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Old 02-28-2015, 03:53 PM   #31
Bus Nut
 
Join Date: Feb 2015
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If you want less of a gap you can also recess the hinge. Basically, you cut a slot in the inside lip of the hatch/frame the same width as the hinge. You then weld a piece of flat stock back across the slot but on the inside. This leaves a recess that the hinge fits into, and you screw/rivet the hinge onto the flat stock.

For the life of me I can't find an image of this anywhere online, but it's basically what you'd do with a residential door.

I do agree with earlier comments about paint eventually flaking off. I was being an idiot - I had forgotten that I had been using aluminum hinges and fiberglass hatches. You don't get rust with those and somehow the (right) paint seems to hold really well on them.

Two other hinge styles I'm considering are:



This is sometimes called "hurricane" hinge although maybe there's a better name for it. It can only be used horizontally, but for a reason I like: once the hatch is open, you can slide it sideways and remove it completely. For some storage compartments that's really nice to have, especially if there's equipment in there you need to work on.

The other is this, or a variant of it:



These are stainless hatch hinges for boats - marine hardware is crazy rugged and corrosion-resistant. Honestly, they're overkill for a 2-lb hatch that won't have to survive being open in a hurricane. I just think they look badass.
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Old 03-31-2015, 12:11 AM   #32
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Join Date: Feb 2012
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Year: 2000
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Over the past years as I've been preparing to do a bus build I maneuvered things such that I'm living in a house which features a detached garage just long enough to squeeze the bus inside (but I do have to swing the right-hand mirror off to the side so the overhead door can come down). It seemed like it took roughly forever to do, but I finally got the place cleaned up enough to make the bus fit -- and then a month slipped by without getting any work done at all.

Snow began falling just before I moved the bus in.
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Old 03-31-2015, 12:36 AM   #33
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Join Date: Feb 2012
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Year: 2000
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Finally I've put my money where my mouth is and things got serious. Last Thursday night I pulled one window and a single piece of the interior skin, then Friday night I removed the interior trim from the rest of the windows, and Saturday went really crazy. All the windows are now out and nearly all the interior side wall metal is removed. I had started using the beloved Harbor Freight air chisel but found it wasn't doing the job shearing rivets very well and mentioned it to a co-worker. I'm convinced now he's a genius: he suggested re-grinding the chisel so that it has a single taper like a conventional wood chisel does. Harbor Freight supplies the chisels ground with a taper on both sides so that the point is centered on the thickness of the chisel. I was stunned how much faster that thing sheared the heads from the blind rivets with that simple mod! Somewhere here I also read a tip about knocking the mandrel out through the back of the rivet before hitting it with the chisel. It didn't seem to matter so much on the small-head rivets, but it was well worth the seeming "extra" time to do that on the large-head rivets. Maybe those smaller rivets generally had their mandrels broken off well below the surface so that driving them in deeper was unnecessary.

Now, though, I'm trolling through the forum looking for the answer for removal of these solid rivets from the exterior. I'm a wimp and haven't actually tried just chiseling them yet.. Let's just think of it as wisdom to ask for help before bludgeoning the rivets and my thumbs with successively larger hammers..


This thing has some slightly weird construction as compared to the regular skoolie body. Because the windows are long compared to skoolie windows, I expected to simply find that every other hat channel vertical post had been cut short. Many are that way, but you can see in this photo that the one centered below the left window isn't the usual hat channel at all, but instead a box profile. Naturally, I would want to be complicated by deleting one window and shifting the other a half-width to the side. I'll have to extend the one hat channel.. but what about that box? I think I'll remove it entirely and add new tube extending the full height of the wall. I don't know yet how the hat-channels are attached at the bottom, but I guess I'll figure that out and mimic it with the new tube.


Getting serious about the roof raise now, too. Tomorrow afternoon I'll go buy steel tube to build the roof-raising guide posts and to extend the hat channels. Not really sure what to use for the extensions; I've got more forum trolling to do to research what others have done there..
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Old 03-31-2015, 08:47 AM   #34
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Join Date: Aug 2011
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I had a steel shop bend me up some hat Chanel out of 12 ga that fit over the original upright ribs.

We need some bigger more detailed pics of the odd construction around the windows. I always like seeing different construction methods that were used to build buses.

Nat
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Old 03-31-2015, 06:40 PM   #35
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Nat, since you're always so full of insightful advice I'll indulge and get some more detailed photos for you in the next few days.

I'm interested to know your reasoning for having hat channel made rather than using off-the-shelf tube. I've been leaning toward channel because it provides an accessible flange so I can use the same non-blind fastener (solid rivets, maybe?) up the full height of the bus.

Question for everybody generally: lap the exterior skin joints, or butt weld them so that the exterior is one giant piece? I don't think I've seen anybody go the butt weld route, but it appeals to me because my bus is so loud inside and I really want to reduce the road/wind noise. Are there any thoughts as to whether the extra effort would pay off in any meaningful way?
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Old 03-31-2015, 07:45 PM   #36
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Quote:
Originally Posted by family wagon View Post
I'm interested to know your reasoning for having hat channel made rather than using off-the-shelf tube. I've been leaning toward channel because it provides an accessible flange so I can use the same non-blind fastener (solid rivets, maybe?) up the full height of the bus.

Question for everybody generally: lap the exterior skin joints, or butt weld them so that the exterior is one giant piece? I don't think I've seen anybody go the butt weld route, but it appeals to me because my bus is so loud inside and I really want to reduce the road/wind noise. Are there any thoughts as to whether the extra effort would pay off in any meaningful way?
You nailed it. I could not find a square tube that fit perfectly, and I wanted to be able to access to the inside for paint, fasteners, wiring, and insulation.

Last reason was also the first reason. The bus was built with hat channel, I wanted to stay with hat channel bent from the same gauge of steel.

Tubing also fits into my dislikes list. Up here where I live, anything made from tubing always rusts from the inside out. Nothing like something just completely falling apart that looked fine on the exterior.


Over lap your skin seams the same as the bus builder did. Welding them would cause more buckling and beer canning.

I overlapped mine on the ribs, same as Blue Bird did.

I also overlapped my new sheets over the top of the rubrail to the bottom of the window openings. I always hated the way the water, dirt and salt would get behind the rub rail and cause a endless stream of muddy water to leak down the side of the bus.

In doing mine I learned a few things the hard way.

-If you can, make your hat channel from Galvanized steel sheet.

- Use galvanized sheet for your new steel to fill the old window openings.

- Paint your sheets black and let the sun heat them up before drilling a single hole. Keep it in the sun the entire time your bolting it on.

- Start riveting or bolting in the center of the sheet. Work your way out from there.

- Don't use to much caulk or seam seal. Less is more on the overlaps. You just need a little in a tight seam. To much will cause buckling / ripples.

- If using small 1/4 bolts, dont over tighten the sheet fasteners. This also causes ripples.

- Have the steel shop bend ribs into your new sheets that match the ribs in the bus skin down by the wheel wells. This is a big part of how the bus builders prevented the buckling / beer canning of the steel they used. It also adds looks and strength.

I will link pics tomorrow. I'm out of time.

Nat
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Old 04-01-2015, 07:24 AM   #37
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Road sign posts used to be hat channel. It may not be the size you need but it might start some thinking in a direction nobody has gone yet. What else is also hat channel that could already be available? Just thinking out loud. My 2cents.
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Old 04-02-2015, 08:49 AM   #38
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HolyBus View Post
Road sign posts used to be hat channel. It may not be the size you need but it might start some thinking in a direction nobody has gone yet. What else is also hat channel that could already be available? Just thinking out loud. My 2cents.
Not usable, wrong gauge, size, ect.

Pics of the hat channel.

I had them made at my local metal shop the previous summer.



The fit.









The piece I cut out to take to the metal shop as a template.



installed





Nat
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Old 04-02-2015, 02:32 PM   #39
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Thanks Nat. I just got a quote on the flat sheet; galvanized is only a few dollars more than cold rolled mild.

So far as the hat channel is concerned.. ouch. Mine measures out to 0.075-0.084 depending where I put the calipers so I guess it's 14 ga. The ouch part is USD$380 (including material) to form two sheets into channel. I'm quoted USD$88 for each 4x10 sheet of galvanized 14 ga; I think two sheets will make the 14 pieces I need to fill in some windows, relocate others, and extend the remaining full-height ribs so that bid is roughly $180 material and $200 labor. (more lop-sided toward labor if we assume he gets a better price on the sheet than I do)

The 14 ga 1.25 square tube comes in 24 ft lengths about $22 each, so 6 pieces for $130 gives me roughly the same material to work with. It's hard to pay 3x/$250 more for the hat channel but you're absolutely right about tube rusting from the inside out if it's exposed to water.

My exterior plans are fairly extensive (delete some windows and move the others, delete the front door, add a basement, and lift the roof) plus many pieces of the existing skin are either rusted or bent, so I'm intending to fully replace the sides.

Speaking of the side metal -- mine seems to be 16 ga. I'm trying to decide whether to shave 20% from the weight and cost (reduce 200 pounds and $230) by replacing with 18 ga instead.
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Old 04-03-2015, 06:35 PM   #40
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Join Date: Aug 2011
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Chassis: TC2000 FE
Engine: 190hp 5.9 Cummins
Rated Cap: 72
The 3X cost to make the hat chanal sucks, but paid around $400 to have mine made. I just didn't want to shortcut and regret it later in the build.

18 ga would be fine for skinning if you could pull it real tight some way.

If you need to balance the budget, I would get the hat channel and use the 18 ga to sheet the openings.

Your steel prices are close to the same as mine.

Nat
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