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Old 09-17-2006, 12:48 AM   #1
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Need a lift to load motorcycles into bus

Was curious if I could convert a wheelchair lift, but I don't want it to take to much room either
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Old 09-17-2006, 09:04 AM   #2
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a fold down ramp would be a much more simple and lighter design.....but a lift would be fun too.

what does a lift weigh? 1000 pounds?

you could make the ramp fold up/down with hydraulic or electric actuaters.
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Old 09-17-2006, 02:44 PM   #3
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I think a ramp would be better for a bike. Since most wheelchair lifts are only rated to around 600 to 700 pounds capacity. And trust me when you put more than 500 pounds on them they do start to struggle a bit.
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Old 09-18-2006, 09:31 AM   #4
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ramp

I have a 12' ramp that I load my bikes with and it works out very well. I cut a pattern out of the sheet metal under the door and cut all the cross members the same and it slides in under the floor. I keep a padlock on it to keep in position and from walking off on it's own. I made a couple of slots in the ledge right under the door and it sits flush with the floor when in loading position. Also helping to decrease the angle of the ramp is 4 2x12's I glued and nailed together and drive the bus onto to bring the rearend down about the same amount. sportyrick
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Old 09-18-2006, 09:49 AM   #5
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Does anyone have any photo's. I am looking at building a small deck on the back that will accomidate a honda goldwing (heavy) and a hitch. It needs to allow the bike being ridden up one side and off the other. I think it can be made beefy enough, however I am concerned about the angle of aproach for getting such a large bike on and off a tall deck or rear platform.

Has anyone done or seen somthing similiar?

-Richard[/img]
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Old 09-18-2006, 11:11 AM   #6
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both phill and I have rear decks. I put my V-max (~600 pounds) on the rack. I'm sure your bike is significantly hevier, but you could easily build or have built a rack to accomidate the weight.

as for the approach angle, i try to minimize how far off the ground my rear porch is when loading. IF i park in the city, i load/unload onto the curb. that changes things about 10" or so. If i'm out in the country (where i live) then it's pretty easy to find a hill you can back the rear porch on top of that brings it really close to the ground. Sometimes i can just about ride off of the porch without a ramp because it's just a couple inches fromthe ground. All it really takes is anything to raise your front tires higher than the rear.

this is not my bus, but is a good example of a simple porch construction. I think my and phills porch are pretty much the same as this one.

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Old 09-18-2006, 05:43 PM   #7
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So is the hitch reciever off the back of the porch? Or is that what your deck is attached into?

I hadn't thought about using landscape to assist in loading and unloading.

Thanks for the picture, it's a bit smaller (strength) than I think will work as my bikes 800lbs.

Do you find it bottoms out on approaches and departures? When I had my hitch still it hung down a bit I touched out in it quite frequently.

-Richard
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Old 09-18-2006, 09:33 PM   #8
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i'll try and shoot some photos of my rear deck. it's curently off of my bus. I've been slacking in the photo department lately.

What i did was add some 3" channell iron to basically "extend" the rear frame of the bus. the channel iron fits inside of the bus fram rails and is simply bolted in place with 6 large diameter bolts.....1/2" diameter i think....


I cannot use my hitch when the rear deck is in place, so i have to choose one or the other....

as for bottoming out, i don't think as of yet that it has been an issue, but it certianly is possible. The ultimate design for a rear deck would incorporate a hinge that allows the deck to pivot if it were to bottom out. Currently the deck would get bent pretty bad if it were to bottom out significantly.
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Old 09-20-2006, 12:40 PM   #9
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That's a great idea about a back-up hinge. I hadn't thought of that one. Do you think it's possible to have somthing strong enough to hold a large bike, the deck itself AND tow a trailer? How overbuilt would it need to be? I like the idea of somthing perminant so welding and bolting to the frame seem reasonable for strength at attachment points. Except for the hitch that is, as it is illegal in many places to have a hitch welded to the frame.

Thanks for taking your time to post some photo's, I look forward to seeing them.

-Richard
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Old 09-20-2006, 02:41 PM   #10
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i think that having a deck and pulling a trailer at the same time is like having your cake and eating it too....perhaps a bit too optimistic. Not to say it couldn't be done.....anything is possible with a skoolie. What size trailer are we talking? Another question besides strength is how far the rear of the deck is from your rear wheels. This extended overhang might give you problems with towing the trailer.

IF you built the rear deck out of some serious iron you could make it strong enough.

IF you still need to pull the trailer, perhaps you'd be better off fabricating the rear portion of the bus to hold your bike. Perhaps have a door that opens on each side near the rear of the bus so you can ride in, then ride back out the other side.
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Old 09-20-2006, 03:54 PM   #11
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photos of my rear porch....off of the bus and turned up-side-down. I believe that it is a total of 7 feet long. 5 feet of porch, and 2 feet of steel to bolt to the frame. I think it's really about 2 feet longer than it should be. The original plan was to put 4 feet of steel under the bus, but there was a bracket in the way.

on the idea of hinges, you could certianly make it strong enough, and easily removable using a pair of pintle hitches. I think Phill talked about tha before.



The rusty parts are what get bolted to the frame of the bus





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Old 09-23-2006, 06:00 PM   #12
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Rear deck

Thanks for the photo's. I'm a visual learner so it's nice to see somthing. I have seen hitches off porches before, and they were very serious. It looked as though the gauge of the centre I beams on the bus had been bolted and welded for the extension. If I do end up with perminant deck and a hitch built off it, it would need to be enough to tow 700 LBS tounge weight I think. That was the max on my now sold cargo trailer. That way I could tow a similar trailer, or a boat, or another vehicle on a dolly if need be. It's wired with a preditor brake controller that will handle up to 3 axles which is more than I would ever need.

Ps. the tent you took to BM, is that somthing you put together or was that somthing one of your riders brought down. Because that thing is awsome!

-Richard
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Old 09-25-2006, 04:06 PM   #13
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OT, but that's ok...

I transported the dome, but it was actually built by some canadians a few years ago. It's about 600 pounds of 3/4" metal conduit/EMT each piece cut to about 3 feet, flattened on the end so it can easily be bolted together.

here is a photo of another burningman dome....if you google "geodedesic dome burningman" you can fine some really cool sites that have dome calculators that tell you how long to cut each piece to make a particular sized dome. The key is to use the 10 foot pieces of EMT as efficiently as possible ie: cut 2 pieces at 5' each so you don't have any scrap.

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Old 09-26-2006, 09:16 PM   #14
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Man, you gotta love those crazy Canadians!

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Old 09-27-2006, 10:41 AM   #15
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I may be in left field here, but...

I have been looking at this same issue and after seeing the prices for electric and electro hydraulic motorcycle lifts, I started looking at folding lift gates. a lot of truck salvage yards have them for sale dirt cheap. there should be a way you could mount one either to the front or the rear bolting onto the frame through the bumper. You could even set it up with dual reciever tubes like a hitch reciever. I'm just throwing out ideas here. I have a lot more to finish up before I can get to that stage of the conversion but those were my thoughts.
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Old 10-02-2006, 10:24 AM   #16
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Make sure the truck lift gate is rated for the weight you want to lift...I plan on taking my full-dress '78 GL1000 with. I used to recover bikes for a bike shop with an F350 and liftgate, the lift gate would groan under the 'Wings, HD's and big Yammies.

I'm considering a drive-on channel/platform for my bike, it would parallel the rear of the Bus.
Drive the bike on and secure it; use hydraulics to lift the frame/bike combo. The linkages would be a form of parallelogram (hard to visualize).
Would need some serious power and one or two cylinders, but do-able.
And a couple locking pins to keep everything in place on the road.

Nice thing about this is it would allow pulling a trailer or Toad. Drawback is the Toad would need to be unhitched (removed from receiver) to let the bike down.
Hmmm....time to rethink the design.
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Old 01-19-2017, 05:35 PM   #17
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RE:

Hi,

Just wondered if anyone is still monitoring this thread from 06'.
Im really trying to come up with a way to use the lift in my current bus . It's GWVR is 14,050 , so it seems to be plentyfor a bike or two.

I guess I just need to put an extension on the lift that can be retracted after use. Also I'm thinking about just using the manual lever as to not burn out the motor.

Thanks for any new ideas!
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Old 01-19-2017, 06:05 PM   #18
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I've seen it done-using a flip down extension. And that lift is made to be used all day everyday-you ain't going add that many cycles to its overall count.
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Old 01-19-2017, 06:08 PM   #19
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Thanks for the info SD, do you happen to know of any references that may be online? I just don't want to forget about anything.
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Old 01-19-2017, 07:29 PM   #20
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Most wheelchair lifts in buses are rated at 800 lbs. Unless you are loading seriously dressed baggers with full bags most motorcycles will not overload the lift.

Using the manual pump rather than the electric pump isn't going to save anything. You are putting the same amount of pressure into the system whether or not you are using the electric or manual pump.

Most lift motors are 12-vdc starter motors and they are designed to work a lot of cycles before they are worn out.

I know of some lift equipped buses that were more than 20-years old when they were retired where a lot of the lift had been repaired--broken welds, worn out cables, etc. But I don't recall any that needed the pump motor replaced.
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