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Old 05-21-2014, 07:50 AM   #1
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bus door alternatives

Hey guys

I know there are a lot of REALLY creative minds here so I want to ask what others are doing to put something else in?

Here is my situation. When I bought my bus the previous owner had already installed an RV door. It was not the best install and right now the hinge pins are bent so it doesn't shut square with out lifting up on it. So I am either going to need to fix it or replace it.

What I do like with the RV door is the screen door that closes so that if you keep the main door open you don't let in bugs but I know they have retractable doors that can be installed to do the same thing.

Apparently finding a decent parts RV in my area of TX with out paying 2000.00 or more seems to be the hard thing to pull off.

So if you guys have any suggestions as for an alternative would be appreciated. I have all the metal and wood working tools so any mods could be done without any issues.

Thanks

Bapos
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Old 05-21-2014, 08:59 AM   #2
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Re: bus door alternatives

I'm in your exact situation. Yesterday I won the bid on a RV door from ebay for $189 shipped to my address. Ebay has alot of new rv doors that where installed on new Rv's but for some reason they are replaced (maybe a scratch or small dent). I have been looking and bidding on doors for about 3 months untill I won the bid for a reasonable amount. The sellers are in Michigan and Indiana so shipping might be more for your area. The guy from Indiana is bit cheaper than the Michigan guy.
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Old 05-21-2014, 08:04 PM   #3
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Re: bus door alternatives

Resadential entry door.

Every option you can dream of for windows, opening with screen, built in blinds, window anywhere on the door, insulated, 28, 30, 32, 36 inch sizes, ect.

Best part, no door BRAND NEW will run more than $500. Most cases they are around $110 for a blank slab, and $200 with a window.

You don't need the useless wood frame. Just the door. You have a metal shop form up some pieces to make the opening the door fits into. Again cheap.

Now the best part. There are tons of places like habitat for humanity with hundreds of doors for under $100 if you need real low cost, and don't mind used.

Now dead bolts, door knobs ect become easy, and reliable. No more flimsy, poorly made RV crap. You can also get really nice looking entry door knob sets.

Every time I'm around RV anything, I can't believe how crappy this junk is made. There is no way I would deal with using any of that stuff.

Nat
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Old 05-22-2014, 08:17 AM   #4
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Re: bus door alternatives

Thanks guys

Pretty much playing out as I thought it would.

I don't mind rv stuff but in some cases I can't justify the price and your right for what you pay in RV stuff and what your getting is not the same.

As said I just can't find a RV in my area that is in decent shape (i.e. has stuff I can use) for a decent price. Plenty of deer lease specials for 500 but they are about equal to used toilet paper. Not worth the time and money. Some decent things at 2500 but hell won't pay more for a parts rv than I did for the bus? Not to sound cheap and I know I will have a lot more money in to it but trying to be reasonable about this.

I will look in to some of those doors. Building a frame is no biggie. I have all the metal working stuff I will needů.. chop saw, welders, plasma cutter, etc.


Thanks for the help guys I really appreciate it
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Old 05-22-2014, 10:24 AM   #5
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Re: bus door alternatives

Have you looked into buying a bus door from the junk yard?

DISCLAIMER! This is what works for us. It may or may not work for you. There are other cheaper, more expensive, better, worse, simpler, more complicated, safer, more dangerous ways of doing the same thing. Do your own research to find what will work for you in your situation.

The problem we found with using a residential door is that the steel exterior doors tended to not be available in the size we needed. It was a height problem. Metal doors aren't really designed to be cut down, especially those solid glass storm doors. We did not want to use a wood door either. We really weren't too wild about using a residential or RV door in the first place. But still we did consider it.

We turned our original bus' two piece door into a one piece door based upon instructions on how to do the same with an Eagle two piece door. Still gives us all the view out the door while driving and it looks better. We used a thick piece of rubber for the weatherstripping only to have to dump it and get a hollow tube type (sometimes you can't use what you got). Now the door fits/closes/latches much better and it solved the popping open problem we had (all due to the too thick weather stripping). We built the door framing out of old bed rails.

We did have to shim out to make the residential door handle fit (bus door is thinner than a residential door). We still need to clad the interior with PVC trim and add some plexi panels over the glass to make them dual pane as we get a lot of cold air off the door in the winter due to thermal conduction. We have found that the lever handle works much better than the knob particularly when it is cold and/or wet out and/or our hands are full. I got fed up one day that the knob iced over and I couldn't get into the bus. So I bought the lever handle the next day. Should have bought the lever in the first place.


For a screen door, last summer I bought one of those As Seen On TV magnetic screen doors. Works great and I can remove the thing in the winter. Last fall, I pulled it off and rinsed it in the shower then stored it for the winter. This spring, I pulled it out of the cedar chest and hung it back up. Downsides to the magnetic screen: it has a fondness to attaching to the steel door (that will be solved when we add the layer of PVC trim over the door), the material is flimsy (has a few snags and a hole from getting caught on something), it's a tad too long (our entrance is only about 78" high) and wide (made for a 36" door opening). So I will cannibalize the magnets off the As Seen On TV screen make another one this summer out of shade screen. We will be replacing all the screens with shade screen when we build the plantation shutters for the windows (no curtains to launder due to dust) and I will be buying a pile of the stuff.

Old pics of the door (sorry no new pics)....
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Old 05-22-2014, 05:26 PM   #6
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Re: bus door alternatives

I built my own door, with the equipment you have should be easy. I then installed a rectractable screen from this company.http://www.plissescreen.com/ It seemed a little pricy, but I am quite happy with it. It survived a couple of dog crashes. I looked at some of the big box lumber co ones and they just didn't seem quite nice enough and got pretty bad reviews. Here's a picture with the screen half way open.
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Old 05-22-2014, 05:54 PM   #7
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Re: bus door alternatives

This is a really awesome idea... a retractable screen door. How does it install? Not quite as bad on the price as I initially thought! I'd buy one!
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Old 05-22-2014, 06:42 PM   #8
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Re: bus door alternatives

Quote:
Originally Posted by lornaschinske
The problem we found with using a residential door is that the steel exterior doors tended to not be available in the size we needed. It was a height problem. Metal doors aren't really designed to be cut down, especially those solid glass storm doors.

Foam core steel exterior residential doors can be cut down to what ever height you need without a issue. All you need is a angle grinder, and a steady hand.

I have had to do it more than once.

Nat
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Old 05-22-2014, 09:27 PM   #9
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Re: bus door alternatives

Nat

do you have pics of your door frame and how you have it hinged?
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Old 05-23-2014, 12:22 AM   #10
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Re: bus door alternatives

Quote:
Originally Posted by bapos
Nat

do you have pics of your door frame and how you have it hinged?
I don't have one installed in a bus yet. It was a cabin I had to cut the doors down on due to low ceiling.

I hung it using a large piano hinge full length of the door.

On that one I made a frame from 2x2 lumber. Bus would need steel.

I will need to make a diagram to show what I'm trying to explain.

The walls of the bus are around 2" thick. Residential doors are 1.5" thick. That leaves 1/2 inch to form the seat where the weather stripping will glue to. That seat is what the door closes against.

I will try to add to this on the week end when I have time.

Nat
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