Once I removed all of the junk and had an empty interior and blank, rusty exterior I felt like I could start the build up. However, I first had to contend with a LOT of exterior rust. Every single one of the 57,000 rivets was rusty. So, I did what any totally insane person would do and purchased a $12 siphon feed sandblaster wand for my wimpy air compressor.
I spent the next 3 weeks sandblasting the exterior with $2-a-bag play sand from the Home Depot. I also did a lot of grinding, sanding and priming the exterior. I knew whatever happened, I was going to get rid of all of that yellow if it was the last thing I did.
That yellow will wear on you after a while.
I decided to cover most of the windows and school bus light fixtures using sheet metal. To speed up the process, I got some "paint prep" style sheet metal, which is ready to paint without having to strip off the anti-rust oil coating that is on standard sheet metal.
I attached the sheet metal using rivets, one rivet every three inches. I drew guides with a Sharpie to make sure I got the rivets installed uniformly. My dad was down helping me out with the project and he told me I was over-engineering it. Ironically, he is an engineer.
Skip ahead after some sandblasting, prep, primer and BusKote roof paint and, Viola! Something that is starting to look a little bit less like a cheese wagon. Note the twin 15000 BTU heat pumps on the roof. I also installed two vents/skylights.
I found a $600 door, with a screen door, dual locks and a deadbolt at an RV swap meet for $125. I had to weld up a door frame with my MIG machine. Doesn't it look nice? I am glad I got rid of that old bus door.
I installed a Generac Guardian RV QuietPact 5000 gas powered generator that was capable of running both AC units with no problem. I am running 50 amp electrical service in this bus.