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Old 01-11-2022, 10:08 PM   #1
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Dec 2021
Posts: 26
General Steel/ Sheet Metal Questions - Roof Raise

Hey everyone,

A few questions below that I can't really nail a concrete answer for. I know this probably varies from bus brands.

2004 International CE200

1. What type and gauge of steel is recommended for the square tubing that will be welded in the window hat channels for a roof raise? The available tubing at my local hardware store is 18 gauge hot rolled low carbon steel. How much overlap would be recommended on the top and bottom half of the hat channel? Looking at a 12" roof raise. Would 2' length 1" diameter steel square tubing be sufficient? That would give me a 6" overlap on the top half and bottom half of the hat channel that would be welded for support.

2. When fabricating the roof raise brackets, I know there are so many options out there and I can't be bothered to pay a fortune for prefab ones, I was thinking about getting some 4inch steel door hinges and knocking the pins out to separate into two pieces. Then, welding a piece of steel tubing on the inside portion of the hinge and then welding that to the bus frame. Thoughts on that?

3. For the welds, will a 120v 20amp basic wire-fed Flux Core welder be sufficient? I'm not super familiar with welding so I wasn't sure if the little wire that I'm assuming is melted and hardened to fill the gap (complete the weld) would support the weight of the roof. My fear is having a solid weld around the brackets and then they just snap off because the bead wasn't with a particular type of material and just isn't bonded well. Like using elmers glue versus gorilla glue. They both stick but one is obviously much stronger. Or the welded-in supports in the hat channels breaking from the weight of the roof or moving the bus. Just want to be on the safe side.

4. Once the roof is raised, I will obviously need to wrap the bus in sheet metal. What gauge of sheet is recommended? I don't want something flimsy of course but want to avoid something so thick and heavy it's overkill.

Maybe I could find the answers to what type of OEM steel was used in the bus in a manual somewhere. Posting here because I know a lot of you are very knowledgeable on these topics and would probably save me hours of already confusing research.

Thank you,
Chris

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Old 01-12-2022, 08:42 AM   #2
Skoolie
 
Join Date: Oct 2016
Location: Rochester NY
Posts: 143
Year: 1986
Coachwork: Blueburd
Chassis: International S1800
Engine: 9.0L International Diesel NA
Quote:
Originally Posted by ChrisLifts View Post
Hey everyone,

A few questions below that I can't really nail a concrete answer for. I know this probably varies from bus brands.

2004 International CE200

1. What type and gauge of steel is recommended for the square tubing that will be welded in the window hat channels for a roof raise? The available tubing at my local hardware store is 18 gauge hot rolled low carbon steel. How much overlap would be recommended on the top and bottom half of the hat channel? Looking at a 12" roof raise. Would 2' length 1" diameter steel square tubing be sufficient? That would give me a 6" overlap on the top half and bottom half of the hat channel that would be welded for support.

I would think at least 6" overlap for 12" raise is sufficient. Contact a local metal supplier and you will be better pricing than HomeDepot. you can order you skin Sheet metal at this time too. I would suggest this however. Pull two windows out of the bus and cut a 6" sample section and take that to a metal fabricator and ask them to make a custom hat channel that nest around correctly.---See if one of the shop guys will do it as side work.--- I had like 36 pc at 36" fabbed for a couple hundred bucks. You can weld the perimeter seems and also throw 3 plug welds in each overlap section.

2. When fabricating the roof raise brackets, I know there are so many options out there and I can't be bothered to pay a fortune for prefab ones, I was thinking about getting some 4inch steel door hinges and knocking the pins out to separate into two pieces. Then, welding a piece of steel tubing on the inside portion of the hinge and then welding that to the bus frame. Thoughts on that?

That may work..... My $0.02... Bolt with grade 8 bolts rather than weld the brackets on... WAYYYY easier to remove afterwards. Pro of the hinge plate--- it has pre drilled holes... Con--- the holes are prolly only 1/4, id use 3/8 bolts at least. and the metal is prolly thinner than I would feel comfortable. Try looking for 3/16 or 7/32 plate from the home depot for this.

3. For the welds, will a 120v 20amp basic wire-fed Flux Core welder be sufficient? I'm not super familiar with welding so I wasn't sure if the little wire that I'm assuming is melted and hardened to fill the gap (complete the weld) would support the weight of the roof. My fear is having a solid weld around the brackets and then they just snap off because the bead wasn't with a particular type of material and just isn't bonded well. Like using elmers glue versus gorilla glue. They both stick but one is obviously much stronger. Or the welded-in supports in the hat channels breaking from the weight of the roof or moving the bus. Just want to be on the safe side.


Flux core is fine, Its what i used... You'll end up welding allsorts of kind of dirty, awkward, rusty, painted surface through the conversion so just stick with flux... Chances are you ribs are galvanized. Do some reading on galv welding and zinc posing. I got myself sick twice while doing my raise. Its not a death sentence but it kind of sucks for a day or two.... i used a hobart 140amp 120v welder. Max my machine will weld is 3/16 to 1/4" plate. I Dont think i had it maxed out when i was doing the raise at any point. I would try your welder to build the roof raise mechanisms first, you plate bracket and carrier tube will be a similar thickness to the rib extension pieces.

4. Once the roof is raised, I will obviously need to wrap the bus in sheet metal. What gauge of sheet is recommended? I don't want something flimsy of course but want to avoid something so thick and heavy it's overkill.

Maybe I could find the answers to what type of OEM steel was used in the bus in a manual somewhere. Posting here because I know a lot of you are very knowledgeable on these topics and would probably save me hours of already confusing research.

Just use 12-16ga cold rolled sheet steel. I think i used 14g. 12 is prolly overkill. 16ga or less can give you oil-canning or kinks when you install or if you plan to install spray foam. ---See Transcendence Existence for the slight pillowing that happened to his skins after he spray foamed---You could spend the extra on galvanized but why??? When you get the sheets delivered. Immediately clean the oil off, and roll two coats of enamel primer on them. The brown rustoleum primer you prolly used to condition the interior floor pan is fine. now they are protected and ready for whenever you need them.

Thank you,
Chris


You can check out my raise on here or Instagram/Facebook. @5speedhouse. Shoot me a PM and I can talk you ear off. I can video call you if you want to see some things this weekend.
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Old 01-12-2022, 12:01 PM   #3
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Dec 2021
Posts: 26
This is all super helpful information I really appreciate it!! Looking into local suppliers now.
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Old 01-18-2022, 11:39 AM   #4
Bus Crazy
 
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Join Date: Apr 2019
Location: Arizona
Posts: 1,259
Year: 2003
Coachwork: IC
Chassis: 3800
Engine: t444e
Rated Cap: 24
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Originally Posted by ChrisLifts View Post
3. For the welds, will a 120v 20amp basic wire-fed Flux Core welder be sufficient? I'm not super familiar with welding so I wasn't sure if the little wire that I'm assuming is melted and hardened to fill the gap (complete the weld) would support the weight of the roof. My fear is having a solid weld around the brackets and then they just snap off because the bead wasn't with a particular type of material and just isn't bonded well. Like using elmers glue versus gorilla glue. They both stick but one is obviously much stronger. Or the welded-in supports in the hat channels breaking from the weight of the roof or moving the bus. Just want to be on the safe side.

I'm not super-familiar with welding either, which is why I'm limiting my practice to things that won't result in catastrophe if the welds were to let go. I can't even imagine attempting to weld up a roof raise not knowing what I was doing. Nobody can tell you what to use or how to use it to successfully create structural welds on a moving vehicle. It's a matter of knoweldge and substantial experience, which you admittedly don't have. I'd think this is one of those things you'd really want to find an experience, accomplished welder to help you with. The result would be much safer, and you'd likely learn a lot in the process.
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Old 01-18-2022, 04:55 PM   #5
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Location: Swansboro,NC
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depending on where you live?
a member here either had some left over or was offering to make hat channel.
he lives/lived in georgia.
maybe pm
01marc
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