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Old 10-19-2023, 06:31 PM   #1
Mini-Skoolie
 
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Roof raise - hat channels have square tubing welded inside

Hey guys, I'm preparing to do a 16" roof raise on my 1996 Navistar International Series 3000 Genesis. The trouble I'm running into is the hat channels on my bus have square tubing welded in the cavity (which I haven't seen on any other roof raise posts/videos). The hat channel extensions I bought from skoolie.com come with extension inserts. The square tubing makes it seemingly impossible to utilize the extension inserts that the hat channel extensions come with. With this, I see two options: 1) Cut & remove enough of the square tubing from within the hat channels so that we can utilize the extension inserts (not sure how feasible/possible this is) or, 2) Cut the extension inserts off of the hat channel extensions and somehow keep the extensions plumb enough to weld. Has anyone ever come across this and if so, what do you advise? Pictures attached for reference. Thank you all!
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Screenshot 2023-10-17 at 10.20.03 AM.jpg   Screenshot 2023-10-17 at 10.25.23 AM.jpg  

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Old 10-19-2023, 06:39 PM   #2
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Is the second pic of the stuff you bought? Tiny little bits of thin sheet metal with only a couple of inches of overlap and 3 measly tack welds? This is why insurance companies are running away from skoolies. That stuff is junk.
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Old 10-19-2023, 07:01 PM   #3
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Indeed, Kentucky
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Old 10-19-2023, 08:46 PM   #4
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You could use that hat channel but you'd need to bead it all the way, but something looks off on those channels. Too thin or mis-shappened, something.


But in regards to your problem, you're probably going to have to in-lay new hat channel over your existing about 4-6 inches on top AND bottom, and then fill the void with square tubing and weld all the seems together, hat channel from the back/front and the square tubing join.



It would be better if you could somehow remove square tubing, but doesn't look possible as it's likely welded in already.


You'd have to weld it like this to be decent. Full lines, not tack welding.


Attached is a crude drawing, but blow it up and you can make sense of it. This is what you will have to do for best results given your situation. If that hat channel does not fit over the existing hat channel from the back, return it and get a kind that will overlap from behind.



If that hat channel does fit behind the original and can cap it snuggly, you'll need to remove those insert tabs that are tacked in, so maybe it's good they are only lightly tacked in so you can break them, but it also shows those channels are not compatible with your bus unless you can make them fit like in my graphic.



You need the overlap.
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Old 10-21-2023, 04:11 PM   #5
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Appreciate the feedback, ideas, and drawing nikitis! What if, once we made the cuts and raised the roof, we inserted ~20” long 1/2” square tubing inside the existing square tubing? This would ensure plumbness and, assuming we’re doing a 16” raise, give us 2” on the top & bottom to weld them together. From there, we could weld the hat channel extensions onto the smaller square tubing. Do you see any flaws in that design? Would love to hear your thoughts. Thanks again.
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Old 10-22-2023, 06:28 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by twizxup View Post
Appreciate the feedback, ideas, and drawing nikitis! What if, once we made the cuts and raised the roof, we inserted ~20” long 1/2” square tubing inside the existing square tubing? This would ensure plumbness and, assuming we’re doing a 16” raise, give us 2” on the top & bottom to weld them together. From there, we could weld the hat channel extensions onto the smaller square tubing. Do you see any flaws in that design? Would love to hear your thoughts. Thanks again.

I don't think it'll be necessary and extra work already on top of the extra work you have to do with your bus setup.


As long as you do all the welds I mentioned in the graphic it should be fine, and include new square tubing inside of the new hat channel and weld the tubing together from end to end as illustrated in green on my graphic. The overlap of the hat channel should be sufficient and welding all edges and lines of that overlap. It'll be solid, and it won't be alone as you have a lot of them to do, the strength will add up across the whole thing when you do them all. It'll be fine.
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Old 10-22-2023, 04:29 PM   #7
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Understood, makes sense! Thanks again. I suspect I may need to work with a metal fabricator to get custom hat channel extensions as the ones I have don't fit. Since you mentioned the extensions appearing to be poor quality, do you have any tips on what I should get? Gauge, etc.
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Old 10-23-2023, 12:08 AM   #8
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Hard to tell without looking at it, but the type of hat channel needs to match your buses channel. The folks at skoolie.com can usually match your bus up with the right hat channel, contact them and ask what kind and if they can sell you what you need.
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Old 10-23-2023, 08:35 AM   #9
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Unfortunately that's where I ordered the hat channels that you (and Kentucky) mentioned don't look right. But since we now have to get channel extensions wide enough to slip over the back, the ones from Skoolie.com won't work anyways. I'm thinking we'll have to go the "custom" route
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Old 10-23-2023, 10:42 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by twizxup View Post
Unfortunately that's where I ordered the hat channels that you (and Kentucky) mentioned don't look right. But since we now have to get channel extensions wide enough to slip over the back, the ones from Skoolie.com won't work anyways. I'm thinking we'll have to go the "custom" route

I'd go back to them and tell them they sent you the wrong kind. One of their advertising features is that we match your hat channel style for your bus. They should take them back, ask for pictures of yours and be able to match them. Maybe take a couple of pictures with a ruler showing the length of the front and back hat channel, and maybe side so they can send you the right ones.
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Old 10-23-2023, 11:08 AM   #11
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I've been emailing them back & forth and they apologized that it wasn't a match, but never acknowledged that they sent the wrong kind. The "customization" appears to limited to the bus body manufacturer, which I entered as International after consulting them (I provided them with the year/make/model/VIN before ordering to ensure I got the correct ones, and that is what they advised). They've been understanding and told me I can return them despite being outside of their return policy (as long as I pay for shipping cost), however never offered to exchange for the "correct" kind.

Have you used them? I assumed they don't take custom measurements and rather have a one-size-fits-all for each of the bus body manufacturers. Since you & Kentucky both commented on the quality, I've been hesitant to request an exchange.
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Old 10-23-2023, 12:27 PM   #12
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I haven't personally used them yet but was planning to. I've seen MANY of posts here over time stating to buy from them they are usually good about it, etc. So if they aren't willing to work with you on getting the right ones that will hurt future business with them as people on this site will see that and not want to do business with a company that cannot get them the right shaped hat channels.



From what I know most people get the right channels from them with their model, you may just have a unicorn with the way the windows are done etc, Mine are a unicorn as well. I've yet to see ANY bus build youtubes with my windows/hat channel types so I may run into the same problem as you when the time comes shortly for me.



If skoolie.com sees this they should consider taking the time and get him the right hat channels. It's the right business move. I know they generally offer a good product and works for most people. But if they aren't willing to work with you on matching then some of us can't use them. I don't have any other sources though to provide you. You'll probably have to go to a metal supply shop and special order to length via an A, B, C, D, E measurement system where each letter is a length of each bend of the hat channel, and it will probably cost you more but be less work as you'll be overlapping with your setup.
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Old 10-23-2023, 10:01 PM   #13
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I don't get what the issue is. Are you saying that the welding backers on the end of Skoolie.net's extensions don't fit inside your existing hat channels?
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Old 10-23-2023, 10:37 PM   #14
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I don't get what the issue is. Are you saying that the welding backers on the end of Skoolie.net's extensions don't fit inside your existing hat channels?

@heyring, his bus for whatever reason has already square tubing inserted into his existing hat channels, while most are not populated with square tubing. He cannot use inserts with his application, it would be too difficult to cut out the square tubing.


So he has to instead overlap from behind hat channel, except the hat channel provided to him by skoolie.com isn't the same shape as his hat channel and is too small to fit behind his existing hat channel, which is what is required for a safe weld for his situation.


It's not just the extensions, even if he removes the extensions, it still wouldn't fit snug behind his existing hat channel. Think how a top hat fits onto another top hat of it's exact size and shape, if the two hats were different they wouldn't fit on top of each other well.


See Pic. In green it's welded in already, and you can't cut that middle out easily for the inserts. Most buses don't come with this in place already.
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Old 10-24-2023, 06:24 AM   #15
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It now makes perfect sense. Thanks for clearing it up.
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