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Old 01-22-2017, 05:41 PM   #1
Mini-Skoolie
 
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Pre-newbie: side loading motorcycles..anyone?

Hi - My wife and I went to the RV show and were drooling over some of the toy haulers. Over the past 4-5 years we've also thought of converting a school bus into a camper ... we think the process would be fun (we're pretty hand DIY'ers, and I am a decent wrench). Then we had a brain storm (or fart...depending on how you view it) ... why don't we turn an old bus into our own toy hauler?

Our question is, has anyone made a toy hauler that side loaded (vs rear load) into the bus? We have two harley's (big twins, but neither are baggers) and I figure if we could side load, that would give us an extra 3' of usable living space.

We realize anything is possible, but 'is the juice worth the squeeze' as they say.
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Old 01-23-2017, 01:15 PM   #2
Mini-Skoolie
 
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Anybody convert something with a wheelchair lift in the back into a toy hauler? Link below is an example of one (this one is outside of my budget - just for discussion purposes). I would pull the lift out and use a ramp instead. Curious to know what the width of the opening is .....



https://www.govdeals.com/index.cfm?f...88&acctid=1803
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Old 01-23-2017, 02:51 PM   #3
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http://www.skoolie.net/forums/f9/wha...s-14621-3.html


On page 3 there are 2 pics of my bike in my bus (beginning of the build), and one being lifted into it. Works great. With a longer bike, you'd certainly not have the luxury of being able to keep them sideways.

Sorry, I still don't have the picture p[posting figured out on here.
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Old 01-23-2017, 10:13 PM   #4
Mini-Skoolie
 
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Thanks for the post! That is pretty cool.

Think we'd have to use a ramp.....most lifts are rated to 600-800 lbs... we would be right at the max at 800.

Ramp vs lift isn't our biggest problem. I liked the idea of the lift, as some buses have really wide doors where the lift operates. I've seen some conversions where the owners cut out the whole rear end and hinge it...would be concerned that this would seriously affect the structural integrity of the bus and am trying to avoid that.

My wife and I were a little disheartened when we went out and measured our bikes.... they are about 95" long....too long to store width of the bus. .

We're trying to figure out a way to NOT have to take up 10' of linear space to store the bikes..we've even thought of making enclosed cutouts on the opposite sides that the front wheels would fit in. Think this could work with locking chocks.

If anybody else has figured out how to store two big bikes using an economical footprint, would love to see it!
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Old 01-23-2017, 10:49 PM   #5
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I feel your pain. I used to have the same issues, if I ever had to haul my sidecar rig. I ended up converting a dual jet ski trailer, and just towed it. I preferred riding, but had to haul sometimes. You could always make up any lost "garage" space, if you did a roof raise. Even a partial raise would make up a lot of sq.ft.
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Old 01-24-2017, 07:14 AM   #6
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Buy a pair of mopeds for the road. You can just carry em up into the bus!


This is what I'm doing anyhow. I'll put em right up in the back door.
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Old 01-24-2017, 07:18 AM   #7
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.
Are those your Mopeds? A little chrome, some ape-hangars, and most folks wouldn't know the difference! Dress them like a Harley, without all the oil leaks and Maintenance!
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Old 01-24-2017, 07:25 AM   #8
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I've sold the black one. But the green/purple punk machine is my daily.

I've got seven of them right now, I think.
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Old 01-24-2017, 08:06 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mhobryan View Post
Thanks for the post! That is pretty cool.

Think we'd have to use a ramp.....most lifts are rated to 600-800 lbs... we would be right at the max at 800.

Ramp vs lift isn't our biggest problem. I liked the idea of the lift, as some buses have really wide doors where the lift operates. I've seen some conversions where the owners cut out the whole rear end and hinge it...would be concerned that this would seriously affect the structural integrity of the bus and am trying to avoid that.

My wife and I were a little disheartened when we went out and measured our bikes.... they are about 95" long....too long to store width of the bus. .

We're trying to figure out a way to NOT have to take up 10' of linear space to store the bikes..we've even thought of making enclosed cutouts on the opposite sides that the front wheels would fit in. Think this could work with locking chocks.

If anybody else has figured out how to store two big bikes using an economical footprint, would love to see it!
If the lift is rated at 800 and the bike is at or even at 900 I would use the lift. Think about the amount of safety factor the maker has in that lift intended for handicapped children. I bet it can do twice as much weight or more than the rating they show.
So I would use the lift and load the bikes in at an angle like they do horse trailers.
Draw out a box in the driveway the same width as the inside of a bus (7'-6"?) and see how much fore and aft space they really take up when parked at an angle to fit. Then you can have storage cabinets, etc. in the wedge areas fore and aft of the loaded bikes.
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Old 01-24-2017, 09:29 AM   #10
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Ok, so you're not gonna load two hogs in your bus with ONE wheelchair lift in any kind of a space-saving fashion. You'd have to load one, then maneuver it out of the way so you could load the second. That takes maneuvering room.

One bike maybe you could load crossways and it might be short enough after you put it in the chock and the tie-down straps compress the forks. But anyway, a bike is about 8ft long; two bikes sitting side-by-side are gonna be six feet wide. So you're looking at all kinds of schemes to save about 2 feet. It ain't worth it.

If it were me I'd hinge the back into a ramp. Beef up the framing with big hoops of bent square tubing sistered to the inside of the existing side/roof framing. A roll cage of sorts.

I'd also build a good, solid bulkhead between me and the bikes. Keep them from killing me in the unlikely event of a crash.
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Old 01-24-2017, 10:12 AM   #11
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Maybe tow a small trailer for the bikes?
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Old 01-24-2017, 03:01 PM   #12
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I would second the motion for a trailer for the bikes.

The floor level of a full size school bus is usually more than 48" off of the ground. That is a long way up in the air for going up a ramp. And stressing a lift to 120% of the rated lifting capacity every time it is used is going to greatly shorten the service life of a lift.
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Old 01-24-2017, 04:19 PM   #13
Mini-Skoolie
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Goatherder View Post
Ok, so you're not gonna load two hogs in your bus with ONE wheelchair lift in any kind of a space-saving fashion. You'd have to load one, then maneuver it out of the way so you could load the second. That takes maneuvering room.

One bike maybe you could load crossways and it might be short enough after you put it in the chock and the tie-down straps compress the forks. But anyway, a bike is about 8ft long; two bikes sitting side-by-side are gonna be six feet wide. So you're looking at all kinds of schemes to save about 2 feet. It ain't worth it.

If it were me I'd hinge the back into a ramp. Beef up the framing with big hoops of bent square tubing sistered to the inside of the existing side/roof framing. A roll cage of sorts.

I'd also build a good, solid bulkhead between me and the bikes. Keep them from killing me in the unlikely event of a crash.
I think you are on the right track....after my wife and I thought about it, about the only way we could get two HD's in the back would be do a mini double door to the right of the Emergency door in the rear. Don't really want to cut the whole back off, as afraid the shell would lose too much integrity. We were really trying to avoid adding a trailer on the back for maneuverability purposes, but that would be the simplest option.
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Old 01-24-2017, 09:37 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mhobryan View Post
I think you are on the right track....after my wife and I thought about it, about the only way we could get two HD's in the back would be do a mini double door to the right of the Emergency door in the rear. Don't really want to cut the whole back off, as afraid the shell would lose too much integrity. We were really trying to avoid adding a trailer on the back for maneuverability purposes, but that would be the simplest option.
Actually, the best option might be here:

About Scorpion Ramp

I own one of these. I was riding/drinking buddies with the guy in the pic back when he was designing it, and might even have added some suggestions to the drawing on the cocktail napkin. Can't remember...it was a blur. Anyway, this thing is stout as hell. He tested it with sandbags and it failed at like 3600lbs.

I used to ride my Road King right up into the back of my F-350....and the tailgate on that is probably about 42" high. Most loading ramps are sketchy at best w an 800lb bike...but this one is really solid. It folds to 3x3x9"-ish, and weighs about 80lbs. Has wheels so you can roll it around.

The ramp is 3ft wide, and sits perfectly on the lip under the back door of my bus. I would ride a bike up it no problem.
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Old 01-24-2017, 09:45 PM   #15
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If it were me (and it might be at some point again) I'd ride the bike up the ramp, thru the back door and into the bus. Then I'd weasel it over to one side, get the front wheel in a chock and strap it down. Ride the next one up and do the same. Then I'd have a cradle under the rear bumper so I could fold up the ramp and slide it in horizontally. With a door that folds up and locks to secure the thing. Cause they aint cheap...

And that right there Mister...is about the easiest solution you're gonna find.
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Old 01-24-2017, 10:31 PM   #16
Mini-Skoolie
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Goatherder View Post
If it were me (and it might be at some point again) I'd ride the bike up the ramp, thru the back door and into the bus. Then I'd weasel it over to one side, get the front wheel in a chock and strap it down. Ride the next one up and do the same. Then I'd have a cradle under the rear bumper so I could fold up the ramp and slide it in horizontally. With a door that folds up and locks to secure the thing. Cause they aint cheap...

And that right there Mister...is about the easiest solution you're gonna find.
Agreed...but think we may still have to do the double door thing (I found a pic on the net of someone who did this...looked professional) think the bars on my wife's Softail Deluxe are about 36 inches... Emergency door entrance is about 33...could probably snake it in - but doing that on an incline would be really tricky. If I open it up a bit using double doors so we can ride it strait through, that would be the best.
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Old 01-24-2017, 11:08 PM   #17
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Agreed...but think we may still have to do the double door thing (I found a pic on the net of someone who did this...looked professional) think the bars on my wife's Softail Deluxe are about 36 inches... Emergency door entrance is about 33...could probably snake it in - but doing that on an incline would be really tricky. If I open it up a bit using double doors so we can ride it strait through, that would be the best.
You might want to measure. A quick google search shows that particular bike w/32" bars (stock). My bus rear E-door is 36" clear opening. And even if you DO have to snake it in...it's a whole HELL of a lot easier to figure out how to do that ...than it is to start cutting apart a bus and figuring out how to modify the structure to accommodate a pair of barn doors. Then you have to fabricate the doors and get them in there so they function correctly and don't look like ****. And then button up all the sheetmetal so it doesn't either.

Me...I'd just ride the bikes thru the door, lash 'em down and be done. 10 minutes tops. Another suggestion would be to take the two forward bulkheads (the ones just fwd of each front seat) and move them to the back positioned just in front of the bikes. These would provide a pretty effective safety barrier, and you could install them in about half an hour. Use BIG washers on the bottom under the bus.

Another trick is this: Three bus seats in a row; remove the first two and leave the third behind. Then take a seat from the opposite side, flip it around backwards and put it where the first seat was. So now it's facing the third seat. Put a table between them (where the 2nd seat was). Quick and dirty dinette.
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Old 01-25-2017, 09:21 AM   #18
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My handicap lift bus also came with a commercially made pull out ramp.
It is fiberglass and aI think 12 feet long. I do not have a pic with it pulled out.
I can pull it out, get pic as well as the makers info if you like.
Mine appears to have been added in by the school garage as it is not a polished turd installation.
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File Type: jpg pull out ramp.jpg (207.7 KB, 5 views)
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Old 01-25-2017, 08:56 PM   #19
Mini-Skoolie
 
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Thanks for all of the suggestions ... gave us some really good ideas, and gave me hope that I may not have to hack into the back of the bus we will eventually buy. Although my wife and I have kicked around this idea for years, it is just recently that we started to get serious about it and started doing research. Now if I could just convince my wife she needed a set of rabbit ear handle bars for her bike we'd be all set.... I know the shovelhead hardtail I'm working on will fit.

thanks,
Mike
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Old 01-25-2017, 09:24 PM   #20
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This one has a length issue as well.
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