past as they heated very well for places like under the sink and such. They were only $10. I think I will get two to place inside each of the tank boxes, once I get them built, to keep that area warmed up. I can put them on a couple of those Easy Heat thermostat plugs so no power goes to them until temps drop to 38F (I have one and it turns off the power at 50F so I kept the thermostat inside the box with the heater). It would be a lot cheaper than a waterbed heater pad. And I am cheap. I have used space heaters and incandescent light bulbs to keep RV plumbing warm before. A small space heater works well and tends to have a fan to move the air around so there are no cold spots to worry about. Been trying to decide if I should leave the pipe cable in place or remove it. I don’t have to remove it. I will probably leave it in place and just not use it unless temps are going to be really cold. It can get really cold here in NM. I think this is going to be a colder winter than what I have experienced out here (longer freezes). I don’t really want to unhook all the stuff anyway. My insulated boxes will have to be built in stages. First the insulation, then the road cover, then the access doors. Plus I still need to add another fresh tank because the washing machine empties the 30 gallon fresh tank faster it than takes to refill. So before I add the road cover, I need to buy the Super Struts to rehang the existing fresh tank (I want to relocate it by a couple of feet) plus add the second tank. The way I have the tanks hung, I can slide bins with the hoses and connections in with the tanks once it is covered (and why I need the access doors).
Unless I come up with something different before I get started on this idea. You know, when it comes to conversions, I see a lot of the interior/exterior “eye candy” pics online but what I don’t see a whole lot of is things like the underside storage. I’m beginning to think folks don’t mess with that part much. Only thing I have seen for storage of “stuff” is someone who hung 2-expensive-2-me under mount tool boxes on the bottom of their bus. The tool boxes hang down too much for my tastes and are far too shallow (I have about 30″ from sidewall to the frame beam and most of these under mount tool boxes are only 18″ deep). It’s like when I was trying to figure out how to do the LP tanks. Other than a welded setup (I can’t weld), there was pretty much nothing that I could look at and adjust to make a storage space to hold all my tanks (all 8 of them… currently). Lots of pics of the interior, the part I didn’t need help with. But the Super Strut setup I finally came up with seems to be working well and I have adapted it to use with the waste tanks. I know that there are folks out there who think I am stupid for going that route (I know this because they called me stupid online… and that was one of the nicer names) but I can’t weld and once all the parts are threaded together they seem pretty strong and sturdy. Will it hold up to a slung tire? Probably not but then a lot of things won’t. I see enough RVs roll into the parks with damage to the bays from a slung tire to think otherwise. But my LP tanks and generator held up just fine to driving off road thru the brush, rocks and cacti when I had to turn the bus around on a dirt road. The generator (hangs off the Super Struts) has gone off road twice… so far. I do know that when we slung a tire on the Class C, it tore the wheel well all up. But the wheel well was simply a plywood box screwed and caulked to the plywood floor deck. While I would have preferred that the LP tanks hang in the middle of the bus, it just wasn’t gonna work out. So they are behind the rear wheels, along with the generator. And they all hang and inch or so below the side skirting. Luckily a school bus has a high road clearance. Once I got everything all tightened up (with a bit of EU6000 on the nuts to prevent them from loosening up on their own) it was all surprisingly rigid.

At any rate, I am happy with my Super Strut setups. They are easily attached to the underside of the floor (I have “L” brackets that run full width side-2-side that already have a hole to put a bolt thru on the far ends) with minimal drilling. The various holes that the 1/2″ threaded rods go thru allow the struts to be adjusted fairly easily. The struts will hold a lot of weight. And they are easily cut with a hack saw and a sharp blade. They do dull the blades pretty quickly. The “weak” part of the deal seems to be the threaded rod. Although the 1/2″ rod doesn’t seem to want to bend much, particularly with them only being 18″ and 24″ long (they are screwed in to where they touch the bottom side of the bus floor on the LP lockers).

I have found that since I collected all my plumbing lines to where they run crosswise on the bus in only a couple of places, I cannot put a single pipe insulation tube on the section. I think that using a section of PVC pipe gutter will be what I end up using. They are “U” shaped so I can line them with insulation scraps and pop them into place and secure with a zip tie or really short screw. I will have to do a little measuring to see how it will work out. I really did not think I would be going thru another NM winter. Oh well. Just need to get prepared for it.



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