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Old 06-24-2018, 01:04 PM   #1
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Are Some Buses Already Insulated?

Hi!
Got my school bus from a large school bus company in southeastern Wisconsin. When we tap on the walls and ceiling, they don't sound hollow? (Without ripping them apart to find out due to time restraints). Do buses in the northern states already come slightly insulated? (In our school district we still have outdoor recess at school unless temps drop below freezing. I believe school is cancelled at -20F with wind chill. So kids are standing at bus stops in really cold weather.)
Thanks!
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Old 06-24-2018, 01:10 PM   #2
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Yes, they are all insulated. But they use a cheap batt type insulation like in your home walls. It's is not intended for the extremes we plan on being in and spending longer periods of time in it than a trip fro home to school. Yes kids are standing at bus stops in really cold weather, but they are usually wearing really warm clothing and don't need excess insulation in the bus for the 20-30 minute ride to school.
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Old 06-24-2018, 03:33 PM   #3
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They have a metal box with insulation inside. It's as useful for temperature control as a hollow ice cube.. AKA not useful at all. As long as you have metal roof connected to metal frame connected to metal ceiling, the stuff you put in the gaps is meaningless.
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Old 06-24-2018, 03:46 PM   #4
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They have a metal box with insulation inside. It's as useful for temperature control as a hollow ice cube.. AKA not useful at all. As long as you have metal roof connected to metal frame connected to metal ceiling, the stuff you put in the gaps is meaningless.
I don't agree with this. If you have 400q.in. of insulated surface and cut out a 2" swatch down the middle it does not render the rest of the insulation useless. Even though heat can transfer through the ribs the field covered in insulation would still cool that space. Your analogy says spray foaming a bus is useless because the metal roof is still connected to the ribs that are connected to the ceiling? Sure you don't want to rethink that?
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Old 06-24-2018, 03:52 PM   #5
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Here you can see a piece of the cheap insulation typically found in a bus. Also see the first one of my babies to check out her new home away from home.
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File Type: jpg 20180624_145650.jpg (142.5 KB, 55 views)
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Old 06-24-2018, 04:59 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by brokedown View Post
They have a metal box with insulation inside. It's as useful for temperature control as a hollow ice cube.. AKA not useful at all. As long as you have metal roof connected to metal frame connected to metal ceiling, the stuff you put in the gaps is meaningless.
THIS^^

Josh would know- He and Hillary have lived in a metal tent for quite a while and for many a mile.
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Old 06-24-2018, 05:09 PM   #7
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I've weathered THREE Montana winters with only 1" added insulation on the walls.
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Old 06-24-2018, 05:35 PM   #8
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No, I don't want to rethink it. Heat flows almost as easily as electricity. You connect your wires and what goes in one side comes out the other and it doesn't matter what the wire is wrapped in. If you fill a metal box with insulation, the bottom of the box will be almost as hot as the top. Heat likes to go up but it will go down too and spread to all available surface area to radiate out.

If you fill the gap between your roof and ceiling with spray foam and bolt the metal back to the ribs, you've wasted a lot of money. The ribs were how the ceiling was getting hot before and will be how they're getting hot after. You need a thermal break to separate the roof from the ceiling, just stuffing foam in between doesn't do much.
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Old 06-24-2018, 05:51 PM   #9
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No, I don't want to rethink it. Heat flows almost as easily as electricity. You connect your wires and what goes in one side comes out the other and it doesn't matter what the wire is wrapped in. If you fill a metal box with insulation, the bottom of the box will be almost as hot as the top. Heat likes to go up but it will go down too and spread to all available surface area to radiate out.

If you fill the gap between your roof and ceiling with spray foam and bolt the metal back to the ribs, you've wasted a lot of money. The ribs were how the ceiling was getting hot before and will be how they're getting hot after. You need a thermal break to separate the roof from the ceiling, just stuffing foam in between doesn't do much.
The ceiling got hot from the ribs that got hot from the sun beating down on the roof metal. You can't tell me that insulting 99% of the roof it doesn't make a considerable difference inside, regardless of what you cover the ceiling with. Yes, wood, drywall, etc. would insulate better, but it's not useless to insulate and replace the metal panels.
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Old 06-24-2018, 06:13 PM   #10
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It's not 100% useless but aiming a fan at the roof would do nearly as much good. Filling the inner panel of the roof with foam doesn't stop the roof panel from getting hot, it resists heat transferring through the space the foam occupies. That was never how the majority of heat was reaching the inner panel, even if the pink fiberglass stuff hadn't been there. It didn't have to go that way because it has a direct metal to metal connection that is happy to conduct it way more efficiently.

You do have some heat losses along the way, the metal it passes through will radiate some off into the gap, whatever. It's hardly different than an old frying pan with a metal handle, that handle may be a good distance from the heat source but you're gonna regret grabbing it!

A lot of people don't insulate their buses at all and get by by avoiding hot/cold places. That's a great plan and I share it but here I am in sunny florida baking in the sun even with reflective ceiling paint and a large sum of spray insulation. The frame rails are still radiating considerable amounts of heat even though the foam is doing its thing.
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Old 06-24-2018, 06:51 PM   #11
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Think about how a school bus is used in winter.

Kids might be standing out in the cold in 10 or 20 degree weather, but they're all bundled up in warm coats. If you got on to a bus that we would normally consider "warm" (like 70ish), everyone would roast.

Even in the dead of winter, you only want to heat the bus to the 50s or 60s - enough so that it feels warm, but not enough to roast everyone out of their coats and winter gear.

My point is that you only want to heat to a temperature warmer temperature then it is outside, but not exactly as warm as you would normally keep a house or structure. There's a reason that the thinner insulation they stuff into the walls gets by in the winter, but is terrible for conversions. (Plus the heat is also technically "free.")
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Old 06-24-2018, 07:52 PM   #12
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Wow, you skoolie folks have some serious thoughts on insulation! So basically if I don't insulate, put in heating and a/c, avoid going to an Arizona desert (TX, GA, FL, etc) in July, avoid overnighting with it in snow, then we should be able to enjoy a fairly comfortable little vacay, right? Awesome! We're not planning on using it for long periods at a time... just here and there... a week, two weeks. And, super cute cat in insulation pic 01marc! Thanks so much all!
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Old 06-24-2018, 08:14 PM   #13
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All I can say is if the bus is factory insulated and it's not moldy or crumbling apart, then you are still better off than anyone in an RV or camper trailer. My bus had really nice factory insulation and I kept the original ceiling. I did insulate the floor and walls. On a 80 degree hot day it will be 90 in the bus. The ceiling is never hot to touch. Roof fan and windows help keep it comfortable inside. I suspect a white roof coating will help reduce the heat some.
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Old 06-24-2018, 08:22 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Trail Fairy View Post
Wow, you skoolie folks have some serious thoughts on insulation! So basically if I don't insulate, put in heating and a/c, avoid going to an Arizona desert (TX, GA, FL, etc) in July, avoid overnighting with it in snow, then we should be able to enjoy a fairly comfortable little vacay, right? Awesome! We're not planning on using it for long periods at a time... just here and there... a week, two weeks. And, super cute cat in insulation pic 01marc! Thanks so much all!
She's the baby girl of 5 I have. Throwing each one in the bus while I'm working and they show up. I'll do that till they get accustomed to it and then I'll lock em all in and fire it up and see how freaked out they are. It's important that they like it, as I might want to go on longer trips that i can't leave them home.
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Old 06-24-2018, 11:29 PM   #15
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I got my bus from Iowa and I am finding the insulation is not the normal stuff you have in your house (crumbly glass fiber bats) it is white fibrous and very "airy". I don't think it could deteriorate. It's more like a synthetic airy spider web sponge. Seems very effective (I hope).

On a side note the bus has a great plug mounted on the front bumper of the bus for what I am assuming is the engine heater. I'm thinking of disabling the engine heater and somehow incorporating the plug into my 110 wiring. I will have to look hard at the wires it is using.

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Old 06-25-2018, 12:03 AM   #16
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I got my bus from Iowa and I am finding the insulation is not the normal stuff you have in your house (crumbly glass fiber bats) it is white fibrous and very "airy". I don't think it could deteriorate. It's more like a synthetic airy spider web sponge. Seems very effective (I hope).

On a side note the bus has a great plug mounted on the front bumper of the bus for what I am assuming is the engine heater. I'm thinking of disabling the engine heater and somehow incorporating the plug into my 110 wiring. I will have to look hard at the wires it is using.

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I certainly would not delete a good system just for the cord plug n the end. If you want 110, string a new extension cord into the bus and go from there.
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Old 06-25-2018, 05:26 AM   #17
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We're thinking 110 also and getting one unit that does heat and a/c. We were planning on taking out the existing heating system as the heaters it has are so huge taking up space under 2 seats. Maybe we should test the existing heater and rethink this...
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Old 06-25-2018, 09:25 AM   #18
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Add a second plug, you might need that engine heater some day. I know I wasn't planning on being in single digits with my short bus but it happened anyway.

if you're planning to wire AC in your bus, you wouldn't use that plug at all. You want a 30 or 50 amp NEMA standard inlet. Extension cords should only be used as temporary solutions!
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Old 06-25-2018, 12:10 PM   #19
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We're thinking 110 also and getting one unit that does heat and a/c. We were planning on taking out the existing heating system as the heaters it has are so huge taking up space under 2 seats. Maybe we should test the existing heater and rethink this...
The existing heaters run off engine coolant. Not much good when you're parked, thus the need for electric or propane powered heaters.
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Old 06-25-2018, 12:18 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Genghis View Post
On a side note the bus has a great plug mounted on the front bumper of the bus for what I am assuming is the engine heater. I'm thinking of disabling the engine heater and somehow incorporating the plug into my 110 wiring. I will have to look hard at the wires it is using.

Genghis sends.

z
Bad idea. Some people have reported problems getting their buses started as warm as the low 40s. Mine is good for about 25. With two brand new 8D batteries (2800 CCA), it would NOT start at 17 I think it was. Teens anyway. The oil was simply too thick for the starter to spin the engine fast enough to start.
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