View Full Version : Rooftop Platform Questions for watching Nascar Races

01-20-2007, 06:01 AM
Ok, I am new to Nascar camping and this year, I got lucky. I was able to get a infeild spot for the Vegas race. :D Becuse this is my first RV race I have a couple of dumb questions. I like everyone else, want to view the race from top of my 5th wheel. (or whatever RV) Do I need to build some kind of deck or structure to carry the load of 6 drunks on top of the trailer? I have a hard time believing that the trailer was built to carry those kinds of loads. Any help?

01-20-2007, 12:23 PM
This could be the beginning of a huge topic, I am going to lock this topic out for now, and create a seperate forum for it.

Okay, unlocked now, and new forum started :D

01-20-2007, 12:53 PM
First off, thanks for joining the forum and thanks for this question, it is something of special interest to me for some time now.

There are a lot of factors in play here, you need to be careful in your planning process and think this through.

In Daytona last year, we had a serious accident in someone falling off the roof/ladder on there rig, and they lost a finger, man not a pretty site :(

Take your time in doing this, but here are some pointers.

Over the years I have talked and taken pictures of different rigs and there set-ups, and some where brilliant pieces of engineering work.

Take a look at the pictures on our website from last year at Daytona, there is a couple with a platform on top of there Volvo, if memory serves me right they where from Australia.

Here are some things to consider.

1. Manufacturers dont like people on there roofs, due to liability issues, so they will all say no, dont do it.

2. But, then if this is true, why does Winnebago have that picture of 30 people standing on the roof of one of their rigs showing how strong the roof is?

3. To start, you need to find out where the structure supports are in your 5th wheel. You can do this two different ways. The first is to call the factory and try to get blueprints for your rig. I ran into a guy in Lake Lloyd last year that had a white American Coach, and he had a friend whom was an engineer from Piper design it for him, so he had some pretty strict rules to follow. I believe American Coach helped out, but I think it was hit and miss ( literally) in trying to find out where the supports where. A sidebar here, Speed TV asked me last year ( Vicky?) what rig they could get on, and I got her and the camera man up on there roof. :) Even the design of the ladder going to the roof was brilliant, the treads where about 4 inches deep, which the Speed girl appreciated, as it was raining, and I think she had high heels on.

Back to the supports, if the 1st option does not work, wait till a cold and damp morning comes along, and check out your rig and the lines on it from the differences in temp and you can actually see the supports on your sidewalls, and maybe roof as well. THis you can then mark with a marker so you know where they are.

4. Now that you know where the supports are, you can start to plan the shell to go on it.

5. Here is the tricky part, chosing the proper materials to do the job. I have seen everything from plywood, to aluminum, to steel, plastic, plexiglass, a huge assortment of different things. (posting now to come back later) The amount of time, and money and resources available to you to do this project all factor in to what you will end up doing, as we all dont have a aviation engineer as a friend!

6. Lets say that you go with plywood, as its cheap and easy to work with, etc...

7. The first thing you will learn, is that your roof is not flat, which is where it gets a little tricky :?
A easy way to design a level and stable platform to start with, is to get some big pieces of styrofoam, and use this as a template to draw out on wood later the exact slope of your roof. You basically want to make a truss, with a reverse concave on it to follow your roofline, do you know what I mean? After you did this in styrofoam, you can then trace this onto something like a 2 by 6 piece or 2 by 8 or 10 and this can be your cross support runners that go the length of your rigs roof line. Think of this just like your supports in the floor of your house.

Then you can start to section off pieces of plywood to make the platform itself on your roof. The thing you need to be aware off, is all the junk on the roof, air conditioners, satellite dishes, etc... you need to plan for this and also around this :shock:

Some people ( Larry in Daytona I met with the Tag axle rig, had a seperate access panel for his solar panel, brilliant idea!)

Then you can start to think of side supports, which you should build like a tank, and make them very strong and about 4 feet high, after to many wobbly pops they will come in handy :lol:

Flag supports, tv stands, all the extra stuff is great to have, remember that with all the bodies on the roof the rig will rock and roll a lot more, so you may also want to get some extra supports down below to make it more stable.

There is no end to what you can do, I will add more later to this, but for everyone else, please add your thoughts, and if you have ever made one up, please send in some pictures, as I will make this a part of our website later, and expand upon it :D

01-20-2007, 03:36 PM
want to build a roof top platform on my project this yr and want railings if I do this I will post it on my webpage with my bulid pics .I had planned on doing this when we started so I marked my crossbraces when I replaced the roof ,Here is mybuild pics.http://new.photos.yahoo.com/mikesautosvc/album/576460762345265418 we also want to build a 3 ft platform off the rear bumper and put stairs up to the roof eventually

01-31-2007, 10:06 PM
Thanks for the tips. I talked to my manufacture about the roof construction of my 5th wheel and they stated that the same on center spacing and sheeting thickness is found on the roof as the floor. Therefore, you should be able to place people safely on the roof. :D
The question I still have is, Can my guests and myself sit on the roof without a safty rail in place? I wonder if this varies from track to track? Does anyone know?

01-31-2007, 10:22 PM
Hey, one more thing, do you folks take your satalite dish w/ a TV on the roof? I wonder if just the regular TV antenna will work just fine? I'm sorry for all the stupid questions, but I tend to overdue things and I will want everything just right at the track or I will drive my wife crazy trying. :twisted:

01-31-2007, 10:43 PM
The tracks dont have any rules on side rails, just limit the amount of wobbly pops your guests consume :lol:

With your tv on the roof, depending on how bright you can make it, you also might want to make a shield to go around the tv, something out of cardboard can be made quickly, this will keep the sun off the screen.

Run the wire for the tv via satellite and or cable if you are at a track like Daytona that has cable. You should be able to do this via a roof vent, and or window.

Outside of this maybe a set of rabbitt ears on the back will also help out if a local station has it broadcasted via uhf/vhf.

Let us know how you make out :D

02-03-2007, 04:46 PM
We (Hubby and I) are working on same project or I should say (thinking about) building a roof deck atop our class C georgie boy motor home so we can attend our first infield camp at Darlington Raceway in May 07. I am new to this site and I will take some pics along the way of my hubby building a platform for this purpose. They may not be pretty, lol due to our Motor Home is kind of old and uggo but it serves us and our kids well for camping and outdoor activities. So far my hubby has drawn out a diagram of this proposed deck and rails that will flip up (because we have a four year old that will be up there). I will keep with this topic in the weeks to come as we start to build it.

02-03-2007, 04:59 PM
clk, Hey thanks for joining, and all the best with the project, and yes take TONS of pictures for us all :D

If we can help at all with the project, please let us know, and who cares what the rig and or project looks like, its all about having fun :D

03-02-2007, 07:53 PM
Hello, just to update my husband and I are about to embark on building our rooftop platform atop our Georgie Boy motorhome in preparation for the Mothers weekend races in Darlington SC- we have the initial materials and it is scheduled to be a nice weekend beginning tomorrow. I will take pics and post them here over the weekend for anyone who is interested. :)

03-02-2007, 10:13 PM
Excellent, if you can do it as a start to finish project along with commentary that would be great, e-mail them over and we will make sure it gets on the website :)

03-25-2007, 10:28 AM
we were in the infield last week at Atlanta and saw some awsome decks I wish I had taken more pics of them

03-25-2007, 10:54 AM
NUTS :evil:

4 of our members I know for sure where also on the infield, I wish we could have gotten some pictures with you of your rig :(

05-07-2007, 10:21 AM
Hello, just to update my husband and I are about to embark on building our rooftop platform atop our Georgie Boy motorhome in preparation for the Mothers weekend races in Darlington SC- we have the initial materials and it is scheduled to be a nice weekend beginning tomorrow. I will take pics and post them here over the weekend for anyone who is interested. :)

Hope to see your pics of the Rig after the race!

07-12-2007, 10:20 AM
Simpluy put...Wow...Thank for all the info !

08-24-2007, 07:06 PM
Here is one for you. I wish someone could get me this for my birthday.

01-27-2008, 10:39 AM
my wife and i are also attending the vegas race from the infield this year. i don't know if you are aware of this but vegas does have some rules for custom roof platforms. one is they must have railing along the outside edge. they can also be not higher than 12 inches off of the roof.. we just had one made for our rv. i did the design and then had it built but if you can weld it would easy to do yourself. i'm just getting it painted and will mount it next weekend. on my design i did not want any weight on the roof so i designed it so all the weight is transfered to the frame. it was also built so that it can be removed and stored as we use the rv for other things as well. i will post some pictures after i get it put on. by the way we will be in space 3350 near turn three. stop by and say hello.

01-27-2008, 12:35 PM
That would be great, please share with us, its a very well sought out question, with mixed results for some people, excellent for others:D

01-27-2008, 05:12 PM
Ok. My platform is built, Its 8' x 8' with 36" high side rails
A made plywood floor by cutting 4x8 plywood into 2'x 8' strips. I cut the frame pieces to run perpedicular to roof trusses. They are also cut to the contour of the roof. The bottom of the wood frame supports have Tyvek rubber flashing on bottom edge to protect rubber roof of RV.
Everything is modular so it can be easily assembled and assembled on site.
The side rails are bolted through the frame using threaded inserts on the inside of the frame.

01-27-2008, 05:44 PM
Ron, that is wicked cool:cool: as the kids say.

My buds across the fence in Lake Lloyd will be no doubt trying to get up top and become your new best friends:mrgreen:

I will make sure they know about you, actually Kevin and Margaret will be backing directly onto you I think, I will have to check the map and let you kinow, you are in spot 40?

01-27-2008, 05:59 PM
Spot 39.
Now I need the energy to paint it...

01-27-2008, 06:02 PM
I will have a cooler up there, and some other things I am sure. Dont want to be going up and down the ladder to many times...:mrgreen:

Should a put a Nascarcamping sticker on each side of the frame?:mrgreen:

01-27-2008, 06:45 PM
I will make a small shelf to hold a tv also.:mrgreen:

01-27-2008, 08:57 PM
Yes to the sticker:mrgreen:

Just watch out for those pesky Canadians:)

01-27-2008, 09:53 PM
Most of my wifes family is Canadian. My Mother-in-law was born In Canada. Most of them live on the west coast now, in California. Still some cousins in Toronto

01-30-2008, 09:54 AM
this Is Our Old Dover Infield Platform. Once We Had 13 People On It, And After The Race We Had To Get Out And Push It Up The Banking To Get It Out Since It Was So Heavy.

01-30-2008, 02:17 PM
That's an awesome platform too bad you didn't use some thing like a 74 LTD or Catalina. Maybe another revision. Still pretty great !!!!!!!!!!!!

01-30-2008, 02:29 PM
Needs some Nascar Camping stickers on her:mrgreen:

well done looks nice and solid

01-30-2008, 10:02 PM
Hey Ron
That is a nice platform. How much extra weight do you think it adds?

01-31-2008, 07:38 AM
Its probably 200 lbs of lumber. It breaks down into a space 2' wide and 12"high and 8' long. I will store it in the fiver basement. Once we pull into Daytona infield, I will assembled it on top of the rig. It is built to evenly distribute weight over the rv roof. The weight of the platform, chairs, cooler, wife and I, with everything else is probably going to be 750 lbs. The platform at 64 SF(8'x8'), That puts about 12 lbs per SF on my RV roof....
Much safer than standing directly on my roof without a viewing platform

01-31-2008, 09:53 AM
thanks for the follow up, very impressed with your carpentry skills.

01-31-2008, 10:41 AM
That's an awesome platform too bad you didn't use some thing like a 74 LTD or Catalina. Maybe another revision. Still pretty great !!!!!!!!!!!!THAT ONE IS GONE, WE HAVE BEEN USING AN 88 CHEVY FOR ABOUT 10 YEARS AND THIS ONE WILL BE REPLACED BY A 89 CHEVY DUALLY AT THE END OF THE YEAR.

02-01-2008, 08:03 AM
thanks for the follow up, very impressed with your carpentry skills.

I am a Carpenter by trade:mrgreen:

01-01-2009, 05:29 PM
Check out trickfab.com! Its a mom and pop operation in Georgia. You send pics of the top, sides and rear of you RV along with measurements and a small deposit. In about 2-3 weeks Jon will have you drive your RV to his place and will let you camp in his yard overnight. The next morning at about 6:30 Jon will run you out of your RV and will install an aluminum diamond plate deck, new larger safer ladder and flip up railings in about 6-8 hours. We took our tow vehicle and visited nearby Pine Mountain while Jon did the install. He invented a bracket that puts all the weight on the supports along the sides of your roof. No leaks, no roof damage and a very professional looking product and installation. Ours is 8'x8', two years ago it cost $2500. I don't know what his prices are now. We added a $500 EZ-up canopy, three swivel bass boat chairs and now can veiw the races in style and comfort. I ran cable and electric up to the deck so we have TV, fans and lights. I take a plastic tub up to the deck for the TV to sit on. In between races I just put the TV inside the tub and leave it up there so I don't have to carry it up and down. My son rigged a rope and pully system so we can haul all our goodies up and down with ease. This is a great system and I highly recommend this deck.

Sandy Beach
03-01-2010, 04:10 PM
Oh, the weather here in Michigan is starting to break. I have an old 79 Dodge. The roof leaks like a sieve. I have done all the entrabond and sealers and I'm just done with it. I only use it for MIS infield and maybe a camping trip or two. It's great for those day trips during the summer too.
Anyways....I hope to start on it this weekend, and will try to keep you updated of my progress. I'm just a girl and think I can do this with a little help from some brawny friends. Wish me luck!:)

03-01-2010, 04:48 PM
What you mean "just a girl" us women ROCK!!!!!!! But does help to have some brawny friends to help :)

Sandy Beach
03-02-2010, 10:50 AM
Well, hefting 2x4 sheet of 3/4 plywood, might be a problem. And just cause I'm a girl. I'm a better designer than a worker. And I really like watching men hard at work. :mrgreen:

03-22-2010, 09:48 AM
These are some great ideas and I'm trying to figure out how to build 1 myself. I have a tow behind travel trailer with rubber roof so trying to figure out how to build 1 modular to either fit in bed of truck or in camper somewhere. My original plan was to make 8x8 platform with 4 sections (4x4). Does anyone have plans or can send detailed pictures to help me plan it