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Old 09-18-2014, 07:53 PM   #11
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Re: Margarit The Bus

Hey welcome to this "but why would you buy a bus" community, I have the same dilemma about the floor, my bus is a California bus and the wood floor is clean and dry, but I think I will take off for insulation and sound barrier.BTW, what CAT engine is on your bus? My is 3208 turbo' got the bus in Ojai near Santa barbara.
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Old 09-18-2014, 07:58 PM   #12
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Re: Margarit The Bus

Okay, I gotta ask....

If nothing is wrong with the plywood, so WHY are you insisting on ripping it out? Y'all make things so hard (and expensive) on yourselves.

The wood will give you a place to attach nailer/furring strips for the top layer of plywood (your subfloor for the flooring material). The insulation (most likely a rigid foamboard) can be laid between the nailer/furring strips. The plywood will also help quieten the road noise. You might be surprised at how much plywood will cut down on the coolness. Well, at least ours does. But we also left the rubber flooring down and we had no plywood in our floor until we laid the OSB down. Whatever. My Brats & Cabbage Casserole is cooled off enough to eat. Time to pop a Redbox movie in and eat supper.
This post is my opinion. It is not intended to influence anyone's judgment nor do I advocate anyone do what I propose.
Fulltime since 2006
The goal of life is living in agreement with nature. Zeno (335BC-264BC)
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Old 09-19-2014, 12:02 AM   #13
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Re: Margarit The Bus


Good question. I bought my bus in Chattanooga. They don't salt the roads there. The rubber matting was clean and not damaged. Then I found out my bus came from Indiana, where licking the roads in the winter can give you high blood pressure. Then I pulled up my floor and BAM! See my thread????

Just playing devil's advocate. But you are right. It is the owner's discretion. I'd hate to see a lot of work put in only to find wood rot a few years down the road.

Brats and cabbage sound great!

My build thread - viewtopic.php?f=9&t=467197
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Old 09-19-2014, 07:22 PM   #14
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Re: Margarit The Bus

Removing the flooring got rid of the 'school bus smell'. As much as I like the bus, that smell had to go. Further, my no-rust bus had a rusty floor under the wood that needed treatment/painting before it became a problem down the road.
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Old 09-20-2014, 10:57 AM   #15
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Re: Margarit The Bus

Not always easy to tell the condition of a metal floor from just looking at the top of the plywood. I've seen what looked like pristine ply (no evidence of water damage on top) hiding serious issues caused by sweating and condensation on the down side or leaks from below around seat bolts. Either way, be sure to at least thoroughly examine the metal around the wheel wells. Probably the number one problem area for rusting floors on buses.

Whatever you do...let us know what you discover. Best of luck on the buildout.
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Old 09-23-2014, 05:06 PM   #16
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Location: Santa Rosa, CA
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Re: Margarit The Bus

ALright friends,

I have decided against some non-skoolie folks advice, and decided that they don't know jack in comparison to the folks who have done it already. I'm taking up the floor! I'm planning on making this way too nice of a home to NOT take it up and see whats going on below. Patience is what I am learning. And doing it right the first time, eh?

So my friend Trevor came over and we took out the bulk of the ceiling panels yesterday to find that most of the insulation is pretty great. I am only going to toss a few pieces. I'm going to stuff it into some big trash bags to store while I work on cleaning everything up and finish with the floor and side walls. The side panels are giving me hell...I'm going to have to grind quite a few of them off. I hate grinding...ANyone want to help?

I also picked up a great FREE camper shell this morning. This is going to go above the kitchen to create more feeling of space when you enter the bus. There are windows on all sides and screens on the side windows for ventilation. I am probably going to caulk it from the inside to reinforce all the seams for leakage...I think there may already be a tiny leak.

I have yet another question...If I am going to cut a hole in the roof for this camper shell to go on top, does anyone know where to point me for info on whether or not I have to keep the ribs of the bus there, or if there is any way I can get rid of them and reinforce the structure by doing anything else? Does this make sense? Id love to have it entirely open where the camper shell will be. Let me know if anyone has any ideas.

Loving the process! And all the feedback!
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File Type: jpg Trev.jpg (1.10 MB, 412 views)
File Type: jpg Bus ceiling.jpg (988.8 KB, 410 views)
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Old 09-23-2014, 08:29 PM   #17
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Re: Margarit The Bus

My bus came with a rectangular section in the roof that the roof bows were welded to. The thus created hole was plugged with what looked like an upside down cookie pan to complete the roof. I took the cookie pan out and substituted a tilt up section with tenting on 3 sides. I'd imagine you could do something similar but put your shell over the hole. This could be easily done using fairly stout square tubing to make the rectangle. My bus survived its first 80 years with the hole in the roof and I expect it'll make another 80, all things considered . You will find some pics of what I did on my "13 fun steps to-------" thread under skoolie conversions. Hope this helps, Jack

PS make sure you stay under 13' overall height or the places you will be able to drive your bus will be severely limited.
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Old 09-23-2014, 10:42 PM   #18
Join Date: Sep 2014
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Re: Margarit The Bus

Thank you! I have looked at your beautiful projects numerous times. Amazing I must say!!! You are quite a wizard my friend.

Thanks for the ideas and thoughts.
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Old 09-28-2014, 08:49 PM   #19
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Re: Margarit The Bus

The floor was screwed in! I just pulled up some of the plywood and the floor was it was fresh from the factory...pretty amazing. I am feeling very grateful.

I have decided not to pull out the side walls. Im going to go right over them with insulation and some sort of wood siding.

I will insulate the ceilings as well, and will give the floor a lining of aluminum liner stuff...not sure what it's called, then will insulate with foam that comes with the flooring and then flooring. Not a huge amount of insulation, but the plywood in there is already pretty thick, and then with the aluminum, and foam and flooring I will be good. I am also mostly going to be in California. I have a business here and won't be doing a lot of travel far away in cold months.

I am currently trying to get out the coving and the box that runs over the hoses on the right side to the heater and...the air breaks? Not quite sure what those pipes are all about. I want to remove the heater since it would be directly under the bed anyway. And we will have a small wood fire stove and I'll probably have a small propane heater for emergency warmth.

So I just have to remove the two front seat cushions, remove little remnants of the rubber floor, get out coving by grinding off stripped screws, remove the boxes covering the hoses, clean all the incredible grime that's accumulated over 34 years, remove the heater, clean clean clean, rescrew side walls back in, fill floor holes with caulking...then move onto working on the camper shell project!

I got a camper shell for free the other day- a really nice one too. I am planning on cutting the ceiling out above the kitchen, building a frame for it, and putting the camper shell on top-I think this will make the total height a little over 12 feet. My dad is going to help me with this, as I have NO clue how to start. We will also be cutting out a small space for a skylight box above the shower so it feels more spacious. I get all my good ideas in the shower, so it needs to feel good in there. We have decided on a galvanized steel trough tub. I think it will work best for us.

I am wondering if anyone can guide me on the cutting out the roof piece and removing the ribbing...if I remove say, 2 I need to secure them first with a welded steel frame? If not Will the bus collapse in? Haha, that sounds silly, but I have no clue! Or can I cut, then secure them. ANy takers on that one?

thanks for the help ya'll!
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Old 09-29-2014, 12:18 PM   #20
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Re: Margarit The Bus

You could remove 2 out of 3 roof ribs and you would still have more structural strength than most S&S moho's.

The important thing to keep in mind is to make sure that the bus is sitting flat on the ground before you start removing stuff that is structural If you aren't flat it will be next to impossible to get the new addition to sit square with the bus world it is joining.

I would not cut holes through the roof with the ceiling panels removed. The ceiling panels add strength and rigidity. Cutting roof ribs and roof panels out with no ceiling panels could make things a little loosey goosey which will again make the joining of the two pieces square with each difficult.
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