Earlier this week we relocated back to Elkhart, IN to Master Tech RV to be onsite to keep on top of all of the projects ongoing with our bus renovations. We are incredibly thankful that a kind local supporter has loaned us their RV so that we have a place to live on site and have a comfortable space to ourselves – it has proven essential towards keeping our sanity.
We arrived at the shop Tuesday morning – and it was like stepping into an alternate dimension compared to our visit last week.
Last week, there was hardly an activity going on with our bus. It felt like there was an overall negative energy all around the shop too, as many other customers were irately waiting for their projects to be completed.
We weren’t quite sure what we’d return to this week after our ‘tough love’ session with Master Tech last week, especially after taking the delays public. But we were thrilled to arrive to happy bustling activity, a can-do attitude, and visible progress being made on many fronts.
Here’s our weekly progress report video, with daily short video clips we’ve filmed at the end of each day:
Some of the highlights of the progress:
- The custom fabricated awning bracket which will allow our Domestic 9500 case awning to be attached to our curved roof was completed and sent out for powder coating.
Lots of plumbing work was done on our Precision Temp Jr. propane hydronic system. What was estimated to need just a ‘couple short days’ to wrap it up has really taken most of the week.
- We’ve replaced all of the old plumbing with brand new PEX, and while the shower plumbing was exposed – we’re also implementing a water return line to the fresh tank to avoid wasting water while waiting for hot.
- Lots of wires have been run for tank monitoring, thermostats, and more.
- Installation of a 1.5″ conduit from our roof to our tech cabinet – which will allow for more easily swapping out cellular & WiFi antennas.
- The old spare tire bay has been prepped to be our new generator bay – all wiring complete, and lined with sound proofing materials.
- We’ve also added in a Viair RV 450C air compressor to the same bay, which we can use to keep our air bags topped up without running the engine (we have no leveling on the bus other than boards – this should now keep the bus aired up and not settled tilted oddly).
All of our new dual pane windows from Peninsula Windows/Motion Windows have been test fitted.
- We’ve found take-out (ie. used) front windshield drapes that we can repurpose, and have sent them out to a seamstress to hem and modify.
A bunch of parts have arrived to keep the progress going next week, including two new Dometic Penguin II air conditioners (a 15,000 BTU for the front and 13,500 for the bedroom), and all new holding tanks. Replacing our tanks wasn’t on our task list, and we’ll update later on how this came to be – but we will be going from 48G of black to 70G, 90G of grey to 120G and 88G of fresh to 112G.
And there’s probably lots of other projects I’m forgetting… overall, LOTS of progress made this week. We’re thrilled to see it happen, and it’s definitely the right choice to be onsite and here to both oversee the projects, and to answer the myriad of questions that come up at every turn.
But is the progress enough to meet our goal of being back to living in our bus by next Friday, August 28?
We’re honestly not feeling it.
Lots still needs to be wrapped up in the coming days, and there’s still painting to be done.
We’ll have a sit down meeting with the team on Monday morning to review it all and make sure everyone is on the same page with realistic expectations. We certainly don’t want anything rushed to a point of having mistakes made or corners cut.
But we are also coming up to decision points about our commitments at the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta for the Xscapers first convergence. Will we need to make alternative plans so that we can attend?
Rivet Clarification: There seems to be some confusion over the damaged panels and rivet situation. For clarification, we are NOT having the panels replaced at this time – by Master Tech or anyone else. We’re proceeding with the rest of the projects, and should we decide at a later date we want to replace the aluminum we’ll fully research doing it right then when we’re not in project overload mode.
Bus Updates & Info:
Zephyr’s Summer 2015 Renovation Hit List – the original project list, including our decision points for various items (such as why we’re going propane and not diesel on the hydronics & generator).
Bus Renovation Progress Report: A Riveting Tale of Why We’re Way Behind Schedule – Last week’s ‘progress’ report.
All about our Bus – A little history on our bus from start to now.
Some of the products mentioned in this post that we’ve selected:
Next Live Video Cast:
When: Tuesday, August 25, 2015
9pm EDT / 6pm PDT
Topic: RV Renovations & Remodeling
Unless you custom build your RV from scratch, more than likely there are going to be changes you want to make to any RV you buy. Some can be done yourself if you have the time, tools, skills and space – and some you might need to hire out.
In this live video chat, we’ll talk about deciding when it’s right to hire it out, picking a contractor (do they need RV experience or not?), adjusting to reality and especially considerations for handling projects on the road as a full timer. We’ll of course also talk a bit about our current project, and the lessons we’ve learned.
If you’ve not joined one of our Livestream hosted chats before, you’ll need to setup a free account with them first. Plan to do that before the start time to make sure you’re ready to go (click the link above to get started)! We will be archiving this for viewing later if you can’t make it.