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Old 08-27-2015, 03:29 AM   #11
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Here in my town, the pawn shops typically charge FULL retail. As though their merchandise wasn't crappy AND stolen.
I've never understood how they sell anything. Especially ladders!
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Old 08-27-2015, 06:17 PM   #12
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Grinding down the socket worked like a charm. Upper rails are out.
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Old 08-29-2015, 02:20 AM   #13
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We're removing the seats and floor rails, which is going to be a long process. Just thinking about the ceiling. I had hoped to 1) use closed cell spray foam in the ceiling and walls (I don't have an estimate for this yet, but several local companies do it), and 2) replace the metal ceiling panels with 3/4" plywood held in place by compression. But now that I see it, if I ignore all the speaker and lighting holes, I really like the shine and the rivets.



I'm also wondering how necessary that level of insulation is given our climate. It was 94F outside today, and working in the bus with the windows down and vents open was completely comfortable. We have a white roof, and it was least 10 degrees cooler inside (85 is comfortable for me). My dude was parked in the bus on the way home in Southern Nevada, and said it was tolerable with outside temperatures up to 110F (he bailed and found AC when it hit 115). If I lived in Canada or the Northern US, I wouldn't hesitate to invest in the spray foam. But we'll be in exclusively warm, dry places, and plan to keep a lot of ventilation going through the bus rather than closing it up (we're keeping the original windows, which aren't great for insulation, but I'm okay with that). I also don't want to lose much headroom, since I'm living with someone who's 6'3".

Has anyone who enjoys warm climates spray foamed your interior, and what was your experience? I know the foam is also useful for reinforcing the structure and preventing water and insect issues, so it might be worth it even if we're not doing it exclusively for insulation purposes. Is it possible to do a thinner layer to preserve headroom? Are there any other factors I need to consider?
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Old 08-29-2015, 09:08 AM   #14
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spray foam is nice, it will help cool the bus as well as heat it, also helps with noise.
I left my ceiling alone, and I'm happy with the way it is, a lot less work, less money and it looks fine. Also if you go to all the trouble to remove the ceiling and spray foam, you should up grade the windows as well.
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Old 08-29-2015, 11:21 AM   #15
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On using compression to hold 3/4" plywood ceiling panels: do you mean to just lift panels in the middle so that they arch upward and become wedged up? Plywood in that thickness isn't going to bend much; if it's wide enough to span the whole bus then I don't think it'll be going up near the ceiling at all. Something thinner like 1/4" luan plywood might be worth consideration.

I haven't lived with spray foam yet but it's on the road map for when my bus has sides again. I feel like insulation is the one thing that you have only one chance to install, and except for a very narrow band of climates, insulation adds value and comfort.

Shedding the interior metal definitely has upside for comfort, too. Heat conducts through it very well, so when it's hot outside the interior radiates heat at you (sounds like you've found this acceptable). Likewise when it's cold out, the metal skin radiates a chilling cold at you. Brrr!
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Old 08-29-2015, 01:12 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gbstewart View Post
I left my ceiling alone, and I'm happy with the way it is, a lot less work, less money and it looks fine.
This is really good to hear in case we leave it intact. The two front ceiling panels are perforated for sound reduction, so we'll probably pull those down to see the fiberglass underneath, and maybe replace them.

Quote:
Originally Posted by family wagon
On using compression to hold 3/4" plywood ceiling panels: do you mean to just lift panels in the middle so that they arch upward and become wedged up? Plywood in that thickness isn't going to bend much; if it's wide enough to span the whole bus then I don't think it'll be going up near the ceiling at all. Something thinner like 1/4" luan plywood might be worth consideration.
Thanks for catching that. I meant 1/4" plywood, as done here:



I have a bunch of 1/8" that's definitely too thin to maintain any shape, so the 1/4" should work, even if I need to soak or spray it briefly.

Quote:
Likewise when it's cold out, the metal skin radiates a chilling cold at you. Brrr!
Yeah, I am not looking forward to that. Hopefully we won't encounter cold too often!
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Old 08-29-2015, 04:48 PM   #17
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Honestly you could look into getting boat plywood you can get it with loads of different veneers and it is usually super thin and fairly strong. If you are really looking to do something crazy. You can always form your own laminate by creating two molds getting thin cheap wood veneers putting one down the glue then another thin sheet then glue... then clamp the top form on the bottom form let it cook and bam DIY shaped plywood that will never loose its shape. Would I do that, NOPE, I would just marine epoxy the 1/8in stuff to together in place to make my lazy version of doing it correctly.
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Old 09-05-2015, 07:55 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by EastCoastCB View Post
Here in my town, the pawn shops typically charge FULL retail. As though their merchandise wasn't crappy AND stolen.
Bummer. Fortunately we haven't had to deal with this yet, as Harbor Freight and the Habitat ReStore are right around the corner. My dad just loaned us a bunch of tools too, so that's been a big help.

Quote:
Originally Posted by CaptainInsaneo
I would just marine epoxy the 1/8in stuff to together in place to make my lazy version of doing it correctly.
I think I'm even lazier, and would probably just buy regular 1/4" plywood, and then paint it in place. I like the cozy wood look on other builds, just not my style.

Seats are out:



The easiest way for us was me using a pneumatic impact wrench while mr. phoenix held a crescent wrench underneath the bus. I removed the seats bolted to the chair rail in the same way, using an extender and holding the crescent wrench underneath. I think he only ground out 1 or 2 bolts, and it went pretty quickly.

More bus carnage:



I also removed the rubber flooring, which was easy using a pry bar and box cutter.

Most builds I've read look nice and sequential, but ours just hasn't gone that way. The heaters, floor rails, and wheelchair lift still need to come out, but we got anxious and pried up some of the plywood. The metal sub floor (in this area, at least) is in great shape, except for some glue residue.



This was surprising considering all the holes from the wheelchair floor rails. But even if the rest of the floor is in great shape, that gallon of Ospho I ordered will be put to good use on some flaky exterior spots.

It has really taken some effort to get the floor rails out; I think we've removed 2 of the 10. For some of the bolts, I held an allen wrench while mr. phoenix used the pneumatic wrench under the bus. That worked okay, but not all the bolts were accessible from underneath. Then he tried this bit to drill through the bolts, but it was nearly useless:



Mr. phoenix is now doing a combination of cutting, grinding, and prying out the floor rails, God bless him. If you're thinking of buying a handicap-accessible bus, get ready for a lot of time spent removing the rails. Our one consolation is that the bus was a great price, and I'm telling myself it's worth it for the extra work.
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Old 09-06-2015, 12:49 AM   #19
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One suggestion, those step drill bits make terrible drills, I
would start by drilling a small hole with a good split point
1/8 in drill bit and go deeper than the bolt head and then
follow up with the step bit it will go much faster and you
can put some one drilling the pilot hole while some one does
follow up with the step bit. Keep bit speed where it produces
a nice curl of metal and it will last a long time. Cutting oil also helps.
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Old 09-06-2015, 12:53 AM   #20
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Wood type blades in saws work much better with aluminum than abrasive type blades do.

In short, any wood blade will cut aluminum well.

Abrasive blades only work with ferrous metals, like steel, iron, ect.

Drill bits like the step bit you show in the pic are made for soft metals. That one is just coated steel.

They do make cobalt step bits, but they start at around $100 each.

The more hardened a ferrous metal is, the better a abrasive blade works.

I would have had all those aluminum rails out in a few hours.

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