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Old 07-13-2009, 06:23 AM   #1
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Side panel removal... how?

This weekend I finally removed all those pesky, stubborn sheet metal screws from the side panels of the bus. But when I tried to pry it loose, it stayed firmly attached at the top. I suspect the top is folded over and hooked onto the window ledge, but can't really tell because I couldn't pull the panel out far enough to peek underneath. Since the panel is a single long sheet that runs the length of the bus, I was hoping to keep it intact and use it to cover the windows that will eventually come out.

Does anyone else have an International bus with one long piece of sheet metal for the lower panels inside?
If so, what did you have to do to remove the sheet?
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Old 07-13-2009, 01:57 PM   #2
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Re: Side panel removal... how?

I went down a similar path as you; I removed all of those screws, and then realized that the interior sidewalls are folded under the windows, then continue down as the exterior sidewall. If your bus is constructed like mine, you won't be able to remove the interior sidewall without removing the windows and exterior sidewall. The only solution that I could think of is to cut them off, or clean them up and leave them, which I ended up doing. But if you're taking off the windows anyway (which I didn't want to replace), you might have an easier time just waiting for that to happen.
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Old 07-13-2009, 03:11 PM   #3
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Re: Side panel removal... how?

Mine where the same folded over to the outside. I first cut them on the inside, but i could have safed me that work since we then decided to take all the windows out anyway. So if you're taking them out just do it when you change all the windows.
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Old 07-13-2009, 03:33 PM   #4
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Re: Side panel removal... how?

I have a Thomas body and had the same problem (assuming you are talking about the galvinized interior panels below the windows). Even with the windows out I couldnt figure out how to remove them. Since I was chopping the rear of my bus off I removed the screws (after I stripped 90% of the heads off we took a die grinder and an air chisel to them) cut the two rear ones out but in hindsight it would have been alot less work to just leave them alone.
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Old 07-13-2009, 07:02 PM   #5
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Re: Side panel removal... how?

Bummer! I really didn't want to cut it out, and was hoping to have the hollowed out area for extra insulation space.

Here's a photo of the edge that appears to be folded over (interior panel, btw)


Grrr... Now I can't decide if I want to give up that space or not.

My impatient, "damn I'm broke" side says just leave the silly booger in place, add a layer of insulation over it and get on with the build!
My practical, "long-term-view" side says take the time to cut it out and insulate properly - I'll be living in the space and will be happy I took the time to add extra insulation later!

I think next time I'm out at the bus I'll take another look under the panel and see just how MUCH fiberglass insulation is under there. If there's enough of a layer, I may go ahead and leave the panel in place, build over top of it, and figure out another way to cover the windows later.
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Old 07-13-2009, 11:09 PM   #6
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Re: Side panel removal... how?

I may be corrected but if you cut them out then you have to deal with the remaining jagged parts of the sides that will no longer sit nice and flat just below the window. I can tell you that when I took mine off before cutting the rear there was a ton of insulation crammed all down in there. Dont know if you could improve on it or not.
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Old 07-14-2009, 12:50 PM   #7
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Re: Side panel removal... how?

you might be able to lift up the bottom of the panel and shove more insulation in there, or pull out the existing and completely replace it without having to completely remove the panel. Good Luck
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Old 07-15-2009, 02:02 AM   #8
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Re: Side panel removal... how?

we cut them off like this
after cutting the panels off we found lots of moister in the walls, most of the windows have been leaking somehow, and that yellow insulation does not dry out but keep everything nice and moist and ready to rust. So if you plan to keep the bus for a while at least unscrew the panels and check by lifting them up to see what kind of conditions you find.
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Old 07-15-2009, 10:28 PM   #9
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Re: Side panel removal... how?

Good point, Swinada! Moisture damage is something I definitely suspect in one form or another. So... removing the panel may still be my best bet. I hope to move to a dryer climate, but since there's no pressure to move any time soon, I know I'll end up sticking around in this humid, wet east coast area. Taking care of the rust now would be a very good idea.

How far down the side did you decide to cut (I can't judge by the photo)? How did you cut your side panel? Did you use an angle grinder with a cutting wheel, or one of those fancy powered tin snips?

I have an angle grinder and am not afraid to use it (much )! Tomorrow I hope to add a lock to the door, but I should have time to experiment with the panel too. At the very least, I can measure out and mark the right place to cut.
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Old 07-16-2009, 12:51 AM   #10
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Re: Side panel removal... how?

I donít have fancy tin snips, the angle grinder is your friend when you work on a bus. Just remember to wear your safety stuff, goggles or safety glases with sideshield, gloves, long sleves etc.
I cut them off about 4" from the top but later removed all of it when we took the windows out.
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