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Old 07-18-2014, 08:31 PM   #1
Mini-Skoolie
 
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Roof Raise - Building My Own Flat Roof

Every "roof raise" thread I've seen is lifting the factory round roof, and I'm wondering if there is a reason why OTHER than to save the cost in materials.

I want a flat roof, for the following reasons:
#1) Maximized interior space
#2) I want to be able to sit or stand on my roof. Building a deck takes extra time and materials, so why not make it so the roof just works as is? Maybe add some sand to roof paint so it's non-slip?
#3) Some of my interior design plans (ie: beds) works better with a square roof


I have this envision of raising the roof so the bus is at a maximum height of 13'6" (maybe less if I include the future addition of roof-top AC units), and turning the back door into a ramp.

I just want to know as much information as I can. What are the cons to building a flat roof?

Thanks in advance!
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Old 07-20-2014, 11:01 PM   #2
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Re: Roof Raise - Building My Own

Just wanted to bump this again...
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Old 07-21-2014, 09:17 AM   #3
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Re: Roof Raise - Building My Own

Are you thinking of cutting the curved roof entirely and replacing it with a flat roof? If so, first thought that comes to mind is how much work that would be.. Holy moly.. Secondly, you'll be losing a significant amount of structural strength. The body ribs are all one piece. Cutting them down low and lifting a few inches for a roof raise affects structural integrity moderately. Cutting the arch out entirely will affect structural integrity massively! You might be better off buying a transit style bus if you want a flat ceiling.
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Old 07-21-2014, 01:28 PM   #4
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Re: Roof Raise - Building My Own

Quote:
Originally Posted by jazty
Are you thinking of cutting the curved roof entirely and replacing it with a flat roof?
That is my thoughts, yes.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jazty
If so, first thought that comes to mind is how much work that would be.. Holy moly..
I'm not afraid of hard work, and I have a good team of people to help me

Quote:
Originally Posted by jazty
Secondly, you'll be losing a significant amount of structural strength. The body ribs are all one piece. Cutting them down low and lifting a few inches for a roof raise affects structural integrity moderately. Cutting the arch out entirely will affect structural integrity massively! You might be better off buying a transit style bus if you want a flat ceiling.
This is my biggest concern, and where I really want to discuss some things.

My thoughts are this: School buses are built in an "overkill style", designed to withstand a roll-over 1.5 times. That's accomplished by round roof using a single-piece rib up and over the bus. Typical RV's have a flat roof, and as far as I know, they're not built with a single "rib" or "frame" up and over the body, right? Wrong?

Also, if welded correctly, aren't the welds stronger than the two pieces of metal they join?

I guess I'm hoping that if I design the roof/cage correctly, it will certainly be just as strong if not stronger than a traditional RV. I tend to build things "overkill" myself.



I should also note, I'd decided to raise my overall bus height to no more than 12ft total (haven't calculated how much of a roof raise that is, yet, but off the top of my head it will be a two to three foot raise max). I measured my bus the other day, and it's 12ft tall from the ground to the very tips of my CB whips/antennas. That's tall enough! lol...
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Old 07-21-2014, 02:03 PM   #5
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Re: Roof Raise - Building My Own

Quote:
Originally Posted by iverSUN
Typical RV's have a flat roof, and as far as I know, they're not built with a single "rib" or "frame" up and over the body, right? Wrong?
From what I've seen, you're right. I think most RV roofs and walls are built of wood or a composite material with a foam board core. That's why they look like this after a serious accident:


(^ Hey, I think I have those some captains chairs They sure are ugly, but only cost me $20)
http://www.marshlakeyukon.net/FireRe...008RVCrash.htm


http://www.grizzlylaw.com/rv-motorho...sh-worthiness/


http://tucsoncitizen.com/morgue/2008...river-at-i-19/

Quote:
Originally Posted by iverSUN
Also, if welded correctly, aren't the welds stronger than the two pieces of metal they join?
Sort of.. From my understanding, the weld itself can be stronger than the material, but the chances are that the surrounding metal has been partially annealed. An area that has different characteristics than the rest of the subject can fatigue and fail over time. That's the reality of welding. Realistically, though, you can throw thick metal all over and end up with a tough skeleton that won't fatigue in your lifetime. It's not likely to be a problem. As a side note, a 90 corner is inherently weaker than a curve.

Quote:
Originally Posted by iverSUN
I guess I'm hoping that if I design the roof/cage correctly, it will certainly be just as strong if not stronger than a traditional RV. I tend to build things "overkill" myself.
With time and money, anything is possible! If you go this route, be sure to have a well thought out plan to keep it sealed. Water will pool... Be sure to seriously brace the walls before you start cutting, as well. They will flop around out of true. Insurance could be a problem with so much structural work being done. You might want to check into that. Also, lots of pictures of the progress must be posted once you get started!

You know, you may actually be describing converting a school bus to a box truck.. Have you done much to your bus yet? It'd save you considerable time starting with one of these:
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Old 07-23-2014, 05:18 PM   #6
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Re: Roof Raise - Building My Own Flat Roof

Yeah, I kind of want it to look like a box truck lol... but with windows, and with the cab connected to the "cargo" area so it maintains that "RV" feeling.
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Old 07-23-2014, 07:27 PM   #7
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Re: Roof Raise - Building My Own Flat Roof

You would do better to use a box truck as shown and put windows and a pass-through yourself, as it seems to me that removing the roof and putting something else in its place will be much more work than refurbishing a moving van or truck.

I have a friend who turned a truck into a portable observatory for his homebuilt telescope.

Other than the sliding roof, which he said was a pain, he modified the box section with an RV door and a drop staircase like a bus, and he built and mounted storage boxes below it, added some windows and stuff. He said all of the external work was easily done, as the side panels and floor cut easily.

He was looking at doing a bus this way, but said the frame and skin of the bus would have been too much of a pain to deal with, and he hated even thinking of tackling the roof.

And you can get good deals on trucks from the same places as school busses. His is one of those totally efficient Isuzu flatnoses and it gets really decent mileage, even with about 2 tons of telescope (really big-assed scope. really really big assed...) and tons of assorted carp and grabbage thrown in.


As a side note, after watching the watermelon haulers that are skoolie razees (an old nautical term for cut-down) with no roofs, it seems the cut-down hauler body has a lot more sway in it than a regular bus. Though this may be due to crappy maintenance of the haulers.
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Old 07-24-2014, 12:09 AM   #8
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Re: Roof Raise - Building My Own Flat Roof

You might want to look at a stepvan. Flat roof, connected cab... also the roofs on most step vans are metal, not the see through flimsy stuff on box trucks.
You can get ones up to 35 ft long
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Old 07-24-2014, 08:57 AM   #9
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Re: Roof Raise - Building My Own Flat Roof

Quote:
Originally Posted by jmar896
You might want to look at a stepvan. Flat roof, connected cab...
That's a good idea! Hadn't thought of that..

Quote:
Originally Posted by jmar896
also the roofs on most step vans are metal, not the see through flimsy stuff on box trucks.
It's rather easy to find all metal box trucks, as well. Especially the older ones, which would be in a more appealing price range anyhow. Like this one!
http://cgi.ebay.ca/ebaymotors/1986-I...orcev4exp=true
Sheet metal over plywood construction with a full rib structure.. Even comes equipped with a DT466! That is one awesome truck I want it.
Nonetheless, if iverSUN wants a flat roof then a step-van would be a great option.

Ok, sorry iverSUN.. I'm done de-railing your thread for the day..
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Old 07-24-2014, 11:31 AM   #10
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Re: Roof Raise - Building My Own Flat Roof

much easier to start with a vehicle closer to your desired outcome. the cost would be crazy...im sure 2 or 3 times the cost of whatever bus you are looking at.

with enough time and money.....anything can be done.... but the wisdom of it is a whole other topic.
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