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Old 03-31-2008, 07:46 PM   #1
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Removal of side panels

Previously we have removed the metal side panels of our bus just below the window line to a lip about one foot above the floor. These were made of cheap tin and covered up fiberglass insulation. We had leaking windows so we wanted to removed them because there was a little rust and we wanted to see what condition the fiberglass was in.

Although the fiberglass insulation looked clean, it was slightly damp to the touch. We thought about leaving it in, but we decided to take one out to check things out. I'm glad we did. The bottom was stuffed a bit dense and was soggy and covered with rust. After removing about half of them (fiberglass section for each window) my work gloves were soaking wet.

Here's a picture of what the fiberglass looked like:


There's a substantial amount of rust behind another piece of metal that runs along the side of the bus. It runs from the floor to about 1 foot above it and provides a metal lip that the seats were previously attached to. To me, it makes sense to drill out the rivets holding this metal in place remove it so that we can throughly treat the metal behind and underneath it. My wife would like me to make sure that this is a good idea, and that it won't hurt the physical integrity of the bus.

So my question is this. What are the trade offs between removing this piece of metal, or leaving it in place?

Here's a picture of the rust that I need to get to:
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File Type: jpg CIMG3889 (Small).JPG (42.2 KB, 987 views)
File Type: jpg CIMG3897 (Small).JPG (48.7 KB, 987 views)
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Old 03-31-2008, 11:39 PM   #2
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Re: Removal of side panels

I tried doing the same thing for very much the same reasons,,, Problem is that it seems as though that bottom panel, at least it seems to me, that they were installed first before the outer skin was installed. In other words, on my Bluebird, that bottom panel has a sort of "S" fold that goes between the outer skin and the floor. I figure to get as much of the scale out the best I can, and POR the heck out of it.
Hope this helps...
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Old 04-01-2008, 12:37 AM   #3
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Re: Removal of side panels

I'll be doing that in the next 1-2 days, removing and inspecting. I'll try and wire brush as much as possible, shop vac the dust up then use a long roller with rust blocker to coat the best I can.

I used this stuff called submarine sealer when I was working on evaporative coolers in Arizona. This is a coating that sprays or rolls onto metal and once dry you can add water to the metal basin and it works GREAT!
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Old 04-07-2008, 12:51 AM   #4
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Re: Removal of side panels

Got some pix today detailing more about that "S" fold:
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File Type: jpg Rear Chair Rail Detail.jpg (68.8 KB, 877 views)
File Type: jpg S FOLD DETAIL.JPG (64.3 KB, 874 views)
File Type: jpg Bottom of Chair Rail Well.JPG (66.0 KB, 874 views)
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Old 04-07-2008, 11:10 AM   #5
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Re: Removal of side panels

I deeply appreciate your experience and support on this. Based on what you have told us we decided to leave the side panels in place and attempt to work around them.

Unfortunately, a lot of the rust on the sides is below the remaining wall. However, we have developed a method of lowering a sandblaster gun down inside the wall (ours is around 2" clearance), and blasting the rust as best we can. Then we have a shop-vac to suck out the sand and rust and other debris, then we try to paint it as best we can with standard paint brushes. (We don't have access to a sprayer). So we'll try to paint from the bottom up.

When it comes time to insulate, we'll have to get the insulation around the rivets, we're thinking about three options for this (still researching price, R-value, etc...) one is to spray foam back there. The other is to shove a 2" board down and let the rivets scrape it along the side. The third is to put one 1" board on the outside, then shove it on top of the rivets and place another 1" board right next to it. It seems like the two 1" boards may work the best, but I'll have to check our price over one 2" board to justify it.

Again, we were unsure about whether to remove the panels or not, but from your experience we have decided not to.

Thanks for the tips,
John
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Old 04-07-2008, 07:48 PM   #6
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Re: Removal of side panels

I'm just curious... What did you decide to do?

Did you remove as much rust as possible and then put the panel back in place, or did you cut it off as much as you could, or something else?
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Old 04-07-2008, 10:07 PM   #7
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Re: Removal of side panels

Those pics I sent you is where I am putting a "garage door" in the rear of the bus for our ATVs... I sort of did the big OOPSIE when I tried to remove the chair rail from the front of the bus. Only after I tore through the floor with my air chisel did I realize the nature of the beast... Live and learn I guess... As for the front chair rail... I guess I'm going to re-rivet where I can and try and weld the bottom tears and other oopsies.... Like Elliot Ness, (the skoolie member, i.e. "Millicent Chronicles", not the "Untouchable"), well, like Elliot said, "These ain't spaceships"...

BTW... I'm planning on spray foam insulation....
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Old 08-06-2008, 07:55 AM   #8
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Re: Removal of side panels

We ended up leaving the side panels in place, I got a long-handled (10 inch) brush and gripped it with some vice-grips and used that to reach down inside the well with POR-15 (after vacuuming out dust / fibers / sand.) It turned out very well.

Then I cut some hard foam to throw down there and my wife wrapped it in red rosin paper (to prevent any squeaking) and shoved it down in the crack. Seems like it will work well. Ended up putting up sub floor over it to match with the top which we'll put 1/4" plywood (possibly cherry) over that.

Based on the information previously presented, I still recommend that its much less work to deal with the metal in place than try to remove it from the bus. Not to mention any extra structural integrity issues.
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