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Old 03-13-2020, 06:02 PM   #1
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Going to try to save the flooring

Picked up my bus from the local school couple weeks ago. I got it for scrap price and I have some rust issues to deal with. First thing I did was remove most of the decals. Gave up after a while due to me still recovering from hand surgery. So I just covered the front school bus sign for now.

Addressed some initial rust areas with ospho while I removed the decals. More time for that later.

Had a leaking fuel tank so I replaced that and it was a fairly easy swap. Swapping the fuel tank I noticed the undercarriage rust was pretty much just surface rust

Now that Iíve got the fuel tanks done I wanted To get some idea of what kind of rust I have and how bad it actually is I started pulling up a floor section and this is what I see so farIMG_0499.jpg
I do have some serious rust in the back wall and cornerIMG_0502.jpg
IMG_0496.jpg
Iím trying to save some costs and I think I can leave this plywood after some trimming where the rust needs repaired. This is just a small part of rubber Iíve removed so far but Iím hoping for the best.
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Old 03-13-2020, 06:22 PM   #2
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Why do you want to save any of the old plywood? If you're doing an insulated floor, you're going to have to put a new layer of plywood over the insulation anyway, and then you'd have the original plywood layer underneath not doing anything except raising your floor by 3/4". If you remove the plywood (as well as the side and rear walls) you will know exactly what you have to deal with rust-wise. With corners that eaten away, you likely have a lot of damage that is still well-hidden (my corners looked about the same and I had to rebuild both of them).
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Old 03-13-2020, 06:38 PM   #3
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Why do you want to save any of the old plywood? If you're doing an insulated floor, you're going to have to put a new layer of plywood over the insulation anyway, and then you'd have the original plywood layer underneath not doing anything except raising your floor by 3/4". If you remove the plywood (as well as the side and rear walls) you will know exactly what you have to deal with rust-wise. With corners that eaten away, you likely have a lot of damage that is still well-hidden (my corners looked about the same and I had to rebuild both of them).
My plan for this bus is a camper in summer and transportation from ohio to florida a few times a year. I don't really think I want to insulate the floor. But, with that said if I do find a rusty floor while I'm power washing the undercarriage the I will remove the plywood to address the rust and then with the plywood removed I will probably insulate if anything to help keep road noise down.
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Old 03-14-2020, 03:12 AM   #4
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Based on the corners, I would guess the floor is rustedin many places, especially around the wheel wells. Remember, the underside is usually the LAST part of the metal to be eaten away by rust. The rust usualy is caused by leaks around the windows which run down the in side of the walls and soaks the plywood floor. This wet mass of wood lets the rust grow well from the inside of the bus to the outside.
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Old 03-18-2020, 04:10 PM   #5
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I drilled a couple holes with a hole saw to see whatís going on in a couple spots and I did find wet wood and surface rust. Looks like the plywood has to come up. I appreciate the feedback everyone
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Old 03-18-2020, 07:01 PM   #6
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I drilled a couple holes with a hole saw to see whatís going on in a couple spots and I did find wet wood and surface rust. Looks like the plywood has to come up. I appreciate the feedback everyone
I definitely recommend making 5/8" deep cross-cuts in the plywood with a skill saw and then prying up the squares one by one. Way easier than trying to take whole sheets up at once.
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Old 03-18-2020, 09:00 PM   #7
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I definitely recommend making 5/8" deep cross-cuts in the plywood with a skill saw and then prying up the squares one by one. Way easier than trying to take whole sheets up at once.
I second this approach. Use a crow bar with a claw foot to pop up the squares that have screws. Once the plywood is gone, use the claw to pop out the screws. They come out with a firm pull.
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Old 03-21-2020, 11:23 AM   #8
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A little progress today. No rust holes in floor so far. I expect to find some soon because a few windows are leaking IMG_0520.jpg
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Old 03-21-2020, 09:01 PM   #9
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You may want to tke a pick or screw driver to those dark brown spots in the foreground of the photo. It looks like there may be a few rust-through spots.
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Old 03-22-2020, 05:37 PM   #10
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Going to try to save the flooring

Iím so glad I took the advice and pulled the floor. I have a big hole to repair and a lot of wire brushing that will probably bring more holes.
IMG_0532.jpg
IMG_0535.jpg
The majority of rust is on the passenger side and from what I understand leaky windows caused this? I do see some places where water is flowing down the wall under the windows on this side.

The driver side not nearly as bad
IMG_0536.jpg
IMG_0537.jpg
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Old 03-22-2020, 06:07 PM   #11
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Iím so glad I took the advice and pulled the floor. I have a big hole to repair and a lot of wire brushing that will probably bring more holes.

The majority of rust is on the passenger side and from what I understand leaky windows caused this? I do see some places where water is flowing down the wall under the windows on this side.

The driver side not nearly as bad
I think those long, thin holes along the edges of the wheel wells are the only thing you're going to have to patch. The rest should be solid metal, just with some ugly surface rust that Ospho will handle well. It's honestly not nearly as bad as I was expecting.

It is almost certainly leaky windows that is the source of this rust. If you remove the walls, you should see rivers of rust down the inside of the outer walls from the source(s).

Your back wall is going to have pretty severe rust at the base as well. You should remove that back wall, too.
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Old 03-22-2020, 11:47 PM   #12
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Before I read Musigenesis' post, I was going to say the same. Especially the back wall. When you pull the wall, you may find more of that redish-brown swiss cheese. I bet you have little rust stains or bubbles on the outside in the back as well.
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Old 03-23-2020, 07:15 AM   #13
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Going to try to save the flooring

Yes, the back wall will be an issue. One concern is as I'm making my way up to the drivers seat I notice the rusty seat belt holders in the floor. This area will have to be redone as well.



Once I pull the wall panels will I find the seams in the outside walls themselves are leaking or is all this water coming from the windows?



At least I've got plenty of time before I can hit the road. On lockdown here in Ohio
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Old 03-23-2020, 02:48 PM   #14
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Most of the leakage is in the windows. Check the seams, of course. In the back, you may find water getting in through the lights as well.
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Old 03-23-2020, 08:55 PM   #15
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Most of the leakage is in the windows. Check the seams, of course. In the back, you may find water getting in through the lights as well.
That all looks similar to my floor. I was freaked until I used a flap wheel and got down to bare metal quick in a lot of areas. You're in good shape.

After pulling and resealing my windows I discovered more water. Took a bit but I found out it was getting into a couple of the ribs from the roof. It would then drip down through a rivet hole where my ceiling was, but mostly run down to the floor inside the rib (my ribs have fiberglass insulation in them). My roof is barely painted metal up there. I used some seam tape where needed for now. Getting closer to painting my roof.

Just saying something in case you come across something similar.
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Old 03-28-2020, 03:58 PM   #16
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Ooh! Thanks!
(I was wondering how I was going to manage that chore...)
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Old Yesterday, 06:31 AM   #17
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Geez, Leaks everywhere under every window. IMG_0565.jpg
IMG_0564.jpg
Iím debating on whether to hold off on inside work until I fix all the leaks. The weather here in Ohio is not dry enough to clean and recaulk though. I guess working on the inside is a must
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Old Yesterday, 05:55 PM   #18
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Geez, Leaks everywhere under every window. Attachment 42618
Attachment 42619
Iím debating on whether to hold off on inside work until I fix all the leaks. The weather here in Ohio is not dry enough to clean and recaulk though. I guess working on the inside is a must
The shot of the wall rust looks like surface rust. Not as much of a worry but should be addressed. If you can not work on sealing the outside right now, you can at least prepare the floor so that no additional damage can happen.
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Old Yesterday, 06:09 PM   #19
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The shot of the wall rust looks like surface rust. Not as much of a worry but should be addressed. If you can not work on sealing the outside right now, you can at least prepare the floor so that no additional damage can happen.
I kinda wonder how floor rust starts in the first place, even when the ultimate source is leaks. The floors are galvanized and painted, and some process would have to abrade the paint layer before rust could start acting on the sheet metal. I wonder if the vibration of driving causes the swollen plywood to rub off the paint?

It sure seems like plywood is a truly awful choice for school bus floors.
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Old Yesterday, 06:20 PM   #20
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None of my floors have been painted. Just galvanized.
The only real rust I've seen on floors was always when there's plywood in the equation.
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