Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
 
Old 08-25-2017, 08:34 AM   #1
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Jul 2017
Posts: 57
Roof Raise Confusion

Memorial weekend I plan on raising the roof on my 77 passenger Amtran but I still have to get the materials and am still confused on a few things...

1. How much sheet metal to buy and what gauge?

2. We are doing RV windows so do I need the sheet metal shop to cut out the window slots so they have the radius corners perfect or can I install the sheets and then cut them out down the road?

3. What gauge hat channel and type of metal should I use?

4. I still have no idea where to cut through the back of the bus since we want to keep the original door for the "garage" area.

5. We just plan on using a couple floor jacks with 4x4s on them extended to the hat channels on the ceiling to raise it and then use 2x4s extended through the bus windows from one side to the other in the front and the back of the bus to evenly space the raise and for additional support. Has anyone ever done it this way and would you do it again? Will this work?

6. We are riveting the sheet metal on through the old and new hat channels and using 3m panel adhesive instead of welding. We plan on popping out the rivets above the windows and sliding our sheets up in there and re riveting just like most people do but I'm concerned because we only have one row of rivets above the windows. Not two like every other bus I've seen so is it ok to pop all of those out at once? How far should we push the sheet metal up past the rivets above the windows? How do I keep the sheet metal and new hat channel all in place while I rivet them together? I'm wondering if I should just use the adhesive during day 1 to glue the hat channels in place, let it dry for 24 hours, and then the next day start installing sheets after all the hat channels are set in place?

I AM EXTREMELY SORRY AND EMBARRASSED FOR ALL OF THE QUESTIONS BUT.. I literally have zero experience in metal work/auto body so I just need to make sure I don't screw this up! I have small children and a wife to protect so please, any advice or help would be so heatedly appreciated!!!

I really wish someone that has done a roof raise could just help so if you know ANYONE in the SIOUX FALLS, SOUTH DAKOTA area that may be able to help for some extra cash please let me know!

I would also just really like to speak to someone over the phone if not in person with experience on this type of project just to get some advice or help so if anyone is willing to do that please direct message me or email me at benjipike@gmail.com PLEASE AND THANKS SO SO MUCH!!!
The Rockwood Colony is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-25-2017, 09:15 AM   #2
Bus Crazy
 
Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: Salt Lake City Utah
Posts: 1,328
Year: 2000
Chassis: Blue Bird
Engine: ISC 8.3
I can only tell you what "worked for me!"

1. How much to buy depends on how much opening your raise creates, how many windows you'll delete, what sheet size(s) are available in your market, the spacing of your ribs. Those all come together with some creativity on your part to figure out how to optimize the usage (and waste) of the sheets you'll buy. I don't recall the thickness of the factory skin on my bus but I used 16 gauge for the bottom half and 18 gauge for the top half re-skinning mine. Structurally some will say 16 gauge is overkill; maybe it is. Surely it's also more dent-resistant. You may not be entirely re-skinning your bus as I did, so maybe this is less important to you.

2. We did radiused corners by hand on mine. It wasn't difficult. I'd suggest it's better to do the window cut-outs after the metal is installed because this gives you some freedom to let the sheet metal be skewed one way or another without getting your windows all out of alignment. Draw onto the exterior of the metal with a marker the outline of the window. Draw another line offset toward the inside 1/2 to 3/4 of an inch. Cut there. We used a pair of 12" adjustable "Crescent" wrenches to fold the sheet metal over at the window outline. The metal through the radiused corner will need to stretch quite a bit, but it was surprisingly easy to do by hand with a simple 16 oz framing hammer. An air chisel with one bit modified made a nice hammer, too. The folded-over flange really stiffens the panel!

3. I had custom hat channel made at a local shop to fit snugly over the factory stuff. Don't mess around with trying to get the measurements right; cut out a section of your factory channel and give it to the shop with instructions to fit outside the sample (or inside, if you prefer). I picked 14 gauge galvanized steel because from what the shop had available that to me appeared most similar to the factory material.

4. You can cut above the rear door if you want to keep its original frame intact, or you can make (or have made) more material to match the shape of the top and side jambs to fill in any gaps you create by cutting elsewhere. Weld the filler sections into place. There's a bit more cost in having those parts made but it might really give you some freedom in how you cut the back wall.

5. I used scaffolding with screw jack levelers as described by nat_ster in The Four Season Prime here. The best way to search for it would be on an external search engine "site:skoolie.net four season prime scaffold roof raise" or similar. That said, your method may be equally good. There are a variety of methods used based on what each person has on hand or is interested in buying. Looking back on mine, I wish I had considered more carefully how to use a mason's string for checking alignment of the structure before and after the raise: plumbness of the walls, any sag in the roof from front to back, elevation of the roof from the floor at the four corners and points in between, etc.... now that I've scared you about that, I'll also say "it's a bus, not a piano!"

6. There's a temporary fastener called cleco or cleko that you should look into. They're pretty nice for pinning things together when you're not quite ready to set a rivet yet. Where there's access available on both sides a machine screw can work well. Clecos aren't horrible expensive so I bought about 25 in the 3/16 size; screws are cheap so I bought 100 #10-24 by 1 inch. The screws are a little loose in a 3/16 hole but work alright. I'd definitely suggest getting the hat channel situation fully worked out all the way around the bus before getting into hanging new sheet metal.
family wagon is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-25-2017, 02:38 PM   #3
Bus Crazy
 
Rusty's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2015
Location: Midwest
Posts: 1,974
Year: 2003
Coachwork: BlueBird
Chassis: TC2000
Engine: 5.9L Cummins
Rated Cap: '00
Quote:
Originally Posted by The Rockwood Colony View Post
Memorial weekend I plan on raising the roof on my 77 passenger Amtran...PLEASE AND THANKS SO SO MUCH!!!
Cool. Get one of these - now and play with it. It will put your mind at ease.

here is coupon




__________________
What I do when nothing is on tv... : My Nemesis
Rusty is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-25-2017, 02:59 PM   #4
Bus Geek
 
Tango's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: Houston, Texas
Posts: 6,169
Year: 1946
Coachwork: Chevrolet/Wayne
Chassis: 1- 1/2 ton
Engine: Cummins 4BT
Rated Cap: 15
The "ideal" is to use sheetmetal that is as close as possible to what you already have. Same for the hat channels. You can get a standard metal gauge for a couple of bucks at most any Harbor Freight or Northern Tool to get starting numbers. Be advised, a number of bus makers use oddball gauge sheetmetal. BB for example is closer to 15 gauge while the "standards" are 14 & 16. Just try to match as best you can.
Tango is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-25-2017, 05:23 PM   #5
Bus Crazy
 
Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: Oregon/Philippines
Posts: 1,660
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tango View Post
The "ideal" is to use sheetmetal that is as close as possible to what you already have. Same for the hat channels. You can get a standard metal gauge for a couple of bucks at most any Harbor Freight or Northern Tool to get starting numbers. Be advised, a number of bus makers use oddball gauge sheetmetal. BB for example is closer to 15 gauge while the "standards" are 14 & 16. Just try to match as best you can.
Why?

I always use 18... for at least 30 yrs and never had any problems. It welds very good. is fairly easy to shape, not to mention thicker than most vehicles of today i have to work on. (metal composition is diff of course, but not a big deal)
__________________
Jesus Christ... Conversion in progress.
chev49 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-25-2017, 05:48 PM   #6
Bus Geek
 
EastCoastCB's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2014
Location: Eustis FLORIDA
Posts: 12,170
Year: 1992
Coachwork: Ward/AmTran
Chassis: International
Engine: dt466
Rated Cap: 78
Quote:
Originally Posted by chev49 View Post
Why?

I always use 18... for at least 30 yrs and never had any problems. It welds very good. is fairly easy to shape, not to mention thicker than most vehicles of today i have to work on. (metal composition is diff of course, but not a big deal)
My AmTran's ribs are 14ga, the skin is 18ga.
I've taken a bluebird apart, and it looked to be the same.
__________________
.
Roll Your Own Build Thread
EastCoastCB is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 08-25-2017, 06:27 PM   #7
Bus Nut
 
Join Date: May 2016
Location: Georgia
Posts: 924
Year: 2001
Coachwork: Blue Bird
Chassis: IH
Engine: T444E
Rated Cap: 14
One idea would be to head to a local bus salvage yard and cut out a couple of the wall supports. Cut these to shorter lengths for however much you plan to raise your roof. While at the salvage yard, if possible, cannibalize the skin below the windows for your sheetmetal. It will match the thickness of your bus because it came from another bus (assuming a similar body, of course.) If you need a *lot* of bus parts, simply buy a dead junker/wreck from a nearby auction, then sell it for scrap when you've salvaged everything you could use.
Brad_SwiftFur is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-26-2017, 01:43 AM   #8
Skoolie
 
New2Skool's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2016
Location: Bemidji MN
Posts: 207
Year: 1998
Coachwork: Carpenter Body
Chassis: International 3800
Engine: DT466
Rated Cap: 65 to Zero. Folding Chair
When I lifted my roof, I decided to lower the skirt down about 9 inches and to create a new "mid-Beam" so a full four foot sheet would fit perfectly.
Then, I was able to raise the roof about 16-17 inches giving myself an inch of upper sheet over lower sheet overhang and another full four foot sheet would fill the upper half.

You are right on the money about the jacks and wood framing lifting method. I borrowed two bumper jacks and made two T frames out of 2x8s doubled up.

To keep the lift centered and supported, I welded angle iron to four of the ribs and welded 3/4th inch roung tube to the angle iron. Then I fed a three foot all thread bar and held in place with two square nuts.

As I lifted the roof, I would go up a couple of inches stop, slowly and carefully walk to the corners to tighten the nuts providing support and keeping the roof straight and center.

Prep work was figuring out the interior size of the ribs, cutting tubing to size, hammering them into place covering the span of the lift, welding in place.

It was a lot of work but worth every second and every dollar. Most folks just remove the rear door and cut in the middle if there is a tilting point in the door. If you are lifting the entire roof or just parts, get everything you need ready. cutting discs, welding rods, rib inserts, jacks, oh and get a third jack it seems that the lift always tilts one way or another and needs extra support or straightening.

It is scary too, you realize when you are inside that if the roof falls you are not making it out. The ribs will hit the floor and slide to the other side before it rolls over and away from the bus. You cant jump out that fast and if you do, you have a 50-50 chance of bailing out the wrong side and may be like indiana jones running from the giant boulder.

Good luck and have fun.
__________________
D.L. Jones III
"The Independence"
98 International
New2Skool is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-26-2017, 10:40 AM   #9
Bus Geek
 
Tango's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: Houston, Texas
Posts: 6,169
Year: 1946
Coachwork: Chevrolet/Wayne
Chassis: 1- 1/2 ton
Engine: Cummins 4BT
Rated Cap: 15
The idea of staying close to original gauge is based on maintaining uniform loading across the structure. Going either much lighter or heavier creates weak points where the differing materials meet. And given the stresses a flexing body creates, there will be the potential for problems. Not saying it will fail, but there is no engineering advantage to placing lighter or heavier skin on the body unless you replaced it all.
Tango is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-01-2017, 03:38 AM   #10
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Jul 2017
Posts: 57
Here we go

Thank you everyone for the great info! Good and bad news... the bad news is I won't be able to raise the roof this weekend. The good news is I got all of sheet metal and hat channels ordered yesterday! So exciting!!!! We went with galvenealed sheet metal and galvanized hat channel. We plan on using 3m panel adhesive 08116 and rivets to fasten 99% of the materials. The only things we are welding is the angled supports that will go under the height transition skin on the top of the bus right behind the drivers seat and the channel extensions that will be needed above the back door. The adhesive costs about $40 per cartridge but I'm not really sure how many to order. Any thoughts? Also need to figure out the best rivets for the job yet. So pumped up though!!! Oh ya, on the roof of my bus the rows of rivets skips every other rib and it just so happens that the rib on the top rib of the height transition doesn't have any fas tenets in it so I think we are just going to use long bolts across that rib that will go down all the way through the hat channel. My only concern with this is that since the hat channel will have that open hollow section that the bolts will pass through, I'm worried when we tighten the bolts down it will lightly crush and weekend that rib. All thoughts and suggestions on all of this are welcome!

Here is the order that I made to show how much everything costed... thanks again everyone!!
Attached Images
File Type: jpg IMG_8129.jpg (199.1 KB, 27 views)
The Rockwood Colony is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Tags
material, rivets, roof raise, sheet metal

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


» Virginia Campgrounds

Reviews provided by

Powered by vBadvanced CMPS v3.2.3

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 08:46 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 4
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.