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Old 08-26-2019, 09:14 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by MambaJack View Post
Getting ready to mount panels to my roof via a large rectangular frame with legs on it.

I have really been struggling with the decision of attaching the legs to the side of the bus between the windows. or the top of the bus with brackets on the ribs.

I really like the idea of the top. I think it would be more sturdy, use less material and look better, but am not excited about introducing an avenue for water to get in.

Who has experience with this, Do you like the way it ended up, or do you wish you would have gone one way or the other?

Thanks,
dave
I bolted L brackets to the roof flanges, using copious amounts of sealant. Been almost a year with no leaks.

Any of these methods others have mentioned will work fine for what you're planning. Side pillar vs. roof mounting points are more an aesthetic preference than anything.....I doubt if one or the other is particularly stronger than the other (since both methods are using the same rib construction), nor more prone to leaks (if sealed correctly).

My only caveats would be using bolts instead of tek screws, and bolting through the flanges instead of the unsupported skin.
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Old 08-26-2019, 09:50 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by CMORGANSKOOL View Post
Rivet nuts are perfect for attaching anything to the roof of the bus including solar panels. Just drill a hole insert the nut, pop the rivet and insert bolt. Presto!
You run these just through the sheet metal, or you drill the hole through the flange of the hat channel?
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Old 08-27-2019, 03:36 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MambaJack View Post
Getting ready to mount panels to my roof via a large rectangular frame with legs on it.

I have really been struggling with the decision of attaching the legs to the side of the bus between the windows. or the top of the bus with brackets on the ribs.

I really like the idea of the top. I think it would be more sturdy, use less material and look better, but am not excited about introducing an avenue for water to get in.

Who has experience with this, Do you like the way it ended up, or do you wish you would have gone one way or the other?
Dave, I agree with your reasons for wanting to top mount. Strength, low profile, and appearance were all considerations. I drilled a lot of holes in the roof...

I bolted the racks into the tubular steel frame cross members in the roof of my bus. I used a number of products to seal all the holes including: butyl rubber tape, Geocel Proflex RV sealant, and Dicor lap sealant (both self and non-leveling), and as a final line of defense against water intrusion, from the inside I filled the metal crossmembers with closed cell foam after installing and torquing the bolts...

It was a lot of work but I am very confident that my roof is (and will remain) weather/water tight. Time will tell...
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Old 08-27-2019, 08:53 AM   #14
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Looks great

I think my system will be a little different but will go roof mount. As far as attachment. I may do a combination of thru bolts thru the ribs. And blind bolts. Just tough for me to trust the blind bolts only thru 2 layers of sheet metal
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Old 08-27-2019, 11:23 AM   #15
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That looks great btw. Is there tropicool on it? If so was there any issue with dicor or butyl tape sticking?
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Old 08-27-2019, 11:32 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by MambaJack View Post
Looks great

I think my system will be a little different but will go roof mount. As far as attachment. I may do a combination of thru bolts thru the ribs. And blind bolts. Just tough for me to trust the blind bolts only thru 2 layers of sheet metal
Here is some specs on rivnuts. To each there own which is one of the great reasons for building your own anything.. Now some people might consider me biased to rivnuts because of my screen name... and it's true.
http://www.rivet-nut.com/assets/rivn...properties.pdf
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Old 08-27-2019, 11:41 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MambaJack View Post
I think my system will be a little different but will go roof mount. As far as attachment. I may do a combination of thru bolts thru the ribs. And blind bolts. Just tough for me to trust the blind bolts only thru 2 layers of sheet metal
Dave, I appreciate (and share) your concerns about blind nuts and securing only thru the sheet metal. With securing only thru the sheet metal I was more concerned about flexing and the potential for leaks. Do you not have cross members that you could use as mounting points?

Below is an older pic of the Gillig.


I drilled smaller (bolt size) holes thru the roof and the top of the tubes, and then larger holes in the bottom of the tubes. This enabled me to get the washers and nuts up inside the tubes (and a socket to tighten them). Then from the inside, I filled the holes and part of the tubes with foam. Not sure if that makes sense...

I didn't take any pics specifically of the process, but in the pic below, the wood strip is screwed into one of those cross members, and that hole in the wood is where I drilled the larger hole in the tube to get washer/nut/socket up in there. I was also concerned with losing valuable headroom.


Quote:
Originally Posted by MambaJack View Post
That looks great btw. Is there tropicool on it? If so was there any issue with dicor or butyl tape sticking?
Thank you for the kind words. I did not use Tropicool; I used Richard's Rust Shield rust inhibiting enamel gloss white from a local paint store (glorified Rustoleum?) I will be doing one more coat before the panels go up. I had heard mixed reviews about elasto... roof coatings on buses. And regardless, almost the entire roof will be covered with solar panels/decking.

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Old 08-27-2019, 11:51 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by Rivetboy View Post
Here is some specs on rivnuts. To each there own which is one of the great reasons for building your own anything.. Now some people might consider me biased to rivnuts because of my screen name... and it's true.
http://www.rivet-nut.com/assets/rivn...properties.pdf
Those Rivnuts are some nice fasteners. Where were you when I needed you? They could have saved me some serious time and effort...
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Old 08-27-2019, 11:52 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ComfortEagle View Post
Dave, I agree with your reasons for wanting to top mount. Strength, low profile, and appearance were all considerations. I drilled a lot of holes in the roof...

I bolted the racks into the tubular steel frame cross members in the roof of my bus.
Are your ribs tubular, or channnel like most of us have?
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Old 08-27-2019, 12:18 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by ComfortEagle View Post
Those Rivnuts are some nice fasteners. Where were you when I needed you? They could have saved me some serious time and effort...
Hiding in plain site. More than likely down at my shop or riding my bike or out at the river. Retirement is good.
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