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Old 07-19-2021, 08:38 PM   #1
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Sealing screw holes from rub rails with rivets?

Hi friends,

I want to remove the rub rails to give the bus a cleaner look. I know there is rust/dirt behind them, which is really just another reason to remove them.

I can remove them by removing the screws holding them in, but then I need to patch the holes.

The most effective way of doing it is to weld them shut like Michael from Navigation Nowhere (following this guys videos). I don't know how to weld and while I would like to learn I am considering the next best option which I think would be to just place a rivet where the hole is with some seam sealer.

What are the negatives?

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Old 07-19-2021, 09:01 PM   #2
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FYI the rub rails are a safety feature. They serve to distribute the energy from a side impact over a larger area than just the impact point. Without them, a car (or more likely a truck since they're higher up) hitting the side would be more likely to smash the side and penetrate into the interior.

If nobody's going to be riding in the back of your bus then this probably doesn't matter, but even so it seems like this would be a lot of work for no real gain. There probably is not going to be significant rust behind them, since they have drainage ports along their lower edges and they're galvanized.
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Old 07-29-2021, 09:37 AM   #3
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FYI the rub rails are a safety feature. They serve to distribute the energy from a side impact over a larger area than just the impact point. Without them, a car (or more likely a truck since they're higher up) hitting the side would be more likely to smash the side and penetrate into the interior.

If nobody's going to be riding in the back of your bus then this probably doesn't matter, but even so it seems like this would be a lot of work for no real gain. There probably is not going to be significant rust behind them, since they have drainage ports along their lower edges and they're galvanized.
I'm still inclined to remove them to give it a cleaner look. The bus came from a dusty place and it has accumulated a ton of dirt behind them. There is some evidence that water has gotten through the screw holes, but that might be due to the amount of dirt that has accumulated behind the rails themselves.

Another challenge has come of this; I cannot find closed-end steel/stainless steel rivets. Will open-end rivets do if I apply some seam sealer to the end of the mandrel? Or should I abandon the rivets and use screws instead?

If anyone knows where I can buy closed-end steel rivets in the Toronto area please let me know.
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Old 07-29-2021, 09:53 AM   #4
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Jay Cee Sales & Rivet, Inc.
https://rivetsinstock.com/rivets/bli...nd-rivets.html
Same day shipping.
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Old 07-29-2021, 10:54 AM   #5
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Jay Cee Sales & Rivet, Inc.
https://rivetsinstock.com/rivets/bli...nd-rivets.html
Same day shipping.

I'll second that company.

Also, the rivet when pulled, closes it self on the bulb side...
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Old 07-29-2021, 06:46 PM   #6
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I'll second that company.

Also, the rivet when pulled, closes it self on the bulb side...
It's already closed before you ever touch it.
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Old 07-29-2021, 06:58 PM   #7
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then let me guess the wall chair rail is going to be removed inside for insulating and interior finishes..


what the hell is the reason to have a school bus?? its gonna be as weak as a cardboard Camper!!
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Old 07-29-2021, 07:36 PM   #8
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If one wants a smooth look, rivets are not going to achieve it.

You can fill holes with 'bondo' instead of welding, how big are they?
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Old 07-30-2021, 09:19 AM   #9
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If one wants a smooth look, rivets are not going to achieve it.

You can fill holes with 'bondo' instead of welding, how big are they?
3/16 holes, bondo would fall right through without something reinforcing it from behind. Hardened spray foam would hold it well but I won't be doing that for some time.

I would be happy if the rub rails weren't there. Despite some people here thinking its a poor decision to remove them, believe me there is a ton of dirt behind them. A lot of the screws holding them to the bus have rusted away. There was a ton of dirt in the crevices behind the seat rail and I think this is how it got in. I wish I knew how to weld, perhaps that is a skill I'll pick up in my later years.
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Old 07-30-2021, 09:46 AM   #10
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if the bus is so rusty that the rub rail screws are rusted out id send it!
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Old 07-30-2021, 10:55 AM   #11
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You can use lead too, would call it soldering not welding to fill holes.
Google 'how to fill holes in bodywork' shows lots of methods.

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Old 07-30-2021, 11:02 AM   #12
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The rub rails are definitely structural part of the bus body.
However, you can eliminate them AND make it even STRONGER by using sprayfoam,
creating a foam sandwich between the outer skin and an inner skin, which can be something other than steel.

btw, if foamed, can't be welding or soldering on it afterwards.

Here, not scientific, but a good simple demo to get the point across..

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Old 07-30-2021, 12:26 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BeNimble View Post
The rub rails are definitely structural part of the bus body.
However, you can eliminate them AND make it even STRONGER by using sprayfoam,
creating a foam sandwich between the outer skin and an inner skin, which can be something other than steel.

btw, if foamed, can't be welding or soldering on it afterwards.

Here, not scientific, but a good simple demo to get the point across..

So you're saying spray foam is stronger than steel bars?
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Old 07-30-2021, 01:04 PM   #14
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So you're saying spray foam is stronger than steel bars?
The village idiot strikes again.
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Old 07-30-2021, 03:36 PM   #15
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The village idiot strikes again.
Maybe I am, could you elaborate on your statement?
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Old 08-02-2021, 12:32 PM   #16
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The village idiot strikes again.
I think someone may have gotten a vacation.
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Old 08-04-2021, 03:33 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shaymcquaid View Post
I'll second that company.

Also, the rivet when pulled, closes it self on the bulb side...

Yes the rivet body is "closed" on the back side. I think what is being considered/discussed is how to seal the diameter and head.


I did exactly the same process and had the same concerns. I solved it by applying a very small amount of silicone RTV to the rivet body just under the head. Insert and set the rivet. You will see that the silicone sealant works perfect (could also use something other than silicone).
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Old 08-04-2021, 03:36 PM   #18
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FYI, I just had to cut away a section of my rub rail because it had been smashed in a prior accident. This is what it looked like underneath:

IMG_1125.png

A little bit of dirt, no rust - on a bus that badly rusted basically everywhere else.
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Old 08-04-2021, 04:00 PM   #19
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FYI, I just had to cut away a section of my rub rail because it had been smashed in a prior accident. This is what it looked like underneath:
A little bit of dirt, no rust - on a bus that badly rusted basically everywhere else.

Yikes cancer. Must be a salt belt bus?

I've seen a lot of people on youtube pulling up their floors to expose massive cancer and holes that have to be repaired. I would be worth a trip outside just to not deal with the massive corrosion issues.
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Old 08-04-2021, 04:08 PM   #20
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I successfully removed the rub rails from my bus (Thomas HDX) after being assured by the manufacturer that they were not structural but simply required intrusion protection. However, while doing the sidewalls, I put added horizontal steel channel between all the uprights, below the windows, in approximately the same locations as the topmost black run rails were on the outside. This added some weight but was balanced out by the removed exterior rails. I then had a friend, who is a retired US Navy welder, fill in all the holes. I watched him and probably could do it myself, but he volunteered and certainly knows more about welding than I do.
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