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Old 10-19-2015, 06:26 AM   #1
Join Date: Aug 2015
Posts: 27
Working on a bus in Winter?

Been reading so many threads the past few days and enjoying everyone's bus builds! I'm in the destruction phase of my own and in the next two weeks plan to have every seat, the chrome railing, and the floor up. The two week after that will be the walls and the ceiling. At that point it'll be time to sandblast and remove any rust before painting over.

There's my snag, right there. It's getting into the 20's at night here now and barely hitting 50F during the day. Winter hit fast the second I got my bus and now drying paint, curing sealant, and glue are all so much more of an issue. I'm considering building a temporary greenhouse over her (two plastic layers with air sandwiched between via blower to keep everything tight) to keep out snow and keep her nice and warm so I can get paint and everything to dry. Maybe grow some nice winter veggies in there too xD.

How do you guys who are joining me in the brave, but foolish venture of winter bus conversion plan on handling the cold?
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Old 10-19-2015, 06:54 AM   #2
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Join Date: Apr 2015
Location: Tomball, TX
Posts: 313
Year: 1988
Coachwork: Blue Bird
Chassis: TC/2000
Engine: Cummins 5.9TA
I'm just gonna wait until spring to paint. Here in Texas we can probably paint through the end of October and maybe a few sporadic hot days in winter. I'll do prep work in February and paint in April (my March is usually booked solid with rodeo stuff).

I wish I would've been able to do the destruction phase in winter. That was some sweaty work.
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Old 10-19-2015, 07:30 AM   #3
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Location: Andrews,Indiana
Posts: 2,193
Year: 1991
Coachwork: Bluebird
Chassis: AARE
Engine: 3116 Cat 250hp
Rated Cap: Just the two of us.
I did the paint part in the summer, after that I used space heaters until I got the heat installed. Since I am retired I do have the luxury of not having to get something done on a schedule when not working.
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Old 10-19-2015, 07:39 AM   #4
Join Date: Sep 2015
Posts: 30
I'm shooting to have my roof raise done before the snow really starts to fly here in MI. Then I will just focus on the interior until spring...
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Old 10-19-2015, 07:51 AM   #5
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Join Date: Sep 2014
Location: Eustis FLORIDA
Posts: 22,291
Year: 1999
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: Freighliner FS65
Engine: Cat 3126
Rated Cap: 15
"winter" is the best time to work on anything outdoors here in the Sunshine State!
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Old 10-19-2015, 10:34 AM   #6
Join Date: Aug 2015
Posts: 27
@EastCoastCB - my bus would start there in the winter. ;)
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Old 10-19-2015, 10:48 AM   #7
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Join Date: Sep 2014
Location: Eustis FLORIDA
Posts: 22,291
Year: 1999
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: Freighliner FS65
Engine: Cat 3126
Rated Cap: 15
Oh yes its EASY to start em here... Even with a small car battery I could start mine.

But mine started with NO FUSS after sitting 3 months. I was picking up in Kentucky and it was 10* out. Icicles hanging from the roof exits.
Barely any smoke, and started IMMEDIATELY.
I think two 31's is a great setup.
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Old 10-19-2015, 11:32 AM   #8
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Join Date: Dec 2014
Location: Dowdy Lakes, Colorado
Posts: 1,437
Year: 1989
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: Saf-T-Liner ER
Engine: 3208 CAT/MT643 tranny
Rated Cap: 87
Houston isn't a bad place for winter work either! Just got a break on the weather and sealed up the two emergency hatches and the hole where the white flashing lite used to be. Wet weather is coming soon, so I'm glad we got that done this weekend. Forgot the camera AGAIN ........ Will have some pics next time IF I remember the ^&%*&%* camera..... Getting some metal work done over Thanksgiving break so we can look at spray-foaming and getting at least one a/c unit installed before the hot weather returns.......
Firearms stand next in importance to the Constitution itself. They are the American people’s liberty teeth and keystone under independence. — George Washington
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Old 10-19-2015, 11:59 AM   #9
Bus Geek
Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: Stony Plain Alberta Canada
Posts: 2,937
Year: 1992
Coachwork: Bluebird
Chassis: TC2000 FE
Engine: 190hp 5.9 Cummins
Rated Cap: 72
Everything stops for the winter.

If I lived in a sunshine state, my buses would all be done.

Only having 5 months a year to make a living and build a bus sucks.

"Don't argue with stupid people. They will just drag you down to their level, and beat you up with experience."

Patently waiting for the apocalypses to level the playing field in this physiological game of life commonly known as Civilization
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Old 10-19-2015, 02:09 PM   #10
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Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario
Posts: 1,725
Year: 1997
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: B3800 Short bus
Engine: T444E
Rated Cap: 36
If you can push it off, wait for the warmer, drier weather to paint. I painted the roof on my bus last year around this time and it was a pain in the arse. I would have put it off, but I wanted the solar panels mounted for the winter trip and it made sense to paint the roof before putting them on. It took plenty long to make a workable bus tent and the paint took 4 times as long to dry. Uncured water based paints can be ruined by freezing temperatures so you'll want to keep an eye on the weather report.

I'd recommend getting some space heaters and working on the interior over the winter. I successfully used a kerosene heater before getting the wood stove installed.
My build page: Armageddon - The Smell of Airborne Rust
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Old 10-19-2015, 04:31 PM   #11
Join Date: Aug 2015
Posts: 27
Did the heater work for rust oleum and stuff? I don't plan on painting the outside til Spring, but I will need to seal off rust on the inside, take out and reseal Windows, etc.
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Old 10-29-2015, 07:40 PM   #12
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Join Date: Oct 2015
Location: Belgrade, MT
Posts: 65
Year: 1999
Coachwork: AmTran
Chassis: International
Engine: DT466E International
Rated Cap: 72
We're with you, Brie. We managed to get 99% of the rust and stickers ground off, and to prime and paint her before the weather got really interesting, but it was touch-and-go. And I can only assume that the paint, which lacked the requisite 8-12 hours per coat for complete drying at or above 50 degrees F, won't last as long as we'd like. And the wind was a PITA when we were spraying. And now I've got to keep an eye on the weather to know when I can silicone new panels, etc., and just hope that we have a little more warm weather before things get REALLY cold. Good luck! (Sounds like we both need it)
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Old 02-11-2016, 06:28 PM   #13
Join Date: Jul 2015
Location: Seattle
Posts: 16
Year: 1986
Coachwork: Ford
Chassis: B7000
Engine: 10.4 L Caterpillar "3208" V8
Watching Paint Dry for WEEKS

You might have your questions answered by now, and Spring is just around the corner, but I started my conversion in the winter and I have learned a great BIG lesson in patience . Also I am an expert at watching paint dry...even considering putting that on my resume.

It was a wet season here in Seattle, and I used Corroseal rust treatment on the floor which took almost 4 weeks to dry with a heater on it (intermittently), and even a careful heat gun at times. Then I painted with an oil based enamel and that also took weeks to dry with heaters. SO much time. I would recommend to anyone starting out on a conversion, to time it with the weather if the bus will be outside.

Good luck!
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Old 02-12-2016, 06:07 AM   #14
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Location: onboard the R1!
Posts: 225
Year: 2004
Coachwork: International
Chassis: RE200
Engine: 7.3L Navistar T444E
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did my paint this winter. Lexel makes a great tripolymer caulk that i ran all the way down to 0 degrees. it did take longer to cure off but i was able to remove and replace with new caulk all my windows. during all the wire wheel prep work and sanding the cold was actually quite nice. i did the rustoleum spray primer on a 30 ish day and let it dry for 2 days. then i got on craigslist commercial space rental section and was able to find a garage big enough to get bus in to paint it. i paid 250$ to rent it for a week, then used rollers, brushes on the grey, spray paint on the black stuff. the actual painting took me 3 days then i let it sit in there for the rest of the week drying at 45 degrees.
for the stickers off i used a whizzy wheel.
absolutely amazing time saver. i started with heat gun and a scraper it was taking forever. with that thing i was able to get all decals off in ~ 3 hours.
still had to use heat gun and scraper for the nuclear yellow reflector tape though.
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