When we first purchased Opti-Force 1, we were very happy to see that it had blown in urethane insulation everywhere. Due to reading this magazine, the forums, and Facebook groups, we thought we had the best money could buy.
One of our first trips in Opti-Force 1, was in February and we spent three nights in Boston. It was in the low 20s outside. We thought no problem, we have a strong propane heater giving us 30,000 BTU’s of heat in our well-insulated bus. Unfortunately, we were wrong, it took all its BTU’s to get us to a balmy 40 degrees. The next morning, after warming up, we went to a big box store and bought two electric ceramic heaters. Those gave us an additional 10,000 BTU’s and got us “up” to the low 50s in Opti-Force 1.
Other than mechanical work, we did not do anything to the bus cosmetically yet. Nor did we renovate the interior, but I was officially on the hunt for a solution to my quandary.
The next week when we were in South Florida, the temperatures were in the high 80s. We had to run both of our roof-top air conditioners to keep the inside of the bus livable. I was beginning to doubt that our bus was insulated at all.
Looking through Bus Conversions Magazine, I saw a little unassuming ad from EHP (Engine Heat Protection). I saw that one of the owners answered questions on a few Facebook groups, so I reached out to Todd Lenson. What a delight here is a guy that knows his product, is confident in its performance, and is very helpful with all my overly nerdy technical questions. I took some measurements and ordered enough EHP Rollboard to cover the walls, ceiling, and floors of my Opti-Force 1.
September 23, 2017, nine months after buying Opti-Force 1, we dug in and tore down the cabinets, walls, and ceiling. We were happy to find that yes, there was indeed a nice thick layer of sprayed in urethane insulation. We also removed the rooftop AC and propane heater units in favor of a Mini Split Heat Pump.
With all the information gained from EHP and armed with boxes of insulation, we moved forward, confidently. After everything was torn out, including all the wiring (that’s for another article) it was time to rebuild.
The EHP Rollboard insulation is very easy to work with, It’s a 1/8” thick flexible ceramic (we’re talking space-age material here) that feels and bends like felt. We attached it to the walls using contact cement, per the instructions. In a few hours, the kitchen and living room were insulated. Already inside the bus, a difference could be heard. I hadn’t considered it before, but an added bonus of the EHP Rollboard is great sound deadening abilities.
Since Opti-Force 1 doesn’t have a raised roof, we wanted to keep the floor as thin as possible. EHP was a real winner here as well. At only 1/8” (3mm”) thick it’s the ultimate solution for floor insulation. We laid the EHP directly over the factory floor and then added a 7/16” plywood on top. With this, we only lost 9/16” of headroom, but we gained the equivalent of probably 5-6” of foam insulation.
In a whirlwind of activity, we got a lot accomplished (we had a deadline)! We insulated the bus, we added a solar system, we added the mini-Split heat pump, we put in new kitchen cabinets, and we installed a new electrical system. We accomplished all this from September 23 to October 10, 2017.
Our next trip started on December 26th. We drove out into the snow from our base in Granby, Quebec and stopped a few hours later in Vermont for the night. The investment in EHP Rollboard paid for itself that night! We could walk on the floor in bare feet without freezing. Our 12,000 BTU mini Split heat pump had no problems keeping us at a comfortable 72 degrees, despite its 28,000 BTU deficits over the previous winters heating system.
GM PD41XX SERIES BUSES If you are converting or renovating a bus, EHP Roll-board should not be an option, it should be mandatory. You will not regret the investment, ever! Regardless of your climate, hot or cold, EHP Rollboard is by far the best investment you can make in your comfort.
Sylvie and Yvan are fun-loving grandparents and detailers. Sylvie owns a franchise company in Quebec called Répare-Brise. Yvan is Vice President, Business Development for Opti-Coat LLC in Memphis TN. In his work, Yvan travels the world to teach detailing and speak at trade shows. When in North America they travel in their 1973 GMC 4905A Buffalo, named Opti-Force 1. Opti-Force 1 devours a minimum of 40,000 miles a year, and the long term plan is to go full time once the renovations are completed.
You can reach Yvan at: