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Old 01-02-2019, 10:23 AM   #41
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Made some real progress yesterday! I decided that I wanted to get rid of the steel chair rail below the windows. I've read through so many discussions about it and decided to roll the dice with removing them. After grinding off a whole bunch of rivet heads I started yanking on the chair rail, but it wouldn't budge. I had already checked to be sure that it didn't run under the floor and it didn't seem to be welded in place. So I decided to put a cutoff wheel on my trusty angle grinder (have I mentioned what a good purchase that was?) and run a cut along the bottom edge, as close to the floor as possible. I also decided to split the piece in two, to make it easier to manage. I didn't want to be too aggressive and risk cutting the hat channel or any wiring that might be hiding behind, so I was pretty conservative with my cuts. After running along the bottom of the first section, I started pulling the chair rail away from the wall, bending it down towards the floor. After about three or four good bends, the chair rail was free! Lather, rinse, repeat on the front portion and I now have a completely stripped drivers side wall. In the next few days I plan on tackling the (several feet shorter) passenger side.

Also on the agenda is planning my attack on the window deletes. We're planning on removing the two rearmost windows, which would be in our bedroom. My plan is to make this patch look as factory as possible. The plan is to remove the three trim pieces pictured here and the two windowsills. Then I'll skin over the deletes with the salvaged ceiling skin, reusing the factory rivet pattern. I'm going to try to get the skin shoved up under the gutters without unbuttoning the whole roof. I've already got a whole tube of automotive seam sealant ready to go, once I have the time and weather to get this job done.
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Old 01-02-2019, 10:32 AM   #42
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Do you know what material your roof skins are? Aluminum or steel? I was thinking of repurposing my roof skins for floor sections as well as deleting some windows like you are talking. My plan is to use a sheet metal brake to make an offset along the top edge that will slip on the inside top of where the window sat. This will give an overlap on the outside like a shingle to shed water. I'll plan to use seam seal and possibly rivets like you said to fasten it. I've never done it, just bouncing ideas off of you since it sounds like we might be going down the same path soon.

As far as the chair rail for me, I plan to leave it to attach my Murphy bed to as well as cabinets and wall studs, etc too. Keep up the good work! Makes me want to work on mine again! I've been sick for a week so no work has been done in awhile on mine!
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Old 01-02-2019, 10:46 AM   #43
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Do you know what material your roof skins are? Aluminum or steel? I was thinking of repurposing my roof skins for floor sections as well as deleting some windows like you are talking. My plan is to use a sheet metal brake to make an offset along the top edge that will slip on the inside top of where the window sat. This will give an overlap on the outside like a shingle to shed water. I'll plan to use seam seal and possibly rivets like you said to fasten it. I've never done it, just bouncing ideas off of you since it sounds like we might be going down the same path soon.
My skins (inside and out) and floor are all aluminum. Corbeil kept their use of steel to a minimum, using it for things like the seats, hat channel and cross-members. I should have taken more pictures of my window areas but, if I remember correctly, on mine I don't believe an offset will benefit me to get behind the gutters. I think I should be able to pull it out just slightly with a prybar and wedge the new skin in there. I've never done this either, just basing it off of some of the excellent threads, tutorials and suggestions on here.

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As far as the chair rail for me, I plan to leave it to attach my Murphy bed to as well as cabinets and wall studs, etc too. Keep up the good work! Makes me want to work on mine again! I've been sick for a week so no work has been done in awhile on mine!
I'd gone back and forth on whether or not to keep the chair rail for a long time. Like I said, there are a ton of discussions on here about the merits of keeping it or deleting it. Ultimately, I decided to ditch it in order to make the build-out a little easier. By removing it, I can use solid pieces of luan or something similar to skin below the windows, after I've fully insulated. It'll especially help when I build the wet bath since I won't have to build out around the chair rails, losing some inches.

I definitely know what you mean about losing time. I was out of commission last weekend due to something that hit me like a mini flu. The plan is to hit the road in May or June, so I have to get my butt in gear! Good luck with your project, too!
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Old 01-02-2019, 11:32 AM   #44
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You folks do realize that the "chair rail" is a major, structural component on nearly every bus that has them, right. They tie the side panels and floor together.


You really need to analyze their exact role on your vehicle and proceed accordingly.
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Old 01-02-2019, 11:49 AM   #45
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You folks do realize that the "chair rail" is a major, structural component on nearly every bus that has them, right. They tie the side panels and floor together.


You really need to analyze their exact role on your vehicle and proceed accordingly.
I appreciate your input, Tango. I'm certainly not evangelizing that everyone should remove their chair rails. I do understand that they serve a structural function, especially adding stiffness and rigidity to the sides. As I said, I did extensive reading of the discussions on here and decided that I'm ok taking the risk of removing them. Even without the chair rails, I think a steel and aluminum bus is significantly stronger and better built than an off the lot RV.
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Old 01-02-2019, 12:32 PM   #46
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I agree it adds some structure to the walls. But it would make framing, insulating etc easier. And the framing should help stabilize the walls as well. I plan to utilize mine and kept the carriage bolts when I removed the seats. Another reason why I decided to keep mine is based off of laziness. I don't want to go through the work to remove it!! There are a lot of rivets!!! Lol so I'll use it to my advantage.
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Old 01-02-2019, 12:46 PM   #47
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The area below the chair rail is the perfect chase for end-to-end electric & plumbing.
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Old 01-05-2019, 04:03 PM   #48
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With all of the chair rail out, as of Thursday, today I tackled some prep work. I've noticed before that there's definitely a leak in our roof, but hadn't been in the bus during any substantial rain. Well, today I found the culprit. Like most buses, our emergency hatch was letting in quite a bit of water. Originally I was hoping to retain the hatch and install the vent fan inside of the hatch like these folks. But, as they say, the best laid plans of mice and men... So today I prepped the old ceiling skin that I'll be using for the window delete and another piece to delete the emergency hatch.

First I hit the old ceiling skins with the flap wheel to take off some adhesive that had been used at the overlapped seams. Next up was cutting the sheets down to size. Because of that same adhesive, both pieces I had hung onto for this and various projects had some malformations. I worked around these as best I could and cut the best, flattest sections available. I got the window panel cut to size and turned my attention to the emergency hatch. When I was done with both, I cleaned up the edges with the flap wheel and even added a nice radius to the corners of the escape hatch panel. Then I hit all of the edges with some steel wool to soften the edges even further and make sure nobody can get hurt.

Once that was all done, I had some old screw holes to fill in the window section. I cleaned up all the dust and grime from the panel and mixed up some JB Weld. I made sure to get the epoxy completely through the sheet and a healthy dose on either side. Once it's fully cured I'm going to try to grind and sand it flat with the rest of the panel. After all of that was done, I grabbed the emergency hatch patch, strung it from the ceiling and gave it a nice fresh coat of white Rustoleum. I wanted the patch to blend in with the rest of the roof as much as possible and reflect as much heat as possible.

I'm hoping for some nice weather in the near future so I can get the hatch and window skinned over and finally get this bus insulated! It's been a long process to get here, but I'm feeling good about our progress and hopeful for the future.
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Old 01-06-2019, 05:23 PM   #49
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It was 47 degrees and sunny today (pretty good weather for January in New Jersey), so my wife and I took the dogs for a hike. Afterwards I decided to tackle the roof hatch, since it was still so nice out. All of the screws had been covered in sealant, but I was able to remove most of them without incident. I did have to cut slots into a few of them in order to get them loose. After I pulled all the screws out I had some adhesive to deal with. I hit the sealant, adhesive and reflective tape with my 4 inch blade scraper and got rid of most of it. Then a round of Goo Gone and Acetone took care of most of what was left and I had a good surface for the new panel.

Once I had that good surface, I applied a bead of sealant all the way around the opening and over each of the old holes. I placed the new patch over the hole and set about drilling out holes for the rivets. I used 3/16" Aluminum rivets with a 3/8" hold. All said, I think I have about 24 rivets around the patch. From the inside there's a lot less play in the panel than in the rest of the ceiling. My sealant seems to have been applied in a good area as I had a small bit of seepage all the way around. I smoothed out the edges and then put some sealant over each of the rivets. I've got a few days of nice weather ahead, so I won't get a chance to test it out. Hopefully I'll be able to get my window patch installed in the next few days, too.
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Old 01-06-2019, 09:38 PM   #50
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It's looking great! I need to do all that you're working on now. I think I'm going to seal up my hatch similar to yours but I think I'll need a 14" x 14" opening as I plan to install a roof RV air conditioner. Keep the pictures coming!! It's good motivation!! As soon as I'm done rebuilding a transfer case, I'll be back working on my bus...
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Old 01-06-2019, 10:18 PM   #51
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It's looking great! I need to do all that you're working on now. I think I'm going to seal up my hatch similar to yours but I think I'll need a 14" x 14" opening as I plan to install a roof RV air conditioner. Keep the pictures coming!! It's good motivation!! As soon as I'm done rebuilding a transfer case, I'll be back working on my bus...
Am I correct in assuming that the transfer case is unrelated to the bus, or are you planning to do a 44? Eventually I'm going to be cutting a 14"14" hole in the new patch for a vent fan, but that hasn't even been ordered, yet. I'm glad my posts are motivating you to keep moving. That's one of the reasons I check in here almost every day. There are people who work much faster and people who work much slower, but work is always being done. It's nice seeing people just grinding it out at whatever pace they can manage. Sometimes it ebbs and sometimes it flows.
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Old 01-06-2019, 10:27 PM   #52
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Am I correct in assuming that the transfer case is unrelated to the bus, or are you planning to do a 44? Eventually I'm going to be cutting a 14"14" hole in the new patch for a vent fan, but that hasn't even been ordered, yet. I'm glad my posts are motivating you to keep moving. That's one of the reasons I check in here almost every day. There are people who work much faster and people who work much slower, but work is always being done. It's nice seeing people just grinding it out at whatever pace they can manage. Sometimes it ebbs and sometimes it flows.
The transfer case is for my wife's uncle. He ripped his NP241 in two pieces on a gen 2 Cummins 12 valve... I need to get it back together for him and get the truck off of my father in laws lift... Gotta keep everyone happy... Then I'll get back on the bus. A 4x4 bus would be sweet! But not for mine. It's a 3500 chassis dually Duramax... Maybe if I had a single wheel van chassis I would think about it!!

I have a lot of parts I haven't ordered yet. Speaking of vent fans, are you going to have a bathroom? If so are you installing a vent in there too? I plan to have a bathroom. Can't decide if I want another hole in the roof for a vent, or just open a window... Lol
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Old 01-07-2019, 08:24 AM   #53
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The transfer case is for my wife's uncle. He ripped his NP241 in two pieces on a gen 2 Cummins 12 valve... I need to get it back together for him and get the truck off of my father in laws lift... Gotta keep everyone happy... Then I'll get back on the bus. A 4x4 bus would be sweet! But not for mine. It's a 3500 chassis dually Duramax... Maybe if I had a single wheel van chassis I would think about it!!

I have a lot of parts I haven't ordered yet. Speaking of vent fans, are you going to have a bathroom? If so are you installing a vent in there too? I plan to have a bathroom. Can't decide if I want another hole in the roof for a vent, or just open a window... Lol
Ahh, ok. There have been some 4x4 Skoolie projects, so it wasn't completely out of the question.

We are planning a wet bath with a composting toilet, but don't have any plans for a vent fan. Like you said, I'm interested in minimizing the possibility for future leaks. We're going to get a film for the windows (probably something like this) to give some privacy. Then we can crack the windows as needed. I'm thinking of using one of these doors for our wet bath so we can have waterproofing and privacy but not have to deal with the space considerations of a swinging door.
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Old 01-07-2019, 08:45 AM   #54
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Ahh, ok. There have been some 4x4 Skoolie projects, so it wasn't completely out of the question.

We are planning a wet bath with a composting toilet, but don't have any plans for a vent fan. Like you said, I'm interested in minimizing the possibility for future leaks. We're going to get a film for the windows (probably something like this) to give some privacy. Then we can crack the windows as needed. I'm thinking of using one of these doors for our wet bath so we can have waterproofing and privacy but not have to deal with the space considerations of a swinging door.
What basin or pan are you going to use? I was going to do a neo-angle shower inside, but decided against it. Most of the time when we camp it will be warm out. So I've changed my plans to have an outdoor shower. My plan (blue prints in my head... Lol) is to have a fold down shower deck with pop up surround off of the side of my rear platform. I decided to do this to conserve space inside.

I bookmarked the film from Amazon. I might use some of that on my window. I know some others have painted something similar on the windows. The accordian style shower door will be nice space saver...
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Old 01-07-2019, 10:03 AM   #55
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What basin or pan are you going to use? I was going to do a neo-angle shower inside, but decided against it. Most of the time when we camp it will be warm out. So I've changed my plans to have an outdoor shower. My plan (blue prints in my head... Lol) is to have a fold down shower deck with pop up surround off of the side of my rear platform. I decided to do this to conserve space inside.

I bookmarked the film from Amazon. I might use some of that on my window. I know some others have painted something similar on the windows. The accordian style shower door will be nice space saver...
My original plan was to use an off-the-shelf shower pan, but I have been reevaluating my plans, based on the fact that I need to install the composting toilet in the pan. If I build my own pan I can maximize the space available. I'm now trying to decide what material to go with. I could either fiberglass my own pan or use a waterproofing membrane like RedGard. At the moment I'm leaning towards fiberglass as I have some experience working with it in marine applications.
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Old 01-07-2019, 03:24 PM   #56
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Actually...stainless from a neighborhood sheetmetal shop is not very expensive at all.
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Old 01-07-2019, 03:32 PM   #57
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Actually...stainless from a neighborhood sheetmetal shop is not very expensive at all.
I appreciate the suggestion! I'll have to take a look around and see what kind of fabricators are in the area that are willing/able to take on a small project like that. I wonder how that would feel under foot on a cool day, though
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Old 01-07-2019, 03:36 PM   #58
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I am planning on setting such a pan on foam for my wet bath.
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Old 01-07-2019, 03:37 PM   #59
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I appreciate the suggestion! I'll have to take a look around and see what kind of fabricators are in the area that are willing/able to take on a small project like that. I wonder how that would feel under foot on a cool day, though
Good idea Tango!!
Different situation for me, but I was thinking of using matching deck boards like my rear platform (composite deck boards) and have a stainless or aluminum pan underneath to collect the water so I can control the run off or capture in a bucket. (Mine will be outside)

Maybe for yours a shower mat over the stainless would help? I'm a big fan of stainless tho... I like TIG welding stainless also...
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Old 01-07-2019, 03:41 PM   #60
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Just wish I had a Tig (and knew how to use it).

The shape on my pan is going to be tricky the way it has to fit over a modified wheel well, but, as fate would have it...there is a family run ss specialty shop right across the road from my bus barn. I have had them do a few pieces so far and they all turned out great but this will probably be the most demanding. Especially as regards fit.
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