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Old 10-29-2019, 07:28 PM   #1
Mini-Skoolie
 
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Please help a girl out!!

I wanted to edit my original post to include some photos and a few additional questions but was having trouble doing so so here is an entirely new post! Any advice is much appreciated~

I purchased a 1997 Thomas International school bus a few months ago. The engine is a Navistar T444E. Iíve removed the school bus seats, ceiling, and most of the floor. When removing the subfloors the other day I had some confusion regarding the cockpit of the bus surrounding the drivers seat. The control center for the bus is to the left of the drivers seat making it difficult to pull out the subfloor underneath. Iíve temporarily removed the seat but do I also need to remove the control center first? Do I cut the subfloor out around it? It seems like I can cut it out in pieces from the stairs to where the control center sits but honestly donít know. Please help!!!

A few additional questions--

- What tools would you recommend using for rust removal?
- What are your thoughts on hammering in the nails, etc that stick out of the
metal flooring after subfloor removal?
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Skoolie cockpit 1.jpg (365.1 KB, 48 views)
File Type: jpg Skoolie cockpit 2.jpg (347.7 KB, 40 views)
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Old 10-29-2019, 07:37 PM   #2
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First, congrats on the new bus! A few questions:

Where did the bus live before you bought it? (helps determine how much rust there is)
How much rust is on the floor you have already removed?
(Do you really need to remove the front section?)

To clean up the current rust, an electric grinder will work, but take precautions for all the dust, etc. There are a variety of rust sealer/preventers out there once you've cleaned it all up.

You probably want to pound that are stick up back through the floor. We used windshield sealer (the black goop) to seal up the small holes in our floor.
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Old 10-29-2019, 10:00 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ermracing View Post
First, congrats on the new bus! A few questions:

Where did the bus live before you bought it? (helps determine how much rust there is)
How much rust is on the floor you have already removed?
(Do you really need to remove the front section?)

To clean up the current rust, an electric grinder will work, but take precautions for all the dust, etc. There are a variety of rust sealer/preventers out there once you've cleaned it all up.

You probably want to pound that are stick up back through the floor. We used windshield sealer (the black goop) to seal up the small holes in our floor.
I bought the bus from a used car dealer that was selling it for a friend who'd won it at a recent auction. The school bus was owned by a CO mountain town school district and was kept in really great condition! Pulling up the subfloor of the bus revealed very little rust with the exception of some in the corners and scattered along the sides of the floor. I'd like to pull up the front section so that I can build an even subfloor/appropriately lay down insulation. It's also not a solid foundation anymore after having pulled out all of the subfloor around it.
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Old 10-29-2019, 11:56 PM   #4
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I have a 98 Thomas Vista and ran into the same issue. I opted to cut around the base of the control console/heater as closely as my tools allowed. I felt OK (even though I'm anal) leaving the ply underneath it since i had little to no rust either.
Wire brushing or using a wire wheel on a grinder will take care of the rust. Then use a product like OSPHO which neutralizes the rust.
I pulled the nails with a big nail puller to get the nails out then sealed holes with caulk.
Best of luck with the build!
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Old 10-30-2019, 04:25 AM   #5
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Take a close look under the switch panel and you will probably find that the top section to which the switch panel is attached is attached to the bottom section with a couple of screws and also to the side wall. Thus, you can remove the bottom section after removing the screws. I do not know your plans for the heater core and blowers. If yo are going to retain them in place, then you will have to figure out a way to support the blowers and heater core while modifying the bottom section to fit with your new flooring (once you get the old flooring out). In our Thomas bus, I just removed the heater core and blowers and will address that when I build a new console. Note that we do not have the same bus, but they are similar enough.
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Old 10-30-2019, 07:22 AM   #6
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I would cut around it.
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Old 10-30-2019, 07:40 AM   #7
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If the "nails" are secure you could cut them off with an angle grinder with a cutoff wheel, then there is no hole to fill. Then with a knotted wire brush on the angle grinder clean all rust on the floor.

Have you used an angle grinder before? They are a great tool, but can also hurt you real good.
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Old 10-30-2019, 07:42 AM   #8
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I would cut around it.
I did cut around mine, too much trouble otherwise.
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Old 10-30-2019, 10:08 AM   #9
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thats a standard bergstrom heater box.. it is a separate unit from the switch panel.. on my Dev bus I pulled mine out, fixed the floor around it and put it back in.. my switch panel is attached to the wall and just a couple screws went down in the heater which were easily removed..



if I were doing a conversion I would replace the driver flooring area just like factory and then have a little step up behind the driver areas into the thicker insulated floor


this allows your heaters, engine covers, pedals, etc to all remain at the same levels as factory.. .. I dynamatted my driver area and replaced bad metal and plywood and the bus is much quieter up front and most of the engine heat issues i had are gone..
-Christopher
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Old 10-31-2019, 04:44 PM   #10
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I'd take a knife to it, cut up what you can, and build around/over it. These things aren't really designed to be rebuilt. If this is your first bus, consider it a learning experience. You'll figure out what is and isn't important over time and you can do your second bus a lot more effectively than when you're in a situation where "you don't know what you don't know."
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Old 10-31-2019, 05:29 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by OlgaAK View Post
I'd take a knife to it, cut up what you can, and build around/over it. These things aren't really designed to be rebuilt. If this is your first bus, consider it a learning experience. You'll figure out what is and isn't important over time and you can do your second bus a lot more effectively than when you're in a situation where "you don't know what you don't know."
Not everyone is going to want to do a 2nd bus...........
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Old 10-31-2019, 05:48 PM   #12
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Not everyone is going to want to do a 2nd bus...........

I have 3 busses... trying to find my 4th... (looking for a Wayne S-series or older)
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Old 10-31-2019, 06:57 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by cadillackid View Post
I have 3 busses... trying to find my 4th... (looking for a Wayne S-series or older)
Right on, I don't want to do a RV bus again but I am going to get another with a FE and cut most the body off of to make a flat bed out of with enough to seat 10 or so.
After my F350 falls apart one of these years I'm done with little ol 1 ton trucks, can't even fit my family in one anymore unless I chop the body and make it a 6 door cab. But that's some time down the road.
Take it easy Chris.
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Old 10-31-2019, 07:14 PM   #14
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I have 3 busses... trying to find my 4th... (looking for a Wayne S-series or older)
I would have thought you were a crazy person six months ago, but now I'm semi- on the lookout for a handicapped-equipped bus. I've been trying to do more volunteer work and I read recently about some of the problems wheelchair-bound people have going to concerts and movies and such. Uber supposedly has an option for summoning vehicles capable of transporting wheelchairs, but it can take hours and sometimes they never show at all etc., so people end up stranded in venue parking lots late at night.

So I thought it might be cool to set up a sort of concert-going shuttle with a second bus. I'm pretty sure it would require me to get a CDL and it would have to be registered as a bus in PA (for $700 or $800 a year), but otherwise cheaper than some hobbies I've had, if I find the right bus.
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Old 11-10-2019, 01:03 PM   #15
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We have the same bus

We bought ours from Oklahoma so we probably have a bit more rest than you we actually cut out a lot of the holes and welded new metal in the places needed.

Once we did that to treat the rest of the rest we used Corroseal 82331 WaterBased Rust Converter, Gallon bought on eBay.

We took out the front seat and the whole control panel as a lot of the wiring is not needed. We are working on wiring this weekend.

If you want to follow me on Instagram we are @two.skoolies and there you can PM me.

Audra
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