Bus Build: Roof Rails, Windows and more for our Bus Conversion – S03E38

We were finally able to complete securing our roof rails to the roof just before the cold and wet season began.  We had installed bolts into the roof a few months ago to hold our roof rails but were not able to secure the rails down at that time. Read the details of our method and links to the bolts, washers and nuts used in the blog for Episode 28.

Now we just needed to secure our unistrut channels down to the roof and connect each channel with a bracket.

First step we took was to place a grade 8 zinc washer on top of every bolt coming through the roof and then place the unistrut channel on top of them.  We connected the unistruts first before securing them down to the bolts.

We placed a unistrut spring nut on either end of the channels that needed to be connected, then the flat 2 hole bracket on top of that. The wonderful thing about using a unistrut system is that it’s a flexible system with all the fittings you need.  We somehow walked out the store without the bolts to secure the brackets down.  We luckily found just enough bolts in the garage that worked out just great, and added another washer between the bracket and the bolt.

After tightening the bolts down that connect the channels, we then placed another washer and lock nut on top of the bolts coming through the bus beams and tightened those down.  We like the simplicity of the unistrut system and how easy it will be to secure solar panels and a roof deck to these.

We continued installing our RV Windows and refining our process.  Be sure to read our previous blog for the details on our window install.  We did try using a more expensive hole saw blade with a carbide tip.  However, it too only lasted for 4 cuts (one window).  So we went back to using the Masterforce Hole Saw, the only difference is we started using a 5” Hole Saw and cutting 2 holes for each corner.  It’s best to watch the video to visually see how that worked, but with 2 circles creating the corner we were able to begin the cut with the sawzall/reciprocating saw much easier.

We unfortunately learned the hard way that it is best to cover your windows up when grinding down metal.  We have not had any issues in the past, but we did run into a problem when Don was smoothing down the edges of the hole he had just cut, shards of metal flew into the window opposite him.  They are tiny shards but they have left little scratches in one window, so we are considering replacing it.

We had just one window left to install, but were beginning to change our mind about the idea of turning the  roadside window upside to become a curbside window.  Many people do this, they just close up the weep holes on the top and create new ones on the bottom, but we were feeling concerned about it as it is an emergency exit which would open upside down.  So we decided to keep looking for a replacement window.


Up Next
We find and install our last window and begin the exciting task of appliance shopping, making it all feel like it’s coming together.

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Unistrut Channel
12 Gauge Slotted Strut Channel, is commonly used for trapeze supports, electrical supports, conduit, pipe, duct and cable tray supports, racks, and other general framing

3/8" Grade 8 Zinc Washer
This washer sits between the bolt and nut (going through the roof) and the unistrut channel, and then again between the unistrut channel and the lock nut.

3/8"-16 Grade 8 Zinc Nylon Insert Lock Nut
We used these to secure our unistrut channel to the bolts going through the roof beams of the bus.

Unistrut 3/8" Spring Nut
We used these Spring Nuts to connect the end of our unistrut channels

Unistrut 1/2" Flat 2 Hole Bracket
We used these brackets to connect the end of the end of our unistrut channels

By Mela & Don

Mela and Don are sharing their journey as they make conscious decisions to live a more healthy, environmentally friendly life together.

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