A Premature Blog Post: Ceiling, and Insulation Oddjobs. Insulation Chronicles Part 3.5 of 4

Introductory Formalities

Much like every other month, this past month has been an eventful month full of slow but noticeable progress.  I have excuses to excuse my lack of progress but excuses don’t change the reality so we’ll carry on.   To my lack of surprise I was full of crap when I said the Insulation Chronicles would be a 4 part series, it will probably be 5 part, probably.  Also my apologies, yet another month without proper picture documentation.  I may edit it to a 5 part series, or I may just leave this here as part 3.5. I also got one of my favorite pictures of the bus yet.  I’ll leave that later.  Without further ado, here’s the most recent pic of the interior of the bus.

But how did we get here?  Alright lets get to it!

Wheel Well Containment (to be finished later).

I always told myself the first interior framework I would weld in the bus would be the wheel well boxes, it’s one of the least important features in the bus and would be great practice to help refine my sloppy welding.  Unfortunately, I had the door emergency so I ended up doing the door before the wheel wells.  Regardless of which, I made the wheel wells and as expected they did not turn out that great.  (I was going to put in the support featured in the middle there, but I did not)  Below you’ll see the two wheel wells boxed (not permanent yet).

The Back Door Lock

I put the back door Lock on.  I also rekeyed my other door so they are all keyed the same.

A lot of you may be thinking, “would you recommend this style lock?”

Absolutely not, they are unforgiving with placement and can cause a lot of problems.

“Do you like the company Segal (Prime Line products)?”

Absolutely not, they are condescending A-holes, I waited 3 weeks for them to send me 3 cylinders, right out of the box, all of the pins in one of the cylinders fell apart.  When I called them and requested a replacement, their tech support scolded me for taking apart a cylinder (I did not), and their customer service told me they’d call me back (they did not).  I’ve spent $200 on their products and they treat me like trash.  Don’t buy Segal locks, they don’t care about you. /end rant.

The Ceiling

I used “polywall” for the ceiling of the bus, it is about $20 for a 4×8 panel from home depot.  It is really flimsy but looks pretty decent once it’s secured.  I got this idea from reading the broccoli bus build (One of my favorite builds who I reference throughout these posts).  I did not enjoy putting these panels up, I did a solid C+ job.  78% of the ceiling has no visible warping/bubbles.  I also undid and redid a few of my ceiling panels.

How did I cut the holes for the roof vents?  Using really sloppy stencils made from cardboard.  It turned out alright.  Not great, but alright.  You can cut this material with a razor so it’s easy to make adjustments later.

Below you see how we held the ceiling up before fastening.


Then I marked around the furring strips with blue tape.

And put down these thin metal trim strip things.

Resulting in the photo posted earlier.  (Next post will address the shower stuff in the back left corner)

But there’s more!

Ceiling Vents

I insulated the ceiling vents with some reflectix shiny bubble wrap, I glued it down with gorilla glue.  I probably didn’t do a great job securing this, but I don’t care too much.


Now that the vents are somewhat insulated, I was able to put in these vent fans.  (I undid the ceiling panels to run these wires, they are fastened to the ceiling with 2 feet of insulating tape and one screw hole zip tie, I then fastened it to the wall with another screw hole zip tie.  Probably not adequate fastening.  I will report back if/when these fail.

Oddball Insulation Jobs.

I didn’t really document this well, but there were a lot of oddball insulation jobs I did around the bus.  The rear of the bus being one of them.  Here’re some pictures of some areas I insulated, I don’t think they are interesting at all, but maybe something else will catch your eye.

I took this picture to show some process of the shower build, but that will be an update detailed later this month.  For now you can observe this picture to see that I’m not lying when I say it’s insulated.

Here are some upper pockets I insulated. I was able to shove about 3 1/2″ of insulation scrap in these crevices.  It wasn’t super exciting, but I started listening to audiobooks In January, and that has made the work a lot more engaging.

The Double Door Insulation

I think I’m breaking some organizational rules here, but the double door insulation gets it’s own section because I remembered to document it somewhat.  It is good to note that I need to redo this a little.

Insulating the door

I added a little fastenining pad/piece of wood to drill into

More insulation

adding the wood boards (I did not take a picture of the little fastening pad I put in the left door).

Unfortunately there was about 1/4″ gap between the wood and the door.  I clamped it down and got it shut but now the door lock is giving me trouble, I think I bent the shape of the door enough that the lock will not work.  I don’t mind this so much but I think it’s within my best interest to add a small buffer layer behind this plywood to make a more proper joint with less tension.  Good for now, to be continued later.

Snow Storm

We got a ton of snow (by pacific northwest standards), perhaps the most snow I’ve seen at my residences in 20 years.  Snow = moisture, moisture = anxiety.


But I have to admit, it was really pretty.

On the final night of snow, I had an incredibly serene experience.  I came home from work around 9:30, and to my amazement, the snow reflected so much moonlight, that I was able to set up some saw horses and do all sorts of work I never would’ve expected to do at night.  It was a gift from the progress gods and a great way to conclude my fickle relationship with the snow.

Coming Up Next!  Shower Framing

4 thoughts on “A Premature Blog Post: Ceiling, and Insulation Oddjobs. Insulation Chronicles Part 3.5 of 4”

  1. Sarah February 25, 2017Reply

    Your build chronicle is so entertaining! I want to convert a bus, although the anxiety of actually planning such a thing right now, is overwhelming. I’ll keep following along, and enjoying your progress 🙂

    1. Tai February 27, 2017Reply

      Hey Sarah,
      Thank you for following along and I appreciate the kind words! You get a lot of time while you work on the bus to plan out your next steps. Every once in awhile I’ll finish a little project and I’ll “think what now?” But usually there are plenty of little unappealing side projects I have been putting off and once I finish those, the next steps become more clear. My rule of thumb is if I don’t know what to do, I need to spend 30 minutes drinking a beer in the bus, if I don’t know what to do by the end of the beer I can call it quits for the day. Later on, I hope to add some resources outlining the build process with links showing how to get there. But first I gotta get the bus done!

      It’s also good to note that the process can be very maddening at times, between the vast amounts of money and time I invest in the bus, it often emphasizes the frustration and agitation that follows the fear of failure. But if you really want to get a bus, start saving money! This project cost I’d estimate is approximately 20k including the bus, and another 5k in tools I would guess. Generally, I’ve been averaging about 600 a month in tools, materials and other bus costs. There are a lot of ways to trim these costs down, but there are a lot of ways for these costs to go up as well. I could continue this ramble for another thousand words but I will cut it off here. Thanks for following, more updates coming soon!

  2. Sarah February 27, 2017Reply

    That’s what I do with my 73 super beetle… sit there, drink a beer, and look around. Sometimes I tackle something, sometimes I add something to my list. Good to know about the true cost- it’s so annoying to see some of these shows or posts, were people are like, “I built our house for $300!!” Really? I guess they have a lot of expensive tools, already. Or borrow from friends, I don’t know…

    1. Tai February 28, 2017Reply

      I believe it’s possible to do a cheap conversion, but I think it takes a lot of time and non-monetary resources to do so. Since my time is pretty limited, I would rather spend my days off working on the bus, rather than scavenging for resources and restoring those scavanged resources. Of course, that depends on how much money can be saved and if the quality will be compromised. But I learned that I would rather spend $25 on a 4×8 sheet of plywood, rather than spend two hours+ finding good quality pallets, pulling them apart and extracting nails for an equivalent amount of wood. Of course, if I worked 20 hours a week I would feel very differently. I currently have a lot of junk accumulated from trying to save money, and I will probably end up spending money to get rid of a lot of it, or I could try and do a cheap budget conversion of a different vessel. Time can be tricky.

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