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Old 11-19-2019, 04:54 PM   #1
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Putting the metal ceiling back up after insulating?

OK, hear me out.

In my TC2000, we pulled out the metal ceiling and walls and spray foamed it all. Then we struggled for a while to come up with a good material to cover it all back up with. After a few attempts of various type we ended up with a beautiful tongue and groove wood plank ceiling that cost a lot of money and time.

With our new BBAA, I'm having trouble justifying that cash and effort outlay. This ceiling looks great, don't get me wrong, but I'm too practical (read: cheap) to do it again without exploring alternatives.

So the practical problems with metal ceilings basically come down to weight, thermal conductivity, and difficulty of putting it back up once you've taken it down.

Weight, well you got me there, it's heavy.

Thermal conductivity... Once I've taken the panels down, a 1.5 inch wide strip of rubber could be sandwiched between the ribs and the panels. Given the affected surface area, I think that could be a pretty darn effective thermal break even if it isn't perfect. Also using POM plastic rivets to re-attach the panels to the ribs so no metal to metal contact between the roof and the ceiling.

As far as putting it back up, I met a guy recently who was doing something similar and he had devised a jib to help hold panels up in place while he reattached them. Looked pretty good to me.

So that's my general idea. I've always liked the look of the factory bus ceiling, I just hated how much harder it is to keep the bus warm/cool when the weather outside isn't cooperating.

So brilliant idea or a fool's journey? What am I forgetting?
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Old 11-19-2019, 04:58 PM   #2
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IDK man. I just dont' see that metal going back up the same as it was.
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Old 11-19-2019, 05:05 PM   #3
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the biggest issue is that the bus flexes from the way it sat.. the body moves.. that ceiling is structural to some extent.. if the bus suspension settled or its been driven its real tough... at least from my experience in trying to help someone restoring a bus that a skoolie failed on a conversion and then dumped.. we tried our best to match up the metal panels.. some the holes lines up, others were way off (easy just drill new ones).. but many were in that bad spot where you cant put a screw back in the same hole as the panel and have it either make an original hole or be far enough way from existing holes to be able to drill a new one.. sure you could drill new holes in the metal panel but in my opinion that is goona look kind of tacky..

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Old 11-19-2019, 07:17 PM   #4
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Rubber has about the same thermal conductivity as wood, so you'd probably have an easier time bending (or piecing) a 2x2 to put over the rib - same thickness and you could use metal screws with countersinks to attach the wood to the rib, and then screws to attach the ceiling to these 2x2s, without creating any thermal bridging through the steel fasteners. And it would be relatively easy since you wouldn't need to line up any of the original rivet holes.

There's a "How It's Made" video on youtube showing my make of bus being built, and they show how the small black screws sticking out of the ribs near the tops of the windows is used to wedge the ceiling panel in place temporarily while they rivet (I had been wondering what those screws were for, because they just leave them in place afterwards and they're covered by the trim). You could just reuse those (or that technique) with maybe a simple 2x4 t-bar to help wedge it up in the middle.

I wouldn't do this myself ... thanks to the guys who stole my original ceiling panels.
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Old 11-19-2019, 07:57 PM   #5
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Someone mentioned Aerogel tape here somewhere as being an affordable but high R value to use as a thermal break over the roof ribs.

If you mark each panel and it's orientation with a grease pencil you should be able to put each panel back without issue -- all the holes should line up.

The metal will conduct more than wood obviously but only against whatever insulation you have between it and the outer skin.

I'm surprised the metal panels weigh more than ˝" thick wood plank...
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Old 11-19-2019, 10:47 PM   #6
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the biggest issue is that the bus flexes from the way it sat.. the body moves.. that ceiling is structural to some extent.. if the bus suspension settled or its been driven its real tough... at least from my experience in trying to help someone restoring a bus that a skoolie failed on a conversion and then dumped.. we tried our best to match up the metal panels.. some the holes lines up, others were way off (easy just drill new ones).. but many were in that bad spot where you cant put a screw back in the same hole as the panel and have it either make an original hole or be far enough way from existing holes to be able to drill a new one.. sure you could drill new holes in the metal panel but in my opinion that is goona look kind of tacky..

-Christopher


Yep, as I was taking the screws out I could hear the structure moving. “Tick” as I removed each screw.
Dave
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Old 11-19-2019, 11:43 PM   #7
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Yep, as I was taking the screws out I could hear the structure moving. “Tick” as I removed each screw.
Dave
So you'd need a good set of drifts to get things lined up...

But once you get a few screws started it should 'fall' into place...

I was part of a crew replacing the leading edge of a C-130 wing in the desert -- it had taken a hit over Iraq -- but the leading edge is a single piece of sheet metal the length of a long bus with some compound radius curves -- I think there were 5 of us on the wing...

-- the panels will go back into place -- and each panel will be easier than the last!
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Old 11-20-2019, 07:09 AM   #8
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So you'd need a good set of drifts to get things lined up...

But once you get a few screws started it should 'fall' into place...

I was part of a crew replacing the leading edge of a C-130 wing in the desert -- it had taken a hit over Iraq -- but the leading edge is a single piece of sheet metal the length of a long bus with some compound radius curves -- I think there were 5 of us on the wing...

-- the panels will go back into place -- and each panel will be easier than the last!
I am not sure what they call them but aircraft use some form of temporary panel fastener that holds and aligns the panel. I imagine you used these on the C-130. I have seen them in use on aircraft during restoration. I do not know if they are "blind" or have to have access to the back side, but certainly worth checking out.
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Old 11-20-2019, 07:16 AM   #9
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Did a quick search and Eastwood has "clecos" panel holding system, looks like the things for aircraft but marketed to auto restoration. They go into a new hole or existing hole to hold and lineup.
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Old 11-20-2019, 08:48 AM   #10
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Did a quick search and Eastwood has "clecos" panel holding system, looks like the things for aircraft but marketed to auto restoration. They go into a new hole or existing hole to hold and lineup.
Clecos are awesome! Usually color coded for their diameter. 1/8" being very popular with the riveting crowd. The big advantage to using clecos are when working a new piece of metal -- as you're drilling a series of holes you insert a cleco after each drilled hole before drilling the next -- this way after drilling a series of holes ALL your holes are still in alignment -- you remove a cleco, install a rivet, rinse and repeat...

Did not use clecos for the leading edge install -- you can't pry on or with a cleco... The leading edge had to be coaxed into place -- mostly with language unacceptable to this forum...

Oh right, Summit Racing used to offer a good starter set (you need a special pliers to manipulate them) I would also look on ebay or fb marketplace. Cleco's don't wear out unless someone was welding next to them (a lot), heat can weaken the spring inside them.
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Old 11-20-2019, 10:26 AM   #11
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Why? Literally any other material is better than the original metal ceilings. If you can't afford tongue and groove there's tons of cheap paneling types you can get at Home Depot or Lowes for 10 bucks a sheet.
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Old 11-20-2019, 10:37 AM   #12
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Why? Literally any other material is better than the original metal ceilings. If you can't afford tongue and groove there's tons of cheap paneling types you can get at Home Depot or Lowes for 10 bucks a sheet.

Why? because it is part of the structural integrity. how are any other materials as good in this regard? There already have been a few comments as to the roof shifting a bit as the interior panels have been removed, so that speaks for it's value to me anyway. Everyone needs to weigh the pros and cons for their situation.
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Old 11-20-2019, 10:41 AM   #13
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Why? Literally any other material is better than the original metal ceilings. If you can't afford tongue and groove there's tons of cheap paneling types you can get at Home Depot or Lowes for 10 bucks a sheet.
Can confirm. If you just want the look-and-feel of the original ceiling, and aren't a stickler for the metal panels (bus enthusiast, purist, want something to stick magnets to, whatever) you can use the 5mm underlayment panels from Home Depot. I think they're 13 bucks a sheet.

This is what we did. We ended up cutting each panel to be the width of the window, and they bent right into place. We covered the seam between panels with a 3" x 1/4" strip of wood, then painted the whole thing white. The result is that it sort of has the look of the original ceiling (a little better, as our original ceiling was perforated panels) without having to try and refit the original panels.
Just a thought.
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Old 11-20-2019, 11:49 AM   #14
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Why? because it is part of the structural integrity. how are any other materials as good in this regard? There already have been a few comments as to the roof shifting a bit as the interior panels have been removed, so that speaks for it's value to me anyway. Everyone needs to weigh the pros and cons for their situation.
My bus - with ceiling panels removed - currently has an eight-foot wall section on one side and a longer eleven-foot wall section on the opposite side completely unsupported by any floor underneath (check out my build thread for pics). But there is no sagging or displacement of the body over this span at all.

So I don't believe the roof shifts much at all when you remove the ceiling panels (things can creak for many reasons). If the ceiling panels play a big role in preserving the structural integrity of the body (and I am not saying they don't), it is to resist deformation in the event of an accident.
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Old 11-20-2019, 11:59 AM   #15
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Why? because it is part of the structural integrity. how are any other materials as good in this regard? There already have been a few comments as to the roof shifting a bit as the interior panels have been removed, so that speaks for it's value to me anyway. Everyone needs to weigh the pros and cons for their situation.
I personally don't believe the stories of the roof shifting after removing 1 of the 2000 screws holding that piece up, just ludicrous. Think about it, there's a screw or rivet every 1-1/2" or so. Movement between that space removing a screw, not possible.

Keep in mind that these shells are WAY over built. The same bus in a coach configuration would have half the ribs as the school bus. I think we worry too much about strucural integrity by removing a piece here or there. Which brings up the structural integrity of what we replace the panels with, do they need to be AS GOOD as the previous? The only time you will know if it's different is when you roll the bus over.
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Old 11-20-2019, 01:21 PM   #16
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I am not talking about removing one screw, this is about removing all the screws and the panels. Is it a,serious issue? No I do not think so but it is a consideration and a reason to put the metal back. Besides great for magnets. Must say that part I had not really thought of, however my wife has magnetic hooks all over our ceiling.
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Old 11-20-2019, 04:21 PM   #17
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Why? because it is part of the structural integrity. how are any other materials as good in this regard? There already have been a few comments as to the roof shifting a bit as the interior panels have been removed, so that speaks for it's value to me anyway. Everyone needs to weigh the pros and cons for their situation.
having taken the ceiling out of a bus and driven it around a decent amount-
If the ceiling is "structural" is so insignificant its not even worth considering.
Everyone is obviously free to use whatever approach works for them but PLEASE folks don't let structural integrity be what stops you from making the metal headliner go bye-bye.
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Old 11-20-2019, 05:29 PM   #18
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OK, hear me out.

In my TC2000, we pulled out the metal ceiling and walls and spray foamed it all. Then we struggled for a while to come up with a good material to cover it all back up with. After a few attempts of various type we ended up with a beautiful tongue and groove wood plank ceiling that cost a lot of money and time.

With our new BBAA, I'm having trouble justifying that cash and effort outlay. This ceiling looks great, don't get me wrong, but I'm too practical (read: cheap) to do it again without exploring alternatives.

So the practical problems with metal ceilings basically come down to weight, thermal conductivity, and difficulty of putting it back up once you've taken it down.

Weight, well you got me there, it's heavy.

Thermal conductivity... Once I've taken the panels down, a 1.5 inch wide strip of rubber could be sandwiched between the ribs and the panels. Given the affected surface area, I think that could be a pretty darn effective thermal break even if it isn't perfect. Also using POM plastic rivets to re-attach the panels to the ribs so no metal to metal contact between the roof and the ceiling.

As far as putting it back up, I met a guy recently who was doing something similar and he had devised a jib to help hold panels up in place while he reattached them. Looked pretty good to me.

So that's my general idea. I've always liked the look of the factory bus ceiling, I just hated how much harder it is to keep the bus warm/cool when the weather outside isn't cooperating.

So brilliant idea or a fool's journey? What am I forgetting?

This sounds like it is quite doable to me with what I have read here.


I love the factory finish because it portrays what some great technology and inventions can build. Love the color of mine form factory so left it on display.


Wish I could be there to help and help put a ceiling put back together.
You got this Josh!


Use a drywall lifter to help it out weight wise, then line it up and up she goes.



I would just start each screw going back in so there is play between the rib and the sheet, till each hole is filled then go back and tighten up all of them.
First piece should teach you a lot and then it won't be so daunting a task.


Buy or make a small spud wrench to align holes and then any old bolt will hold till you come back to fasten.


Wish I had 4 of those sheets right now to cover my rear door walkout extension.



My thoughts,



John



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Old 11-20-2019, 05:37 PM   #19
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Did one panel in our small bus.. Aluminum ... Started in the middle and worked my way to the outsides. Our bus has screws.

If you put a 1/8 thermal break in there it will not fit as soon as you go around the curves. So you will have to do some reaming.

Good luck j
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Old 11-20-2019, 06:58 PM   #20
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Rolling Vistas on You Tube tried to reuse their metal and gave up. I think it's do-able but the rubber strips are going to make it awfully hard to line up the holes. Drew Bru's idea of thin plywood sounds much easier.
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