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Author Topic: How strong is a MC9 roof? Strong enough for a roof deck?  (Read 3664 times)
bowmaga
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« on: May 13, 2008, 07:38:36 PM »

Eventually I am going to build a platform for my roof of my MC9 and wonder how tough it is?  I haven't tried yet, but can you walk across it, as is, stock, without damaging it?  My plan is to build so its not noticeable, or at least not as noticeable.  I'd like to somehow use fiberglass or aluminum for the sides and blend it into the roof so that from the ground you can see any of my roof deck structural.  Can I bolt down to the existing roof framing members?  I have some crazy ideas, like using air bags to lift the platform off the top of the bus 8-12" to give us some more height.  Being that this bus seems to run off diesel and air. I thought why not complicate things with a few more air items.  But I think its possible.  I have the design about done.....just haven't figured out my mounting points on the roof quite yet.  Just starting my thought process.

Greg.
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« Reply #1 on: May 13, 2008, 08:19:49 PM »

Greg, can't answer the roof questions...however please design the ladder to go up there with a lot of safety in mind.
For example, if there will be folks going up there drinking...they have to get down too...if the are old...they have to get up and down it too!  I don't know what the answers are...however I wanted to throw that out.  (Take it from someone that has read a lot of depositions...they can be your best friend...however if they get hurt...)

Jack

PS...I had to get on out S&S last fall to put the cover on...it is only 10 feet off the ground and it was scary!
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« Reply #2 on: May 13, 2008, 08:52:24 PM »

You could do the polka with a herd of elephants on an mc9.
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« Reply #3 on: May 13, 2008, 10:37:30 PM »

The owner of R&M Fiberglass (they make the bus caps) has or had a MCI 9 with a roof platform on his bus and had made fiberglass parapets on each side of the bus that had a lip on it for the platform deck to sit on. Maybe phone and see if they have a kit.
Ron
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« Reply #4 on: May 14, 2008, 12:01:25 AM »

There is a ladder that folds up close to the ceiling.  It looks to be a mere 3 inches thick when up but is 5 inches wide when down and it has steps that look to be 4 inches wide.  There is a hatch at the top when you lower the ladder.  One of the slickest things I have ever seen.  It is on Gumpy Dogs site or one of the other elaborate bus conversion history pages.  Sure hope someone chimes in and gives you the correct address.

HTH eventually,

John
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« Reply #5 on: May 14, 2008, 01:27:48 AM »

There is a ladder that folds up close to the ceiling.  It looks to be a mere 3 inches thick when up but is 5 inches wide when down and it has steps that look to be 4 inches wide.  There is a hatch at the top when you lower the ladder.  One of the slickest things I have ever seen.  It is on Gumpy Dogs site or one of the other elaborate bus conversion history pages.  Sure hope someone chimes in and gives you the correct address.

HTH eventually,

John

I'd be interested in knowing more about that ladder, as I am currently thinking about the design for one for my bus. I had given up on the idea of a roof deck ages ago, as there was nowhere to put the ladder that wouldn't always be in the way when it was down - but then I realised quite recently that I can have one right at the front of the bus, facing the main entrance door and immediately beside the driver's seat in such a way that it ideally positioned and yet doesn't consume any usable space at all. Even the roof beams are perfectly positioned to facilitate a roof hatch there, and when not being used the ladder can fold up into the space between the ceiling and the front cap (the way my roof was raised is such that the roof over the driver was left unchanged, but there will in due course be a fibreglass cap above it).

As far as the strength of the roof is concerned, I'm such the structure of the roof on most, if not all, buses is strong enough, but mine for one is only covered with a thin aluminium skin which would certainly dent if you walked about on it

Jeremy
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« Reply #6 on: May 14, 2008, 04:56:44 AM »

Of course there will be drinking!!!!  Is there anything else to do on top of a bus?  As for safety....I can't really do much more than a ladder, as on all the busses.  We had good railing around the skoolie platform, so when you got to the top, you had something good and strong to pull yourself up.  We plan to do the same here, but the railing will be a fold up type deal, and safety pins to bolt in place while up and to lock down for travel.  The ladder i was considering a 2 piece deal that could be removed and stored.  A bottom 5'-6' section that had flange cups bolted to the bus, and then the ladder slid into these flanges and safety pinned in.  Same with the top section, but it could be mounted to the top and along with a spot in the rear.  That way its not mounted on permanently...part of the camouflage of the roof deck.  I never thought about going up through the inside....interesting.  I'd like more info on that for sure.  If anyone else has any pictures of their roof platform or info on ideas...again, I like options and other peoples thoughts.

thanks, Greg.
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Greg Bowman
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« Reply #7 on: May 14, 2008, 06:15:51 AM »

I think if I was taking on a project like yours, I would be inclined to build it out of the 80/20 extruded aluminum stuff.  (See link:    http://www.8020.net/      ).   Being aluminum, the stuff is strong, lightweight, good looking, and weatherproof.  Not necessarily cheap, however.  It is easy to work with, and with all the different parts they offer, you have lots of flexibility. 

I've thought about using it to organize my storage bays, possibly with a slide out.  I've also considered redoing my holding tanks, and the 80/20 stuff would be used for the support frame.

Not to hyjack the thread, but have any of you guys ever used 80/20 as part of a bus project?
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« Reply #8 on: May 14, 2008, 10:52:22 AM »

something like this? it was very strong...all Aluminum, had fold up railings and a collapsable aluminum ladder that was kept in a baggage compt.
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bowmaga
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« Reply #9 on: May 14, 2008, 12:13:50 PM »

that's a possibility, but mine is going to be longer...much longer...like 26'.  My first thought before I got the bus is that's how i was going to do it.  Straight up from the top of the windows with flat structural that i could cover with fiberglass or aluminum.  It may still be the way i have to go.  I started thinking that something 4' wide down the center of the bus would look nicer on top of the bus.  Then i could take fiberglass and curve it down to the roof and over to the sides.  Just a lot of different thoughts and ideas.  I'm just not sure how this would look from the back of the bus forward.  I was hoping to make it not look to hillbilly.....even though I'm a hillbilly.
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Greg Bowman
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« Reply #10 on: May 14, 2008, 12:29:14 PM »

wiht the relatively flat roof of a 9 I think you could go to 7' wide then fiberglass al sheet metal down to the windows to blend it.

fron t you just bland in at a moderate angle the back you coule leave open and dhave some cool lightening holes on the rearmost crossmember

the ladder can be easly made to be collapsable/disassemble and assemble with pins
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« Reply #11 on: May 14, 2008, 12:39:08 PM »

Don't forget to plan for air conditoners, antennas, vent stacks, roof vents etc under that deck!

Good luck with a cool idea!
Glenn
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« Reply #12 on: May 14, 2008, 01:19:21 PM »

All of the same answers plus do not forget to include some way of employing a sturdy waist high (or higher) railing/falling off restraint that will sorta prevent very happy "roofers" from falling off the roof.  Smiley Smiley Smiley
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Dreamscape
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« Reply #13 on: May 14, 2008, 05:30:39 PM »

I saw Craigs ladder a couple of months ago, it's pretty neat.

I'm not sure where it is located on his web site.

Here is the link, http://www.gumpydog.com/bus/

I also have a picture of the MCI that Richard from R&M Fiberglass built, not sure if is shows what you are looking for. If it's there, you can't tell from the ground. I think I remember a ladder from the inside in the bedroom, not sure though.



Good Luck,

Paul
« Last Edit: May 14, 2008, 05:37:29 PM by Dreamscape » Logged
bowmaga
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« Reply #14 on: May 14, 2008, 06:26:28 PM »

now that's what I'm talking about....that r & m bus is somewhat what my first idea was but I didn't think it would look very good.  I just changed my mind.  I'm pretty sure, mine is not going to look that nice....one - I don't own my own fiberglass company....and two, I probably can't afford to make it look that nice....but I will make a damn good attempt at it.  We need a platform for the races, cause we camp in the infield, and there is nothing better than watching the race from on top of your own bus.  Plenty of room, beer, food and easy access to the bathroom.  With the coach bus being a foot taller than our skoolie, it will be even better.  At MIS we are in turn two and can basically see the entire track while they are racing except when the dive into turn four and then new granstands behind the pits block the front straightaway.  This height will make it much nicer and if i can fab up the air bag system, will get maybe another foot higher.  What i like about that R & M, is that i can put a platform that raised entirely inside that outer skin around the top and have it raise out of it.  if that outer parapet was 6" higher than the platform, it would hide all the fold down railing and everything.  I'm going to try to find as much out about that bus as I can.  I see he had is for sale....I wonder if it sold and where it went.  Here's are plan....might lose the flames...but they look good on paper...although we had her going 75 this past weekend, so the flames might stay!!!
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Greg Bowman
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« Reply #15 on: May 14, 2008, 06:38:59 PM »

I'm pretty sure he still has the bus. Give him a call, he is very willing to share information.

http://www.rm-fiberglass.com/

The picture was taken about one month ago when I was in the area on business and purchased a breastplate for our Eagle.

They are located in Turner OR, just outside of Salem.

Paul
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« Reply #16 on: May 14, 2008, 07:15:10 PM »

Greg, I looked at a Newel (not sure of spelling) bus or motor home. They put an electric awning on, above the roof ( not sure how well it worked up there). They then installed the front panel of the awning the rest of the way back and the entire other side. The front and rear caps had air foils of sorts. This all hid the roof airs and everything else. It looked good from ground and odd from a ladder. Interesting idea how they made it look like awnings all around.  Hope this helps.  Tom Y
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Tom Yaegle
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« Reply #17 on: May 15, 2008, 09:35:06 PM »

As the owner of a MCI-9, I don't believe the roof was design to take the extra weight of 3,4,5,6 people.  It's one thing for one person to move around a little up there.  A whole different story to be camped out on the roof.  It may work for awhile, but over time, I believe you will have problems.  I thought about it building a roof deck, but ruled it out.

My two cents,

Bill
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« Reply #18 on: May 16, 2008, 05:12:42 AM »

well aren't you just a bearer of bad news this morning.  I would agree with you if we were just going to pile up there on the existing roof and nothing else.  In my preliminary plans and thinking, I think we would have to definitely go up from the sides with flat structural to the highest point in the middle of the roof.  Then span from side to side, over top the original roof cross members, then we could deck it.  I think if we stayed on top and also fastened to the original bus skeleton....we should be OK.  We all won't be standing in the same place.  I hope...cause this is most likely going to happen.  I guess i will keep everyone posted on what happens.  This won't happen till towards the end of summer.  We have a lot to get done....bus is still gutted, but slowly going back together.

Thanks for the input....I like it positive or negative!
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Greg Bowman
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« Reply #19 on: May 16, 2008, 05:54:23 AM »

    If you make the deck a couple inches above the OEM roof, this will help prevent the OEM roof from absorbing the radiant heat from the sun (similar to the double roof used on the Saudi MCIs). This will help with cooling.  As long as the deck framework is attached to the structural members of the bus, I can't see any problems.  Jack
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« Reply #20 on: May 17, 2008, 06:01:43 AM »

Bowmaga,

Will have to agree with your plan, as your describe it.  As long as your not resting on the roof itself, you should be in good shape.  Beaware of heat transfere to the bus.  Of course you are creating your on roofover....

Are you off to the races with this platform?

Bill
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« Reply #21 on: May 17, 2008, 06:33:11 AM »

Yes sir, we are off to the races....but I won't have the platform done until the later part of the year.  On my skoolie we attached uprights up the side of the bus between windows...then spanned accross from side to side over top the roof structural.  I will probably do the same with the coach but do something less noticiable on the sides. I put a rubber "puck" under the side to side deck structural as a buffer bewteen the bus roof and the new deck.  One to keep it quiet and two so it didn't rub the roof of the bus.  We used exterior plywood and painted it white, and it was ok, but this tume I think i will deck it with plywood, then cover it with 3/4" ridgid insualtion and then cover that with white rv rubber roofing.  Should hold up and look good for a long time doing that.  I can get that rubber rofing in 8'6" wide stuff x 40' long so it will work perfect.  All jnust a thought process now, have to get the bus interior done first. 

We go to Michigan Internation Raceway in june and august, and with this girl, will hopefully start heading to Bristol, Indy and Pocono.

I thought i already posted what i said above...i must have either been dreaming or drunk....  off to work on the bus...work work work...can't wait to start playing.
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Greg Bowman
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« Reply #22 on: May 17, 2008, 06:45:41 AM »

LOL,  you may have posted it, I may have missed it.  We went to Phoenix a couple years ago to the track their.  Couldn't beleive the 4000 RV there.  It was really wild, and a lot of fun.  We go to Daytona, but not in the bus.  They charge way to much to park at the track.  Sebring is not far away, but missed it this year.

Have fun, like your game plan......

Bill
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« Reply #23 on: May 17, 2008, 08:28:35 AM »

We go to Daytona, but not in the bus.  They charge way to much to park at the track.  Sebring is not far away, but missed it this year.


The way you can get your RV into Daytona for free, for the 24-hour sports car race there, is to become a SCCA licensed Corner Worker. I have made the trip several times with some friends here in NC. RTS-Pete's son makes the trip almost every year. We usually park by the Turn 5 gate because we work at turn 5. Go figure!

The SCCA has numerous races throughout the year in Florida. Flagging is a great way to see the racing from up close, and the teams and drivers pretty much love flaggers.

This is how close I mean:



I took that picture at VIRginia International Raceway about three seasons ago. I was no more than 10 feet from the car at the time. Close enough for ya?  Cheesy Cheesy Cheesy Oh, and the driver of that car, Milka Duno, She likes flaggers:



If I get off my butt and get our 4103 fixed and prepped, my wife and I may make the trip to Daytona for the 2009 Rolex race...

- John
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« Reply #24 on: May 18, 2008, 05:19:53 AM »

All I can say to that is.....

                    YOU THE MAN  Grin


Bill
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« Reply #25 on: May 18, 2008, 07:28:52 AM »

Yes sir, we are off to the races....but I won't have the platform done until the later part of the year.  On my skoolie we attached uprights up the side of the bus between windows...then spanned accross from side to side over top the roof structural.  I will probably do the same with the coach but do something less noticiable on the sides. I put a rubber "puck" under the side to side deck structural as a buffer bewteen the bus roof and the new deck.  One to keep it quiet and two so it didn't rub the roof of the bus.  We used exterior plywood and painted it white, and it was ok, but this tume I think i will deck it with plywood, then cover it with 3/4" ridgid insualtion and then cover that with white rv rubber roofing.  Should hold up and look good for a long time doing that.  I can get that rubber rofing in 8'6" wide stuff x 40' long so it will work perfect.  All jnust a thought process now, have to get the bus interior done first. 

We go to Michigan Internation Raceway in june and august, and with this girl, will hopefully start heading to Bristol, Indy and Pocono.

I thought i already posted what i said above...i must have either been dreaming or drunk....  off to work on the bus...work work work...can't wait to start playing.


When I was first looking at buses, someone foam insulated the roof then skinned down to the gutter, (to insulate and not lose head room.  I like how the foam is light and spreads the load across the roof of the bus.

What if you just added a foot of insulation and skinned it,  Like SIP's,  wouldn't need air bags then. and it would be light and easy to work.  you could even sink cooler Wink,  would have serious roof insulation,  easy to make those curves

Also look to the boat building industry for how they use foam.  May help playtime be sooner.

also Check ouy seans http://OurOdyssey.BlogSpot.com  It's quite enviable.
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« Reply #26 on: May 18, 2008, 08:24:11 AM »

I thnk the fold down ladder alluded to by JohnEd is probably mine, since I'm not aware of any other fold down ladder on a bus. It's still not complete, and neither is the web page. I only have about 3 steps on it so far, but it's coming along. I think it's going to work ok when it's done, though I may have put the steps too close together.

There are some photos of the preliminary construction at http://www.gumpydog.com/bus/MC9_WIP/Structural/Roof_Access_Hatch/roof_access_hatch.htm

craig
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« Reply #27 on: May 18, 2008, 08:37:55 AM »

Somewhere, long long ago, and far far away, I saw a factory built PD4104 that I was told had been built for one of the executives of the PTB's. It was an excellent conversion, but the most interesting part was the spiral staircase going up to the roof deck.

Does anyone have any pictures or a link or information on this particular coach?

Just a though for something different.

DF
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« Reply #28 on: May 18, 2008, 07:14:35 PM »

I know a guy through my business that spray existing foams roofs w/ white foam insulation.  I would have never thought about doing something like that.  I will look into the possibilities and keep you everyone posted.   The reason for the airbags was to gain and extra possible foot of height without adding a foot of height to the bus permanently.  And technically the rules at MIS are that you are not a load a permanent deck more than 8" or something about the bus roof.  My guess is for sight reasons....or there would be that guy with a bus who had a deck 6' above his bus...  The air bags would give us a foot and then drop down fro travel and access into my future barn without a 13' door.

One crazy idea we got...I'm sure after a 10 hour day of drinking at nascar, was to purchase or find a big foot hydraulic jack system to mount under the bus and just lift the whole thing a couple feet.  We found a system but its cost was close to 20k....and it didn't seem to be worth 20k to lift a 5k skoolie!  But I had some plans drawn up for it!

I'm concerned about the skinning process....I have never worked with aluminum or fiberglass skin material and hope whatever i do looks good.
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Greg Bowman
1979 MCI MC9
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