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Old 07-08-2019, 07:59 PM   #21
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Even the outside of my bus looks prettier in pictures than it does in real life. Rusty rivets with bubbly paint on them don't show up in pics. That's why I kind of laugh when people try to evaluate the rustiness of buses just from the pics.
Every bus has some warts here or there.
Mine has a bashed front cap. Its gonna be fun trying to pretty it up for paint.
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Old 07-08-2019, 08:08 PM   #22
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Every bus has some warts here or there.
Mine has a bashed front cap. Its gonna be fun trying to pretty it up for paint.
I'm actually excited to use Bondo on my bus. I never used it before but I used to be a sheetrocker/mudder and Bondo's like that only massively more difficult to work with. I wish I'd taken some pics of this, but I had to reclaim the two visors above the front flashers since they were badly rusted (one of them was rusted completely through), and I got to use Bondo on them for the first time. It came out really well, although as I understand it the real challenge with filler is doing it so that it lasts and I have no idea if mine will.
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Old 07-09-2019, 08:25 PM   #23
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ICE ICE baby

I forgot about this story: when I moved my bus from NE Philly down to where I live a couple of weeks ago, I first gathered up all the remaining trash from behind my bus and hauled it off to a local place where you can just drive up and dump and they weigh you coming in and going out. They have a **** load of guys working there as pickers, sorting through the stuff after you dump it out of your truck or whatever.

When I pulled in, I noticed a bunch of these guys suddenly take off running but I didn't think anything of it. While my brother and I were offloading, the guy that runs the place came up to me laughing, and he said there have been these persistent rumors for awhile that ICE is using school buses to load up illegals and cart them off to detention centers, so me showing up in my still-yellow school bus was seen as a bad omen.
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Old 07-09-2019, 10:09 PM   #24
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I forgot about this story: when I moved my bus from NE Philly down to where I live a couple of weeks ago, I first gathered up all the remaining trash from behind my bus and hauled it off to a local place where you can just drive up and dump and they weigh you coming in and going out. They have a **** load of guys working there as pickers, sorting through the stuff after you dump it out of your truck or whatever.

When I pulled in, I noticed a bunch of these guys suddenly take off running but I didn't think anything of it. While my brother and I were offloading, the guy that runs the place came up to me laughing, and he said there have been these persistent rumors for awhile that ICE is using school buses to load up illegals and cart them off to detention centers, so me showing up in my still-yellow school bus was seen as a bad omen.
I needed some yard help a year ago and stopped at the local hispanic work corner. I pulled in and got out and they all scattered and disappeared. It was then I realized I was wearing my US Border Patrol hat. Came back later without the hat and found I coldn't get any of this illegal work without gauranteeing $20/hr and a 8hr minimum. I didn't take any with me.
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Old 07-10-2019, 07:38 AM   #25
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outstanding adventure thus far, nice work on the sheet fab.
I'm going to enjoy frequenting this thread me thinks
crack on and keep having fun
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Old 07-10-2019, 08:38 AM   #26
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outstanding adventure thus far, nice work on the sheet fab.
I'm going to enjoy frequenting this thread me thinks
crack on and keep having fun
Thanks! Criticisms are welcome as well, trying to learn this stuff as quickly as I can.
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Old 07-10-2019, 11:13 AM   #27
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RUUUUUUUST! Gotta love that Syracuse salt. They donít call it ďThe Salt CityĒ for nothing! Iím glad your arenít getting discouraged, it takes a lot of personal grit and determination to not throw in the towel sometimes. The winter salting up here really messes up vehicles. Iíve got a work van thatís only 5 years old. The undercarriage looks like itís lived in a salt mine for 30 years. Glad to see youíre making progress on your bus!
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Old 07-10-2019, 11:23 AM   #28
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RUUUUUUUST! Gotta love that Syracuse salt. They don’t call it “The Salt City” for nothing! I’m glad your aren’t getting discouraged, it takes a lot of personal grit and determination to not throw in the towel sometimes. The winter salting up here really messes up vehicles. I’ve got a work van that’s only 5 years old. The undercarriage looks like it’s lived in a salt mine for 30 years. Glad to see you’re making progress on your bus!
It's funny, when I first got the bus I called the original school system owner (which was actually near Buffalo) to get the maintenance history. I ended up talking to their chief mechanic and when I told him what number it was he said "87? Holy ****!" and couldn't believe it was still running (they'd sold it in 2012, too). Fortunately he was mostly amazed because of the state of the wheel wells, which I already knew about. It would have been bad if he'd been amazed because the explosives hadn't gone off yet.

I forgot to ask him why the bus has a spoiler.
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Old 07-10-2019, 11:45 AM   #29
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Is covering my back door handle completely a bad idea?

I removed the lower window from my rear exit door this morning and I'm getting ready to cover over the opening. Some time ago I used my angle grinder to cut off the outside part of the door latch mechanism; I'm going to leave the inside part in place and functional, and now I just want to cover over where the handle was on the outside with an additional patch.

This way, the door could only be opened from the inside, which I'm fine with. Nobody will ever be in the back of the bus while it's driving so there'd be no need for rescuers to open it, and in case of, say, a fire while it's parked there would still be the emergency exit windows (and of course the door could still be opened from the inside, which would be the most important thing). Also, nobody could pick the lock if there's no lock.

Is there any reason I'm not thinking of that I shouldn't do this?
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Old 07-10-2019, 12:18 PM   #30
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Losing the mini-spoiler on the door..? Aesthetics..?
Nah, it sounds like your bringing down a number of birds with one stone.
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Old 07-18-2019, 07:10 AM   #31
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Rear exit door bottom window and outside handle delete

My rear exit door had a leaky outside handle (and it had already been replaced at least once in the bus' past life). I removed the cover plate last winter and tried to get the handle off the shaft but I don't think those come off easily even when not rusted. So I cut the handle off and I eventually realized I don't need it at all (I'm not going to use it as an entrance so always opening it from the inside is no big deal). I also don't need the lower window since I'm going to have a raised bed in the back with water tanks and stowage space underneath, so I decided to plate everything over.

I decided to use 22 ga sheet (because it's available at Lowes) on the outside and 3/4 plywood on the inside. I also used two pieces of 1" square tube as stiffeners in the middle. The door is 1.25" thick so this allowed me to route out a raised section on the inner plywood that fits into the window opening and contacts the tubes.

It would have been easier to do the outside as a single sheet, but Lowes doesn't have sheets that large. Having a separate panel for the door handle will also allow me to remove it later if I ever want to have an outer handle again. The bit of metal between the handle opening and the window opening was also severely corroded so doing two separate panels allowed me to put a thick bar behind the seam and stiffen it up (not shown in the pics - taking pictures is hard to do since it slows you down).

Outside panel:

IMG_0252.png

This is a rare situation for me where the rust didn't make my job much harder. Most of the rust damage from the leaking handle opening was to the metal around the bottom window (in these pics I've cut it all away and osphoed it). I likely would have done the same as what I did here even with a rust-free bus.

IMG_0253.png

IMG_0255.png

IMG_0256.png

IMG_0262.png

IMG_0265.png

Finally enough clecos so that Vigo and I will rule the world! Well mostly Vigo.

IMG_0266.png

IMG_0267.png

Outside finished:

IMG_0270.png
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Old 07-18-2019, 07:14 AM   #32
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It's funny, when I first got the bus I called the original school system owner (which was actually near Buffalo) to get the maintenance history. I ended up talking to their chief mechanic and when I told him what number it was he said "87? Holy ****!" and couldn't believe it was still running (they'd sold it in 2012, too). Fortunately he was mostly amazed because of the state of the wheel wells, which I already knew about. It would have been bad if he'd been amazed because the explosives hadn't gone off yet.

I forgot to ask him why the bus has a spoiler.
the spoilers keep the back of the bus less snowy and sooty. Its called the See II Air Foil. See II Air Foils | School Buses

If anyone in skoolie land is ever ditching one of these I've been wanting one!
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Old 07-18-2019, 07:17 AM   #33
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Inside panel:

IMG_0272.png

IMG_0273.png

IMG_0274.png

IMG_0275.png

IMG_0276.png

IMG_0277.png

IMG_0278.png

IMG_0279.png

IMG_0280.png

IMG_0281.png

I posted a question yesterday about self-tapping screws, and they mostly worked here. A couple went in and spun even though I was using a screw gun with a clutch, but it's on solidly now. I'm not going to feel optimistic about taking this off, but hopefully I won't ever have to.

I also put four small pieces of 1" tube in the centers of the three parts of the lower panel (divided by the stiffener tubes), and when I initially tried to run the self-tappers into these they didn't penetrate the tube and instead bulged the outer panel out. Which was annoying to say the least. I was able to back them out and run them in again while pressing on the other side and this time they took solid.
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Old 07-18-2019, 07:43 AM   #34
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the spoilers keep the back of the bus less snowy and sooty. Its called the See II Air Foil. See II Air Foils | School Buses

If anyone in skoolie land is ever ditching one of these I've been wanting one!
Interesting, I did not realize that's what those are for (I was hoping it was because my bus can go 110 mph). Makes sense that a bus from Buffalo would have one of these, and also why they're so rare in the skoolie world since See II Air Foil = "some rust".

I just watched this video about them:

It's interesting that on my bus the front eyebrows (not sure if that's what they're called, the hoods or awnings that go over the flashers) were badly rusted (one of them had a few holes through it) but the back ones were not. The rust on the back end is all traceable to failed gaskets on the lights, so it seems like this air foil might actually be working.

You're going to hate this, but I was considering ditching it but now I'm thinking I really need to keep this for the sake of my bus. I might could be talked out of it for a Nature's Head.
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Old 07-18-2019, 08:34 AM   #35
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Inside panel:


I posted a question yesterday about self-tapping screws, and they mostly worked here. A couple went in and spun even though I was using a screw gun with a clutch, but it's on solidly now. I'm not going to feel optimistic about taking this off, but hopefully I won't ever have to.

I also put four small pieces of 1" tube in the centers of the three parts of the lower panel (divided by the stiffener tubes), and when I initially tried to run the self-tappers into these they didn't penetrate the tube and instead bulged the outer panel out. Which was annoying to say the least. I was able to back them out and run them in again while pressing on the other side and this time they took solid.
I didn't see the question, however, was the thread portion of the self tapper touch the cover sheet while it was attempting to tap itself into the tube?
if that is the case, then that is a common'ish reaction. if you attempt to tap through a meaty piece with a thinner skin of sheet metal on it. if you smack a pilot hole first, the tapping portion of the fastener should ream the hole out to the proper size fast enough to not pull the sheet off the structure and prevent stretch, warp, elongated holes, oil canning, etc as the list goes on...
If I missed the mark, disregard the ramblings of the redneck with too much blood in his coffee/alcohol system......


Aside from that, your progress and craftsmanship are looking spot on
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Old 07-18-2019, 08:54 AM   #36
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I didn't see the question, however, was the thread portion of the self tapper touch the cover sheet while it was attempting to tap itself into the tube?
if that is the case, then that is a common'ish reaction. if you attempt to tap through a meaty piece with a thinner skin of sheet metal on it. if you smack a pilot hole first, the tapping portion of the fastener should ream the hole out to the proper size fast enough to not pull the sheet off the structure and prevent stretch, warp, elongated holes, oil canning, etc as the list goes on...
If I missed the mark, disregard the ramblings of the redneck with too much blood in his coffee/alcohol system......


Aside from that, your progress and craftsmanship are looking spot on
Thank you very much. I'm not exactly sure what was going on with the tubes. The screws that I ran into the vertical stiffeners (also 1" tube) went in with no problem, but these four in the middle were little 1" long sections of the tube, just riveted to the outer skin, and there was enough give on that part of the skin to keep the self-tappers from drilling the initial hole.

I will definitely try your pilot hole suggestion next time.
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Old 07-18-2019, 12:33 PM   #37
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This looks great. Only one suggestion from my experience with Loweís sheet metal. I left mine unpainted for 6 months and it rusts. Paint it while itís nice and smooth.
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Old 07-18-2019, 12:40 PM   #38
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This looks great. Only one suggestion from my experience with Loweís sheet metal. I left mine unpainted for 6 months and it rusts. Paint it while itís nice and smooth.
Ha, mine rusted where I touched it. I came back the next morning after cutting and drilling it and there were rusty fingerprints all over. It's like Lowe's treats it with some extra-rusting material or something. I etched it with naval jelly (basically ospho with extra goo in it) before riveting it in place and then priming the outside. I really really should have primed the inside of the sheets before riveting them on, but I was under some pressure to get the bus out of my driveway and had to rush it a bit.
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Old 07-18-2019, 01:28 PM   #39
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Even the outside of my bus looks prettier in pictures than it does in real life. Rusty rivets with bubbly paint on them don't show up in pics. That's why I kind of laugh when people try to evaluate the rustiness of buses just from the pics.
The inside should do ok. I replaced my lower front door glass with the same stuff and it sat outside exposed all winter and started to get weird surface rust lines in it so I painted it with rustoleum. Now it looks textured but hasnít rusted any further.
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Old 07-19-2019, 01:38 PM   #40
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First tow today. Sigh.

Stopped to get diesel at a Wawa. Added about 20 gallons and when I went to start the bus it turned over a couple of times and chugged a bit but wouldn't start. All subsequent attempts to start resulted in no turning over at all, just clicking from the side panel. Got hold of a truck repair place, explained what happened, guy immediately asked if I'd put gasoline in by accident, but at Wawa it's a separate green-handled hose which I had to maneuver specifically to get close enough to, and the receipt confirmed it was diesel. Hopefully it didn't have the wrong type in the tank and I was just the first luck recipient.

Wrecker came out and the guy actually tried to help me get it started (banging on something under the engine, I dunno why) but no luck. He towed it off to his truck repair place and they'll look at it Monday. I feel bad because the original place I called called the wrecker truck for me but the original place said they had zero parking room for me and couldn't look at my bus for over a week. The wrecker guy said their place had plenty of room and could look at it ASAP so I agreed (it's also a lot closer to where I live), but then the first place called back and he had cleared a spot for me but I had to tell him it was already off to the wrecker guy's company. First dude was sort of pissed and said he would tell the wrecker guy's boss about this.

And after thinking about this, I realized it was probably drained batteries that were the problem. It was my third startup of the morning, probably just 5 minutes after the second one, and maybe that wasn't enough time to recharge the batteries fully. I dunno, I had engine starting problems before because of dead batteries, but even with old batteries that needed replacing, the engine at least turned over.

I've been looking for a new truck/bus repair place anyway, so maybe this will end up being convenient for me, discounting the $285 for the tow.
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