We painted the bus this weekend-what a job!
A friend offerred us the use of his sprayer and compressor, so Saturday I got some industrial/commercial vehicle paint. Supposed to be very durable, high gloss, doesn't need a clearcoat. Definitely not cheap, but I don't want to do the prep work more than once, that's for sure!
Came home, started removing the lights, grille, and sanding the painted out lettering on the sides, hood and back corners. I decided to leave the flashers in place for now, until I can find some clear 7" lenses and figure out the (removed) flasher wiring.
I took off the brake, turn and backup lights, as well as all the lights on the top of the bus. I need to buy a splice kit, as all the upper lights seemed to be hardwired in and I had to cut the wire to pull the lights. I think when I re-attach everything I'll solder and shrinkwrap all the wires.
Washing the bus was fun, but was it dirty!! I'd guess the previous owner never washed it in all the time he had it. The paint is oxidzed in places, and there are a few rusty spots, but overall the paint is in good condition. There are a couple of little dings on the sides, but no major metal damage. I was concerned about leaky roof and windows, but only a little of water got in near the bottom step. I'll need to look at the seals on the door to make sure they keep the weather out.
The bus has drawn blood. Lots of sweat, now blood, so far no tears...
My son took the rubber off the door and removed the metal strips on the bottom, then I had to disconnect the door from the electric opener. I sure hope he remembers how to put it all back together, as I was taping windows and masking the engine.
Saturday night I built a ladder to get up to the top of the bus. My 10-foot stepladder was too short. It was quite a thrill standing on top of the bus. Surprisingly sturdy, too!
Here's a few more pics of the taped up bus.
Sunday morning bright and early I was outside taping the windows, then wiping the roof with a degreaser/wax remover that the paint place recommended. I used this on the rest of the areas we painted, however sanding was limited to the roof, the few rust spots I found, and the sides where I sanded out the school district letters and numbers. The old paint was pretty oxidized, so I'm hoping the new stuff will stick to it.
Our friend showed up with his sprayer, air compressor and girlfriend, mixed up the first batch of paint, and tested the spray pattern, then went to work on the back corner.
After watching him a while, I started painting, and soon found out that auto paint is quite a bit different from the sanding sealer I sprayed in a furniture factory 30 years ago. My first efforts had a lot of paint runs, which I'll need to sand out. After a while our friends left, and I continued painting in the 95-degree heat.
You can just barely see the lettering on the front where I didn't sand it out. Another project for a later day.
I masked off the Bluebird symbol and top stripe--thinking of what colors to use. Maybe a gunmetal gray. I also need to pull the headlights and paint the grille and headlight holder things. AND get all these lights back on and working--2 weeks until our camping trip!
The door with removed rubber--I wanted to replace it with an RV door, but this plan has been vetoed, so I want to figure out how to block the center hing and make it a one-piece door. I'd like to remove the electric opener but will need to do some searches on other people's buses to see how the open/close/doorknow/lock setups have been done. I'm not comfortable with a battery-driven opener being the only way into the bus--we are in deep $#@!@ if the battery goes dead and the emergency door latch is strapped to keep people from getting into the bus.
After I used up the first batch of paint, I stopped for lunch and a long Gatorade break. I hadn't realized it was so hot, and was starting to get funny-headed from the heat. When I went back to work at 5 pm, it was cooler, and I felt comfortable going on the roof to paint. I ended up mixing up 2 more batches of paint, using all of the first gallon of paint and the two bottles of additives that came with it. All in all, I'm pleased with how it came out. Now, instead of an aging short bus, it looks like a Wonder bread truck!