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Old 06-29-2020, 08:39 PM   #1
Mini-Skoolie
 
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Fiberglass shuttle - Did you remove interior walls?

I've got a shuttle bus with interior and exterior fiberglass walls. I like the nice curves of the existing interior walls, but the surface is covered with headliner glue and all current efforts point to massive elbow grease and several gallons of mineral oil to remove it.

Sooo - If I ditched the interior fiberglass, what kind of frame is likely underneath and how usable is it? Would love some example pics.

Here's what I'm working with...
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Old 06-29-2020, 09:14 PM   #2
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That looks like an Eldorado body. If so, the interior wall is integral with the outer wall with a corrugation in between. I have only found three spots with plywood in between the inner and outer for reinforcement. I glued my insulation directly to the inner skin.
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Old 06-29-2020, 11:04 PM   #3
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You can check it with a magnet or a stud finder, but its very unlkely there's any metal framing in there at all. Unlike a skoolie, crashworthiness requirements on shuttles (and RVs) are minimal to nonexistent, and they are very cost and weight conscious structures.
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Old 06-29-2020, 11:11 PM   #4
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You can check it with a magnet or a stud finder, but its very unlkely there's any metal framing in there at all. Unlike a skoolie, crashworthiness requirements on shuttles (and RVs) are minimal to nonexistent, and they are very cost and weight conscious structures.

The Eldorado bus bodies are the only non school bus bodies I know of that have been successfully crash tested. I could host a party on the roof of mine.
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Old 06-30-2020, 04:21 AM   #5
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I believe it. That honeycomb structural section you photographed looks really robust. They make airplanes and boats out of similar materials, which are remarkably tough, especially for the weight. A sandwich of that custom molded into a form is no doubt durable, and a lot more expensive to make than most of what I would expect from the fiberglass industry, at least from what we see here in Australia.



More likely in this type of coach, unless they are using flat prefab panels like the box truck and trailer mfrs, you'll find a single layer thick layer of fiberglass chopper-gun sprayed into the mold swimming pool-style, maybe with a few cardboard stringers and shapes in between coats to add stiffness. That's probably OK and plenty strong if think enough, but would shatter in a crash. We supply materials to swimming pool manufacturers here, and some do outside contracting on other stuff, but I haven't seen a domestically made cutaway shuttle body so I don't know. I have seen how the pool, boat ind kit car guys make stuff, and making assumptions. Silly me..
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Old 06-30-2020, 07:16 AM   #6
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You can check it with a magnet or a stud finder, but its very unlkely there's any metal framing in there at all. Unlike a skoolie, crashworthiness requirements on shuttles (and RVs) are minimal to nonexistent, and they are very cost and weight conscious structures.
It would be interesting to crash-test a shuttle bus like this into an RV and see who wins. My money's on the shuttle bus - I've watched too many Jayco videos.
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Old 06-30-2020, 09:39 AM   #7
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That looks like an Eldorado body. If so, the interior wall is integral with the outer wall with a corrugation in between. I have only found three spots with plywood in between the inner and outer for reinforcement. I glued my insulation directly to the inner skin.
Thanks! I checked out your Roach build, it does look like a very similar body to mine, though my interior fiberglass is segmented differently. I have managed to peek between the ceiling and roof and that looks to be mostly open space with a couple of wood joists running the length of the ceiling.

Certainly gives some food for thought in the planning process!
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Old 06-30-2020, 02:31 PM   #8
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There should be a sticker on the driver's door post showing what company did the conversion along with tire sizes and the vehicle gross vehicle weight rating.
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Old 07-01-2020, 09:07 AM   #9
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The metal framing runs up between each window pane. There will be 4-5 metal ribs running up to join the roof plus one at the rear. The interior of the walls is spray foam on older models and the corrugated material on newer ones. There's no point in removing the fiberglass and you risk dislodging the window frames. The roof will be a checkerboard of metal framing with thin wood laminate and fiberglass. Most roofs will be hollow so you want to pull the ceiling down to insulate. I would take it down carefully so you can reinstall the same wood. I recommend two layers of insulation since the metal checkerboard is going to be less than desirable.

You can attach wood framing to the metal framing in between window. It's a unistrut type shape and should have the flat face toward the inside of the bus. We drilled pilot holes and used heavy duty sheet metal screws on our last build. Had to be very, very careful with the depth to avoid puncturing the outside skin.
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Old 07-02-2020, 11:00 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by roach711 View Post
That looks like an Eldorado body. If so, the interior wall is integral with the outer wall with a corrugation in between. I have only found three spots with plywood in between the inner and outer for reinforcement. I glued my insulation directly to the inner skin.
The door plate says it's a Supreme body, I think I saw some references inside to StarTrans, though that may have been specific equipment.

It sounds like taking the fiberglass inside skin out and replacing the interior would be a lot more trouble than it's worth (especially since it looks to be structurally sound, just ugly).

I might just skip scraping off the headliner glue and wallpaper over it. The more I think about the work that'll be needed to make this a 'perfect' rig and the fact that it's 32 years old and >300k on the engine makes me think I should just go for 'livable' and actually use it rather than build it
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Old 07-02-2020, 11:15 AM   #11
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What's the year and model?

I just bought a 2009 C4500 based bus built by Startrans and the interior looks almost identical to yours. Only difference is a slight change in the area next to the drivers seat where electrical is.

We picked it up for $13k with 41k miles.
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Old 07-02-2020, 05:19 PM   #12
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What's the year and model?

I just bought a 2009 C4500 based bus built by Startrans and the interior looks almost identical to yours. Only difference is a slight change in the area next to the drivers seat where electrical is.

We picked it up for $13k with 41k miles.
Which electrical stuff? The larger panel on the right is heater/AC wiring. In the middle is a Power Module that lets you set the idle RPM so that the bus charges the battery even if there's a big electrical drain (like running the AC full blast). The bus started life as a hotel shuttle, so I'm sure it was intended to sit idling in parking lots a lot of the time waiting to offer a nicely climate-controlled environment to folks being ferried to/from the airport and such.

I'm not sure I'm going to keep the power module, the AC system was shot, so I've already pulled that out and the module is hogging up valuable console space and is missing a button.

The hole in the dash is where the control panel for the climate control was. That was cracked and also missing buttons, so I took it out completely and will put a normal-sized head unit with Android OS on it so I can run Torque to watch the engine stats.
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Old 07-02-2020, 05:25 PM   #13
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I meant up above driver seat where all the fuses and panel are stored. Mine is boxed out and there's no shelf back above the driver seat. I can post a photo tonight.

What's the year and make/model of the base chassis?
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Old 07-03-2020, 11:01 AM   #14
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Quote:
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I meant up above driver seat where all the fuses and panel are stored. Mine is boxed out and there's no shelf back above the driver seat. I can post a photo tonight.

What's the year and make/model of the base chassis?
Oh, that's interesting. On mine, that's actually a really bad aftermarket cutout for a radio done by the previous owner. There arent any fuses up there. There IS a marquee though with a 12v fluorescent light behind it that I've (temporarily) removed during cleanup.

Mine is a 1999 Ford Cutaway. I'm pretty sure it's a StarTrans conversion.

I've been taking tons and tons of pics over the course of the project and adding them to the shared album here: https://photos.app.goo.gl/d2sm6XDZYapNDjpQ8
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