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Old 03-19-2017, 10:24 PM
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How To Seal Up A Bus


I have a 1992 Ward School bus that I am converting to an RV. The top of the bus is built with ribs that go from the floor, up between the windows, across the top, and back down to the floor on the other side. The outside skin is composed of about 7 panels that are riveted to these ribs. The panels overlap a few inches.

There originally was something that filled the space between these panels (some type of caulk) but in many areas has come out. Water is leaking from the seam between the roof panels. It is running down the inside of the ribs and causing rust on the floor.

I have been told that automotive seam sealer would work to seal the cracks where the old stuff has come out. Would this be a good solution? If so, what would be a good brand that would work but not break the bank? I probably have 200 -300 linear feet that I need to seal up including the rain gutters above the windows going the length of each side of the bus.

It will be on top of the bus, so I am not overly concerned with appearances, but I do want to be able to paint over it. The other thing I was wondering about was how flexible it would need to be to accommodate the expansion and contraction of the metal, as well as the flexing as I drive.

I talked with a guy at the O'Reilly's and he suggested I get caulk from Home Depot. I figure that is not going the best long term solution. I called an autobody shop and he referred me to an RV store. The RV store didn't have any suggestions.

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Old 03-19-2017, 10:49 PM
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Here is all you need! "Basics of Basics" Seam Sealer

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Old 03-20-2017, 04:01 AM
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Here's what the RV crowd uses...

Dicor Self-Leveling Lap Sealant - White - Dicor 501LSW-1 - Roof Maintenance & Repair - Camping World
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Old 03-20-2017, 04:53 AM
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flex seal in white.
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Old 03-20-2017, 11:42 AM
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Thanks for the advice everyone. That link on s

Originally Posted by hcompton View Post
Sounds like you got a dud. Every bus lot in the country has a solid bus for sale that they will sell cheap enough to make repairing that one seem silly.

I have seen these cheaper than ford escorts. I would not touch a crappy one. No reason to you can buy a really nice one for next to nothing. Saw one recently that was 2400 with a good running diesel and 2001 i think model year. I would not waste my time with a buss that is already trashed.

This is one type fo vehicle that nobody wants. Unless your making an rv once there beyond there service life for taking kids to school and old people to church there aint much reason to own one. They often sell at scrap price.

If the motor is also dead then its a sure bet to get a strong running one and move on from there. Lots of them are being let go of lately because they dont have AC. Kids today have to have AC in there school buss dont ya know. We were lucky if the window went down in the seat next to us.

Sounds like the buss was in an accident the seems should stay solid unless its crashed. They are super strong so you may not see a lot of damage if it just rolled on its side but will bust all the seems.
Yes, I got it for next to nothing from a school district so I know it was serviced regularly because I got every maintenance record on the bus. If a bulb or wiper blades were changed, I have the record of it. It has a strong running DT466 on an International 3800, Klam drive line retarder, a Webasto, auto chains, and good tires. I love the look of the bus - it is a dog nose with a flat hood, a classic looking roof line. Plus, I got it in town and didn't have to drive across the country to pick it up.

The only body work it ever had was a repair to the rear skirt from when a driver scraped a poll at a gas station.

It is not "trashed". It is a 25 year old bus. It isn't leaking bad, there is just dampness on the floor below a few of the seams. My research has showed that most busses will have leaks somewhere that need to be sealed up. Because the water winds up in the ceiling, walls, or under the floor, most of the time it is unnoticed.

Its definitely a good foundation to start my build. I'm going to be putting a lot of work into it, so I don't mind spending time making sure that it is sealed up tight.

It looks like prior to sealing, I need to prime it for painting is that correct? Or are there some sealants that will work without priming, just over the old paint?

In the link you provided, is the masking tape a necessity, or is it just to keep the sealant from spreading where you don't want it? Again, I'm doing this on a roof where it won't be seen, so I don't care if it is "outside the lines".
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Old 03-21-2017, 09:37 AM
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Possibly tintable bed liner (for color).. rough up the whole roof and spray it on.
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