Registering the bus at Laughlin, October 6, 2001
November 5, 2002
Currently I am working on the interior. I dropped the ceiling 2.5" in the center to create a flat ceiling and accomodate three ducted roof air units. My neighbor and I are building custom red oak cabinets to fit the beautiful curves of the RTS. I am making good process and hope to be finished by next summer, keeping within my 5 year estimate for completion.
March 31, 2002
Since coming back from Laughlin 5 months ago I managed to get a few
things done-- we went up to Oregon and picked up the new Fexsteel furniture
for the bus. I bought a Captains chair, a recliner, and a jack knife
sofa all done in Ultra Leather. That went into storage in my trailer
while I ripped out sections of the old floor around the wheel wells and
back door to replace some rotten wood. While I had the floor out
between the rear wheel wells and front wheels, I decided to replace the
radius arm bushings in the back and install a manual over auto air leveling
system to control the air bag heights. I also welded in 4" channel
iron in front and in back of the front wheels, and welded in an extra section
of channel iron in front of the RF wheel bulkhead. I then welded
up a framework for the new entry step well. Once that was done I
finished replacing the bad sections of the original floor, then went over
that with 1/2" sound deadening board and 3/4" T&G over that.
Sherry's Captain's chair is now bolted securely to the channel iron I welded
in with just enough room to clear the dash when it is reclined, and with
the ability to swivel over and become part of the living room. The
72" jack knife sofa is going over the LF wheel well.
Update: September 16, 2001
Click here for bus specs
It has been quite a while since I have been able to access this page. The bus is in the paint shop right now, as soon as I get it back I will post new pictures. Other recent developments include a trip up to Medford, Oregon where we ordered some new Flexsteel furniture-- a couch and two matching chairs in Ultra-Leather. The bus is essentially bare inside, it has a little bit of new insulation that needs to be finished up. I mounted a Scholastic Series Webasto diesel-fired heater in the third bay, and temporarily installed two box heaters that are laying on the floor. I also mounted a propane/electric fresh water heater with a heat exchanger at the back of the bus on the engine access cover shelf.
Since I last posted (probably two years ago), I have also finished installing
an Isuzu diesel 7 kW generator in a sound box with remote radiator and
electric fan plumbed to both the radiator and the sound box. The
genset is pretty quiet in it's present form, but I have plans to install
an auxiliary fan on the box for hot weather operation. Other accomplishments
include two 15,000 btu roof airs with heat pumps and heat strips, ducted
air units with wall thermostats. I plan on making my own air distribution
outlets with a duct running to the driver's area.
Bus and trailer at a rest stop on I-5 inCentral California on the way to the Laughlin Bus Conversion Convention, October 5, 2001
From two years ago:
Click here for Pictures
Welcome to our RTS Conversion Page. Besides pictures, I am going to post information on how I converted my RTS. Everyone who does their own conversion does things a little differently, but it always helps to get ideas from others. Thanks to the Internet it is now easy to share ideas and offer encouragement to each other on converting, as this can be an overwhelming experience and often times we need communication with others to keep going.
A little background: the bus is an '82 RTS made by GMC, formerly a Golden Gate Transit bus (#1012) out of Marin, County, California. It is 40' long, 102" wide, and is powered by a 6V92TA Detroit Diesel engine and V730 Allison transmission. The bus was in excellent shape when I bought it, the engine ran okay but had a lot of oil leaks. The first thing I did when I got the bus was to remove the engine and give it a complete out-of-frame overhaul. The rebuilt engine now has 350 horsepower versus 277 HP stock, and no longer leaks oil. The bus came with a 4:56 rear end ratio which tops out at 70 mph, and forces you to run the engine at top rpm on the freeway. I found a 4:10 ring and pinion and plan on installing it in the near future, this will give me highway speeds at a fuel saving rpm of 1700-1800.
The next thing I did was move the 125 gallon fuel tank into the bay with the air tanks, moving the forward air tank into the front of the bus. I had to trim some of the metal in the bay to accommodate the tank, install 90 degree fittings on the air tanks, including the main copper air feed line to the center wet tank. I also eliminated the factory air dryer located in the fourth bay and put a straight piece of copper tubing in its place. An automatic water drain was then installed in the wet tank. While I had the fuel tank out, I drilled and tapped out holes for a feed and return line for my diesel generator, and installed a sending unit for a fuel gauge.
As you can see by looking at the pictures, I then made a storage bay out of the former fuel tank bay. The rear steps and the rear door were removed, allowing for a 100-125 gallon holding tank. The fresh water tank will be located inside under the bed. The diesel generator will be located in the former "air handler" area above the engine compartment. I installed R&M Fiberglass window inserts, rear door cover, and bay doors. I am currently installing R&M fenders, and still have a one piece front door and front cap to install. R&M also offers a roll of fiberglass that can be installed over the entire window area, allowing the converter to install after market RV windows. The factory slider windows are of higher quality, but not all RTS buses have them. Some buses have a combination of/or one piece Lexan windows and a few sliders. If you use the sliders and R&M window inserts (covers) like I did, you can replace the scratched up Lexan with DOT tinted glass available from Plastec Technologies in Irwindale, California. Inside, I have installed instrumentation, including cruise control and a pyrometer. The tachometer is my favorite gauge-- I use it more than I use the speedometer! Click here for Dash pic At this point in time, I have not done anything to the interior except take out a few seats. Once I finish the outside I will strip the inside out and have hot foam insulation sprayed in. (Update: I decided not to spray foam the interior but to use a combination of styrofoam and foil-backed foam board. This gives me better control over what gets covered and the ability to easily remove insulation if I need to get to the wall later.)
More to come