600 Rivets and a pleasant surprise.

This weekend’s plan was to convert the floor rust, paint the floor and peel off the walls and ceiling.

The plan did survive contact with the enemy.

Before we get to all of that, my mom spent the week finishing up some floor spots, removing the rear heater, and taking an angle grinder with flap disc to the floors. What a beast! Thanks Mom!

When we showed up Saturday, I started with removing the walls and ceiling. This meant removing over 600 rivets. To do this I used a cheap air chisel with a punch and a chisel. I used the punch to get the mandrels (the middle part of a rivet) pushed out of the rivet head and neck. This would allow me to cut the head off a lot easier with the chisel afterwards. Towards the end of the first part of this process, punching the rivets, we realized some rivets were hidden behind various panels like a seatbelt hanger, emergency window borders, the main door mechanisms, and so on.

So we set out to remove all these panels, in the process we decided we might as well remove all the windows and re-seal them to be sure. My Daughter Zoe and I worked on getting the windows out while Breanna worked on cleaning them and getting them ready for paint. At this point Zoe showed my mom how to get the windows out and I went back to chisel stuff. After cutting off the rivet heads it was time to take panels out! Here’s what we found behind all of them except the driver side runner which had all the electrical wiring.

Our first worry was that this was cheap great stuff foam and we just ran into a major annoyance, but then I started wondering if this maybe was actually good closed cell insulating foam. So I went to the internet, reddit and skoolie.net to be exact and the consensus was that this was the good stuff! Amazing! What’s crazier still is the whole underside of the bus is covered in this stuff too! That’s probably about $2000 worth of insulation, for free! What a great outcome.

So I removed all the wall panels anyway because we’d planned to replace those regardless. The ceiling was something else entirely. It won’t come out. The side edges are wedged into a metal protrusion above the windows (see the pic). It’s a tough piece of metal that’s hard to bend out of the way without really mangling it all. So we’ll leave the ceiling, and repaint it a prettier color or cover it with more insulation and wood and move on with our lives.

As for the windows we we’re only able to mask and paint 2 or 3 of them, then it was time to call it a day, and prep the bus for the coming days of rain. The painted windows look much better. Right now only the outsides are painted, the inside will be painted when we decide what color makes the most sense.

It feels like we accomplished a lot but made no progress this weekend. We’re learning to accept that since it’s likely to be like this often. This week, my mom will Corroseal the floor and paint it with some yellow rustoleum oil enamel. If she has a chance she may reseal all the windows with butyl tape and then we’ll paint them in place so that we don’t have to worry about leaks causing any rust issues while so much is exposed.

Thanks again for reading.

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