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Author Topic: Am I crazy: Roof raise and fiberglassing?  (Read 5200 times)
belfert
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« on: February 04, 2010, 08:16:07 PM »

Quite possibly I should be checking into an insane asylum.  Am I crazy for wanting to do a roof raise and the required fiberglass work on my Dina?

At time I bought my bus I didn't think a roof raise was possible due to the lack of replacement caps.  I have now seen in person a Dina that had the roof raised.  The front and rear caps were cut and the gap filled in with fresh fiberglass.

I have done a little bit of fiberglassing, but never anything like a fiberglass vehicle body.  I probably couldn't afford to hire this out, at least not this year.  This is going to be a busy spring/summer if I do this.

I was thinking this might be a 2011 project, but now I'm thinking why not doit this year and get it over with?
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Brian Elfert - 1995 Dina Viaggio 1000 Series 60/B500 - 75% done but usable - Minneapolis, MN
John316
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« Reply #1 on: February 04, 2010, 08:54:10 PM »

Go for it, Brian. You can do it. I don't believe you will regret the extra room. We never did.

God bless,

John
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« Reply #2 on: February 04, 2010, 10:33:38 PM »

Hey brian, it's all about the "Ways & Means" when them puppies come together, Whew Weee!  Grin look out! Wink Smiley Go for it!
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belfert
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« Reply #3 on: February 05, 2010, 05:22:04 AM »

The first thing I will probably have to get is a decent MIG welder.  I used a friend's 110 volt MIG welder before, but it would get warm and shut down after a few minutes of work.

I found a 220 volt MIG welder on Craigslist for $350.  Anything special to look for on a welder?
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Brian Elfert - 1995 Dina Viaggio 1000 Series 60/B500 - 75% done but usable - Minneapolis, MN
cody
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« Reply #4 on: February 05, 2010, 05:33:47 AM »

Yep brian, your crazy, I know cause you own a bus, thats the first sign of the insanity.  On a paper, I think it was called the Gypsy Journal? they had an article on roof raises that had a slick tool shown for holding the window supports in place after they were cut if you wanted to do the raise that way. You had to clamp the tool in place and then made the cut and it had an 'all thread' rod that you turned to raise the roof evenly all around, you had to have the homemade clamp at each cut, maybe someone can find that article ( I can't locate it) and post it as a possible method for those of us inflicted lol.
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jjrbus
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« Reply #5 on: February 05, 2010, 05:55:48 AM »

The big difference between a cheap mig welder and a quality mig welder is duty cycle. A hobbyist does not need a $1000 welder. We just need to let the machine rest during use.  If you are going to be welding together 8 foot sheets of 3/8 in steel all day long, then you need a quality big buck machine. But for small welding jobs an inexpensive 110 volt machine will work fine. I find the 110 volt machine preferable for its portability.

 I would shy away from a machine that is not capable of using gas. Gas makes everything so much easier and produces better welds.

What does the term "duty cycle" mean?

Duty cycle is a welding equipment specification which defines the number of minutes, within a 10 minute period, during which a given welder can safely produce a particular welding current.

For example, a 150 amp. welder with a 30% duty cycle must be "rested" for at least 7 minutes after 3 minutes of continuous welding. (When you are paying an employee for welding, anything less than 100% duty wastes money.)

Failure to carefully observe duty cycle limitations can easily over stress a welder's power generation system contributing to premature welder failure. Many welders do not have internal protection systems that prevent this sort of over stress -- leaving the task to the owner or operator.


Look carefully at welder specifications. Many welding equipment manufacturers will identify a particular welder by its maximum possible power generation capacity, even though that welder may only be able to produce that level of power for a short period of time.

For example, a given welder may be touted as a 200A welder. However, careful reading of the documentation that comes with the unit may show that the welder can only produce this rated power with a 20-30% duty cycle (or even less). There is a huge difference between this welder and another 200A welder that can produce its rated power continuously -- both in work capability, and in long term reliability.

Professional welders understand that almost all welding equipment manufacturers rate their welders using the maximum current that can be produced as the key specification -- not the 100% duty point. So to compensate, a pro will buy a 225-250A welder in order to get the100-150A 100% duty performance that they need to do their work.
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« Reply #6 on: February 05, 2010, 06:57:43 AM »

Brian, the way Cody told you is the way ours was done. I was going to include a picture, but dont remember how to resize a picture.
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Mixed up Dina, ready for the road as of 12/25/2010
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FIRST RALLY ATTENDED: BUSSIN 2011!
cody
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« Reply #7 on: February 05, 2010, 07:08:44 AM »

The reason I brought up that method is because the article detailed it out so well with a lot of pics including the homemade jig that was easily put together but very tough and accurate, it takes the scare factor away for many people that might be concidering a roof raise.
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luvrbus
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« Reply #8 on: February 05, 2010, 08:16:22 AM »

Brian, fwiw  when you get into fiberglass work find a shop that has a chopper gun the cost will be about 1/2 of hand glass work and you will get a better job.



good luck
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belfert
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« Reply #9 on: February 05, 2010, 08:35:33 AM »

Brian, the way Cody told you is the way ours was done. I was going to include a picture, but dont remember how to resize a picture.

I have a number of pictures I took of the welding and stuff in your bus.  Do you have pictures of the roof raise process itself.
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Brian Elfert - 1995 Dina Viaggio 1000 Series 60/B500 - 75% done but usable - Minneapolis, MN
cody
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« Reply #10 on: February 05, 2010, 09:15:19 AM »

Brain, thats why I brought up that article, I can't find the article and was thinking maybe someone else had run across it, it had a lot of pictures and complete detailed instructions of everything they did including building the tool.  I'm thinking that it would be a great source of information for one method of safely and accurately doing the job.
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luvrbus
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« Reply #11 on: February 05, 2010, 09:26:17 AM »

Brian, there are photos on the Eagle board and also Fred has some on Coach Conversion Central



good luck
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ruthi
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« Reply #12 on: February 05, 2010, 09:38:07 AM »

We have a lot of pictures, I will see what all we have.
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Mixed up Dina, ready for the road as of 12/25/2010
Home in middle Georgia, located somewhere in the
southeast most of the time.
FIRST RALLY ATTENDED: BUSSIN 2011!
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« Reply #13 on: February 05, 2010, 09:40:47 AM »

Brian, I'm not sure how the structural is on Dina........but I made the lifts and guides when I did my Prevost, there are photo's at my site......which is at the bottom, take a look and see if those will help you!  Good luck!
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« Reply #14 on: February 05, 2010, 10:02:35 AM »

Regarding the fibreglass work - I'm not familiar with the shape of the Dina caps or where you would propose to add the extra height, but generally speaking fibreglass work is very straightforward indeed as long as you understand the basics - just do some reading on the subject and experiment on some small jobs first. There are various ways your job could be done depending upon the shapes involved - by all means post a photo of your caps so I can get a better idea - but as a guide I would say that fibreglassing is certainly not something to be scared of, and is almost certainly an easier skill to learn than welding for instance (and no equipment to buy either).

Having said all that, fibreglassing is potentially a messy and/or dusty job, especially if you do it wrong, as you will at first - so that might be sufficient motivation for paying someone else to do it if you're half inclined to do so anyway. If talking to bodyshops I would advise not asking about chopper guns - chopper guns are for mass-production fibreglass work using moulds, which is exactly the opposite of the job you are contemplating. Even in production work chopper guns are best avoided - basically a chopper gun is like a paint spray gun that sprays a mixture of resin and very short lengths of fibre onto the mould, which results in a very heavy and stiff but comparitively weak structure. Hand lamination is much slower but allows a much better resin / fibre ratio (more fibre, less resin), and in addition the fibres are much longer - end result is a better laminate in all respects apart from the time it took to make it.

Hope that helps

Jeremy
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