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Old 04-26-2018, 02:05 PM   #1
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Leveling the bus before raising the roof?

Hey Everyone,

I set out this morning to level my bus before moving forward with the roof raise.

As I started jacking the bus up it creaked and groaned in protest. I heard creaking sounds from multiple points in the frame & body.

That got me wondering if, by jacking it up, I am putting stresses on the body that are different than what it sees in a "normal" at rest condition. If so, is that going to cause issues with the roof raise?

I got to thinking about it and am questioning the merit of leveling the bus in this manner.

How many of you did or did not level your bus up before doing your roof raise?

Would you do it the same way again or not?

Thanks.

S.
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Old 04-26-2018, 03:24 PM   #2
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I think when you are jacking it up you are moving the bus at one corner or point at a time.. in the real world, the bus generally is moved and lifted with a a somewhat equal force o nthe frame / body all around.. even if you drive up on a curb, the springs absorb some of the difference in terrain for that one wheel..

it seems fairly common from what im reading for people to level out their busses for a raise.. for one you can use standard gravity-based levelling tools to make sure things are as square as you can when doing the lift and wleding in the new supports.. I would only support the bus on the frame and not on the body.. this allows the body to sit on the frame as it normally would.. just level now and not twisted or tilted..
-Christopher
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Old 04-26-2018, 03:42 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by PNW_Steve View Post
Hey Everyone,

I set out this morning to level my bus before moving forward with the roof raise.

As I started jacking the bus up it creaked and groaned in protest. I heard creaking sounds from multiple points in the frame & body.

That got me wondering if, by jacking it up, I am putting stresses on the body that are different than what it sees in a "normal" at rest condition. If so, is that going to cause issues with the roof raise?

I got to thinking about it and am questioning the merit of leveling the bus in this manner.

How many of you did or did not level your bus up before doing your roof raise?

Would you do it the same way again or not?

Thanks.

S.
I leveled mine. No noises, creaks, groans or anything. I just jacked each corner accordingly till it was as level as I could reasonably get it.
I'd do it again for sure.
I think BB's must be a bit flimsier or more flexible as MuddaEarth's seemed to have settling/sagging issues but my Ward/AmTran did not. At first he didn't use any bracing or leveling and his bus did sag after cutting the top off. The front bowed down IIRC.
Just my thoughts on it.
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Old 04-26-2018, 04:11 PM   #4
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We leveled our dognose bus before the roof raise. Drove it onto blocks to get in the ballpark of "level" and then braced the frame with jacks underneath. Was nice to have a concrete pad to do it on. Worked out well not having anything move around. No strange noises...except the echo of the sawzall once i got started!
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Old 04-26-2018, 04:25 PM   #5
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We leveled our dognose bus before the roof raise. Drove it onto blocks to get in the ballpark of "level" and then braced the frame with jacks underneath. Was nice to have a concrete pad to do it on. Worked out well not having anything move around. No strange noises...except the echo of the sawzall once i got started!
Man, if you've got any pics of that you should put em in a thread somewhere! roof raise pics are like porn on this site!
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Old 04-26-2018, 04:33 PM   #6
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Where are you jacking and bracing, the body or the frame? You should use 4 corners of the frame or under suspension points to get the whole bus off the ground or level without tweaking the body on the frame.
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Old 04-26-2018, 04:35 PM   #7
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Mine is fairly level as it sits.

Side to is almost spot on. Fore and after it is off about 1/2"-3/4" over the length of my 6' level.

Anyone here that did not level their bus before raising the roof?
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Old 04-26-2018, 04:37 PM   #8
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Where are you jacking and bracing, the body or the frame? You should use 4 corners of the frame or under suspension points to get the whole bus off the ground or level without tweaking the body on the frame.
I was jacking under the frame rails. I was really surprised at how much noise it made.
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Old 04-26-2018, 04:44 PM   #9
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Here's a bluebird roof raise.
I just tweaked his method with a few improvements and improvisations.
But mine wasn't a BB.

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Old 04-26-2018, 04:51 PM   #10
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Man, if you've got any pics of that you should put em in a thread somewhere! roof raise pics are like porn on this site!
I will try to get some pics on here in the next day or two.....been lurking in the shadows quite a while
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Old 04-26-2018, 06:01 PM   #11
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I was jacking under the frame rails. I was really surprised at how much noise it made.
It will creak a bit. When you get the support under the other side and raise it level, it should be fine.

There are a lot of clamps attached to the frame, they are going to creak when you lift it like that. What you could do is use two jacks and raise each side a little at a time. That will keep it square all the way up.
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Old 04-26-2018, 06:33 PM   #12
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Anyone NOT level their bus first?

How did it play?
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Old 04-26-2018, 07:28 PM   #13
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Curious

Why not just drive the bus onto some 2x8 stacked to make it level?

We used to level our RV all the time with some random stacks of wood my dad had stored in the storage compartment
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Old 04-26-2018, 08:16 PM   #14
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Curious

Why not just drive the bus onto some 2x8 stacked to make it level?

We used to level our RV all the time with some random stacks of wood my dad had stored in the storage compartment
Its really best to keep the frame as supported as you can with jacks, stands, cribbage when cutting the top off.
I supported mine from the front like MuddaEarth and had no issues at all.
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Old 04-26-2018, 08:48 PM   #15
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Curious

Why not just drive the bus onto some 2x8 stacked to make it level?

We used to level our RV all the time with some random stacks of wood my dad had stored in the storage compartment
I'm sure that would be fine.

Supporting the frame takes the suspension out of the equation, so it's not just level, it is rigid too.
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Old 04-26-2018, 09:24 PM   #16
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Anyone NOT level their bus first?

How did it play?
I leveled mine but i welded my supports to my ribs before making the cuts and then raised it. doing it this way i wouldn't see the need for leveling as it should just go up straight with the bottom beam after the cut. unless you are using super flimsy jacks to raise the roof that make it go out of alignment which isn't recommended or were on a drastic hill i don't see the need to level it out until you build out the inside.

the creaks and groans are probably not a big deal. something just needs lubrication, leaf springs, shocks, etc.... probably just not being used in awhile. not a problem. just be sure to be raising on the frame and not the body that is attached to the frame. Also i use two jacks, one on each frame beam and switch between pumping the two.
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Old 04-27-2018, 01:43 AM   #17
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I parked our bus on a flat-ish area. I measures from the center of each wheel to a body line, and verified that the distance was the same. That's about all I did.
Before I cut the ribs, I welded some temporary x bracing to keep things from spreading out.

After I lifted the roof section, I noticed that the rear lower section had spread apart slightly, so some threaded rod and turnbuckles pulled it back together.

If you have the means, it would probably be good to set some tall stands on the bus body, and support the rear frame assembly to keep the engine from drooping if you're working on a rear engine bus.
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