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Old 04-03-2015, 10:16 PM   #41
Bus Crazy
 
Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: Salt Lake City Utah
Posts: 1,290
Year: 2000
Chassis: Blue Bird
Engine: ISC 8.3
Somehow this bus conversion project is important to me and I tell myself I'm anxious to keep it moving along, and then I go and spend an hour here and an hour there doing other things instead. This morning for example we took the kids out shopping to refurbish the automatic omelet maker:

"A few chicks" turned into six layers, six roasters, and three turkeys. Plus an hour and a half gathering and cleaning their equipment.

At least I got out briefly tonight to remove about a dozen of the solid rivets from one of the rub rails on the bus.
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Old 04-06-2015, 10:54 PM   #42
Bus Crazy
 
Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: Salt Lake City Utah
Posts: 1,290
Year: 2000
Chassis: Blue Bird
Engine: ISC 8.3
Following are typical details of the wall construction of this Blue Bird CSRE transit-style body.

There are usually three rivets holding the web of the hat channel to the inner body metal near the floor. I haven't learned yet what how that sheet is formed or attached, but it'll probably be revealed when I get the floor pulled up.


Six rivets through the flanges of each hat channel tie the walls to the roof structure.


Each window is bordered at the top and bottom by a modified C profile. These are bolted through the hat channels at each end.



Centered below each window is a short length of hat channel. It is riveted to the lower-wall sheet metal in the same way as the full-height channels. The top of these short channels has an inverted L welded to each side; each of those L's has one bolt going up into the C profile above. The short section has been completely removed from the wall here.


Above the center of each window things are interesting: there's just a piece of flat bar welded in place.


Below the rear-most window on each side, things are different. Instead of the short piece of hat channel, this box arrangement is used. I haven't figured out yet why these are different.
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Old 04-06-2015, 11:37 PM   #43
Bus Crazy
 
Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: Salt Lake City Utah
Posts: 1,290
Year: 2000
Chassis: Blue Bird
Engine: ISC 8.3
I decided I'll have hat channel made to stack on the existing stuff for the roof raise. Now I have to figure out how much to order. I remembered today that my phone might take panoramic photos (hadn't ever tried before) and got it figured out. Unfortunately the focus isn't good, but it's good enough to mark up the walls! Shown below are the left and right walls all the way from front to back. Markings are as follows:

Yellow arrows denote existing channels which I'll un-bolt and un-rivet at the top; I'll add extension channel at their tops rather than cutting them mid-height and having two splices in each.

Green lines denote locations where I'll remove the existing short channel and replace with new full-height channel (including the height of the raise).

Red lines denote locations where I'll cut existing channel. There are only two on each side, above the front windows. These I'll probably still un-bolt and un-rivet at the top (because I'll be replacing the exterior skin which is held by those same rivets), but the piece of removed channel can be shortened and re-installed.

Blue lines denote the outline of future window locations. The two at the front on each side will be re-installed original windows. At the rear on each side there are stacks of three short windows. Bunk beds for the kids will go in that area with a window for each (hoping I can find six small-ish matching windows at a good price!). Around the middle on the left is one window that will be above/near the sink. I might re-use the original driver's window here.. but probably not.




Originally I had thought to re-install one original window on each side in the bunk bed area because they could be used for emergency exits. But having a bed installed across the middle of the window kind of ruins that idea, and the window isn't tall enough for all three bed occupants to have a view. Instead, I think I'll install one of those emergency-exit-capable original windows in the rear wall over the engine. The space over the engine will be my bedroom. I guess that if there were an engine fire the bed-area occupants could flee mid-ship to the door, and if there were a fire more mid-ship or at the rear axle anybody in the bed area could exit through that rear window. Does that seem reasonable? The four original windows to be installed at the front also are emergency-exit ready.
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Old 04-07-2015, 10:30 PM   #44
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Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: Stony Plain Alberta Canada
Posts: 2,939
Year: 1992
Coachwork: Bluebird
Chassis: TC2000 FE
Engine: 190hp 5.9 Cummins
Rated Cap: 72
Interesting differences in structure due to the non school bus windows in your bus.

The chair rails are what attaches the vertical hat channels to the horazontal floor support ribs. The vertical wall supports and horizontal floor supports never make contact. The chair rail and the outer skin is what carry's all the load and allows for flexing and movement within the buses body.
The chair rails are welded to the floor. Most of us leave them because we feel they are part of the structure.

Not the best pic, but you can see the vertical hat Chanel is not touching the floor skin.



I made this diagram after demoing my fist bus, the "Haul All".


Nat
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Old 04-08-2015, 11:14 AM   #45
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Great pics of the structural details/differences from a skoolie. I think it's important to understand how all buses are not engineered the same when deciding on how to re-engineer the structure.

I have a question for you familybus, re:

"I'll un-bolt and un-rivet at the top ...the exterior skin ...is held by those same rivets"

I'm curious, how do you plan to keep the top 'square' during the raise if the skin is detached above all the window supports, or is there a structural detail I don't see?
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Old 04-08-2015, 11:43 AM   #46
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Join Date: Aug 2011
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Chassis: TC2000 FE
Engine: 190hp 5.9 Cummins
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SassyLass View Post
Great pics of the structural details/differences from a skoolie. I think it's important to understand how all buses are not engineered the same when deciding on how to re-engineer the structure.

I have a question for you re:

"I'll un-bolt and un-rivet at the top ...the exterior skin ...is held by those same rivets"

I'm curious, how do you plan to keep the top 'square' during the raise if the skin is detached above all the window supports, or is there a structural detail I don't see?
I don't follow what your asking.

My roof raise is done. Nothing is out of square.

Pics in my "Four Season Prime" thread show every detail.

Nat
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Old 04-08-2015, 11:51 AM   #47
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Nat, that was a question to familybus, as was the quote I referred to. I'm sorry that wasn't clear.

(I have now edited post for clarity)
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Old 04-08-2015, 12:48 PM   #48
Bus Crazy
 
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Year: 2000
Chassis: Blue Bird
Engine: ISC 8.3
I'm sorry.. I'm not confident I understand, but my hunch is that you're asking the same kinds of things I'm asking myself about this plan:

With no sides attached, I'll have a series of roof ribs bent into a low arch with a metal skin attached on one side. Does that arch alone provide enough support so that I can lift the roof at four points and the middle won't buckle downward?

If it's strong enough not to buckle and collapse in the middle, how will I prevent the roof assembly from twisting? How will I set it back down so that the bottom of the roof remains in one plane?

I'm still puzzling through those issues. This project is happening in a shop with a truss roof and effectively no ceiling, so lifting the roof with ratchet straps to the building roof is a possibility. I'm thinking about running a pair of wood "beams" front to back near the outside edges of the roof, then some 2x4s across the width of the bus and sticking out the window holes, and either jacking under or lifting from above. That addresses the buckling problem I think, but it doesn't prevent torsion twisting the roof while it's up.
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Old 04-08-2015, 01:34 PM   #49
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Location: Currently in Appalachia.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by family wagon View Post
I'm not confident I understand, but my hunch is that you're asking the same kinds of things I'm asking myself about this plan:
Looks like you understand perfectly.

Most of the builds I've checked out incorporated some sort of method to
1.) Ensure that the bus was level and square before cutting anything
2.) Devised some sort of bracing to ensure that the roof couldn't twist/torque should the raise not go up perfectly as planned.

Since the skin on your roof is part of the structure which gains a lot of it's stability from those rivets and bolts you are removing from the hat channel, my thinking is that you would need something (temp or permanent?) to reinforce those (now weakened) points of stress while you do your raise.
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Old 04-08-2015, 02:08 PM   #50
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Chassis: 1- 1/2 ton
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Regarding stabilizing the structure during a roof raise...

1. That's a very good question.

2. Yes. For the best results, both sections above and below the cut are are best secured. It can be done with bolt on bracing or temporary welds, but either way needs to be pretty secure. Most chassis are under a variety of stresses and can torque way out of shape given the chance. Some folks have skipped this step and gotten lucky, others have encountered nightmares trying to get anything to line back up after the top was cut free.
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