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Old 07-06-2022, 05:23 PM   #1
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Too much rust???

Iíve been looking for a bus for what seems like foreverÖ and for some reason or another they keep falling through. Iíve found one thatís a great deal and already gutted (ideal). But Iím not sure if this is too much rust? The owner said itís just surface rust but I donít know enough about rust to make an informed decision. Really hoping someone can help me out
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Old 07-06-2022, 06:23 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by SherbetTheShorty View Post
I’ve been looking for a bus for what seems like forever… and for some reason or another they keep falling through. I’ve found one that’s a great deal and already gutted (ideal). But I’m not sure if this is too much rust? The owner said it’s just surface rust but I don’t know enough about rust to make an informed decision. Really hoping someone can help me out
Look at the pics in posts 2,6,9,11 & 12. in my build thread.

Count your blessings.
Yours is not bad at all !
What I can see on yours is surface rust. Easily addressed with a steel brush and some Ospho.
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Old 07-06-2022, 08:24 PM   #3
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We’re you able to see any areas of rust on your bus before gutting it or did it appear rust free at first glance?? I’m scared there’s holes in the walls under the rub rails �� you think it’s pretty minor rust though?
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Old 07-07-2022, 08:13 AM   #4
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We’re you able to see any areas of rust on your bus before gutting it or did it appear rust free at first glance?? I’m scared there’s holes in the walls under the rub rails �� you think it’s pretty minor rust though?
I didn’t know about the rust. Bought it sight unseen at auction a 1000 miles away from home. It was a Kentucky bus so yes, they come with rust.

If you are scared, don’t build abus,
If you are concerned, get under the bus and do a closer inspection.
There are only two ways you can see a rusty floor.
1) pull up the flooring and,
2) go under the bus and look.
Your choice..

If your gonna build a bus then get used to the idea of finding problems and figuring out a way to resolve them. That is a big part of this journey.

Kind of like marriage… first you say “ I DO” then you say, “What did I Do ?” And in the end you say “ damn, that was one hell of a journey”.

Been married myself going on 36 years….
And I still say “ Damn, what did I do “!!!!

Put your fears aside and go get your hands dirty!
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Old 07-07-2022, 02:13 PM   #5
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With me living in the rust belt. That doesn't look bad. A wire brush on a 4.5" grinder will make it all disappear.
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Old 07-07-2022, 06:55 PM   #6
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These pics aren't really good enough quality to tell how bad your rust situation is. But there's enough to show that it might be pretty bad indeed. Here is what "pretty bad" can look like.

For sure you're going to have at least some rust problems, all of which can be avoided by buying a bus that is definitively rust-free (they do exist). You should probably pass on this bus.

Regarding "already gutted": doing the demo on a bus always seems like a hugely difficult task to newbies, but that's because it's literally the first thing you do on a skoolie project. Once you get into it, you learn that it's an incredibly minor part of the whole thing. DO NOT give any weight to a bus being already gutted, as this will tend to lead you into bad decisions. If anything, being already gutted is a bad sign in a bus, as there are a lot of negative things about a bus (like rust damage, particularly) that can only be properly evaluated after the bus is stripped, and those negative things might well be why the bus is being sold.
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Old 07-08-2022, 11:58 AM   #7
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You didn't mention your level of expertise in dealing with things rusty OR mechanical. If you have experience with working on old, rusty vehicles it would have been helpful to know for us to advise you. If you have no experience working on rusty, old vehicles and you're going to hire someone to do the work for you -- run away, fast.

Mine has rust on the interior floor around the rear wheel wells - which I still have to fix in due time - or maybe 'doo time'.

If you have access to inspect the bus and want to get a better idea of the state of the rust, take a long pointy thingy (screw driver for instance) maybe a small tappy thingy (ball peen hammer), a good flash light and a tarp or something to lay on and spend time under the bus (safely, on a level surface and/or with the wheels chocked) poking and tapping on areas that look suspect. It'll be pretty obvious when you find perforation, just don't poke on anything that will be visible on the outside if you poke through, the owner might object to that.

I've lived in the rust belt most of my life and I've worked on cars as a hobby most of my life. Doing rust repair sucks, especially in areas that are visible like exterior body panels.
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Old 07-08-2022, 12:51 PM   #8
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If you have access to inspect the bus and want to get a better idea of the state of the rust, take a long pointy thingy (screw driver for instance) maybe a small tappy thingy (ball peen hammer), a good flash light and a tarp or something to lay on and spend time under the bus (safely, on a level surface and/or with the wheels chocked) poking and tapping on areas that look suspect. It'll be pretty obvious when you find perforation, just don't poke on anything that will be visible on the outside if you poke through, the owner might object to that.

OP: I'm a current-certified ASE Master Tech with a decade in the industry. I've only worked for an independent shop, as well as a large, well-known Fortune 500 used car retailer. I agree with the above-quoted method of inspection, emphases on a small screw driver. I wouldn't use a hammer. "Perforated rust" is what you need to worry about, as this impacts structural integrity of the component. Use the tip of a flathead screwdriver and touch the metal. Now apply light pressure. Does it give? Does it feel soft? Push harder. Does it crackle or make noise? If this is a "yes", then repair is required for the panel to function correctly. Any indication that the metal is weaker than other similarly-functioning panels that are less rusty? (Compare front to back, side to side. Don't compare a wall skin to a floor panel). If it still feels sturdy, try poking (as hard as you'd stab at uncooked carrots). Obviously, If your screw driver punctures any panels, then the metal is significantly thinner(and therefore weaker) and repair is required. Always test in inconspicuous places if possible.

Looking at the pictures, this bus will definitely require some rust repair, but to what extent? All rust should be addressed. Perforated rust is the difference between cleaning/treating and welding/cutting/replacing. Surface rust will also require effort on your part to recondition.

Can you see behind the skirt of the lowest rustiest rub rail?
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Old 07-13-2022, 12:22 AM   #9
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I appreciate all the responses!! After reading your replies and thinking on it I decided to pass. I’m not willing to deal with a significant amount of rust honestly. Thankfully since then I’ve found a bus in great quality with very minimal rust!! My next hurdle is figuring out what tires to buy (gotta replace all 6 oof) :’)
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Old 07-13-2022, 05:16 AM   #10
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My next hurdle is figuring out what tires to buy (gotta replace all 6 oof) :í)
I have to replace all of mine, which are 10R22.5s. I'm looking at $2700 for all six.
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Old 07-13-2022, 08:34 AM   #11
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I have to replace all of mine, which are 10R22.5s. I'm looking at $2700 for all six.
That seems to be the price tag Iím looking at too. It definitely stings!! What tires did you go with and what kind of bus do you have? Mines a 24 ft shorty and Im feeling a little overwhelmed with all the tire options
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Old 07-13-2022, 10:07 AM   #12
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That seems to be the price tag Iím looking at too. It definitely stings!! What tires did you go with and what kind of bus do you have? Mines a 24 ft shorty and Im feeling a little overwhelmed with all the tire options
Regarding tires, I would go to a reputable local truck tire shop, present your use case (RV), and see what they recommend. School buses tend to have some pretty aggressive tread (for a bus at least) on the drive tires because, well, no one wants to get stuck with a bus full of kids, but these tires cost more. The tires my local shop recommended are some generic brand and apparently can be used as steer OR drive tires, so they definitely don't have an aggressive tread, but for on-road, primarily on-highway driving, they're perfectly fine. If it's really snowing that bad or that icy, I'll stay parked and keep the heater on!

(Just looked in my build thread, posts 68 and 69 detail the rears I bought last year in September: Power King Navitrac N346, $1516 for a set of 4.
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Old 07-14-2022, 07:58 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by SherbetTheShorty View Post
I appreciate all the responses!! After reading your replies and thinking on it I decided to pass. Iím not willing to deal with a significant amount of rust honestly. Thankfully since then Iíve found a bus in great quality with very minimal rust!! My next hurdle is figuring out what tires to buy (gotta replace all 6 oof) :í)
Awesome - Congratulations!
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Old 07-14-2022, 08:10 AM   #14
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re: tires.. where are you at? you were looking at busses in ohio.. is that where you are?



the BestDrive tire center in grove city oh cuts me good deals on tires for my busses... if you are near this area i can ping em for you.
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