In this business like others, the same questions keep coming up. So, to help others I will be posting my most asked questions that come up everyday.
HOW CAN I COOL MY COACH
The country is hot everywhere. The problem with our coaches heating up is; the air that goes through the radiator has to be sucked in from the side. And air going 60 or 70 MPH down the side of our coach does not like to make a 90 degree turn. It's like driving down the road in your car with windows down; not much air. But cup your had and put it out in the air and behold, lots of air on your face. Now what you need is a big scoop, not one of those little dinky things that go on the back of the screen. You need one that comes out at least 4 and 1/2 inches and covers 80 percent of the screen. NOW - you're putting a lot of air through the radiator and behold better cooling. Additional, if you want more air, put a 7-1/2 inch pulley on and this will push more air out the bottom. All of this can be fabricated by you and it will lower the temp about 10 degrees. Even if you put bigger radiators on, and the air is not increased you will get minimal results and have spent a lot of money. Try it, it works I have proof, 400 plus HP same radiator that come on MCI8s. Now I can tell you, I never have a heating problem. Even driving over the Big Horn mountain in June or July.
HOW MUCH WILL IT COST ME TO BUILD A COACH
That all depends on what you want to use it for and how new a bus you want to buy. What I have found out over the years is, that no matter how new you buy there is a lot of work that needs to be done to fix it and make it look better that new. If you just want a bus "as is" then you will have very little expense if it has a good motor. Now what I have found is most want them to look good, to be proud of what you are traveling in. If you are going to full time in a coach then the cost will be a lot more because you are going to want the insides with lots of storage and much like your home. Sat TV and a good heating system and plenty of air. Now to the bucks . . . You can get into a nice coach for about 85K or you can get by for as little as 40K. Cost depends on how new a coach or how old a coach. One of the most expensive parts is, will it need a new motor and if you want a good diesel generator
WHY SHOULD I RAISE THE ROOF, I'M ONLY 5FT SOMETHING
I get this ask several times a month and at most rally. The only reason to raise the roof is for the purpose of insulating the floor 2 inches and 4 inches in the ceiling. I only charge $500 more to raise the roof than to remove windows and close in were windows are taken out. Reason I have to remove both gutter and belt molding, taking out all the rivets and put them back it is the same number when roof is raised. You have to buy 4 foot wide material thus more waste. If you are going to update the coach with new look caps, it is the same cost whether you raise the roof or not. The only difference is cutting and welding longer bracing.
WHAT KIND OF WINDOWS SHOULD I BUY
This question normally comes up after the coach has been picked and they now are in the planning stages. Also, do the windows have to be installed in the same places that the bus windows came out. Answer is no, they can be put in anywhere you want. But you should have your inside plan so windows can be put where they center on your couch, table and in your bedroom. Next, what do you think about thermal pain windows; answer not much. As large windows only make your coach hot in the summer and cold in the winter and the distance between the glass is too small to be of much good. To be good they need to be filled with Argon, not just air or have a very good vacuum drawn down on them. Glass is a conductor of heat. To prove it check the temperature inside of your coach on a sunny day. The temperature on the inside will be at least 30 degrees hotter than the outside temperature. When it is cold and dark out, the temperature on the inside will never be colder than the outside temperature. So stay as small as you can and still make the coach look good. I have found that it is easier to heat my coach in the winter than it is to cool it in the hot summer. Most of the country in July And August gets up to the high 80 and low 90. In the winter most of the country stays in the high 20 and low 30. Except the very most north like along the Canadian border. Where I don't go in the winter. The people that want real big windows must want to sit inside and see the world, most want to get out and drive to whatever they are going to see. Below is a picture of the windows and the size I like. They crank out keep rain out and close tight and don't rattle.
WHERE CAN I GET MY COACH FOAMED
This question comes up often. The places to look are under installation in your phone book. If there are no listings for foam, then look under truck trailer repairs. Great Dane or Fruehauf also can spray foam your coach. They tend to be more expensive than installation companies. There are two types of foam, closed cell foam and open cell. Closed cell has the highest R value, about R6 per inch. Open cell foam is about R3 to 4. The R value depends a lot on the weather as to how it expands. Close cell is a lot more water proof than open cell. So try to find the close cell and have it done on a warm clear day.
HOW DO I FIND A GOOD COACH TO CONVERT
This is one that I get when ever a new bus nut calls. My choice is MCI, newer than 1983, as they are what I work on everyday. And I believe they have the least problems. What I tell them there is only one place to look to see if there is a lot of rust damage. Open every bin door and check the hinge down at the corners of each bin. Then look up at the round pipe rod that makes the door swing up. If there is a lot of rust on these then you can bet there is rust on the rest of the coach. If they all look new and the paint is gray the air beams on all will be in good shape. Then go inside and check the floor for soft spots, if you find one then a window has been leaking and I am sure that there will be rust on the tubing below the windows and down below. Check to see if the skin is in good shape without a lot of dints. Now that you have checked these out you have a good frame to build on. In several cases we have bought on this a lone. If the motor will run and doesn't smoke, drive it and have someone check out how it drives and steers. If you can find a good shell newer than 1983 this will have the new intrigue type steering, this will save you about 3K as you will want to change out any MCI that has the old type steering in it, they tend to wander all over the road. If the coach has a bad smoking motor and everything above is good, try to get it as cheap as you can, around 5K then spend another 5 or 6 K to have it rebuilt. If you get everything done then you will have a coach that you can trust out on the road. Picture is of the lift arm that I talk about above.
WHAT DO YOU USE FOR HEADLINER
I get asked this once or twice a month. There are several things that can be used. You can strip it with wood, you can use a material called Ozeite. And what I like the best is heavy vinyl, it cleans real easy just wipe it down with a damp cloth. If you are using roof top airs they will make any headliner material dirty. The disadvantage of all is that you need to have everything in before you install any of them as it is hard adding things at a later date. The vinyl comes in 54 inch wide and you need to measure each room and divide the material so that each pleat comes out even. There are several materials that you can put under it to make it have a fuller look. I have offered to install it in someones coach for free to do a seminar on how to do it , all they would need to do is pay me for material. For a better description on how to. Feel free to call, as each coach has different material to install it on. 850 929-4021
Should I buy insulated windows
Every now and then twice, in the last week I was ask; Should I buy insulated windows? If you are going to do a bang up job on insulating your coach, like 3 to 4 inches in the roof, two inches in the walls and one to two on the floor and remove the front and foam that and also the door. See pictures showing front off and insulated, on my tips. Then, yes it will give you that extra edge. But if you are going to do what most do, it doesn't pay. After all the biggest piece of glass in the coach is the windshield and it is not insulated. Nor is the electric panel next to the seat. If the floor is not insulated and the lower panel has not been taken off and foamed you are wasting good money. Put that money in buying a big heater. That is money better spent.
Please check back often, I will be adding more FAQ's to this list.