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Old 04-04-2005, 02:16 PM   #1
Chfsfn2's Avatar
Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 39
Year: 1992
Coachwork: Ward
Engine: 5.9L Cummins Diesel
Building a deck

We're in the planning stages for building the deck on top of our bus. The deck will mostly be used as storage for our bikes during RAGBRAI. We plan to build the deck the length & width of the bus (approx. 32' x 8'), a ladder on back and possibly a lower deck off the back of the bus.

We're planning to use 1/8" thick, 1.5" steel tubing to construct the deck and railings, and use 1/2" treated plywood as the flooring. The railings will be 32" high and possibly with fold-down, but they may be fixed.

We're currently debating how to anchor the deck - run the deck supports vertically approximately every 3rd window, or to run a tube the length of the bus, above the windows, and use that to build from. Both methods would require bolts through the tubing and support bows. Any pros or cons to one or the other?

I've seen several buses that seem to have the deck supports welded to the top of the bus with no bolts. Is the 'skin' of the bus thick enough to weld to? If so, how would you go about welding a footing to the top securely, given that its curved? If we could go with that method, might save a fair amount of materials.

Will we need to be concerned with overall bus height with the railings 32" above the top of the bus?

Any advice is sincerely appreciated! We're looking to do this the best, easiest, cheapest and lightest way possible.

See my bus here
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Old 04-04-2005, 04:46 PM   #2
Bus Nut
SeanF's Avatar
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: Tucson, AZ
Posts: 524
Year: 1993
Coachwork: AmTran
Chassis: IHC
Engine: Dt360
Rated Cap: 19
We're in the throws of adding a roof deck to our bus.
1" steel pipe supports along the sides, 4"x4" cross members and a Trex walking surface.

Gory details here:

Look under Conversion/April 2nd & 3rd. Total cost will be just under $2k.

Any Qs, just ask here (no contact info on the site).

Bus conversion/info here
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Old 04-04-2005, 07:34 PM   #3
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Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Duluth, MN
Posts: 243
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Under "disadvantages" you forgot insurance. Otherwise, excellent sight and you've done a great job of documenting the progress in pictures. Well done!
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Old 04-08-2005, 12:42 PM   #4
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Plymouth MA
Posts: 197
If you're using treated ply, look out that the new ACQ treated PT, including the PT ply, is amazingly corrosive! I recommend you use double-hot-dipped galvy fasteners, or Stainless Steel ones, INCLUDING the angle brackets, etc.

Sometimes you can get by using a plastic spacer(s) between the wood and metal, heavy plastic sheet might be usable. Good attention to detail will halt galvanic action.

Good luck, and let us know how the asembly/wear is holding up!
The tool storage is nice, but where do I put the bed?
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