Sparks and noise and fun, oh my!

posted Jul 19, 2008, 8:33 AM by Kevin Coughlin   [ updated Jul 20, 2008, 6:35 PM ]
On the inside of a skoolie, from the windows down, the walls are a kind of crinkle finish aluminum. Light weight yet sturdy. On the Carpenter, it is held on with 3 rivets along every "rib" - there being a rib on the body from top to bottom, floor to ceiling, between every window. Those ribs are the ones that get cut, and have extra metal welded to make the bus "taller" - and then new sheet metal covers the area. Windows then get added back in later.
On my Bluebird, the space behind the aluminum, between the inner and outer wall, is insulated with some fiberglass like inside the walls of a house - but only about an inch or so thick. On the Carpenter, due to the way the old windows (now all removed) would retract down between the walls there was not any insulation. Well, THAT is not what you want in a home.... not in Spokane in the winter!
An angle grinder, gloves, and safety glasses are the tools. Grind off the tops of the rivets - this makes a spray of sparks that runs half the length of the bus. Yank the metal so that it "pops" off the shoulder of the rivet, now that you have ground off the head. When all the rivets are off the panel (it is about 3 foot tall, and around 10 feet long) wrestle it a bit to get it to pop out of the gap at the rail the old benches used to connect to. Set it aside..... aluminum can be sold to the scrap dealer to help offset the cost of the steel you have to buy to raise the roof.... or maybe for some burgers (there is not THAT much aluminum).
What you have is a space, about 1.5 inches deep, between the ribs and the outside wall. Once all the inner panels are removed it will be painted with some kind of rust inhibiting paint, and then foam board will be put there for insulation. More foam will go over it all (covering the ribs) so that there will be a total of about 3 inches of foam insulation. This works out once you figure the paneling and such to between R-15 to R-21 insulation (foam is very efficient stuff). I am gonna be warm this winter!