Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
 
Old 03-29-2018, 02:52 AM   #1
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Mar 2018
Posts: 13
Roof Raise + Floor Drop

So I am looking at a 40ft 1998 Thomas school bus with a puller engine and a rear wheelchair lift which I may end up removing after all is said and done....

I need to optimize as much room in the rear as I can (who doesn't right?) I'm already looking at a roof raise to bring it to either 12.5 or 13 ft high (I plan to run solar plus a few antennas on the top that I would keep up front on the non raised area near the driver's cab) but that still only gives me around 9ft of internal clearance.

My question is... Why couldn't I lower the back floor after the wheel wells to the back bumper down to where the front stair case is or maybe a tad higher. Obviously it would need to support just as much weight as the original, but it would open nearly 8-12 inches of additional room which will help with my loft concept considerably.

Has anyone done this, or toyed around with the idea?

Sent from my SM-G950U using Tapatalk
SmartBusRob is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-29-2018, 05:40 AM   #2
Bus Nut
 
JDOnTheGo's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2017
Location: The West
Posts: 943
Year: 1998
Coachwork: MCI
Chassis: 102 EL3
Engine: DD 60
Anything is possible! But.. no, I have not done it.

Nine feet inside the bus sounds like a huge amount to me but I'm not very tall.

Everyone and every build is different so I don't believe there are right and wrong answers to this type of thing. That said, there are typically a good number of heavy components (holding tanks, house batteries, etc.) that need to go somewhere - low and near the rear axle (under the floor) is a pretty good spot. If you've already taken care of that stuff and the space mentioned is empty, then it would seem like a possibility. Probably involves some frame rail modification but that is doable (not necessarily "easy").

You've probably already considered the effects of an "over-tall" bus but if not, give that some thought (tippy, sensitive to wind while driving, clearance issues (gas station canopies, tree branches, etc.).
__________________
JD - Full timer out west
Missy - 1998 MCI 102-EL3 - 1.7kW Solar - 10kWh Lithium
My Adventures & Build
JDOnTheGo is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 03-29-2018, 07:01 AM   #3
Bus Crazy
 
Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario
Posts: 1,673
Year: 1997
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: B3800 Short bus
Engine: T444E
Rated Cap: 36
Dropping’s the rear would mean cutting the frame rails. Those are very important for keeping the back end from falling off.
I dropped frame rail can be made, but you had better be a damn fine fabricator to pull it off!
__________________
My build page: Armageddon - The Smell of Airborne Rust
jazty is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-29-2018, 07:21 AM   #4
Bus Nut
 
Jdawgsfanasty's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2017
Posts: 973
Quote:
Originally Posted by SmartBusRob View Post
So I am looking at a 40ft 1998 Thomas school bus with a puller engine and a rear wheelchair lift which I may end up removing after all is said and done....

I need to optimize as much room in the rear as I can (who doesn't right?) I'm already looking at a roof raise to bring it to either 12.5 or 13 ft high (I plan to run solar plus a few antennas on the top that I would keep up front on the non raised area near the driver's cab) but that still only gives me around 9ft of internal clearance.

My question is... Why couldn't I lower the back floor after the wheel wells to the back bumper down to where the front stair case is or maybe a tad higher. Obviously it would need to support just as much weight as the original, but it would open nearly 8-12 inches of additional room which will help with my loft concept considerably.

Has anyone done this, or toyed around with the idea?

Sent from my SM-G950U using Tapatalk
As mentioned, it'd be some sweet fabrication...if outsourced it'd be expensive...if you take that leap be sure to post pics

Sent from my VS500PP using Tapatalk
Jdawgsfanasty is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-29-2018, 07:43 AM   #5
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Mar 2018
Posts: 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by jazty View Post
Dropping’s the rear would mean cutting the frame rails. Those are very important for keeping the back end from falling off.
I dropped frame rail can be made, but you had better be a damn fine fabricator to pull it off!
I saw another discussion on a YouTube comment that mentioned basically adding the drop to the frame vs cutting the frame which would give a sort of step down effect since the rails would remain in place. That made it seem doable but gave me so many questions lol. The sad part was the last activity on that particular thread was a few years ago.

Sent from my SM-G950U using Tapatalk
SmartBusRob is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-29-2018, 08:03 AM   #6
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Mar 2018
Posts: 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by JDOnTheGo View Post
Anything is possible! But.. no, I have not done it.

Nine feet inside the bus sounds like a huge amount to me but I'm not very tall.

Everyone and every build is different so I don't believe there are right and wrong answers to this type of thing. That said, there are typically a good number of heavy components (holding tanks, house batteries, etc.) that need to go somewhere - low and near the rear axle (under the floor) is a pretty good spot. If you've already taken care of that stuff and the space mentioned is empty, then it would seem like a possibility. Probably involves some frame rail modification but that is doable (not necessarily "easy").

You've probably already considered the effects of an "over-tall" bus but if not, give that some thought (tippy, sensitive to wind while driving, clearance issues (gas station canopies, tree branches, etc.).
I've been looking at adding storage cases to the center portion of the bus and hiding my fresh and grey water tanks inside the bus (still need to decide on a home for blackwater) as far as my over tall concerns I was basically thinking of like a roll cage concept to reinforce the roof raise. Creating a new rib structure in the rear, the center and at the front of the raise leading into. The dip into the original height untouched drivers cabin and connected in an X pattern along the sides where I don't intend to have windows.

I don't plan to stray too far from typical RV parks and traveling the major cities and highways and our home location will largely be the west coast and Las Vegas so I'm thinking size wise I'll be ok.

As far as the 9ft of internal space I'm finding myself having what appears to be a unique problem lol.

Most people in buses and vans are family's or couples that don't mind being cozy 24/7 with minimal privacy for the most part. In my situation I'm doing this with a friend of mine in a more roommate situation. We were looking at the outrageous prices of a super small barely 2 bedroom apartment in LA for well over 2k a month plus we both travel so much for work that is based from home this Bus Conversion is making the most sense, but it provides a few unique issues.

I'm 6ft 1in and a fairly larger fellow lol and he is 5ft 8in and Average Build. He wants a bedroom with a Full size bed and adequate storage for his clothes and items... And I need a bedroom with a queen size bed and adequate storage. A place where there can be true privacy especially if there happen to be guests over.

The best floor plan concept I've been able to come up with that still accommodates the other spaces we need is to stack those bedrooms in the back. Place both rooms at a horizontal orientation and build a stair walkway structure to the top room that let's Me also hide the washer/dryer combo under it and maybe a few other things.

I'm also trying to see if it's doable using the same floor plan concept to have a loft space over the Shower and maybe the residential fridge which would be our group sitting area with a couch and maybe our recliners as a living room area for guests.

I just need to make sure I have enough head room to make the concept work.

Sent from my SM-G950U using Tapatalk
SmartBusRob is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-29-2018, 09:02 AM   #7
Bus Nut
 
Jdawgsfanasty's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2017
Posts: 973
Quote:
Originally Posted by SmartBusRob View Post
I've been looking at adding storage cases to the center portion of the bus and hiding my fresh and grey water tanks inside the bus (still need to decide on a home for blackwater) as far as my over tall concerns I was basically thinking of like a roll cage concept to reinforce the roof raise. Creating a new rib structure in the rear, the center and at the front of the raise leading into. The dip into the original height untouched drivers cabin and connected in an X pattern along the sides where I don't intend to have windows.

I don't plan to stray too far from typical RV parks and traveling the major cities and highways and our home location will largely be the west coast and Las Vegas so I'm thinking size wise I'll be ok.

As far as the 9ft of internal space I'm finding myself having what appears to be a unique problem lol.

Most people in buses and vans are family's or couples that don't mind being cozy 24/7 with minimal privacy for the most part. In my situation I'm doing this with a friend of mine in a more roommate situation. We were looking at the outrageous prices of a super small barely 2 bedroom apartment in LA for well over 2k a month plus we both travel so much for work that is based from home this Bus Conversion is making the most sense, but it provides a few unique issues.

I'm 6ft 1in and a fairly larger fellow lol and he is 5ft 8in and Average Build. He wants a bedroom with a Full size bed and adequate storage for his clothes and items... And I need a bedroom with a queen size bed and adequate storage. A place where there can be true privacy especially if there happen to be guests over.

The best floor plan concept I've been able to come up with that still accommodates the other spaces we need is to stack those bedrooms in the back. Place both rooms at a horizontal orientation and build a stair walkway structure to the top room that let's Me also hide the washer/dryer combo under it and maybe a few other things.

I'm also trying to see if it's doable using the same floor plan concept to have a loft space over the Shower and maybe the residential fridge which would be our group sitting area with a couch and maybe our recliners as a living room area for guests.

I just need to make sure I have enough head room to make the concept work.

Sent from my SM-G950U using Tapatalk
I understand your reasons for a conversion but you guys are gonna be miserable...a bus is a small space and you can do some incredible things with a bus...but before you sink a small fortune into this you need to acknowledge the limitations...my 2 bits...good luck

Sent from my VS500PP using Tapatalk
Jdawgsfanasty is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-29-2018, 01:43 PM   #8
Almost There
 
Join Date: Oct 2016
Location: Motor City
Posts: 91
Check out the Newmar Allstar motorhomes from about 10 years ago. They used a Sparatn mid-engine chassis that had dropped frame rails in the back. They built a variety of models that used the extra height in the back. Two story beds, bunks, other stuff. Offerings varied greatly by year. Not even clear if the ever built examples of the the varieties. Lots of ideas though.

https://www.rvroundtable.com/wp-cont...rMidDiesel.pdf

https://www.rvroundtable.com/wp-cont...rMidDiesel.pdf
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Spartan_ME_300dpi[1].jpg (100.3 KB, 25 views)
ennonne is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-29-2018, 01:56 PM   #9
Bus Nut
 
Join Date: Feb 2018
Location: Pendleton Indiana
Posts: 281
Year: 2010
Coachwork: IC
Engine: MF DT466
Rated Cap: 81
Heck a bus could fly if you throw enough coin at it. How many people will be living in it? You may have to change some priorities. There are families with 4 to 6 kids making do on conversions. If you must have more room you may have to look at road coach bus's.
Miles O Roads is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-29-2018, 02:12 PM   #10
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Mar 2018
Posts: 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by Miles O Roads View Post
Heck a bus could fly if you throw enough coin at it. How many people will be living in it? You may have to change some priorities. There are families with 4 to 6 kids making do on conversions. If you must have more room you may have to look at road coach bus's.
Just two people living in it full time with guests over from time to time.

Sent from my SM-G950U using Tapatalk
SmartBusRob is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


» Featured Campgrounds

Reviews provided by

Powered by vBadvanced CMPS v3.2.3

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 08:18 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 4
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.