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Old 01-21-2015, 02:42 PM   #181
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Sojourner - Thinking of raising the roof

Hello everyone,
As I've been working on our project, Lori and I spend some time inside talking and dreaming of what it's going to be like living full time in a skoolie. I'm 5'10" and she's more like 5'5". With the bus at it's manufactured inside height of just over 6ft. there isn't a lot of headroom for me anyhow. While on the outset this is really no problem as I have spent most of my career in small spaces (as a boat mechanic). The issues I am having is the shower stall location being near a wall makes for a very "snug" shower experience. I too am built on the "economy large" size. This got me to thinking about doing a roof raise. This would not only solve the shower height issue but also make it easier to use the windows I have from a donor RV in the galley without crowding them right on top of a back splash as well as everything so low Lori has to bend over to look out the window while doing dishes and such. I like the way some have raised the roof just aft of the cab. I'm thinking of this same scenario in ours. I plan on raising the entire roof and if we do so, replace the inner and outer skins where the rear door and windows are located. This would basically make the back of the bus a solid unit. This mod would also eliminate a step or two from the side door into the bus giving more floor space in that area although the stairs missing inside would then be outside and give us a bit more room for insulation both in the floor and roof where it's needed most.
Both Lori and I like the look of the old scenic cruisers and while the "step" would be far forward than those, windows there would add light into the galley. If we did this, the clerestories I was going to build would be a thing of the past. My questions, to those who've actually done this are:

(1) What height would you raise it if you had it all to do over again? I'm thinking of 12" - 18".

(2) When making the transition, metal or fiberglass? I've worked in both metal fabrication and boat repair. Both have appeal to me for different reasons. I lean toward a fiberglass/epoxy simply because one can do some really nice complex curves somewhat easily and there are no galvanic corrosion issues involved. I've built utility trailers doing foam bonded onto a steel frame and covered with epoxy resin in the past that turned out beautifully and has lasted with no maintenance for over 20 years now. Not to mention future repairs if needed can be done very simply. I might have just convinced myself.

(3) If you were to do it all over again what would you look out for and what would you do differently?

Looking forward to hearing from you.
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Old 01-21-2015, 08:03 PM   #182
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For what its worth, I am 6'1" and my wife is 5'4". We are not considering the roof raise option because of the time and work involved. As far as shower height, I have always leaned over to wash my head/hair so I am not worried about the overall amount of time I will be in the shower as worth the work to raise the roof. We are looking at the shower enclosure at Lowes that is 3'x4' and is too high but we will cut it down with a template.
http://www.lowes.com/pd_358169-15728-214836AC00_4294648499__?productId=3416996&Ns=p_pro duct_qty_sales_dollar|1&pl=1¤tURL=%3FNs%3Dp_produc t_qty_sales_dollar|1%26page%3D1&facetInfo=
At one time, we were looking at a handicap bus that had the flat top raised area above the lift at the side door. That would have been a great place to locate a shower as the height would be slightly more even.
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Old 01-21-2015, 08:59 PM   #183
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I'm 6'2" or was once upon a time so I know about the headache factor. My advice is this. If you have the time and money to do a roof raise go for it. On the other hand, if you are looking to move into your bus sooner than later, why not drop your shower and make it a step down. That is easy to do and far less complicated than a roof raise. I sort of took the middle ground and did a 7" step down for my entire bath and a slight roof raise (2") over the bath. I placed the bath at the rear of the bus where the roof starts to slope down so the 2" is hardly noticeable. As much clearance as you have at the get go I'd imagine the drop down would be enough. Also, any added height to your bus will translate into lost mpg as well as lost opportunity to fit into many camp sites. I agree that doing a roof raise would be fun, but given the amount of room you have already, I'm not sure it is worth the effort. Jack
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Old 01-22-2015, 06:11 PM   #184
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So far it sounds like 2 votes for "It's not necessary" and no votes from anyone who's raised their roof. For those who've raised their roof, was it not worth the trouble?
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Old 01-22-2015, 08:05 PM   #185
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I'm thinking about raising mine in the center, between the wheels. 10-12" would be plenty for me.
I'm still undecided. I like mpg's and clearing things...
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Old 01-23-2015, 06:47 PM   #186
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I raised mine 11.5 in, the cost was minimal & not really all that time consuming,Altho I'm not done with my conversion the one thing I would have done differently is on the transition from lower to higher I made the cap out of fiberglass, I belive it would have been faster & cheaper to have a shop build one from sheetmetal for me
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Old 01-23-2015, 07:24 PM   #187
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Originally Posted by allwthrrider View Post
I raised mine 11.5 in, the cost was minimal & not really all that time consuming,Altho I'm not done with my conversion the one thing I would have done differently is on the transition from lower to higher I made the cap out of fiberglass, I belive it would have been faster & cheaper to have a shop build one from sheetmetal for me
Hey allwthrrider, thanks for the insight. I've been inspired by your mod. What I was thinking is, framing the bridge between the lower and upper sections with tubular steel much like you did. Then gluing and screwing 1/4" or 5/16" Okume plywood (marine grade) with epoxy to the frames. This would give me more of a flat transition rather than the radiused one like you did (looks correct on a Crown (love the classic look of those things) but on an AmTran I think it would be just too curvy). The corners would be made the same way but with kerfs cut to allow the plywood to form into place. I would then do a couple 4oz cloth and a couple mat layups with epoxy over both the metal and plywood with filler to blend it into the sheetmetal top. I agree metal would be way cool but I don't have anyone around here that can do that kind of work (might be another skill I nee to teach myself). The top would only have a 12" rise over the distance between two ribs making for a very shallow transition (somewhere in the mid 20's angle). My wife would love windows there but I personally think that shallow a slope will be prone to leaking. The inside would be filleted and laid up as well sealing in the plywood.
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Old 01-24-2015, 04:50 PM   #188
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Yea I never worked sheetmetal before or fiberglass so I've been making it up as I go, since I didn't have metal working tools available I figured to try glass, somethings you should just outsource, no windows for me up top plan is right where the raised portion startes going to have a wall with entry door there. cockpit area will be completely closed off from cabin area.
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Old 01-24-2015, 04:59 PM   #189
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Quote:
cockpit area will be completely closed off from cabin area.
Same for me. The plan is to be living aboard full time so we don't want to try to keep the cab area heated and cooled. It might work as a makeshift greenhouse though while not driving .
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I am an sojourner in the earth; hide not Your Commandments from me. Psalm 119:19

Here is the patience of the saints; here are the ones keeping the commandments of YAHWEH, and the faith of Yahshua. Rev. 14:12
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Old 01-24-2015, 05:06 PM   #190
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Originally Posted by sojourner View Post
Same for me. The plan is to be living aboard full time so we don't want to try to keep the cab area heated and cooled. It might work as a makeshift greenhouse though while not driving .
Plus no extra noise from the back while traveling, no rattles , sqeaks or engine noise from the rear
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