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Old 11-08-2007, 04:45 PM   #1
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Paint...and more paint...and more paint...

My bus has had a very troubled existence...started out as a school bus, then a couple of different churches (each of which repainted her, badly), and finally a hunting cabin (whose owners painted the roof, badly, and painted over all the church wording, also badly).

I've got three or four really peely, really brush-stroked coats of paint almost all over the bus!

Now, if my pop was still alive, I'd ask for his bodywork expertise, but alas, he is watching from above (and probably...well, likely...laughing his butt off at me about now). It is looking more and more like I'm just going to have to strip the bus to bare metal to get the quality of paint job I want.

I know, I know...it's a 35-plus-year-old school bus. I should not be so fussy. But I am.

Anyone know a good, fast, effective, cheap (in any combination) way to strip every scrap of paint off of her hide?

Sanding/stripping wheels are pricey, but work pretty darn well...just takes a lot of elbow grease. Flapwheels on the angle grinder, at 120 grit, will pull paint off of flat surfaces amazingly well, but will also change the shape of rivet heads in a split-second. Anyone tried a combination approach?

Anyone tried chemical strippers, like the cleverly-named "Aircraft remover"? I'm not keen on chemical removers, for environmental reasons, but I might make an exception in this case. I'm not a hardcore environmentalist, anyway...

--Dave
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Old 11-09-2007, 07:58 PM   #2
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Re: Paint...and more paint...and more paint...

Try scraping it with a razor. The roof on my bus had been painted white by the school district I'm assuming. I was able to take a razor and scrape it all off down to the yellow. You might try this on your bus. If it doesn't come off easily, I'd sand it and paint over it. I used my orbital sander to rough up the whole bus. It was still yellow with some bare metal spots. Any rough looking areas were taken care of by the orbital sander. Orbitals are cheap and won't be too hard on your rivets. I would avoid that aircraft stripper stuff. It can hurt you if you don't know what you're doing. Plus, it would be a huge mess and would probably get into cracks and crevices and eventually, might start rusting.
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Old 11-09-2007, 09:49 PM   #3
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Re: Paint...and more paint...and more paint...

Lots of flat surface area there, maybe a belt sander would speed things up a little?
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Old 11-09-2007, 10:10 PM   #4
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Re: Paint...and more paint...and more paint...

Matt:

Just in case no one tells you this today, you're nuts! A razor? Really now... For thick, gloopy paint jobs, I could see taking a layer or two off with that, but I fortunately don't have that to cope with.

Cliff:

That's a distinct possibility. I've got one; I'll give it a whirl, particularly on the roof, which is mostly flat (well, curved, but not wrinkly).

I looked at the instructions on the Aircraft Remover, and it doesn't look that different from regular gel stripper--which rules it out, in my mind. Sure..paint this stuff on, then let it set, then scrape it off, then rinse the bus off with running water---forming a toxic, caustic *BOG* under the bus. I don't think so.

So, the brute-force method is on the top of the list. I'll give the belt sander a try, and possibly get me a random orbital, and try that as well. (Note to the Novice: If you're going to try this bus trick, and don't live in a town with a Harbor Freight retail store, your *first* task should be: Move.)

--Dave
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Old 11-10-2007, 10:33 AM   #5
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Re: Paint...and more paint...and more paint...

I'm going to try a pressure washer. It will take fifty year old gum off the sidewalk. Why not paint? They have different tips, find the right one that works. It's my idea and if it works I want a 50 cents/sq.ft. licensing fee.
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Old 11-10-2007, 12:16 PM   #6
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Re: Paint...and more paint...and more paint...

I am going to sand blast mine.
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Old 11-17-2007, 12:22 AM   #7
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Re: Paint...and more paint...and more paint...

Post up results please. I may have to do the same this summer.
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Old 11-19-2007, 08:15 AM   #8
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Re: Paint...and more paint...and more paint...

Harbor Freight $199.00 The nice thing about Harbor Freight is if it doesn't work for you take it back and tell them "it doesn't work" for a full refund. They also carry a 40 pound model for $89.00 but I don't think it will have enough go behind it to do you much good. If you try the 110 pound model (shown below) let us know how it works!



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Old 11-20-2007, 08:36 PM   #9
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Re: Paint...and more paint...and more paint...

I'd be afraid of having paint stripper seeping behind the rub rails and bleeding out, ruining your new paint job.
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Old 11-20-2007, 09:20 PM   #10
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Re: Paint...and more paint...and more paint...

just a side note here...sand blasting with sand will pit the metal..if this isn't a concern then go for it...you can get walnut shells that are crushed for use in the blasters and they are not supposed to pit the metal. make sure you have a good air mask/eye protection and feel like a kid...sand blasting has to be the dirtest job i've done..and i've done a lot of crappy jobs *S*
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Old 11-22-2007, 02:30 PM   #11
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Re: Paint...and more paint...and more paint...

Hi Dave,

It's taken me a few days to find this site again, but I think it's well, worth, the effort.

The guy on this site is a professional converter, working on high end conversions. He has a lot of good methods on doing a conversion cheaply and easily.

Here the link to removing paint: http://users.cwnet.com/~thall/fredhobe4.htm

Hope this helps,

Robert

BTW, I have no vested interest in promoting his site.
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Old 11-24-2007, 08:40 PM   #12
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Re: Paint...and more paint...and more paint...

There are problems, as I see it, with using a chemical stripping method; the biggest of those is that doing it where she is currently sitting would create a toxic bog under the bus that could take *months* to dry out. As I have underbody work to do, I really don't want to crawl into a toxic waste dump to do it...or even send my teenaged minion under there, either, though she can be pretty toxic herself, at times.

Yeah. Try single-dadding a teenager yourself, smarty, then tell me I'm exaggerating. Right.

Now, if I could find a lot or something nearby where I could do that chore, maybe...or someplace that we could move the bus *to* for that operation, then move it back, I might go for that method. It'd have to have power, natch, to drive the pressure washer. Might look into that. Worst comes to worst, I could pull it out to the end of the driveway closer to the street (which is in full sun all day, alas) and hose it off there. Start early-ish some morning, when it's warm enough, and that'd give it time to work before it dried out. Maybe. But at least the bog would dry quicker.

Using a sandblaster might be attractive, but for the cost of a bigger compressor, and the spectacular cost of large quantities of crushed walnut media for it. The little one-lung pancake compressor I have is just not up to this big a flow of air.

So it may be the brute-force method for me, a section at a time. Of course, I can't do doodly squat on the outside right now; our weather turned ugly on Thanksgiving day after months of gorgeous weather. Over two inches of snow--the first we'd had in over a year--and freezing temps. Today, sleet and rain all day. So I worked on the wiring for a while, until I decided it was very, very cold, and came inside. No telling what tomorrow holds...

--Dave
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Old 11-25-2007, 04:28 AM   #13
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Re: Paint...and more paint...and more paint...

Well Dave, I feel your pain. It looks like you might have to do it with a lot of elbow grease.

I'm also having a problem on finding a place to paint (or even to work on mine). I have it in a storage lot and I even have to bring in my own electricity.

Oh well, we do what we can.

Robert
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Old 02-02-2008, 04:22 PM   #14
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Re: Paint...and more paint...and more paint...

ok i have 4 coats of paint on my bus so i pressure washed the daylights out of it and removed alot of paint you can see the pics on my 65 chevy bus thread in the projects i then use a big woven wire wheel and let it have it i go right to metal then use a self etching primer and cover the bare metal i will paint later when the weather is warmer this is the cheapest and less messiest way wear a mask and lay plastic to catch the paint flakes their will be lots but at least there is no chemicals no sand and the big woven wheel gets pretty good milage do not get the non woven wheel or you will be picking wire out of your arms oh yea keep your mouth closed at all times timbuk
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