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Converting a MCI bus into an RV...

rrrr

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so thats the thing. all the onan units i find are all clapped out 3 billion hour units... or theres some nice marine units with extremely low hours but I think they're setup with jacketed exhaust pipes, etc and they're like $6000. Heres my reasoning with the HF units. Yes they will be more effort, but they're extremely quiet and they have a killer warranty. Also we're pretty new to this and trying to find out where to go, what resources we will have available to us, etc. So I dont want to go bonkers with a boondock setup if 99% of the time we're gonna have a plug within 20 feet. The HF route is a little hokey but it gets us on the road and it doesnt cost a fortune. If we find out "hey we're running on gen power or our solar/battery bank cant keep up and we REALLY need a solid genny setup then I'll already have the front bay setup for it.
Your Harbor Freight generators are not meant to be operated in a closed and insulated space with no airflow for ventilation. They'll burn up. RV generator enclosures provide draw through ducting and a crankshaft powered fan that moves air through the alternator and engine which is then exhausted overboard.

How are you going to handle the exhaust? The generator space in an RV is sealed, and manufacturers run extensive tests on prototype RV units to ascertain they do not allow CO infiltration. Running your setup all night with your family on board isn't a good way to find out you made a mistake.

Refueling a hot generator with them inside?

You can only hillbilly things so much.
 

lbhsbz

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Your Harbor Freight generators are not meant to be operated in a closed and insulated space with no airflow for ventilation. They'll burn up. RV generator enclosures provide draw through ducting and a crankshaft powered fan that moves air through the alternator and engine which is then exhausted overboard.

How are you going to handle the exhaust? The generator space in an RV is sealed, and manufacturers run extensive tests on prototype RV units to ascertain they do not allow CO infiltration. Running your setup all night with your family on board isn't a good way to find out you made a mistake.

Refueling a hot generator with them inside?

You can only hillbilly things so much.
I've got a proper generator for him....if it'll fit.
 

ka0tyk

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Snagged a vanity mirror and faucet on sale. Toilet is another story. No one will ship it to California because of some plastic chemical nonsense. Grr.

78817D7C-EF5B-4761-8841-A0787F9C4E91.jpeg
 

RogerThat99

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@ka0tyk And here I thought it was really cool when you made your own exhaust for your yellow and white daycruiser. This is obviously a whole different level. Very cool to watch.

Sent From Tapatalk
 
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ka0tyk

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Home Depot run tonight for more 2x4s. I ran out doing all the framing.

They were offering free batteries so I had to snag another Milwaukee. Next I’ll be buying the pex tool to do all the pex plumbing in the bus. But I needed a new jigsaw. I have a cheapy and I think I dropped it or something it always cut crooked I just dealt with it. Now I can make nice round cuts for the plywood walls. At least that’s what I told the wife. Hah.
BE4AF888-4812-4476-8E4D-0195A4CC7A2B.jpeg
 

cxr

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whats the plan for privacy for the crapper?
 

ka0tyk

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whats the plan for privacy for the crapper?
6 of the windows are getting double tinted and 1” foam board insulated closed. The latches are being removed and they’ll be bolted shut from the outside in case I ever needed to open them as they’ll be inaccessible from inside after the furring strips, insulation, and plywood go up.
 

RichL

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6 of the windows are getting double tinted and 1” foam board insulated closed. The latches are being removed and they’ll be bolted shut from the outside in case I ever needed to open them as they’ll be inaccessible from inside after the furring strips, insulation, and plywood go up.
Reading this brings to mind I assume you have planned for emergency egress in your design process.
 

rrrr

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You should consider applying acoustical drywall sealant to the intersection of the framing and the bus walls, and where the partitions meet glass.

The sound that will flank around any void in the partition intersections can be considerable. It's best to seal it now, instead of finding out later the noise is unacceptable. USG has an acoustical sealant product that also provides a fire and smoke barrier.

 

ka0tyk

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Reading this brings to mind I assume you have planned for emergency egress in your design process.
Only 7 windows are getting blocked... there’s 14 windows.
 
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rivermobster

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Home Depot run tonight for more 2x4s. I ran out doing all the framing.

They were offering free batteries so I had to snag another Milwaukee. Next I’ll be buying the pex tool to do all the pex plumbing in the bus. But I needed a new jigsaw. I have a cheapy and I think I dropped it or something it always cut crooked I just dealt with it. Now I can make nice round cuts for the plywood walls. At least that’s what I told the wife. Hah.
View attachment 965816
I've used Sharkbites at the river house and on my toy hauler repairs. Super simple. No leaks or issues.
 

ka0tyk

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pretty cool video showing how they're made. lots of stainless.

 

RiverDave

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So I'm a little curious, how are you dealing with frame flex? For example if you go in and out of a driveway is there' going to be a lot of twisting motion from the roof to the floor and how does that impact the wood structures / walls you built?

RD
 

NicPaus

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I've used Sharkbites at the river house and on my toy hauler repairs. Super simple. No leaks or issues.
They work but I would do UPONOR expansive pex all day long over a sharkbite. See pictures on the plumbing forum regularly of them failing.

Some HD carry the tool if not Hirsch Pipe has them along with all the fittings. Buy a few sticks of it and roll tubing. Sticks make the straight small pieces easier as the rolls tend to bend back to roll shape.
 

ka0tyk

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They work but I would do UPONOR expansive pex all day long over a sharkbite. See pictures on the plumbing forum regularly of them failing.

Some HD carry the tool if not Hirsch Pipe has them along with all the fittings. Buy a few sticks of it and roll tubing. Sticks make the straight small pieces easier as the rolls tend to bend back to roll shape.
that’s the route I was going to go. I’m basically following another YouTube with his conversion and that’s the way he did his bus. I ordered the Milwaukee tool just waiting for it to ship to my Home Depot. Got a free m12 battery with it as well!

 

rivermobster

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They work but I would do UPONOR expansive pex all day long over a sharkbite. See pictures on the plumbing forum regularly of them failing.

Some HD carry the tool if not Hirsch Pipe has them along with all the fittings. Buy a few sticks of it and roll tubing. Sticks make the straight small pieces easier as the rolls tend to bend back to roll shape.
I've had good luck with em. But, I'm also very careful installing in them. I make sure the tubing it cut perfectly square and the edges are nice and clean.

It's also very helpful to put some lube into the fittings so the pex slides in easily.

I have the real tool and clamps also. They are both collecting dust in my garage. :p
 

rrrr

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You should return those breakers and purchase arc fault circuit interrupter (AFCI) types.

Or, you can continue to ignore anything I post because your feelings were hurt by my comments about your generator plans.

AFCI breakers have been required for circuits feeding electrical outlets in residential bedrooms by the electrical codes of Canada and the United States since the beginning of the 21st century; the U.S. National Electrical Code has required them to protect most residential outlets since 2014,[2] and the Canadian Electrical Code has since 2015. Starting with the 1999 version of the National Electrical Code in the United States, and the 2002 version of the Canadian Electrical Code in Canada, the national codes require AFCIs in all circuits that feed outlets in bedrooms of dwelling units.

As of the 2014 NEC, AFCI protection is required on all branch circuits supplying outlets or devices installed in dwelling unit kitchens, along with the 2008 NEC additions of family rooms, dining rooms, living rooms, parlors, libraries, dens, bedrooms, sunrooms, recreation rooms, closets, hallways, laundry areas, and similar rooms and areas. They are also required in dormitory units. This requirement may be accomplished by using a "combination type" breaker—a specific kind of circuit-breaker defined by UL 1699—in the breaker panel that provides combined arc-fault and overcurrent protection or by using an AFCI receptacle for modifications/extensions, as replacement receptacles or in new construction, at the first outlet on the branch. Not all U.S. jurisdictions have adopted the NEC's AFCI requirements so it is important to check local code requirements.



 

ka0tyk

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You should return those breakers and purchase arc fault circuit interrupter (AFCI) types.

Or, you can continue to ignore anything I post because your feelings were hurt by my comments about your generator plans.
has nothing to do with that. Rdp isn’t the only place I get information from. I research a bunch of other builds and even toured a bunch of new professional builds locally.

As far as the breakers, thanks for the tip. I’ll look into swapping em out. Is it an afci breaker for every single circuit or can one be put at the main to cover em all?

I didn’t take offense to the generator idea. Again it was an idea and I havent gone forward with it. Mostly because I wanted to know how much off grid we would be doing before making plans for power solar etc.

Actually there’s plans in motion to get an 8kw power tech diesel gen.

I appreciate all the info and tips. They’re very helpful.
 

Universal Elements

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has nothing to do with that. Rdp isn’t the only place I get information from. I research a bunch of other builds and even toured a bunch of new professional builds locally.

As far as the breakers, thanks for the tip. I’ll look into swapping em out. Is it an afci breaker for every single circuit or can one be put at the main to cover em all?

I didn’t take offense to the generator idea. Again it was an idea and I havent gone forward with it. Mostly because I wanted to know how much off grid we would be doing before making plans for power solar etc.

Actually there’s plans in motion to get an 8kw power tech diesel gen.

I appreciate all the info and tips. They’re very helpful.
I enjoy your videos of the build. Truly a family effort. 👍 Don’t see that everyday.
 

DirtyWhiteDog

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that’s the route I was going to go. I’m basically following another YouTube with his conversion and that’s the way he did his bus. I ordered the Milwaukee tool just waiting for it to ship to my Home Depot. Got a free m12 battery with it as well!


Haven't gotten past this post, yet. But I would agree with getting some sticks. I'm doing the exact same thing, but on a 25+ year old 5th wheel that is deaded as real property in chloride, AZ. The rolls tend to want to bend back. I have a few connections that I'm not sure about, they are leak free for now. My advice is to keep the majority of plumbing connections accessible, consider a manifold system.
 

evantwheeler

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Actually there’s plans in motion to get an 8kw power tech diesel gen.
I think you'll be very happy with this decision if you end up using this thing a ton. My coach has a 10kw powertech with a little kubota diesel and has about 2k hrs on it, never had an issue with it in my 3 years, and no record of issues from previous owners in the records books.
 

DirtyWhiteDog

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You should return those breakers and purchase arc fault circuit interrupter (AFCI) types.

Or, you can continue to ignore anything I post because your feelings were hurt by my comments about your generator plans.

AFCI breakers have been required for circuits feeding electrical outlets in residential bedrooms by the electrical codes of Canada and the United States since the beginning of the 21st century; the U.S. National Electrical Code has required them to protect most residential outlets since 2014,[2] and the Canadian Electrical Code has since 2015. Starting with the 1999 version of the National Electrical Code in the United States, and the 2002 version of the Canadian Electrical Code in Canada, the national codes require AFCIs in all circuits that feed outlets in bedrooms of dwelling units.

As of the 2014 NEC, AFCI protection is required on all branch circuits supplying outlets or devices installed in dwelling unit kitchens, along with the 2008 NEC additions of family rooms, dining rooms, living rooms, parlors, libraries, dens, bedrooms, sunrooms, recreation rooms, closets, hallways, laundry areas, and similar rooms and areas. They are also required in dormitory units. This requirement may be accomplished by using a "combination type" breaker—a specific kind of circuit-breaker defined by UL 1699—in the breaker panel that provides combined arc-fault and overcurrent protection or by using an AFCI receptacle for modifications/extensions, as replacement receptacles or in new construction, at the first outlet on the branch. Not all U.S. jurisdictions have adopted the NEC's AFCI requirements so it is important to check local code requirements.




Just a quick observation, none of the codes you quoted are referencing RV's.
If the OP is concerned, pay for a main ARC fault breker. ARC fault protects the wiring from faults. Very unlikely to have a local code on RV production. Just be sure to have some, but not excessive slack in the wiring and plumbing. When in doubt do a flexible cord or hose, but keep it accessible.
 

rrrr

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has nothing to do with that. Rdp isn’t the only place I get information from. I research a bunch of other builds and even toured a bunch of new professional builds locally.

As far as the breakers, thanks for the tip. I’ll look into swapping em out. Is it an afci breaker for every single circuit or can one be put at the main to cover em all?

I didn’t take offense to the generator idea. Again it was an idea and I havent gone forward with it. Mostly because I wanted to know how much off grid we would be doing before making plans for power solar etc.

Actually there’s plans in motion to get an 8kw power tech diesel gen.

I appreciate all the info and tips. They’re very helpful.
Perhaps I was a bit snobby. Or a lot. Sorry.

Individual AFCI breakers would be better. You'll also, of course, want to install GFCI receptacles in locations like bathrooms and kitchen counter areas. The two devices installed together in series provide entirely separate protection schemes, and one cannot replace the other, so to provide the greatest level of safety, use the AFCI breaker combined with GFCI receptacles.

This is one of those areas where prices for the devices are higher than their standard function counterparts, but the costs are immaterial because of the safety and peace of mind they provide.

Please throughly research literature and recommendations for neutral and ground bonding in your coach, particularly because you will have a main and a subpanel, a generator, perhaps solar generation, and a transfer device. Improper bonds and grounds can kill. Here's a starter:


DWD is correct in stating the code requirements I referenced are for dwellings, but a coach is certainly subject to the same issues that AFCIs and GFCIs protect against. I prefer using individual AFCI breakers, and your use of a subpanel makes them a better choice, but as anyone who follows threads about electricity on RDP knows, opinions are like assholes.

I think individual circuit breakers are a better choice because in the event of a detected fault, finding the cause is much simpler. If a main AFCI is used, the entire wiring system is suspect, difficulty of finding the issue is much greater, and the electrical service to the entire dwelling must be interrupted until it is located.
 
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ka0tyk

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Gfci breakers were going to go for kitchen bathroom and one receptacle in the bays on each side. They just didn’t have enough in stock so I held off from buying em.
 

rrrr

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Gfci breakers were going to go for kitchen bathroom and one receptacle in the bays on each side. They just didn’t have enough in stock so I held off from buying em.
The preferred method is to use AFCI breakers, with GFCI receptacles at those locations. The AFCI device protects against any loose and arcing connections on the entire circuit, and the GFCI receptacle provides ground fault protection at the point of use.
 

ka0tyk

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The preferred method is to use AFCI breakers, with GFCI receptacles at those locations. The AFCI device protects against any loose and arcing connections on the entire circuit, and the GFCI receptacle provides ground fault protection at the point of use.
got it.
 

ka0tyk

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The preferred method is to use AFCI breakers, with GFCI receptacles at those locations. The AFCI device protects against any loose and arcing connections on the entire circuit, and the GFCI receptacle provides ground fault protection at the point of use.
same afci on the 20 amp ac circuits?
 

rush1

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When building an RV you had better build it to code or you could be held liable for anything that could happen after you sell it .
 

rrrr

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same afci on the 20 amp ac circuits?
Well, they protect against an arcing fault, which in your coach would be caused by a breach in the insulation caused by, for example, friction as it rubbed against a moving or vibrating part. It could be due to a faulty joint in a junction box or the connection to the breaker or the A/C itself.

Since you will probably use a single length of conductors from the breaker to the units, and given the wire is protected by the white outer sheath, if you route it carefully, properly secure it to the structure, and take care in making the terminations, it's a pretty safe bet it won't ever cause a problem. But on the flip side, the coach is a confined space with emergency exits that will be unfamiliar to and difficult for your wife and children to operate if the coach is filled with smoke. The cost of the breaker is then cheap insurance.

Consideration of the implications of your decisions regarding construction and safety can be made with similar thought processes as the one I made above about the A/C circuits. Take each of them separately, think them through, and you can build a safe environment for your family.

Try to plan ahead for all possible safety devices. For example, consider things like installing a 120V AC circuit with a couple of junction boxes in the ceilings of the main salon and the rear bedroom for powered combination smoke and carbon monoxide detectors with the capability of being tied together with an alarm circuit so both are activated if either one detects combustion products or CO.

Decide in advance the location of fire extinguishers, and if they are to be installed on the walls, provide blocking in the framing for the hangers. Get specification data for all of these devices so preparations are made correctly and in advance. Don't wait until you're almost done with the conversion to address these important things.

Start an Operations and Maintenance manual and make chapters for the various mechanical, electrical, plumbing, architectural, and safety systems. Use a large loose leaf binder, so you can assemble specification, installation, and maintenance information.

I put together this O&M manual in 2004 when I built a two story three bedroom apartment in my 2,400 SF metal shop building. My mother-in-law lives there. Anytime I need to order a part for the washer or check the operating parameters of the HVAC system, the information is readily available.



IMG_20210131_021509808.jpg


 

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ka0tyk

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Sunday funday. Windows tinted. Foam inserted and glued in. It’s pretty crazy to see at night that they’re blocked out. My kids decided to draw on em. Heh.
On to the furring strips.
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Singleton

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@ka0tyk - with most RV resorts requiring RVIA certification to gain entry, are you going to try and get it certified. My custom built trailer does not have a RVIA cert (sticker) and I have been unable to check into a few RV resort due to that missing sticker.
 
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This Is cool. I just kind of scanned through it everything but I’m going to go back and read everything. Super cool though awesome to see other people’s talents in action
 

Waffles

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Right after having to replace thousands of dollars worth of stuff in your RV because of low voltage, You get less sympathetic about this whole thing. I am not willing to garbage the entire electrical system in my RV due to this. I am well aware there is no free lunch on this. I can also just charge the 12v house batteries and run everything off them if things get too crazy. Inverters and generators are a real plus. As said, I will be hard wiring one into my coach this spring.
This was my train of thought before i purchased mine. At the end of the day, the park and those around me arent the ones that are going to have to pay for repairs if my shit fails due to low voltage. So far, the Autoformer and EMS have been one of the best purchases ive made to date for my RV
 

ka0tyk

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@ka0tyk - with most RV resorts requiring RVIA certification to gain entry, are you going to try and get it certified. My custom built trailer does not have a RVIA cert (sticker) and I have been unable to check into a few RV resort due to that missing sticker.
I don’t really think I’d have a problem pulling in with a vehicle that exists in their db. When they ask for make/model etc is probably where you have your issue. But if I hit that problem I’ll look into it. We already have two trips booked at a KOA site in the future for a test run and no issue so far.
 
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