I realized right away that my baseball cap was scraping the roof as I walked around inside. A quick check verified that as soon as I added some flooring I would be vertically challenged! I considered every option including living with it until I at last came to the realization that the roof was going to have to be raised!
First the windows came out, four screws and a little prying with a screwdriver and they came right out. It helped to have someone inside prying and someone outside to pull (and sometimes catch) :o) I will not be using these windows again though as I have decided to go with larger motor home style windows with screens.
Next, I went after the rivets around the rear cap using every tool in the box before I was done! The job took much longer than I had expected. I ground, chiseled, drilled and torched my way around the cap. Eventually I was able to loosen the rear cap while leaving the framing around the rear door intact.
A chop saw is the only way to go on this next step, I got a reconditioned unit from a tool catalog for $150.00. After settling on a six inch boost in head room, I cut the twenty pieces of box iron (1 1/2" x 1/16") I would need to weld into the window posts. Cutting the posts themselves was accomplished by mounting the chop saw to each post, these cuts must all be square and the pieces that are to be welded in must also be square and uniform in size.
Starting at the rear of the bus with a chop saw on the window post and jig made to accommodate a set of camper jacks on the previous post,I unweighting each post as I went along , this helps to avoid binding the blade of the saw. If you don't have camper jacks, you probably know somebody who does, borrow them! You can substitute with bumper jacks, but they are less stable and harder to work with. C clamps and bar stock were attached to each cut post in such a way as to provide temporary support and guidance for a safer and more stable lift. Note that the two lower clamps are tight and the single upper is slightly loosened during the actual lifting.
The last obstacle before the lift was to make the final cuts on the front cap. We chose to cut the post right above the window, we removed the side windows and made the cut with a reciprocating saw. It seemed to be an easier task to fabricate a new piece to frame in the window than to leave the front cap in place, cut the roof behind the cap and step up the roof from there. The new frame piece will be welded in above and on the sides with the bottom slipping down into the rubber window seal. This will be detailed later in the skinning segment.
Now we were clear to lift, some careful attention was needed to keep the windshield in place during the first inches. Once we cleared the window, the lift went quickly and easily. We welded in our 6 inch box iron pieces with a wire feed welder.It is important to start at one end and work your way to the other so that you can use the jacks to lift and lower the roof as needed to fit each piece in. It was a lot of work to this point but it really felt good to walk around inside without sensing the roof 1/4 above my head! That ominous feeling I was having that I needed to duck or crouch was relieved, it felt great! J
So this is how the routine went to this point.