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.