Things We Wish We Knew Before the Bus Demolition

We have finally completed the demolition of our 40 ft 1996 MCI D3 Coach Bus and are getting ready to begin the build to make our tiny home on wheels.  If you’ve been following along you will know that the demolition was a long and tiring job for us. We learnt a lot during this time and were met with a few surprises that we thought we’d share with you.

The Right Tools for the Job

These are not the only tools we used, but they are some tools we found essential and didn’t know we needed:

SHOPVAC - we used this almost daily, there was so much dust and debris and a regular vacuum would not be able to handle it.

THE MULTI-TOOL - super useful for various random tasks and I’m sure we’ll be using it more during the build

ANGLE GRINDER - Don’s favorite tool!  We used this for removing rust and taking out the seat rails.

HAMMER AND CHISEL - Some things just required a lot of brute force to pull apart and a good old hammer and chisel come in handy.

Stay Safe Wear Protection

The demolition is tough on your body, at the beginning of the process we didn’t think about the protection we would need until after we started a job.  We quickly learned that this is not the way to do it!

WEAR CLOTHES YOU DON’T MIND RUINING - this might seem like an obvious one, but there are some glues they use in the MCI bus that you will not get off your clothes or skin.  So cover up well!  

GLOVES - we went through a lot of gloves!

EAR PROTECTION - When using the angle grinder or even the hammer and chisel

EYE PROTECTION - We used both goggles and glasses depending on the job.  

MASKS - When you start pulling this apart it gets really dusty, you don’t want to be breathing it in.

RESPIRATORS - Once you start using chemicals like applying rustoleum you need to up your game from masks to respirators

KNEE PADS - We spent a lot of time on our knees while working on the floors.  We started out with cheap knee pads and they did more harm than good. It’s worth spending some money on these.  Your knees will thank you!

PREVENTATIVE MAINTENANCE FOR YOUR BODY - We kept up a regular routine of Pilates, walking and massages.  It’s not that we didn’t hurt after being on our knees and leaning over for 5 hrs a day, but without this exercise and care routine I don't think we would have bounced back so quickly.

Plan for the Unexpected

Everything takes longer than you think. The weather can also dictate what you can and can’t do in a day, so you have to be ready to go with the flow.  You also just don’t know what you will find when you start pulling things apart. There was no visible rust on our bus, but we did find water damage and rust under our floors. Our theory is that it’s better to pull it apart now and find all the surprises during the demolition than have to deal with surprises later on down the line when you are living in the bus. 

We also did not realize how much time it would take to document this journey.  We love creating our blog and vlog, but it means that everything takes twice as long during our build process as we have to set up cameras and talk about what we are doing.  It’s really a full-time job creating these videos. Which is why we have started up a Patreon Page and formed the Rehabi-Tribe. We look forward to growing and engaging with our tribe because as much work as it is we LOVE doing it.

It Has Tested Our Relationship

We’ve seen TV shows of couples building their dream house and arguing due to the stress and finances.  Building a Tiny House is no different. As you get tired or frustrated you aren’t always your best self.  I can see how couples could break up due to the stress. For us it brought us closer together as we learnt to communicate better and work as a team.

It Costs More Than You Think

Everything costs more than you think and there are always things you’ve forgotten to budget for, or don’t know you need yet.  We haven’t even begun building out the bus yet and we have already spent 50% of our original budget. Where has that money gone?  Purchasing the bus, bus maintenance (like oil change and service), tools, protective gear, solar panels, lumber and miscellaneous hardware. We will probably spend 25-40% more than we originally planned.

Community Matters

The number of people who have reached out to help or offer advice has been amazing.  The bus/skoolie/rv community is very supportive and helpful. We welcome comments and tips you may have to help us along the way.  Likewise if you have any questions for us we will try to answer to the best of our ability. It’s nice to know we are not alone!


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The Rehabi-Tribe on Patreon

We are making some BIG changes - attempting a major lifestyle makeover and we are bringing you along on the journey.
We started our journey as a 2-car, 3-cat, big-city-dwelling couple with hopes and dreams of
  • Tiny House Living
  • Organic Farming
  • Earthship Adventures
  • Beekeeping
  • Travel
  • and passing on a planet with clean air and fresh water to the next generations.
We hope that by sharing our experiences we encourage others to try small changes and that collectively, all of our small changes will have a big impact.


This has been our "Hero" tool. With the bus as filthy as it is, we needed a work horse shop vac. The one we are using is an older version of this one here. 

Speed Oscillating Multi-Tool Kit

We've already found this helpful with other tasks, but removing glue from the metal frame is it's latest feat!  Just as the name says it has many uses and can be used for cutting, sawing, trimming, grinding and sanding. I'm sure we will be using it again in the future!

Bosch Angle Grinder

We have used 4 angle grinders already on this job! 2 cheapo's from Harbor Freight (one sadly died) and 1 Robi which was cordless and the battery only lasts for so long. The best angle grinder we have used is a Bosch brand. It seems to have much more power and fortitude than the others.

3M Ear Protectors, Hearing Protection,

These earmuffs have a noise reduction rating of 30dB and boy are we glad. After hitting metal on metal all day long you gotta have these so you don't go deaf! 

3M Respirator

This 3M Respirator provides 95% filter efficiency against solid and liquid aerosols as well as certain organic vapors, a must when applying the POR15 and Rustoleum application.

By Mela & Don

Mela and Don are sharing their journey as they make conscious decisions to live a more healthy, environmentally friendly life together.

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