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Old 03-17-2016, 05:34 PM   #1
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Interior Conversion...The Basics

Dear Skoolie enthusiasts,

I thought it might be helpful to delineate the basics steps to starting a Skoolie conversion.

Let's assume that the vehicle itself is in good condition to operate.

I will write a list of what I am guessing needs to happen for the interior, just to prepare a nice hull to then continue adding whatever your specific needs are.

Please respond by adding details you think are important, or generating your own list of steps.

From what I understand:

FLOORS:
1. Remove seats, strip down flooring to bare surface. Sand out any rust or uneven spots. Use a sealer to seal up any places moisture could enter.
2. Frame in floor to fit insulation, add foamboard insulation
3. Screw down plywood on top of that
4. Lay flooring down on top of plywood

WALLS:
1. Remove walls, use a sealer to lock out moisture.
2. Insulate with spray foam insulation or foam board
3. Cover with...

CEILING:
1. Same story as the walls?


As you can see, I am unclear on the process and a basic step-by-step tutorial to prepare the "hull" (including any materials or tools that are necessary) would be super helpful at this point!!



Thanks!!
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Old 04-07-2016, 02:02 PM   #2
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Is it accepted practice to re-use the ceiling panels, once the insulation behind has been removed and replaced?

It might not be the prettiest, but I figure the price is about right.
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Old 04-07-2016, 02:17 PM   #3
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There has been a great deal of discussion on this topic and there will likely be more once I repeat the information given me by a retired Blue Bird engineer who lived down the road from me in Douglasville, GA. (I was in the process of raising the roof on a 40' All American at the time).

He said the interior sheet metal was a major component of the roof system and absolutely should not be left out or replaced with any material such as wood, aluminum or other "non-structural" material.

Many here have chosen to eliminate that sheet metal or to simply not go to the trouble of re-installing it. To each his own. Me...I went with the engineer's directive.
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Old 04-07-2016, 02:48 PM   #4
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Quote:
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There has been a great deal of discussion on this topic and there will likely be more once I repeat the information given me by a retired Blue Bird engineer who lived down the road from me in Douglasville, GA. (I was in the process of raising the roof on a 40' All American at the time).

He said the interior sheet metal was a major component of the roof system and absolutely should not be left out or replaced with any material such as wood, aluminum or other "non-structural" material.

Many here have chosen to eliminate that sheet metal or to simply not go to the trouble of re-installing it. To each his own. Me...I went with the engineer's directive.

This x 1000. There are some that will say it provides no or little structural support. I say show me your Structural Engineering Degree and I will believe you. Even the seat frames are part of the support.
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Old 04-07-2016, 03:04 PM   #5
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Meh, you guys can suffer with fiberglass insulation and metal ceilings all you want. I don't need any engineering degree to figure out how to raise a roof. Ain't rocket science at all man.
The seats and eveything else are as structural as the often perforated ceilings.
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Old 04-07-2016, 03:06 PM   #6
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want to find out easily if ceilings provide structural support? take loose the screws .. or drill the rivets out of ONE SIDE of ONE ceiling panel in your bus near the center.. it still hangs up by its "other row" of screws..

now have someone drive your bus while you stand in the middle watching that panel... every corner.. every bump you will see LOTS of deflection... you have effectively compreomised your bus's rigidity in the middle...

you will soon want to keep every one of your ceiling panels...

structural discussions were often a topic in a couple of my hot-rodding forums.. where members were converting hard-top cars to convertibles .. and wanted to know if / what to do to keep structural integrity..

you will gain some structure if you are replacing windows and covering with heavy enough gauge metal.. you could also fashion length-wise bows above your ceiling, however you are going to lower your height to do so...

to me its the best to keep your old ceiling.. replacing the insulation seems worthwhile.. but those panels are fairly heavy on most busses for a reason..

-Christopher
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Old 04-07-2016, 03:08 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EastCoastCB View Post
Meh, you guys can suffer with fiberglass insulation and metal ceilings all you want. I don't need any engineering degree to figure out how to raise a roof. Ain't rocket science at all man.
The seats and eveything else are as structural as the often perforated ceilings.
perforated ceilings can be structural too... the panels for them seem like they may be thicker.. but a big part of it is how the ceiling panels tie the bows together to limit body flex... which makes for better driveability..

the good roof raises i see on here are all about adding structural integrity...
-Christopher
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Old 04-07-2016, 03:09 PM   #8
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No you haven't you've simply taken away the support that the panel had and its flimsy as hell.
THIS is Stuctural??

Its often perforated as pictured. If its "structural" its to a VERY minimal degree. Why anyone would leave that to continually rain down tiny fragments of fiberglass, moldy insulation is beyond me.
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Old 04-07-2016, 03:11 PM   #9
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I've taken my gutted out bus semi-offroading to the point its been stuck before, and it hasn't deformed any body panels one iota. The interstates and highways will be a breeze.
No regrets and I'll be able to insulate and stand upright. No brainer. Let the naysayers nay!

FWIW the ceiling panels in the 86 Bluebird I just removed the rivets on are WAY flimsier and less riveted than my Ward's were.
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Old 04-07-2016, 03:48 PM   #10
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The weather is warm enough now that I'm going to start stripping the rivets and old insulation too. The centers don't punch out of the rivets like people have said in threads here. I've got a nice punch with a four pound hammer and these rivets don't even dent. Apparently I've got a lot of grinder and air chisel work ahead of me, or am I doing it wrong?

I'd like to retain the structural integrity of all that sheet metal inside, but honestly I can't see myself riveting it all back in place. It's a fair amount of weight that the old hippies got rid of first thing, or the ones that insulated anyway. On the other hand that perforated metal would be easy to screw things to on the interior surface.

I agree that even a wooden surface on the interior helps to maintain the rigidity the metal previously provided. I'm kind of wanting to get away from cold metal surfaces and wood looks nice with it's own insulative qualities.

My current bus is never going to be here like an old log cabin in 100 years. If you get 10 or 20 years out of a bus it's already paid for itself many times over. Besides, it gets us out there where we meet lots of people and see things you can't see from living on real estate.
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