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Old 12-22-2016, 07:34 AM   #1
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Bus body specifications. Short bus vs. long bus?

We've all seen some of the most incredible, inventive and creative designs come from those that build skoolies. All the way from stacking a second bus on top to cutting the front off and putting on a trailer hitch.

It seems the roof height in the standard skoolie is a bit cramped for a large number of people. I'm not what is considered "tall" at 5'11", but I like my head room.

So I started to wonder if one were to not raise the roof of a bus, but instead just wants more head room in a section of it, and found a donor short bus....Can the top of a short bus, from the top of the windshield on up, fit to the roof of a long bus? I know with enough money, anything is possible, but I mean are the widths of the body even close to the same? A narrower body on top of the wider one would be no issue, but a wider body on top of a narrower one would be a maore involved project.

So how much to bus body dimensions of similar year models differ?
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Old 12-22-2016, 07:44 AM   #2
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Most large vehicles are 96" wide
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Old 12-22-2016, 12:07 PM   #3
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Another headroom option is what is called a "Trolley Top". Instead of raising the entire roof, only the center length (think aisle) is cut and raised. Since the sides are typically covered up in cabinets, it works quite well. I have been considering something like that on my shorty. Anyone over 5'8" cannot stand up straight in mine...it's low...really low.

Kinda' like these...
https://www.pinterest.com/pin/63543044712318529/

The Mainstreet | Hometown Trolley
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Old 12-22-2016, 05:17 PM   #4
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buses come in 2 widths and a few different heights - but 96" and 74" I think it is inside is pretty standard.

Our two BB transice have much flatter/squarer roofs than the other IC and BB buses.

In another thread here someone asked about putting a roof over the bus roof - running wires, ducts and plumbing up there, isulation etc - no need to dismember the interior roof (which is work getting all those rivets out) AND you don't shorten the height with added insulation.

Shouldn't be too hard to add 8" or so angle to the sides of the roof above the windows and then an arched top and sheeth is, side it and cover and paint. Be it wood, metal or fiberglass.
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Old 12-22-2016, 07:47 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tango View Post
Another headroom option is what is called a "Trolley Top". Instead of raising the entire roof, only the center length (think aisle) is cut and raised. Since the sides are typically covered up in cabinets, it works quite well. I have been considering something like that on my shorty. Anyone over 5'8" cannot stand up straight in mine...it's low...really low.

Kinda' like these...
https://www.pinterest.com/pin/63543044712318529/

The Mainstreet | Hometown Trolley
Thank you Tango !!! That is a great idea. I wonder why that is not more prevalent? Looks much easier to do and very, very functional.
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Old 12-23-2016, 12:10 AM   #6
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Funny we are talking about the same thing in another thread, except for the sake of insulation.
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Old 12-23-2016, 06:59 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Deezl Smoke View Post
Thank you Tango !!! That is a great idea. I wonder why that is not more prevalent? Looks much easier to do and very, very functional.
I think part of the reason why they're not done more is the potential for weakening the structure even more than just removing the interior panels. You have to cut the ribs, then add 2 90 degree bends.

A roof raise is simply just cut, raise, add similar material, lock it all down and reskin.
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Old 12-23-2016, 08:10 AM   #8
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I like to lower part of the floor in my minibus. An easy 4" can be had and may be 5 if you measure a little more. I only need more head room in the walk section and only in between the frame rails. It seems as simple as cutting a couple of cross members and lower it in between the frame rails and welding a couple of brackets.
to me i seems a safer solution that is more areo dynamic and lowers center point of gravity. I would thing with the big busses that the frame rails are much further apart then with my mini bus so it could be a lot simpler.

Later J
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Old 12-23-2016, 08:12 AM   #9
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I've not looked under a mini bus (van based bus) but assume they'r elike the bigger ones - the body is built as a shell and lowered on to the frame - those lower supports hold it all together, are teh floor also.

Cut them and the whole thing will collapse down around you.
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Old 12-23-2016, 08:25 AM   #10
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Duh, well yeah , you do it one by one and you add brackets that tie the left and right piec in with the lowered piece, piece of cake if you as me compared to the problems of raising a roof. The OP only need a section of the bus with more headroom.
May be I described it not clearly but the floor support do not have to be a straight section to be strong. The distance between my frame members is 3 ft and for a 2 ft wide bowling alley you would have 6" on each side to weld a 3/16" shift on each side of the floor support.

Later J
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Old 12-23-2016, 10:16 AM   #11
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Yes...going the trolley top route does require some intense re-engineering of the roof and rib structure. But it has been done successfully for many decades on a wide range of vehicles. And obviously easier on shorter units.
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Old 12-23-2016, 04:02 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scooternj View Post
I think part of the reason why they're not done more is the potential for weakening the structure even more than just removing the interior panels. You have to cut the ribs, then add 2 90 degree bends.

A roof raise is simply just cut, raise, add similar material, lock it all down and reskin.
While it is true that redesigning the original structure can weaken it some, no matter what you do, it is impossible to make it so weak as a modern purchased rv like a motorhome or travel trailer. Unfortunately we have seen pictures on this site and others of skoolies rolled over or tipped on their side, but even then it takes a real beating to fold one up. An rv however,...........just kicking the tires can be a risky thing to do.
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