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Old 12-02-2016, 05:47 PM   #1
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Raising the roof... hmm, I wonder.

So, I've read a few roof raising threads and they seem fairly straight forward but I gotta ask. For those with no place, no tools, and/or no talent, is there anyone in the business of raising roofs?

I have none, little, and none. I just finished MuddaEarth's thread and videos. The guy obviously has experience and talent. I'm just dumb enough to attempt a project like this myself but I have a feeling my best efforts would make his skin crawl. It's going to be some crazy wavey metal. I have no doubt whatsoever that I'm going to have an overlap at the top and a 2 inch gap at the bottom. Too big to fill in with welding and too small to weld in a patch. And as for the welds themselves, if someone sneezes beside the bus, something will fall off. Should they sneeze inside, it will likely explode. I'm a cheap S.O.B. tho so I'll just have to make due with a draft while the windows are closed.

But it got me thinking... does anyone do this kind of work for a living? The RV/bus/tiny house craze is in full swing. While everyone on here would say DIY is half (or more) of the fun, there might very well be a market for such talents. As mentioned, I certainly don't have the skills to fill this niche but is there a business model in there?

Signed,
Curious

P.S. Feel free to steal the idea. If you become successful and we happen to meet someone, buy me a beer, tell me a good story, and we'll call it even.
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Old 12-02-2016, 08:02 PM   #2
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Not a bad idea, but I am afraid that most of us that buy a bus to convert are rather frugal (cheap) and would not want to pay what would be a fair price to have someone else do the job.
Anyone with a building big enough to do a roof raise would have to charge around $100 an hour (normal shop rates) and with the amount of time it takes, this could run into the thousands very quickly. Even a guy doing it in his back yard still needs to make a fair wage, say $50-75 an hour plus materials. It would not take long to add up to $2500-$5000 or even more depending on how complex and the size of the bus.
Now add in that the person would have to be bonded and insured in case you crash and want to sue him because the roof came off or caused your bus to tip over is high winds, or you took a corner too fast.
In the end, I think the cost would be too high for most of us, and the risk vs. reward would be too low for anyone to want to take this on.
Trust me, I have pondered going into business turning Buses into Tiny Houses. However I just don't think even with the current craze that it would be a solid return on investment. Liability being the big factor.
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Old 12-02-2016, 08:13 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by Oldmopars View Post
Trust me, I have pondered going into business turning Buses into Tiny Houses. However I just don't think even with the current craze that it would be a solid return on investment. Liability being the big factor.
Same here. Plus, there isn't a market, per say, for recycled buses to homes. Most people thinking about an RV is looking at a turn-key purchase, not something custom on a 20 year old chassis
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Old 12-02-2016, 08:26 PM   #4
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Not a bad idea, but I am afraid that most of us that buy a bus to convert are rather frugal (cheap) and would not want to pay what would be a fair price to have someone else do the job.
Anyone with a building big enough to do a roof raise would have to charge around $100 an hour (normal shop rates) and with the amount of time it takes, this could run into the thousands very quickly. Even a guy doing it in his back yard still needs to make a fair wage, say $50-75 an hour plus materials. It would not take long to add up to $2500-$5000 or even more depending on how complex and the size of the bus.
Now add in that the person would have to be bonded and insured in case you crash and want to sue him because the roof came off or caused your bus to tip over is high winds, or you took a corner too fast.
In the end, I think the cost would be too high for most of us, and the risk vs. reward would be too low for anyone to want to take this on.
Trust me, I have pondered going into business turning Buses into Tiny Houses. However I just don't think even with the current craze that it would be a solid return on investment. Liability being the big factor.
If you were doing more than one you could fairly quickly setup templates and jigs. 8 hr shift 40 hrs a week would get a lot of work done instead of the weekend warrior thing taking a year plus. Even as cheap as I am I don't think $5k would be that bad for straight and painted sheet metal. $5k for a (new to me) bus, ready for interior at $10k. Would be fairly simple to even give a list of options. 1 window = xyz. 3 windows = abc.

I don't know nor have the equipment for painting but I know my way around a wood shop. For full turn key, yeah they are going to go down to Winnebago but partial?
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Old 12-02-2016, 10:09 PM   #5
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there are hotrod builders, custom car builders - they somehow deal with the liability issues.

There's always a small percentage of folks with money that want things..finding them is the challenge.
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Old 12-02-2016, 11:24 PM   #6
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the liability is only a factor if you screw up.. and those that build hotrods and custom car haulers as well as auto manufacturers deal with it all the time.. and often pay out to replace a vehicle and get sued for damages when related to them..

but if its not anything you did wrong.. your bill of sale and warranty and warranty expoiration often state thibgs along the loines of the manufacturer not being liable for part failure unless it was their negligence of failure of design that causes the harm...

certain manufacturers are regulated.. thus why GM, foird, etc have to issue mandatory recalls on failure of parts that relates to safety.. if you built tiny homes and a part failed which would cause harm to the occupants and it happened enough you would be under the same thing..

however that said.. if you are buying busses as used and simply making modifiactions and reselling them.. then your liability ends at only your work and your design...

even less liability if a customer sends you their bus to work on..

afterm,arket mod shops deal with this all the time.. and the liability ends at the end of their work...

thats why alot of these suprt-trucks and Jeep mods cant be bought turnkey.. you must purchase the jeep, send it to them for the work and they send it back..

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Old 12-03-2016, 12:25 AM   #7
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Roof raise...goodness that seems like a nightmare of a job to attempt alone and yet i have read of skoolies who did just that. Wow!

I ran a motorcycle parts business for the past two years and i spent so much time dosmantling bikes that i always wear kneepads...

Flash forward to the bus; I laid down that square puzzle foamy floor they sell for day care and such. I rarely stand up straight anyway. Most my stuff is down low so i am often scooting about on my knees. The foam makes it so i dont even jeed knee pads. Next to the kitchen stove i put an extra cusion since i am often there for a longer time.

So many different ways to do these.
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Old 12-03-2016, 01:37 AM   #8
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I think I read, somewhere here... somebody posted he does roof raising and such for hire.
And.... There is a market for raising roofs on highway buses being converted. You can actually buy fiberglass front and rear roof-caps with specific raised heights.
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Old 12-17-2016, 08:05 AM   #9
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I think I read, somewhere here... somebody posted he does roof raising and such for hire.
And.... There is a market for raising roofs on highway buses being converted. You can actually buy fiberglass front and rear roof-caps with specific raised heights.
R and M Fiberglass in Turner or built the caps for my last roof raise.
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Old 12-17-2016, 09:17 AM   #10
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Old 12-17-2016, 09:49 AM   #11
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google a bit..seems there are lots of bus conversion outfits out there..
This one shows them making a double decker - a roof raise would be less work than this
Bus Conversion 101, Bus Conversion Specialist


here's a page of links...
Links

lots of info here - and a free advice hotline too! MANY ideas!!
I believe i read they can stretch a bus too.
Walker Coach-Custom bus conversions.

AND specifically... http://www.walkercoach.com/raisingroof.shtml
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Old 12-17-2016, 11:57 AM   #12
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http://rm-fiberglass.com/
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Old 12-17-2016, 01:15 PM   #13
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It looks complicated but not overly difficult if you have the right tools of course. I had to do some searching on the subject since it interested me. Saw a couple of videos and picture collections where folks used 4 farm jacks and once they got the roof cut and separated, they jacked the roof up to their desired height and assembled the structure in place. It looked very doable but I did see a one use tool investment. I guess you could sell the farm jacks when you were finished.

One of the pictures I found... this is not me in the photo of course.

https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com...ad3732e27d.jpg
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Old 12-17-2016, 02:28 PM   #14
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It looks complicated but not overly difficult if you have the right tools of course. I had to do some searching on the subject since it interested me. Saw a couple of videos and picture collections where folks used 4 farm jacks and once they got the roof cut and separated, they jacked the roof up to their desired height and assembled the structure in place. It looked very doable but I did see a one use tool investment. I guess you could sell the farm jacks when you were finished.
The roof is mush lighter than you think,I made 4 guides with all thread like William Baily did on his build & when it came time to lift my 70yr old neighbor just lifted it up then i ran the lock nuts into position, then fine tune the adjustment to get it even, the important thing is have something in place so it can't move forward back or side to side, you don't want it ending up on the ground, second you don't want it springing out after cutting the ribs, I used cargo straps between each window post & didn't have any movement. The pic show floor jacks but we ended up not using them.
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Old 12-17-2016, 02:48 PM   #15
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I agree with Stu, is it not as bad as you think.
I did my entire lift completely alone.
Four all thread supports, 8 nuts, homemade brackets and boom ready to go.
Built two T lifters, started with two bumper jacks and ended up with three.
Cut the sections and ribs that need cutting and started lifting.
It went very quickly and was nerve racking but so worth it.
I had no experience doing any of this stuff.
So, dont feel alone. It just takes time, materials and money to get learn it.

It took me about 7 hours to lift the roof 16 inches.
Weld the pre made extensions in place,
Brace everything and hit the road for home.
Nobody from my department helped me.
A few guys would stop in every couple of hours and look and then wonder off.
So, I did it alone and it turned out great.

My suggestion for a professional is calling local metal shops.
Even artistic welders or fabrication places.
Explain what you need done, they might say sure easy stuff bring it in next week we will charge $250. Who the hell knows but, I wish you luck.
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Old 12-17-2016, 03:20 PM   #16
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Nice picture Stu. I have at ton of those ratchet type straps left from my truck driving days.
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Old 12-17-2016, 05:33 PM   #17
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Nice picture Stu. I have at ton of those ratchet type straps left from my truck driving days.
I went to HomeDepot & bought 2 packages, I also have a flatbed pickup so it's not like I can't use them.
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Old 12-17-2016, 11:24 PM   #18
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One of the pictures I found... this is not me in the photo of course.

https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com...ad3732e27d.jpg
FYI: That dashingly handsome young man is our very own Elliot Naess doing the roof raise on "Millicent".
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Old 12-18-2016, 01:19 PM   #19
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And... those farm jacks were overkill. No numbers, but the roof was surprisingly light. A handful buddies is all it takes.

There was mention of ratchet straps.... Four good -- repeat, good -- 1 1/2 inch ratchet straps should work nicely, and you will have 100 uses for them later.

Most important thing is to build four sturdy telescoping guides, so the roof cannot go anywhere but straight up.
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Old 12-18-2016, 01:43 PM   #20
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And... those farm jacks were overkill. No numbers, but the roof was surprisingly light. A handful buddies is all it takes.

There was mention of ratchet straps.... Four good -- repeat, good -- 1 1/2 inch ratchet straps should work nicely, and you will have 100 uses for them later.

Most important thing is to build four sturdy telescoping guides, so the roof cannot go anywhere but straight up.
YEah, I've always thought farm jacks looked like expensive overkill. Sure- one or two are handy to have around, though.

I have some straps already, I'll buy more and make sure they're big enough. Mine are for hauling mowers and mopeds.

Idk if I'll be able to pull of "telescoping" uprights, but I'm thinking of going witht he all-thread and nuts method.
I'll have a decent concrete pad to do all this on, as long as I'm able to move it in three days. My access to the concrete driveway is very limited.
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