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Old 05-17-2021, 08:13 PM   #1
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Join Date: May 2021
Location: Midwest, WI/MN (for now)
Posts: 2
Already love this group--stupid question

Hi friends! I am super stoked about the information on this group--I've been combing through posts already, but I never hear anyone talk about RUST **UNDER** their bus. Is there too much? From what I could see when I crawled under, no significant rust damage to the frame or chassis, seems to be superficial, but I live in the midwest. Any help!! Happy travels

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Old 05-17-2021, 08:39 PM   #2
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Join Date: Aug 2019
Location: Auburn, WA
Posts: 612
Year: 2000
Coachwork: IC / Amtran
Chassis: 3000 / 33' Flat Nose
Engine: IC T444E / Allison MT643
Rated Cap: 72 Kids / 48 Adults
Welcome.

Anyone who has a bus and dogs has got to be a cool person!

Couple of housekeeping suggestions. Fill out your profile with your bus and location details.
Year
Make
Model
Length
Engine
Transmission
Where you're from

All of this doesn't matter for the rust question, well, the mid west part does, but it will help others answer more specific questions down the road.

The other thing is when you are signed in, use the search field. It will pop you out to your search engine for the results. Once you click on one of the results it will pop you to that post on skoolie.net.

Oh, here's a tip, make sure when you log in you click the "remember me" box, otherwise, the system thinks you've logged off (even though it shows your user name) and won't let you post a reply.

Okay, onto rust.

Knowing where the bus has lived its life, for how long and what kind of maintenance it's had tells you a lot. Southern CA, AZ, etc., dry and dry. Good! Midwest, snow, ice, salt, corrosive chemicals, etc. Bad!

While the heavier parts of the bus (axles, frame, etc.) can withstand a lot more abuse, it's the sheet metal, especially the floor and the lower edges of the sides that will really take a beating.

The lower sides is easy to find rust. The metal floor shows its true condition after you take off the old wood floor.

Generally, getting under the bus with a really bright light, a mask (for falling dirt, not corona), goggles and a fairly pointed metal rod to poke and prod the floor is your best way to find soft rusty metal.

Also, look at where the water gets sprayed up mostly, which is generally behind/around the tires.

Again, welcome, and hope this helps.
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Old 05-17-2021, 10:39 PM   #3
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Join Date: May 2021
Location: Midwest, WI/MN (for now)
Posts: 2
Thank you!

Appreciate the house-keeping feedback! I will fill out the profile asap!

As for the rust--I believe after a lot of videos, blogs, posts, and articles....it's too much. I was able to simply flake it off of the framing under the bus. Its a good price, great maintenance history (Gave me the logs to review), meticulously managed within a school district, (Mid Wisconsin--so yes, harsh salt and chemicals) but, my gut said not to go for it. Thank you for the feedback as well. I will get my info filled out, but I am sure I will be back for more perusing of posts! (I tried the search option, but I must not have been logged in as it took me on a confusing rabbit trail)

And yes, 3 dogs!!
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Old 05-17-2021, 10:48 PM   #4
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Join Date: Aug 2019
Location: Auburn, WA
Posts: 612
Year: 2000
Coachwork: IC / Amtran
Chassis: 3000 / 33' Flat Nose
Engine: IC T444E / Allison MT643
Rated Cap: 72 Kids / 48 Adults
Listening to your gut is good.

Do you have an idea of what you want in a bus?

What are you wanting to do with it?

Obviously three dogs....size? How much water does their coats hold (wet dog = condisation)?

Diesel vs. Gas?

Sharing a bit about this can get you some feedback that might bring up points you haven't considered or are not sure which side of the fence you are on.

Best of luck.

Oh, huge dog guy here. Use to have an in-home boarding business. Most dogs at one time....12, at Thanksgiving. Missed our chance to recreate the Last Supper photo.
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Old 05-18-2021, 12:14 AM   #5
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Join Date: Jan 2019
Location: Philadelphia
Posts: 5,373
Year: 2003
Coachwork: International
Chassis: CE 300
Engine: DT466e
Rated Cap: 65C-43A
Quote:
Originally Posted by A Girl and Her Dogs View Post
Appreciate the house-keeping feedback! I will fill out the profile asap!

As for the rust--I believe after a lot of videos, blogs, posts, and articles....it's too much. I was able to simply flake it off of the framing under the bus. Its a good price, great maintenance history (Gave me the logs to review), meticulously managed within a school district, (Mid Wisconsin--so yes, harsh salt and chemicals) but, my gut said not to go for it. Thank you for the feedback as well. I will get my info filled out, but I am sure I will be back for more perusing of posts! (I tried the search option, but I must not have been logged in as it took me on a confusing rabbit trail)

And yes, 3 dogs!!
Wisconsin buses are usually (I want to say "always" but I haven't literally seen every bus from Wisconsin) trashed out from rust, so you're best to avoid it just based on the license plate. However, the stuff flaking off from the "frame" may or may not be a big deal.

I put frame in quotes because the term is used in the skoolie world somewhat ambiguously. A bus basically consists of a chassis (two long, large c-channels running front to back with connecting members, that has the axles and engine etc. attached to it) and the body (the metal box that sits on top of the chassis rails aka large c-channels). The floor of the bus body is flat sheet metal with beams/stiffeners running side-to-side every 10" or so. Sometimes when people look under a bus and refer to the "frame" they're talking about the chassis, but other times "frame" refers to the stiffeners on the underside of the body floor.

The difference is important because the body is made entirely from thin sheet metal (usually 16 ga.) - even the stiffeners under the floor which are formed from bent sheet metal - while the chassis parts are formed from much thicker steel, usually 4X to 6X thicker than the body metal. So the same degree of corrosion that can eat entirely through the body can also be just minor surface rust on the chassis.

In your case, I'm going to guess that the stuff that was flaking off on the underside was the protective coating on the chassis rails (my badly-rusted bus came from Buffalo and had the same issue). The chassis rails are protected at the factory by a really tough polymer coating; surface rust (that usually starts at the holes drilled in the rails) can eat a long way underneath this coating but the coating itself will remain intact for a lot longer than regular paint would in the same situation, making it look like the metal itself is de-laminating (which it isn't, since it's not formed in layers to begin with).

It's pretty easy to flake this stuff off, treat the chassis with rust converter and then paint it or undercoat it or whatever, and you'd be good to go for a long time (not forever, which is why a completely rust-free bus is a better thing to start with). Rust damage to the body, however, because the steel is so thin you have to deal with it by cutting away the badly rusted parts and welding in patches (or rebuilding entire sections of the floor like at least one moron on this site had to do), which is a whole lot more work and requires fabrication skills (and a welding machine).

TLDR; rust on the body bad, rust on the chassis not so bad.
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