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Old 11-23-2006, 10:39 PM   #11
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The Thomas I just got has the drop roof; it comes down 3" from the entry area putting the interior height right at 6' even. I thought about raising the roof and all the nice things that would come with that. But then I looked in the mirror and realized that old dude there would have to do the work and he's chicken...so it stays as is!
I know exactly where you are coming from on that. I too wanted to raise my drop roof Thomas, but I'm no metal worker either. I watch my boss build some race cars and learned a trick or two, but I'm a real novice when it comes to working metal. The roof was really something that I figured was a little too much for me to engineer and given my limited abilities in this area decided that my 5'-7" body wasn't going to have too many issues with a 6' ceiling...

So for me the roof stayed too! However, next time I try this, the bus WILL HAVE a raised roof, and it will also already have the compartments below. To be honest, I think the next one may be a Greyhound type of thing instead of another School bus. But I gotta finnish this one before I can think about another one.

Plumbing on mine is almost done, next comes the wiring!!
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Old 11-24-2006, 12:51 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by Elliot Naess
Les:
Indeed!

I'm a pretty fair fabricator, so I'm not worried about getting the roof lift done. But buses are still new to me; most of my fabrication has been Kinetic Sculpture Racers and that sort of thing. (See avatar -- Yes, that's me in one of my Kontraptions! We do have fun!) Over the last year, I've seen a couple of reports from guys who have raised their roofs, but now I cannot find them. Any clues? I'm pretty sure I have a good method figured out, but other people's experience is always valuable.

Happy T-Day!
Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours as well.

The roof raising sites I remember are:

Blackman Family
Echo & Angel right here in our gallery

And I know I've seen a couple of others but can't find them again. I'll post here if I can remember them.
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Old 11-24-2006, 12:14 PM   #13
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Thanks, Les! I missed Echo and Angel because their lead photo does not show the roof raised.

The front cap is going to be the tricky part, yes. I'm hoping I can go straight up, but I have also built a couple of three-dimentional things in fiberglass in my day, so that is a valid option.

Now let me study those sites.
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Old 11-24-2006, 01:10 PM   #14
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Hey, that Todd Blackman did a nice job! (Be advised, I got pop-up ads while reading it.) I wouldn't want to fool with the windshield, though. I'm thinking I can split the front cap instead, leaving the windshield frame intact.
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Old 11-28-2006, 10:04 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Elliot Naess
.
Hey, that Todd Blackman did a nice job! (Be advised, I got pop-up ads while reading it.) I wouldn't want to fool with the windshield, though. I'm thinking I can split the front cap instead, leaving the windshield frame intact.
Doggone it! You convinced me to think more about raising the roof so I did more searching on the Internet and came to the conclusion that it's something we should do. The argument that convinced me was the need for better insulation in the floor and ceiling (which I was already trying to find a solution for with our current 6' of headroom).

I did a drawing of the bus with the raised roof...it's here.

I agree about the windshield part. My intention (as you'll see from the photo) is to cut the roof at the frame just behind the entry door and driver's seat and form a transition there. My thinking was 1) that's where the transition takes place on a Thomas with the taller factory roof (that's where mine dips down now), 2) I'd end up with not messing with the drivers side window (I'll replace it but not have to change its size) or the entry door arrangement although I'll change it to a solid swing door (standard motorhome style), and 3) I'd not have to deal with the side curves of the roof at the front of the bus. Maybe that's not as bad as I'm envisioning but it seems if you cut the cap horizontally then you've got to match the ends of the filller piece with the outside curve of the cap and, at the same time, meet the curve of the roof panel. [I may be over-thinking this! ]
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Old 11-28-2006, 11:36 AM   #16
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Good morning, Les:

The front cap will indeed be the trickiest part. Here is what I have in mind. I plan to "sneak up on the front cap from behind" horizontally at the top of the driver's side window, and then make a vertical cut where the surface is reasonably vertical. Then go across the cap at the widest point. I hope to be able to bridge the gap with sheet aluminum, putting the sheet inside the cap at the top and outside the cap at the bottom so it will be naturally rain resistant. I would have to use very thin aluminum in order to work it, but I plan to support it with expanding foam on the back so it won't dent too easily. What do you think?

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Old 12-09-2006, 09:26 PM   #17
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Yo

I've been looking for a tc-2000 as well, does anyone know if they come with a manual tranny?
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Old 12-10-2006, 10:56 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Elliot Naess

Good morning, Les:

The front cap will indeed be the trickiest part. Here is what I have in mind. I plan to "sneak up on the front cap from behind" horizontally at the top of the driver's side window, and then make a vertical cut where the surface is reasonably vertical. Then go across the cap at the widest point. I hope to be able to bridge the gap with sheet aluminum, putting the sheet inside the cap at the top and outside the cap at the bottom so it will be naturally rain resistant. I would have to use very thin aluminum in order to work it, but I plan to support it with expanding foam on the back so it won't dent too easily. What do you think?
Hi Elliot,

Geez! I read this a couple days after you posted it, meant to reply, then got busy and forgot to get back to it.

Looks like you have a plan! My situation is just a bit different in that Thomas makes the entrance area (from the leading edge of the cap back to the first frame) tall (about 6' 3"). Then at the first frame they either keep going straight back for the "standard" roof with 6' 3" headroom or start the transition to go either 3" down or 3" up for the short 6' top or the tall 6'6" top repectively. So on my bus it makes the most sense (I think ) to make the vertical cut at the second frame (which is at the rear of the entry door), jack the roof up 12" and then make the roofline transition between the first frame and second frame. That's a rise of 12" over a 29" distance; at least on paper that looks pretty good. It leaves the first 18" of roof (and the cap) as is.

The tough one for me so far is the rear of the bus. I want to leave the rear window intact; my wife like the openess it gives in what will be the bedroom area and it's already an emergency exit and a way out of the bus if bad things are happening between the rear bedroom and the front door. It almost looks like I'll have to do to my rear cap what you're contemplating for your front cap. So far I haven't figured out any other way to cut the rear corners without messing up the rear window.

I may just end up leaving the roof alone. The "biggie" is the floor. I'm not worried about the ceiling as I've decided to remove all the metal interior ceiling panels and install some high quality insulation and then install a plywood ceiling for a thermal break (and cover that with something like vinyl or carpet or such) and that won't drop the ceiling height from where is now (at least not more than an 1/8" or so).

But I don't know what I'm faced with on the floor. Somehow I have to make sure it's fairly well insulated and also gets a nice looking surface. Once I remove the rubber floor and the subfloor that's in there now I suppose I'll have a better idea of what I can do. But if the solution involves any more than gaining just a little floor thickness then I'll have to deal with the headroom issue.
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Old 12-10-2006, 06:00 PM   #19
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Hi Dlor1:
I don't know if they made them with manual trannies, but I learned something valuable about the automatics:
Background: There are two common automatics in our kind of vehicles; the "slushbox" AT545 which lacks torque converter lockup, and the MT643 which has lockup. The 545 is rated for maximum 30.000 pounds GVWR (max loaded vehicle weight). The 643 is good for 73.280! (That odd number used to be the max for 18-wheelers in some states.)
So: My 1992 TC2000 has a GVWR of 31.000 lbs. Therefore, Blue Bird HAD to put the big tranny in it! My BB is 40 feet long -- 14 rows of seats; 84 little scholars. So there's the clue for a MT643; l-o-n-g bus.

Pablo:
I just measured mine to 9'8" tall. So you have a long way left to 13'6"!
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Old 12-10-2006, 06:18 PM   #20
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Hello again, Les. No need to apologise for being busy; we all are!

I have been around hot rod cars a bit over the years, where it is common to LOWER the roof. Same issues, just in reverse. Look for vertical sections that won't need angles modified after the height change. Very difficult to create a nice taper or compound shape, such as on a fastback car.

At the rear there will be a "toy box" ramp, so all bets are off there. Just lots of 1" square and 1"x2" box tubing, I expect.

I don't understand why people tear out the old floor. That has to be a ton of work! Unless it is that the plywood is rotten like on my first bus -- the floor was actually soft in many areas. On Millicent (my new TC2000) I will leave the floor alone. Mind you, we are not trying to make Millicent into any kind of Wanderlodge. Everything will be crude and simple and functional. Drag pounds of mud in on our shoes and hose it out with the garden hose.

I'll try to chronicle the roof lift here.
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