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Old 10-11-2020, 12:21 PM   #1
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Join Date: Oct 2020
Location: Southern Oregon
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Year: 1990
Coachwork: Bluebird
Chassis: Bluebird
First day of building on our Bluebird

Hi!

We are converting a 1990 Blubird into our new home. This bus was gifted to us after losing our home in the Almeda dr. fire on Sep. 8. Very grateful for this blessing and excited to get to work!

This bus was converted several owners before us. Yesterday we pulled the floor up to find a subfloor of 2x2 and r13 insulation. NO RUST! (= We plan to patch the holes from the seats with JB since it's fairly cheap and we can start right away.

Making this post so we can track our progress and learn from the community.

Any experience with spray insulation? Particularly on the underside of the bus? Is there a way to insulate with out losing room inside? My partner is 6" 3' and we want to maximize height.

Thank you for reading. Pictures soon!
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Old 10-11-2020, 01:48 PM   #2
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Roof raise will be be best. Per the experience of others on the site, some have indicated it can be done in a weekend with the proper tools and equipment.
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Old 10-11-2020, 04:59 PM   #3
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Thank you CHEESE_WAGON! We are coming to the same conclusion. Former owners have replaced the original side windows with RV windows so it would seem the next step is figuring how to support a roof raise with the supports that are still in place. We are feeling around in the dark here and very grateful for any direction. Thanks again
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Old 10-11-2020, 05:08 PM   #4
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I've not done one, but I've seen videos and pics from existing builds. Looks to me like most have stripped away the interior paneling and temporarily removed the windows, exposing the skeletal ribs of the frame, use transmission jacks and come-alongs to support the weight, cut the ribs, then slowly raised the transmission jacks and tightened the come-alongs a bit at a time here and there.

This would slowly raise the roof to the desired level, then after making sure everything was sitting right, extension pieces were welded in place, adding extra sheet metal and insulation as needed. MAKE SURE THE BUS IS LEVEL BEFORE DOING ANY OF THIS, DO NOT MOVE THE BUS UNTIL FINISHED, AND CHECK EVERYTHING FOR BEING LEVEL BEFORE FINAL WELDING! You'll be much happier with the results, believe me.

Reassembly is the reverse of removal of course. With yours already being RV window swapped and skinned to match, I would recommend doing your cuts above the glass and leaving all that in place, unless you want the windows higher for your taller partner's viewing pleasure. Seems like a lot more work to bring the windows up with everything else, at least if reskinning around the windows is necessary...
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Old 10-11-2020, 05:26 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CHEESE_WAGON View Post
I've not done one, but I've seen videos and pics from existing builds. Looks to me like most have stripped away the interior paneling and temporarily removed the windows, exposing the skeletal ribs of the frame, use transmission jacks and come-alongs to support the weight, cut the ribs, then slowly raised the transmission jacks and tightened the come-alongs a bit at a time here and there.

This would slowly raise the roof to the desired level, then after making sure everything was sitting right, extension pieces were welded in place, adding extra sheet metal and insulation as needed. MAKE SURE THE BUS IS LEVEL BEFORE DOING ANY OF THIS, DO NOT MOVE THE BUS UNTIL FINISHED, AND CHECK EVERYTHING FOR BEING LEVEL BEFORE FINAL WELDING! You'll be much happier with the results, believe me.

Reassembly is the reverse of removal of course. With yours already being RV window swapped and skinned to match, I would recommend doing your cuts above the glass and leaving all that in place, unless you want the windows higher for your taller partner's viewing pleasure. Seems like a lot more work to bring the windows up with everything else, at least if reskinning around the windows is necessary...
If you cut every rib and fill in the space with equal length splices, does level really become critical? Keeping all the bus windows makes keeping it cool or warm very hard to manage. Many replace the bus windows with more efficient units after a roof raise.
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Old 10-11-2020, 05:31 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by buslifeyo View Post
Thank you CHEESE_WAGON! We are coming to the same conclusion. Former owners have replaced the original side windows with RV windows so it would seem the next step is figuring how to support a roof raise with the supports that are still in place. We are feeling around in the dark here and very grateful for any direction. Thanks again
Do the roof raise, skin the sides, then determine where the windows need to be and weld metal frame work around them, deleting any ribs in the way.


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Old 10-11-2020, 05:38 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by o1marc View Post
If you cut every rib and fill in the space with equal length splices, does level really become critical? Keeping all the bus windows makes keeping it cool or warm very hard to manage. Many replace the bus windows with more efficient units after a roof raise.
You would think with even length splices it wouldn't be an issue, but I've seen and heard of some strange stuff that couldn't be explained with simple logic.

Keep in mind, OP's rig is already RV window swapped and skinned to match, hence I suggested cutting above the windows and leaving existing work done alone.
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Old 10-11-2020, 10:38 PM   #8
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I am pleased you have a bus to make your home after the lossdue to the fire. Tragic.


Once you remove the walls inside, you will get a better feel for how the RV windows were installed and where you will be able to make the cuts for the raise. I would suggest that you REMOVE all of those windows before doing the raise.


Also ... any pictures?
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Old 10-12-2020, 11:40 AM   #9
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Thank yous all. It feels like a huge extra step in an already massive project, but it will be our home, so its woeth getting right. Some images in my reply to Native should be showing up soon
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Old 10-12-2020, 11:47 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Native View Post
I am pleased you have a bus to make your home after the lossdue to the fire. Tragic.


Once you remove the walls inside, you will get a better feel for how the RV windows were installed and where you will be able to make the cuts for the raise. I would suggest that you REMOVE all of those windows before doing the raise.


Also ... any pictures?

Thank you. We've found so much community and support it's been keeping us positive.

It was a short victory to think we could keep the side walls after gutting just about everything the previous owners built, but a roof raise seems like the next step. We are also pushing to get it done sooner than later. This is all very useful info. This forum is so awesome!

Here's our baby
http://imgur.com/gallery/wzwIfee
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Old 10-13-2020, 01:45 AM   #11
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So were gonna do it!

Yip, gonna have to raise the roof.

This post is a request to any skoolie owners in the southern OR northern Cal area who may have a set of trail jacks they can loan out for us to complete this project. They seem pretty available on amazon but shipping is still taking longer than normal due to corona virus.

Many thanks to you helpful folks.

This will be our build thread so there's plenty more to come.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg 20201010_154616.jpg (118.4 KB, 14 views)
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Old 10-13-2020, 01:59 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Native View Post
I am pleased you have a bus to make your home after the lossdue to the fire. Tragic.


Once you remove the walls inside, you will get a better feel for how the RV windows were installed and where you will be able to make the cuts for the raise. I would suggest that you REMOVE all of those windows before doing the raise.


Also ... any pictures?
We are so please too! This project has kept us hopeful... even if we are learning EVERY step of the way.

It makes sense to take the windows out and reinstall them after the roof has been raised. We're also toying with the idea of a "partial roof raise" where just the roof over the center aisle is raised. It still send like a lot of fabrication though, and, to me any way, if we're gonna bother why not do the whole thing?

Anyway thanks again for helping us see it's do-able. Here's some pics
Attached Images
File Type: jpg 20201006_132123.jpg (171.5 KB, 9 views)
File Type: jpg 20201006_132141.jpg (274.1 KB, 11 views)
File Type: jpg 20201010_152113.jpg (171.3 KB, 7 views)
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Old 10-13-2020, 12:14 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by o1marc View Post
Do the roof raise, skin the sides, then determine where the windows need to be and weld metal frame work around them, deleting any ribs in the way.


This makes total sense. I was mistaken at first and believed that ribs had already been removed. All of the original windows are gone (sheet metal and insulation over the holes now) but the ribs are still in place. Thank you for the crash course. The next step is locating additional windows to bring more light in. Going to check a local RV repair shop first.
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