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Old 02-04-2016, 03:52 AM   #1
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Year: 1990
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Blue Magic

1990 International bus with an Amtrans body. Conventional bus. 32 feet long. Painted a very beautiful blue. We are tearing on the seats and today we discovered that there is a lot of wood rot underneath the floor. I took out some seat bolts and water drained out of the holes. That was a bit disappointing so I am worried about how much rust I may find under the floor. The outside of the bus looks good as does the underside of the bus. Where did all that moisture come from? Now I have to wonder about what's behind the side panels. Mold in the insulation? We only have about six seats out so far. Even some of the seat bolts were rusted. Some of the bolts are hard to get to. But I will keep everyone posted on our progress!
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Old 02-04-2016, 01:22 PM   #2
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Water coming from bolt holes says to me you have most likely got wheel well rott from the winterizing of the highways.

Regardless, if it is that wet under there, be prepared to rip the floor out right away to let it "dry" out and start your damage control.

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Old 02-04-2016, 02:49 PM   #3
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Our bus, 1996 Bluebird All American was from Western Washington and when
we removed the flooring we found a fair amount of rust. Apparently the
maintenance crew considered a once a month cleaning with a power washer
was proper care for bus floors even in a high humidity climate like Seattle. Of
course all the low spots in the floor held the majority of the water.
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Old 02-05-2016, 02:16 AM   #4
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Get the seats out and all the wood pulled up. I found that an enormous pry bar and patience were the best tools.

Mine was pretty crusty in a lot of places, and all the plywood saturated, moldy, and falling apart but no rot or rust holes anywhere. Another year or two it would have become swiss cheese.

They nailed the wood into the steel with spiral shank nails, hundreds of them. Many were rusted so badly they looked like burnt matches. I knocked all those out, too.

Finally, use an air needle scaler to remove the thick rust scale, and see what's left. If it needs patching weld it, don't just use fiberglass body filler. It might be galvanized steel so watch for that.

Once I was done descaling, I went back with a bunch of cup brush and wheel brush grinder wheels, followed by a dressing of fan disc abrasives. Finally, everything was rust converted with like 4 gallons of phosphoric converter. The "kleen strip etch and prep" from home depot is inexpensive and works great. Don't get it on your clothes, skin or eyes and use a resperator.

I mopped that stuff over the course of about 3 days in the summer, and got all the rust I could see.

FINALLY, sweep and clean your surface and seal with paint. If the metal was ever galvanized, do NOT use a oil based paint, use a latex paint. Killz 2 works great.

Oil based alkyd paints react with the zinc to saponify into a complex zinc salt based soap substance. (Alkyds are very basic, just like lye and oil make soaps) at which point adhesion is lost and it becomes a moisture trap.

Latex based paints won't react that way.
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Old 02-05-2016, 04:42 AM   #5
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Thanks for the replys!

Yes I am still in the process of getting the seats out and then the rotten floor removed. One question I have is that I have two floor heaters on the bus both located towards the front with one on each side of the bus. When I am redoing the new floor what should I do with these two heaters? Do I need to take them out to remove the old floor? Or are they mounted in there some way that makes easy removal? I was thinking of keeping them and then building around them somehow.
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Old 02-05-2016, 11:36 AM   #6
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Remove them for now, you'll just damage the heater cores. The heater lines are probably 1" or so. Get some brass double barb connectors from the hardware store and join the coolant lines together. Pinch the lines off on both sides first so they don't pour coolant everywhere. Then replace the heater with the double barbed fitting.

Depending on what you're doing you can re route them under the body or just build around them.
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Old 02-09-2016, 02:19 AM   #7
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More seats out tonight!

Got two more seats out tonight. The toughest ones so far were the two over the back tires. I ended up grinding down the bolts and then cutting them off. The wood is soft and rotted so I was able the get under the bolt by going through the mat to get get to the bolts. Can't wait to rip up the floor. I have 10 seats left. I have removed a total of 8 already. I also installed new headlights that are extra bright. Got them from a trucker store. I am also redoing all of the reflectors and adding led lights to everything else that lights up. I want to be seen plus they look great too.
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Old 02-10-2016, 04:11 PM   #8
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It's always fun replacing all the old crusty light fixtures with new nice ones.

Get those seats out! Just grind them all and get it done. Use a punch to kick the bolts through the floor.

Wear a respirator when you pull the floors out, the moldy crap is not good to breathe.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SeattleMagicGuy View Post
Got two more seats out tonight. The toughest ones so far were the two over the back tires. I ended up grinding down the bolts and then cutting them off. The wood is soft and rotted so I was able the get under the bolt by going through the mat to get get to the bolts. Can't wait to rip up the floor. I have 10 seats left. I have removed a total of 8 already. I also installed new headlights that are extra bright. Got them from a trucker store. I am also redoing all of the reflectors and adding led lights to everything else that lights up. I want to be seen plus they look great too.
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Old 02-10-2016, 08:48 PM   #9
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Year: 1990
Coachwork: Amtrans
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Engine: DT360
Rated Cap: 36
Yes I just got a respirator mask. Burnt rubber, steel, old wood and mold don't make for a fun night! I just got some more Led lights today. We only have about 4 seats left to remove. The entire floor is rotted. At least the plywood is where I checked it in a few spots. I hope the floor is not all rusted through. I don't see any rust from underneath the bus at least. With all the water I think someone must have been washing out the bus floor. As there are no obvious leaks or holes in the roof. Thanks everyone so far for the responses. I always welcome any ideas too!
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Old 02-11-2016, 10:38 AM   #10
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If you have luggage bays they are also probably covered with rotted plywood.
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