On a whim, my partner at work offered up his garage again, and because Friday is our Friday ™, after work at 0100 we drove over to his place. Few beers, few hours of Fallout 4, and before you know it Saturday has arrived!
I got to work immediately, marking up an offending piece of bus, and going at it (that’s what she said) with the Harbor Freight angle grinder (that could also be what she said).
What greeted us beneath the skin of the bus was something terrible, or maybe even Something Awful. I have to note that this picture is after we vacuumed out the solid block of rust. No joke. I know steel can expand 10x when it rusts, but I’m inclined to believe that 20x or even 30x is possible, as the cavity was completely solid with it.
This is after a little work with a flap disc
I’d like to point out that this bus, or at least this piece of this bus, was originally red at one point. Then, two shades of brown, white, and then to black. Nobody painted anything over the black, because presumably once you go black, you never go back.
After some more work cutting out rusty pieces. This area is full of many welds joining many pieces of metal, but I’m lacking the appropriate sheet metal to make things whole, and it’s not like there was any actual structural bonding going on down there. So, nothing lost.
Offering up the replacement panel. Unfortunately, during the past 4+ months this panel has been banging around the trunk space of the bus, it has gotten pretty dented. Not rusty, but quite bent out of shape. Fortunately, it got bent inwards from the top down, giving it a slight concavity. Concavity I can
bondo deal with, so I’m not too concerned.
The Previous Owner (r) of the bus had left a few goodies inside, including a replacement outer rocker/runner panel, and an interior runner panel. Unfortunately I think he purchased the incorrect inner runner piece, as the one he left me goes on the driver’s side of the bus, under the sliding door. But the outer panel fits here, and I can make do in the meantime while I scrounge up enough for a replacement piece of sheet metal for the inside. So, we went to work.
(Note: the side panel here is painted blue underneath the black paint, and has marks from past decals. Also the side panel doesn’t have much rust, whereas the runner is super rusty. This bus is comprised of at least five other buses, judging by paint.)
All of this is just from the runner. We cleaned up after doing the outer rocker panel.
Here’s the rusty inner rail. I cut the bottom part off for future ease-of-removal, as it was completely jagged and open rusty garbage. One of those “while you’re down there” jobs (that’s also what she said).
My kingdom for a shielding gas! (quote stolen from earlier in the thread)
And the runner just tack-welded in. The runner panel itself has a hooked lip that hangs it off of the big side panel, and it would be spot welded to the bottom rail. But, as I showed you, the rail is non-existent, so this will do until we replace that as well.
This took maybe 4 hours total, and (if it wasn’t obvious from the tool choice and weld quality shown) was my first time ever doing panel replacements. After looking at the (even if they are ugly) replacement panels installed, I could get addicted to this.