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13: Skoolie Leaks and Our Attempts at Stopping Them

Stage 13: Sealing Exterior Sides and Roof

DAY 1

I started the roof seams with the original Polyurethane we used to caulk the floors. I love that stuff. I used my finger to fill the gaps after I placed the bead to give it a big thick layer. I noticed a few screws that may have needed some caulk, so I just did those too. I also brought corroseal with me, just in case there were any rust spots that needed tending to.

I made a freaking mess up there. LOL. And I did NOT wear any gloves. SO dumb. This is totally an art, and I am still learning, HA!
I made a freaking mess up there. LOL. And I did NOT wear any gloves. SO dumb. This is totally an art, and I am still learning, HA! Notice the screw on the top right, treated with corroseal.
One Re-Sealed Emergency Hatch and some seams.
One Re-Sealed Emergency Hatch and some seams.
This was the Only rust spot I found up there and it was on the edge of one of the emergency door hatches. I used Corroseal to convert and treat the rust first. Had a few screws with rusty tops, so I corrosealed those as well wherever I found them.
This was the Only “big” rust spot I found up there and it was on the edge of one of the emergency door hatches. I used Corroseal to convert and treat the rust first. Had a few screws with rusty tops, so I corrosealed those as well wherever I found them.
Ran out of the Polyurethane I bought for the holes on the floor and switched over to the 2 in 1 Premium Polyurethane to finish the job.
Ran out of the Polyurethane I bought for the holes on the floor and switched over to the 2 in 1 Premium Polyurethane to finish the job.
FINISHED! From front to back of roof. My helper on the 20 ft ladder:)
FINISHED! From front to back of roof. My helper on the 20 ft ladder:)
Finished Back to Front!
Finished Back to Front!

I ended up coming back up to the roof after getting more caulk and sealing all of the rusty screws I found as well as other screws where we saw water coming in at from inside of the bus. We had to stand in the bus while it was pouring rain to really see where everything was coming in at, then we sealed it.

WEAR GLOVES WHEN APPLYING POLYURETHANE CAULK/SEALANT! I still have this on my hands as I type. I wore gloves the next time I had to use the caulk gun. And I have been wearing gloves to handle food all week too, lol. LESSON LEARNED!
WEAR GLOVES WHEN APPLYING POLYURETHANE CAULK/SEALANT!
I still have this on my hands as I type. I wore gloves the next time I had to use the caulk gun. And I have been wearing gloves to handle food all week too, lol. LESSON LEARNED!

DAY 2

Sealing the side seams and anywhere else that appeared to need a fresh coat of caulk was really the task to accomplish here. So, Crab started on one side of the bus with our original Polyurethane choice (the type used for the floor holes) after a quick resupply from HD.Β  I started on the opposite side with a smaller tube of it, and then had to switch to the 2 in 1 polyurethane after I ran out. I call this Frankenstein/ChittyBang because she really looks funky right now. HAHA!

Close up of new seal.
Close up of new seal.
Some random screw holes covered with polyurethane caulk. Bondo would work well here too.
Some random screw holes covered with polyurethane caulk. Bondo would work well here too.
My Part of the bus caulked with LocTite 2 in 1 Premium Polyurethane.
My Part of the bus caulked with LocTite 2 in 1 Premium Polyurethane.
The Doors with a fresh seal!
The Doors with a fresh seal!
Crab re sealed the outer part of the back windows.
Crab re sealed the outer part of the back windows.
Driver Side sealed
Driver Side sealed
Passenger side sealed up!
Passenger side sealed up!

Now we are just waiting for it to rain so we can see how well we did!! We can definitely test it with a hose, but a real hard rain is definitely more realistic. I feel confident we fixed our leak problem!! All we need to do now to finish up our pre-build work is to do a quick clean out and one more coat of rustoleum on the floor to ensure we did not scuff up the paint while working on it.

Next week we will be buying the floor framing boards, insulation, and plywood! I can not wait!!

Stage 14: Paint the Floor…One More Time

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Editing Our Life Series

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11, Part 2: Skoolie Window Removal/ReSeal & SIde Wall Demo

STAGE 11: Remove Windows/Side Panels & Insulation, Re-Seal and Replace Windows

Part 2-Day 2

The next day I was certain we would not get to complete our project because of the rain. The Universe was looking out for us though because by 3 PM it was clearing up. So, we all got to work on other side of ChittyBang!

We removed the windows successfully! The guys started in on the side panels, while I worked on cleaning and scraping the windows.

JB removing fiberglass leftovers with the wire brush on the drill.
JB unscrewing the panels and Crab confidently cutting the panels off at the top.
My littlest Crab hammering stuff.  It was cute for a little while, but then Mommy's ears needed a rest :) She helped me spray the windows off and get some of the screws ready for the windows.
My littlest Crab hammering stuff. It was cute for a little while, but then Mommy’s ears needed a rest πŸ™‚ She helped me spray the windows off and get some of the screws ready for the windows.

The Panels were removed much more smoothly on Day 2 πŸ™‚ We got everything smoothed out on the frames, the insulation totally removed, the windows cleaned and scraped…now for the last stretch!

Scraping the old caulk off of the frames before Putting in the windows!
JB taking a break before Scraping the old caulk off of the frames.

Finally done!

Completed Door Side View!
Completed Door Side View!

We also put some caulk on the screws/rivots that were on the walls under the windows to make sure no water was coming in from here. Some insulation was wet, so we needed to be sure there was little chance of any more leaks. We are not professional bus renovators, so we do what makes sense to us as we do it. I want ChittyBang as leak proofed as possible πŸ™‚

We are finally done with demo!!!

Now onto foaming, and re-sealing the roof and side seams!!

STEP 12

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Check out how we decided to start this whole project:

Editing Our Life Series

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11 Part 1: School Bus WIndow Removal and Re-Seal

STAGE 11: Remove Windows/Side Panels & Insulation, Re-Seal and Replace Windows

Part 1

After much deliberation, we decided that removing the side panels and resealing all of the windows was the best route for us to take instead of starting the floor framing. A few reasons we decided to are:

1. We found some leaks and knew the windows were partly to blame.

2. If there were leaks, how far into the insulation under the panel did it get? Needed to know this answer.

3. We gained a couple of inches by taking them out and replacing it with better insulation and wall paneling, rather than just building over it.

4. We already demo’ed an entire bus, why stop here?

5. Windows are expensive to replace. And we would need a lot of windows. So, resealing seemed wise for us until we can replace some.

6. I needed to know that this bus had no leaks or hidden rust damage. That is just a personal preference.

In Texas (and most of the US), the last few weeks have given out a lot of rain. This prevented us from moving forward in the next step of our project because we had to remove the windows to complete it. Finally, we had a break in the weather one afternoon and some help from our Missouri friend, JB, and his dog, Dex, so we decided to go head first and figure this beast out.

DAY 1

Before window/side panel/side insulation removal.
Before window/side panel/side insulation removal.
Step 1: Take out windows!
Step 1: Take out windows!
Step 2: Unscrew Panels We were so lucky to have JB over for the weekend to hang out! I immediately put him to work unscrewing the side panels with Crab lol :)
Step 2: Unscrew Panels
We were so lucky to have JB over for the weekend to hang out! I immediately put him to work unscrewing the side panels with Crab lol πŸ™‚
Long Shot of the Guys working. Keep on cruising, keep on cruising :)
Long Shot of the Guys working. Keep on cruising, keep on cruising πŸ™‚

Windows out, screws out…..now how to detach the tops???

Attempt #1 of Removing Panels: Drilling a hole through each joining point. FAIL
Attempt #1 of Removing Panels: Drilling a hole through each joining point.
FAIL
Attempt #2 of Crab Removing the side panel: Cut it off below the window bottom frame with an angle grinder and a grinding wheel.  FAIL
Attempt #2 of Crab Removing the side panel: Cut it off below the window bottom frame with an angle grinder and a grinding wheel.
FAIL
It did cut this panel off, but we would have blown through a lot of those wheels if we continued :/
It did cut this panel off, but we would have blown through a lot of those wheels if we continued :/ We also removed the insulation from the walls. Some pieces were damp on some areas, but no rust was on the wall….PHEW!
Attempt #3: Crab cutting with the angle iron and diamond blade attachment from the top.
Attempt #3: Crab cutting with the angle iron and diamond blade attachment from the top.
SUCCESS!! Close Up of cutting action
SUCCESS!!
Close Up of cutting action

We also used the metal brush on a drill (used for removing rust) to remove the left over fiberglass remnants.

Using the grinding wheel to remove any metal shards and smooth out the top.
Next, Crab used the grinding wheel to remove any metal shards and smooth out the top. Notice the completelyΒ  insulation free wall:)

We also scraped the old caulk off of the sides of the window frames on the bus to give the new seal its best shot.

Well, I can’t be standing around all day taking pictures so…meanwhile outside of ChittyBang….

The old windows awaiting a spray of the hose and a good scraping!
The old windows awaiting a spray of the hose and a good scraping!
Hose sprayed Windows awaiting sealant!
Hose sprayed Windows awaiting sealant!

The Product Used:

LocTite PLS40 Polyurethane for Windows is what I wanted to buy for the windows. We used polyurethane for the holes on the floor and I really liked the way it worked and its specs, I am hooked. My local HD only had 1 in stock, so I bought it.
LocTite PLS40 Polyurethane for Windows is what I wanted to buy for the windows. We used polyurethane for the holes on the floor and I really liked the way it worked and its specs, I am hooked. My local HD only had 1 in stock, so I bought it.
Along with 5 bottles of LocTite 2 in 1 Premium Polyurethane. This is what we re-sealed the windows with. Great reviews! the PLS40 had great ones too. I am definitely a fan of polyurethane!
Along with 5 bottles of LocTite 2 in 1 Premium Polyurethane. This is what we re-sealed the windows with. Great reviews! the PLS40 had great ones too. I am definitely a fan of polyurethane!

For the next part we had a pretty good system going. Crab was on a step ladder outside with some LocTite 2 in 1, and JB and I were inside re-sealing each window. Then the window was place back into its frame.

Putting back the first, freshly scraped and sealed window.
Putting back the first, freshly scraped and sealed window.

Man, time flew by…

About 1 million
About 1 million “caulk” jokes later, and we have One Side removed and all of its windows re-sealed and replaced!
Finishing up day one. Picking Up and messing around. JB was playing with Dex, who loved jumping into ChittyBang to watch us work :)
Finishing up day one. Picking Up and messing around. JB was playing with Dex, who loved jumping into ChittyBang to watch us work πŸ™‚

Coming up next is Day 2: Stage 11, Part 2

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Stage 1

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3: School Bus Floor Demo, Factory Heater Removal, and More

Stage 3 of Operation Chitty Bang was finishing up the prior day’s floor demo and tearing out some lights/speakers/panels that run along the top sides of the interior. This was the day we actually removed the heaters (did a little research on skoolie.net for heater help) and looped the coolant hoses under the bus.

Removing the rubber mats and plywood on one side, then figuring out how to remove the heaters on the other. This was a learning lesson we decided to sleep on and finish on Day 2!
Removing the rubber mats and plywood on one side, then figuring out how to remove the heaters on the other. This was a learning lesson we decided to sleep on and finish on Day 2!
The kids helped me take the flooring out from under the heaters while Crab ran to the store to get more coolant. We are about 25 minutes from a auto zone/walmart so we had some time to get this done before he got back!
The kids helped me take the flooring out from under the heaters while Crab ran to the store to get more coolant. We are about 25 minutes from a auto zone/walmart so we had some time to get this done before he got back!
Flooring and Heaters Removed. Success! We finished letting the coolant run into a big old dog bowl we found outside (On a homestead, sometimes things get carried/blown away and found a long time later, lol) and then were able to remove the heaters.
Flooring and Heaters Removed. Success! We finished letting the coolant run into a big old dog bowl we found outside (On a homestead, sometimes things get carried/blown away and found a long time later, lol) and then were able to remove the heaters.

We finished the side panel removal where the speakers and lights were. This also exposed the fiberglass insulation that was underneath and under the roof. That project will prove to be a little more difficult than anticipated…

The upper side panels removed where the speakers and lights were. These were quick disconnects, which made uninstalling a breeze. A few screws and a little grunting, and voila, more space!
The upper side panels removed where the speakers and lights were. These were quick disconnects, which made uninstalling a breeze. A few screws and a little grunting, and voila, more space!

The hoses for the heaters went through a hole between the floor and behind the driver’s seat (something we will need to seal soon!). So we followed the lines under the bus and “looped” them the only way that seemed possible by cutting the hoses much shorter, and reclamping them to the pump they were connected to. I am sure we can take out more of the hoses and maybe even that pump, but that will be a project when we are with our diesel mechanic friend!

Looping the Radiator Hoses from the inside bus heaters. Re-used small part of the tubing, the clamps, and the copper tubing elbow.
Looping the Radiator Hoses from the inside bus heaters. Re-used small part of the tubing, the clamps, and the copper tubing elbow.

We let the bus run for about 20 minutes after we looped it and refilled the coolant to make sure all of the gauges stayed in the green, and no codes came up on the scan gauge reader. This helped us to be sure we did it right:)

Nuts and Bolts, Nuts and Bolts, We Got Lots of Screws!!

Bolts from the bus seats. I don't know if you can tell, but there are a lot! 7 bolts per seat!
Bolts from the bus seats. I don’t know if you can tell, but there are a lot! 7 bolts per seat!
Floor Screws removed
Floor Screws removed
Lights and Speakers removed
Lights and Speakers removed

Yes, we are totally keeping all of these treasures because you know how it goes on a homestead. You can always re-use it!! Even if it’s broke, you can still try to fix it or use it in some other way. Or you sell it and make some money off of it:)

Onto later that night’s Stage 4: Scrubbing Chitty Bang

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Editing Our Life Series

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Stage 2: School Bus Seat Removal

Day 1

The day Crab made it back home it was late in the day, but I still could not help myself. We took out 10 bus seats and called it quits for the day. LOL. Some people I have seen do these renovations have had to cut the seats out because the bolts were so rusted, or for preference I guess. Our bolts were easy enough…I had to be under the bus reaching through metal slats, axles, tanks, and other greasy grimey stuff to hold each floor bolt’s washer while Crab unscrewed it from the top with our hand drill. Needless to say, I definitely had the nastiest job. But I did it with pride, and with only one busted knuckle!

Before: Inside of the bus from the rear (28 seats)
Before: Inside of the bus from the rear (28 seats)
A little less than half of the seats removed and our English Mastiff, Mila, enjoying the view :)
A little less than half of the seats removed and our English Mastiff, Mila, enjoying the view πŸ™‚
One Row of Seats Removed! I can taste the Sweet Victory! And it tastes like the undercarriage of a bus. LOL
One Row of Seats Removed! I can taste the Sweet Victory! And it tastes like the undercarriage of a bus. LOL
From Rear with one row of seats removed
From Rear with one row of seats removed
28 Seats successfully removed, and oh does she look good!
28 Seats successfully removed, and oh does she look good!
The school bus seat graveyard. The girls worked on getting all of the seat belts off. Only took them a day and a half, but they got them all! We are proud parents of a 9 and 6 year old girl that know how to use power tools:) They love helping build our tiny house!
The school bus seat graveyard. The girls worked on getting all of the seat belts off. Only took them a day and a half, but they got them all! We are proud parents of a 9 and 6 year old girl that know how to use power tools:) They love helping build our tiny house!

We also took the flooring out on one side, starting with the rubber mats, and then the plywood. Surprisingly for a 16 year old bus, the plywood was still in pretty good shape! The other side of the flooring had the heaters on top, which also had hoses of coolant attached to them. We ended up cutting the wrong line to remove the heaters, and antifreeze started pouring out. Mistake #1. No biggie though. We read (after the coolant was emptied lol) that you can loop the heater hose if you want to remove them, which we did. One worked and the other did not, and I Want to find something more energy efficient since our ultimate goal is to use 100% solar power, with a plug in option and an option to charge our house batteries with the bus engine.

Removing the rubber mats and plywood on one side, then figuring out how to remove the heaters on the other. This was a learning lesson!
Removing the rubber mats and plywood on one side, then figuring out how to remove the heaters on the other. This was a learning lesson!
From the Rear with all the seats out and almost all the flooring gone!
From the Rear with all the seats out and almost all the flooring gone!

Removing the flooring was probably one of the easiest tasks, despite the heaters on one side. All of our boards were in pretty good shape except for a back corner section where some screws rusted and stayed in the floor. We had to grind those down, but that was pretty fast anyway. Well, Day 1 was definitely exhausting, but we got a lot of progress done!

This is what crawling under and inside of a dirty bus looks like. It felt good to be all dirty and accomplished though. Yeah, I'm a lady who likes hard work sometimes :)
This is what crawling under and inside of a dirty bus looks like. It felt good to be all dirty and accomplished though. Yeah, I’m a lady who likes hard work sometimes πŸ™‚

"WIldMan

Onto Day 2: Stage 3: Tearing the Floor and More Demo

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Editing Our Life Series (The Prequel to Skoolie!)