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Old 12-14-2018, 10:41 AM   #1
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Problem removing ceiling panels

I got the rivets out of my ceiling using this method:

https://youtu.be/7NEs9i8Bmoo

It was fast and easy. Now I have another issue. It seems Blue Bird used some sort of metal adhesive on the side edges and also the very back of the bus, and probably the very front as well (have not tried to pull that one down yet). Itís as if these panels are welded into place in these areas, and I cannot reach back there to pop them off. Even prying by trying to drive lengths of wood does not work. I am deforming the lip on the rib trying to break it free. I was hoping to reuse these panels afterI insulated the ceiling because I feel the steel it my lightest, strongest option, preserves ceiling height, is fire resistant, and allows me to use magnetic hooks later. Any solutions out there besidescutting them out with an angle grinder?
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Old 12-14-2018, 11:06 AM   #2
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Just chuck em. They're not going to go back up and look the same. Plus they'll negate any insulation you add.
Once you get one out they come out pretty easily. I got a whole bus done in a couple hours alone.
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Old 12-14-2018, 12:05 PM   #3
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Just chuck em. They're not going to go back up and look the same. Plus they'll negate any insulation you add.
Once you get one out they come out pretty easily. I got a whole bus done in a couple hours alone.
What did you put in their place? Wood? Iíd like to preserve as much ceiling height as possible, and not add a lot of weight.

My biggest problem right now is just getting them out without damaging anything else. The main issue is the rear edge of the rear panel. The panels overlap on the aft edges, and they were installed front to rear, meaning I have to remove them rear to front. I canít get that rear edge of the rear most panel to let go. Itís deforming the lip on the aft most rib/bulkhead.
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Old 12-14-2018, 12:26 PM   #4
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I stripped out an 86 BBAA and didn't have any of those issues. Post a pic. Its probably a lot easier than you think.

I'd just replace the metal headliner with luan or something similar. You'd only lose around an eighth of an inch.
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Old 12-14-2018, 12:30 PM   #5
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I always say that If you're just going to put the metal back up you shouldn't bother taking it down in the first place. if your intent was to change the insulation in the gap there you'd save a lot of time and money and effort and get a more effective result just putting a coat of paint on the ceiling.
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Old 12-14-2018, 12:43 PM   #6
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I always say that If you're just going to put the metal back up you shouldn't bother taking it down in the first place. if your intent was to change the insulation in the gap there you'd save a lot of time and money and effort and get a more effective result just putting a coat of paint on the ceiling.
Good to know if I ever do another Iím far enough down this path that I am disinclined to go back. ďDamn the torpedoes!....Ē
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Old 12-14-2018, 12:48 PM   #7
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I stripped out an 86 BBAA and didn't have any of those issues. Post a pic. Its probably a lot easier than you think.

I'd just replace the metal headliner with luan or something similar. You'd only lose around an eighth of an inch.
Iíll have to go back and take another look at it, and figure out how to get a pic on here. This bus is built more tank-like than the buses I have seen in other videos. Now that I am no longer of a mind to reuse the panels, I have other options for getting them out - including cutting along the aft bulkhead if it comes to that.
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Old 12-14-2018, 01:41 PM   #8
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It'll feel a lot more home-like without a metal ceiling.
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Old 12-14-2018, 02:21 PM   #9
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It'll feel a lot more home-like without a metal ceiling.
I agree, and it will look a lot better. The appeal of the metal is structural integrity. It turns the roof into one big I-beam.
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Old 12-14-2018, 02:24 PM   #10
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Nah it really doesn't. Its like 20 gauge or even thinner. I've cut the roof off a bus and driven it around... You'll be 100% fine removing the headliner. If RV's can make it with a few sticks and some glue then no prob with removing the ceiling.
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Old 12-14-2018, 02:32 PM   #11
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I stripped out an 86 BBAA and didn't have any of those issues. Post a pic. Its probably a lot easier than you think.

I'd just replace the metal headliner with luan or something similar. You'd only lose around an eighth of an inch.
2002 Bluebird A3RE. Pretty much the same here. Ceiling panels came down pretty easily but were damaged enough that, even if I wanted to, they were not fit to put back up.
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Old 12-14-2018, 02:46 PM   #12
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2002 Bluebird A3RE. Pretty much the same here. Ceiling panels came down pretty easily but were damaged enough that, even if I wanted to, they were not fit to put back up.
Mine is a 2005 A3RE. I wonder if yours is any different than mine. The rear-most panel was screwed on the aft edge and appears to have some kind of adhesive, as do the ends where they meet the side walls. Other than that, the panels come right down. I can pry the ends loose, but cannot get to the rear edge. Seeing how I am no longer of a mind to preserve them, I can be more aggressive and just rip the buggers out. I can cut down the middle if I need to in order to get under that back edge.

New question . . . Were you able to locate manuals for your bus? I am searching for a Driver's Handbook and a Service Manual. I have found them on line for a 2010 in PDF format - free download. I wonder if there are any changes over the years in between. I contacted Blue Bird and they referred me to a dealer. It would cost a few hundred dollars to buy the manuals for my bus from them.
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Old 12-14-2018, 03:21 PM   #13
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https://www.centralstatesbus.com/manuals/

According to Wikipedia the 1999-2014 A3RE saw little change:

"Throughout its production, the A3-Series All American would see little significant change. However, its introduction marked the beginning of a significant change in the Blue Bird model line;"
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Old 12-14-2018, 04:44 PM   #14
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get some pics up so we can see what you're talking about.
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Old 12-15-2018, 04:51 PM   #15
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Solved

Got that rear &$#%*!@ out yesterday, and the rest are coming down nicely. Once I decided I wasn't going to reuse the metal, I just drove a prybar down the seams inch by inch. I'd like to know what that green adhesive is. I may want to use it down the road.

The frontmost panel (over the driver position) is similar in that it too is screwed along the very front edge. I am going to leave that be. Too much going on structurally there with the door panel and actuator, wiring, and other panels. I will just pull the batting out and replace it with better material.

Moving on, happily . . .
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Old 12-15-2018, 11:46 PM   #16
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Got that rear &$#%*!@ out yesterday, and the rest are coming down nicely. Once I decided I wasn't going to reuse the metal, I just drove a prybar down the seams inch by inch. I'd like to know what that green adhesive is. I may want to use it down the road.

The frontmost panel (over the driver position) is similar in that it too is screwed along the very front edge. I am going to leave that be. Too much going on structurally there with the door panel and actuator, wiring, and other panels. I will just pull the batting out and replace it with better material.

Moving on, happily . . .
Well, they've been using that green stuff since at least 1990. Saw a bunch of it when I pulled the outside rib covers off between the windows. It should come off a little easier if you let it sit another 15 years...

On another note, if you is the Tapatalk app, you can upload pictures directly from your phone. We all like to see all the pics from all stages of builds!
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Old 12-16-2018, 11:23 AM   #17
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Well, they've been using that green stuff since at least 1990. Saw a bunch of it when I pulled the outside rib covers off between the windows. It should come off a little easier if you let it sit another 15 years...

On another note, if you is the Tapatalk app, you can upload pictures directly from your phone. We all like to see all the pics from all stages of builds!


Here ya go! Thanks for the tip!

IMG_7694.jpgIMG_7695.jpgIMG_7696.jpg
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Old 12-16-2018, 07:51 PM   #18
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Done! Next, heater and A/C removal, then floor. IMG_5156.jpg
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