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Old 01-24-2017, 07:02 PM   #1
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Talking Major decision for the Bus Body

My wife and I are about to get into the Bus conversion elbow deep. One of the things we wanted to know was, the railings along the body. Are they necessary, are they supporting the metal or hiding the welding marks.
We see that there are a lot of rivets but I believe and I think my wife also want a smoother look on the outside.
Has anyone else attempted this?

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Old 01-24-2017, 07:12 PM   #2
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If you are referring to the rub rails on the outside of the bus, they are not structural but they do add strength. Removing them is just a matter of either unscrewing them or drilling out all of the rivets. There are some commercial versions of school buses that are smooth sided and do not have any rub rails. Some school buses even have fluted side panels instead of smooth panels. The fluted panels give some strength and resist oil canning.

If you are referring to the chair rail on the inside (the rail on which the outside part of the seat sits), they are not structural either but to remove them is a major job and does take some of the structural rigidity away from the body.
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Old 01-24-2017, 07:46 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by cowlitzcoach View Post
If you are referring to the rub rails on the outside of the bus, they are not structural but they do add strength. Removing them is just a matter of either unscrewing them or drilling out all of the rivets. There are some commercial versions of school buses that are smooth sided and do not have any rub rails. Some school buses even have fluted side panels instead of smooth panels. The fluted panels give some strength and resist oil canning.

If you are referring to the chair rail on the inside (the rail on which the outside part of the seat sits), they are not structural either but to remove them is a major job and does take some of the structural rigidity away from the body.
YEah- they add a bit of stiffness to the sheet metal, but the rub rails aren't structural. The commercial buses DO seem to have much more tendency to "oil can", though.
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Old 01-24-2017, 07:51 PM   #4
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YEah- they add a bit of stiffness to the sheet metal, but the rub rails aren't structural. The commercial buses DO seem to have much more tendency to "oil can", though.
Oil can are you saying they squeeze inward?

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Old 01-24-2017, 07:56 PM   #5
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In, out, like an oil can.
A pic of "oil canning" on some roof panels-
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Old 01-24-2017, 09:16 PM   #6
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I would have thought this bus sheet metal would never do that? There are just so many rivets unlike that roof picture and probably a lot thicker. I want to remove mine as well. Seems like that is the number one thing to start to get rid of the school bus look besides paint.
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Old 01-24-2017, 09:21 PM   #7
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The design function of the rub rails...aka: "Torpedo Belt"...is to add side impact integrity. Which they do in a big way.
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Old 01-24-2017, 09:22 PM   #8
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Some good discussions here
https://www.google.com/search?q=side...UTF-8&hl=en-US

And this Blue Bird document refers to them as "side impact barriers"
http://www.bluebirdpgh.com/PDFs/bbSBCVppt-Oct2012.pdf
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Old 01-25-2017, 07:38 AM   #9
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I had to reskin my bus due to rust.
Below the run rails the only thing I found were additional rivets and a few seams.
I have been told they are semi structural but, my skin hasnt had an issue after a summer to winter temp change or driving.
I do plan to add different rub rails in the future basically just to cover seams and add some flare to the body.
They can be harder to remove than the body panels themselves due to the shape of the rails and access of grinding but, once you get in the groove you are good to go.
Personally, I think it is up to you.
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Old 01-25-2017, 08:08 AM   #10
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For anyone looking for rub rails and parts-
http://allpointsbus.com/bus-parts-c/rub-rails/22
Just found that from Milk's google link.
Very nice- some of mine is tweaked and I may order some new endcaps and a few feet of rail.
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