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Old 05-16-2018, 01:08 PM   #1
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removing walls and ceiling?

Hi folks! I know many people on this forum advise removing the wall panels (and ceiling panels too?) and taking out the existing (fiberglass, presumably) insulation.

I am not worried about the fact that the existing insulation is terrible as insulation, because we intend to add insulation inside of the bus (Iím fine with the lost space from doing so).

I am mainly worried about whether removing all those interior panels will compromise the busís structural integrity (and thus safety, and comfort in driving). The person selling us our bus tells me that a bus will feel different to drive with the ceiling panels out, it doesnít feel like itís holding together as well. She seems very concerned about the structural integrity if we take those panels out.

So should I remove everything? If you remove all those panels, how do you deal with the structural issues (if any)? Is there any way to remove the existing insulation and/or check for mold/rust without pulling out the whole panel? How important is it to remove those parts altogether?

Also, how long / how much work does it take to remove all those panels (please mention how long your bus is, for reference).

Basically, it seems like if so many people put in so much work to get the wall and ceiling panels out, it must be very important to do this. But what about structural stability? Other considerations? (Besides that I donít need them out in order to insulate better because I will add insulation inside.) Please share your wisdom!

For reference, we intend to live in our bus full time and drive it around, mostly in the Northeast. We are trying to get our bus done quickly so time is of essence.

Thank you!
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Old 05-16-2018, 01:18 PM   #2
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I pulled three panels down, inspected and put them back up. Yes, ceiling panels are structural.
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Old 05-16-2018, 01:27 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Johnny Mullet View Post
I pulled three panels down, inspected and put them back up. Yes, ceiling panels are structural.
How were they attached? How was it to put them back? - the person selling us the bus says once ceiling panels come out they won't really go back in.

Did you remove the fiberglass to inspect, and then put that back in too?

Also, any idea whether wall panels are structural too (or how to tell)?

Thanks!!
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Old 05-16-2018, 01:35 PM   #4
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If you read around a bit, there are people who have talked to bus company reps, and they always hear the same thing: ceiling panels are structural. So to answer your question, yes, yes they are. Even though this is the case, the majority of builds i have seen have made the choice to remove them. I'm pretty sure that the event of any sort of catastrophic event (crash, etc) there is enough structural material left over in the other placed to prevent anything bad from happening. Unless there is some sort of horrible structural compromise, you should be alright.

I know the most commonly said reason for removing the panels is for insulation, but you also want them out for a few other reasons. Checking for rust on the inner side of the outer skin, checking for leaks, removing mold, checking for critters, the list goes on and on...

My bus has screws in the ceiling panels, and has about 60 screws per row. This means its 120 screws for the first panel, and 60 for each after that, give or take a few in the middle of each panel for added support. I am taking my ceiling panels out, and have removed 3 panels so far. About 15 minutes per panel if you work quickly I guess? It really does get tiring holding your arms up that high though...
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Old 05-16-2018, 02:03 PM   #5
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While it is important to remove the ceiling panels for insulation I would not worry about structural deficiency because we done leave it bare, it is replaced or replaced with something else, bringing the structural integrity back. I would bet you would find, that while it is structural, it is probably not an important feature of the structural integrity. Remember that most things like this are build to 150% of what is needed. If removing walls and ceiling for insulation you shouldn't lose any interior space as you can add up to 2" of rigid and still be below the finish level of the wall and ceiling.
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Old 05-16-2018, 02:06 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by olives View Post
How were they attached? How was it to put them back? - the person selling us the bus says once ceiling panels come out they won't really go back in.

Did you remove the fiberglass to inspect, and then put that back in too?

Also, any idea whether wall panels are structural too (or how to tell)?

Thanks!!
I was very careful removing my panels. I pulled some insulation back to inspect for mold, rust,etc. I put them back up. I built my new walls over the existing walls and insulated them. I also insulated my floor.
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Old 05-16-2018, 02:09 PM   #7
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The panels aren't structural. My roof raise bus was sold as a raised skeleton with only the roof on. No sides, ceilings, or walls. Went from Sorrento FL to Del Rio Texas without a problem. No deformation, no shifting, no anything. Solid as a rock.
Others will disagree but this has been my real world experience with panel removal.
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Old 05-16-2018, 02:14 PM   #8
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The panels aren't structural. My roof raise bus was sold as a raised skeleton with only the roof on. No sides, ceilings, or walls. Went from Sorrento FL to Del Rio Texas without a problem. No deformation, no shifting, no anything. Solid as a rock.
Others will disagree but this has been my real world experience with panel removal.
You can't believe that there wouldn't be added damage in a rollover as opposed to one complete paneled? With no stress on anything just driving I
m not surprised you didn't notice anything.
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Old 05-16-2018, 02:21 PM   #9
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If anyone thought about adding some rigidity you could always add flat metal strips between panels using the existing screw\rivet holes. That may work.
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Old 05-16-2018, 03:22 PM   #10
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You can't believe that there wouldn't be added damage in a rollover as opposed to one complete paneled? With no stress on anything just driving I
m not surprised you didn't notice anything.
I don't think it makes a bit of difference. The ribs and chair rail are the main structure of the body. RV's and Coach buses don't all come with metal headliners and metal interiors- why should I have to settle for a tin can?
In any SERIOUS rollover I highly doubt a layer of 20 something gauge headliner is going to be much of a factor.
But to each their own... ROLL YOUR OWN!
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