We’ve been busy working on the inside of the bus to make life more comfortable for our big family. But it was time…and good weather…for doing some of the outside work. This is a long weekend (Labour Day) here in Canada. We did some stripping outside on our bus conversion and rented a power washer. Renting it for just one day going into a long weekend was a great deal. It meant we got it for $60 for Friday until Tuesday morning. We were able to share it with the Sooke Sailing Association here so they could get some power washing done, too!
If you’re doing a bus conversion to a skoolie to make it into a motor home you need to be sure to check with local authorities and insurance company to see what work needs to be done. We’re fortunate here in BC that we don’t have to change the colour of the bus from that orangey-yellow colour. Of course I’m itching to get it painted (still somewhat undecided on the colour…democracy is still at work) but that’s a cost we aren’t ready to pour cash into since our personal comforts are more important to us than impressing the neighbourhood. Everette did some preliminary price-checking, and just getting enough paint for the roof (with an insulation factor) will run us about $500. So its on the back burner for now.
STOP & Flashing Lights
There’s some stripping outside of the bus you’ll have to do. Its probably mandatory everywhere to eliminate all the other obvious things that make it a school bus. Like removing the STOP sign. Ours now graces the cabin we’ve been fortunate to spread out in during our bus conversion. Also you’ll have to not only disconnect all the flashing lights typical of a school bus. We had to completely remove them.
Everette used what he removed as a template and cut some metal with snips. He spray painted them and then screwed it on to cover the holes left from the removal of the lights.
All “SCHOOL BUS” signs must also be removed. Unfortunately before we purchased the bus somebody sprayed black paint overtop to block out the signs on the side of the bus. It was a quick fix for them but a nuisance for us. Plus, the signs at the front and back of the bus were never done before we purchased the bus. Everette easily removed them.
You can see in the top half of the photo (to the left) the flashing of the vinyl lettering underneath. A heat gun melted a little bit of the vinyl so it bubbled and lifted just enough to get our nail underneath and finish pulling it off. Its just a little harder to get started since the black paint ‘sealed’ off the edges. However, once we got it started it was easy to remove.
I removed the reflector tape from along the top edge of the bus. There are still reflectors lower down on the bus that we will remove later. We will definitely want to have some reflection on our 40 foot sides, but for now we can do without the upper old and chipped tapes with build-up behind them as you can see in this video.
I used a heat gun to soften the glue ahead of where I was working. I applied pressure with a putty knife. It took a little trial-and-error to discover the sweet spot between not heating the tape enough & melting the tape. When I got the distance right for where to hold the gun I could apply strong pressure and basically the tape would peel off.
Power Washing The Roof
Everette climbed up on the bus roof to clean with the power washer where he got the best views and saw the biggest change. He broke the power-washing job into 2 days as its a long process. He did the roof and the driver’s side the first day since the roof was the surface that needed the most cleaning. Today he actually climbed back up on the roof to scrub some spots and do a quick once-over. He also power-washed the other side, the front and back of the bus.
Stripping Her Down
It felt good to get some of the outside of Our Argo stripped down. We aren’t completely done, nor ready to dole out the money to get her roof painted. But it’s good to see her looking cleaner on the outside. Every job seems to take a big chunk of time as she’s got a pretty long body. Forty feet long, she is. That makes for quite a big roof
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