So we are still stripping the interior and prepping for paint. There were quite a few holes left from removing the stop sign, mirrors we won't use ... and the vinyl decals proved a real challenge to remove.
I power washed the entire lower exterior of the bus yesterday, everything from the windows down. There was a lot of gunk that I just couldn't remove scrubbing. One added benefit to doing this was that I was able to completely remove all of the vinyl lettering and reflective tape. It left a lot of stubborn and sticky layer underneath, though.
We ended up using an adhesive remover from Autozone to remove all of the residue and peeled it off with a spackle knife. It all looked clean after about an hours worth of work.
We continued prepping with a 5" orbital sander from Harbor Freight and used both 110 and 200 grit sand paper depending on the area.
Meanwhile, I was having a tough time removing some of the stripped/stuck screws to get the rubber up inside. I ended up taking out the angle grinder with a sanding pad and was able to get most of them out. I'm still having a little trouble removing the stripped screws from the walkway itself and have resorted to grinding right down to the rubber to remove them. It's been time-consuming, though.
We did run into some snags.
First, while grinding the rivets off the wall, I found a beautiful fiberglass layer underneath. It looks to be in perfect condition:
Additionally, that piece of sheet metal in the picture wraps underneath the window and underneath the exterior of the bus. The only way to remove it is to cut it out. I already fouled up the caulking on the bottom frame of the rear two windows by trying to tear it out and can see light seeping through from the outside. I'll have to repair that. For now, though, I'm at a total loss.
After seeing how clean it looks, it seems like an awful lot of work to remove perfectly good insulation only to foul up the windows in the process. I'm considering closing my work up and leaving all the insulation as it is. I'd then add ANOTHER layer of foam insulation over it, framed in wood. It would shave off the width of our bus from 7'6" to ~7' even, but I'd imagine it'd be really cozy inside. Additionally, it will give us a small windowsill (and a nice frame to put in temporary window insulation over the winter). Thoughts on this?
Lastly, I finally got that pesky heater loose in the back. When I started to remove one of the hoses it looks to be filled with engine coolant. What is the proper way to get this thing out and seal it off correctly?
A big thank you to all for the feedback. What are everyone's thoughts on leaving the wall the way it is? Most of the builds I see remove the walls completely but we got lucky with a truly rust-free and mold-free bus...