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Old 04-28-2015, 09:05 PM   #1
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Apr 2015
Location: Austin, TX
Posts: 57
Year: 1997
Engine: Navistar T444E Disel V8
Rated Cap: 71
"Clever Name Here" Bus

So I've finished removing the seats and tomorrow I'll start removing all the panels. Damn those rusty bolts are killer! Removing the floor bolts took less than an hour, but those wall bolts were so hard to get to!

After I gut everything it's time to raise the roof, which I'm super nervous about. I'm 6'6" so it's necessary. I'll probably raise it 12"-14", just enough for me to move around and feel comfortable. I've hired a guy to help me cut, raise and weld for $300. Going to try to weld on bolt jacks to 4 of the ribs and use a 4x4 in the middle to help out. Thoughts? Comments? I'd appreciate anything!
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Old 04-28-2015, 11:08 PM   #2
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Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: Salt Lake City Utah
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Year: 2000
Chassis: Blue Bird
Engine: ISC 8.3
Just because it's fresh in my mind.. there was some conversation on lifting techniques on aaronsb's thread recently. I contributed there a drawing of a threaded rod based jack assembly that was kind of an evolution on the one aaronsb devised... but I'm not actually going to build it. nat_ster makes good points about scaffolding, and since I was able to round up all the pieces from among mine and my dad's collections, it makes sense for me to go that way.

It's common for people to make the cut somewhere in the window area and splice more material in the middle. On mine I'll be separating the walls from the chair rail down at the floor and extending there so I have just one splice in each end of each rib. I'm replacing all of the exterior metal anyway, so I have the flexibility/access to do the extension there. I haven't seen any others done this way yet.

Many people use 1-1/4" square tube tucked inside the bus hat channel for the extension. nat_ster is the first I saw promoting the idea of having custom hat channel made instead. That's the route I went with, and the shop I hired did a fantastic job. It cost about 2.5 times more -- something like USD$330 compared to the $120 I estimated for square tube. But I think it'll be a superior result. In the case of my bus, I was surprised to find the factory had already put something on the inside of the hat channel making the conventional square tube approach impossible for mine. I'm sure glad I hadn't gone out to buy square tube before making that discovery!
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Old 09-21-2015, 10:47 AM   #3
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Apr 2015
Location: Austin, TX
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Year: 1997
Engine: Navistar T444E Disel V8
Rated Cap: 71
Roof Raise was a success!











Added a couple extra supports to the scaffolding rig method. Screwed in a couple pieces of 2x4's on either side of the scaffolding posts to humor my friends helping me raise it. I also reset the jacks after only a few inches so I didn't have to worry about it while it was higher up.

I decided to nix the supports on the bottom that nat used, nobody felt it was necessary. I used self tapping screws to clamp together the hat channels to the ribs and I will bolt them later this week.

We used a sawsall for the cuts, went through 3 blades. As you can see, the roof didn't separate at all when we made the cut!

I had 5 guys total, including myself. Four of us manned the jacks and one of us stood outside and watched the supports to be sure everything was going smoothly. We raised it all at once, 5 full turns (1/2 turn equals about 1/4") and then measured to make sure we were even. We tried going to 10 turns at a time but we came into some problems with the jacks starting to turn because some were faster than others at jacking.

All in all we did a 17 inch raise, 3 inches lower than I originally intended.

The most I've ever built in my life was a desk, so having almost no experience in building I would STRONGLY recommend raising your roof. It was not difficult at all with this method. Removing the seat bolts from the wall was more frustrating by far. It's a scary process that kept me up at night, but in practice it couldn't have been simpler. I have to compliment Nat on his scaffolding method, it's incredibly easy to setup (even for one person, I build the rig alone the day before) and incredibly sturdy, especially with the added supports.
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Old 09-21-2015, 11:00 AM   #4
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Join Date: Sep 2014
Location: Eustis FLORIDA
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Year: 1992
Coachwork: Ward/AmTran
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Awesome stuff, thanks for the pics. Looks GREAT!!!!!!!!
I love that its an AmTran. Looking at your pics I can really envision my own raise. I plan on starting mine where you did, and I'm considering doing the exact raise you did, only with a few differences to the method.
Your build will definitely be one to keep an eye on for everyone.
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Old 09-21-2015, 01:20 PM   #5
Bus Geek
 
Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: Stony Plain Alberta Canada
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Year: 1992
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Well done.

Great pics. I can't say how happy I am to see the roof raised, and that everything went well.

Looking at some of your pics, I almost thought I was looking at my bus.

I also feel the wall braces were not needed as much as I initially thought they would be.

I like the few extra braces you added on the scaffold. Nothing wrong with a bit more safety.

I'm so happy for you. Your going to love the night and day difference of a bus with a lifted roof.



Nat
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Old 09-21-2015, 01:22 PM   #6
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Apr 2015
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Engine: Navistar T444E Disel V8
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Especially since I'm 6'6" hahaha.
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Old 09-21-2015, 01:38 PM   #7
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Join Date: Mar 2015
Location: North Carolina
Posts: 7
Year: 1995
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: Vista 3600
Engine: Navistar DT-466
What did you guys use to cut the actual roof and horizontal supports?

Looks like a very good and clean line. I'm also curious what supports you'll be putting in on that forward edge and the trailing edge to attach/firm it up with the non-raised sections.
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Old 09-21-2015, 01:56 PM   #8
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Apr 2015
Location: Austin, TX
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Year: 1997
Engine: Navistar T444E Disel V8
Rated Cap: 71
We used a sawsall with 6" diablo blades to cut the roof. Used an angle grinder for most of the ribs.

I originally planned to use rectangular tubing instead of the hat channels, I even went ahead and bought all the steel tubes. I'll use that to build reinforcements on the front and back.
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Old 09-21-2015, 02:11 PM   #9
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Join Date: Sep 2014
Location: Eustis FLORIDA
Posts: 12,172
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Chassis: International
Engine: dt466
Rated Cap: 78

Is that rust? If so it looks like what I've dealt with.
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Old 09-21-2015, 02:27 PM   #10
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Apr 2015
Location: Austin, TX
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Year: 1997
Engine: Navistar T444E Disel V8
Rated Cap: 71
Yup, it's the only rust on the roof. How did you deal with it?
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