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Old 04-26-2019, 03:15 PM   #1
Bus Nut
 
Join Date: Nov 2015
Location: AZ
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Engine: 7.3L Navistar T444e Diesel
The ARGO

So the bus is waiting to be picked up once we make the last payment.
2004 International CE200
7.3L Navistar T444e Diesel
Allison 2000 Series Automatic Transmission
Has wheelchair lift next to entrance door up front.


I named her The Argo, because of one of my favorite movies as a kid: Jason and the Argonauts.

Though I didnít take measurements, and I donít have specs, I did some preliminary design work based on her 32 foot length.

Her ceiling is high enough that I can walk with about 2Ē over me (Iím 6í), so no roof raise (though I have considered a trolly style roof raise of about a foot down the middle).

The 40í busses were tempting, but one of those will take up almost the width of my yard at the entrance and would block the driveway. They are also less maneuverable.

I want to drive The Argo to national parks and forests, camp on BLM land, go down rough roads, etc., so I will be building it for boondocking. I may wind up full timing in her as well.

One major design I am really trying to implement is a sleeping compartment upstairs. Since it seems thirteen feet six inches is the limit on height, and the bus is about eleven feet high, I am looking at creating a system using three or four nesting frames for the walls that rise using linear actuators. I donít need to be able to stand inside the sleeping area-just sit up and have some headroom.

Keeping it from leaking is of course vital, but I have that figured out. For better insulation, I would hang very thick curtains, even doubled, from the perimeter of the ceiling.

Getting from the sleeping area to the deck is also a Goa, but still trying to figure that out with the telescoping panels etc.

Ideas so far:
External water tanks (under) insulated and with heating strips, or a heating element inside.
Composting toilet (maybe a DIY)
Own a generator, so will use it in the bus.
Remove floor and insulate/replace with bamboo flooring.
Insulate ceiling and walls.
Possibly reuse ceiling metal sheets once insulated.
Mini Wood burning stove.

Rooftop deck with folding rails and access from inside.
Adding external storage compartments.
Possible short rear deck.
Cut off main door step where it hangs below body.
Replace main door with DIY steel framed door.
OR
Seal main door and create main entrance via lift door. Would have to create a folding step system.
Remove Wheelchair lift.
Upstairs expanding/collapsible sleeping area.
Solar Panels etc. for solar power.
Replace standard windows with sheet metal and bigger windows.
Use standard windows for telescoping bedroom (maybe), or trolly roof raise.
Trying to figure out a way to add a passenger seat. Maybe if I do the entrance change as above.


Of course, all the other mods like a standard apartment fridge, etc.

Iíll put up a drawing I did of the telescoping bedroom idea.
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Old 04-26-2019, 03:31 PM   #2
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Old 04-26-2019, 11:20 PM   #3
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can't figure out how to post a better pic.
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Old 04-27-2019, 02:40 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by Joe45 View Post
can't figure out how to post a better pic.
I think the pictures you posted gives the viewer the general idea you are trying to achieve.


Where did you get the stock drawings of the bus? My wife and I would really like to use something lie that as a basis for our layout/design brainstorming.
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Old 04-27-2019, 12:54 PM   #5
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Thanks. Hoping to get some feedback on the telescoping bedroom design.

I'll probably post a close up of the sections to make them easier to see.


As far as the bus drawing...
I did an internet search for "International CE200 school bus drawing/schematic/technical drawing/illustration...", and varied it with the year of the bus etc. until I got lucky.

Search in "images" to make it easier.


I then manipulated the image in Photoshop and Illustrator.
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Old 04-27-2019, 01:21 PM   #6
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Hopefully these drawings show up better...





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Old 04-27-2019, 01:27 PM   #7
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Old 04-28-2019, 12:08 AM   #8
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Join Date: Sep 2015
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Rated Cap: 71 Passenger- 30,000 lbs.
Have you calculated the weight of the sleeper section?


Have you spec'd the linear actuators with respect to the weight they can lift directly?


Have you considered your sealing needs between the sliding layers?


I only bring these up because they are things I would be concerned about in the design. Personally, I think it is a great idea.
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Old 04-28-2019, 12:13 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe45 View Post
As far as the bus drawing...
I did an internet search for "International CE200 school bus drawing/schematic/technical drawing/illustration...", and varied it with the year of the bus etc. until I got lucky.

Search in "images" to make it easier.

I then manipulated the image in Photoshop and Illustrator.
Thank you, I'll give it the ol' college try!
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Old 04-28-2019, 01:07 AM   #10
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*Why re-invent the wheel? Occasionally pop-up campers come up fairly cheap (Under $1000.) Steal the roof & lifting mechanism in one piece. It might not be powered, but it would give you all the bits and pieces to make it work. (And you could probably find a way to /make/ it powered.) That would give you something that's all ready sealed on the outside, and has the lifting mechanism built in. You'd still be on your own for finding a way to insulate it, or maybe add hard sides inside - but at least you wouldn't have to worry about sealing it from the weather anymore.

I'm curious about the weight, but I'm not sure I'd be worried about it. A couple hundred pounds up there is a lot, but it's going to be balanced out with the weight of everything else in the conversion.


*Unless you want to. It will be fun either way.
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Old 04-28-2019, 01:23 AM   #11
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Welcome!

Good luck!
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Old 04-28-2019, 01:59 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Native View Post
Have you calculated the weight of the sleeper section?

Have you spec'd the linear actuators with respect to the weight they can lift directly?

Have you considered your sealing needs between the sliding layers?

I only bring these up because they are things I would be concerned about in the design. Personally, I think it is a great idea.



Thanks for bringing that up!
I have thought of the weight, which is why I'm looking at the honeycomb panels, which are super light and very strong.


Still, fabric may be better: an outer layer of waterproof canvas with several inner layers of insulation, like moving blankets etc. That may be lighter and easier to make.

I am thinking the panels may become a major PIA to construct so that they work right, and may be overkill.


My main push towards the panel was security, but being 11 feet in the air is pretty secure. Plus I won't have any external ladders attached.



An alarm, a dog, and a coachgun also help.
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Old 04-28-2019, 02:05 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark_In_MA View Post
*Why re-invent the wheel? Occasionally pop-up campers come up fairly cheap (Under $1000.) Steal the roof & lifting mechanism in one piece. It might not be powered, but it would give you all the bits and pieces to make it work. (And you could probably find a way to /make/ it powered.) That would give you something that's all ready sealed on the outside, and has the lifting mechanism built in. You'd still be on your own for finding a way to insulate it, or maybe add hard sides inside - but at least you wouldn't have to worry about sealing it from the weather anymore.
I'm curious about the weight, but I'm not sure I'd be worried about it. A couple hundred pounds up there is a lot, but it's going to be balanced out with the weight of everything else in the conversion.
*Unless you want to. It will be fun either way.



Yeah, the weight has concerned me too. I am looking at the honeycomb panels because they're light and very strong. Have also considered aluminum.
But I've also been thinking of my other thought, and your comment about the pop up pushed me there even more: an outer layer or two of waterproof fabric, with several inner layers of thick insulated fabrics-like moving blankets, thick curtains, and even old comforters, would be perfect, lighter, and much easier to make.

I could look for a pop-up to cannibalize, but I was thinking that wouldn't be worth it, because I'd still have to insulate and stuff.

But now that you mention it, the superstructure is there, and I could just add the actuators to make it go up and down.


This is what I'm looking at:

The linear actuators I am looking at can lift 200lbs each, and I'll use at least two, catty-corner.


https://www.firgelliauto.com/collect...inear-actuator
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Old 04-28-2019, 02:37 AM   #14
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OK
So I have been trying to think of a way to access the roof deck from the upstairs bedroom pop-up area.


I was looking at Aliner campers and that system may be an answer. It allows for a door, which can lead to the deck. The only concern is, how much of a PIA will it be having to push that open every night...
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Old 04-28-2019, 11:35 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark_In_MA View Post
*Why re-invent the wheel? Occasionally pop-up campers come up fairly cheap (Under $1000.) Steal the roof & lifting mechanism in one piece.



Mark_In_MA
THANK YOU!
Your comment got me thinking back to the fabric option. Then, looking online for more ideas, I stumbled on the Aliners. Now THAT is perfect: a collapsible, hard sided bedroom that folds up very compact and has plenty of headroom! It's a great little room when set up, has great views, and even a door that can open up to the rooftop deck!!!

Looking at ones for sale, I don't any cheap ones, but I'll keep looking.


Also, I am considering just building one myself. Seems like a very simple system, and I can use the honeycomb material with aluminum framing to keep the weight down.


Another positive is that the only mod I have to do, other than attaching it to the top of the bus, is a hole through the roof to get in and out-no roof-raise or cutting the ribs.
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Old 04-28-2019, 12:52 PM   #16
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Well, looking at the ALiners even considering I could find one for under 2k, I see two issues:


1. Weight.

Even taking out all the stuff like the fridge, cooking range, etc., I think it would still be overly heavy.


2. Height.

Folded up and without the frame/tires etc., we're still talking about three feet in height. That would put the bus at about 14 feet high. That's a good 6" over what I see the limit is for the 18 wheelers.


So I'm thinking making my own, one of two ways:


Complex but roomy:
About 18-20" tall collapsed, but with the telescoping system using actuators from my previous idea, allowing about another 18" of rise totaling about 36" with the room still folded.



This would allow me to stand in the bedroom. Not really necessary, but nice-especially when going out to, and in from, the deck.


Simple but tight:
An approximate 20" folded height. When the roof is lifted to the "A" shape, I would not be able to stand fully, but then it's just for sleeping up there. Only thing is entrance/egress to/from deck is kind of not that comfortable.
I could think of it like a sailboat though.
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Old 04-28-2019, 01:14 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe45 View Post
Well, looking at the ALiners even considering I could find one for under 2k, I see two issues:


1. Weight.

Even taking out all the stuff like the fridge, cooking range, etc., I think it would still be overly heavy.


2. Height.

Folded up and without the frame/tires etc., we're still talking about three feet in height. That would put the bus at about 14 feet high. That's a good 6" over what I see the limit is for the 18 wheelers.


So I'm thinking making my own, one of two ways:


Complex but roomy:
About 18-20" tall collapsed, but with the telescoping system using actuators from my previous idea, allowing about another 18" of rise totaling about 36" with the room still folded.



This would allow me to stand in the bedroom. Not really necessary, but nice-especially when going out to, and in from, the deck.


Simple but tight:
An approximate 20" folded height. When the roof is lifted to the "A" shape, I would not be able to stand fully, but then it's just for sleeping up there. Only thing is entrance/egress to/from deck is kind of not that comfortable.
I could think of it like a sailboat though.
l was thinking of something along the same lines, but I couldn't find one that matched my idea/needs - so mapped out in my head ( lol ) is a plywood box, maybe 16" high, 8' long, wide enough to put a bed crosswise, with a plywood roof, hinged on one end, and weight assisting shock absorbers to aid in lifting the other end - effectively like a pop up roof on a Volkswagen van - access through an escape hatch on the roof of the bus - the leading edge could be on an angle to deflect the wind when traveling
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Old 04-28-2019, 09:14 PM   #18
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That would work.
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Old 04-29-2019, 12:18 PM   #19
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New plans using the ALiner idea.
Not sure that an actual ALiner would be the best choice. I think even the shell may be unnecessarily heavy, getting it off the chassis may be a task, and the dimensions aren't right for the bus (I need it to mount so that the door faces forward).
So...
I may just make my own.
Unless I find a small ALiner that is basically gutted.









http://www.skoolie.net/forums/member...cture21505.jpg
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Old 04-29-2019, 12:26 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe45 View Post
New plans using the ALiner idea.
Not sure that an actual ALiner would be the best choice. I think even the shell may be unnecessarily heavy, getting it off the chassis may be a task, and the dimensions aren't right for the bus (I need it to mount so that the door faces forward).
So...
I may just make my own.
Unless I find a small ALiner that is basically gutted.









http://www.skoolie.net/forums/member...cture21505.jpg
'would sure be an easy way to add 2 - 4 more sleeping areas and more 'living space' in the bus
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