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Old 02-24-2006, 02:48 PM   #1
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I will add something on angle grinders. Buy cheap buy twice. hat said here's why. I have a cheap one myself, it works good but after a couple minutes the thing is pretty hot. I have used better one before and they have never got as hot as the cheap one. I have a friend that also had a cheap one that gave up on him.
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Old 02-24-2006, 04:08 PM   #2
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I got my bus from coastal NC. There was very little rust on it. Almost all of the bolts came out with very little difficulty --- using a socket set! I did not have to cut/grind any. I'd examine the condition of the bolts first. Try the socket set. It can be done with one person without too much difficulty. Put an pair of visegrips on one side of the floor (top or bottom) and wedge it into place with something, then use the ratchet on the other side. I ended up using the visegrips underneath, mostly, because once the bolt started turning, they would jam against a frame member and hold the nut still.

If you have a couple or three or four pairs of vise grips, that would be great, because it would shorten the number of trips you have to make back and forth under the bus (working with just one person). With two people, it should go very quickly.

Check the bolts first.

If the floor's in good shape, you may not need to do anything to it. Mine was fine under the rubber (where I checked it), so I just left the rubber on the floor to help stop road noise.

Everyone's situation is different, but a truism you will learn is that one shouldn't do work (or spend $$$$$$$) that isn't necessary. Of course people's opinions vary on what is necessary.

The important things are to be safe and have fun! Good luck!
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Old 05-08-2006, 04:08 PM   #3
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It sounds like you're planning on a lot of work that may or may not be needed. I am a total newbie at this, but I have gotten past the seat removal phase. On my bus, 90% of the bolts came out using a socket on the top and a box end wrench underneath. I used an angle grinder on the remainder (with dust mask, long sleeves, goggles, hat... and plenty of fresh air breaks). The biggest part of our labor is complete as far as flooring goes, and it just took a few hours.

My bus is an '88, and the metal deck is in great condition. I have no intention of removing the rubber flooring as it is in great shape too. We decided to leave the rubber runner that runs down the center of the bus also, because it looks new, it's durable, and it's slip resistant. We're going to carpet on either side of that right on top of the black rubber mat. The wheel well areas will be covered by bunk beds so there's really no need to cover them.

Inspect your bus when you get it. It may be that it's not a rust bucket, and the floor coverings that were installed originally are much higher quality and more durable than anything you can replace them with. Go right on top of that with carpet, hardwood, linoleum, whatever makes you happy.

For what it's worth, I don't plan to remove any of the wall coverings either. We're going to paint the inside, install curtains, and begin wiring, plumbing, and installing fixtures.

These beasts were built to haul kids, day in and day out. Think cattle truck. They're made of good stuff!
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Old 05-08-2006, 05:03 PM   #4
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Money saving tip: when doing my floors and walls, I would stop at Lowe's every day on the way home, when they break open a new skid of plywood or OSB, they take the top sheet and throw it on the damaged goods pile and sell it for less than half price. I got about half of my flooring this way (3/4 OSB T&G).
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Old 05-09-2006, 02:15 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jody

My bus is an '88, and the metal deck is in great condition. I have no intention of removing the rubber flooring as it is in great shape too. We decided to leave the rubber runner that runs down the center of the bus also, because it looks new, it's durable, and it's slip resistant. We're going to carpet on either side of that right on top of the black rubber mat. The wheel well areas will be covered by bunk beds so there's really no need to cover them.
Did you look at the wood under the rubber matt? Mine was waterlogged & rotted pritty bad. Maybe because my bus lived in Michigan is whole life & seen lots of mealted snow. Check my photo gallery for pics of my nasty rotted floor.
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Old 05-09-2006, 01:47 PM   #6
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I agree. Mine looked good and even the majority of the wood was good, but along the edges where the rubber mat wasn't sealed the wood was VERY rotten and rust had started underneath it. Nothing was all that bad, but I'm VERY glad I took the time and money to do it right instead of building the whole interior and then running into a problem further down the road. For the most part my rubber wasn't glued very well so I could pull it up and inspect it. I might recommend you do the same thing.

As a side note-that "school bus smell".....you know....the moldy, mildewy vinyl smell? As much as that brought me back I didn't want to deal with it all the time. Taking the seats out helped some, but the real culprit was the floor. Just food for thought.

Quote:
I used an angle grinder on the remainder (with dust mask, long sleeves, goggles, hat... and plenty of fresh air breaks).
Good idea...if you've seen the video on our as yet un-updated website you'll see that I didn't take any of those precautions other than wearing goggles. While the extra BTU's from the sparks were nice during a Minnesota February, the blowing dust out of my nose and the after effects on my asthema
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Old 05-10-2006, 10:32 AM   #7
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My bus came with seats already taken out.

I am grinding the excess rust around the holes and using "cat hair" bondo to cover the holes. I probably won't even grind the bondo down because I am using two layers of number 15 roofing felt for moisture barrier, then a new plywood floor. I am spraying rustoleum rust inhibitor on the metal and sidewalls up to the windows. I just took out the front seat and the rotten wood underneath. I guess the wood goes all the way up to the shifting column where the pitch angles up. Dont' know if there is any wood there. The front sheet of plywood also extends under the front heating unit. Not sure how or if I am going to replace that.

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Old 05-10-2006, 01:44 PM   #8
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If you're concerned about heat, I think you're on the right track. You'd be surprised just how much heat comes up through the floor of the bus from the engine, transmission, exhuast, rear axle, etc. I know this fact all too well as my little toyota doesn't have a shifter boot on it right now because I am modifying the shifter linkage and layout. As long as all the windows are closed it's fine, but depressurize that cab with a cracked window and you'll get a HOT blast up through that hole. All the hot air is normally heating the whole floor. Nice in the winter, but not so much in the summer......
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Old 05-17-2006, 01:24 PM   #9
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My coach is a Wayne Lifeguard... and it doesn't have any plywood. It's a plate metal floor. I could probably add a lot of insulation value by adding a plywood subfloor, but I live in the South and it's only going to be used 8 or 9 months (warm months) out of the year. My bus will mostly be used on fairly short hauls for 2 to 3 days at a time.

I may regret it later, but for now I think I'll bypass the added expense and weight of plywood.
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