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Old 04-14-2017, 02:29 PM   #1
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Roof-raisers, I have a question for you...

So thinking about the hat channel and square tubing for the roof raise, I want to know if I've got this right.

Green line = skin of the bus
Black line = hat channel
Red line = square tubing



The square tubing you use fits within and even with the hat channel? Top version. What I don't want is concave or convex. Does anyone have a close up pic of where they added the new skin?

Next question is how much overlap top and bottom do you have? Figuring for an 18" raise, I need 18" + windows + overlap. If I remember right the windows are 24" tall. Using 3" of overlap top and bottom puts me at 48" wide. A full sheet. That might not be so bad after all. I was using online quotes for 18" but that only works if I move the windows up. There's a lot of heat loss there.
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Old 04-14-2017, 02:32 PM   #2
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Depending on the ribs, you may not find perfect fitting square tubing. I had to have mine made, so I went with channel that I had custom cut and bent to fit inside the ribs perfectly. Then we welded on angle to the sides of the channel to mimic the flange on the hat channel, so the skin will sit on the ribs exactly just like the way it did from the factory.
If you want I'll dig up a couple pics if I can find em.
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Old 04-14-2017, 02:36 PM   #3
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Here you can see the channel is put INTO the rib. The channel I had made was 33" long, so I had PLENTY of overlap and room to raise as high as I wanted.

The channel had to be checked a time or two and they had to make a few adjustments to make em perfect, but it was worth it. A good, snug fit is what you want here.


I cut out a section of rib and took it to the fab shop so they could have it to test fit.
The channels are 14ga, since that's what the factory used to make the ribs.
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Old 04-14-2017, 02:38 PM   #4
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I need to measure my rivets but 40' bus is going to need 5 sheets per side plus 1 front and 1 rear so 12 sheets total.

I may get lucky and only need 4 sheets per side depending on where I start the raise. Metal Supermarket is $831.43 for 12 sheets, 48x96, 16 gauge. Does this sound right?
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Old 04-14-2017, 02:43 PM   #5
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Here you can see the channel is put INTO the rib. The channel I had made was 33" long, so I had PLENTY of overlap and room to raise as high as I wanted.
How wide are those channels? They look like 2+" (more than I would have thought.

So you have a gap for the inside "skin" where the hat ends and the square begins. It's the difference of the hat's thickness. Right? But since this is covered by whatever your interior walls are going to be (paneling, drywall, whatever) no one cares right?
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Old 04-14-2017, 02:47 PM   #6
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How wide are those channels? They look like 2+" (more than I would have thought.

So you have a gap for the inside "skin" where the hat ends and the square begins. It's the difference of the hat's thickness. Right? But since this is covered by whatever your interior walls are going to be (paneling, drywall, whatever) no one cares right?
They're like 1 3/8" wide. That's the ID of my hat channels on my bus. No sq tubing would fit mine worth a DAMN.

The skin will rest on the new flanges welded to the channel, it will look factory.
hard to make out with the lighting, but see in this pic- its got the angle on the channel and ready to be skinned one of these weekends soon.

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Old 04-14-2017, 02:48 PM   #7
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I cut out a section of rib and took it to the fab shop so they could have it to test fit.
The channels are 14ga, since that's what the factory used to make the ribs.
Good to know the gauge. Um, isn't your square short by an 1/8"? Why isn't it lining up with the flats of your hat? And why is it in "backwards"? Since you actually have a C channel instead of square tubing, shouldn't the flat of your C be on the outside of the bus to rivet the new skin on it?
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Old 04-14-2017, 02:50 PM   #8
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I need to measure my rivets but 40' bus is going to need 5 sheets per side plus 1 front and 1 rear so 12 sheets total.

I may get lucky and only need 4 sheets per side depending on where I start the raise. Metal Supermarket is $831.43 for 12 sheets, 48x96, 16 gauge. Does this sound right?
Don't use 16, you don't need to. 18 is plenty thick for the purpose, and its what the bus is made of, most likely. Mines all 18ga skins and 14ga ribs.
I pay around $45 for a 4x10 of 18ga, but I don't usually have to pay.
Check suppliers and sizes. You can get 4x8's of 18 for around 40 usually. Some suppliers quoted me $60 a sheet for 4x8's!
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Old 04-14-2017, 02:52 PM   #9
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They're like 1 3/8" wide. That's the ID of my hat channels on my bus. No sq tubing would fit mine worth a DAMN.

The skin will rest on the new flanges welded to the channel, it will look factory.
hard to make out with the lighting, but see in this pic- its got the angle on the channel and ready to be skinned one of these weekends soon.
Oh I got it now. I was thinking the skin (OEM) was in the center of the hat for some reason. The double row of rivets on OEM ... got it. And your C was short so you could weld the angle on it.
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Old 04-14-2017, 02:52 PM   #10
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Good to know the gauge. Um, isn't your square short by an 1/8"? Why isn't it lining up with the flats of your hat? And why is it in "backwards"? Since you actually have a C channel instead of square tubing, shouldn't the flat of your C be on the outside of the bus to rivet the new skin on it?
It doesn't NEED to be ALL the way flush on the outside... Its better to have it slightly shorter, so it doesn't run any risk of sitting too HIGH.
Once the "flanges" are welded onto it, that 1/8" doesn't mean a thing.
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Old 04-14-2017, 02:54 PM   #11
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Oh I got it now. I was thinking the skin (OEM) was in the center of the hat for some reason. The double row of rivets on OEM ... got it. And your C was short so you could weld the angle on it.
YEah! that's it.
I really suck at taking pics, and my camera/phone are REALLY low tech.
I'll snag a friend's smartphone and maybe make a quick vid soon, to sorta show everyone what I did.
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Old 04-14-2017, 02:54 PM   #12
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Don't use 16, you don't need to. 18 is plenty thick for the purpose, and its what the bus is made of, most likely. Mines all 18ga skins and 14ga ribs.
I pay around $45 for a 4x10 of 18ga, but I don't usually have to pay.
Check suppliers and sizes. You can get 4x8's of 18 for around 40 usually. Some suppliers quoted me $60 a sheet for 4x8's!
I thought Transcendence or one of the other raisers said 16 gauge. If 18 is what's there then it'll be 18" I put on. I'm also not seeing the 10' sheets which I saw from the same supplier before. Maybe it's the gauge?
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Old 04-14-2017, 02:57 PM   #13
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I thought Transcendence or one of the other raisers said 16 gauge. If 18 is what's there then it'll be 18" I put on. I'm also not seeing the 10' sheets which I saw from the same supplier before. Maybe it's the gauge?
Nah, different suppliers stock different sizes. Thinner stuff like 16, 18, 20 can be harder to get a selection of sizes on.
But if you call around, any decent size fab/steel shop should be able to order you 4x10's if you want/need em.
I used TWO of em just for the roof cap! Got plenty left over, but HAD to use two to get the shapes I needed.
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Old 04-14-2017, 03:01 PM   #14
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YEah! that's it.
I really suck at taking pics, and my camera/phone are REALLY low tech.
I'll snag a friend's smartphone and maybe make a quick vid soon, to sorta show everyone what I did.
Nah it's all good. I'm with you now.

Hot rolled thinnest is 16 gauge. Cold rolled goes to at least 24 gauge. 4x8 18 gauge 12 sheets $778.95

Grrr, so where are you getting your free metal?
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Old 04-14-2017, 03:04 PM   #15
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Nah, different suppliers stock different sizes. Thinner stuff like 16, 18, 20 can be harder to get a selection of sizes on.
But if you call around, any decent size fab/steel shop should be able to order you 4x10's if you want/need em.
The good thing is I have 2 metal houses within 3 miles of me. They are within 1.5 miles of each other.

The guys down the street said they could do it $20 cheaper but I really like you guys better.

Quote:
I used TWO of em just for the roof cap! Got plenty left over, but HAD to use two to get the shapes I needed.
Oh I see that happening anyway. Just want to know if I was on the right train instead of "no, you're going to need at least 20 sheets".
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Old 04-14-2017, 03:09 PM   #16
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Nah it's all good. I'm with you now.

Hot rolled thinnest is 16 gauge. Cold rolled goes to at least 24 gauge. 4x8 18 gauge 12 sheets $778.95

Grrr, so where are you getting your free metal?
I get my metal by badgering my step dad who begrudgingly gets it after a couple weeks or so of my nagging.
That price for the 12 sheets is FULL ON TOP RETAIL here. Try calling suppliers. If you have a business or know anyone who does, you can probably buy the whole pallet of 12 bundled and strapped direct from the source for a lot less $.
I think most of mine is coming from Tampa Bay Steel. If I buy one, its x price, if I buy four, its less, and so on. The more I buy, the less I pay per sheet. Thats USUALLY how steel is sold. $65 a sheet for 4x8's of 18ga is TOP dollar for sure.
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Old 04-14-2017, 03:10 PM   #17
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They're like 1 3/8" wide. That's the ID of my hat channels on my bus. No sq tubing would fit mine worth a DAMN.
What the hell?!!? How is 1 3/8ths not a standard size?!!?!?!??? Supermarket has quoting and sizes online. 1, 1 1/2, 2 square. They have 1 5/8ths x something rectangle tubing but no 1 3/8ths. Grrrr.

Has anyone thought to call Blue Bird and see if they sell it as parts or will give you the name of their supplier?
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Old 04-14-2017, 03:16 PM   #18
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What the hell?!!? How is 1 3/8ths not a standard size?!!?!?!??? Supermarket has quoting and sizes online. 1, 1 1/2, 2 square. They have 1 5/8ths x something rectangle tubing but no 1 3/8ths. Grrrr.

Has anyone thought to call Blue Bird and see if they sell it as parts or will give you the name of their supplier?
IIRC, BLueBird uses 1 1/4". My Amtran stuff is all made in-house by navistar. Get yourself a drop piece of 1 1/4" sq tubing and see how it fits in a rib, you may be in luck.
Amtrans have slightly different measurements and the older ones have a TON more rivets!
You could buy ribs from BB or even a junkyard. But you NEED something that will either fit over or under the existing rib structure, otherwise you'd just be butting two ribs together.
The angle was CHEAP. Like $4 a stick for ten footers!
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Old 04-14-2017, 03:18 PM   #19
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I get my metal by badgering my step dad who begrudgingly gets it after a couple weeks or so of my nagging.
That price for the 12 sheets is FULL ON TOP RETAIL here. Try calling suppliers. If you have a business or know anyone who does, you can probably buy the whole pallet of 12 bundled and strapped direct from the source for a lot less $.
I think most of mine is coming from Tampa Bay Steel. If I buy one, its x price, if I buy four, its less, and so on. The more I buy, the less I pay per sheet. Thats USUALLY how steel is sold. $65 a sheet for 4x8's of 18ga is TOP dollar for sure.
What's your step dad's number; I'm real good at badgering!!
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Old 04-14-2017, 03:32 PM   #20
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You could buy ribs from BB or even a junkyard. But you NEED something that will either fit over or under the existing rib structure, otherwise you'd just be butting two ribs together.
True but a foot of square (or whatever) would work. Then I wouldn't have to have stuff custom bent and the flanges would be exactly the same.

Quote:
The angle was CHEAP. Like $4 a stick for ten footers!
Yeah, I've bought some flat stock before when I went in with a credit card for $5 worth of metal (shelf brackets) and had to spend a minimum of $20.
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