The conversion of the bus hit a milestone this week, with the completion of demolition work. The application of floor treatment and paint marked the first steps taken in the bus rebuild.
After three weeks of work, I finally had all the seats removed, as well as the wall and ceiling panels. The air conditioning units and heater had been taken out and the bus had been rewired. I had disposed of the insulation and torn up the old floor. Even the exterior was complete with the reflective tape removed.
The first task was to treat the metal floor. After tearing up the old floor, I’d been fortunate to have discovered minimal rust. A few specks had appeared near bolt holes, which required nothing more than a steel brush to remove.
On the advice of other conversion projects I decided to treat the floor with Rust Remover and Inhibitor. After letting the rust remover cure, I treated the floor with two coats of Rustoleum Latex Primer for galvanized metal surfaces.
With the floor freshly painted, the next step was to fill the many holes from the seat bolts and seating tracks. Some bus converters had used pennies and epoxy, some recommended bondo filler whilst others stated welding was the only way to go.
I had no welding experience, and no desire to learn given the numerous holes littering my floor. My mechanic host had talked me out of bondo leaving only pennies and epoxy as a possible solution.
I liked the idea of using pennies to cover the holes, the finished look seemed coarse and not in keeping with my skoolie vision, so I decided to order a box of elevator bolts. The clean flat heads would look more professional and perform similarly to the pennies, whilst the 2cm long bolt shaft would prevent the bolt from coming loose which was a genuine concern. I ordered the smallest size I could find, 1/4 inch diameter and 3/4 inch long.
Given their flat heads, elevator bolts use a square neck to allow them to fastened. Whilst the 1/4 inch bolt fit neatly in the hole, the square neck prevented the bolt from sitting flush with the floor. Unable to source a smaller size, I was forced to find an alternative solution.
After speaking with team at the local independent hardware store, I settled on using nylon rivets. They assured me the nylon rivets were durable, would help to seal the holes, and be much faster to install than the other options. I ordered 200 pieces and set about filling the holes.
I had completely underestimated the number of holes in the floor. I’d barely covered a third of the floor before running out. The floor had over 500 holes. No wonder it had taken me so long to remove the seating tracks. I ordered more plugs, but unfortunately they did not arrive before I was due to fly back to London.
The task awaits me on my return.