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I’m placing the order for the driver’s seat today. It will be the Ergo MC II from Recaro and will be covered in the same leather that will be used for the sofas and booth seating in the bus so everything will match.

Clockwise from upper left:
1) Larry testing out a placeholder seat to see how much space is available before we select the seat that will be used.
2) An example of the seat model that we’ve chosen. It includes an air suspension system for an overly smooth ride when the bus is driven over bumps.
3) We pulled all our leather out of its storage spot to make sure we had enough to cover all the surfaces including the drivers seat. We had enough, so we decided to use it on the drivers seat.

It will be 4-5 weeks before the drivers seat is delivered from the factory.

Here are photos of two different mini-projects on the bus. The first three shots are related to the rear side doors on the bus. Those are the ones that allow access to part of the engine and the general baggage area at the rear of the bus. We’ve shaved off the external handles that are usually found on those doors and replaced them with remote controlled bear claw latches.
Clockwise from upper left:
1) The frame for the drivers side rear door is being modified.
2) The edge of the passenger side rear door is been modified to get it ready to accept a bear claw latch.
3) The back of the bear claw latch on the drivers side of the bus as seen with the door closed and the body skin removed.
4) The fuel lines for the Webasto diesel-fired heater are being installed.


The wardrobes (some would call them closets) found on each side of the isle near the bedroom are being finished. Clockwise from upper left:
1) Here’s the drawer layout as it looked the last time this area was worked on.
2 & 3) Wood veneer is being added to the face frame.
4) The small drawer fronts that can be seen at the top of the first photo have been modified to incorporate hand-hold cutouts so we don’t have to have any handles protruding. They’ve also been covered with wood veneer.
The nukerwave over has been installed in the cabinet above the kitchen. The curved roof of the bus forced us to position it lower than it would be found in other motor coaches. If we were to mount it higher, then it would stick out too far and would get in the way when looking down at the cooktop that will be located below. The area above the nuke will have a small openable panel that makes the rest of the cabinet, but is not installed in this photo.
Any day now, my order from Victron Energy should show up at the shop. I’ll be using two of their Quattro inverter/chargers, solar charge controller, battery monitor and innovative Color Control GX. That last item will make my house electric system pretty cool. Take a look at the image below (click on the arrows in the upper right of the imageto see it larger). Here’s what it shows clockwise from upper left:

1) The color control gx device which will be used to monitor and control my house electrical system.
2-4) The color control will serve up information to my iPhone that will show me exactly how much power I’m pulling from shore power and solar as well as how much is being used to charge the batteries and how much is being consumed by both AC and DC loads all on a single simple screen.
5) They also have an android version of the software. Here is just a simple of one of the screens from that.
6) I’ll also be able to monitor all that info remotely from any web browser.
7) The color control will even save a bread crumb trail of where the bus has been located over time. I can setup a geofence and will be alerted if the bus is moved outside of the are I define. That will be nice if I ever drop the bus off for service since I can tell exactly where it’s been driven, etc.
A brand new hinge has been fitted to the front door. Finding factory-new parts for a bus that’s over 50 years old isn’t always the easiest thing. My door was sagging a bit and this seems to have helped.
Here are a few better photos of what went into “shaving” off the rear baggage door handles. Clockwise from upper left:

1) The gray primer covers up the spot where the handle used to be on the baggage door.
2) Looking at the back side of the door, you can see the bear claw latch on the edge of the door and a hint of the 45lb solenoid that opens the latch through the round opening in the door.
3) A pin was added on the edge of the opening for the door (here shown on the opposite side of the bus than the previous shots), which is what the latch will grab onto when it’s closed. These are the same kind of latches you’ll find on many modern cars.
4) Here you can see both the solenoid and the back of the bear claw latch on the opposite side of the bus where the body panel has been removed.

The wires on the solenoid will be attached to our Loxone home automation system, which will allow me to open either baggage door via a wall switch, wireless remote control, iPhone or even remotely via over the internet.

A similar setup will be used for the front door to replace the factory ring-pull system that is usually found just below the windshield. Pulling the ring releases a catch on the dash-mounted arm that is used to open the front door. That one will have a manual backup cable that is attached to a combination lock. That will allow access even if my battery is dead there is an issue with the home automation system/wifi/internet… but you’d have to know a) where the cable is hidden and b) the combination of the lock that prevents it from being pulled.

Drop down TV installation. I’ve posted details of the electronic TV lift setup in the past, but we never actually had a TV attached to it… now the TV is in!

Clockwise from upper left: 
1) Larry carrying the TV out to the car after purchasing it from a local store. We didn’t buy it online since we weren’t sure it would fit since the manufacturers ignore some details when coming up with their measurements… like how far the power cord extends out the back. I was originally going to use an LG TV, but it’s power cord comes straight out the back. This Vizio model has the cord coming down from a recess in the back. There aren’t too many companies who make 42″ TVs these days… LG and Vizio make the only two that were possibilities and the power cord issue made me pick the Vizio.
2) It was a very close fit and Larry had to make some modifications to the TV lift setup to make the set fit.
3) An aluminum panel was cut to serve as the connecting point for everything else: first the TV was bolted to the panel, then the TV lift mechanism was bolted to the panel and finally the wood ceiling panel was attached to the same aluminum panel.
4) After quite a bit of fiddling, it was declared to fit! Now all that needs to be done is to have a custom black corian surround fabricated to fill in any gaps there are between the wood ceiling panel and the TV so they look like an integrated whole.

A shipment of electronic gear showed up from Victron. Clockwise from upper left: 

1) Two Victron Quattro 4500 watt Inverter/Chargers that feature: a) an integrated transfer switch (to automatically switch from shore to generator power). b) a amp draw limiter so I can dial in the maximum amount of power they will draw from their AC power source to make sure I do not trip the breaker on my power source, c) the ability to supplement shore power with battery power (via a synchronizing inverter) to supply more power than the amp draw limiter is set to, d) to ac outputs so that I can have a separate list of loads that will not be powered when running purely off battery power. Having two of them will also me to be plugged into a standard 15-20amp household outlet, which will feed one inverter, while the other inverts to supply additional power from the batteries. With a 18 Kwhr LiFePO4 house battery bank (1,200 usable amp hours at 12V… take 50% of AGM or lead capacity if comparing to get usable amp hours since you can’t draw them down to zero without damage), that means I can use a lot of electrical devices and let the batteries charge back up while I sleep and am not needing much power from the shore cord.
2) Left: Color Control GX which is the control panel for the Inverter/Chargers and other Victron gear. Middle: 24V DC to 12V DC converter to supply 12V DC power from my 24V house battery back. This is needed because my battery bank will not be wired like an old-school 24V system where two 12V batteries are wired together. Right: Battery monitor that will be able to tell me exactly how many amp hours of battery power remain as well as a percentage readout, which is a much more accurate way to monitor your batteries than just looking at voltage.
3) Mounting brackets being fabricated to hold the inverter/chargers in place. They will be mounted in my rear baggage bay.
4) A quick skitch of how all the major electrical systems will be wired together. It’s not meant to be read by someone not familiar with the project. It was made when I was talking through it with one of the guys in the shop to make sure we were mentally on the same page about what was planned.

I recently made a three day visit to the vintage bus to check up on progress. Here are photos of a kitchen countertop mockup being fitted. Clockwise from upper left:
1) A plywood mockup was created to see how the under-mount sink installation will work. Some trimming of partitions in the lower cabinet were needed to make it possible to install after being mounted to the countertop.
2) Two shots of the high-tech kitchen faucet that will be used. Test fitted to determine ideal placement. With this setup, you can angle the faucet to cover any part of the sink and it will remain in the position you had it in when you let go of the faucet. (search for Kohler Karbon Faucet on YouTube for more details)
3) Figuring out the countertop edge detailing. It will have a drip rail to prevent liquids from dripping onto the floor and a black accent band around the edge.
4) The kitchen with countertop mockup in place. The black rectangle on the left is the flush-mounted induction cooktop and the sink acts similarly to a twin basin model, while only taking up half as much under-counter space (search for Kohler Stages Sink on YouTube for more details).