Journey with Confidence RV GPS App RV Trip Planner RV LIFE Campground Reviews RV Maintenance Take a Speed Test Free 7 Day Trial ×


Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
 
Old 04-12-2017, 10:58 PM   #1
New Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2017
Posts: 3
Has anyone had serious issues with not reinsulating the bus?

Hi guys, first post! Am in the middle of converting a 2002 Thomas, 40', front engine. It's a beautiful bus, in great condition, with no rust visible. I am almost done ripping out the seats, which means I need to decide soon on what to do about insulation!

Now I see people ripping out everything, the floor, the sides, and sometimes even the ceiling, and I know they're doing it because they want a perfect bus that is well insulated in all temps, but my question is:

Who here has not removed the subflooring and walls, and just put down flooring/paneling over them? For these people (and these people only please), how well were you able to control the temperature in your bus? Did you experience any moisture problems or other issues?

What I'm looking for with this question is to hopefully have someone say, "I didn't do all that and between my AC unit and my small space heaters, I was easily able to keep it cool and warm as needed, and I parked in 20 degree weather as well as 100." But in the end I want the truth. Thanks for your stories and advice! If I need to rip out everything I will. Just trying to save some time and money ya know!

WWOOFTOUR is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-13-2017, 12:01 AM   #2
Bus Geek
 
brokedown's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2016
Location: Weeki Wachee, FL
Posts: 3,028
Year: 1997
Coachwork: Bluebird
Chassis: TC2000 FE
Engine: Cummins 5.9
Rated Cap: 72
I didn't rip out my floor or my factory insulation. I also have a Thomas, and we've been in the high 30s and bounced off triple digits. You probably will want to add a layer of Reflectix over the metal interior and windows, that made a huge difference for me.
brokedown is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-13-2017, 12:45 AM   #3
Bus Nut
 
onenationundergoat's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2015
Location: Statesville, North Carolina
Posts: 465
Year: 1993
Chassis: Thomas
Engine: International Navistar DT360
Rated Cap: 60
We left our insulation stock. I cut up reflectix for each window, and that helps a lot. With 1 window unit AC in the back of the bus and the reflectix in the windows the bus is tolerable in 100 degree weather, but still not exactly comfortably cool. The plan is to install a second unit in the front and duct the air through the bus. The main problem with the window AC is that it only cools the space closest to it. Since our bus has three walls in it, we have to have ducts to move the air into the other rooms.

As far as heat goes, we generally chase the warmth into Arizona for the winter, but it still often gets close to or a little below freezing. We have a generator and a little ceramic heater, and alternatively the propane Buddy Heater. The bus won't really hold the heat once the heater isn't actively running, though. The reflectix definitely helps keep the windows from sucking out all the heat. Although usually unless it's actually close to freezing we never bother using the heat, we just cuddle up with the dogs and cats and some thick blankets. If you have quality comforters (especially real down feathers) you'll never actually get cold while you're in bed. Using the propane does make a lot more condensation. It's definitely an annoyance and could produce a mold problem if it's too frequent. If we find mold in the bus I just make sure to bleach it.

For our floors I left the original sheet metal floor and original black rubber and covered it with plastic moisture barrier and foam underlayment and then cheap laminate wood flooring. If I did it again I'd put 1/2" foam board under there just for easy insulation. You're gonna lose the most heat from the windows, but it would be nice to use the bathroom in the middle of the night without freezing your toes off.
__________________
My build thread:https://www.skoolie.net/forums/f11/build-thread-for-haulin-oats-and-goats-11237.html#post113500
A gal, a guy, three cats, two dogs, one rabbit, and one goat, traveling the country together.
onenationundergoat is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-13-2017, 04:22 AM   #4
Bus Nut
 
superdave's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2015
Location: hills of sw virginia
Posts: 889
Year: 1996
Chassis: thomas
Engine: 8.3 cummins
Rated Cap: 11 window
I spent a month in my bus in 20* weather with 3 heaters going and almost froze to death, it was in the 30's every morning inside. now 1 heater on low keeps it about 60.
__________________
living in a bus down by the river.
my build pics
https://www.skoolie.net/forums/membe...albums942.html
superdave is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-13-2017, 08:02 AM   #5
Bus Crazy
 
somewhereinusa's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: Andrews,Indiana
Posts: 2,362
Year: 1991
Coachwork: Bluebird
Chassis: AARE
Engine: 3116 Cat 250hp
Rated Cap: Just the two of us.
I didn't pull any inside skin or factory insulation. I took up the floor covering but not the plywood. My bus came from the southwest so I had no rust to deal with.
I have 2 inch styrofoam on the floor with 3/4 plywood on top of original floor. Walls have 1 inch styrofoam and eventually ceiling will have 1/2 inch. The roof is painted with Buskote reflective paint. Most of my windows are double pane insulated RV type.
I have in floor radiant heat and two 12,000 BTU mini split ACs. We don't often see triple digit temps but I have been quite comfortable sitting in the sun in the high 90s. I have also been quite comfy at ten below, walking around in bare feet. I have noticed that the snow melts quicker where the ribs are. When I get the ceiling insulated that will lessen but, probably not go away.
Occasionally in cold weather I get slight condensation on the non double pane windows.
somewhereinusa is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-13-2017, 10:11 AM   #6
Bus Nut
 
Join Date: Mar 2016
Location: Greater Houston, Tx.
Posts: 588
I don't own a bus yet, but have wondered about this question, alot.
Would this be a good place for folks to share what insulation came in their busses? It seems to me that different manufactures used different, and amounts of insulations. Where the bus came from is a major factor, too.
If you plan to spend most of your time in moderate climates I'm thinkin' that you can get by with less. I also think it's important to know what lurks under the plywood, and after getting to that point, you might as well insulate it.
Thanks
1olfart is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-13-2017, 11:43 AM   #7
Bus Geek
 
Robin97396's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2016
Location: Willamina, Oregon
Posts: 6,409
Coachwork: 97 Bluebird TC1000 5.9
WWOOFTOUR

Before you discount my build consider that I did spend one winter in this bus with only the factory insulation. I'm one that eventually took out all the wall and ceiling panels after the first winter so I could insulate properly. It's not that hard to hold heat inside while uninsulated, but the bus cools off very quickly when the heat is off. Snow didn't tend to gather on the roof very much that first year.

This year I had the spray foam insulation in, but only had 2/3rds of the interior ceiling completed, leaving some of the ribs exposed on the interior of the bus. The snow wasn't melting as much this winter as most of the ribs were covered by the partially completed interior. While completing my interior over the winter there was definitely less melting of the snow where the ribs are. Additionally I know I've used much less heat from any source this winter. No signs of condensation except on the windows.

I have always wanted to keep all my windows, but they suck heat like nobody's business. I cut 1/2" rigid insulation to fit inside each window frame which made a major difference in heat retention. Now I'm able to heat this bus with one 600 watt electric/ceramic heater most of the time. Occasionally I need supplemental heat on a cold morning to bring temperatures up quickly, but I've used less than 15 gallons of propane over the entire winter to supplement my electric heater.

Even with insulation and a partially completed interior any exposed ribs on the interior showed signs of condensation. I was cussing up a storm while trimming the spray foam insulation, but after seeing the difference I'll easily choose to strip the interior and insulate again if I get another bus. Worth it for this location, definitely!

I've been a little shocked to see people simply strip out the bus seats and then start framing up a 2x4 structure inside the bus. Perhaps that's an effort to retain the structural rigidity of the bus? That's kind of like building a room inside the bus, where the room is insulated but the bus isn't. I don't like the loss of space inside the bus from a stick built interior, but that's just my opinion.

I think it all depends on what part of the country you live in and how you intend to use your bus.
__________________
Robin
Nobody's Business
Robin97396 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-13-2017, 01:58 PM   #8
Bus Geek
 
EastCoastCB's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2014
Location: Eustis FLORIDA
Posts: 23,689
Year: 1999
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: Freighliner FS65
Engine: Cat 3126
Rated Cap: 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by 1olfart View Post
I don't own a bus yet, but have wondered about this question, alot.
Would this be a good place for folks to share what insulation came in their busses? It seems to me that different manufactures used different, and amounts of insulations. Where the bus came from is a major factor, too.
If you plan to spend most of your time in moderate climates I'm thinkin' that you can get by with less. I also think it's important to know what lurks under the plywood, and after getting to that point, you might as well insulate it.
Thanks
I've not seen any regular school buses insulated with anything except fiberglass batting. My bus had a bunch of it. Even came with fiberglass IN the ribs!
Good riddance, the stuff is gross, imo.
EastCoastCB is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-13-2017, 02:37 PM   #9
Bus Geek
 
Robin97396's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2016
Location: Willamina, Oregon
Posts: 6,409
Coachwork: 97 Bluebird TC1000 5.9
I noticed batting in the ribs too, as I was filling them with foam. The canned foam nozel fits right into the rivet holes. I know it's not practical to think I'm getting any insulating value from foaming the inside of the ribs, but it does block those ribs from allowing any air flow which might affect heating issues. Foaming the ribs blocks all those hundreds of rivet holes. Or possibly I was just bored during the winter.
__________________
Robin
Nobody's Business
Robin97396 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-13-2017, 03:27 PM   #10
Bus Crazy
 
Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: Salt Lake City Utah
Posts: 1,635
Year: 2000
Chassis: Blue Bird
Engine: ISC 8.3
Eeek! Canned (single-part urethane Great Stuff and similar) may remain gooey and corrosive in a closed space like the inside of a rib. The stuff needs moisture to cure and it won't be getting much in there. What's done is done on yours, but I mention it lest others might come along and follow suit not realizing the risk. There may be foams that will properly cure in that usage, but there certainly are foams that won't so a person should determine whether their particular choice is or isn't suited to go inside the ribs.

A small squirt of foam at each hole, just enough to form a plug, likely would work out fine. In writing the paragraph above I was thinking about filling the entire rib cavity with foam.
family wagon is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-13-2017, 04:16 PM   #11
Bus Geek
 
Robin97396's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2016
Location: Willamina, Oregon
Posts: 6,409
Coachwork: 97 Bluebird TC1000 5.9
I did fill the entire rib cavity with foam. As I've said there was some wool insulation inside the ribs. Actually I got that idea from someone else that did the same thing last year. I hadn't planned on foaming the ribs but after the heavy rains in the fall there was considerable leakage coming out of the lowest rivet hole on each rib just above the chair rail. I didn't want the rib tubes to fill with water as I plugged rivet holes, so the other option was to fill them with foam. I'm pretty sure they had enough moisture to aid in setting properly.

The foam actually did seem to set up just fine, which you can test by inserting a probe through the rivet holes. I didn't want the rib tubes to be full of water so I don't think there were a lot of options.

I do not know how that much water got into the rib tubes. My best guess is drainage was blocked when the side pockets below the chair rail were filled with foam. The expansion of the foam inside the tubes actually ejected water.

I didn't want a squirt at each rivet hole because the ribs would simply fill with water anytime there was rain. There was no lack of moisture inside the rib tubes and the foam set up just fine. I've had no leaks since then, and it's been a very wet winter.

Maybe it was a mistake. It stopped my leaks just fine.
__________________
Robin
Nobody's Business
Robin97396 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-13-2017, 06:04 PM   #12
Bus Nut
 
Jolly Roger's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2015
Location: North carolina
Posts: 651
Year: 1986
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: Ford
Engine: Detroit 8.2
Rated Cap: 60 bodies
Know that it did not stop your leaks it is slowly absorbing them like a sponge.
I think a full exterior seal is in order and the sooner the better
Jolly Roger is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-13-2017, 06:59 PM   #13
Bus Geek
 
Robin97396's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2016
Location: Willamina, Oregon
Posts: 6,409
Coachwork: 97 Bluebird TC1000 5.9
You've obviously asked yourself "How did that much water get into the rib tubes?" No, there is not a hole in the roof above every rib that allows them to fill up. In that case I'd need sheet metal rather than a full exterior seal.

I believe this lower wall was designed to drain water that gets under the skin from the windows. Since my foam guy filled everything up, apparently the water that normally drains out through the skirt comes from the windows and was backing up into the rib tubes quite consistently throughout the bus. If this bus was leaking through the roof it wouldn't be dripping out only at the lowest rivet holes on the wall. It would certainly have dripped out through the rivet holes in the ceiling also.

I believe the water backed up and went into the ribs, caused by the overzealous foam guy plugging all my drainage in the lower side walls. Foam actually came out through the previous drainage areas at the bottom of the skirt. I figure I could have crawled underneath and drilled out the rib tubes from the bottom edge during the deluge last fall but I'd have almost certainly been electricuted. I elected to test the foam on one rib, liked what it did and followed with the other ribs the next day.

After this oddly terrible Oregon winter, if I'm not having leaks by now it's not going to leak unless I fully submerge this bus. After all the holes I've sealed in this big box I'm pretty sure it would float. I lived in this bus for months while the entire interior and insulation was stripped out. If this was a leaker I'd know after nearly two years. Condensation on all that steel, yes. Leaks, no.

I am getting to the seam sealer portion of this build, just before I paint it. That's about all it's going to get. Seam sealer and an ugly paint job.
__________________
Robin
Nobody's Business
Robin97396 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-13-2017, 10:01 PM   #14
New Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2017
Posts: 3
Thanks Guys! Appreciate the quick and good feedback. Can't say for sure how I feel about reinsulating yet. Maybe knowing the cost to reinsulate would be helpful. To anyone who has reinsulated, can you share the costs? The costs as I see them would include insulation, boards to hold the insulation in place, maybe some tape or vapor seal sheet of some kind, and the subflooring itself. No need for foam prices, since I definitely am too much of an amateur for that.

Also, so everyone knows what I'll use the bus for, I plan to drive it across the country for 6 months in 2017. I'll start in June in the deep south where high temps will be in the 90's, and go out west where lows could be in the 30's. The bus will probably end up in Austin, TX as a Airbnb rental. Austin gets highs of 100 in the summer and lows in the 30s in the winter. Am really more concerned about keeping the bus cool, than hot.
WWOOFTOUR is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-14-2017, 05:46 AM   #15
Bus Nut
 
superdave's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2015
Location: hills of sw virginia
Posts: 889
Year: 1996
Chassis: thomas
Engine: 8.3 cummins
Rated Cap: 11 window
if your going to be in texas in the summer you need to spray foam everything. they put over 100000 btu's of ac in a bus for a reason.
__________________
living in a bus down by the river.
my build pics
https://www.skoolie.net/forums/membe...albums942.html
superdave is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-11-2021, 06:38 PM   #16
New Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2021
Posts: 9
So did you end up insulating your bus?
I'm wondering if I should as well..
curious to know how it went for you.
Happy you did or didn't? how come?
Chrystals0405 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-11-2021, 10:36 PM   #17
Bus Crazy
 
DeMac's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2020
Location: Florida
Posts: 1,237
Coachwork: Integrated Coach Corp.
Chassis: RE-300 42ft
Engine: 466ci
Rated Cap: 90
Wink

Hi, Chrystals0405. OP logged out May 2017, no return.

I see that of your seven posts today, most are with regard to not insulating yourself from the effects of mother natures creatures, spores, and temperamental weather.

Most animals on this planet insulate their burrows, caves, nests, hives, etc. because, its comfortable. Maybe you've already been insulated from the world and don't have all that experience.

Some humans have slept outdoors all their lives, on the ground, with & without sleeping bags, in tents, canvas pop-ups, conversion vans, wood sheds, under bridges......

I take for granted that everyone converting a bus is an avid camper moving up to the next level. We went camping as a family growing up, that's just what we did.
My dad rv converted a big mail truck in the 70s. I was both a Cub & Boy Scout as a kid, experienced some homelessness as a teen, then the military for some real outdoor fun.

Dads uninsulated conversion was no more comfortable than our canvas pop-up or any standard tent. My current pull behind RV is insulated and fairly comfortable. I have a shipping container that's uninsulated & windowless, yet it has better climate control than my barely insulated bus. I'm inside all three, every day.

No, people dont really need to insulate a steel box to stay alive in it. People can live in tents or less. But can YOU live an uninsulated life? Bugs, mold, your own stink. Soldier up, if you want to. This soldier has had enough of the bugs life.
__________________
Ceiling: Framing & Electrical Rough-in
Convert Hatch to AC & Roof Patch
🇺🇸 Frederick Douglass: "If there is no struggle, there is no progress.
DeMac is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Tags
air conditioning, flooring, heat, insulation, moisture

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


» Featured Campgrounds

Reviews provided by

Powered by vBadvanced CMPS v3.2.3

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 11:31 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 4
Copyright ©2000 - 2023, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.