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Old 02-24-2021, 10:20 AM   #1
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Help with skoolie purchase

Hey all, new to forums and the skoolie world. Iíve been scoping buses for about 7 months now. I think I might have found a good one but want yíallís opinion. This one is a 2004 international CE200 with a T444e paired with an Allison 2000. Has 155k miles. The seats have been removed and roof raised. My question is mainly does the roof job look good? Any other comments are welcome as well. Thanks all for future input.
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Old 02-24-2021, 10:29 AM   #2
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That roof raise job is definitely not finished. They used round pipe or tube instead of square, with angle iron sides, or standard hat channel...and that clearly leaves some of the sidewall skin unsupported...not great. They also didn't replace all the supports. And, while not probably necessary, it's usually common to stagger the frame cuts so you don't telegraph to the outside skin. But since the skin doesn't touch the frame, I guess that's not an issue...

Are you a welder or have a connection to someone who can finish that job properly? The hard part, getting the sides cut and the roof jacked and the outer skin on, is done. So if you can get the bus cheaply, it might be worth finishing the structural part yourself. But...and this is the bit but...if this is how they considered the job complete, then I'd be suspicious of the work here and elsewhere. What does the outside skin look like?
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Old 02-24-2021, 10:51 AM   #3
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Excuse my ignorance what do you mean by telegraph on the outside skin? I’m not a great welder but have done minor projects in the past and own a welder but more of a hobbiest. I do have a buddy who is a skilled welder. I here you on bad work elsewhere if this was done poorly. So I would have to figure a way to fill the gap between existing round supports? I’ll add a couple pictures of the outside. He’s asking 13k right now. Thanks for your input!
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Old 02-24-2021, 11:11 AM   #4
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Agreed, using round tube for this is kind of nuts - it would be very difficult because of positioning to get any kind of join between the tube and the hat channel it's embedded in, with any kind of proper overlap. The bus itself as raw skoolie material would only be worth $3000 to $4000, so seller is valuing his sketchy raise at ten grand. I'd just pass on this bus entirely, since it's unlikely the seller would ever come down close to enough for what it's worth.
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Old 02-24-2021, 12:11 PM   #5
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Agreed, using round tube for this is kind of nuts - it would be very difficult because of positioning to get any kind of join between the tube and the hat channel it's embedded in, with any kind of proper overlap. The bus itself as raw skoolie material would only be worth $3000 to $4000, so seller is valuing his sketchy raise at ten grand. I'd just pass on this bus entirely, since it's unlikely the seller would ever come down close to enough for what it's worth.

Thanks for the input. That was my exact issue with the bud. Didnít seem like round pipe was the correct way to raise the roof. So in the future the correct way is to go back in with hat channel and over lap it for strength.
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Old 02-24-2021, 12:12 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by rossvtaylor View Post
That roof raise job is definitely not finished. They used round pipe or tube instead of square, with angle iron sides, or standard hat channel...and that clearly leaves some of the sidewall skin unsupported...not great. They also didn't replace all the supports. And, while not probably necessary, it's usually common to stagger the frame cuts so you don't telegraph to the outside skin. But since the skin doesn't touch the frame, I guess that's not an issue...

Are you a welder or have a connection to someone who can finish that job properly? The hard part, getting the sides cut and the roof jacked and the outer skin on, is done. So if you can get the bus cheaply, it might be worth finishing the structural part yourself. But...and this is the bit but...if this is how they considered the job complete, then I'd be suspicious of the work here and elsewhere. What does the outside skin look like?
I didnít quote my last post sorry still new to forums.
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Old 02-24-2021, 12:17 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by rossvtaylor View Post
That roof raise job is definitely not finished. They used round pipe or tube instead of square, with angle iron sides, or standard hat channel...and that clearly leaves some of the sidewall skin unsupported...not great. They also didn't replace all the supports. And, while not probably necessary, it's usually common to stagger the frame cuts so you don't telegraph to the outside skin. But since the skin doesn't touch the frame, I guess that's not an issue...

Are you a welder or have a connection to someone who can finish that job properly? The hard part, getting the sides cut and the roof jacked and the outer skin on, is done. So if you can get the bus cheaply, it might be worth finishing the structural part yourself. But...and this is the bit but...if this is how they considered the job complete, then I'd be suspicious of the work here and elsewhere. What does the outside skin look like?
Here are some pictures
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File Type: jpg 71E4AAD1-6D62-4554-B584-01B695CF07D7.jpg (93.7 KB, 11 views)
File Type: jpg 3B5A3CFB-9F58-4EED-B4F7-069DE24BCD67.jpg (97.6 KB, 11 views)
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Old 02-24-2021, 01:44 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Lonnie92 View Post
Thanks for the input. That was my exact issue with the bud. Didnít seem like round pipe was the correct way to raise the roof. So in the future the correct way is to go back in with hat channel and over lap it for strength.
Yeah, the overlapping hat channel splices are the most common and the most convenient, since the splice also has the flanges that you can use to rivet your new sheet metal siding into. If I were doing a roof raise and cheaping out like I usually do, I would use square tubing and then weld small pieces of flat bar on the sides of each tube afterward to reproduce the flanges. It would be a lot easier (and cheaper) to weld on the flatbar pieces than trying to source hat channel splices.
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Old 02-24-2021, 06:47 PM   #9
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By telegraphing, I meant that the cut and re-welded locations might be showing through to the outside if the alignment isn't accurate. I wish I could draw a picture! If the top and bottom pieces of the frame aren't aligned with each other, or more likely if you get some distortion during welding, you might end up with a lump or ridge along the side of the bus which can show through the skin. So it's pretty common to stagger those locations up and down. That's a preference thing, though, and not really necessary if care is taken. I've also heard people cite strength, by not having all the welds in the same plane...but if your welds are sound that shouldn't be a concern.

So...sorry about the long winded answer...I just meant to show a few ways this raise builder strayed from the norms. Some of those choices might be just fine, but in this case it looks like someone didn't know what they were doing.
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