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Old 05-13-2023, 11:32 PM   #61
Skoolie
 
Join Date: Dec 2022
Location: Greenville, SC
Posts: 130
Year: 1991
Coachwork: Bluebird
Chassis: TC2000
Engine: Cummins 5.9
Thanks for all the feedback everybody. We successfully got the first side skin riveted in today. It took about 3 hours from start to finish to have everything riveted. I used the Astro pneumatic hydraulic rivet gun (which btw is way better than the HF). I stood outside the bus on scaffolding while my wife stayed inside and put 1/4” steel washers on the rivets where they’d fit (per Ross Taylor’s YT vids) and helped make sure everything was aligned.

Also, Flipmode, when I picked up the skins from skoolie.com in Hendersonville, NC one of the founders Luke told me they use a jig nearly identical to the one you made. Only difference was he used a table saw to cut a slit in the wood itself for the sheet to slide in. Everything else was the same. Great idea if you’ve gotta do it by yourself. I’m glad to have help but will definitely be pursuing this if I’ve got to do any alone.

Here’s pics from the day: https://imgur.com/a/0f0D8LU

I’ll explain what we did below.

My wife and I lifted the skin into place using brute strength, expletives, and some suction cup holders from Home Depot (I was told by the skoolie.com folks that the HF ones aren’t enough to support the skins). Check them out:
https://www.homedepot.com/p/QEP-Doub...5003/318302941

We dropped the skins in between the bus body and the rub rail. At the top they were positioned between the drip rail (not sure the proper name) and the back of the hat channels/the galvanized pieces between them. Pilot holes were drilled with a 1/8” cobalt bit and a liberal amount of cutting oil. I experimented with a 1/4” step up bit but found it to be no more efficient than the three step method with reaming to larger sizes. Occasionally I used #12 self tapping tex screws in place of the 3/16” but for their holding power, especially when things like the rub rails were out of alignment. These holes got stepped up to the final F bit size, then deburred, and given a cleco.

Sadly our clecos weren’t long/strong enough to keep the drip rail from bowing out once it was secured. They’d just get immediately yanked out by the force of the bent rail. My solution was to use a 6mmx30mm socket cap with a washer and nut. Tightened them down with an impact which brought the skins into better alignment I did these every other hole going zig zag down towards the hat channel (see pics^). When it came time to rivet I just filled in every other hole with rivets. Then one by one took out the hex screws and replaced with a rivet and sealant.
Lesson learned: I only had six hex screws. I needed to have all hat channels screwed down so the whole thing could be in plane. Doing it one at a time brought the drip rail down at an odd angle which misaligned all the holes by about 1/8” or so. A lot had to be re-drilled while mid way through the riveting. Not fun.

I had planned for that thankfully and hope the washers mitigated an oblong hole. Everything feels stressful when working with a actively curing sealant right? I wore a tool belt with the rivet gun, dozens of both lengths of rivets, spray bottle of degreaser, drill with a deburring bit, drill with an F bit, a rag for cleaning debris, and then had an upside down plastic cup held magnetically to the skin with a dollop of sikaflex on it for dipping rivets. Felt like quite the construction bada$$ for a bit lol. Feet hurt like hell after standing on scaffolding for 5 hours though. Worth it.

So two skins now done. About 8 or so to go. The door will need to be addressed somewhere in there. Currently planning on reusing the Jack knife door to make it rigid and outward opening. No clue how I’ll do this yet. Need to do more research.

I’ll keep posting as this progresses! Love everyone’s input and feedback!

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Old 07-08-2023, 11:15 PM   #62
Skoolie
 
Join Date: Dec 2022
Location: Greenville, SC
Posts: 130
Year: 1991
Coachwork: Bluebird
Chassis: TC2000
Engine: Cummins 5.9
Well...we are still plugging along slowly on the skinning process. Work became busier and we are also in the process of moving out of our house over the next month. I.e. transporting everything to our storage container, listing tons of crap on FB marketplace, fighting with my spouse about keeping things I never use. You know, the usual.

One MAJOR update that I'll post more on later: we are going to sell this bus once the roof raise is finished. Check out my thread "Lucas the Vagabond" for an intro and follow along of our journey (it's admittedly behind since I've mainly updated threads like these. I'll update it eventually though). So if anyone is interested in buying this bus feel free to reach out. Hopefully these forums attest to my commitment to do things right. Or maybe they just showcase my lack of knowledge lol. Regardless, we will be selling our beloved bus and with that will come the loss of all our expectations for what could have been. I'll speak more to our reasoning on the other thread. Essentially, we wanted to get on the road ASAP so we are selling ours to buy a fully finished conversion.

Back to the point of this thread though: the roof raise skinning has taken forever it feels like. Also we took a cruise for a week then we caught COVID and that's where we're currently at. Way too fatigued to do any work but thankful it's not worse than it is. In my spare time I've been working on the entry door which is an inward swinging jackknife style. I will start a thread for that process separately but we will be keeping that door to go on the bus we buy as a memento of sorts to Lucas and what he could have been. Hopefully he'll find a good owner who will capitalize on his potential. I will likely replace the jackknife door with something like a metal and glass storm door or an RV style door. Stay tuned.

In the mean time, I'll be in my backyard dulling drill bits and getting little steel shavings imbedded in my skin. What a time to be alive! Thanks to everyone for their input and participation on this thread. I no way do I think we've failed in deciding to sell. If anything, I'm so damn proud to say that I raised the roof on a bus. And it was all thanks to you guys!
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Old 08-13-2023, 09:33 AM   #63
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Jan 2022
Posts: 13
Year: 2004
Chassis: 38' CE200
Engine: T444E
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nick5272 View Post
I saw Chuck Cassady adjusting things with ratchet straps. Not sure I follow what he was doing? Any suggestions overall here? Am I missing any steps?
You’ll notice when the roof is in the air, the all thread doesn’t exactly keep it 100% square.

The all thread can help with pitch/roll (think air planes) but not yaw.

You’ll also have slight variations needed in the x/y/z positioning of the roof when it’s elevated. This will become incredibly evident when you start to weld in the supports.

When I did mine, I used 1-1/4” 14ga 1018 square tube, and would make an active attempt to make sure that square tube sat in the hat channel perfectly lined up with minimal force or “percussive maintenance”.
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Old 08-13-2023, 10:54 AM   #64
Bus Crazy
 
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Join Date: Mar 2017
Location: arkensas
Posts: 1,054
Year: 1997
Coachwork: bluebird
Chassis: chevy
Engine: 3116 catapillar
Rated Cap: 71 now 2 humans 1 cat
That's why I used 6 foot high sawhorses blocking and a 12 ton jack. I used the same box steel with clamps until I had it at exactly 16 inches then drilled thru the hat and box and bolted it together. Then adjusted the jack til the next one was exactly 16 and did it on the other side . After all were bolted I welded the box to the old hat channel then put the new channel in and welded it too
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Old 08-13-2023, 10:56 AM   #65
Bus Crazy
 
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Join Date: Mar 2017
Location: arkensas
Posts: 1,054
Year: 1997
Coachwork: bluebird
Chassis: chevy
Engine: 3116 catapillar
Rated Cap: 71 now 2 humans 1 cat
It stayed quite stable the whole time
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Old 08-14-2023, 03:02 PM   #66
New Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2023
Location: Milford, Pennsylvania
Posts: 6
Year: 2001
Coachwork: Self
Chassis: Bluebird TC2000
Engine: 210 Cummins
Rated Cap: 77 passenger
Where did you get insurance for a raised roof Skoolie though? I can’t find anyone in PA!
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Old 08-17-2023, 12:27 AM   #67
Skoolie
 
Join Date: Dec 2022
Location: Greenville, SC
Posts: 130
Year: 1991
Coachwork: Bluebird
Chassis: TC2000
Engine: Cummins 5.9
Haven’t insured it yet
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Old 08-17-2023, 02:09 PM   #68
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Join Date: Aug 2023
Location: Milford, Pennsylvania
Posts: 6
Year: 2001
Coachwork: Self
Chassis: Bluebird TC2000
Engine: 210 Cummins
Rated Cap: 77 passenger
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nick5272 View Post
Haven’t insured it yet
Definitely just instal the 4 things you need to make it a motor home first. Couldn’t find an insurance company for a self raised roof!
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Old 08-17-2023, 03:56 PM   #69
Bus Crazy
 
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Join Date: Oct 2020
Location: Florida
Posts: 1,541
Coachwork: Integrated Coach Corp.
Chassis: RE-300 42ft
Engine: 466ci
Rated Cap: 90
Lightbulb DIY Prefab RV Kit

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave18337 View Post
Definitely just instal the 4 things you need to make it a motor home first. Couldn’t find an insurance company for a self raised roof!
-----------------------

One of the best ideas I read about: prefab everything needed to legally convert before taking possession of a bus.

Simon did exactly that in his Mesa-AZ-Build thread. Before he even brought his bus home, he procured a generator,
solal panel & a fridge. Then fabricated a freestanding, combination sink/stove.

Brilliant!

Once the bus arrived, he needed only to remove the bus items and secure the prefabricated RV 'compliance' items, for a speedy inspection.



One could also prefab a compliance commode.


Once the documentation is complete, everything may be scrapped, sold or reused, whatever But insurance, title, registration... first-week, fast. Long before the wood stove, roof raise or upper deck.

Oh, IMHO.

Anyone who is still bus shopping, but anxious to get started, could likely be constructing something while they're searching.
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Old 08-20-2023, 03:30 AM   #70
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Location: laurel MS
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what is a deburring bit?
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Old 08-20-2023, 11:15 AM   #71
Skoolie
 
Join Date: Dec 2022
Location: Greenville, SC
Posts: 130
Year: 1991
Coachwork: Bluebird
Chassis: TC2000
Engine: Cummins 5.9
Removes burrs created by drilling metal. The burrs jut out and can cause a host of problems, primarily not allowing the rivet to sit flush against the metal and create a seal. That’s why you use a deburring bit. It just removes all the burrs and make the hole nice and clean
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Old 08-20-2023, 03:10 PM   #72
Bus Nut
 
Join Date: Mar 2021
Location: Central Kentucky
Posts: 307
Coachwork: Busless for now
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nick5272 View Post
Removes burrs created by drilling metal. The burrs jut out and can cause a host of problems, primarily not allowing the rivet to sit flush against the metal and create a seal. That’s why you use a deburring bit. It just removes all the burrs and make the hole nice and clean
Might this be what you mean?
https://www.mcmaster.com/products/co...-for-screws-9/

Or this?
https://www.mcmaster.com/products/co...-for-screws-9/

I have been in the tool & die bidness for over 40 years. Never heard of a deburring bit. We use countersinks to remove burrs from drilled holes.
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Old 08-20-2023, 03:33 PM   #73
Skoolie
 
Join Date: Dec 2022
Location: Greenville, SC
Posts: 130
Year: 1991
Coachwork: Bluebird
Chassis: TC2000
Engine: Cummins 5.9
Yes indeed Kentucky. I’m sure yours is the correct terminology. In my experience they’d been referred to as countersink bits in woodworking and deburring but in metal work but they were always the same thing \/(• •)\/
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Old 09-11-2023, 04:14 PM   #74
Bus Nut
 
Join Date: Aug 2020
Location: Mesa, AZ
Posts: 779
Year: 1993
Coachwork: 44' Newell Coach
Engine: 8v92T Detroit
Rated Cap: 2 adults and two pigeons
I did in fact sell off the temporary bus wares to another local guy who was building a Skoolie. The company I used to come over and do the inspections no longer offers that service. You would have to drive to the DMV to get a level one inspection done. No biggie, but it sure was nice to have it all done at home.
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