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Old 03-17-2018, 10:05 PM   #1
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Gillig High Floor Transit Bus question.

Hello everyone,

I am about to start my first bus conversion with a fairly ambitious undertaking of a 40ft transit style bus. I chose the transit style because of the fact that they are larger then the typical school bus (at 102" wide) and it will be 2 friends in a bus not a couple or a family I need to design this still give some sense of privacy and individual spaces hence not just buying an RV (as was the original plan before I went down the youtube rabbit hole that brings me here lol)

My first question (of I am sure will be many) is the fact that I have found a good deal on a 1999 Gillig Phantom bus... went out of Airport/Hotel Shuttle Service in Dec and was last inspected and DOT certified in Florida in November of 2017 with maintenance records.

All good BUT, its a High Floor, and I am very much hoping for a low floor style because it was my intention to raise the roof or a portion of it to around 12.6 ft (13ft seems to be sweet spot for most overpass clearances around the city and parts of the country as I am learning) so that my Loft design concept would work in the back of the bus.

The high floor makes that impossible and makes what seems like a sweet deal a little less sweet..... UNLESS, my question here is:

Can I convert a High Floor Model into a Low Floor model either the entire way or a portion of the way with a step down of some sort, under storage is not a super huge concern if I can regain head space and perhaps still do my intended roof raise and now potential floor lowering.... or should I find a new bus and let this one slip on by.
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Old 03-18-2018, 02:37 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SmartBusRob View Post
Hello everyone,

I am about to start my first bus conversion with a fairly ambitious undertaking of a 40ft transit style bus. I chose the transit style because of the fact that they are larger then the typical school bus (at 102" wide) and it will be 2 friends in a bus not a couple or a family I need to design this still give some sense of privacy and individual spaces hence not just buying an RV (as was the original plan before I went down the youtube rabbit hole that brings me here lol)

My first question (of I am sure will be many) is the fact that I have found a good deal on a 1999 Gillig Phantom bus... went out of Airport/Hotel Shuttle Service in Dec and was last inspected and DOT certified in Florida in November of 2017 with maintenance records.

All good BUT, its a High Floor, and I am very much hoping for a low floor style because it was my intention to raise the roof or a portion of it to around 12.6 ft (13ft seems to be sweet spot for most overpass clearances around the city and parts of the country as I am learning) so that my Loft design concept would work in the back of the bus.

The high floor makes that impossible and makes what seems like a sweet deal a little less sweet..... UNLESS, my question here is:

Can I convert a High Floor Model into a Low Floor model either the entire way or a portion of the way with a step down of some sort, under storage is not a super huge concern if I can regain head space and perhaps still do my intended roof raise and now potential floor lowering.... or should I find a new bus and let this one slip on by.
13' 9" is DOT legal height w/o permit, thus 13' is indeed the sweet spot...I believe interstate highway bridges have to be 20' but that's not a quote...enjoy the adventure...the money saved from converting the gilly will buy lots of steak

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Old 03-18-2018, 07:50 AM   #3
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Not sure about converting into a low floor. I would think that it would not be possible seeing how our slf bus is constructed. I like the idea of raising a roof area and making a loft and still be low.

The transit low floor buses are pretty cheap. We paid $5K for ours with was a good price because it has been running great.
The gillig low floor mostly go for scrap prices. Don't worry about the inspection because it says very little about the engine / tranny and rust issues and more about the safety features, lights, brakes, emergency equipment. All stuff that can be fixed or is obsolete in your build.
If you buy one look for an auction that sells more at the same time because they are buying new ones and not because they just want to get rid of one worn out unit.

Good luck
later J
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Old 03-18-2018, 07:54 AM   #4
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anything 13'6" and under must be marked.. if you plan to travel the east coast at all then you are going to find many many bridges at 12 feet and under.. most school busses are at or under 11' 6" from what ive seen.. I think the gillig low floors are 11 feet.. (i remember my buddy who drives for COTA telling me they can fit under the low bridges in the low floor)..

in our low floor gilligs here in columbus only about 2/3 of the bus is low floor, the back 1/3 is high floor. (im guessing due to the drivetrain internals)...

Joe black is doing a nice transit bus conversion and is a wealth of information on the subject.
-Christopher
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Old 03-18-2018, 07:59 AM   #5
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Thanks Christopher, . not sure about a wealth of info, more a crazy plan and p.ss..g against the wind.
But at least i am pertty happy how things are working out.

later j
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Old 03-20-2018, 12:02 AM   #6
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So with this in mind I'm wondering if I should pass on the Gillig and just get a Blue Bird or Thomas Flat Nose School Bus instead so that I can still do my loft style concept which from all the different floor plans I've been kicking around in my head is the only way to accomplish what I want with the back end of the bus.

This is the stressful part haha.

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