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Old 06-02-2019, 05:39 PM   #1
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Roof raise (no welding)

Hi guys,
Has anyone raised their roof using screws and a custom fabricated extension that fits over where the cut has been made? I recently saw a video and wanted to get some opinions.
Thanks
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Old 06-02-2019, 05:42 PM   #2
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I'd like to see a video of how well it held up after several ten-thousands of miles...
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Old 06-02-2019, 05:42 PM   #3
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Sounds expensive and labor intensive. Nothing is easier than welding it together.
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Old 06-02-2019, 06:24 PM   #4
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You're gonna wanna weld that sucker and do it right if you're expecting any semblance of structural integrity both with regards to rollover integrity and longevity as Haz.Matt.1960 mentioned. Additionally, if you don't do a solid job and document how you did it I would guess you're going to invite even more challenges finding insurance for it. Among other factors, roof raises are one of the reasons most insurers don't want to touch skoolies and doing it half-assed is a disservice to the entire community.
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Old 06-02-2019, 06:36 PM   #5
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Good points, all. I pondered on the weakening of integrity, but was more interested in how far down the road it would get before becoming the first Skoolie convertible with an automatic retraction system!
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Originally Posted by Sehnsucht View Post
You're gonna wanna weld that sucker and do it right if you're expecting any semblance of structural integrity both with regards to rollover integrity and longevity as Haz.Matt.1960 mentioned. Additionally, if you don't do a solid job and document how you did it I would guess you're going to invite even more challenges finding insurance for it. Among other factors, roof raises are one of the reasons most insurers don't want to touch skoolies and doing it half-assed is a disservice to the entire community.
So, half-assed? Does that mean it'd go slower than fast, but faster than slow..?
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Old 06-02-2019, 07:10 PM   #6
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Sounds like more work, to be less effective. Welding is easy enough to learn the basics. After I set the machine, I've had novices MIG welding in 5 minutes. Rent a welder for a week, practice a little, and weld her up!
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Old 06-02-2019, 08:31 PM   #7
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Sounds great. Just wanted to get a feel for what people were saying. Thanks for the input.
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Old 06-03-2019, 08:00 AM   #8
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Sorry to say but doing stuff like that is probably the main reason why insurance companies are dropping skoolies...
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Old 06-03-2019, 12:21 PM   #9
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Yes, I had a local sheet metal shop make custom hat channel for me. It fit over the factory stuff like a glove. I raised my roof at floor level, ie rather than cutting any ribs, I removed the rivets that secured the ribs to the chair rail. Most ribs were held to the chair rail by four 1/4" solid rivets (Blue Bird). I sized the hat channel extensions to lap over the original hat channel by about the same height as the chair rail, and secured the extension to the original ribs again using four 1/4" rivets. Likewise to secure the extension to the chair rail through the original holes.


Even those most of my raise was done with rivets, I did find plenty of occasions for a little buzz from the MIG welder here and there.
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Old 06-03-2019, 01:32 PM   #10
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I believe a bolted section can be more than adequate for our needs. The only reason I wouldn't do it is due to labor involved when welding it is so much easier. Insurance doesn't know how I did my raise when I get insured. And I bet not one example of a failure from going this route can be posted.
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Old 06-03-2019, 03:26 PM   #11
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Several of y'all are talking about catastrophic failure with the roof flipping off.

More pertinent would be a discussion of things loosening up and breaking waterproof seals to cause leaks. Or, in the event of a rollover, not protecting occupants (who presumably haven't been already crushed by the fridge).
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Old 06-03-2019, 08:46 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Biscuitsjam View Post
Several of y'all are talking about catastrophic failure with the roof flipping off.

More pertinent would be a discussion of things loosening up and breaking waterproof seals to cause leaks. Or, in the event of a rollover, not protecting occupants (who presumably haven't been already crushed by the fridge).
Fortunately there appears to be no data to back me up (on account of no raised skoolies ever having rolled AFAIK), but I think it's likely that all methods of attaching the hat channel extenders (welding or bolting or screws or construction adhesive! as one person apparently tried) would fail in a rollover accident. The ribs of a bus derive their primary structural strength from the fact that they are made of a homogenous material that is bent in one continuous arc, without any abrupt angles/corners to concentrate the stresses.

In a skoolie raise, the extenders themselves have different properties than the channels (tensile and compressive strengths, resistance to bending etc.) and the welds and bolts have different properties again (bolting also puts holes through the channels although this might not weaken them much). This plus the basic fact that you're cutting through the channel means that instead of the stresses being uniformly spread over the rib, they are instead going to be concentrated at least to some extent at the cut points. This basically means that these attachment/cut points don't just have to be made as strong as the original channel - they have to be made much stronger (which in fact they may be in some cases, I dunno).
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Old 06-19-2019, 05:48 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by musigenesis View Post
Fortunately there appears to be no data to back me up (on account of no raised skoolies ever having rolled AFAIK), but I think it's likely that all methods of attaching the hat channel extenders (welding or bolting or screws or construction adhesive! as one person apparently tried) would fail in a rollover accident. The ribs of a bus derive their primary structural strength from the fact that they are made of a homogenous material that is bent in one continuous arc, without any abrupt angles/corners to concentrate the stresses.

In a skoolie raise, the extenders themselves have different properties than the channels (tensile and compressive strengths, resistance to bending etc.) and the welds and bolts have different properties again (bolting also puts holes through the channels although this might not weaken them much). This plus the basic fact that you're cutting through the channel means that instead of the stresses being uniformly spread over the rib, they are instead going to be concentrated at least to some extent at the cut points. This basically means that these attachment/cut points don't just have to be made as strong as the original channel - they have to be made much stronger (which in fact they may be in some cases, I dunno).
Back to the same discussion correctly done there is no reason to presume a raised roof would be structurally inferior. Honestly the rollover argument is specious also. Once a schoolie is raised 12 or more inches it would be very hard to roll it over unless some high speed improvements were made. Most likely the unit would fall over on its side and slide a distance, a rollover is possible on a schoolie due to high center of gravity and low roof height negated by the roof raise itself. Doesn't mean I want to ride in some of the roof raises I've seen done here and other places anymore than I want to ride in some of the conversions I've seen it has nothing to do with the process but everything to do with how the process is carried out. Gene
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Old 06-19-2019, 06:07 PM   #14
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Here we go again, with...
"Uncle Elliot's Fundamental Rule of Bus Converting & Especially Roof Raising:
If you are not supremely competent in Metal Fabrication, Shade-Tree Structural- and Mechanical- Engineering, and all other relevant fields, so you KNOW you can build this bus AT LEAST AS SAFE as the original version... Buy A Winnebago."

I welded Millicent's roof raise. And I set four fires in the process, and also pock-marked several panes of glass with spatter. Next time -- on the new Albatross bus -- I will bolt it.

Bolting does NOT mean 150 sheet metal screws! There will be 3/8" Grade 5 bolts (not ungraded hardware store bolts) in two planes, with total cross section far exceeding the cross-sections of weldment. Window-pillar extensions will overlap at least as much.

And in all locations -- which will be most of them -- where bolts go thru a hollow space, there will be anti-compression sleeves inside

Double spring washers between hardened flat washers to take up slack that may develop.
And nylock nuts.

No danger from the heat of welding. And easy to re-do if needed or desired later.
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Old 06-19-2019, 07:12 PM   #15
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The ONLY reason that I would eschew fasteners in favor of welding is that welding is FAR less work. While it's true that a properly engineered and constructed welded structure is stronger, how many roof raises involved any engineering at all, and how many amateur roof raisers can certify the quality of their welds? Watch some youtube videos of people welding on their buses - or anything else for that matter - and you're just as likely to see scary bad welds as good ones.

Fact is, either method, done correctly, will provide adequate strength. So, the seminal question is: Which method are you more capable of doing well? If you are unfamiliar with welding, don't answer that question until after you've tried it. But, be honest when appraising the quality of your welds. Lot's of youtube "welders" seem to be completely unaware that their welds shouldn't be trusted to hold a chicken coop together, let alone a 10+ ton RV.

Before dismissing fasteners, consider how your bus is built. While some welding is used, by far most attachments are made using rivets, screws, or bolts. Realize that the integrity of the bus structure in a roll over does not come from the ribs alone, but from the composite of ribs and skin. And how is that skin attached to the ribs? By rivets and screws.

Again, the quality of the design and work is far more important than the method used.
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Old 06-19-2019, 07:24 PM   #16
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I'm simply grateful that I'm not another inch taller, or that the ceiling isn't another inch lower, rendering the entire expensive exercise, for me, moot.
No slouching needed or danger of concussing! But if it's super humid, and I'm having a Big Hair day, then all that means is that the ceiling panels get dusted off early...
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Old 06-20-2019, 09:44 AM   #17
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Insure your bus first. Then raise roof . Don't forget we bolt skyscrapers together and tons of other significant structures.
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Old 06-20-2019, 10:51 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by Frogpondfoug View Post
Insure your bus first. Then raise roof . Don't forget we bolt skyscrapers together and tons of other significant structures.
to pass safety inspections, trailer hitches must be bolted to the frame of the vehicle - they can be welded too, but they must also be bolted - which says something for the safety/strength of bolting
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Old 06-21-2019, 06:49 AM   #19
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Here is the NHTSA advisory on Carpenter buses: https://icsw.nhtsa.gov/people/injury.../carpenterbus/

Instead of forming the walls and ceiling from a single piece of channel, Carpenters had separate wall posts and roof beams, joined with longitudinal rails and all welded together. Buses built at the Mitchell, Indiana plant were prone to weld failures while those built at the Richmond plant (to almost the same design) were not. Were the Mitchell welders less experienced and competent? Unknown. Did they use different welding processes at the two factories? Unknown. Did the welds fail quickly or over time? Unknown.

It's interesting that when considering the strength of a roof raise, we usually seem to characterize it in terms of how well the structure would survive a serious accident that stressed the structure much more than ordinary usage (e.g. a rollover or a collision with another large vehicle). But the Carpenter buses out of Mitchell showed serious weld failures just from ordinary usage (the structural failure that precipitated the investigation occurred because some of the welds had already failed before the accident).
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Old 06-21-2019, 07:04 AM   #20
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Before dismissing fasteners, consider how your bus is built. While some welding is used, by far most attachments are made using rivets, screws, or bolts.
The welds on my bus look like the welder forgot to turn the shielding gas on. Fortunately welding was only used to tack the rails on top of the windows to the channels (so they don't bear any weight), but they did manage to burn holes into the channels in a few places.

There's a How It's Made video on youtube that shows my exact model of bus being built in Tulsa, and you can see the welder ("welder") just flying through those particular spots. You'd think you were watching Jayco build a school bus.
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