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Old 11-08-2007, 04:45 PM   #1
Mini-Skoolie
 
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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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