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Old 04-22-2018, 02:32 PM   #1
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Join Date: Dec 2017
Location: Southern Maryland
Posts: 209
Year: 1986
Coachwork: Gillig
Chassis: Phantom
Engine: Cat 3208/Allison MT643
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Gillig Phantom Front Door Rehab

Although the air operated door would have been cool to keep, the fold in mechanism and the big gap at the top and bottom of the door were unacceptable. During my frigid December drive home from CA to MD that door a huge source of cold and drafts.

Initially I was thinking about replacing the folding door with a regular exterior house door. However after taking a closer look at the original bus door I have decided to keep it, eliminate the air and folding features, and convert it to a conventionally opening.

The goals are:
1) Keep it looking reasonably stock on the outside
2) Must be able to use conventional house door knobs/locks.
3) Must must be a good sealing door and be draft free
4) Must be strong, safe and secure

The first step is simply to get the door to open and close like a straight door. Removing the roller at the top of the right (as seen from the inside) side of the door stops the folding of the door.


Once that roller is removed, the door sections will open together but they won't open to a full 90+ degrees. The roller is shown below left.



Removing the other hardware shown above from the upper control box leaves the box looking like the pic below



Once that hardware is removed, the door will now swing past 90 degrees.



I am still working out the details for the trim out and locking. I intend to use tinted plexiglass inserts over the existing windows (on the inside) to add privacy and double insulate the door. I will be using aluminum channel and tube to build out the door frame and create a suitable place to install handles and locks. More to come...
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Old 05-03-2018, 08:23 AM   #2
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Join Date: Dec 2017
Location: Southern Maryland
Posts: 209
Year: 1986
Coachwork: Gillig
Chassis: Phantom
Engine: Cat 3208/Allison MT643
Rated Cap: 2 Humans + 2 Chihuahuas
The aluminum I ordered should be here today so hopefully this weekend I can make some headway with the door project. In the meantime I have been working on:
1) Reinforcing the stairs and
2) Cleaning up the washer fluid cubby behind the door.

Although this is a door rehab thread, I decided to document these efforts here.

1) As for the entry way stairs, since the below pic was taken I have removed the rubber tread on the bottom step, and test fit some reinforcing at the front. The stairs are aluminum, but under the stairs is a metal support bracket. This bracket was badly rusted and needed some help.


I snapped this pic this morning as I was headed out the door; I will get some pics from underneath tonight after work.


I used a 2.5" wide piece of aluminum on top with a 2" piece of steel angle iron on the bottom for strength. I used 3/8" elevator bolts to tie the pieces together. I will be installing a piece of aluminum angle over the elevator bolts to tidy things up, close the bottom gap, and hide the elevator bolts. Behind the aluminum trim I will be building up that bottom step and creating a bottom door jam for the door to seal against.

2) The washer fluid reservoir cubby...

It was actually pretty clean in there. Here is a pic after cleaning and paint prep.


And here it is after rust paint; it will still need a top coat. The two cut air lines in the pic used to go up the A-pillar to the door opener. I am considering re-using one of those lines to put an air tool regulator and connector in that space.


I considered using a smaller washer fluid reservoir and turning that space into a shelf, but will probably abandon that idea in favor of the air connection.
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Old 05-05-2018, 05:03 AM   #3
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Join Date: Dec 2017
Location: Southern Maryland
Posts: 209
Year: 1986
Coachwork: Gillig
Chassis: Phantom
Engine: Cat 3208/Allison MT643
Rated Cap: 2 Humans + 2 Chihuahuas
Quote:
Originally Posted by ComfortEagle View Post
I am still working out the details for the trim out and locking. I intend to use tinted plexiglass inserts over the existing windows (on the inside) to add privacy and double insulate the door. I will be using aluminum channel and tube to build out the door frame and create a suitable place to install handles and locks. More to come...
Here are a few of the aluminum pieces I bought to trim out the door. They are 1.5" X 4" rectangular tube (.125" wall thickness). I used a table saw to turn the tube into U-channel (the pieces on the right are scrap).




The goal this weekend is to trim these piece to fit over the bus door, closing the gaps around the door and providing a solid place to mount a conventional house door latch and lockset. The bus door itself is 1.25" thick so these pieces fit perfectly over the door.
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Old 05-05-2018, 10:41 AM   #4
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Looking good, can’t wait to see more of what you plan on doing
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Old 05-05-2018, 02:08 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CapN View Post
Looking good, canít wait to see more of what you plan on doing
Thanks for the words of encouragement.

I cut the long piece of channel down to rough length today and did a test fit.




I also snapped a few pics of the rusty underside of the stairs. I will eventually disassemble everything rustproof, paint, and reassemble...


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Old 05-14-2018, 01:53 PM   #6
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Sweet, love it when people create innovative solutions to fit their need
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