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Old 07-14-2020, 05:57 PM   #1
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Rub rail removal?

Hi yaíll,
I want to remove the rub rail because it would be easier to do a combination mosaic and paint job I have in mind. Iím worried about a couple of technical things. It looks like there are some rub rail rivets that might also attach the sheet metal to the bus frame. Is this so and how do I reattach it? I have never riveted before. Also, the holes left behind...do I need to weld those in or can I use putty? Iím hoping that the surface is flat under the rails! I was only planning on removing the three middle ones and leaving the one under the window and at the bottom.
Thanks,
Kaleth
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Old 07-14-2020, 06:08 PM   #2
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For the spots where the rail bolts also connect to the bus frame just reuse the original bolts. In my case it was pretty straight forward since the rails were all attached using a #3 square attachment.

For the holes you want to fill you can weld or mesh and bondo.

Good luck 20200622_203317.jpg20200624_201534.jpg20200713_191254.jpg
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Old 07-14-2020, 06:29 PM   #3
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Our Bluebird rub rails attached with rivets

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Originally Posted by sepudo View Post
For the spots where the rail bolts also connect to the bus frame just reuse the original bolts. In my case it was pretty straight forward since the rails were all attached using a #3 square attachment.

For the holes you want to fill you can weld or mesh and bondo.

Good luck Attachment 46651Attachment 46652Attachment 46653
Thank you! Nice to see smooth metal under there. I saw some one else use plugs. Iím not such a good welder that I want to tackle filling in all those holes. I sometimes make more of a hole than I fill. You think the mesh and bondo will hold up to the vibrations?
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Old 07-14-2020, 07:05 PM   #4
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I have no doubt it'll hold. It's the mesh, bondo, plus primer and paint on my end
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Old 07-14-2020, 08:25 PM   #5
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FWIW the rub rails play a role in preserving the structural integrity of the bus body in the event of a collision. They help to distribute the energy of an impact over a wider area. Your bus won't collapse without them, but riding in the back would be less safe than otherwise.
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Old 07-14-2020, 08:35 PM   #6
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FWIW the rub rails play a role in preserving the structural integrity of the bus body in the event of a collision. They help to distribute the energy of an impact over a wider area. Your bus won't collapse without them, but riding in the back would be less safe than otherwise.
Noted. I'll be driving up front as will any passenger. I'm not concerned about any compromise from having taken off the ribs.
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Old 07-14-2020, 08:42 PM   #7
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Noted. I'll be driving up front as will any passenger. I'm not concerned about any compromise from having taken off the ribs.
Sounds like you'll be fine, and of course yours are already off. My comment was more for Kaleth, to consider whether they really want to do this just for cosmetic purposes. I would also personally shy away from doing this just because of the extra work it would entail.
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Old 07-14-2020, 08:46 PM   #8
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From the OP it sounds like cosmetics are exactly why they asked about removing them and specifically what was under them. And I agree it makes any drawing /design/ mosaic much easier to deal with being a flat surface.
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Old 07-15-2020, 10:32 AM   #9
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Thank you for the heads up on the impact distribution

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Sounds like you'll be fine, and of course yours are already off. My comment was more for Kaleth, to consider whether they really want to do this just for cosmetic purposes. I would also personally shy away from doing this just because of the extra work it would entail.
Thank you for the impact distribution information Musigenesis. Iíve been through thread after thread on this. Also saw the Bluebird link about the rub rails being for that as well. Being that buses are built so much beefier than regular RVs anyway, I think weíre going to risk it.
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Old 07-15-2020, 10:47 AM   #10
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Thank you for the impact distribution information Musigenesis. Iíve been through thread after thread on this. Also saw the Bluebird link about the rub rails being for that as well. Being that buses are built so much beefier than regular RVs anyway, I think weíre going to risk it.
That's weird, I haven't seen any threads here on rub rail removal (in fact I never noticed that anybody removed them). I just read an article last year about Wayne buses (I think that's the right bus company) and how they were the first to use them back in the '60s, and they were so effective in accidents that everybody started using them (or maybe their use was mandated?). I'll see if I can find it again, but it sounds like you wouldn't want to read it.

I look forward to your paint job.
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Old 07-15-2020, 11:00 AM   #11
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Not sure if you have a Bluebird or a Thomas your signature says both. On my 91 bluebird the three lower rub rails aren't actually. The middle one is a ribbed panel that the upper and lower ones are riveted to. If you take off all three you would have to reskin that section.
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Old 07-15-2020, 04:43 PM   #12
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Bluebird body, Thomas chassis:)

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Not sure if you have a Bluebird or a Thomas your signature says both. On my 91 bluebird the three lower rub rails aren't actually. The middle one is a ribbed panel that the upper and lower ones are riveted to. If you take off all three you would have to reskin that section.
The bus is an FS65 25 footer with a bluebird body and a THomas chassis. It looks like all three rub rails are riveted on. At the moment, weíre chasing down leaks in the window wells:/ Took all the windows out, cleaned and polished them, and then reinstalled with Butyl and roof flashing caulk. Hoping the later will work well. Had hoped the water leak test would be leak free and still finding leaks:/ Have already seam sealed the roof. Canít imagine what might be the problem..were very careful to make sure all surfaces clean of any old sealant, acetoned all surfaces before applying tape and sealer. Can only think the glazing between the window and the glass itself might be a problem at the corners of the windows...The leaks sure seemed a bit big for that though:/ A bit disheartening.
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Old 07-15-2020, 04:48 PM   #13
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Wish I could relocate thread for you!

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That's weird, I haven't seen any threads here on rub rail removal (in fact I never noticed that anybody removed them). I just read an article last year about Wayne buses (I think that's the right bus company) and how they were the first to use them back in the '60s, and they were so effective in accidents that everybody started using them (or maybe their use was mandated?). I'll see if I can find it again, but it sounds like you wouldn't want to read it.

I look forward to your paint job.
I really looked through a bazillion threads on rub rails. There was one a while ago...maybe 2012? thatís where they had a link to the Bluebird article. Right now Iím so busy chasing leaks in window wells that I donít have time to remove rails As i said to someone else in this thread, Iíve sealed the roof seams, weíve removed the windows, cleaned and polished, reinstalled with butyl and tested this am...still some leaks. Looks like I heave some sealing to do around the the window pane itself where maybe glazing getting old. Donít know what else to do. Mural will have to wait, darn it!
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Old 07-15-2020, 04:54 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kaleth2 View Post
I really looked through a bazillion threads on rub rails. There was one a while ago...maybe 2012? thatís where they had a link to the Bluebird article. Right now Iím so busy chasing leaks in window wells that I donít have time to remove rails As i said to someone else in this thread, Iíve sealed the roof seams, weíve removed the windows, cleaned and polished, reinstalled with butyl and tested this am...still some leaks. Looks like I heave some sealing to do around the the window pane itself where maybe glazing getting old. Donít know what else to do. Mural will have to wait, darn it!
Maybe post some pics of the windows, and we can see what the issue might be. Some of my windows are leaking through the sill from the outside - these are spots in the corners where the bottom frame piece of the window unit (which is not part of the bus) is pressed against the side frame pieces. These seams are normally watertight from the factory, but if the bottom frame piece gets bent slightly when removing the windows (like happened to me because the windows had been sealed on the bottom without my realizing it and I tried to bend the windows out), these seams will open up and allow water (quite a lot of it) into the inside of the bus. I wish I had taken a video of this when my windows were out, but water would just spray through these very thin gaps.

Might not be your specific problem but it's something to investigate. Did you have any difficulty getting the windows out originally?
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Old 07-15-2020, 04:58 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kaleth2 View Post
The bus is an FS65 25 footer with a bluebird body and a THomas chassis. It looks like all three rub rails are riveted on. At the moment, we’re chasing down leaks in the window wells:/ Took all the windows out, cleaned and polished them, and then reinstalled with Butyl and roof flashing caulk. Hoping the later will work well. Had hoped the water leak test would be leak free and still finding leaks:/ Have already seam sealed the roof. Can’t imagine what might be the problem..were very careful to make sure all surfaces clean of any old sealant, acetoned all surfaces before applying tape and sealer. Can only think the glazing between the window and the glass itself might be a problem at the corners of the windows...The leaks sure seemed a bit big for that though:/ A bit disheartening.
THat's not a Thomas chassis, its Freightliner. YOur WHOLE bus is a Thomas, not a Bluebird.
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Old 07-15-2020, 07:17 PM   #16
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Bluebird logo on it

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THat's not a Thomas chassis, its Freightliner. YOur WHOLE bus is a Thomas, not a Bluebird.
Whoops! Youíre right Frieghtliner chassis. I have now corrected that on my profile too. The bus has the bluebird logo on the outside and on the inside. We were told it is one of the few models Built that way.

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Old 07-15-2020, 07:21 PM   #17
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Window Frame thoughts

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Originally Posted by musigenesis View Post
Maybe post some pics of the windows, and we can see what the issue might be. Some of my windows are leaking through the sill from the outside - these are spots in the corners where the bottom frame piece of the window unit (which is not part of the bus) is pressed against the side frame pieces. These seams are normally watertight from the factory, but if the bottom frame piece gets bent slightly when removing the windows (like happened to me because the windows had been sealed on the bottom without my realizing it and I tried to bend the windows out), these seams will open up and allow water (quite a lot of it) into the inside of the bus. I wish I had taken a video of this when my windows were out, but water would just spray through these very thin gaps.

Might not be your specific problem but it's something to investigate. Did you have any difficulty getting the windows out originally?
Thanks for that background! I found an old thread on how to troubleshoot leaks and it was suggested that we should start spraying the water low on the bus body and work our way up to where leaks start. We did this at lunch today and were surprised that the leaks started heavily at the rub rails before we even got to the windows! Iíll get those off and seal them up along with any seams under them and weíll start the troubleshooting process again. Hope it stays dry after that!
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Old 07-15-2020, 07:21 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kaleth2 View Post
Whoops! Youíre right Frieghtliner chassis. I have now corrected that on my profile too. The bus has the bluebird logo on the outside and on the inside. We were told it is one of the few models Built that way.

Well the entire body of your bus is clearly a Thomas. The pics show it. Bluebirds have individual louvers over each window. And a different body style. And the windows on yours tilt in 6 degrees. And the hump in the front on the roof- that's only a Thomas thing. BB never did any of those things.
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Old 07-15-2020, 07:25 PM   #19
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Mystery bus!

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Originally Posted by EastCoastCB View Post
Well the entire body of your bus is clearly a Thomas. The pics show it. Bluebirds have individual louvers over each window. And a different body style. And the windows on yours tilt in 6 degrees. And the hump in the front on the roof- that's only a Thomas thing. BB never did any of those things.
https://share.icloud.com/photos/0dkS...7AB__JEJfaumDA
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Old 07-15-2020, 07:30 PM   #20
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Mystery Bus

Quote:
Originally Posted by EastCoastCB View Post
Well the entire body of your bus is clearly a Thomas. The pics show it. Bluebirds have individual louvers over each window. And a different body style. And the windows on yours tilt in 6 degrees. And the hump in the front on the roof- that's only a Thomas thing. BB never did any of those things.
I posted link to photo of the logo on the bus. So strange! So, did Bluebird do a year where they produced bus bodies for Freightliner that were Freightlinerís designs or something maybe? Bluebird logo on outside, inside and the VIN number tags say bluebird too.
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