Stripping & Prepping The Bare Interior
Removing the interior on my E-Z Camper was pretty easy as it was held together with screws and "L" brackets. Here's a couple shots of my stripped out bus.
Once everything was removed, I had to get rid of all the original insulation. It was basically 1/2" - 3/4" open cell foam rubber like you would use for padding on seats. This stuff was probably "state of the art" back in 1966, but is WAY outdated by today's standards. To replace it, I would be using a plastic bubble mat with a thin layer of pure aluminum on each side. This insulation is available at any home improvement store like Lowes, or Home Depot. It comes in 2' X 50' rolls and costs around $50 a roll. If you buy one full roll, that should be just enough give or take a few feet to do your whole interior the way I did it. This stuff is superior to the foam in it's insulating abilities. It will reflect outside heat on hot days, as well as reflect inner cabin heat from your stock heating system on cold winter days. In fact, it reflects heat so well that in the 100+ degree days in the summer here, it was actually COOLER INSIDE my BLACK bus than outside!!! Since this insulation is not porous, it will NOT trap moisture like the foam or fiberglass will, so it won't cause your bus to rust.
This type of insulation is held in place with a good quality spray glue. I used 3M Super 77. It took almost 2 large cans to do it all. It's not cheap @ $12.99 per can, but it works great and won't let go no matter how hot it's gotten out here in the San Joaquin Valley.
The insulation is really easy to work with. I just measured everything with my calibrated eye ;-) and cut it out with scissors. To glue it in place, I first sprayed the panel in which the insulation was to go, and then immediately sprayed the back of the insulation. I let it stand for a minute and then carefully start applying the insulation to the panel from one end and worked my way to the other. When doing this you need to be sure that you don't let the insulation touch the panel unless it's supposed to go there as it's REALLY sticky and you may tear the insulation trying to remove it.
Here's a few shots of the interior covered with the insulation (minus the bottom 8" or so; I left that uncovered until the floor was prepped). My bus looked kind of like an inside-out space suit!!
Now that the walls were insulated, I had to turn my attention to the floor. My bus has almost no real cancerous rust, but the floor had several areas of surface rust that had to be dealt with prior to laying in a sub-floor for the camper interior. Most of the rust problems stemmed from the drain area under where the ice-box/ water tank resided. I also had some surface rust in the front floorboards that needed to be dealt with before it got out of hand. Since the rust was just surface rust, I chose to simply remove the loose scale, treat it and seal the floor from future contact from moisture.
I used a wire wheel to remove the scale and prep the rears for treatment. I then used Naval Jelly® rust converter (formerly known as Duro®, Extend®) to stop the rust. A rust converter chemically neutralizes rust on contact not unlike the way baking soda and water neutralizes acids. When neutralized, the rust takes on a BLACK color. It won't reverse any damage done by the rust, it will ONLY stop it from doing any further damage. This product chemically neutralizes rust and turns it to a black color. One (1) can was adequate to treat all the rusted areas in the rear cargo area as well as the front floorboards with two (2) coats. Here's a couple shots of my floors treated with the Naval Jelly®.
Once it was treated, I finished the entire floor with gray colored POR-15®, which is a rust sealer. Everything I had ever been told about PRO-15 was TRUE; it was VERY easy to spread on with a brush and covered nicely. I put two (2) coats on the rear cargo area and the front floorboards and only used 1/2 of the one (1) quart container I bought. Here's a couple shots of the POR-15® treated floors. The only way to describe the finish is that it almost looks as if it's been powder coated; it's smooth, shiny and rock hard. Too bad it will be covered up.
Now I can honestly say my bus is 98% rust free!! It feels good to know I won't have to worry about the floorboard under my sub-floor rusting away on me during the next 35 years like it did during the last.
Once the floor was finished, I covered the entire floor, sloping bulkhead and above the engine compartment with Death Metal sound deadening mat. This is basically a generic version of Dynamat so it's WAY CHEAPER. I bought 100 square feet of it on eBay for under $120 delivered.
It's basically a rubberized asphalt material with a layer of aluminum on one side and a SUPER sticky adhesive on the other. It went on really well with a heat gun. It was a little tedious and time consuming getting it down without having bubbles under it, but I think the results were worth the time and money invested. I also covered the ceiling, cab divider and the inside of all the doors with it. Since I had already put the insulation on these areas, I was forced to carefully remove the insulation and then re-apply it after the sound mat was applied. I could have saved myself a lot of time by thinking this through better the first time. Oh well, on the brighter side, now my doors feel and sound as solid as anything I've ever driven. This cut down on the engine and road noise dramatically. I can now hold a normal conversation while driving and don't need to turn the radio way up to hear it.
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Revised: August 24, 2003 .