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Old 03-30-2018, 02:19 AM   #1
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Question Advice on bashed in roof

Good Evening. I am thinking of buying a 2004 Chevy Express short former transit bus with not too many miles. It runs, looks good and the price is cheap. The worm in this apple? The roof is bashed in pretty good. Whatever hit it came in pretty straight for the top. I don't know if the driver ran into some kind of overhang or if a tree managed to fall on the top and totally miss all of the sides. The sides are in great shape right up to the roof line. The back top trim piece that holds the lights is a bit twisted and separated from the roof by a couple of inches, but that is all. I need to get up there with a ladder and take a closer look, but I am hoping that the damage is mostly the skin and not the frame. That being said, what do you think? I believe the roof is fiberglass. Metal tends to bend and from what little I can see from down below, this looks more like it shattered. I am not looking to restore it to pristine condition. The damage is mostly out of sight, I just want to seal it and insure that it is and stays waterproof. I've been looking online for a top view of this type of bus to see what else might have been damaged up there, but so far no luck. The damage is on the rear half of the roof. Good idea, bad idea? Jump in if it is dirt cheap or run like hell? Anything that you can add would be greatly appreciated. Thanks a bunch.
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Old 03-30-2018, 03:29 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by Movingon View Post
Good Evening. I am thinking of buying a 2004 Chevy Express short former transit bus with not too many miles. It runs, looks good and the price is cheap. The worm in this apple? The roof is bashed in pretty good. Whatever hit it came in pretty straight for the top. I don't know if the driver ran into some kind of overhang or if a tree managed to fall on the top and totally miss all of the sides. The sides are in great shape right up to the roof line. The back top trim piece that holds the lights is a bit twisted and separated from the roof by a couple of inches, but that is all. I need to get up there with a ladder and take a closer look, but I am hoping that the damage is mostly the skin and not the frame. That being said, what do you think? I believe the roof is fiberglass. Metal tends to bend and from what little I can see from down below, this looks more like it shattered. I am not looking to restore it to pristine condition. The damage is mostly out of sight, I just want to seal it and insure that it is and stays waterproof. I've been looking online for a top view of this type of bus to see what else might have been damaged up there, but so far no luck. The damage is on the rear half of the roof. Good idea, bad idea? Jump in if it is dirt cheap or run like hell? Anything that you can add would be greatly appreciated. Thanks a bunch.
Well, I am a bit of a sucker...miles are low and body is decent? It seems you actually saw the bus? No ceiling damage? And only back part of roof? Sounds like a newbie ran over a low overhang...if it were me...I'd go for it...take out the damaged material and re-skin with new material...my 2bits

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Old 03-30-2018, 10:55 AM   #3
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A picture is worth a thousand words.
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Old 03-30-2018, 11:05 AM   #4
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A picture is worth a thousand words.
Useless without pics.

If just front rebuild a cap. If fiberglass re-gel a new cap.
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Old 03-30-2018, 11:54 AM   #5
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As others have said, a picture is worth a thousand words!

You also were not clear as to what kind of bus body we are talking about--whether it is a plastic commercial bus body or an all steel school bus body.

If it is a plastic commercial body the fixes are not going to be that difficult as long as the underlying steel framework hasn't been bent. The upside of a plastic commercial body is there is considerably less in the way of roof bows. Most plastic commercial bus bodies use a framework of 1"-2" square tube in order to get the underlying strength necessary for rollover and crash protection. The whole roof structure is usually attached to the side body panels not unlike putting on a hat.

If it is a steel school bus body the roof bows are made out of formed steel channel and go in a continuous hoop from the floor on one side, up and over the top to the other side, and then back down to the floor. There are also twice as many roof bows as found on a plastic commercial body.

In other words if it is a plastic commercial bus body it is probably fixable if you can get the bus cheap enough and the damage isn't too extensive. But if it is a all steel school bus body if there is any damage to one or more of the roof bows it is not going to be cheap or easy to fix and probably only really good for the parts in the running gear.
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Old 03-31-2018, 12:26 AM   #6
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It is a plastic body. I need to go back with a ladder to take a closer look. Thanks for the education. This information is valuable, even if I decide to pass on this bus.
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