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Old 04-19-2015, 02:05 PM   #291
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A bit short sighted in ordering my tanks, gonna need to jack up the bus or dig a trench to fit them under!



I started working on "basement" storage. My cut-outs mapped out:





Going to move the Webasto compartment back to maximize storage width. I can't really go further forward with the compartments than I have mapped out, because there are air tanks there that reduce the depth of I were to build out. So I decided to put tanks there, since there is room for them.

Side skirts cut out:



And this is the frame for the compartment:





Getting good at welding. The frame is not done, I am going to add more cross-pieces to support the floor / top / walls. I am thinking about riveting the outer frame to the sheet metal of the bus, and then supporting it via the "I" channels that support the floor that run perpendicular to the frame.

The only concern I have about my design so far is the flex in the opening of the frame due to the long span. I may need to put a support in the center which isn't the end of the world, but I will set it in where it goes and see what can be done. I was planning on making the floor out of 3/4" treated ply and the walls out of 1/2" treated ply. I can't afford to buy several sheets of 16 ga steel right now
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Old 04-19-2015, 04:00 PM   #292
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PCS,

Here are the cargo bay's dimensions of my daily driver (and eventual tiny home) still in service until June. Note how the cargo bays have a supporting strut in the middle between the doors and there are two cargo doors on each side. These bays go completely through the undercarriage of the bus. There are supporting struts inside connecting the frame to the cargo floor. The dimensions are 10'3" long (two doors @ 5' X 23" each) by 2' high. If you want I can get more (and better) pics tomorrow to help you out. Hope this helps. I got lucky and was able to park in the front row.

BTW, the reason why there are SOOOO many buses in the pics are due to the football playoffs in Texas. During this particular playoff there were over 150 school buses parked in the parking lot (think band, color guard, cheerleaders, and boosters along with the actual football team - each school had an average of 30 to 40 buses each).

M1031
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Old 04-19-2015, 08:02 PM   #293
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Looking good pork chop.

The struts the other member mentioned are nothing more than a piece of 1/2 inch threaded rod from the bottom of the compartment to the top of the compartment (floor of the bus).

Nat
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Old 04-20-2015, 10:40 AM   #294
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Join Date: Jul 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by M1031A1 View Post
PCS,

Here are the cargo bay's dimensions of my daily driver (and eventual tiny home) still in service until June. Note how the cargo bays have a supporting strut in the middle between the doors and there are two cargo doors on each side. These bays go completely through the undercarriage of the bus. There are supporting struts inside connecting the frame to the cargo floor. The dimensions are 10'3" long (two doors @ 5' X 23" each) by 2' high. If you want I can get more (and better) pics tomorrow to help you out. Hope this helps. I got lucky and was able to park in the front row.

BTW, the reason why there are SOOOO many buses in the pics are due to the football playoffs in Texas. During this particular playoff there were over 150 school buses parked in the parking lot (think band, color guard, cheerleaders, and boosters along with the actual football team - each school had an average of 30 to 40 buses each).

M1031
Thanks! I find it funny that even without seeing that picture before, that is pretty much exactly how I am doing mine. I think your rig has a longer wheelbase though cause that is about 8' long on mine until you get to the air tanks as opposed to over 10' on yours.

Nat, I had figured as much. I am going to temporarily install the frames I built once I have finished them, and put some weight on different parts and see how to reinforce them. Though it will probably involve a support strut in the center of that door. I may end up splitting it into two doors.

Thanks!
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Old 04-20-2015, 01:48 PM   #295
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PCS,

My bus is an 84 passenger bus, yours is 72, so I figure you have a 35' bus, because mine is exactly 40'. How far off am I?

BTW, LOVE the build!!!
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Old 04-21-2015, 11:17 AM   #296
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Quote:
Originally Posted by M1031A1 View Post
PCS,

My bus is an 84 passenger bus, yours is 72, so I figure you have a 35' bus, because mine is exactly 40'. How far off am I?

BTW, LOVE the build!!!
I think mine is 34'. I am not 100% though because I haven't measured it in a while and last time I did I only had a 25' tape measure.

Thanks for the kind words!
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Old 04-22-2015, 11:20 AM   #297
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The compartment frames fit well! This is the 8' long one on the passenger side. The DS one fits just as well.

Unfortunately due to my deisgn using angle steel on the botton instead of (thicker) square tube, I will need to put a support in the middle of the opening. Not the end of the world but I was hoping to not have to. I will then divide it into two doors instead of one to make lifting a bit easier and hopefully it will be less floppy. Also still trying to figure out the tank mounting situation.
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Old 04-22-2015, 07:04 PM   #298
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Looks great so far.

Nat
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Old 04-28-2015, 10:51 AM   #299
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Scored this bad b!tch for free! Just had to put a 220 plug on it and buy some sticks. Can't wait to try it out!

Still working on the basement storage on the bus. A side job painting a room I had turned into a full job of me painting the entire interior of a house (by myself). Nice income but little time. I have welded up the frames for both sides, I just need to add a little reinforcement to hold up the (cringe) plywood floor and walls I am using for the compartments. Then I just need to prime and paint the frames.

Not sure how other buses are done but on these Thomas buses, the metal flooring in the bus is supported every 10" or so in sort of an I beam style. I will use this method that I got from the VonSlatt website (Jake's School Bus Conversion Project) to mount the frame to the bus:





Basically make an angle iron sandwich and use the existing structure to hold it in place. For the storage, since it is so long, I will do one of these every other section. For the 2 front water tanks (46 gallons each) I will do it on each one, so in a 4' x 14" wide rectangle, there are ten of the short pieces of angle and 20 grade 8 3/8" diameter bolts holding the tank up, in addition to any side support I may add. I know this makes no sense to explain in text so I will post plenty of pics when I get it going, hopefully this weekend.

Test fit the 2 tanks between the frame rails:





They fit SNUG with about 3/16" of room on each side. Since the supports for these will be on the outside of the frame, that is a non-issue.

Design for the supporting frame (excuse my awful drafting):



There will be three of these supports going across instead of the 2 pictured in the drawing. The angle used is 2" x 2" x 1/4" thick and the square tubing is the same size / thickness. The bolts from the angle to the frame are 1/2" diameter grade 8 flange bolts. I will not weld the square tube to the angle because I haven't practiced using the arc welder and have never welded metal that thick before, so instead I will use 3/4" flange bolts and some 3/4" steel pipe tubing inside the square tube to keep the bolt from deforming the tubing. Flange bolts have a wider and stronger head than regular hex bolts allowing the load to be spread more evenly:



1/4" angle iron cut to size and holes to mount to frame drilled out:



I am holding off on drilling the 3/4" holes in the angle until I drill the frame of the bus and loosely mount these to make sure I didn't goof on any measurements. For the frame drilling, I am following the pattern for how the fuel tank brackets and spring hanger brackets were drilled. They use 3 bolts vertically instead of 2, but the fuel tank (60 gal diesel x 7 lbs / gal = 420 lbs diesel + weight of steel tank) only has 2 supports instead of 3, and they are thinner metal. I am not drilling within 1.5" of the edge of the frame.

I ordered all the bolts I needfrom boltdepot.com (six 3/4" grade 8 flange bolts, 25 1/2" grade 8 flange bolts, several hundred 3/8" grade 8 flange bolts, several hundred carraige bolts for the walls of the compartments and several hundred rivets). My 45 lb order of fasteners will be here Wednesday 4/29 and I will start to bolt these things up.

The only annoying thing about this between-frame tank mount design (other than drilling through a lot of 1/4" steel) is I will need to make a smaller frame to go in the big frame to hold the tanks in place well. I will be using some scrap 16 gauge steel from where I cut out the side skirts to support the sides of the tanks and to keep from rubbing against the frame of the bus since it is so close. I had bought ten 20' pieces of 1.5" x 1.5" 1/8" angle, which isn't exactly cheap, and have burned through nearly all of it building these storage compartments / tank mounts and need to get more. At my last job, we regularly scrapped old bed frames, many of which were made from similar or identical angle that I am using right now, and I kind of wish I had hoarded a bunch of those but oh well.

For the front tanks (fresh tanks, one on each side next to the air tanks) I am loosely following VonSlatt's design:



He used this design to hold up a 100 gal tank. I am using this design for a 46 gallon tank (well 2, one on each side) so hopefully it will be adequate.
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Old 04-28-2015, 12:18 PM   #300
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That looks like it should be pretty stout. I like the clamping attachment scheme. Congrats on the welder deal. Fancy welders are nice... but I think it's impossible to beat a stick welder for ubiquity, reliability, and simplicity. It's a great skill to learn.
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