I’ve been swamped at work the last few weeks, so progress has slowed on the Skoolie V2 build. In my last post, I got all the seats removed, so I next turned my attention to the coolant lines. This is rather fascinating. A school bus uses the engine heat to heat the interior of the bus by running coolant lines from the engine into the passenger compartment to radiator style heater fans on the interior of the bus. O.k., so I guess that’s a pretty unique way to cool the engine if it starts to overheat too. Likewise, these coolant lines are attached to something called a Wabasto heater. These heaters provide engine pre-heat and prevent cold starts, without idling. Webasto Coolant Heaters circulate the buses coolant over a heat exchanger to warm the engine, fuel, hydraulic fluid and interior. To get the coolant lines out, you first have to shut off the flow of coolant from the engine to the interior. Someone definitely thought ahead here as there were valves in the engine compartment for both the inflow and outflow lines.
One the valves are closed, it’s as simple as pulling the hoses. Well, sort of. You first have to pull the metal covers off the guards that run the length of the bus inside along the floor. This cover is held in place with metal screws. The screws on the walls came off just fine. Unfortunately, nearly all the screws on the floor were rusted in place and had to be ground off with the angle grinder.
Another issue is that the lines are full of coolant. You need to drain these first. To do this, just pull a line off the Wabasto heater and start at the back of the bus lifting each line high enough the drain the coolant. Once the coolant lines are out, pull the floor heaters and you’re done. Well, almost. There’s another radiator heater under the front driver compartment. I’m going to wait and extract this after I pull the drivers seat to get to the wiring and switches. With the coolant lines out, the next big hurdle will be the floor.
I didn’t want to start on the floor just yet since I didn’t have a lot of time so I decided to quickly replace the headlights. I chose LED lights. These are pretty standard 5 x 7 LEDs. If you want to put in LEDs, make sure they are DOT approved and legal in your state. They fit the original enclosure and no new aiming is required. Look at the photo below and you can easily identify which light is an LED and which is the original incandescent light.
The outside temperature dropped from 80 to 40 in less than 24 hours, so I decided to use my last free hour this week installing a heater. Last winter I had to work in the cold using nothing but a space heater when building my first bus. I didn’t want to have to go through that again, so I used my 220V 30amp outlet I installed on the side of the barn to run a wire into the bus to power a 220V 20amp electric heater. This thing essentially turns the bus into a sauna.
With the weather turning cold and likely getting bad in the next few weeks, I need to decide if I want to keep working inside the bus or turn my attention to the outside and get this thing sanded and painted before the really bad weather sets in for the year. Oh yeah, I also went ahead and order LED lights to replace ALL of the outside lights on the bus. all 7″ ovals, all rectangular Doran running lights, turn signals, brake lights, etc. These weren’t cheap either. To replace all the lights on the outside was probably close to $1000. I’ll post updated pics and share the experience in my next blog post.
Thanks for checking back in on my progress. Feel free to follow or leave me some feedback. I’ll leave you here with a video of my headlights. And just for all of the people that got fired up about these LED lights on Reddit, I checked them out properly and they don’t blind oncoming drivers and they are aimed properly.