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Old 02-05-2009, 08:02 PM   #1
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Hot tub on the roof?

Hey all. I'm new to the forum and have a lot of insane questions. Anyway I first discovered this skoolie idea a week ago and have been scheming ever since. First off I have fair experience operating heavy machinery and can do most of the fab work with the exception of welding, but I have friends who can and are willing to teach me.

On to the questions, which are illogical and go against my common sense, but...

Does anyone think it would be possible to mount a hot tub flush with the roof supported by I-beams? Now, this tub would weigh between 3-4 thousand pounds when full and I wonder about handling characteristics. Is this even possible? If so, where is the optimal placement of tub? Ideas?
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Old 02-05-2009, 08:36 PM   #2
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Re: Hot tub on the roof?

One idea I had was to place three 100galon tanks under the bus and use a high capacity pump to fill the tub after parking and then drain back into the tanks to move.
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Old 02-05-2009, 09:41 PM   #3
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Re: Hot tub on the roof?

Even without the water in the tub it is going to weigh a ton. You would need to reinforce the structure of the bus a lot and even then it might handle pretty poorly, but more importantly is going to be the height. 13'6" is the general legal height limit with a little variance here and there. I think you're really going to be pushing your luck with a hot tub on the roof of a bus. Even if you come in under the legal limit you probably don't want to have any more than 13 feet of height. Just think of how often you see those low clearance signs on bridges. Most say 13'9" or whatever, but then think about how many times that road may have been resurfaced since the signs were placed there. I know it sounds absurd, but it happens all the time.
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Old 02-05-2009, 10:31 PM   #4
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Re: Hot tub on the roof?

i think it can be done successfully! I've driven 10's of thousands of miles with a jacuzzi in a bus. I do think however that the tub would need to be almost completely empty while in transit. Just having one or two 55 gallon drums of wvo on the roof of a bus causes very noticeable changes in the buses center of gravity. Not to mention that one huge problem with driving with a jacuzzi full of water is that the water likes to slosh a lot. Putting the jacuzzi up higher would only magnify this problem. You'd hate to clip a curb and send 300 gallons of water and a couple of bikini clad women off the roof onto the pavement.


this truck has prob 2000 gallons of water reasonably high off the ground.



Granted that truck has baffles in the tank to keep water from surging. You could also look around and find a jacuzzi that is realatively light. Some weigh 800 pounds, while others weigh 200 pounds. You do need a jacuzzi that is tough enough to handle the stresses put on it by water sloshing though. They really weren't made for that sort of force. some are better designed than others for this purpose.

the other issue is how to get the people up to the height jacuzzi and keep them from falling off the bus, even when stationary. ie: stairs a deck and a railing.

i once had a crazy idea to put my jacuzzi on giant hydraulic cylinders and raise it up through the roof. Having a jacuzzi on the roof would be a lovely way to attend the drive in movie theatre, or a sports game. ....i have a photo of that somewhere. I eventually after i wasted far too much tiem and money trying to make the gizmo safe i pulled the plug. (pun intended) the big problem i had was getting all the cylinders to go up evenly. In retrospect, i think that the lifting mechanism forks and all from a fork lift truck would perhaps be the way to go....with lockout safeties of coarse...but having it permanently mounted on the roof is prob a much safer and better idea than trying to raise it up there when it's full of water.
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Old 02-06-2009, 02:23 PM   #5
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Re: Hot tub on the roof?

what about a modified pick up bed style?

cut the back part of the bus off move the emergency exit and such forward creating a shortie with a bed?

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Old 02-06-2009, 03:07 PM   #6
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Re: Hot tub on the roof?

Water is around 8.3lb per gallon, so a small japanese two person tub (80gallon) is 664lb. It wouldn't take much of a hot tub to reach 1-2 tons which would become unstable in the roof. On top of that a tub doesn't have the sides needed to retain water during turns if the bus tips. The law might have some problems with it too.

If you want to stop and fill then you would have no problem as long as you are on solid level ground. You might want leveling equipment for safety sake. It seems like a really bad idea insurance/liability wise, as someone could fall off if you don't have a secure enclosure. If you have it enclosed though you might as well build it inside on the frame.


Have you considered building it on the frame then modifying the interior to have a better view and environment? Even the floor inside many busses are very heigh. Part of the school bus safety design is keeping the passengers above the level of impact, so they tend to be up there. You could build the tub and install window openings to be nearly flush, then install roof windows and moisture vents. That could leave a lot of room for a bar and diner, restroom, and other toys. Maybe you could use your resources on making the roof high enough for those overly tall people so they can move about freely.

You might as well add a roller-disco while you are at it.
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Old 02-06-2009, 09:12 PM   #7
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Re: Hot tub on the roof?

Quote:
anyone think it would be possible to mount a hot tub flush with the roof
Quote:
One idea I had was to place three 100galon tanks under the bus and use a high capacity pump to fill the tub after parking and then drain back into the tanks to move.
crazyidea sounds quite sane to me. Despite the title of the thread, it doesn't sound like there is any intention of having bikini-clad passengers 15 feet in the air spilling overboard on corners or smacking their foreheads on bridges.
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Old 02-06-2009, 11:29 PM   #8
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Re: Hot tub on the roof?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Redbear
it doesn't sound like there is any intention of having bikini-clad passengers 15 feet in the air spilling overboard on corners or smacking their foreheads on bridges.
I wouldn't but as worried about smacking passengers heads so much as just smacking the whole shebang. Maybe we just have some exceptionally low bridges in this neck of the woods. Recently they started installing laser beam height sensors. When a vehicle breaks the beam it starts flashing some lights up ahead to warn them to exit off the highway.
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Old 02-06-2009, 11:39 PM   #9
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Re: Hot tub on the roof?

but he said flush mount so he's not planning on setting it on top of the roof but rather mounting it sunk into the roof and no higher than the rest of the vehicle, once on the roof you'd step down into the tub and the bus would travel with it empty, just be sure that whatever is holding the tub is strong enough so the whole thing doesn't come straight down with 8 people and 300 gallons of water in it and it should work nicely, and don't forget safety railings on the roof that you pop up when you are ready to fill the tub so noone can fall off, its a great idea
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Old 02-07-2009, 08:01 AM   #10
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Re: Hot tub on the roof?

well if you want to make it flush with the roof why not add a deck? i know several bus owners on this site have done it. then you could have a ladder to the deck and then get in to the tub from there.
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Old 02-07-2009, 01:31 PM   #11
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Re: Hot tub on the roof?

That is exactly the idea. FYI this is my roommate's scheme and I'm trying to push it along. I want to do something more conventional with perhaps room for the Harley in the back. Originally the idea was to get a bus for a few of us to go to atv trails, but as no one can agree on certain parts of the process and someone has to front the cash, it makes more sense for each of us to buy a bus and help the other as we go along. Thanks for the encouragement and ideas. I will continue to tell him that a bus without a hot tub is pointless.
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Old 02-07-2009, 01:54 PM   #12
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Re: Hot tub on the roof?

Quote:
I wouldn't but as worried about smacking passengers heads so much as just smacking the whole shebang.
Sorry, the visual of my tongue planted firmly in my cheek while I was posting was missing from the smacking forehead comment.
I was picturing Jackie Chan, James Bond, Clint Eastwood, or John Wayne ducking just in time, while the bad guy/girl doesn't.
Or Monty Python or Laugh-In deliberately failing to duck.

I figured the picture formed in the reader's mind would be better than any I could paint with words.

All joking aside, we've got some pretty low bridges around the east, especially if commercial vehicles stray onto the parkways around the Big Apple, where some clearances are as low as 8 feet. You won't even get a standard skoolie through, never mind one with a roof lift or roof deck.
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Old 02-07-2009, 11:06 PM   #13
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Re: Hot tub on the roof?

Quote:
Originally Posted by crazyidea
I will continue to tell him that a bus without a hot tub is pointless.

I agree, a bus without a jacuzzi IS pointless.

a bus with a jacuzzi is quite pointless. a jacuzzi in a bus is a magnet for bikini's! Why not just mount the jacuzzi on the floor inside the bus? It's simple and works really well. I've built four jacuzzi buses over the past several years. Tell your friends that a jacuzzi bus is a wonderful idea, unless they have objections to having countless scantily clad women inside the bus that is.

the original jacuzzi bus:





Jacuzzi bus II:

http://www.skoolie.net/gallery2/d/17209-2/IMG_6280.JPG

here's a youtube vid
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Old 02-09-2009, 04:31 PM   #14
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Re: Hot tub on the roof?

To throw out some numbers, an empty hot tub typically weighs between 400 - 1000 lbs. The older ones that you'd be more likely to find on craigslist are going to be on the higher end of that while newer ones will be on the lower end. Even 400 lbs on the roof is a fair amount of weight and you'll likely notice it affecting handling, but that's not a deal breaker. A full hot tub typically weighs in at over 2 tons. Smaller models can drop down into the mid 2000s. Here is an interesting site to browse as they show their hot tubs along with the size, capacity, empty and full weight: http://www.spamanufacturers.com/spa-master-sm.php

I think that filling it once stationary is a good idea, but we should look at time to fill. a 500 GPH pump will take a full hour to fill a typical full sized hot tub. An ultra fast 2000 gph pump will do it in 15 minutes. The water has to lift a fair amount, so any pump will be working pretty hard to do the job. It will probably only get about half it's max rated flow, so that 2000 gph pump I would guess will only get about 1000 gph. Make sure you keep your tubes up as small and as efficient as possible. Have them be the same size as the pump opening. Any smaller and you'll constrain flow, any bigger and you'll add weight to the mass of water you are pushing up. Also avoid sharp angles. Drain is another consideration. My hot tub(not in bus) takes a few hours to gravity drain. Also, the drain hole is on the side, so it leaves a few inches of water at the bottom of the tub. You probably want to look for a model with the drain hole on the floor so it will fully drain and look for a model with a high speed drain. Alternatively, and maybe even a better idea, would be to install your own drain. You could mount 2" or even 4" pvc to the bottom of the tub and drain it in a couple of minutes. Parts to connect PVC to a flat wall should be pretty available at Home Depot or the like.

You'll also need to pay attention to heat storage. A hot tub is insulated, but water tanks usually are not, so you'll want to insulate them in order to keep your water warm.

That said, it sounds like an interesting project. I hope you keep us posted on your progress if you proceed.

Leeper: where are your hot tubs located in your buses? I was wondering if it would be feasible to place one at the very back of the bus and having it be open (moving the rear wall in front of the tub), or would this create too much strain on the frame or make the bus too tail heavy and affect handling too much?
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Old 02-10-2009, 07:32 PM   #15
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Re: Hot tub on the roof?

for $200 you can buy a sump pump from home depot that's rated for 5,150 Gallons Per Hour. That's 85 gallons per minute. Going uphill and through various fittings it'll pump less water, but should still take far less than 10 mins to fill a 400 gallon jacuzzi.
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Old 02-11-2009, 12:46 PM   #16
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Re: Hot tub on the roof?

That's a pretty good flow. What's the temperature rating?
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Old 02-16-2009, 03:28 PM   #17
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Re: Hot tub on the roof?

I'm amazed at how many people didn't read exactly what the original poster wrote! Flush with the roof does not mean on top of the roof! It isn't going to significantly increase the height, as if that mattered anyway since school busses have a few feet to go before they are too tall. An empty tub 5 or 6 feet above the floor isn't a problem, weight-wise.
The only issue I'd worry about is sealing the bus roof around the tub so it doesn't leak when spilling or raining. If I was building one (and I keep thinking seriously about it!) I'd put the tub inside for less crud-getting-in-the-water problems and for the ability to drive the bus without draining it more than halfway. I also cringe at cutting the roof open on a nice solid vehicle that wasn't going to leak!
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