Posted by: Steve and Bethany | January 29, 2009


date; 4/4/10

I’d mentioned earlier that some phases of construction seem to take quite a bit of time without making much visual progress, this wasn’t one of those weekends!

Friday I scheduled with randy to bring the truck to harvest valley specialties to weld together & install the four wall caps & front radius pieces he’d fabricated, it took until almost 6:30 PM until we were done, taking our time getting things just right & fashioning the rear miters with a small 1/2″ radius to match the uhaul rear posts as well as welding on the front radius pieces randy made to the same section as the wall caps, just with a 6″ radius to once again follow the front radius of the uhaul front posts. unfortunately I forgot the camera, so your stuck just seeing the finished product.

the wall cap section

wall caps showing front radius, this completes the wall assembly

the rear wall cap radius bent & fashioned in place to match the uhaul rear post

One thing I had randy’s son Josh make for me with some scrap metal lying around was some clips I came up with in my sleep for putting the roof together. With the wall caps having the 45 degree slope, & the roof edge radius’ being only 1/8″ thick on the bottom, I couldn’t figure out how I was going to hold the four roof edges in place & upright while I riveted everything together. I wanted to build the roof structure in place on top of the bullet so i could get the lengths & widths exact. These clips hold the bottom edge of the roof edges at just the right height & just the right location in relation to the walls for building the roof. They will not be used for anything after the roof is complete, but for now – invaluable for this mostly one man show.

the tops of the walls ready for the roof

the temporary clips

Saturday I got right into wedging the walls tight with the wall caps (as I can’t bolt them to the wall until I know where the roof bolts are so I can line them up) then placing the clips around the four sides , lifting in place the four roof edge radius’, cutting 7″ off the rear width (the front was cut before I had randy weld on the front spotlight bases, & the side length is exactly the same as the uhaul length), temporarily propping up the upper part of the radius’ to exactly the right height, riveting the four corners together with the corner brackets from the uhaul, then cutting 7″ off all the roof ribs & riveting & degabond 54-ing them in place making the roof one cohesive structure. Two of the ribs were moved 1/2″ off layout to allow for two skylights requiring a 14″ rough opening, & the four uhaul roof corner pieces don’t go on untill after the roof sheeting, which is also from the original uhaul. The uhaul I bought had a pretty good roof with only some damage along one side, the radius side piece must have been replaced at some point, but the roof was just flattened down & riveted back into place with lots of caulk. lucky for me, I’m cutting 7″ off the width so this should remove most, if not all of the damaged area, the trick is going to be re-drilling the rivet holes located every 1 1/2″ along the two sides in exactly the right spots to line up with the existing holes in the side radius pieces.

the roof edge radius sitting in place on top of the wall caps

Next will be to raise the roof up, then drop it back down to make sure the width remains where it should be (I might have to do a little ‘manipulating’ here, marking where the roof bolts are & transferring the locations down onto the wall cap,drilling the wall cap bolt holes, raising up the wall cap enough to put degabond 54 inside the joints then drop it down & bolt it back to the wall panels, then cut & install the roof sheeting, set the roof back on, & begin the linear bearing/ lift system installation


I realized after moving the hoist into place & raising up the roof that not only do I need to spread out the roof sides a bit, as the arc of the roof ribs wants to push in the side roof radius pieces at the bottom a bit (like 3/8″), but it will also be important to sheet this on top of the truck to assure not much that I’m square, as that I’m perfectly square with the walls.


This past weekend I raised up the wall cap just enough to squeeze degabond 54 on both the backside of the wall cap & just above the line of the wall cap on the wall panels all the way around the perimeter, dropped the wall cap back down onto the walls squeezing in the degabond 54 for a permanent seal, then permanently riveted the wall cap to the walls with inch long rivets & backup washers. I pulled out the roof sheeting from the uhaul, which I’ve been storing for almost a year, layed it out , cleaned all the caulking from its attachment to the uhaul roof ribs, layed it out up on the bullet roof, lined up the front rivet holes & marked where to cut it on both sides to line up with the new bullet width. i will cut down the width tomorrow then spend the next few nights drilling the rivet holes to line up with the holes on the roof radius pieces, hoping to mount it on the roof on Friday.

wall cap raised up to have degabond 54 squeezed behind the outer lip

the uhaul roof metal, getting cleaned & trimmed for it's new home


The nice thing about a slower economy (especially in the home building field) is you get more time to work on your own projects, ( the only downside is when work picks back up, you feel like it’s taking up your personal time)!  this plus the weather here last week was great.  One nice thing about the design of the uhaul boxes, is that the roof is made up of 1 piece of aluminum 7′ x 14′, with rivets around the edge where it meets the side radius’ but none in the field. The top is held down to the roof ribs with sealant, in this case, degabond 54 (still my favorite caulking of all time!). This leads to much less of a chance for leaks as there are no holes to have to silicone or caulk over. 7′ wide sheets of aluminum are not really available for individual orders (unless you’re a big company with a big order) so keeping this sheet & working with it was the smartest thing I could’ve done. There’s rivets about every 1 1/2″ around the perimeter, so I layed the sheet on the roof on sunday, lined up the front holes with the holes in the front radius piece (middle hole still in the middle) put rivets in the two front corners, pulled the sheet tight & square toward the rear, then marked where to cut it on both sides front & back. (this compensates for any in-descrepancies in square) last monday I brought the roof sheeting over to harvest valley specialties to cut 7″ off the width of the full sheet (roughly 3 1/2″ per side). Monday afternoon I layed the sheet back up on the roof, lined up the front & back holes & put in four rivets, then took the 3 1/2″ wide strips I cut off, layed them over the top of the new ‘edge’, & used them as a template for drilling the new rivet holes to line up perfectly with the existing rivet holes in the side radius pieces. This worked so well I had all 310 rivet holes drilled in about 45 minutes. Tuesday I permanently mounted the sheet up on the roof (@ randy’s shop again) making sure to put a nice bead of caulk around the perimeter & over all the ribs to squish the sheet into. I also had four pieces of aluminum tube welded in between the ribs, to frame out the rough openings for the two skylights, which will be cut out later, as I want to be waterproof for a while.

the next day I cut & cleaned all the dried ‘squished out’ caulking leaving a clean waterproof edge all the way around, the mounted the four corner radius pieces completing the roof assembly (although it is only held there by the temporary clips still) now the outside body shape finally looks complete, minus the lower storage compartment doors.

next in line, the designing & installing the lift system, something I’ve been nervously thinking about for a year now!

completed roof assembly

the completed roof structure ready for sheeting then the four corner pieces



  1. AWESOME!!! I love this thing! Thanks for letting us follow along.


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