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Old 10-31-2019, 01:54 AM   #1
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Insulation

What is the conventional wisdom regarding insulation, specifically, the need (or lack thereof) to strip off the interior metal ceiling of a bus and / or add insulation? How much is typically there already? Can more insulation be blown in without removing the ceiling? I anticipate changing out windows and installing interior walls with insulation but it seems a shame to tear out an interior overhead that's in good condition unless necessary. Incidentally, my biggest concern is not extreme cold but the searing heat of the desert Southwest, where most of my adventures are planned. Thanks in advance to all you experienced hands!
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Old 10-31-2019, 02:29 AM   #2
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This is what I've been told several times, when I was asking the same question
If you're going to insulate anything at all, make it the ceiling. Its the most important.
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Old 10-31-2019, 03:49 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by vi_king2013@yahoo View Post
This is what I've been told several times, when I was asking the same question
If you're going to insulate anything at all, make it the ceiling. Its the most important.
Makes sense. So is it necessary to remove the ceiling entirely to do that?
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Old 10-31-2019, 07:10 AM   #4
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Yes. All the panels will need to come down and then inspect for leaks.
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Old 10-31-2019, 02:20 PM   #5
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Some folks leave the original walls and ceiling. They don't add any insulation. If you are spending 100% of your time in moderate climates you can get away with that.

My idea of bus travel involves changing locations to stay in nice weather. It doesn't always work out that way.

I spent six years bouncing around the country in my first bus. During that time I had several occasions that I got stuck in inclimate conditions. Mineapolis in February and Phoenix in August.

I have a favorite camping spot less than 30 minutes from where I live. We only go up there when the weather is nice. I could get away with not insulting the bus. If the weather turns bad we go home. It extended travel is in your plans, bite the bullet and pull the panels and insulate well.
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Old 11-01-2019, 07:07 AM   #6
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Check for leaks

I plan in staying in warmer weather as well.

But...my lovely bride gets cold easily, so we're insulating.

I'm glad that we ripped out the ceiling and walls because I found leaks that weren't obvious when it was all together. I would have hated to have put all the work and materials into an interior only to find water dripping on it!
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Old 11-01-2019, 08:24 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by ted@campbycanoe.com View Post
I plan in staying in warmer weather as well.

But...my lovely bride gets cold easily, so we're insulating.

I'm glad that we ripped out the ceiling and walls because I found leaks that weren't obvious when it was all together. I would have hated to have put all the work and materials into an interior only to find water dripping on it!
Those last 2 sentences should be part of the skoolie creed
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Old 11-01-2019, 01:59 PM   #8
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I highly recommend removing the wall and ceiling sheet metal, and then removing the crappy insulation, and putting your own insulation in, for a few reasons:


- There could be leaks. I didn't think there were any in mine, and it turns out two of the roof panels had separated by a fraction of a milimeter and the intruding water had rusted some of the ceiling ribs. I patched this leak on the outside using epoxy and fiberglass.


- You're putting all this work in to make a living space as luxurious as you want--it would be a wasted opportunity to leave the old, crappy insulation. Do it right the first time.


- I almost took this route with the exterior lights--I thought, why bother replacing them, that's just a lot of extra work and who cares really if they're LED or incandescent. But then they started failing, I got pulled over for having multiple lights out, and I finally caved and spent the time to replace them all and I'm really happy I did



- For my bus, the ribs are pretty much 1" thick, so I just picked up 1" thick foam board insulation that fit snugly in place, creating a flush surface on which I installed shiplap boards. It looks really sharp:



I know some people just leave it as is, because it is quite a time sink, but in my opinion, if you don't want to spend the time to do it right, then you should just buy an RV (but that's just my opinion, no hate on those who leave it)
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Old 11-04-2019, 03:24 PM   #9
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Ceiling treatments

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Originally Posted by TheArgobus View Post
I highly recommend removing the wall and ceiling sheet metal, and then removing the crappy insulation, and putting your own insulation in, for a few reasons:


- There could be leaks. I didn't think there were any in mine, and it turns out two of the roof panels had separated by a fraction of a milimeter and the intruding water had rusted some of the ceiling ribs. I patched this leak on the outside using epoxy and fiberglass.


- You're putting all this work in to make a living space as luxurious as you want--it would be a wasted opportunity to leave the old, crappy insulation. Do it right the first time.


- I almost took this route with the exterior lights--I thought, why bother replacing them, that's just a lot of extra work and who cares really if they're LED or incandescent. But then they started failing, I got pulled over for having multiple lights out, and I finally caved and spent the time to replace them all and I'm really happy I did



- For my bus, the ribs are pretty much 1" thick, so I just picked up 1" thick foam board insulation that fit snugly in place, creating a flush surface on which I installed shiplap boards. It looks really sharp:



I know some people just leave it as is, because it is quite a time sink, but in my opinion, if you don't want to spend the time to do it right, then you should just buy an RV (but that's just my opinion, no hate on those who leave it)
Thanks for the advice--that goes for everybody! I have abandoned any thoughts of leaving in an existing ceiling.

On a side-note, Argobus, it looks like you've incorporated a household-type A/C unit on the front end of your ceiling. It would be interesting to know how you did that--especially how it's finished on the exterior.

Again, many thanks!

- Jim
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Old 11-04-2019, 10:46 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by My Great Escape View Post
What is the conventional wisdom regarding insulation, specifically, the need (or lack thereof) to strip off the interior metal ceiling of a bus and / or add insulation? How much is typically there already? Can more insulation be blown in without removing the ceiling? I anticipate changing out windows and installing interior walls with insulation but it seems a shame to tear out an interior overhead that's in good condition unless necessary. Incidentally, my biggest concern is not extreme cold but the searing heat of the desert Southwest, where most of my adventures are planned. Thanks in advance to all you experienced hands!
I can personally attest to spray foam and itís qualities not only as an insulation but as a sound proofing on a Skokie. I really cannot express how overlooked this aspect is. My bus is so quiet now since the spray foam. Also working in it tonight with a light on and it was warm in 40 degree weather. I removed all the side windows though and only have a few even windows.
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Old 11-04-2019, 11:19 PM   #11
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I can personally attest to spray foam and itís qualities not only as an insulation but as a sound proofing on a Skokie. I really cannot express how overlooked this aspect is. My bus is so quiet now since the spray foam. Also working in it tonight with a light on and it was warm in 40 degree weather. I removed all the side windows though and only have a few even windows.
Sorry for the grammatical errors. Supposed to say Skoolie and RV windows, not even.
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Old 11-05-2019, 06:55 AM   #12
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Sorry for the grammatical errors. Supposed to say Skoolie and RV windows, not even.
You can edit your posts for up to (I think) 90 minutes or so.
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Old 11-05-2019, 01:04 PM   #13
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After reading this I think I'm going to pull down those ceiling panels..... Arrggg my shoulders r gonna kill me over this.....
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Old 11-05-2019, 01:14 PM   #14
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After reading this I think I'm going to pull down those ceiling panels..... Arrggg my shoulders r gonna kill me over this.....
I dunno, we insulated with 1/2" foamboard over the metal ceiling and put a layer of 1/4" plywood over that and it's a helluva lot better than keeping the metal. We also have solar panels and a deck to act as shading, but even before we put the deck on it was dramatically better than the metal ceiling. Not saying you shouldn't pull the ceiling and insulate....just that it can be made better than factory if you thin that would be good enough.
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Old 11-05-2019, 01:56 PM   #15
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Do you have rivets in the ceiling?

Based on advice from found on this forum, I went with the "air-chisel punch the center fo rhe rivets, then air-chisel (blade)" the rest of the rivets. Although I did feel some shoulder soreness the next day, it actually went pretty quickly and smoothly!
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Old 11-06-2019, 07:16 AM   #16
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Do you have rivets in the ceiling?

Based on advice from found on this forum, I went with the "air-chisel punch the center fo rhe rivets, then air-chisel (blade)" the rest of the rivets. Although I did feel some shoulder soreness the next day, it actually went pretty quickly and smoothly!
Hey, what tools did you use for this? I need to do this to my bus now. I had originally cut out the parts of the ceiling panel between the ribs leaving strips of the ceiling panel still riveted to the ribs themselves - this was after a soul-crushing attempt to remove the panels by hand using a hammer, punch and chisel.

I have a 150 PSI pancake compressor - is that sufficient for this? Harbor Freight seems to sell the air tool for this, but not the punch or the chisel to go with it for this job.
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Old 11-06-2019, 08:15 AM   #17
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Harbor Freight seems to sell the air tool for this, but not the punch or the chisel to go with it for this job.
The punch and chisel are included with the gun. I got about halfway through my job, then the tool broke, but HF replaced it with no issues ("Set it on that counter and go get a new one" was the extent of their return process ).

I used a 2 HP, 8 gallon compressor......didn't have to wait on it as often as I thought I would.
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Old 11-06-2019, 09:51 AM   #18
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Yup, like plfking, I used the harbor freight air chisel and the bits that came with it.

I did modify the bits, though. I used a grinder to narrow up the end of the punch bit so it fit the center of the rivets better. I also used a grinder to get a sharper edge on the bit with a notch in it.

I have an 8 gallon compressor as well. I don't think you'd have to stop much for punching out the centers, but maybe a a little for cutting off the rivets.
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Old 11-06-2019, 10:51 AM   #19
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Jim, here's a pic of the outside of the A/C... but I screwed up and won't be able to run it while driving unless I can manually turn on/off the fan. Here's a detailed post on what I did and also how I screwed it up.






Here's how I removed the rivets on the ceiling (I'm not saying it's the right way, just how I did it):


I picked up an 8 gallon air compressor and an air tool kit that included 5 different types of chisels, one of which has a little notch in the middle. I don't think I ever figured out how to use the punch air tool to remove the middle of the rivet... I think just used a grinder to basically cut a line through the middle of the rivet... then I pulled like hell to bend the sheet metal down until I could get the underside of the rivet with the air chisel to chip it away. A few of the rivets were stubborn and I had to use the grinder to remove them much later. It was far from efficient but it worked. Even though it sucked, I found putting the wood ceiling up was even harder on my shoulders.
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Old 11-09-2019, 07:51 PM   #20
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renoving rivets

I have removed rivets for suspension pieces on small trucks. Easiest way I found was to use a grinder with a zip disc and grind a cross into the head of the rivet. Use a flat chisel of your choice to punch the remains away. Then use a pin punch to push the rivet thru. Sometimes the 2 holes weren't lined up quite right and the rivet would lock into place. Then a drill bit would work.
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