Saturday, 25 January 2014


Two blog posts in one day! Excellent.

We planned to compound the paint and polish the bus but didn't end up doing that.

Instead we attached the awning.

The first step was to find some 3mm thick metal plates to attach the awning to, behind the wall and roof panels. The awning instructions and websites recommend using ply wood but the engineer wanted 3mm, painted steel which had at least 20mm around the awning bolts AND adhered to the panel with Sikaflex flexible adhesive. Apparently awnings blow off sometimes... but this one won't!

We found these at Bunnings:
 It has the awning bracket sitting on it and a ruler, to show the engineer. This is what is called a 'fishplate' used for joining two pieces of framing for those steel framed houses. It will do the trick I hope!

Here it is painted, Sikaflexed and with the high tensile bolts through it. If you look to the right of the picture, you can see the hole and rivnut we added to hold on the sail channel (that is the groove thing that you thread the awning onto). The rivnut gun was about $100 on eBay and it sets special little bolts into the panels, kinda like a rivet, but with a thread inside it. Here is the link to the rivnut gun:

The bottom awning bracket. This also has a fishplate behind it.
Top bracket and a fly inspecting our handiwork.
 A bit hard to see but this is the sailrail attached. It is bolted and rivnutted and also has some self tapping screws for extra stability.
Add a little silicone based lube along the sailrail so the awning slides through.

The finished product. I'm so, so happy! Doesn't look much like a school bus now!

Edited to add: I'm not sure if I said in an earlier post or not but the awning is a Carefree brand manual awning with short, curved hardware (to compensate for the curve in the bus and the gutter channel which runs along the top of the windows). It is 14' long and the colour is 'Silver Fade'. If you order one of these awnings, be sure to order the hardware and the sail rail too, as they are sold separately. The awning fabric is actually a little shorter than 14' (I think around 10" shorter. You can see that in the pictures, you measure the awning length you need from one centre point of the bracket/leg to the other). You need to order a sail rail which is at least 10cm longer than the fabric on each end.

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