I’ve been posed many questions about my ‘nice rack’. The most frequent question I receive is about how I attached it to the bus. I will answer this question as well as go over the process I took to complete the thing.
I started with the all-important side rails. I built them strong as they would be supporting the weight.
I was surprised how cheap it was to buy the metal materials. They were near $1 a foot for the 3/4′ id square tubing. The welder wasn’t anything super expensive either. I picked up a Lincoln Electric wire fed welder at Home Depot for $399. It came with some wire, a not so useful handheld mask, and a brush. I’m sorry, but I’m not going into welding class right now, and probably wouldn’t be a very good teacher anyway.
I built this massive 7 foot by 10 foot beast inside my workshop. A workshop that doesn’t have a 7 foot doorway. So, of course I was unpleasantly surprised when I couldn’t get it out the door. Luckily, we also have a large garage door on our shop. I didn’t want to have to go this route, as it was blocked with heavy shelves, but it was my only choice.
Once outside, I cleaned the bare metal and then primed the whole thing with 2 coats. Then naturally, the black paint came next. Once dried, I had the next problem brewing: lifting the heavy rack up onto the rig. I was alone and I’m a little too self reliant, so of course I couldn’t wait for help to come. I finally got the thing up there after much struggle.
Now for the question of how to mount the whole thing: I had the ceiling bare and decided to use the tops of the ribs as mounting points. Once the unit was on the roof, I got it in place and drilled straight through the rack and into the ribs. Then I simply ran bolts with large washers through both. Once again, I was alone. So I had to be creative with how to be on the roof and also below at the same time. I’m hoping the next photo is self explanatory on how that was achieved.
After everything was mounted, I placed the redwood planks and screwed them in with self tapping screws.
From the photo, you can see that I also welded up a ladder. I attached it with bolts to the rack and again to the rear bumper. You will notice the amazing color changing bus I have throughout these progress photos. 🙂
The final phase was to create and attach the rail system. I made separate sections and bolted them to the existing rack.
I intend to mount the propane tanks, make some seating, and possibly some speakers later on.
I’ve had 8 people on this rack at the same time without failures. So I’m pretty pleased with its functionality and strength.