So you said you wanted to paint a bus?

Well, this was a lot of work. Lots of pictures below.

  • Wire wheel strip all the failing paint from the new panels (didn’t scuff them, cheap alklyd paint applied under humid damp conditions)

  • Then sand everything else, sand around all the rivets.
    Scotch brite around the rivet dimples. Walnut blast remaining paint from rivet dimples.
  • There are several thousand rivet dimples.

  • Strip all the old seam sealer, fix rust starting on edges of some panels.
  • Remove weird tar crap killing adhesion to seam sealer at rear cap from underside of some of the roof panels on the rear (I reused those roof bits, bluebird applied it)
  • Scotch brite the panels, the rails, sills, edges, everything.
  • Fix some of the bent luggage bay doors properly, stripping off thick layers of bondo and hammer/dolly back to straight and true. (There’s a relatively easy way to do this, ask and I will explain)

  • Wrestle with stupid broken rusted rear emergency hatch handle, drill it out, hammer it out, try not to break glass. (Didn’t break it!)
  • Wax and grease remove all surfaces and spray polyester filling primer. On all 4 sides of the bus.


  • Seam seal all the joints and panels and rails with several tubes of pricey urethane sealer, let that dry for a few days.
  • Sand all the filler primer smooth (just 120 grit)
  • Mask everything, including roof and tires.
  • Wax and grease remove eveything, tack cloth all surfaces.
  • Spray two gallons of fleet urethane white. Watch a lot of it get absorbed into polyester (sort of expected that) and use the wrong gun and put too much on because you’re tired and trying to beat the rain that’s coming the next day and get a case of the runs. (Didn’t really expect/want that)

  • Wait a day, shave all the runs off. Back bus under cover because its starting to rain.
  • Weather prediction gods smile. Take off next day from work my boss is rad and because fall is coming and I better get done or its all for naught when it rains.

Next day, I am gonna get this done in one day I say to myself.

  • Buy more paint with kids and wife since I don’t see them much lately.
  • Sand, sand like I’ve never sanded before.
  • 80 grit, make all those runs disappear, and the crappy wrong spray gun rushed paint.
  • 300 grit, make more surface for paint to adhere, and remove all the 80 grit marks.

  • Sand the whole bus!
  • Scotch brite the whole bus!
  • Tack cloth the whole thing!

Same day, lay two more gallons of the same fleet urethane. With the right gun this time, it goes on like butter on cut biscuits.

Find some spots that were light, touched those up. Argue with wife about paint pattern, she is right and I am just really feeling a little bit like falling over, I’m glad she’s paying attention.

It turned out pretty ok.

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