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Old 01-14-2022, 06:38 PM   #1
Mini-Skoolie
 
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Painting Exterior of Bus

Is it necessary to sand the entire exterior of the bus prior to putting new paint on? I owned a motorcycle once that was sprayed with matte black truck bed liner. I discovered it was sprayed over an actual paint job when I spilled gasoline on the tank and it literally disintegrated the bed liner revealing a lovely conferedate flag paint job.

My point being, there was a legitimate paint job on the bike and someone literally sprayed bed liner over it. You couldn't tell. The bed liner had been on the motorcycle for years so could I not just do that to the bus provided it doesn't rain gasoline and melt it all off? Obviously if I invested the time into sanding the entire thing down, priming, etc it would be more effective and last longer. But I'll cut corners that aren't structural or quality of life when possible.

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Old 01-15-2022, 12:47 PM   #2
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You should definitely prep the entire surface for optimal results. Sanding and degreasing w acetone.

If you don't you'll probably end up with a bunch of chips in the paint the first time you get on the highway, or the truck wash..

The only places we have lost paint were the crevices where I couldn't get the sanding pad.
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Old 01-16-2022, 10:12 AM   #3
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If you don't properly prepare your substrate, you compromise paint adhesion. How much you compromise it is the question. The way I see it, you're going to do the work one way or another - either now or down the road via repairs, touch-ups, or even complete do-overs. Even a half-a$$ prep job is a lot of work, and even inexpensive paint is pricey when you're covering something the size of a bus. Maybe you'll get lucky cutting corners. Or maybe what prep you do, and paint you buy, will be a complete waste. Me: I'd rather spend a few extra days knocking out a great prep job, and a few extra dollars on quality paint, and then move on knowing I had put that job behind me for good.
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Old 01-16-2022, 10:51 AM   #4
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For those who've painted a whole bus...please share your thoughts or experience. Is there a chemical surface prep option that works?

I've painted medium duty ambulances and had good success with the sanding prep...but those are smaller and have lots of flat surfaces on which air or mechanical sanders work well. And I've painted parts of a bus, also using manual sanding/etching. But I've not painted an entire bus and I cringe at the thought of trying to sand all those ribs and overlapping seams and such.

So, is there a chemical surface prep alternative? I've looked online and only seem to get concrete etching options...not what I need. And the lack of many hits makes me think there's no such viable option. But someone here will know, for sure!
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Old 01-16-2022, 11:01 AM   #5
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What is your goal?

Quote:
Originally Posted by ChrisLifts View Post
Is it necessary to sand the entire exterior of the bus prior to putting new paint on? I owned a motorcycle once that was sprayed with matte black truck bed liner. I discovered it was sprayed over an actual paint job when I spilled gasoline on the tank and it literally disintegrated the bed liner revealing a lovely conferedate flag paint job.

My point being, there was a legitimate paint job on the bike and someone literally sprayed bed liner over it. You couldn't tell. The bed liner had been on the motorcycle for years so could I not just do that to the bus provided it doesn't rain gasoline and melt it all off? Obviously if I invested the time into sanding the entire thing down, priming, etc it would be more effective and last longer. But I'll cut corners that aren't structural or quality of life when possible.
It is not necessary to sand the entire exterior of the bus. Nor is it necessary to paint the entire exterior of the bus. You can do as little as you choose to your bus. But what is your need for painting it? Not to make it look good, clearly. Flakes and peals look worse than the factory yellow.

A wide stripe should be enough to not look like a working school bus. Just do the percentage of the bus that you are willing to do well. Leave the parts that you don't need to do, immediately. Skip the window & trim areas.

I passed this one this morning. Clearly not a school bus. Nothing to be re-done, the paint & prep that has been completed & will stay looking good. The owner can add more paint to the untouched areas later.

Start with an easy to reach area, prep, paint, progress, move-on. Do more painting next summer.
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Old 01-16-2022, 11:09 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rossvtaylor View Post
For those who've painted a whole bus...please share your thoughts or experience. Is there a chemical surface prep option that works?
If you have the original paint still on the bus (either as the only coating or hidden under an aftermarket / DIY paint job), and it still adheres well, I would be hesitant to pursue such options even if they were a viable choice (no idea) The OG paint is industrial quality sprayed to what I assume to be assembly-line 'perfection'. If it's still sticking well (which you can test), I don't think you have anything to gain, and lots to lose, by compromising it, which anything chemical would likely do.

Plus, chemicals are toxic, messy, leave behind a slurry of even more toxic nastiness (which has to go somewhere), and still won't prep the surface adequately for new paint to adhere.
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Old 01-16-2022, 11:29 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheHubbardBus View Post
If you don't properly prepare your substrate, you compromise paint adhesion. How much you compromise it is the question. The way I see it, you're going to do the work one way or another - either now or down the road via repairs, touch-ups, or even complete do-overs. Even a half-a$$ prep job is a lot of work, and even inexpensive paint is pricey when you're covering something the size of a bus. Maybe you'll get lucky cutting corners. Or maybe what prep you do, and paint you buy, will be a complete waste. Me: I'd rather spend a few extra days knocking out a great prep job, and a few extra dollars on quality paint, and then move on knowing I had put that job behind me for good.
Agree with Hubbard here: 2 days sanding / cleaning, 10 hours taping / masking, 1.5 hours painting

I made a pretty detailed write-up of our experience here: https://r.tapatalk.com/shareLink/top...ink_source=app
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Old 01-16-2022, 12:24 PM   #8
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Bear, that job looks awesome! The results of your hard work definitely show!
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Old 01-16-2022, 12:58 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheHubbardBus View Post
Plus, chemicals are toxic, messy, leave behind a slurry of even more toxic nastiness (which has to go somewhere), and still won't prep the surface adequately for new paint to adhere.
I get the mess part. Sanding creates lots of paint dust, too...which would actually be harder for to contain than a liquid that drips onto plastic...but I do completely understand. The "won't prep the surface adequately" part answers my question - it sounds like there's no shortcut to sanding. I appreciate your experience here...thanks!
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Old 01-16-2022, 03:26 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rossvtaylor View Post
I get the mess part. Sanding creates lots of paint dust, too...which would actually be harder for to contain than a liquid that drips onto plastic...but I do completely understand. The "won't prep the surface adequately" part answers my question - it sounds like there's no shortcut to sanding. I appreciate your experience here...thanks!
Point taken, and a fair point at that. I was thinking more of the toxicity as it applies to you and your immediate surroundings, particularly your skin.

Happy to help. But to be clear, my experience == 1 bus. Painted other stuff, and unfortunately tried the chemical route once (never, ever again), but just one bus.
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