School Bus to RV Conversion: Your Guide To Metal Adhesives

School Bus to RV Conversion: Your Guide To Metal Adhesives

The number of people converting their school buses to RVs seems to be on the rise. This may be attributed to the increasing number of people looking for more leisure options, and for others, it could be purely for fun.

Such a project is never an easy one, if you resolve to do it on your own, without professional help, it can be one of the most challenging DIY tasks you will ever embark on.

Now, there are numerous facets to such a project. One of them involves using glues and adhesives tapes to bring the various components together.

In this short, but precise guide, we will tell you about all the important things you need to know about metal adhesives to help you conveniently complete your school bus-to-RV conversion.

The Case for Metal Glues

When it comes to joining joints together, there are many options you could consider, such as soldering, welding, and the use of fasteners.

However, metal adhesives are usually preferred because, compared to other options, they create stronger durable chemical bonds with metal surfaces.

Metal glues are more cost-effective, easy to use, and are very efficient in helping to speed up the entire process. Metal adhesives will not only bond, but also act as very good sealants. People choose metal glues because they’re ideal for projects where temperature fluctuations, vibrations, and weather must be taken into consideration.

Metal Adhesives vs. Metal Welding

In a typical school bus-to-RV conversion, you’re likely to think that welding will be the most preferred way for bonding the various pieces of metals for the project. In a way, welds are like adhesive bonds in the sense that both are uniform and allow for equal stress distribution. Also, compared to using fasteners, both don’t need you to make holes.

However, when you consider projects that use welds, the labor costs are always higher because the welds need to be made by a certified professional. Also, from time to time, the welds will require an inspection, further increasing their overall costs. When metal adhesives are used for such projects, however, not only is a strong bond formed, but also, the bonding surfaces are protected from corrosion.

The use of adhesives will also help with problems such as the rapid heating and cooling normally associated with welding. This drastic temperature change may sometimes cause the metal to weaken or even change its original color.

Common Adhesives Suitable for Gluing Metal to Metal

Normally, metal adhesives can be categorized into two main groups—structural adhesives and machinery adhesives. Structural adhesives are adhesives designed to be used in sections that will bear structural loads. They include adhesive systems such as epoxy glues for acrylic and metal adhesives.

Machinery adhesives, on the other hand, are those that are suitable for operations such as thread-locking, and thread sealing as well as other projects that don’t necessarily feature structural loads.

Below is a brief look at some of the most common adhesives that are suitable for gluing metal to metal—the kinds of glues you would love to use in a school bus-conversion-to-RV project.

Epoxy Glues

The epoxy glues are considered some of the strongest adhesives for metals. Epoxy glues are available in a variety of forms, and they come with various unique properties, such as resistance to both heat and chemicals. In most cases, epoxy adhesives will be available as one or two-component systems. With a one-component epoxy glue system, the curing after application may require additional heat.

A two-system epoxy, on the other hand, features a blend of two parts, with one part responsible for starting the bonding reaction while the second part is responsible for promoting the curing process. For the best results in metal-to-metal gluing, 2K epoxy systems are highly recommended.

Acrylic Metal Glue

Acrylic metal glue is another great option you may consider for your metal glue needs when converting a school bus into an RV. Acrylic metal glues are available in two major categories: bead-on-bead acrylics and surface-activated acrylics. Bead-to-bead acrylics is where a bead of the adhesive is applied to both sides of the substrate before they are brought into contact.

With bead-to-bead, the bonding will start as soon as both sides of the substrate come into contact. With surface-activated acrylics, on the other hand, the water-thin initiator is used to trigger the bonding. This is normally applied to one side of the substrate, with the other side being applied with resin.

Anaerobic Metal Adhesives

These adhesives are only for gluing meta to metal surfaces, because their bond only forms in the absence of oxygen. They are highly preferred for securing fasteners, such as thread locks and thread seals, and also for retaining and gasketing.


Cyanoacrylate is an instant adhesive and one of the best super glues you will ever find in the area of metal adhesives. This is one of the best to consider if you want stronger and faster bonds for your school bus-to-RV conversion project.

It is highly suited for most metals, provided that they are not reactive. As such, it is one of the best choices you will ever have for copper and brass – the kinds of metals you are likely to encounter with such projects. Because of its magnificent results as a glue, this is one of the most popular adhesive systems for modeling and miniature hobbyists.

With cyanoacrylates, you should be able to get very strong bonds while working on bus-to-RV projects. Since cyanoacrylates have slightly varying properties, you should not find it difficult to choose the right one. For most applications, however, you will rarely go wrong with epoxy and acrylic adhesive systems.

Introducing the Black Mamba FGH Construction

If you’re looking for a sealant that is widely applicable to your bus-to-RV conversion efforts, we’d like to recommend Black Mamba FHG Construction. (This item is separate from our other Black Mamba product, High Tack.) Black Mamba FHG Construction is a sealant made of mono-component MS polymer adhesives.

It’s recommended for galvanized steel metal (which is found on many buses), as well as alloys such as aluminum, steel, and others. It’s also useful on laminated and unlaminated glass.

Example Bus-to-RV Uses of Black Mamba FHG Construction Sealant

Insulating Windows

If you are to convert a normal school bus into an RV, then comfort is something you should take seriously. You certainly don’t want to be out camping in the woods at night, trying to settle into your “new” RV, only to be bothered by elements of weather, such as the cold air.

One of the places where you’re likely to get bothered the most is the windows. When they’re not sealed properly, it’s not only cold that will get into your RV, but also, small insects that might bite you and cause all manner of diseases may find their way into your RV. To avoid this, all you need is a proper sealant, like Black Mamba FHG Construction, to ensure that your windows are thoroughly sealed and you won’t be bothered by the elements.

Sealing Holes on the Body of the Bus

A typical school bus designated for conversion into an RV will most definitely have holes and patches that will require sealing. With other projects, welding such holes would sound like the most ideal thing to do. However, with a bus-to-RV project, you may wish to consider using a sealant to block these holes and patches. You should consider this because, if it’s a viable option for your particular vehicle, then it’s not just an efficient option, but also a cost-effective one. With the proper choice of sealants, such as Black Mamba FHG Construction, you have a great tool that will completely seal the unsightly holes, so that you get the most from your newly-designed RV. It’s fast, quick, and durable, once the bonds are formed, the results will be aesthetically appealing.

Waterproofing the Roof

It’s common to find old school buses having leaky roofs, and I’m sure this is not what you want for your RV. You could think of replacing the entire roof if it has too many leaks, but this may be an unnecessary move, and one that can and will cost you a lot of money down the line. A simple, efficient, and cost-effective solution to this is to simply use the right type of sealants to block all the leaks and waterproof the roof. In fact, with the right type of sealants, you can also seal the exterior seams of the bus to prevent all leaks, thus freeing you from worrying about rain coming into of your RV.

Sealant for Styrofoam Insulation

We’re sure you want to make your RV as comfortable as it possibly can be. There are many ways of doing this, but you are likely to gravitate towards the use of Styrofoam as your insulant of choice. Upon application of the Styrofoam, it is vital that you seal the spaces left between the metal subfloor and the plywood. Also, it is vital that you seal certain elements of the vehicle’s HVAC system, such as the air conditioner conduit running from the exterior of the bus to the interior. All these will require a sealant, such as Black Mamba FHG Construction, to get you the very best results.

Metal or Fiberglass Shower

You can seal your wall to the shower pan. FHG Construction can serve as a good watertight sealant.

Heat-Resistant Sealant

It’s recommended that FHG Construction be used between -40 and 140°C (although optimal qualities occur between 5 and 35°C). Because of this temperature range, it can last throughout the seasons.

There are a number of other examples of FHG Construction uses. A couple of them are:

  • Protective exterior for PVC pipes
  • Wood-to-wood bonding

In conclusion, when it comes to metal adhesives, you have a number of options. We feel that the Black Mamba FHG Construction sealant is a good option for school bus-to-RV conversion projects.

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