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Old 12-29-2020, 07:28 PM   #1
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Walls, ceilings, do I really need to spend the time?

Okay, so lets be honest. Do you really think it is necessary to pull the walls and ceiling to basically just reinstall different insulation? It already has some wooly goodness. Why go through all the trouble? I've been in sub freezing temps with a heated blanket in a Honda Odyssey minivan and been suuuuuuper comfortable. What are your thoughts/opinions and why?

I'm building a short bus for weekend/weeklong trips and seriously considering just leaving the walls and ceiling alone...
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Old 12-29-2020, 07:47 PM   #2
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I replaced mine for the following 3 reasons:

1. Mold removal. A simple 'I looked behind a panel and it looked fine to me' approach wouldn't work for me. 1 spot doesn't equal all spots, so it's peace of mind, be it me or my family in the bus for 5 minutes, or 5 years. The obvious, which was to actually insulate the bus.

2. Aesthetics. I personally didnt care for the metal and opted to create what I wanted and preferred.

3. Resale value. A proper build nets a larger payout.
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Old 12-29-2020, 08:04 PM   #3
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Don't forget about thermal bridging. I get the idea of saving money and reusing material on hand but thermal bridging is a pretty big deal when trying to control temperature.
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Old 12-30-2020, 12:11 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by gymkhanajosh View Post
Okay, so lets be honest. Do you really think it is necessary to pull the walls and ceiling to basically just reinstall different insulation? It already has some wooly goodness. Why go through all the trouble? I've been in sub freezing temps with a heated blanket in a Honda Odyssey minivan and been suuuuuuper comfortable. What are your thoughts/opinions and why?

I'm building a short bus for weekend/weeklong trips and seriously considering just leaving the walls and ceiling alone...
The effort you put into insulating your bus would depend on what temperatures (both hot and cold) you will expirence while camping in the bus. Also consider how often you will be using the bus as well as for how long. Budget how much time and money you want to put into the project. As my high school woodshop teacher would say "Its your dog. Walk it!"

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Old 12-30-2020, 12:56 AM   #5
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Honestly, you are building a motorhome from a worn-out old school bus, so make it as poorly as you want. It's your bus, you have to heat and cool it. I camp in a tent, so it has no insulation at all and I'm good with it.
I lived in a room built off a kitchen for a few months with no insulation and it was horrible, could see my breath at night. Was fine for a few months, no way as a full time living.
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Old 12-30-2020, 07:42 AM   #6
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Hondas don't have steel headliners or interior panels.
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Old 12-30-2020, 07:50 AM   #7
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Many skoolie builds leave it alone. My ceiling was fine and I left it as is. The walls were a mess and I had to redo them.



The roof is a stressed skin panel, removing without reinstalling the inner skin does weaken it. Think of an airplane wing. A forum member did ask Bluebird about it. Another member did roll his bus and is happy to have kept it in tact as original because it did not collapse.



The windows are your biggest heat gain and loss. Remove those not needed and insulate, and put curtains on the rest.


I have found between about 15F and 100F I can keep the bus comfortable. Beyond that range I would insulate more.
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Old 12-30-2020, 08:33 AM   #8
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Many skoolie builds leave it alone. My ceiling was fine and I left it as is. The walls were a mess and I had to redo them.



The roof is a stressed skin panel, removing without reinstalling the inner skin does weaken it. Think of an airplane wing. A forum member did ask Bluebird about it. Another member did roll his bus and is happy to have kept it in tact as original because it did not collapse.



The windows are your biggest heat gain and loss. Remove those not needed and insulate, and put curtains on the rest.


I have found between about 15F and 100F I can keep the bus comfortable. Beyond that range I would insulate more.
the steel headliner isn't structural. I've contacted Thomas about this. They sell commercial buses without steel headliners.
I've seen pics of a Wanderlodge rollover. They're heavier than skoolies with half the ribs and only pressboard for headliners. They do fine.

If I leave my steel headliner up it will be purely out of laziness and inexperience at working with that kind of thing.

Sitting in the bus a nice tongue in groove ceiling sure would look nice and I don't see how that's much weaker than some perforated 20 guage. But the extra work has me considering skipping this as I really want to get this bus "done".

A nice layer of closed cell foam topped with something wood would sure keep the temps a lot better in check than fiberglass sandwiched between sheets of steel.
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Old 12-30-2020, 08:41 AM   #9
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I left my walls and celling in place mine is a northern bus and had an insulation package from the factory. I did put 1.5" of foam over top the floors and walls. And much like Ronnie said between about 20 and 90 I can keep it nice inside. The windows are far more a problem than the walls and celling.
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Old 12-30-2020, 10:42 AM   #10
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the steel headliner isn't structural. I've contacted Thomas about this. They sell commercial buses without steel headliners.
I've seen pics of a Wanderlodge rollover. They're heavier than skoolies with half the ribs and only pressboard for headliners. They do fine.

If I leave my steel headliner up it will be purely out of laziness and inexperience at working with that kind of thing.

Sitting in the bus a nice tongue in groove ceiling sure would look nice and I don't see how that's much weaker than some perforated 20 guage. But the extra work has me considering skipping this as I really want to get this bus "done".

A nice layer of closed cell foam topped with something wood would sure keep the temps a lot better in check than fiberglass sandwiched between sheets of steel.

Conceptually, there's no way it doesn't add strength to the assembly. The question is how much strength does it add, and is it necessary. As you illustrate, buses with far less structural reinforcement fare far better than the RV alternative when the world gets turned upside down. And as you also point out, some measure of the strength removed can be regained w/ longitudinal planks fastened to the ribs.

Every time I read a thread like this I start stressing and worrying if we did the right thing removing it. Thanks once again for putting things back in perspective
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Old 12-30-2020, 12:03 PM   #11
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Conceptually, there's no way it doesn't add strength to the assembly. The question is how much strength does it add, and is it necessary. As you illustrate, buses with far less structural reinforcement fare far better than the RV alternative when the world gets turned upside down. And as you also point out, some measure of the strength removed can be regained w/ longitudinal planks fastened to the ribs.

Every time I read a thread like this I start stressing and worrying if we did the right thing removing it. Thanks once again for putting things back in perspective
If wanderlodges do as well in rollovers with cardboard as the headliner and half the ribs, I'd say the steel headliner is just that- a steel headliner.

Every part of a bus is "structural". the seats are actualy a MAJOR part of the structure.. but they have to come out to make it more livable.
To each their own, and i may still be lazy and leave the steel up there. But not for any safety or structural reasons.
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Old 12-30-2020, 12:16 PM   #12
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It seems to me that everyones idea has some merit. I kinda have to go along with Eastcoast on the ceiling. I think when we try to reason some things, we inevitably come down to justifying it in our minds. Sometimes it just comes down to how lazy are we? Im not calling anyone lazy.... except maybe myself! I reasoned in my own head that it would have to have some structural benefit. I left my ceiling panels up having 1 of insulation already there. Because my ceiling height was somewhere around 74 to 76 (Im 59). Any way, I added another 1 1/2 of EPS insulation to that. Then all that is covered with 1/2 cedar. I stripped the walls, mainly to check out what was there. I wound up adding 3 of XPS on the walls. Windows are definitely the weakest link. I believe that my biggest justification is that Im not living in Eleanor, Im just going to car shows and camping in it when I can.
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Old 12-30-2020, 12:17 PM   #13
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that end result looks beautiful! I'm gonna probably have to copy that!
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Old 12-30-2020, 02:25 PM   #14
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I wish I could find this again, but there was a post by somebody on one of the school bus forums about rolling a bunch of buses that had no ceiling or roof panels (just the ribs and longitudinal c-channels) down a hill and they were not crushed. The arch of the ribs and their cross-section make them extremely resistant to bending; the only way they can really fail is by being pushed forward or backward, and this is prevented by their attachment to the riveted-on roof and ceiling panels but also by the longitudinal (front-to-back) c-channels on the roof and above and below the windows (and the wall panels).

The combination of all these things most likely provides a great excess of resistance to deformation in the case of a rollover (which is incredibly rare anyway), such that removal of any of them technically weakens the structure but not actually enough to matter in any possible accident scenario. Which is why it's not a problem if the ceiling is perforated (which weakens the sheet) or omitted altogether like in the Wanderlodge, and it's not a problem that both the roof and ceiling panels are only riveted to alternate ribs (viewed as a tube, the ceiling would be stronger if the panels were riveted to every rib).
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Old 12-30-2020, 02:41 PM   #15
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that end result looks beautiful! I'm gonna probably have to copy that!
Feel free to copy all you want !!!
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Old 12-30-2020, 02:43 PM   #16
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Feel free to copy all you want !!!
I'll pm you and get the lowdown on all of that soon. Thanks for the inspiration, I think that's the prettiest bus ceiling EVER. My wife's in love with it!
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Old 12-30-2020, 05:24 PM   #17
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Feel free to copy all you want !!!
My only problem with your bus, Phatman, is that it looks so cool I want to just quit working on my own bus since it will never look that good.

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Old 12-30-2020, 08:28 PM   #18
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My only problem with your bus, Phatman, is that it looks so cool I want to just quit working on my own bus since it will never look that good.

Well Musigenesis I appreciate the compliment but I think your statement may be a little BS in my opinion. I’ve been reading and looking at your skills in your pics. That is one thing about this forum with everyone. There are a lot of different skills here. We all like to make things our own in whatever manner we can. Honestly I can’t take much credit at all on the colors. My favorite color is gray!!
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Old 12-31-2020, 11:53 AM   #19
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I'll pm you and get the lowdown on all of that soon. Thanks for the inspiration, I think that's the prettiest bus ceiling EVER. My wife's in love with it!

Yup, Our thoughts as well. Just stunning.
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Old 01-09-2021, 08:20 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by EastCoastCB View Post
the steel headliner isn't structural. I've contacted Thomas about this. They sell commercial buses without steel headliners.
I've seen pics of a Wanderlodge rollover. They're heavier than skoolies with half the ribs and only pressboard for headliners. They do fine.

If I leave my steel headliner up it will be purely out of laziness and inexperience at working with that kind of thing.

Sitting in the bus a nice tongue in groove ceiling sure would look nice and I don't see how that's much weaker than some perforated 20 guage. But the extra work has me considering skipping this as I really want to get this bus "done".

A nice layer of closed cell foam topped with something wood would sure keep the temps a lot better in check than fiberglass sandwiched between sheets of steel.

Have you posted a copy of the Thomas reply anywhere that we can view it?
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