Bus Conversion: Lifting the roof

Making use of our forklift to hold the beam whilst Rob checks the level
Rob is really starting to knuckle into the job. The area around the bus is a mess with seats out, a lot of the foam insulation that was in the roof is out, windows were loosen and then removed and all these other bits and pieces are lying around. Though it is starting to look like a wreckers yard, I just have to put up with it for the duration. Neither of us are tidy people while we are in the midst of a project unfortunately! Rob is disappointed to note that there is more rust than was first evident but I suppose that is to be expected in a 26 year old bus. He also comments that the foam in the roof is a terrible insulator as it is like a sponge and holds the water if any leaks occur and causes the rust to accelerate which is what we noticed in a few areas as he starts to pull it all out.

One of the roof supports is in place

He hired some scaffolding for $340 a week. He also hired these winding props for lifting the roof  and sets it all up. He then proceeds to cut the roof with an side cutter, however the wind picks up & the gusts of strong winds more or less continues all day long, which makes it unsafe to proceed with raising the roof. Obviously this is very frustrating, but it is not worth jeopardizing the job or Rob's safety.

You can see the tines of the forklift holding up the beams
Thankfully the next day the wind has died down and he is able to proceed. He lifts the roof 250mm (around 9 inches). Dean and I are on hand to help lift the beams into place. We make use of the forklift to hold each beam as we jockey it into just the right spot so that Rob can clamp it in preparation to start welding it in place. This takes us half a day. We would be finding it very hard if we didn't have the forklift to help us.

Dean is bracing the beams
Now the really fiddly bit starts: filling the gap above the driver's window. Rob starts by using polystyrene blocks and roughly cutting them to fill the hole left by raising the roof.
He had been advised to cover the polystyrene with plastic cling wrap to prevent the fibreglass resin from eating into it but this didn't stop it so I suggested using Al Foil, which works like a charm.

The roof has been lifted & beams in place

The next stage is coating the shape with layers and layers of fibreglass & resin. It is both smelly and messy and a long tedious & boring job. It takes him a day and a half with a few short breaks to let it harden a bit (& the chance to have a well earned cuppa & escape the smell for a bit.)

Rob getting stuck into the fibre glassing

After adding a little bit of bog to fill in the little hollows etc, he now has to sand it all back as seen in the next 2 photos, before giving it a few of coats of  'Flowcoat'. Whilst waiting for it to dry, he starts on dismantling the scaffolding and returns it.

Then he rigs up a mini mobile scaffold on the back of the ute. It looks rough but it is strong as there is no way, Rob would take a chance on falling and breaking a leg or worst. This mobile scaffold is what he will use around the outside of the bus as he works on the higher aspects of which there is much more to do!

The finished fibre glassed front

Now to repeat it all for the back!

We have ordered the slide-out mechanisms, windows and the Captains' chairs.


  1. hi this is looking good
    can you give any clues where the most reasonable places are to find a slide mechanism in oz as i have just bought an old 5th wheeler and want to fit a slide out room
    regards ray w


    1. We are ordering our slideout echanisms direct from America. It is a new design, so I certainly can not vouch for it at this stage.

    2. Hi Michelle. we are Fuso owners also and have a MK595J92029. We are trying to track down a Manual for it.
      Ray & Narelle Browne ACT

    3. Sorry I can't help you. We do not have a manual either.

  2. Hi Guys im in perth .. looks like you are or where? Im about to lkft oir fuso can i pick your brains to satisfy my nerves?

    1. Sorry I didn't see this comment earlier. Maybe you don't need us so much now but I am happy for you to contact us. robbiebago@gmail.com. If you are on facebook there are a couple of support groups there eg Old Bus Motorhomes Australia that might be helpful too!


Thank you so much for popping by, I appreciate your comments!