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Old 02-10-2005, 10:34 AM   #1
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Painting a bus

Any suggestions for a reasonably priced (cheap) way to paint a school bus? Will be starting work on a RAGBRAI bus this spring, adding the top deck, etc.

What does automotive primer & paint go for? Any estimates on how much we'd need for a full-size school bus? Anyone in the Des Moines, IA area that does this kind of work on the side?

Thanks!
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Old 02-10-2005, 11:04 AM   #2
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So far the best and most economical suggestion (and the one I'm likely to try) is tractor paint and a foam roller.

Of course you are then limited to the tractor manufacturers colors and what you can make by blending them.

http://www.plasti-kote.com/plastikot...d%20Implement.

Jake.
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Old 09-03-2006, 10:03 PM   #3
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I bought a low cost Hi volume low pressure (HVLP) spray gun, and painted mine with Rustoleum Gloss White thinned with 10% acetone. Worked great, looked good, covered really well. How long it'll hold up is the big question. The Rustoleum is available in various gloss colors.
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Old 09-04-2006, 07:52 AM   #4
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I ended up using TrueValue XO Rust and a 3/8" nap roller (the foam roller didn't spread well at all.


http://www.vonslatt.com/bus-paint.shtml

It covered in one coat and 18 months later looks just like it did when I first painted.

Jake.
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Old 09-19-2007, 12:39 AM   #5
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Re: Painting a bus

I couldn't find Rustoleum that was in gallons and tintable. I was after a specific color scheme. Anyway, I thought I would share my notes here from my build thread. Learn from my mistakes.

viewtopic.php?f=9&t=1466&st=0&sk=t&sd=a&start=15

The paint is done. We ended up going with Olympic Alkyd from Lowes. They tinted it in Aggie Maroon. We used 1.5 gallons on the roof, almost 4 gallons on the sides, and maybe a pint or two on the window touchups. We started with taping off the top and spraying it first. Then we taped off the windows and covered the top to paint the sides. Then we came in by hand and cut around the windows. Unfortunately it rained both days that we did most of the painting. It rained about an hour after the white and we had just finished the last coat (3 total) on the sides and it started coming down. It dulled the paint quite a bit. It's still soft a few days later. Hopefully it will harden up well with a few days of good sun. Overall it's not an "auto quality" paint job at all, but for less than $300, it does the job for an old beater tailgating machine. It definitely made it look a lot better.

---------

I've had a few questions about the paint I used. I used Olympic Alkyd Gloss Oil Based paint from Lowe's. Home Depot did not have gloss oil based paint. We did some tailgating for the first time yesterday and got to compare it side by side with a few others. I'm not sure how much the rain had to do with the outcome of ours, but I wouldn't recommend this paint. Ours is stil drying after 5 days. It has a crackle looking texture to it. It's not shiny at all.

I met a guy tailgating, I think he's on this board also. Fellow Ag. They have a porched out International bus. Pretty fun. I have some pix to post. They spent an equally miniscule amount of money and have a lot better end product. They used Acrylic Enamel that they purchased online from http://www.tcpglobal.com/. They sanded down to bare metal, which they later found out was not necessary. Because of that they had to spray primer. Sand. Paint. They sanded between coats which they also found out later was not necessary (600 grit). Painted 2nd coat. So they did a lot more work than they needed to do, but the end result is pretty nice.

So after reading, trying, and revewing again, this is my recommendation for painting a bus yourself for under $500.

1. Buy Acrylic Enamel paint.
2. Sand your whole bus with some fine sandpaper, just to scuff it, not to bare metal. (Use some Rustoleum in a spray can for easy primer touchups)
3. Wipe down with thinner after sanding.
4. Tape off areas that you don't want painted.
5. Spray on 1st coat. Wait 45 mintues. Spray 2nd coat.
6. Remove the taped off areas right after spraying. This will help the "lip" of the paint roll over while still wet, instead of having a hard (dry) line after it dries.

So while I haven't done it exactly like this, this is what I would recommend and what I would do if I had it to do over again.

EDIT: I finally found their site. It has pics: http://www.15formeat.com/gallery/album/ ... /Painting/
---------

This thread also discusses more about paint: viewtopic.php?f=8&t=32
Specifically one user talks aobut spraying with a more traditional auto sprayer (running off of compressed air). They can be had for cheap (he said $50 at WalMart). I used a hig pressure low volume (HVLP) airless Spraytech (Wagner) home painter. I didn't cut the paint at all. It sprayed fine, but not the best results as I noted. I would definitely recommend using a sprayer over a foam roller. It took longer to roll just round my windows than it did to spray the whole rest of the bus. We painted it all in less than two days of work.

In the end, I think the most important item is using ACRYLIC ENAMEL.
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Old 09-19-2007, 08:40 AM   #6
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Re: Painting a bus

i've painted and repainted a total of about 5 times. I think that rustoleam commercial grade by the gallon is a good way to go. I also like spraying it simply because the surface isn't exactly flat, but i've done a lot of touch ups with a roller and think that also looks fine. Where the sprayer will really help ya out is on the last step. I recommend that anyone who paints with rustoleam use an automotive clear coat when you're finished. 1 gallon of clearcoat is enough if you use it sparingly, but it costs about $100 for that gallon. Money well spent !

I use about 3 gallons of paint to cove the bus, and about 1 gallon of primer. 2 Gallons of acetone, and don't forget a gallon of paint thinner (mineral spirits, none of that safe non toxic low oder stuff!) to wash the bus with after you sand it, and between coats.
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Old 09-19-2007, 10:32 AM   #7
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Re: Painting a bus

Interesting. That's one thing that they were recommended and said specifically not to do, sand between coats. Said it wasn't necessary.

I'm also curious as to sources on the Rustoleum. We looked all over the place for it here and in Houston. No dice. Any national chains carry it locally for you? Home Depot. Sherwin Williams. Lowe's. WalMart. etc.

Another addition. Some of you may remember Stacey David on Trucks. He now has a show on ESPN2 called Gearz. I watched it this past weekend while recovering from tailgating. He specifically covered a new premixed lacquer paint by Duplicolor. He did a step by step. Duplicolor calls it Paint Shop Finish System. I have no idea on costs. More details here:

http://duplicolor.com/products/paintshop.html
Training video: http://duplicolor.com/products/paintshop.html

From the video, it says they only have 8 colors (back to the tractor paint limitations). They also don't recommend sanding between coats with this paint. I guess it just differs by paint type. There is also a thread about the show here:

http://www.gearztv.com/index.php?&conte ... pic_217226
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Old 09-19-2007, 12:18 PM   #8
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Re: Painting a bus

rustoleam commerical by the gallon paint is available here in michigan at both home depot and at wal-mart.
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Old 09-19-2007, 02:33 PM   #9
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Re: Painting a bus

Lucky!

I'm going to check to see if we can order it. When I talked to HD about it, they said they can't order anything that they don't have in the store. This is all they had in the way of rustoleum in gallons:

Rust-Oleum Professional Gallon Aluminum High Performance Oil Based Enamel Brush-On Paint

Although not for sale online, it is on their website. It's not tintable though. Maybe that was the real issue. That they didn't have a way of getting it in the correct color scheme. We were adament about getting at least some form of maroon (school color). Primer, Almond, Aluminum, and Black wouldn't fit what we were going for.

Sorry, kind of thinking out loud (on the keyboard).
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Old 09-20-2007, 09:06 AM   #10
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Re: Painting a bus

I used an enamel that Car Quest sells that is called a "modified enamel". It's just a glorified implement enamel that is tintable and cheap at @ $35 a gallon. I am guessing that there are about 50 colors in their color book. They told me a trailer manufacturer is using it on the trailers he sells and is very happy with it. It's thinned with acetone, covers well, sticks like mad and you can spray it on with a gun. I think davido has it pretty close as far as a general direction for painting a bus. We did sand, primer, sand, and paint and it looks pretty good. The only problem we had was it was 100 degrees and when we went to tape other areas off for a color change the tape stuck to the soft paint and marked it. Paint when it's not 100 degrees if possible. As far as the interior we tried the alkalyd paint and it sucks, it didn't stick very well at all. We went to Sherwin Williams and they sell a paint they call "DTM" Direct To Metal and let me tell you that's the ticket, it sticks like mad and won't peel off like the other water based crap. I reccommend it to anyone who is painting the interior of their bus, you won't be dissapointed. sportyrick
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