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Old 03-23-2016, 11:25 AM   #1
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Installing Raised Roof

Ok, so after searching the internet trying to find out how to install a raised roof and coming up with nothing I went into this project blind. I picked up a raised roof out of a 2006 Ambulance for my 2003 E350. The wrecker cut off the roof just below the rain gutter which was great for a couple reasons. I needed to patch and replace some rust in my rain gutter and I could see/take measurements of the original roof install.
The project began with patching lighting holes in the fiberglass of the roof. I didnt take any pictures and wont bore you with those details. Put in some backing, patch the holes, sand, patch sand, skim coat of bondo, final sand and then paint. After the prep on the roof was completed it was time to install the roof.
Unloading the roof from my van:


Cutting out the roof, following the previous roof we cut (my friend a journeyman welder helped me out) 2 1/2" back from the rain gutter and 4" back from the windshield. Leaving the rear corners/windshield how they are stock. Then slitting the sheet metal just above the rain gutter to allow the sides to fold up so they can be drilled and riveted to the fiberglass roof.

Windshield detail:

A slit was cut just like the sides to fold up the sheet metal after the corner in the rear:

Welding in the roll cage:

After the roll cage was tacked in place we lifted the top on to do a test fit. All was well. Let the welding begin. Welding is completed and rain gutter fixed now its time to rivet. We worked here in 3' foot sections, filling the gap between the sheet metal and the fiberglass roof with Sikaflex sealant the rear corners and the windshield got Butyl putty as well. There was some difficulty with the front of the fiberglass roof. It seamed to be bowing and we couldn't get it to lye flat over the windshield. Figured out it was because the van was not level. So we leveled it out, the roof sucked flat and we carried on. I threw some PL on the inside just to make sure there was a good bond.

After all the rivets were completed, the trim was installed and everything was sealed the top was complete:


I have a couple more lights on order for the side under the awning. Now I have to reinstall my solar panel, fantastic fan and vents. Modify/weld up my roof rack and a mount for the Maxtrax. Plus a couple more exterior LED lights. Then Ill be moving on to the inside.
Just wanted to throw this up if anyone was wondering how to do a raised roof install and has not been able to find information. The install was really simple. If I did not have to fix my rain gutter it would have only taken a day. Standing height now in the van is about 5'10" with my 1/2 wood floor. I'm 5'9" so it works for me!
Ill update with some more pictures once I complete the exterior.
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Old 03-23-2016, 03:39 PM   #2
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Nice roof!

Looks like great weather wherever you are.
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Old 03-24-2016, 07:06 AM   #3
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Wow great work! Now I want to find an ambulance top!

FWIW - most raised roof are far more simple.... Only ambulances and wheelchair vans are required to have the built-in roll cage. Recreational raised roof are simply screwed or bonded around the perimeter, with no structure inside the raised roof.
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Old 03-24-2016, 03:26 PM   #4
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Definitely carringb. The roll cage over head and for the passanger that will ocasionaly be in the back is I think it's definitely an added benifit. Doesn't weigh much more and will make solid mounting points for my roof rack.
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