Originally Posted by nat_ster
IMO I don't feel roof hatches are needed for a privet conversion. I will be sealing mine with a sheet of steel.
I kept mine because I wanted to keep a few items to retain the novelty of it having been a school bus and that is one of them. It is nice to pop them up for ventilation as well, I built some rigs out of computer fans to pull a bit of air through.
FWIW I have had no issues with the silicone. None of it has leaked or come loose. My uncle installs frameless shower doors for a living (silicone around the sides of each door) and I used the brand he did, some RTV stuff, which is real high quality and is supposed to last 10+ years. I will agree it is a pain to get off though.
I agree with Tango on the seam sealer. I want to say the seam sealer I used (auto parts store stuff) WAS affected by UV and you had to paint over it, which added a step and is why I went with silicone. I used seam sealer on the holes in the floor + rivets and it worked great. He is right, it is super tough, but if you get it somewhere you don't want it (metal surface or whatever) it is easy to scrape off. Though I have some pants that I got some globs of it on well over a year ago that I wear and wash regularly and there are just as many globs, haha. Based on these suggestions, when I do another conversion, I would go with seam sealer, just make sure it is UV resistant.
Piersg, did you want school bus type hatches or just any old hatch? You can get just any old hatch off ebay pretty cheap. But school ones are harder to find and are expensive when you do find them.
Case in point:
SMART Hatch - School Bus Parts - A Parts Warehouse
(great site btw for oddball parts)
School Bus Emergency Roof Hatch Transpec Saftey Vents Transpec | eBay
Here is an alternative that I believe is the same size as a bus hatch but not quite the same: Roof Vent Escape Hatch White Lid Metal Frame RV Bus Heng's 66621 C2 | eBay
(I bought my 46 gallon tanks from this seller).
I got replacement roof hatches from wmkbailey (where did he go?) because he steel'd over his and his were replaced a few years prior to him buying it. Also that lucky sum'b has a like-new engine in his bus but that is another story. I sealed my roof hatches with urethane seam sealer (like Tango suggests with the windows) and I have zero leaks on my bus currently. Though if I did I doubt I'd know because of the way I did the ceiling panels