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Old 07-27-2014, 10:59 AM   #11
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Re: SKOOLIE - roof raise cons?

When you stop and think about the various floor plans used for conversions, most (not all) are based on a center aisle. Meaning that you are normally walking down the center rather than on the sides (toilets & showers excepted). So why do a whole roof raise when all you really need is to make a clearstory like on streetcars, trains and some vardos. Seems easier to me to do a clearstory (with a couple of solar deck vents on the roof to suck out the heat).
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Old 07-29-2014, 10:02 PM   #12
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Re: SKOOLIE - roof raise cons?

Hmm, gonna have to look up what a "clearstory" on a bus would look like Lorna, although what I'm thinking it means is like a split level, like say a third of the length from the front you'd raise the center portion, kind of like in some old passenger trains had


That would be cool, but it still seems like a lot of work and what worries me is that it could create a lot of problems if I get it wrong. But it's something to think about, plans change and I might get bored, lol ;?D
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Old 07-30-2014, 07:02 AM   #13
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Re: SKOOLIE - roof raise cons?

A clearstory would just add a few inches of additional head room. Not an additional floor. Back when we were first bouncing ideas on decor for the BlueBird, we had briefly considered a shallow clearstory (about 2 ft wide x 8 inches high x about 35 ft long) to help exhaust heat build up. We were thinking of making the interior of the bus look like a high end victorian era private train car and a clearstory would have been a nice touch. But sanity and frugality prevailed and we finally opted for a low budget conversion and a Streamline Art Deco Dieselpunk Old South Country Beach Cottage decor.

Beautiful ceilings though!


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Old 08-01-2014, 10:40 PM   #14
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Re: SKOOLIE - roof raise cons?

Hi all,

I am following EVERY RR-thread on this forum and slowly but certainly I condense a picture of what mine (eventually...) will be.

I agree, if you are handy enough to tackle a bus conversion you also can do the roofraise.

However I would CAREFULLY look at with what you start and stay as close as possible:

Don't leave anything off and DON'T add much more than was there before!!

If you reinforce areas too much (like overkilling the cut area - window posts) you WILL introduce a weak spot! Certainly not where you do the overkilling, but just beside it! The idea is to let the forces flow through the structure - don't block them anywhere. You have to give your bus "space" to flex!

[Like with airliners - ever looked at the wings at take-off or going through turbulence? Wingtips are rising quite a few feet on take-off and bounce around like a long metal ruler! IF you were to make the wing stiff enough to avoid the flexing, it would BREAK after the first dozen flexes!]

Recently I see more questions/attention regarding the inner roof panels and whether to get them back in or not. Some seem to "know" that the factories are counting on them being in place for integrity. I start to come around to the same opinion. However there is also ALWAYS mentioning of how much of a PITA they are to get back in! I think it might be worth to work out how to get them back in, BEFORE removing them!
I am tending to eventually leave them in until after the roof-raise (this should keep the roof "boxed" in proper shape and then, after getting real insulation in there, either "glue" them on with SIKAFLEX or the sticky tape-equivalent. This should also take care of the thermal break needed to save your interior temp.

On the roof raise, I would go with a interior profile, either a square/rectangular profile that fits perfectly or a bent-up U-shape to form a box with the cut window-post profile, with about the same thickness as the window posts themselves.
Then "refill" the cut posts with the same profile (cut out from a junk bus or bent-up by a metal shop).
Possibly MIG or TIG the posts: Rosebud the inner reinforce-profile enough times to get about 1.3 times the profile cross section. Then fully weld the original post "refills". Would NOT want to weld the inner profile full length! In my opinion too much heat (and associated shrink stress) and not needed.
At the end the post is only as strong as it's weakest cross section above or below the cut....

At the end, most converters could get a lot of extra-strength back by gluing on the sheetmetal to cover the sidewalls - just glue NO screws or rivets!!
EVERY rivet hole is automatically a stress-riser! So the "peace of mind" rivets and/or screws are actually weakening the structure....
And you probably would avoid any oil-canning too....
[Just have to be REALLY careful when bonding on the sheets! That stuff will NOT let go of them again - ever! ]


Cheers,
thjakits
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Old 08-02-2014, 09:30 AM   #15
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Re: SKOOLIE - roof raise cons?

Quote:
Originally Posted by thjakits
... "glue" them on with SIKAFLEX
FYI... Sikaflex Adhesive (they make other products as well that are NOT adhesive) has an expiration date on the tube. I had a couple tubes of Sikaflex 292 (ordered them online for an obscene price) that were 1 month before expiration date. I could not get the glue out of the tubes! What little I did get out held pretty good though but I have found other adhesives that would have worked in the same application for a lot less $$. If I were glueing up panels, I would use PL 8X(humid areas & for woodwork, concrete, stone, brick, hardwood floors, coated wood, drywall & metal). Not all that cheap but cheaper than Sikaflex and easier to find... it's on aisle 40 at work!

Any cardboard tube of adhesive should be a little soft and squishable when you buy it (please don't squish to much and them put it back on the shelf). if the tube is too hard, then don't buy it as it has dried out or more likely gotten frozen.

Use the right Sikaflex for the job

Exterior Building Adhesives & Glues: Product Choices, Installation Details

We used a combination of mechanical fasteners and adhesives in building our bus. But we did not remove panels either.
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Old 08-02-2014, 01:36 PM   #16
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Re: SKOOLIE - roof raise cons?

Quote:
Use the right Sikaflex for the job
RIGHT - just knew that SIKAFLEX makes some mother-glues (or would that rather be "bonding agents"?) for various applications in the bus/truck/trailer industry.
If someone is smart enough to tackle a bus conversion, I would hope, they are smart enough to RESEARCH EVERYTHING before they touch it!

I got to the Sikaflex via this read:
[WARNING!! ADDICTIVE! LOOONG READ]
http://www.robgray.com/graynomad/wothah ... /index.php

....it's a little tricky to navigate the blog, but once you get to it it's an excellent idea-source!

Just for those, that still doubt the "glue only!" approach: There is now quite a few airplanes out there, that have the wing skin glued on ONLY!
You may find a rivet here or there, but that was used only to hold the skin in place for until the glue cured....
[...the few planes that still use metal wings instead of plastic]

Obviously Sikaflex is not the only glue producer and I am sure there are tables out there that will compare with other manufacturers.

The mental threshold with glue only is, that we have a hard time to picture HOW the glue holds things together (and images of goey stuff letting slowly go do not help either), but if you care for doing a little research into this, you will find out fairly quickly, that "glue" (the Sikaflex and Co. - high end type stuff) actually has better holding power than anything else (rivets, bolts, screws, nails) and only welding comes close.

Another little bit for those, that shy away from glueing and welding and prefer to rivet things up:

Rivets and riveting look easy, but are anything but...!!

Again, research and you will find out quickly, that RIVETS are quite a science. Proper hole preparation, proper installation, proper rivet selection is not that simple!
I read quite a few times in different threads that people go all crazy about rivet-shear-strength.
Many times this data is just an academic data point, that in the end is not important to the specific rivet at all!! - ...and if that rivet is employed in a shear situation it will fail shortly!
There is only a very few SPECIAL SHEAR rivets out there!
Most all of the rest are engineered towards maximum TENSION!!

In most cases, the holding power between two sheets of material (in the bus cases mostly metal...) actually comes from the FRICTION between the overlapping part of the two sheets! The harder you press them together, the more friction you have the more holding power you get - the rivets are NOT supposed to hold the sheets together, but to provide the "pressing together"-power.

The regular flexing can loosen a rivet in no time, if it is not properly installed.

Often a rivet can look perfect from the outside, but maybe the hole was a little too tight or too big or out of round and the rivet is not properly seated because of that - eventually it will let go and you might not even see it!

[Anyone DEBURRED the rivet holes in BOTH sheets/profiles/window posts on BOTH sides?? Sharp edges may/will cut into the rivet and render it nearly useless, even if it looks "nice" from the outside!]

Of course this doesn't matter too much when the bus is parked, but becomes somewhat important when you need to "let the forces flow through the bus" while driving and flexing and becomes REALLY important, when you (hopefully never!) put it to the test (rolling and crashing the good home!).

At the end, that is the REAL reason for us to pick a skoolie - "just in case" - most motorhomes and camper trailers will live their lives just fine, only a fraction find a violent end, but then they disintegrate, beware of the poor soul inside at that point!


Cheers,

thjakits
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Old 08-02-2014, 03:46 PM   #17
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Re: SKOOLIE - roof raise cons?

On the popup, I ended up using a lot of VHB (very high bond) 3M tape that is used to attach ambulance body panels to the frame. I bought from Outwater Plastics
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Old 08-03-2014, 07:18 PM   #18
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Re: SKOOLIE - roof raise cons?

From what I've read, that Sikaflex is a great adhesive AND waterproof sealant, used by mariners (which one I also forgot, need to look it up) so that's what I'll use for any roof mods. Although I'm leaning more towards not raising my roof now (weight concerns and cost are making it less likely), I am planning on building a rack/deck that will span the entire length of my bus (24' transit) plus hang 3' over the back end. Rear half will be a deck for both storage and a place to hang out, while the front will be my solar panel array. So the back half would have to support maybe 1200 lbs max (4-5 adults say, and up to 300lbs of stuff), while the front needs a capacity of no more than half that (that includes me when I need to get up there and clean/repair panels).

So my question relates to what you said about not overbuilding and keeping it flexible, which makes sense to me. I do have a welder and can run a decent bead, but now I'm wondering if welding the support studs to the bus's wall studs is the way to go, or would bolting it in 4-6 places (then welding the nuts so they don't come loose ;?) be a better option? And any suggestions as to the material? I'm leaning towards rectangular chrome moly stock, at least for the vertical studs (due to cost, probably go with aluminium tubing for much of the deck and rack).
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Old 08-03-2014, 09:00 PM   #19
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Re: SKOOLIE - roof raise cons?

.....unless you use 1/4" iron and steel-reinforced concrete - you should not have any weight problems with your bus - ever!
So - I am sorry, but that "excuse" not to raise the roof is retired!

In any case - build as light as possible and then use the rest of the weight (go and weigh the rig before you tackle that part) to increase your fluid deposits to the max! Actually some over-compensation never hurts, but increases flexibility!

If you have the space, get 200 gallons for everything! Fuel, Fresh Water, grey and black! if cannot overload the bus with that, fluid storage is not big enough!
The idea is to adjust as you need!
[VERY remote, but water available, less Fresh water, but max fuel, going into the desert for a 3 week adventure, but won't drive much, 80 gals of fuel and 200 of water. Dump grey and black as often as possible, but if you cannot dump, at least you can store it for a while]

For your roof deck needs look up a few decks built on here - can't find it on short notice, but someone used KEE-clamps for his deck structure - looks great!
Not really too aerodynamic, but then this really depends on how much travelling vs. hangin' out you do.....
[Here is SeanF's conversion with KEE clamp roof deck: viewtopic.php?f=9&t=951 and his other site: http://www.schoolbushomestead.com/Bus-C ... 5/April-2/ ]

Cheers,

thjakits
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Old 08-03-2014, 11:24 PM   #20
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Re: SKOOLIE - roof raise cons?

For roof raise parts, see if you can find a skoolie that has been wrecked and see if you can salvage it for the ribs and exterior skin. Someone with a dead bus may let you harvest pieces/parts before they scrap it.

Also check out your local metal salvage yard. Ask around to the local craft metal workers (hobby blacksmiths, armorers (yeah, people who make metal armor, they are out there) and even your HVAC shops to find the best location for scrap sheet metal (places usually sell for a lot less than fresh metal, but may need some work cleaning.)

Don't lose your dream until you truly have priced it out and can't afford it ever. Even if you can't afford it now, you can still do it in the future, and with a little planning, you can do your interior now with the ability to modify it in the future with little problem.

Good luck.

And as to the dream, if we weren't a bunch of dreamers, we wouldn't be playing with buses.
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