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20: School Bus Windshield Replacement & RV Ladder Install

We ended up getting a big nasty crack in the windshield. I think it was due to the rubber around the windshield being stuck behind in the glass in some places causing pressure points in the glass. Either way, our friend was friends with a glass guy, Lucky Us! Thanks Jim! So he came out to the house and took the windshield out, and replaced it with a brand new one! And the rubber is seated correctly now:)

Looks great! Thanks John! If you are ever in West TX (BIg Spring near Midland and Odessa area) call John up! I want to say it only cost about $200! Info below:


The transformation is in the making:) Once she is all painted, she will look brand new, or close:)

Next, we had ordered a ladder from Amazon that was a universal RV ladder. It was about $100 free shipping with Prime. I am not sure I am 100% sold on it. We bought better bolts and added lock nuts and washers. It only came with some screws…and we overengineer everything…so we added better hardware. The ladder was made for RVs, remember, so our bus is missing the hump on the top, which meant the support posts on the top were too short. We added some blocks of wood to take up the space.

Stromberg Carlson LA-401 Universal Exterior RV Ladder

Watching Crab work from the roof since my only way down was the ladder we were installing 🙂 Talk about motivation!

Now that we are about 3 months past this project and know how to weld, and want a “garage” on the back of the bus about 3 ft. out…we may cut hte ladder in half, or make something on our own. This part will be to be continued… 🙂

Here is a bigger shot of the bus windshield! Even got her some new windshield wipers:) The grill is off on this picture to be bondo’ed and re-painted.


What’s Next?!

Stage 21: Installing External Storage Boxes-Part 1


Back to Stage 19: Floor Prep 2-Laying Plwood

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17: School Bus Metal Floor Prep

After moving to West Texas and all of the dirty bus electrical we cleaned out, it was time we cleaned Chitty Bang again. We were also ready to start building!! What…what is that I said? YES! No more Demo! We are constructing things now! Well almost…..first things first:)

First, the girls and I cleaned…again..

A clean Chitty Bang…Again! After the move she got really dirty! I also love this pic bc my little Crab is super cute 🙂
ALL CLEAN! Girl pic:)

Next, we decided that since the floor was pretty scratched from all of our moving crap that we would go ahead and repaint the floor to prevent any rust from coming in and spreading like cancer…we also sanded any spots that needed to be…probably only 2 small spots though.

The girls starting to paint
They are so cute and great helpers!
Back to Front Painted
Stairs Painted
Floor re-painted white!

And lastly, we had to install some “furring strips” so we could have space between the metal and the plywood we laid down later so the closed cell foam we were going to spray would have room to insulate the floor as least a half inch to an inch. We also had to save any head room we could since Crab is 6’2″ and the bus height of the ceiling was inches from his head. Which is why we opted to lay them flat instead of on their sides.

Furring Strips laid with some self tapping metal screws. Gotta put some ass into any screws going into this tin can!
Back to front of the furring strips. We also put some polyurethane (that stuff I love and used for all the holes and in previous blogs) on the bottom of the wood for extra can see the zig zag of a moved board closest to camera.



or Back to Stage 16: Covering Windows, Lights, ETC

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16: School Bus Window Covering & How We Did It

This part of the project was the first time we ever cut metal this thick and used an air rivet gun to rivet steel to something..more specifically, a bus:) We started off early in the project (same time we were figuring our our bus electrical) with covering 4 windows (2 emergency windows on either side that I had actually moved into specific positions when we took out all of the windows), a hole inside the bus where the indoor heater hoses ran through, the 4 flashing lights outside Chitty Bang, and some small holes where the STOP Sign Arm was.

16 Gauge Cold Rolled Steel: Sanded, Cleaned, Corrosealed, and Rustoleum Painted
Removed “Eyelashes” of the flashing lights
Flashing Lights removed!
Rear Flashers Covered
Where heater hoses ran inside the bus now covered with metal and some metal self tapping screws
Stop Sign Arm Holes Covered
The Front of Chitty Bang with covered flashers and fixed Headlight Holders, and new headlights!
Crab and I Pre-drilling holes for the rivets to go into. These are pretty heavy pieces!
Driver Side Windows Covered
Passenger Side covered
Everything Covered in the original plan, plus the additional window coverage on the bottom of the back door!

We also needed to fix the headlight holders and replace the headlights. Crab learned to weld for the first time using a stick welder on this project. We also bondo’ed the front grill, sanded and painted it. She is lookin’ good!

Repurposed the old beat up grill and she looks like new! Almost:)
All Spiffy!

More recently (about 3 months later) we decided to cover more windows due to the complaints of fellow skoolie builders, and our realization that in the winter, these windows are effing cold. I did not want it to be a cave, but I don’t want it to be an ice box either. Decided to be a wise man and learn from others’ mistakes and we covered a few more windows.

Crab cutting metal, I sanded, and we both painted. The pee looking bottle is WD-40:) We sprayed it on the metal while the jig saw cut to keep the blade cool…was like cutting butta!
All the windows covered that will be covered…so far 🙂 For real, I think this is it!

Now we have 6 open windows on either side of the bus, not including the driver windows or door windows. It is much warmer inside late January and early February in West Texas. It snowed once while I was in the bus and although it was about 32 degrees outside, it stayed 49 inside….we also had foam insulation, walls and flooring in at this point too which totally helped. If you noticed the storage boxes and an rv ladder in this last pic…stay tuned! A blog about those will be coming soon!

Forward to Stage 16 Interior: Insulating the Covered Windows

Go to Stage 17: Flooring Prep 1

of Back to Stage 15: Wiring in New Toys

or Fast Forward to Stage 20: New Windshield and RV Ladder

and Stage 21: Installing External Storage Boxes Part 1