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Old 12-23-2016, 05:27 PM   #1
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"Garage Door" in the back?

Hey Skoolies!

I'm still trying to figure out what fits me best. It's a small thing, but one of the big attractions of going with a box truck for my camper was the "garage door" opening at the back of most boxes.

Is there any feasible way to add one of these to a skoolie? I understand that the frame is important to the structure so it makes sense that the answer would be a "no," I'm just being hopeful.
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Old 12-23-2016, 05:29 PM   #2
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Anything is possible. A bus is certainly more structurally sound than a box truck. Some buses came with taller double doors at the rear.
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Old 12-23-2016, 05:39 PM   #3
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If you are trying to minimize time and effort, the key to this is the width. Box trucks are up to 102 inches wide, while school buses are only 96 (so far as I know).
Of course, you can narrow the roll-up frame and door.
As was already pointed out... anything is possible. You just have to fabricate it.
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Old 12-23-2016, 05:51 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Elliot Naess View Post
If you are trying to minimize time and effort, the key to this is the width. Box trucks are up to 102 inches wide, while school buses are only 96 (so far as I know).
Of course, you can narrow the roll-up frame and door.
As was already pointed out... anything is possible. You just have to fabricate it.
I'm not so much worried about minimizing time and effort as I am finding the right compromise between my (little) skill and my lofty wants.

Fabricating a roll-up door doesn't seem that difficult! Strips of metal and hinges should do the trick, throw something to insulate the strips on the inside and maybe cover it up with something to dress it up and that should take care of the "door" part, right?
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Old 12-23-2016, 06:02 PM   #5
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Telephone a local garage door company and ask the cash&carry price of a door for a one-car garage. I expect they can cut the panels to your exact width.

There are two kinds... sectional with a handful flat panels, and one-piece "corrugated" that opens into a roll.
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Old 12-23-2016, 07:30 PM   #6
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Anything is possible. A bus is certainly more structurally sound than a box truck. Some buses came with taller double doors at the rear.

Huge buying point for me!
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Old 12-23-2016, 07:54 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Elliot Naess View Post
Telephone a local garage door company and ask the cash&carry price of a door for a one-car garage. I expect they can cut the panels to your exact width.

There are two kinds... sectional with a handful flat panels, and one-piece "corrugated" that opens into a roll.
I used to haul garage doors for a living and subsequently serviced them part time. The steel doors are generally factory cut and the edge parts factory welded in place.

Garage door tracks and rollers will require a minimum of 12" or extra headroom and some extra width on the sides.

For this project, I would suggest looking into the very same truck-body roll up door (try a road-trailer parts place); the hardware is specifically engineered for the tight clearance/maximum width/maximum height you are probably wanting. The panels can be trimmed to length (width) and usually are when shops replace a panel or 2.

Obviously you'll need to relocate the tail lights, and with the roof arch, it will limit the door height. Unless you are loading a vehicle, is there a reason a bus with a wheelchair lift will not suffice?
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Old 12-24-2016, 01:16 AM   #8
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Ah. My barn's sectional roll-up has the edges riveted on, and the hardware bolts to those edges. But this may be an industrial grade door.

Always search far and wide, and you will usually find Stuff you didn't know of.
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Old 12-24-2016, 09:11 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Elliot Naess View Post
Ah. My barn's sectional roll-up has the edges riveted on, and the hardware bolts to those edges. But this may be an industrial grade door.

Always search far and wide, and you will usually find Stuff you didn't know of.
There's a company called "Roador" or "Roa door" [sp] that makes a plastic door for the rear of straight trucks and trailers. Sorry not good enough on the 'puter to get you a link. They're approx 1" thick by 8" wide non insulated and 2" thick insulated....can be cut to any length. We have them on a pile of equipment at work.
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Old 12-24-2016, 10:31 AM   #10
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How about thos roll up security doors for huge windows.
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Old 12-24-2016, 10:36 AM   #11
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or the roll up doors used in self-storage facilities.
They are for sale on CL down here all the time.
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Old 12-24-2016, 11:23 AM   #12
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Roador Roll-Up Truck Doors
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Old 12-24-2016, 01:21 PM   #13
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Thanks for all the suggestions, and the link to Roador!

Hey Brad_SwiftFur, were you suggesting a bus with a handicap access door so I could replace that door with the garage door?
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Old 12-24-2016, 01:50 PM   #14
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Depends on what you are trying to put back there but I've seen one idea that may work. They took the back door of a skoolie and cut the area the door latches to and hinged it on the left side like a door making double doors. So you can open the regular door then open the side all the way to the corner.

Would fit a 4 wheeler or two just fine, just depends on what you need it to hold.

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Old 12-24-2016, 01:52 PM   #15
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Oh and I saw another that they completely removed the back wall and made a new wall that folds down controlled by a harbor freight winch. Saw it for sale on Craigslist around here

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Old 12-24-2016, 06:50 PM   #16
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Depends on what you are trying to put back there
I'm not particularly trying to put anything back there besides maybe a 'workshop' area with a sturdy table and probably my bicycle.

I saw a fellow who had a box truck camper and I really liked how the garage door worked in his build. He would say something to the effect of 'the world is my back yard!'
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Old 12-24-2016, 06:50 PM   #17
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I've seen a similar build somewhere. The rear "door" is actually a two part ramp that gets lowered down and folded out. Pretty slick.
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Old 12-24-2016, 07:04 PM   #18
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I figure by the time I'm ready to hit the road... I'll fortify my frame, build a hitch, and pull 1 of these.
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Old 12-24-2016, 07:13 PM   #19
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I figure by the time I'm ready to hit the road... I'll fortify my frame, build a hitch, and pull 1 of these.
I've been tempted by trailers, Skoolie or no. My train of thought lead me this way:
  1. I could have a "tiny home on wheels" or a trailer home, but then I either need a towing service or a vehicle that can pull a trailer.
  2. I could have a small mobile dwelling like van conversion, but that's a little cramped when you start adding in a full bathroom (or shower and separate a toilet) and you're going to have a hard time entertaining anyone.
  3. I could have a larger mobile dwelling like a bus or a box truck, but it'd be harder to maneuver around cities and would be a pain to drive to and from work if I needed to do that.

In 1, the problem I see is that I'm not a huge fan of driving heavier duty vehicles for day-to-day affairs like going get groceries or whatever else. They're also generally not great on fuel (but almost certainly better on fuel than a large vehicle like a bus)...

In 2, the problem is I need either a trailer for extra space or a smaller vehicle when I don't want to be stressed out about my house in traffic every day. I know some people deal with that pretty well, but I'm not sure I would like it myself. Electric motorcycles are light and awesome, that's a possibility!

In 3, I have a large(r) living space which is an obvious plus. The drawback is then similar to the van's "my house in traffic every day." Of course, I still have the option of including a smaller vehicle (like a cool electric motorcycle), but at this point it's a pretty safe assumption that my bus or box truck is powerful enough to pull a small vehicle like a sedan. The idea of having a hybrid or electric car and being able to be an uber driver for small supplemental income seems like a neat plus and a nice way to see wherever I am from a different angle.

I've heard there are potential issues with towing hybrids and electric cars, so I need to look into that more, but I think in the end that's what I want to tow behind my camper conversion, if anything.

But that's neither here nor there, we were talking about garage doors on Skoolies!
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