Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
 
Old 09-08-2020, 01:23 PM   #1
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Aug 2020
Posts: 13
Is this bus beyond salvation?

Hi all, without giving you my sob story, I recently bought a 2000 Chevy Express 3500 short bus largely out of desperation. It's moderately rusted, but I am hardly an expert on how much rust is too much rust. This being said, I've been able to twist off about 75% of the bolts holding the seats in just using a wrench and the force of my arms. In addition to these bolts being severely rusted, the floor is also rotted pretty bad.

Any thoughts on this would be appreciated. I've already sunk $2000 into the bus purchase and $2500 on (possibly unnecessary) steering/brakes repairs. Like, is this thing at risk of just snapping in half once I load it up with all my belongings?

I can also upload some pics of parts of the undercarriage later.

Attached Images
File Type: jpg skool3.jpg (363.7 KB, 340 views)
File Type: jpg skoolie.jpg (251.2 KB, 50 views)
alsquared is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-08-2020, 01:28 PM   #2
Bus Nut
 
Join Date: May 2018
Location: topeka kansas
Posts: 751
Year: 1954
Coachwork: wayne
Chassis: old f500- new 2005 f-450
Engine: cummins 12 valve
Rated Cap: 20? five rows of 4?
not all lost.....

show what this rig looks like from under neath..... and then we will go from there

william
magnakansas is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-08-2020, 01:37 PM   #3
Bus Geek
 
musigenesis's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2019
Location: Philadelphia
Posts: 3,781
Year: 2003
Coachwork: International
Chassis: CE 300
Engine: DT466e
Rated Cap: 65C-43A
What you're showing just looks like typical rusty floor. Rust can look terrible on a floor but clean up fairly easily with some phosphoric acid. Take up all the plywood and scrape up the loose rust and then you'll see where you actually are. The big question is how much of the floor is rusted all or most of the way through, since these parts you'll have to cut out and replace with new steel.

You're not in any danger of your bus falling apart on you. The body of the bus (which includes this floor) is made entirely of thin sheet metal, so corrosion that is just surface rust on the chassis (and that's all your going to really find on any used school bus) can be massively destructive to the body.

With the exception that you might have severe corrosion around the floor where the driver's seat is attached, in which case you may not be as well attached in the case of an accident as you would like. I discovered after a great deal of driving that my seat belt tethers were basically only anchored into rusty sheet metal and rotten plywood.

Check out my build thread for some fairly extreme rust remediation, and remember that your bus is probably not as bad as mine was.
__________________
Rusty 87 build thread
musigenesis is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-08-2020, 01:40 PM   #4
Bus Geek
 
musigenesis's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2019
Location: Philadelphia
Posts: 3,781
Year: 2003
Coachwork: International
Chassis: CE 300
Engine: DT466e
Rated Cap: 65C-43A
Also, rather than trying to annihilate the plywood like that, take a circular saw with a demo blade and depth set to a bit less than the plywood thickness, and cut the floor into one- or two-foot squares. It's a lot easier to pry up smaller pieces.

Don't be afraid of damaging the steel floor doing this. You won't be able to do any damage to healthy floor; any holes you put into the rusty metal will be metal you'll need to replace anyway.
__________________
Rusty 87 build thread
musigenesis is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-08-2020, 02:08 PM   #5
Bus Crazy
 
Ronnie's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2017
Location: Virginia
Posts: 1,664
Year: 1971
Coachwork: Wayne
Chassis: International Loadstar 1700
Engine: 345 international V-8
most seat bolts wring off, no biggy there. Get the plywood out before making any judgement. And as has been said even if the floor is bad shape that is the easy stuff to repair.



Take pictures of the frame, and where the suspension connects to the frame.
Ronnie is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-08-2020, 04:17 PM   #6
Bus Crazy
 
Jolly Roger bus 223's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2017
Location: Swansboro,NC
Posts: 1,268
Year: 86
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: Ford B700
Engine: 8.2
Rated Cap: 60 bodies
i have a 2003 chevy 3500 with a collins body.
what body do you have on yours.
definetly get all the plywood up before asessing the rust.
my plywood was held down with T20 torx screws and besides a few that the grinder ate up with no problem.
dont worry about the plywood catching on fire just have a fire watch when you are ready to dig.
a long flat bar and a BFH took care of most of it especially if the plywoods rotten.
demo is the fun part.
good luck
Jolly Roger bus 223 is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 09-08-2020, 06:53 PM   #7
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Aug 2020
Posts: 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by magnakansas View Post
show what this rig looks like from under neath..... and then we will go from there

william
Indeed, here are some attached.

Quote:
Originally Posted by musigenesis View Post
What you're showing just looks like typical rusty floor. Rust can look terrible on a floor but clean up fairly easily with some phosphoric acid. Take up all the plywood and scrape up the loose rust and then you'll see where you actually are. The big question is how much of the floor is rusted all or most of the way through, since these parts you'll have to cut out and replace with new steel.

You're not in any danger of your bus falling apart on you. The body of the bus (which includes this floor) is made entirely of thin sheet metal, so corrosion that is just surface rust on the chassis (and that's all your going to really find on any used school bus) can be massively destructive to the body.
Basically, my concern is that if the bolts are rusted in half, isn't that imply massive destruction to other even more important parts of the bus? I guess I will have to look closer once I rip out the rotten plywood.

I'm really not in a position to replace steel.


Quote:
Originally Posted by musigenesis View Post
Also, rather than trying to annihilate the plywood like that.
I actually didn't try to demo the plywood. It was rotten and came off like that when I started pulling up the vinyl floor. Hmm, I'll have to examine the floor once I get all this plywood out. I was, however, hoping originally to use the plywood to build on top of. I have fairly limited resources and for now am working on the side of the street in Brooklyn while living in the bus.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Ronnie View Post
most seat bolts wring off, no biggy there. Get the plywood out before making any judgement. And as has been said even if the floor is bad shape that is the easy stuff to repair.

Take pictures of the frame, and where the suspension connects to the frame.
That's promising news, though I still can't get it out of my head that, of all things, bolts holding seats down would rust in half in the middle of the bus. Seems a bad indicator.

Attached are some photos.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Jolly Roger bus 223 View Post
i have a 2003 chevy 3500 with a collins body.
what body do you have on yours.
definetly get all the plywood up before asessing the rust.
my plywood was held down with T20 torx screws and besides a few that the grinder ate up with no problem.
dont worry about the plywood catching on fire just have a fire watch when you are ready to dig.
a long flat bar and a BFH took care of most of it especially if the plywoods rotten.
demo is the fun part.
good luck
The body is "SUBN", whatever that is short for. What is BFH? Yeah, I guess I might as well ploy onward for the time being. I'm just worried about burning through what little money I have left on a terrible investment.
alsquared is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-08-2020, 07:04 PM   #8
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Aug 2020
Posts: 13
Here are some random photos.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg IMG_20200908_152312.jpg (413.4 KB, 62 views)
File Type: jpg IMG_20200908_152413.jpg (443.6 KB, 44 views)
File Type: jpg IMG_20200908_152526.jpg (296.7 KB, 45 views)
File Type: jpg IMG_20200908_152427.jpg (384.9 KB, 52 views)
File Type: jpg IMG_20200908_152328.jpg (289.0 KB, 44 views)
alsquared is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-08-2020, 07:55 PM   #9
Bus Geek
 
musigenesis's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2019
Location: Philadelphia
Posts: 3,781
Year: 2003
Coachwork: International
Chassis: CE 300
Engine: DT466e
Rated Cap: 65C-43A
Quote:
Originally Posted by alsquared View Post
Basically, my concern is that if the bolts are rusted in half, isn't that imply massive destruction to other even more important parts of the bus?

...

I still can't get it out of my head that, of all things, bolts holding seats down would rust in half in the middle of the bus. Seems a bad indicator.
What happens in a bus is that the windows and light holes leak, and this water gets into the plywood and permanently soaks it (also melted salty snow from kids' boots gets into the plywood in the same way); the wet plywood abrades the steel from road vibration and the rusting process starts. Much of this water gets into the plywood around the bolts, so the spots right around the bolt holes are often the worst-damaged areas.

The pics of your underside look normal for a rusty bus, no signs of anything to worry about as far as your bus falling apart on you. The chassis/undercarriage is made of much thicker steel than the body, so corrosion on it has to happen for a much longer time to produce serious loss of material.
__________________
Rusty 87 build thread
musigenesis is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-08-2020, 07:57 PM   #10
Bus Geek
 
musigenesis's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2019
Location: Philadelphia
Posts: 3,781
Year: 2003
Coachwork: International
Chassis: CE 300
Engine: DT466e
Rated Cap: 65C-43A
Quote:
Originally Posted by alsquared View Post
I'm really not in a position to replace steel.
Depending on the extent of the floor damage (TBD) you may be able to patch any holes pretty easily, without welding. The issue is whether the cross-members of the floor need to be replaced or if it's just the flat parts that are rusted through in places.
__________________
Rusty 87 build thread
musigenesis is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-08-2020, 08:43 PM   #11
Bus Crazy
 
Ronnie's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2017
Location: Virginia
Posts: 1,664
Year: 1971
Coachwork: Wayne
Chassis: International Loadstar 1700
Engine: 345 international V-8
BFH = Big "F" ing Hammer


How long do you plan to use it? a few years or many years?
Ronnie is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-09-2020, 07:08 PM   #12
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Aug 2020
Posts: 13
@musigenesis Got it. Thanks for the clarification.

@Ronnie The original plan was to do it real nice and make it my stead, but now we're just hoping to safely get out of NYC and live comfortably for like a year without further hemhoraging what's left of our money on major repairs, and ideally while safeguarding some kind of resale value.

I was originally planning to make a calculated purchase on a sound bus and work on it in my parents' back yard, but as soon as I went back to NYC from NJ to move out of my old apartment, they suddenly barred me from returning because "COVID", so out of desperation I bought this rust bucket from a hood bus company and don't have a stable place to work on it.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg IMG_20200909_171059.jpg (340.5 KB, 31 views)
File Type: jpg IMG_20200909_171108.jpg (373.8 KB, 28 views)
alsquared is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-09-2020, 09:17 PM   #13
Bus Crazy
 
Ronnie's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2017
Location: Virginia
Posts: 1,664
Year: 1971
Coachwork: Wayne
Chassis: International Loadstar 1700
Engine: 345 international V-8
Looks like new ball joints, that is good. Rusty brake shield no issue. Although there is certainly rust on the frame it is not terrible. It should hold you for some time. Good bus to learn on then when you can build another one of your dreams when the time is right. So do not get too discouraged on it
Ronnie is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-12-2020, 04:22 PM   #14
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Oct 2019
Posts: 23
That’s salvageable, you’ll have lots of self doubt but with time and patients you’ll get there.
rjheaton@aol.com is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-12-2020, 04:53 PM   #15
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Dec 2018
Location: Auburn, Indiana
Posts: 35
Year: 2006
Chassis: Freightliner FS-65
Engine: MBE 906
Rated Cap: 72
I would be more concerned of the corrosion on the frame rails. Look at the rear spring hangers, from the factory they are riveted on. Those holes rot out and the springs and rear axle can shift. The other thing is the cross members, rust attacks them hard behind the rear axle. The floor is minor if the frame is bad!
schoolbuscraig is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-12-2020, 06:41 PM   #16
New Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2020
Posts: 2
Year: 2006
No not at all. It'll take some work but it looks fixable. I've rebuilt far worse .
Darthweinie is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-12-2020, 11:54 PM   #17
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: May 2016
Location: SFBA, CA
Posts: 47
Year: Any!
Coachwork: Self!
Chassis: Crown or Gillig!
Engine: Cummins 855, 400 HP or more!
Rated Cap: 36,000 GVRW
Quote:
Originally Posted by alsquared View Post
Hi all, without giving you my sob story, I recently bought a 2000 Chevy Express 3500 short bus largely out of desperation. It's moderately rusted, but I am hardly an expert on how much rust is too much rust. This being said, I've been able to twist off about 75% of the bolts holding the seats in just using a wrench and the force of my arms. In addition to these bolts being severely rusted, the floor is also rotted pretty bad.

Any thoughts on this would be appreciated. I've already sunk $2000 into the bus purchase and $2500 on (possibly unnecessary) steering/brakes repairs. Like, is this thing at risk of just snapping in half once I load it up with all my belongings?

I can also upload some pics of parts of the undercarriage later.

. Every penny you spend on your POS, transforms it into something closer to a tiny house and a safe one at that! Strip out the floor and repair the super structure. Then seal the roof water tight! It stops, itíll GO, it will carry you and your stuff. Whatís the big deal!?!
BigPaul367 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-13-2020, 02:54 AM   #18
Bus Geek
 
Join Date: Sep 2015
Posts: 3,299
Year: 2002
Coachwork: Thomas Built Bus
Chassis: Freightliner FS65
Engine: Caterpillar 3126E Diesel
Rated Cap: 71 Passenger- 30,000 lbs.
Bear in mind that the demo stage is VERY dirty work. You mentioned that you are living in it while working on it. That is tough to do. LOTS of pastic sheeting to protect your belongings ... or maybe plastic tubs to hold them and make them easy to move. You will have to move your belonging several times just to get to all that needs to be done. Take your time and plan out what has to be done and when ... to include the placement and moving of belongings.
Native is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-16-2020, 12:26 PM   #19
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Aug 2020
Posts: 13
Yeah, we're still at the stage of waiting for the plate and trying to find odd jobs to defray costs. We got tje seats out ane it's mostly habitable now, though still pissijg in bottles and showering/charging at gym Hopefully we will be able to find an inexpensive campground or, ideally, some kind of house sitting gig to actually work on it. Lots of time to brainstorm, however.
alsquared is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-16-2020, 12:31 PM   #20
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Aug 2020
Posts: 13
Yeah, these are my major concerns. I forget of I mentioned, but the steering was and still sorta is fairly wonky. IDK if it just needs a wheel alignment, but my fear was and still sorta is that it's related to the right frame rail being slightly bent in the back. Ok the right side of the bus there is a slight fissure between the cab and the cab body, and evidence that the rear of the bus impacted by a collision. I hope that's not the cause of the wonky steering as we already sunk $2k on getting the steering/brakes tuned up.

I guess once we have a stable work space we will try to sand and put product on the rust to prevent it from getting worse.
alsquared is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


» Featured Campgrounds

Reviews provided by

Powered by vBadvanced CMPS v3.2.3

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 05:24 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 4
Copyright ©2000 - 2020, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
×