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Old 03-03-2021, 08:25 PM   #1
Mini-Skoolie
 
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Filling in huge window holes?

Considering a shuttle bus convert, the one I am looking at has 4 giant windows per side, with tiny sliders at the top of each one, if I remove them, what's the best way to fill the 36x44 inch holes? Coosa board? Plywood? I'm good with fiberglassing, fairing, painting.....replace with house windows that actually open? Anyone done this? Thanks
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Old 03-03-2021, 10:09 PM   #2
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Steel or aluminum, welded if possible, and well-sealed with lots of insulation. Otherwise, you're inviting condensation, mold and other problems.
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Old 03-03-2021, 10:23 PM   #3
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A little story about my windows and then a suggestion.

I took off my sheet metal ceiling panels. I then removed three separate sections of windows and the outside vertical strips that covered them. I then cut some of the sheet metal ceiling panels and with a friend attempted to rivet them to the outside of the bus to cover all the window holes. It worked, but it's far from a good job. So, after doing that, I'm working on the bus and a guy pulls up, gets out and says "I have a skoolie too.". Cool, we start chatting and he says "Huh, interesting how you covered your windows. I just took out my windows and cut some sheet metal to fit inside the space with some heavy adhesive, then I caulked the outside." I was like the actors in the V8 vegetable drink commercials. I was sadly dumbfounded at how simple and how much better his windows looked.

So, my suggestion is to do what the "smart" guy in the story did. Yet, because it's such a large area, you'll need some cross bracing. My suggestion is to weld (or get someone to weld) such a frame up and weld it into the window space. As a part of that frame design, determine what kind of windows you want to install within that frame and design it accordingly. To make your life easy, make the window size a common size for whatever type of window (RV, school bus, house window, etc.) you're going to use. That way, if you need to replace it, easy peasy.

Hope this helps. Best of luck.
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Old 03-03-2021, 11:06 PM   #4
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I read your post.

Shuttle bus
4 giant windows per side
tiny sliders at the top
36x44 holes


....so, in the pic below, you refer to the windows on shuttle in the background, not the skoolie windows in the foreground?



Fiberglass may have fooled 'em because we're on skoolie.net

School buses have steel walls & steel floors. A shuttle might only have wood between the passengers and the road. The rest is fiberglass & cardboard. Ergo, no welding.

Fiberglassing the window holes seems appropriate. Easy to work with. Maybe some cardboard & foam to match the factory. After that, you can cut to fit what you choose.
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Old 03-03-2021, 11:20 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DeMac View Post
I read your post.

Fiberglass may have fooled 'em because we're on skoolie.net
A shuttle might only have wood between the passengers and the road. The rest is fiberglass & cardboard. Ergo, no welding.
Good catch! Yeah, don't weld wood and fiberglass! Fire!
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Old 03-04-2021, 12:19 AM   #6
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I've seen steel-bodied skoolie-style buses before that were shuttles, with transit-style windows and all. But yeah, I was a bit tired earlier and didn't catch the 'shuttle' in OP's post. My bad. Yeah, no attempted welding of fiberglass and wood, or the fire marshal will be most unhappy with you. I'll go put my dunce hat on now... Now where did I put that thing? Haven't had to wear it in awhile, you know...
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Old 03-04-2021, 08:12 AM   #7
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It's a fiberglass body, foam and glass seems the way to go, do the current windows provide any structural strength? 80% of the side of the bus is glass...07 chevy 6.0 btw. Thanks for the replies....anyone actually accomplished this?
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Old 03-04-2021, 09:41 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Slickster View Post
It's a fiberglass body, foam and glass seems the way to go, do the current windows provide any structural strength? 80% of the side of the bus is glass...07 chevy 6.0 btw. Thanks for the replies....anyone actually accomplished this?
The window frames, not the actual glass, would provide some structural support, yes.

Best bet is to find out what is actually inside the walls. I'm thinking there is at least a minimal amount of steel there. If not, I would locate the studs and double up with the same size boards (1x2, 2x2, etc) to make up for the structural integrity loss from removing the windows.
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Old 03-04-2021, 11:19 AM   #9
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Picking it up tomorrow....walls are 2 inches thick or so, foam or something in there.....thanks for the replies
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Old 03-04-2021, 03:21 PM   #10
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My shuttle bus is a cardboard sandwich, the bread being fiberglass. Because I wanted to spend as little time as possible on the exterior I left all windows in place, and will black out any that a cabinet or wall blocks. My windows are already quite tinted, so should be easy.

In these types of buses the windows with their 20+ screws each must be an integral part of the shell, so make plans to reinforce if you remove some.

My exterior's gel coat was in good shape so just a light sanding took care of the fade. For a clean look you may need to gelcoat over everything (wicked big job), and even then I don't see how you can re-fiberglass without it looking bumpy.

How about leaving the frame, and paneling the interior-the sash, the part that holds the glass-with sheet metal?
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Old 03-04-2021, 06:41 PM   #11
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Still pondering direction, removing glass from frame is one option, insert 1/2 coosa or plywood and seal it up, recut holes for smaller, opening windows? Might be easier to remove frames also and glass coosa board into exterior....
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Old 03-04-2021, 08:52 PM   #12
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You could just leave the windows in place and when you put foam board up on the inside walls, paint the "out" side of the board black. This would also let you "resurrect" some windows down the road if you need more light inside.
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Old 03-04-2021, 11:36 PM   #13
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Two choices:

Leave windows:

If the windows are removed from the outside, then if they start to leak or get broken, you can easily address the issue. But, if they remove from the inside and you cover up access to them, you'll need deal with that. After what I went through with removing my windows and trying to cover them, I'd be more inclined to leave the existing ones.

Remove windows:

I agree that the windows are a part of the structural integrity of the vehicle. My original idea of welding a frame is still a good idea, but maybe instead of welding it to the fiberglass (kidding) maybe add brackets to the metal frame to attach it to the bus. This way, you have reinforced the window area and again have the opportunity to create a window frame within the structural frame.

Congrats on the bus!
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Old 03-10-2021, 05:29 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Slickster View Post
Considering a shuttle bus convert, the one I am looking at has 4 giant windows per side, with tiny sliders at the top of each one, if I remove them, what's the best way to fill the 36x44 inch holes? Coosa board? Plywood? I'm good with fiberglassing, fairing, painting.....replace with house windows that actually open? Anyone done this? Thanks
I take it when you say shuttle bus, you talking about a fiberglass body bus. You can use polystyrene insulation board to cut out inserts to fill the holes where the windows were and then fiberglass them front and back.
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Old 03-10-2021, 05:42 PM   #15
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I plan the same

Skoolies are metal no matter what size. Shuttles are fiberglass shells.


Remove window. Re-frame opening with 2 by's, including extra support in the opening. Attach plywood on outside of new framing. Cover with FRP, using sealant and screws or rivets. Insulate and finish inside wall the same as the rest of the walls. There are some You Tube videos showing this process.



I tried painting 2 windows. I used black Flex seal on the glass on the inside. Then I painted over the Flex Seal (takes several really thin coats) with white to match my walls. No one outside see inside thru those windows, but I don't like the look in my shuttle.
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Old 03-10-2021, 07:45 PM   #16
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On my school bus I bonded FRP (fiberglass reinforced plastic) to plywood and used 3m 5200 sealant to glue the blanks in the window opening. I had put some boards on the inside surface of the plywood prior to bonding the FRP onto the plywood to act as framing to attach the finish wall.

It worked great except for the bonding of the FRP to the plywood. I used epoxy, which has no give, so it's not as smooth as it could of been.
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Old 03-10-2021, 07:50 PM   #17
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I'm going to remove two windows, cut 1/2 plywood 2 inches wider, screw from outside, lay glass over ply and overlapping the outer skin by 2 inches, cut and fit new construction home windows, add 1x3s around new windows on inside....should be sealed and fairly ridged....
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Old 03-10-2021, 08:06 PM   #18
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I removed ALL the windows from my shuttle bus. They are surprisingly light, so thin single pane glass with zero insulation value. I put in foam and plywood inside and will fiberglass the outside, using the fiberglass sheets taken off the inside and ceiling.
Not going to have a smooth seamless outside wall this way, but if you paint it like an RV with swirls and brush strokes, or mountain pics, instead of a solid color, it won't be noticed.

You can see my thread for pics.

As such, you really need to ask, what value does a school bus have with all the windows, when you can just buy an aluminum box van/truck that has none to start with and thus save you a huge amount of time with a better result.
You just add the windows where you want them. Doing just this with my box van, will take some of the windows from the shuttle and put them where i want.



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Old 03-11-2021, 07:22 AM   #19
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Considered a box truck, found this shuttle with 86k mi and bought it, only replacing 2 of the 6 windows so not that big a deal, I hope....
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Old 03-13-2021, 08:50 PM   #20
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Pic1 of windows removed, steel frame exposed
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