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Old 06-04-2014, 02:01 AM   #21
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Re: Big Bertha

One of the reasons that Crown Coach school buses last as long as they do is that Crown made them with very think marine plywood floors. Marine plywood can stand up to moisture like nothing else. If you are going to put down plywood flooring, I suggest marine plywood. The floors in our 1988 Crown are in perfect condition. It certainly costs more than standard plywood. But, it will give you complete peace of mind in the years to come about your floor.
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Old 06-04-2014, 10:07 AM   #22
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Re: Big Bertha

I have 3" on insulation down and then the 1/2 plywood. I also plan to keep the 72 childeren with sloppy, messy, wet feet off my bus. I hope that helps.
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Old 06-04-2014, 10:08 AM   #23
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Re: Big Bertha

Quote:
Originally Posted by big_bertha

I really don't understand why bluebird wanted to put plywood down. The steel was welded in sections from front to back, and the welds were filled in with sealant. I guess when you have to replace them every 10 years or whatever, they don't really care if the plywood gets soggy.

Of course I'm a huge hypocrite because I'm putting a plywood subfloor right back in...
There might be a state law or regulation that required them to do so. I know there are such things as to how the school busses are being built and that they vary from state to state because a local district a few years ago bought school busses from out of state that were cheaper. I'm thinking these cheaper busses didn't have the plywood sub floor in there and ohio requires there to be one. Anyways, OHP was doing the inspection on them and found the issue and the cheap busses weren't so cheap anymore. I don't know where to find all these rules, or if Washington is similar, but that is most likely why they did it.
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Old 06-04-2014, 06:46 PM   #24
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Re: Big Bertha

Quote:
Originally Posted by Booyah45828
that is most likely why they did it.
That makes sense. When I was trying to brainstorm before we had ours, all the dimension specs I found were specific to state.

Quote:
Originally Posted by wmkbailey
I have 3" on insulation down and then the 1/2 plywood. I also plan to keep the 72 childeren with sloppy, messy, wet feet off my bus. I hope that helps.
Awesome bus. Love all the insulation.
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Old 06-11-2014, 10:59 AM   #25
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Re: Big Bertha

We have a 92BB we're just starting on. We will start gutting her in a few days and I'm curious to see what lurks within... since ours is a retired prison transport bus, when we strip it down we will need to read all the graffiti scratched into the walls before discovering if we have spongy plywood, too... ;)
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Old 06-11-2014, 04:50 PM   #26
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Re: Big Bertha

Crowns used very thick marine plywood for the floor. They were bolted onto the bottom frame of the bus. No metal floor, no rust. That is why a 50 year old Crown floor looked so good. I am assuming they also used some sort of coating with the marine plywood. I am not kidding. I have seen 50 year old Crown floors that look better than other manufacturer's 15 year old floors.
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Old 06-11-2014, 11:09 PM   #27
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Re: Big Bertha

I had not thought about the rougher conditions outside of California or Arizona. However, Crowns were also used in Oregon and Washington. Someone with knowledge of those states would have to weight in about how the floors withstood the wetter climate. Also, there were a bunch of Crowns used by a contractor in Hawaii back in the 1970's and 1980's. Pretty wet over there, but certainly no salt on the roads from snow and ice.
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Old 06-12-2014, 09:32 AM   #28
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Re: Big Bertha

My 1990 Crown was in service in the Bremerton (Washington) School District for 20 years until I bought it from them in 2010. Floors seem to be in perfect condition. There is some rust in the stairwell and around the windshield and doorway but that's about it.
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Old 06-13-2014, 02:38 PM   #29
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Re: Big Bertha

Quote:
Originally Posted by Locutus
My 1990 Crown was in service in the Bremerton (Washington) School District for 20 years until I bought it from them in 2010. Floors seem to be in perfect condition. There is some rust in the stairwell and around the windshield and doorway but that's about it.
That's still a hospitable place for vehicles compared to the middle of the continent
I know people who have gone to the west coast to pick up vehicles to sell back in Ontario. I'm lucky to have a 1998 Subaru Legacy that "grew up" as a west coast (British Columbia) car. It's the best looking car of its vintage around town! The bolt heads holding things to the frame are the correct hexagonal shape, not brown, flaky ovals. All other Subaru's that I've seen of a similar year that have lived their life in Ontario have rotten wheel wells, fully brown undersides and holes in the trunk/tailgates, if they're even still on the road.
Just some anecdotal evidence. Nothing compares to the mid-west for vehicle rot...
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Old 07-07-2014, 12:27 AM   #30
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Re: Big Bertha

I'm quite a bit further along than this thread indicates, and with a December 2014 live-in deadline, I'm strapped for time.

So I'm going to fast track you guys. By now there are plenty of threads detailing how to gut your school bus, so I'm going to post only the crucially relevant and the somewhat interesting photos and give what I hope are concise descriptions of our process.


I used a 7" angle grinder to cut the seats out three inches from the floor. I used the same grinder to remove all the bolt heads, and a prybar to remove the feet. Then, with some help, went to work on the plywood subfloor with some prybars. A T-style wrecking bar proved the fastest, most useful tool for this job.


We ripped the heaters out at some point. Yes, coolant spilled everywhere. No, we didn't care. (that night i cared because my gloves got soaked in it, and my hands shriveled up like i've never seen and stayed that way until the morning... they tingled for a while... i'm sure they'll fall off someday because of that... so please, if you aren't in a hurry, watch for the glycol.)


We ripped out the black box along with the surveillance camera. I cut the lock off the box with the angle grinder and behold! VHS!


We spent pretty much an entire day with an angle grinder and wire wheels, grinding off rust.






The next day was torrential downpour, so we had most of the windows closed. We were using the halogen lamp to try and dry off the floor because the grinder was just rubbing mud around =D... The bus leans to one side so we close all the windows on the side where the rain falls in. I upgraded by now to a non-woven abrasive, an extremely coarse, tough one. It worked well, but please wear your N-95s. You can see the smoke in this picture. I'm sure my lungs will fall off someday despite the mask.


Starting to look better...


Before the bondo. Why did we Bondo? I'm not sure. I like smooth surfaces. What, you thought we knew what we were doing? Balderdash!


Bondo. It smells.


This is me putting Rustoleum, an oil-based paint, directly onto galvanized steel. Apparently you're not supposed to do this, which I found out after two coats had fully cured. Let me just say that this project has been a very humbling experience.


For what it's worth, we didn't have any major flaking due to the reaction. Some parts scratched off, because we dropped sheet metal on them, but I would expect that from any paint job. Just walking around though, wear and tear, putting tools down, etc... nothing horrible to report. So maybe the terrible flaking disaster is something that takes time.


Sometimes we just like to hang out and be family.


We decided to strip all sheet metal and dispose of fiberglass batting. If you have headliner panels that are screwed in, I envy you.


The toilet goes here. I don't know if it has a steering wheel. Maybe that is supposed to be a magazine.


A lot of people recommended a cold chisel and a hammer. This panel was removed that way.


The rest were removed much more hastily by the angle grinder.


The headliner panels got interesting. Rivet heads become glowing hot when they're ground off, and then they fall. Usually you're standing under them. I tried dodging a couple, and failed. So I went to Goodwill and bought a leather jacket and a wool sweater.






Then there was more dust.


Messy, yes. But a 4 or 5 hour job became a 1.5 hour job.


This is where my sanders were. I know I will be flamed for this, but I can't justify the extra weight and besides, I could put something there. I also live in an area where snowfall is about one week in February. All the metro buses here just throw chains on the tires and call it a day. Sorry, guys.


Stop arm delete


So cool!
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