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ROOF LIFT

THE ROOF LIFT:

Our roof lift went somewhat differently to others, as the whole steel structure of the roof was removed. This happened because of a couple of reasons, it was easiest if our fibreglasser had the steel roof structure at his place to match it to his many moulds for horse float rooves. But mainly, as we had to remove all the roof supporting structure, it was safer to have it out of the way,rather than suspended above and in the way of the work. This is not recommended unless you have such rust problems that you have to remove the supporting structure for replacement. These older monocoque built coaches have a ladder type of arrangement under the windows, usually about 600 mm high that keeps the front and rear modules in plane. The front and rear modules can be and often are built in different sections of the factory, brought together and then these side sections added. The large chassis members on either side of the walkway are not designed to keep the 2 modules in plane, unless substantially reinforced as we have done. So, if yours are substantially degraded by rust, they need repair.

You can see by the pics that the steel roof section grew a set of wheels, this was just for easier manouvering in the fibreglass factory. It is very important before lifting a roof that the coach is blocked substantially underneath as you are removing one of the structural elements from the mix for a time. It is also important to work safely, if it slips it will not stop until it hits/damages/kills something substantial. We were lucky that on the farm we have 3 forklifts and a set of extended forks so it was reasonably easy for us to get the roof where we wanted it, but even then it was done slowly and carefully. Start out with a level coach or your marks do not mean much. Use a plumb bob to establish data points. Work out how you are going to actually lift the weight well in advance, something as simple as 4 or 6 car bumper jacks from the wreckers have been used. Use you tube for ideas.

FRAME REPAIR

THE VERY DAUNTING FRAME REPAIR ON VP:

Should be called rust repair maybe, instead of frame repair ?

Anyway, if you buy one of these old coaches you should be prepared to do some frame repair as they were built from steel and over the years and sometimes millions of kilometres of body flexing, moisture can get in and start it’s silent but deadly work. We were at the extreme end of the scale which took some time to repair but we know now what we have and are happy with the result. Of course we also saved tens of thousands in the purchase price which was probably the only thing that got the project past the book keeper !!

One thing that we were fortunate in though is that we were able to build ourselves a shed to do the conversion in. I simply do not know if we could have completed this amount of repair, if we had to do the job in the harsh sun, or in rain. It was a simple greenhouse construction with a shade screen for the hot days and it allowed the work to continue, no matter the weather. I take my hat off to those that do a conversion, even without major repair, in the open, even more so if there is big stuff to do as well.

Anyway it is all done now and VP is being used for what she was intended, short trips of up to a month so far, but we are only home a few days and are wanting to go again. If we can unload the business soon they will become way longer !

I am not going to replicate the text of the old website,  each picture is captioned and the gallery tells a story I think. Enjoy.