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Old 01-24-2010, 09:04 AM   #1
Bus Nut
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: MASS
Posts: 449
Year: 1993
Coachwork: THOMAS
Engine: CAT 3116
Rated Cap: 83
Tips for removing bus lettering

A little FYI for everybody that still needs to remove lettering from their bus...

VINYL LETTERING: If the bus sheet metal is cold, you will want to heat up the vinyl and bus metal with a heat gun enough to be able to pull each letter or number off in a single piece or couple large pieces. DO NOT heat too much or you will melt the adhesive and it will NOT come off with the vinyl. It takes a little practice. But if you do it right you should be able to peel the vinyl (with adhesive) in a couple pieces.

Skoolies that are in a warm climate, try just peeling the vinyl off without any heat first. And if it comes off in tiny little pieces than you will need to apply some heat. To get the peeling started, get a razor blade and lift a corner of a letter or number, than peel with your finger. I don't recommend scraping everything off with a razor blade because you will end up with chips in the yellow paint that will need to be sanded and feathered before painting. Its just a lot more work you will have to deal with down the road.

Another option is a rubber wheel attachment for a drill made by 3M. You just put it on a drill and go to town rubbing off all the vinyl.

ADHESIVE REMOVAL: If you have all your lettering off and you still have all that stubborn adhesive left on the bus. Here are a couple ways to remove it.

1. 3M Adhesive remover. Spray on let sit. It should turn the adhesive into a jelly form and wipe off. I believe GOO GONE does the same thing.
2. I have personally found LACQUER THINNER to be the quickest and easiest way to get rid of old adhesive. Wear a thick set of rubber gloves, saturate adhesive with a sponge wipe off. It might take a little while depending how thick the adhesive is.


1. Easiest and quickest way is a Dual Action air sander with 120 grit paper. Sand until lettering is gone. Pretty simple.
2. OVEN CLEANER. Thats right OVEN CLEANER! Spray on the painted lettering covering the entire letter or number. Let sit until it becomes soft and wet. At this point you can either...
A. spray off with garden hose and repeat until all lettering is gone.
B. scrape with putty knife, then rinse off

You will probably need to use some Lacquer thinner to clean it up after.

3. You could also use an automotive paint remover that you can get at you local auto parts store. Follow instructions on can.

I really think sanding will be the cleanest and easiest way to do it. Using paint removers and oven cleaner is very toxic stuff. It will burn your skin the second it touches it. Not to mention the gooey paint mess once the chemicals "melt" the paint.

If you don't have a DA sander and compressor you could try an electric palm sander or whatever you feel comfortable with. Just try not to sand beyond the lettering.

BUSBOZO is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-02-2010, 12:49 AM   #2
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Join Date: Feb 2010
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Year: 1983
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: Blue Bird Saf-T-Liner
Engine: 3208 Caterpillar Deisel
Rated Cap: 68
Re: Tips for removing bus lettering

i found plastic razor blades that work amazingly well. super cheap like 2 for a $1, I found them at a fiberglassing store but I'm sure paint store would have them.
bigbluebus is offline   Reply With Quote

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