Yes, we do indeed have Lift Off.
Chief Assistant Peter arrived at 09:30 and we cut the last eight window pillars
about 10:00. The actual lifting was child’s play. We each pumped two jacks and
the roof went straight up like a rocket. The guide system proved good and stable.
Pump! One click on the jacks gave us one inch lift.
This is actually fun! The jack and guide system is quite well visible here.
We are more than half way up.
Peter is an old sculler -- row, row, row your roof!
That took... oh... minutes. We spent more time taking pictures, and Peter telephoned
a third member of our Kinetic Racing core group and informed her of the Lift Off.
This thing is not all that heavy!
We spent the next three hours or so making the inserts fit into place.
The system is simple:
Lift the roof 30 inches.
File off burrs on the inside of both stumps of the severed window pillars.
Drop the inserts (each 29” long) into the lower part of the window pillars.
Lower the roof about five inches -- just before hitting the inserts.
Slide the inserts up and into the upper part of the window pillars, so they are
engaged both top and bottom. Hold in place with tape where needed.
Drop the roof the rest of the way so it rests on the inserts.
I had made the inserts nice and snug with the flat stock spacers. Turned out,
there was quite a bit of variation in the dimensions of the window pillar “hat”
profile, so we had to grind some of the inserts to fit. Worse, there were Glue
Goobers inside the window pillars -- adhesive/sealant from the factory assembly
process -- so we spent time chiseling and digging that out. I insisted that all the
inserts slide to their stops both top and bottom by hand power. There are 34 of
them, which could add up to quite a bit of friction. I didn’t want to climb up on the
roof and jump up-and-down to get it into place! As it turned out, we still had to
pull the roof down with a bit of force to “impale” it on the 34 inserts -- gravity
wasn’t enough. Tight is right; that sucker is stable -- even before welding. Most
of the time was spent on this custom fitting, plus fabricating the last four inserts
for the front four pillars where the cuts are different and the inserts tailored to
The roof clunked into place about 2 PM.
Well, pretty much into place. We measured diagonally and fine tuned with straps
to get it square.
With squareness (is that a word?
) at least as good as the original bus, we
tacked in these diagonals.
Finally, we welded inserts until we felt it was “Miller Time”.
The lift measures closer to 23“ than the intended 22,5. This is due to some thingies
(technical term, sorry) inside the window pillars. Never mind, as they are all the
same so the roof is level, and there is still ½ inch of room for rivets on a 48” sheet
of metal for the new skin. Perfect.
I still don’t know exactly how to handle the back end, but I can figure that out later.
This part of the job was a piece of cake. Of course, NOW the real work begins!
So... is this something that every Skoolie owner should do? Well, no. If you are
not confident that you are qualified to do this, then you probably are not. I would
have to say that you need a certain degree of fabrication and mechanical
experience to do this -- safely and otherwise successfully. There was a lot of
planning and fabrication, and during these four hours today, troubleshooting.
I would not dream of doing this without a sturdy guide system like I took
time to fabricate. This is NOT a job for two rusty scissor jacks and a
heapin’ helpin’ o’ luck.
To be continued!