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Old 07-01-2009, 08:20 PM   #1
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Option besides rear exit?

I'm trying to plan where to put things and keep wanting to put a twin bed across the rear of the bus to take advantage of the space. Only trouble is, the rear of the bus is the secondary exit (regular emergency exit door). I do want two exits out of this thing to keep it from being a death trap in case of fire. But are there alternatives to two doors? What other types of exits are folks installing in their buses when they block off the original emergency exit doors/windows?
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Old 07-01-2009, 09:56 PM   #2
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Re: Option besides rear exit?

Orig post modded so mine is modded.

I haven't read of anyone blocking off their original doors, obviously your only options are going to be either cut new holes in the bus body somewhere, like in the side, or cut holes through whatever you have blocking the original doors, and i'd think the latter is far easier/designing/engineering around the problem to maintain access (even if only for emergencies) to escape. I'm planning on designing stuff I put in to not have the problem because that seems easier.

If you were to cut through the body you'll affect structural integrity. This isn't unsolveable, just be aware that youre doing it, just like the people who raise the roof affect structural integrity. You might want to put square metal tubing in a frame around the hole that has cross bracing (perhaps cross bracing on the door, that connects firmly with the outer tubing when the door is closed) or some such so that it's not a weak point for chassis twist and such and force is transmitted around the opening or through the door. Perhaps you could enlarge one of the original window openings and strengthen it. How much or what strength tubing I couldn't tell you since i'm not an engineer, but i'd think anything suitably cross braced when normally closed. If I were to hillbilly engineer it i'd probably use something like 1.5" steel wall tubing on the outside of the hole, 1.5" steel wall tubing on the frame of the door (positioned to fit flush with the outside wall tubing or at least have points of contact) and then cross brace the door with an X so the twisting chassis force transmits through the door. I'd probably have an emergency only door that could pop out and wouldn't be intended for regular use. Not sure what i'd do for a lock though to avoid it being a theft entry point, hmm.. probably modify a door handle internals from a car (since they automatically open the door locks, most of them) and use the locking parts of that.

Ask the people chopping the roofs off to raise them what (if anything) theyve done for structural integrity. I just am leery of putting big holes in is all without a real good reason.
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Old 07-01-2009, 10:09 PM   #3
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Re: Option besides rear exit?

I'm guessing you want to wall of the back and use it for storage? If so, I'd probably put a hidden door of some kind there so that it was still a functional exit. Mine has a rear engine and a side emergency door, so I locked down the rear flap over the engine, and moved one of the egress windows to the back bedroom area.
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Old 07-01-2009, 11:04 PM   #4
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Re: Option besides rear exit?

This is something I have read about a few times but don't quite understand the concern. Though a nice big exit door would be great, If there is a fire in the front of the bus I don't think I would have a problem kicking out a rear window and bailing out of the opening. My bus is a pusher so I don't have a rear door. I do have a side door but it will be closed off. However I will be installing a Exit window in the Master bedroom on both sides. That way in the worst case senario...head on collision big raging fire in the front of the bus that is laying on its side, I pop open a window and crawl out. No door needed. I've got plenty of bus style exit windows you are welcome to if you want a couple for the bedroom of your bus if they are te
he right size.
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Old 07-02-2009, 06:59 AM   #5
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Re: Option besides rear exit?

I would believe that you could kick any bus window out with no problem. If you are in Florida and have a Thomas body I have 2 leftover emergency exit windows that you can have. They are regular school bus windows that fit in a normal opening but the entire frame is hinged at the top so you can push it out if needed.
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Old 07-02-2009, 11:03 AM   #6
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Re: Option besides rear exit?

the newer buses have emergency escape windows and roof hatches factory installed, undoubtably to meet some federal safety mandate. I'm pretty sure that some of the larger rv windows are built with special hardware so that they meet the emergenct escape specifications, as you shop fo windows mke sure to use at least one escape rated window in each side of the bus so that you have options even if the bus is laying on one side or against somekind of barrier. alsokeep some sort of hammer device mounted near the drivers seat to break/remove the windshield for egress if necessaarry.
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Old 07-02-2009, 11:10 AM   #7
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Re: Option besides rear exit?

You could have a roof escape hatch and little step ladder or something to put on the bed to get out the roof.
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Old 07-02-2009, 01:49 PM   #8
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Re: Option besides rear exit?

All good advice.

A floor escape hatch would work if the back door is removed because then I wouldn't need the ramp that leads to the back door. On the other hand, I like the idea of the RV safety windows too. Nothing saying I can't have multiple exit points, I guess. Since I want to put a deck on top, I'd have to leave a hole over the emergency roof hatch, but again, that may not be a bad idea.

Hrm... lots to think about.

macgyver, sorry to hear about your bus. That type of fire is exactly the kind I'm paranoid about. Are you starting from scratch with a new bus, or are you rebuilding what you still have?
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