School Bus Raise the Roof Farm Jacks Contraption

School Bus Raise the Roof Farm Jacks Contraption

Hi guys! So in this post were going over what I used to lift the roof of the school bus. This step took longer than I wanted. Most of the time I spent was either looking for ideas on how to accomplish this, or trying to line up people that would be able to help me out. This whole process took about two months, a lot longer than I expected. But I am glad that I took my time researching and thinking things through. I knew that if I didn’t do this right the first time it would give me a whole bunch of problems down the line.

The Video

Farm Jacks & the Technique I Used

As I scoured the internet and look for different ideas, I ran into a couple of other people that have attempted to do this. There were different methods people used and it was all over the place from trailer jacks to brute force. But one idea that I came across that seemed the most viable option of accomplishing this with as little complications as possible was to use of farm jacks. When I did more research on the viability of using farm jacks for this process, I ran into a particular gentleman that stood out from the rest. He built something that would allow him to attach the jacks to the bus, giving it more stability while raising the roof of the bus.
farm jack for school bus

The Contraption I Built to Raise the Roof

The idea of attaching the jacks to the bus seem like the most doable option to me, not to say that any of the other methods wouldn’t have worked, but for me, it was the most approachable. The use of heavy-duty jacks secured to the bus gave me the stability and the safety that I was looking for. The fact that I was able to do this by myself and I felt safe doing it was awesome. If I had to do this again I will use this method without hesitation.

The way it worked is that I attached the farm jack contraption to the pillars of the bus. Then I cut the pillars of the bus with a plasma torch. Then I proceeded to jack up the bus’ roof, two clicks at a time, alternating from the front of the bus to the back of the bus. This whole process went without a hitch. It was also fairly easy to build and it wasn’t too expensive. The whole thing must’ve cost me about $300 dollars.

Measurements for the Farm Jack School Bus Roof Raising Tool

Here are some measurements for the contraption that I built. Now, these measurements might be different for your bus depending on the year and model of your school bus so be sure to measure everything on your own bus before cutting or attaching anything.

The Measurements

The shaft

  • 4 Square Tube 1×1 4’
  • 1 Square Tube 1×1 2”
  • 1 flat bar 1/8 X 1-1/2 5”
  • 2 flat bar 1/8 X 1-1/2 3’
shaft Jack mersments

The bracket

  • 2 Square Tube 2×2 5”
  • 3 flat bar 1/8 X 1-1/2 9”
  • 2 Square Tube 1×1 3”
  • 2 Angle 1×1 18”
lower bracket mersments


  1. Mike C says


    Great video Found your page while cruising the net looking for RV conversion stuff. That’s a big job, no?

    Anyhow, I am sort of in the neighborhood. Lauderdale to be exact. Early retired, with a bad back and bored out of my mind. If you need an extra set of hands, let me know.

    Also if you are interested: I have a few reading and writing skills books for grades K-2. 5 books total, plus a set of word flash cards. I have them because I have been helping a new arrival -from China, learn the basics.

    So, if nothing else: Keep the faith bro, and take it easy in this heat.

    • says

      Thanks for your comment. Sorry for taking so long to reply. I was on a cross-country vacation with my family and we just got back yesterday. Yes, it is a big job, but I’m trying to tackle this big job little by little. I am hoping that by next summer I will be able to finish the conversion. I will keep you in mind for the next time I need an extra pair of hands thanks for offering. Also, as far as the books go, I think for the most part, we have most of the books required for this school year. My wife has been preparing for the school year and has been picking up books here and there over the past couple of months.

  2. Ryan Hickman says

    I just started on my 1999 Thomas rear pusher today 40ft …. I bought it about 2 months ago from Polk County schools in Florida and on the way back to Lauderdale a wrist pin came off and started knocking …. Needless to say I bought a bad one … How ever I will be attempting an in frame overhaul …. 🙁 Today was the first day of work on the bus … I removed all the seats in alittle under 3 hours … Im so glad to be on my way to getting this done ! Are you in Lauderdale ? If so since we have the same bus I would love to see your progress ! ? Perhaps Borrow your lifting mechanism haha Kind of a one time use right ? lol Im really interested in your slide outs and cant wait to see how you do that !

    Email me @ [email protected]

    Thanks for posting

    • says

      Hi Ryan, thank you for posting and I’m sorry to hear that you seem to have gotten a lemon. We’re located in Homestead, so not too far. Maybe soon we can hook up an exchange some notes. Also, when it comes time to lift your roof and if we still have these jacks I don’t think it would be a problem to lend them to you for a bit. I will love to hear your progress on the bus. So if you can keep me updated.

  3. charles says

    I love the work you’ve done!
    I’m in Central Fl, near Apopka/Zellwood. A few of us school bus owners are talking about having a meetup to share buses and/or ideas.
    Hit us up on!
    I have a 92 Ward Senator and am thinking about raising the center section of the roof between the wheels.Probably 8-12″ if I do it.
    I have access to steel for cheap or free, and lots of experience working in a fab shop as a plasma cutter operator.
    Hit me up on my email or on skooie sometime!

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