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Old 05-14-2017, 04:38 PM   #1
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Roof repair and raise questions?

Hey Everyone,

I am looking forward to being able to get back into my conversion projects by July so I am starting to plan in earnest so that I can hit the ground running.

One of the big "undecided's" involves repairing and raising the roof. I raised the roof on my last one and LOVED the outcome. However, it was a simpler process. I found aftermarket front and rear caps that accommodated the raise. Took a lot of required creativity out of the process.

I am weighing the pro's & con's of:

1) Don't raise the roof and do a simple & rustic conversion.

2) Raise the roof and make the conversion as nice as my budget and ability will allow.

I am leaning towards option 2 but not entirely decided.

If I go basic then I am going to pound the dents out of the rear cap and run with it. If I go with option 2 I will be wanting to do a nicer repair.

If I am unable to repair the existing cap to my satisfaction I can get a new one from the local Bluebird dealer.

Really nice folks. Took me out and showed me the brand new $180k rigs. And had no issue with the 1911 on my hip. They even have a sign in their office window supporting 2nd Amendment.

Now the questions:

If I go with the roof raise, I am concerned about approaching the proper order of process for the repair and raise. I can usually look at something like this and work out a logical process and plan. This one has me scratching my head.

Should I repair/replace the cap before starting the raise?

Should I remove the cap, raise the roof and then install the new one?

Or.... some other order/process?



Also, how to deal with the front cap?

"Stretch" it like Elliot did his?

Add new glass above the existing windshield?

Leave the drivers area stock height, raise the balance and build a transition between the stock and raised sections?


Last question... Which roof raise threads here do you all think are the best detailed & explained?

Any input is appreciated.

Thanks.

S.
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Old 05-14-2017, 05:32 PM   #2
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You GOTTA share where you found the roof caps!!!!

I used my own version of the "muddaEarth" method, fwiw. I'd watch all his vids and go from there.
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Old 05-14-2017, 06:24 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by EastCoastCB View Post
You GOTTA share where you found the roof caps!!!!

I used my own version of the "muddaEarth" method, fwiw. I'd watch all his vids and go from there.
I stopped by my local Bluebird dealer and asked the parts guy. He looked in the computer and told me that the factory has stock and if I could wait 5 days for their regular parts shipment there would be no shipping charge. Cost $495.
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Old 05-14-2017, 06:34 PM   #4
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I got a lot of parts from a local guy that owns a towing service. Most of his trucks use bus engines and transmissions. He tends to buy old buses and rip out a pump, engine, alternator and then park it. If, you sweet talk him and explain what you are doing as a novice he cuts you a good deal and most of the time helps you remove the parts or pieces.

When I lifted my roof he helped me to cut out two ribs from one of his buses. I used them for the rib extension coverings and we took them off the back end of the bus and we tossed the rear doors, windows, caps, lights everything right on the ground. I never imagined any of it would ever be needed. My suggestion is looking into our local towing services, you never know what they have or use as equipment. Plus, I know a few local school districts that have hit deer or broken down and just abandoned the buses in the towing service secure storage.

Why pay $65 a day for a totaled bus that they already cashed out with insurance? Especially, when the tow company uses the engines and trannies and is willing to cough up $500 for the dead bus haha.
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Old 05-14-2017, 09:19 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EastCoastCB View Post
You GOTTA share where you found the roof caps!!!!

I used my own version of the "muddaEarth" method, fwiw. I'd watch all his vids and go from there.
I am more inclined to read and look at pictures. I had browsed his build thread before but not watched his videos. Thanks for the suggestion.... After almost three hours of watching I have to take a break....

That guy is AMAZING!!
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Old 05-14-2017, 09:24 PM   #6
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Has anyone here tried pounding out dents like that with any success?
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Old 05-14-2017, 10:03 PM   #7
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I'd start with a 2x4 and a jack. It wouldn't take that much time to see how it comes out. If it looks bad you can always buy the cap.
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Old 05-15-2017, 10:45 AM   #8
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I know that there is some wisdom out there regarding where to start pushing/pulling or pounding first and how to progress for the best outcome.

Any master metal manipulators out there?
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Old 05-15-2017, 12:20 PM   #9
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Bus steel is tough. I was told that a lot of light taps would be more effective than a couple of sharp blows, but the bus doesn't respond at all to light taps other than the paint eventually wearing away. You're going to have to put a little muscle in it, and take it slow. Hit the ridges (in this case, the back side of the dent.) The crinkle along the top corner is going to be... a special challenge. Honestly, the time it takes to repair that sort of damage may be more valuable than the $500, but you can play with it for an hour or so to see if you want to continue or just buy the new cap.

In either case, I would recommend doing the repairs BEFORE you raise the roof. It will be harder to reach it from inside the bus once the raise is done, and more dangerous to work on it from the outside, since you'll be even higher up. Keep us posted!
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Old 05-15-2017, 05:12 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PNW_Steve View Post
Has anyone here tried pounding out dents like that with any success?
I had some damage to my rear cap from somebody backing into an awning. Not quite as extensive as yours, mine was limited to just above the flashers on the rear drivers side.

I pounded it out as good as I could. Heavy ball peen hammer and some old sheet metal dollies made it look good from 10 feet or 10 mph, and paint took care of the rest... You just have to keep at it. Took me 20 or 30 minutes of hammering...
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Old 05-16-2017, 12:59 PM   #11
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In either case, I would recommend doing the repairs BEFORE you raise the roof. It will be harder to reach it from inside the bus once the raise is done, and more dangerous to work on it from the outside, since you'll be even higher up. Keep us posted!
I would be worried that if you cut the roof off with that series of dents in place, it might be tempted to assume a shape other than the one that would line up nicely when it came time to glue it all back together.
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Old 05-16-2017, 01:55 PM   #12
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I would be worried that if you cut the roof off with that series of dents in place, it might be tempted to assume a shape other than the one that would line up nicely when it came time to glue it all back together.
Omce you put a couple of the rib extensions in, its like you never even cut anything. At least that's how mine went. lined right up perfect. None of the sheetmetal is really THAT structural.
But I'd still rather repair it before the raise. Less ladder to climb and all.
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Old 05-16-2017, 03:23 PM   #13
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Thank you all for the input.

Based upon your advice I am going to attempt repair before the raise.

I was considering trying to "pre-tension" the cap & rear bow with a come-along from the outside and start rapping on it from the inside with a good size hammer.

BTW: I am not worried about ladder. I am an EXPERT at falling off of ladders.....
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Old 05-16-2017, 03:45 PM   #14
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I think you could definitely buy the replacement panels from a school bus bone yard you will have to drill out a few rivets. I think you should get the show on the road and fix what you have.

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Old 05-16-2017, 05:18 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PNW_Steve View Post
I was considering trying to "pre-tension" the cap & rear bow with a come-along from the outside and start rapping on it from the inside with a good size hammer.
That sounds like a great idea. Anything to make less hammer swinging happen...
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Old 05-16-2017, 05:29 PM   #16
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My vote is still for chopping out the damaged section and building a little greenhouse above the engine compartment.


That said, for a repair, I'd thought of a couple different things to try back when I thought I might end up buying that bus. I was thinking about drilling a couple holes in strategic places. Then putting eye bolts through the holes with pieces of wood on them inside the bus to distribute the force when I pulled on them. Then with tension on them like you were talking about, going inside with a bottle jack and a 4x4 to put pressure up in a couple places and do some hammer work.

I'd do all of that before the roof raise. If I wasn't able to achieve satisfactory results, then I'd tear off the back roof skin section and roof cap. Fix the bows while doing the roof raise if they're screwed up, and then put the new sheet metal on after the raise was done.

I'm looking forward to seeing which direction you decide to go, and how the repair works out. Good luck with it!
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Old 05-19-2017, 12:39 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PNW_Steve View Post
Hey Everyone,

I am looking forward to being able to get back into my conversion projects by July so I am starting to plan in earnest so that I can hit the ground running.

One of the big "undecided's" involves repairing and raising the roof. I raised the roof on my last one and LOVED the outcome. However, it was a simpler process. I found aftermarket front and rear caps that accommodated the raise. Took a lot of required creativity out of the process.....Or.... some other order/process?
Also, how to deal with the front cap?

"Stretch" it like Elliot did his?

Add new glass above the existing windshield?

Leave the drivers area stock height, raise the balance and build a transition between the stock and raised sections?


Last question... Which roof raise threads here do you all think are the best detailed & explained?

Any input is appreciated.

Thanks.

S.
hi Steve,
That's a serious dent, hope you get it sorted.
A vote to leave your driver area stock and work in a transition roof section.
I'm going that route with my bus. Keeps heat in driver area, original structural strength, and i intend on using the gap between driver roof & new roof as insulated interior storage.
Best of success on your roof raise!
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Old 05-19-2017, 12:45 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shambhala Tinbolle View Post
hi Steve,
That's a serious dent, hope you get it sorted.
A vote to leave your driver area stock and work in a transition roof section.
I'm going that route with my bus. Keeps heat in driver area, original structural strength, and i intend on using the gap between driver roof & new roof as insulated interior storage.
Best of success on your roof raise!
I would like to see that Shambhala Tinolle.

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Old 05-19-2017, 01:08 PM   #19
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I would like to see that Shambhala Tinolle.

Sent from my Z981 using Tapatalk
hello MMC, i'll be posting pics & likely start a dedicated thread when my conversion officially starts. Right now my bus is going through the 'safety inspection' process. I'm thrilled to have come this far, and am soaking up as much of the experience, knowledge and heart this community has to share.
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Old 05-19-2017, 01:22 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shambhala Tinbolle View Post
hello MMC, i'll be posting pics & likely start a dedicated thread when my conversion officially starts. Right now my bus is going through the 'safety inspection' process. I'm thrilled to have come this far, and am soaking up as much of the experience, knowledge and heart this community has to share.
I would like to see the best hood ornament that anybody puts on their Schooley so far mine is the only one I've ever seen with hood ornament and it's pretty awesome..... Previous to this I had a mini Oscar award the broken fell off my hood.

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