Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
 
Old 08-26-2019, 03:17 PM   #1
Bus Nut
 
Join Date: May 2018
Location: the Missouri Ozarks
Posts: 251
Year: 1997
Coachwork: BlueBird
Chassis: International 3800
Engine: 466e
Rated Cap: its Yuge
Roof Rack/Desk side or top mount

Getting ready to mount panels to my roof via a large rectangular frame with legs on it.

I have really been struggling with the decision of attaching the legs to the side of the bus between the windows. or the top of the bus with brackets on the ribs.

I really like the idea of the top. I think it would be more sturdy, use less material and look better, but am not excited about introducing an avenue for water to get in.

Who has experience with this, Do you like the way it ended up, or do you wish you would have gone one way or the other?

Thanks,
dave
MambaJack is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-26-2019, 04:21 PM   #2
Bus Nut
 
Join Date: Sep 2018
Posts: 985
Year: 2007
Coachwork: Thomas Built
Chassis: Minotour
Engine: Chevy Express 3500 6.6l
Before you do that you should make sure you can get insurance for you bus after you do the deck.
Danjo is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-26-2019, 04:29 PM   #3
Bus Nut
 
CMORGANSKOOL's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2018
Location: Philadelpiha Pennsylvania
Posts: 381
Year: 2007
Coachwork: IC
Chassis: FE Bus
Engine: DT-466 7.6L Turbo Diesel
Rated Cap: 77
You can use rivet nuts to attach it easily.
https://www.amazon.com/s?k=rivet+nut...l_3rq86a8pny_e
CMORGANSKOOL is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-26-2019, 04:47 PM   #4
Bus Nut
 
Join Date: May 2018
Location: the Missouri Ozarks
Posts: 251
Year: 1997
Coachwork: BlueBird
Chassis: International 3800
Engine: 466e
Rated Cap: its Yuge
This is not a deck. Just a frame to attach solar panels to
MambaJack is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-26-2019, 04:50 PM   #5
Bus Nut
 
Join Date: Sep 2018
Posts: 985
Year: 2007
Coachwork: Thomas Built
Chassis: Minotour
Engine: Chevy Express 3500 6.6l
Quote:
Originally Posted by MambaJack View Post
This is not a deck. Just a frame to attach solar panels to
Thatís perfect. I want to know too.
Danjo is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-26-2019, 05:11 PM   #6
Bus Nut
 
CMORGANSKOOL's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2018
Location: Philadelpiha Pennsylvania
Posts: 381
Year: 2007
Coachwork: IC
Chassis: FE Bus
Engine: DT-466 7.6L Turbo Diesel
Rated Cap: 77
Rivet nuts are perfect for attaching anything to the roof of the bus including solar panels. Just drill a hole insert the nut, pop the rivet and insert bolt. Presto!
CMORGANSKOOL is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-26-2019, 05:32 PM   #7
Bus Nut
 
Rivetboy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2017
Location: Huntington beach
Posts: 709
Year: 1991
Coachwork: Bluebird
Chassis: T/C 2000 28 foot Handy Bus
Engine: Cummins 5.9 Mechanical
Rated Cap: 2
Quote:
Originally Posted by CMORGANSKOOL View Post
Rivet nuts are perfect for attaching anything to the roof of the bus including solar panels. Just drill a hole insert the nut, pop the rivet and insert bolt. Presto!
This is the tool and rivnut bought of Amazon for around $60 . Indeed, a wonderful tool. Access panels, hard points, removable anything and so much nicer than a tek drive. Using it right now to attach custom clearance lites on my roof.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg 20190815_184640[1].jpg (136.5 KB, 34 views)
File Type: jpg 20190815_184648[2].jpg (145.9 KB, 28 views)
Rivetboy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-26-2019, 06:27 PM   #8
Bus Nut
 
Join Date: Sep 2018
Posts: 985
Year: 2007
Coachwork: Thomas Built
Chassis: Minotour
Engine: Chevy Express 3500 6.6l
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rivetboy View Post
This is the tool and rivnut bought of Amazon for around $60 . Indeed, a wonderful tool. Access panels, hard points, removable anything and so much nicer than a tek drive. Using it right now to attach custom clearance lites on my roof.
Are they waterproof?
Danjo is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-26-2019, 07:15 PM   #9
Bus Nut
 
Rivetboy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2017
Location: Huntington beach
Posts: 709
Year: 1991
Coachwork: Bluebird
Chassis: T/C 2000 28 foot Handy Bus
Engine: Cummins 5.9 Mechanical
Rated Cap: 2
Quote:
Originally Posted by Danjo View Post
Are they waterproof?
The rivnut to both sides of your substrate, installed correctly, yes. But remember it has a whole in the center with threads so a little sealant on the bolt will help make it very water resistant. My original clearance markers were sheet metal scews right into the roof and they never leaked but the holes were corroded. Rivnuts are a much better installation practice.
Rivetboy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-26-2019, 08:17 PM   #10
Bus Nut
 
Drew Bru's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2016
Location: Minnehaha Co., SD
Posts: 910
Year: 1996
Coachwork: Amtran
Chassis: International
Engine: DT466
Rated Cap: 65
We used Blind Bolts https://www.blindbolt.com/ to attach heavy duty L brackets through the ribs, then angle iron bolted to the L brackets, and panels bolted to the angle iron. Lots of Dicor lap sealant smothered on each penetration. No special tools are required to install the blind bolts.
__________________
Our Build: https://dazzlingbluebus.wordpress.com/
Drew Bru is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-26-2019, 10:14 PM   #11
Bus Nut
 
plfking's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2016
Location: N.C.
Posts: 966
Year: 1997
Coachwork: Bluebird
Engine: DT466E
Rated Cap: 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by MambaJack View Post
Getting ready to mount panels to my roof via a large rectangular frame with legs on it.

I have really been struggling with the decision of attaching the legs to the side of the bus between the windows. or the top of the bus with brackets on the ribs.

I really like the idea of the top. I think it would be more sturdy, use less material and look better, but am not excited about introducing an avenue for water to get in.

Who has experience with this, Do you like the way it ended up, or do you wish you would have gone one way or the other?

Thanks,
dave
I bolted L brackets to the roof flanges, using copious amounts of sealant. Been almost a year with no leaks.

Any of these methods others have mentioned will work fine for what you're planning. Side pillar vs. roof mounting points are more an aesthetic preference than anything.....I doubt if one or the other is particularly stronger than the other (since both methods are using the same rib construction), nor more prone to leaks (if sealed correctly).

My only caveats would be using bolts instead of tek screws, and bolting through the flanges instead of the unsupported skin.
__________________
Don

The Busted Flush
plfking is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-26-2019, 10:50 PM   #12
Bus Crazy
 
musigenesis's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2019
Location: Philadelphia
Posts: 2,017
Year: 2003
Coachwork: International
Chassis: CE 300
Engine: DT466e
Rated Cap: 65C-43A
Quote:
Originally Posted by CMORGANSKOOL View Post
Rivet nuts are perfect for attaching anything to the roof of the bus including solar panels. Just drill a hole insert the nut, pop the rivet and insert bolt. Presto!
You run these just through the sheet metal, or you drill the hole through the flange of the hat channel?
__________________
Rusty 87 build thread
musigenesis is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-27-2019, 04:36 AM   #13
Bus Nut
 
Join Date: Dec 2017
Posts: 453
Coachwork: Gillig
Quote:
Originally Posted by MambaJack View Post
Getting ready to mount panels to my roof via a large rectangular frame with legs on it.

I have really been struggling with the decision of attaching the legs to the side of the bus between the windows. or the top of the bus with brackets on the ribs.

I really like the idea of the top. I think it would be more sturdy, use less material and look better, but am not excited about introducing an avenue for water to get in.

Who has experience with this, Do you like the way it ended up, or do you wish you would have gone one way or the other?
Dave, I agree with your reasons for wanting to top mount. Strength, low profile, and appearance were all considerations. I drilled a lot of holes in the roof...

I bolted the racks into the tubular steel frame cross members in the roof of my bus. I used a number of products to seal all the holes including: butyl rubber tape, Geocel Proflex RV sealant, and Dicor lap sealant (both self and non-leveling), and as a final line of defense against water intrusion, from the inside I filled the metal crossmembers with closed cell foam after installing and torquing the bolts...

It was a lot of work but I am very confident that my roof is (and will remain) weather/water tight. Time will tell...
ComfortEagle is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-27-2019, 09:53 AM   #14
Bus Nut
 
Join Date: May 2018
Location: the Missouri Ozarks
Posts: 251
Year: 1997
Coachwork: BlueBird
Chassis: International 3800
Engine: 466e
Rated Cap: its Yuge
Looks great

I think my system will be a little different but will go roof mount. As far as attachment. I may do a combination of thru bolts thru the ribs. And blind bolts. Just tough for me to trust the blind bolts only thru 2 layers of sheet metal
MambaJack is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-27-2019, 12:23 PM   #15
Bus Nut
 
Join Date: May 2018
Location: the Missouri Ozarks
Posts: 251
Year: 1997
Coachwork: BlueBird
Chassis: International 3800
Engine: 466e
Rated Cap: its Yuge
That looks great btw. Is there tropicool on it? If so was there any issue with dicor or butyl tape sticking?
MambaJack is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-27-2019, 12:32 PM   #16
Bus Nut
 
Rivetboy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2017
Location: Huntington beach
Posts: 709
Year: 1991
Coachwork: Bluebird
Chassis: T/C 2000 28 foot Handy Bus
Engine: Cummins 5.9 Mechanical
Rated Cap: 2
Quote:
Originally Posted by MambaJack View Post
Looks great

I think my system will be a little different but will go roof mount. As far as attachment. I may do a combination of thru bolts thru the ribs. And blind bolts. Just tough for me to trust the blind bolts only thru 2 layers of sheet metal
Here is some specs on rivnuts. To each there own which is one of the great reasons for building your own anything.. Now some people might consider me biased to rivnuts because of my screen name... and it's true.
http://www.rivet-nut.com/assets/rivn...properties.pdf
Rivetboy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-27-2019, 12:41 PM   #17
Bus Nut
 
Join Date: Dec 2017
Posts: 453
Coachwork: Gillig
Quote:
Originally Posted by MambaJack View Post
I think my system will be a little different but will go roof mount. As far as attachment. I may do a combination of thru bolts thru the ribs. And blind bolts. Just tough for me to trust the blind bolts only thru 2 layers of sheet metal
Dave, I appreciate (and share) your concerns about blind nuts and securing only thru the sheet metal. With securing only thru the sheet metal I was more concerned about flexing and the potential for leaks. Do you not have cross members that you could use as mounting points?

Below is an older pic of the Gillig.


I drilled smaller (bolt size) holes thru the roof and the top of the tubes, and then larger holes in the bottom of the tubes. This enabled me to get the washers and nuts up inside the tubes (and a socket to tighten them). Then from the inside, I filled the holes and part of the tubes with foam. Not sure if that makes sense...

I didn't take any pics specifically of the process, but in the pic below, the wood strip is screwed into one of those cross members, and that hole in the wood is where I drilled the larger hole in the tube to get washer/nut/socket up in there. I was also concerned with losing valuable headroom.


Quote:
Originally Posted by MambaJack View Post
That looks great btw. Is there tropicool on it? If so was there any issue with dicor or butyl tape sticking?
Thank you for the kind words. I did not use Tropicool; I used Richard's Rust Shield rust inhibiting enamel gloss white from a local paint store (glorified Rustoleum?) I will be doing one more coat before the panels go up. I had heard mixed reviews about elasto... roof coatings on buses. And regardless, almost the entire roof will be covered with solar panels/decking.

ComfortEagle is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-27-2019, 12:51 PM   #18
Bus Nut
 
Join Date: Dec 2017
Posts: 453
Coachwork: Gillig
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rivetboy View Post
Here is some specs on rivnuts. To each there own which is one of the great reasons for building your own anything.. Now some people might consider me biased to rivnuts because of my screen name... and it's true.
http://www.rivet-nut.com/assets/rivn...properties.pdf
Those Rivnuts are some nice fasteners. Where were you when I needed you? They could have saved me some serious time and effort...
ComfortEagle is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-27-2019, 12:52 PM   #19
Bus Geek
 
o1marc's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2017
Location: Dawsonville, Ga.
Posts: 9,005
Year: 1999
Coachwork: Genesis
Chassis: International
Engine: DT466/3060
Rated Cap: 77
Quote:
Originally Posted by ComfortEagle View Post
Dave, I agree with your reasons for wanting to top mount. Strength, low profile, and appearance were all considerations. I drilled a lot of holes in the roof...

I bolted the racks into the tubular steel frame cross members in the roof of my bus.
Are your ribs tubular, or channnel like most of us have?
o1marc is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-27-2019, 01:18 PM   #20
Bus Nut
 
Rivetboy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2017
Location: Huntington beach
Posts: 709
Year: 1991
Coachwork: Bluebird
Chassis: T/C 2000 28 foot Handy Bus
Engine: Cummins 5.9 Mechanical
Rated Cap: 2
Quote:
Originally Posted by ComfortEagle View Post
Those Rivnuts are some nice fasteners. Where were you when I needed you? They could have saved me some serious time and effort...
Hiding in plain site. More than likely down at my shop or riding my bike or out at the river. Retirement is good.
Rivetboy is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


» Featured Campgrounds

Reviews provided by

Powered by vBadvanced CMPS v3.2.3

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 08:19 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 4
Copyright ©2000 - 2020, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
×