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Old 04-04-2020, 10:21 AM   #1
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Jan 2020
Location: Flushing michigan
Posts: 15
Year: 2006
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: Safe-t-liner ef
Engine: Cummins 5.9
Rated Cap: 54 passenger
Thomas side Panel question

I have a 2007 Thomas flat front, front engine. I am stripping it and fixing rust and I have a question on the rail that runs at the bottom below the panels and it meets the floor. Is this a structural rail itís welded to the side ribs. I noticed some light when I look into the cavity now that the insulation is removed and I want to caulk the seams that are open. I have a few windows that leak and I will probably pull and reseal the ones that I keep. Any ideas or tips would be great not sure if I can cut that rail seal and then weld or make a patch panel to screw over it when Iím done.

Thanks, Nick

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Old 04-06-2020, 08:11 AM   #2
Mini-Skoolie
 
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Year: 2006
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Chassis: Safe-t-liner ef
Engine: Cummins 5.9
Rated Cap: 54 passenger
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Old 04-06-2020, 08:29 AM   #3
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Location: Philadelphia
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Year: 2003
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That's the "chair rail" at the bottom, and it's how the walls are attached to the floor. I'm not sure exactly what you want to do with it, but it's best to leave it alone. You'll notice on any bus that wherever this chair rail is cut through for any reason (e.g. the wheel wells, side exit doors, holes for fuel fillers etc.) there is additional stiffening added to the walls to compensate.
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Old 04-06-2020, 09:31 AM   #4
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Jan 2020
Location: Flushing michigan
Posts: 15
Year: 2006
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: Safe-t-liner ef
Engine: Cummins 5.9
Rated Cap: 54 passenger
Thanks Musigenesis, I noticed behind the chair rail there is some areas that I can see light. They don't seem to be rusted through but just seams that did not get sealed. I will be welding and patching some rust on the floor and I was thinking of sealing these seams as well as resealing the windows. I bought this bus at auction and actually meant to buy a bus from Tennessee and must have moved to another auction and bid on this bus from New Jersey. I have the ability to fix the rust but I have thought of selling it to get a rust free bus. I will leave the chair rail attached then and work around it to fix the wheel well on the right rear which I plan to cut and make smaller like I have seen others do.

Thanks, Nick
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Old 04-06-2020, 09:40 AM   #5
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this bus from New Jersey. I have the ability to fix the rust but I have thought of selling it to get a rust free bus.
I think you've seen my build thread. I'm happy to have had the experience with chopping up my rusty bus and rebuilding it because of the skills I've had to develop to do it (plus I love my bus now), but if I had it to do over again I would definitely start with a rust-free bus. Even at your stage of progress, you would end up saving a great deal of time, money and effort overall to exchange your bus - hell, even at my stage of progress it would be better to start over.
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Old 04-06-2020, 09:49 AM   #6
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I noticed behind the chair rail there is some areas that I can see light. They don't seem to be rusted through but just seams that did not get sealed.
If it's like mine, those are spots where the floor (and the part of the chair rail that bends over the edge of the floor) has rusted all the way through. But perhaps your outer wall has just separated a bit from the outer flange of the chair rail.

I'm not super-worried about these spaces behind the chair rail. I think that as long as you stop the internal leaks from the windows and roof, no more water will get down into these cavities and they'll be fine (I'm also going to patch and seal my holes from below to prevent anything from splashing up from beneath). I've considered maybe filling them with spray foam, with a single 200-board foot kit, since I have some other cavities I want to fill with this - not for insulation purposes but to ensure water can't get into the cavities.

If I needed to seal between the outer wall and the chair rail (like what may be happening on your bus), I would try using a long-handled hobby paintbrush to paint on Dynatron-550, using a mirror to help me see down in there.
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Old 04-06-2020, 01:06 PM   #7
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Jan 2020
Location: Flushing michigan
Posts: 15
Year: 2006
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: Safe-t-liner ef
Engine: Cummins 5.9
Rated Cap: 54 passenger
Thanks again,
Yes I have seen your post and I think I am going to go ahead with ripping into this one. I work for a company that builds air houses or large air conditioners and I do have access to the materials and tools to rebuild almost anything I need, the expensive part for me will be insulation and paint. Looking forward to learning some things and possibly getting creative, I hope to make a stainless drop in drain pan for the shower that will give me a little head room.
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