A Day at the Dump: Goodbye, Furniture; Hello, Weight

It’s been a wet week, with particularly heavy rain and strong winds on Monday night. When I went to work on the paint Thursday, I saw that my 30-day tag was missing, having softened in the rain and torn off in the wind.

My wife and I looked all over the area and couldn’t find it, so I arranged to go in late to work Friday so I could go to the courthouse and get a replacement tag so I could go to the dump Saturday and get the bus weighed so I could go to the courthouse next week and title the bus with an accurate weight.

I just happened to have a little extra time Friday morning before the courthouse opened, so I dropped by my brother’s house to give him a heat gun he had asked for that it turns out he had already bought himself. (No problem; I expect I’ll be going through several in the near future.) And it also turns out he found my tag, saved it for me, and forgot to mention it. Thanks, bro! :-)

30-day tag on rear of schoolbus

I reaffixed it this morning, using washers to keep the paper from tearing off again.

Only One Leak???

It’s raining again. (Oh will my heart ever mend.)

Rain leaking into schoolbus driver's window

Found this on the console by the driver’s side window, and no other leaks. Of course, the bus still has enough filth and spills inside it’d be hard to spot more leaks right now; but if this is all there is, it seems pretty manageable.

To the Dump, to the Dump, to the Dump-Dump-Dump

Jonathan and I took the bus to the dump this morning to dispose of the worst couch and chair. I confess that there may have been slightly more celebratory rolling of furniture out of the back of the bus than was strictly necessary in order to get said furniture over to the big green dumpster.

We arrived early when there weren’t many other people at the dump yet — apparently the second load of the day — and the attendant seemed amused and chatted a while about my plans for the bus. Good conversation starter.

With Jonathan in the bus and me on the scale outside the bus, the total weight was 14,700 lbs. Figure 200 lbs each, so 14,300 lbs for the bus itself, including a full tank of gas (400 lbs) and no water (as far as I can tell) in the tanks.

Two different gals at the courthouse were looking up similar VINs for me and coming up with 7,200 lbs. I think they must have been looking at short buses. My family’s 1969 Ford Galaxie weighs 3500 lbs; I can see that a short bus could be two Galaxies and the long bus could be four.

More Cleaning

After returning from the dump, Jonathan and I unmounted and unloaded the cheap stereo speakers that were screwed to cabinets and walls, pulled out and discarded cheap speaker cable, and did general litter patrol. Big yellow bag for trash; small bags for recyclable plastic and metal. We left it ready to sweep and mop.

Forward view of schoolbus interior

Here’s the forward view through the back door, with the floor in its full grotesquerie. The bright windows you can see through are the ones we opened to get a cross-breeze. Most of the dome lights work; those that don’t appear to have bad bulbs rather than bad wiring.

Front half of schoolbus interior

Forward half of the bus. The cabinet on the right needs to go and make way for a passenger chair (with seatbelt); but it’s bolted down and we didn’t have the right tools with us. The sink cabinet on the left needs to be replaced with something a little nicer, but it’ll do for now.

Rearward view of schoolbus interior, back door open

The interior looking rearward from the front, with the back door open.

I haven’t figure out yet whether the cutout in the counter was for a stove or refrigerator. The gas line inside it doesn’t necessarily answer the question — I’m learning that RV refrigerators can run on gas (or 12VDC or 120VAC).

Rear interior of schoolbus, back door closed

The back end with the door closed.

Easy Window Repairs

Schoolbus window frames

While I was fetching a nut driver for the speaker mounts, Jonathan took apart a window frame. He had it back together by the time I returned; but apparently the two screws come out, the adjacent frames lift off, and the windows lift out.

That’s encouraging to think of the ease of replacing the glass in broken windows and the ease of (eventually) replacing the windows with something that seals better and has a double pane for better insulating value.


$7 dump fee
$7 total for getting rid of nasty furniture and weighing the bus

7 Responses to “A Day at the Dump: Goodbye, Furniture; Hello, Weight”

  1. Jonathan says:

    Remove 2 screws from each side of the window. The frame and windows are one piece and they come out together. Looks similar to a storm window but the panes are not removable as far as I can tell.

  2. Dave says:

    Make sure any windows you replace are with the correct type of glass. If the thing should ever be involved in an accident, you don’t want a lot of glass shards flying around.


  3. neufeld says:

    Fun idea — before replacing a broken window, break it some more and see if it’s really auto safety glass. :-)

  4. Jon says:

    Regarding dome lights, I recently came across something that may be a good solution. The the Richmond BC Canada “Night Market” (think Hong Kong style market with a hundred and fifty 10′ x 10′ booths selling everything from Korean socks to every USB gadget imaginable including an awesome food section with all sorts of tasty things on sticks) there was a booth selling LED lamps and lasers.

    They had an LED “dome light kit” with 24 white LEDs in a 4×6 arrangement. It came with several adapters to connect to different bulb sockets and provides an amazing amount of light at 100 mA (12v). My application wasn’t as a dome light replacement, but for lighting my assembly microscope. A very nice bright white light source.

    I looked on eBay for similar kits and they come in many styles (and much less than I paid of course!).

    These could cut your power draw tremendously and reducing heating too.


  5. neufeld says:

    Jon, thanks for the note about the LED lights. I’ve certainly considered building some LED replacements myself.

    For now, I bought a couple of replacement automotive bulbs and they’re working just fine.

    Which reminds me, I need to see about getting some more Bluebird dome light bezels when I go to a salvage yard for some other parts.

  6. David Church says:

    Just came across your school bus blog. I’ve always wanted to do some similar. I once rented a schoolie at a campground which obviously been converted by lunatic, although it seemed to me that doing it well would not have much more work or expense. (I had asked for a cabin, so I thankfully I didn’t intend to actually drive it off the campsite.)

    The cutout in the counter behind your driver’s seat was probably for an RV Range (cooktop and oven.) RV Ranges run on propane, which explains the gas line. They ‘drop’ into a cabinet, rather than being freestanding. Under the RV Range in my park model trailer there is a short, wide cabinet door where I keep pots and pans.

    Atwood, Suburban and Magic Chef all make RV Ranges. The best equipped ones run about $500-$600.

    Some park model trailers and large RVs come equipped with standard household ranges which are bolted to the floor and use propane gas. I think it’s just the orifice in the burners which are different from regular natural gas burners. Maytag sells conversion kits for their ranges, the other manufacturers probably do also. The advantage of normal range is that they have 4 burners (instead of 2 or 3 in RV models), more room on the cooktop for pots and pans, and a bigger oven. They don’t take up much more physical space than an RV Range, and the extra weight probably isn’t an issue for a schoolie. It should be fairly easy to find a good used propane range for a reasonable price.

  7. neufeld says:

    David, thanks for the notes! I especially like your remark about the schoolie having been converted by a lunatic — unfortunately, a lot of schoolie conversions seem to be incompletely, poorly, or bizarrely done; and I think it gives campground operators a bad taste for conversions.

    Regarding the range, I’ve reached the same conclusion about the kitchen cutout. If you read further, you’ll find that I have a lovely (after cleaning) donated cooktop now installed there.

    I’m interested in having a full oven at some point, but I’m not ready to spend money on it yet. I have a list at least in my head of the priorities before I can begin to use the bus/RV, and the cooktop I have will certainly tide me over for a long time. The household range idea is an interesting one for the long term, though — and wouldn’t it be great to find a Viking lurking in a salvage yard somewhere, just waiting for a little refinishing love? :-)

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