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Old 08-23-2006, 04:04 PM   #1
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amputating the passenger area of a bus?

I'm considering shortening the passenger area of a bus to leave a flatdeck area for my rafts. I'd like to get rid of the extra weight, expense and risks of towing a trailer every trip. I've seen rafting buses like this in the eastern states and it would be ideal for over 50% of our trips. I've been searching the internet for info on this type of modification but have yet to find anything. My bluebird conventional(as well as most other buses) looks like it's basically put together in sections and that it wouldn't be overly complex to take a few out and reattach the rear section with the necessary adjustments. I would be buying another 72 passenger bus for this project, one with at least one side door. If anyone has any suggestions as to makes that may be better suited and how to go about it or where to look for info that'd be great. Thanks, Ralph.
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Old 08-23-2006, 08:53 PM   #2
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Raft Bus

Ralph,
Gee Wiz.... It sounds to me that all you should consider doing is removing the driver side seats of the bus and install racks for your rafts.
As far as makes and models go... you might look for one of those busses that has a chair lift on the passenger side....
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Old 08-23-2006, 10:18 PM   #3
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If I were you, I'd consider avoiding a Wayne bus as the sheet metal panels on them are continuous from front to rear. I think that would make it hard to find a good place to put your break in. Of course maybe the continuous panels would make it easier. I guess I don't know. Just an F.Y.I. I guess
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Old 08-24-2006, 12:06 AM   #4
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Thanks guys for the replies and the heads up on the Wayne buses, I'm not so familiar with any makes other than Bluebird and Thomas. I'll probably use either one of those. I want to stack the rafts fully inflated on the back deck and they're about 15' 6" long by 7' 2" wide so an inside rack isn't an option.

Thanks again for your help.
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Old 08-24-2006, 12:51 AM   #5
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The Jeep Bus

Check out the Jeep Bus http://www.skoolie.net/gallery2/v/Skoolies/JeepBus/
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Old 08-24-2006, 01:02 AM   #6
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Bill Gardner's Bus

Or check out Bill Gardner's bus http://www.skoolie.net/gallery2/v/Skooli ... 8.jpg.html
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Old 08-24-2006, 09:55 AM   #7
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Yep. That's exactly what I want to do.
Thanks.
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Old 09-30-2009, 08:58 AM   #8
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Re: amputating the passenger area of a bus?

I think that PapaBear just shortened the back of his bus, the Bear Den , then look at Kamoo's Gator tailgating bus and Elliot Naess' Millicent in the conversion projects section for different options, It should just be a matter of carefully removing the panels at the rivit line and then removing several sections of side and roof and reinstalling the rear cap.
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Old 09-30-2009, 11:59 AM   #9
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Re: amputating the passenger area of a bus?

Hi ya, Just shortened my wanye body bus 8 foot. The sides are continuous. Just marked off where I wanted to cut and took it off with a side grinder w/ a cutting wheel. Left 6" longer tabs below the windows. everything popped back into place, and rivited back together. Did it by myself, so if you have help it could go pretty quick.
My suggestion would be to cut off the roof and the windows where you wanted and leave the lower side walls. Ulilize the stock metal floor. You could use the old rear section to graft back on to the new rear and enclose the driver/passenger area.
Just some thoughts.....good luck
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Old 12-17-2013, 10:44 PM   #10
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Re: amputating the passenger area of a bus?

I am working on the plans to do this to my (future) bus and I have searched and searched but how have y'all attached the rear panels back to the floor? and what measures should be taken to prevent leaking either on the roof, walls or floor?

I love the monster pick-up truck look these mods offer. Growing up in the country where the biggest truck is the baddest; I always wanted that "haha not only only is mine bigger, but I built it; didn't just bolt on some store bought parts" flash with my home on wheel (not to mention the work space!)
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Old 12-18-2013, 06:31 AM   #11
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Re: amputating the passenger area of a bus?

check out Nat_ster's build
http://www.skoolie.net/forum/viewtopic.php?f=9&t=10908

closest I have seen to actually documentation
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Old 12-19-2013, 01:00 AM   #12
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Re: amputating the passenger area of a bus?

Quote:
Originally Posted by bansil
check out Nat_ster's build
http://www.skoolie.net/forum/viewtopic.php?f=9&t=10908

closest I have seen to actually documentation

Back wall on a bluebird weighs just over 100 pounds with the heavy rear door removed. Myself and one other person were able to handle it without a problem.

If there is anything specific you want to know that the pics didn't show, ask away.

You can remove as much of the bus body as you need, then build a nice flat deck to haul your stuff.

Nat
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Old 12-20-2013, 11:03 PM   #13
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Re: amputating the passenger area of a bus?

Thank you for making me aware of that thread! Nat, you has one heck of a game plan and a skill set to make it happen (read the whole thing twice it was so good)

I was surprised when the whole middle section of the bus was pulled clean off- pretty cool.

But is necessary to remove the flooring down to the frame where I want to rear-door to be?

What I want to do is move the the back wall of the bus to just behind or on the wheel wells and leave the school bus exterior from the bottom of the windows down, as well as the floor. Eventually I'll install an electric lift (from a moving truck or something) that when all the way up acts like a tail gate on what looks like a big pick-up truck. If my guesstimations are correct that will give me about a 9 foot bed

It is looking like once I remove the back section I'll have to measure that and then remove a section that wide and meld it back together
-OR-
remove the back wall from the floor as well and welding it to the sub-floor

first method adds the benefit of leaving a small gap on the floor to aid in cleaning out what i'm sure will be come a messy messy place.


Happy Busing!
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Old 12-21-2013, 02:51 PM   #14
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Re: amputating the passenger area of a bus?

You essentially want to create a pick up truck box at the rear for hauling your stuff. Floor, 2 foot walls, and build a tail gate.

Unforchantly, the way the bus is put together will not make this simple, but it is doable. This picture shows how a BlueBird bus is put together.


You will notice that the floor support ribs are not attached to the bottoms of the wall support ribs. Once you cut the roof off at the base of the windows, the sides will be a floppy mess with no structure. To remedy this, you would need to add a formed piece of steel across the top off all the cut wall support ribs. From there the formed pieces would need to be attached to a front for your box, and a rear with a tail gate. Front and rear you would need to build using the same way the bus was built. Rivets and formed pieces of steel. I feel welding is not nearly as strong in this application, nor is it necessary. Also welding tends to cause people to use thicker steel, adding unnecessary weight. Formed pieces of 10 gauge steel are all you would need. It is just a bit thicker than the stock bus floor.

If you leave the stock floor, you need the walls above the floor, and the skirt below the floor to keep it from buckling under load. Also the bus frame flexes without the body keeping it rigid. Without the roof on the cargo area, the bus body will flex and buckle the floor. The bus floor will need to be cut free from the loading box at the rear. Just like a pick up truck.

I'm in favor of flat decks. They are the most versatile, strongest, safest. Need a lift of plywood at home, but don't want to hand load 72 sheets. No problem with a flat deck. Forklift loads, you drive away. Need to pull a 5th wheel trailer, much easier with the flat deck, Something over size to haul, no issue with a flat deck.

I personally don't like pick up truck boxes. They don't force the driver to secure the cargo properly. I cleaned up far too many accidents where all the accumulated junk in the back of some ones truck ended up all over the road.

Newly constructing a flat deck from new steel would be the strongest, safest, and quickest. However, it is also the most expensive.

Hope this helps

Nat
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Old 12-23-2013, 10:18 AM   #15
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Re: amputating the passenger area of a bus?

Are you kidding me Nat, "helps" is an understatement. Thank you. Anymore more help would be running a grinder with me. So far, I've been working off of memory of a buddy's bus who hasn't done much in the way of remodeling, and what pictures I can find on interweb. Then just figuring I can do it what ever it is to make my dream come true.

I hadn't considered building a whole new bed area, but after reading your post over and thinking about the whole process I probably will (eventually) do a total rebuild on the back section, sooner if the cost isn't too great. In the mean time it is great to hear that rivets will be just as good as a weld, and that this project, so far, has not come to "well that is impossible/stupid/unsafe."

I agree that some people get lazy with truck beds (and the cab for that matter), and that annoys me too- especially when some dude with a huge truck, no tail gate and a bed full of crap whips out in front of me on some back road spewing debris while trying to get out of my way.
I'm looking to use the space as an outside work area (like a mini shoppe/storage/haul area); utilizing a tie-down system involving ratchet straps and crates (heavy duty plastic bins, something like that).

-Redbone
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