I planned on building, fixing, and revamping the bus over the winter months, but never really got in the groove until now. I've got four projects that I want to finish before the season really gets into full swing:
1. Redo the rear rack to be easier to load (and more secure).
2. New interior including waterproof flooring.
3. Minor engine repairs and final mods to the vegetable-oil system.
4. Fresh paint job on exterior.
Last week saw the completion of a new couch, to replace the previous benches. The old benches could hold tons of people, but they were too upright and cramped for long trips. I built the new couch like a futon - only sturdier, with storage underneath. It's closer to the ground than the old benches so it should be much more relaxed and better for our many trips to the northeast this summer. All I need to find now is a cushion - anyone have an old futon mattress?
The next project I've begun is the rear rack. All winter I kept designing and redesigning the rack in my head. Some designs were simple and most were WAY TOO COMPLEX. Luckily I had a vision of the perfect system - and it's the simplest design of them all. I bought twelve u-bolts (from a truck suspension shop) and welded them together as six super-beefy "utility hooks". Those hooks were welded to a piece of angle-iron (from a bedframe), which can be bolted to the 2x4 already installed from the previous bike rack. I've just about finished putting the final touches on the system and I can't wait to test it out. It will work almost identically to the previous system, but it can be loaded easily by one person and it does not block the rear door like the old system.
Slaughterama is next weekend, so I certainly won't be working on the bus much. Hopefully the engine repairs and vegetable oil mods will go smoothly and perhaps even a new paint job will find its way onto the bus by the end of April!