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Old 02-23-2005, 01:37 PM   #1
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VW Bus Grafted onto School Bus Roof - Smart or Stupid Idea?

Can anyone tell me their personal experience with raising the roof of their bus? I have seen, and like the idea of, adding a VW camper bus to the top of a dog nose style school bus. I have four kids and plan to use the addition as a group sleep/play area. They like the idea of having a space of their own and the Dr. Suessian asthetic. I have found images of the "Boogie Bus" with one VW grafted into the roof in the slide out posting elsewhere on this site, and the "Magic Bus" with two zebra striped VWs on the roof. The only opinion I have found on the subject was by Mr. Sharkey (can not recall the URL) who disliked the idea beacuse of raised center of gravity, increased need for dodging trees and powerlines, squeeks, rattles, leaks, and the amount of gained space for the effort, but his objective is to gain light and head room not gain sleeping space. His complete removal of his Crown bus roof is total overkill for my objective. Is this VW bus modification worth the effort, totally stupid, or somewhere in between?

Thanks
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Old 02-23-2005, 02:59 PM   #2
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I think it's an excellent idea! I nearly put a full size van on top of my bus.
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Old 02-23-2005, 11:40 PM   #3
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Horrible idea.

Offhand, it will probably squeak, leak, & rattle. It may well make the bus over legal height (13'6", usually). It will definitely make it more top-heavy, increase drag, and weaken the structure.

It's also a bit like adding a neon sign reading, "I AM A HIPPIE! I HAVE ILLEGAL DRUGS ON BOARD! PULL ME OVER & RIP MY BUS APART LOOKING FOR THEM!" to the police.
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Old 02-24-2005, 09:25 AM   #4
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Reality: the police can and will search any vehicle at any time. If they don't have a reason, they'll call in a dog, and if it doesn't find anything, they'll plant something.

If you demand a warrant, you just might "accidentally" drown yourself in a toilet during questioning.
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Old 02-24-2005, 01:05 PM   #5
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this conversation we're having about police should probably be moved to the "everythign else" thread...

I've traveled all over the country, from new york to LA and lots of places in between. It's rare for me to get pulled over out of state, however in state i've had my share of traffic stopps. I've had very few poor expierences with police officers. I"ve been pulled over plenty of times. My observation is that police officers are mostly just interested in checking to make sure you have a valid liscense, proof of insurance, and are not driving a stolen vehicle. If those three are all in order i've found that in most police officers don't even bother giving a ticket for the original offense. I have been pulled over more than a dozen times since i was 20 years old, and only gotten one ticket. Nearly every time i get pulled over, i had done something wrong ie: speeding. All but one time, the officer let me go. (i got a 5 over ticket doing 47 in a 25 zone, which he later reduced to impeding traffic)

I have a method i use when i get pulled over......IF an officer is after you for speeding, you usually know he's after you long before he turns his lights on. I usually start looking for a good place to pull off the side of the road. In my car, i try to pull as far to the right as possible so the officer doesn't have to stand out in the road while talking to me. In the bus, I think i'd try to leave him room to walk on teh passenger side so he isn't getting his boots muddy walking in the ditch.

At nite, i turn on the dome light, roll down my window and have my lic reg ins ready to hand to the officer. Then i put my hands on the top of the steering wheel and leave them there till the officer gets to my vehicle.

I try to be completely honest and use use yes sir, no sir when answering questions.

I have an excellent driving record, and i'm a total straightedge as i don't smoke, drink, or do any drugs.

Hopefully some of this will indeed help you someday when you see the red and blue flashing lights in your mirror
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Old 02-24-2005, 01:16 PM   #6
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Cops aside - any other comments on the VW Bus topper idea?

Thanks for the info on the cops, good information, so I opened an new topic for this issue. In this thread I was looking for advice from those with real direct experience with construction, use, and life with a VW bus roof grafts?[/b]
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Old 02-24-2005, 06:31 PM   #7
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I am a cop and I work the summers as a "traffic cop" on a Harley. You have nothing to worry about legally with adding the bus on the roof as long as you take a little time to look up the local traffic codes for vehicle height and weight, etc... A call to the local office of the State Patrol or their nearest weight scale/inspection station can yield you a ton of useful FREE information prior to doing something and finding out later it was not legal to do. I would agree that there might be leaks or wrattling going on, etc...

The one thing I didn't see mentioned on this thread was this...if you are not doing anything illegal you have nothing to worry about. It is true that some cops may give someone a ticket for no seatbelt (or littering) when they weren't doing so and it might be true that the fine might be higher, but you will find is that speeding goes on your driving record and causes your insurance to go up, thus costing much more than the extra fine. Littering and seatbelt violations do not go on a driving record. Sometimes what is interpreted as the actions of a jerk may not be as bad as they might seem. It all depends on the attitude we have going in. If I assume you are a jerk before I even know you than my behavior toward you will almost certainly cause you to be as such or I will come away from the situation thinking you were when you weren't. Every store has bad employees, every gas station has bad employees, every hotel I've ever stayed in has bad employees, but I certainly don't judge everyone by the bad people I have met just because they work in a store, gas station or hotel.

P.S. It's always a bad practice to get advice from anyone who will not be standing next to you when you find out the advice is wrong. They used to hand out wallet cards that told you "your rights" but those caused a lot of problems for a lot of people because they were very wrong. There are people out there right now telling me it's my constitutional right to not pay taxes. Maybe I should listen to them and see what happens.
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Old 02-24-2005, 11:00 PM   #8
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I drive a tow truck for a living. As such, I deal with these arrogant, swaggering wanna-be stormtroopers daily. I average one pullover per day (cited twice in four years, both bogus, both tossed in court). 98% of cops I deal with are simply thugs who, with slightly different circumstances, might have wound up as mob leg-breakers or union enforcers.

Quote:
The one thing I didn't see mentioned on this thread was this...if you are not doing anything illegal you have nothing to worry about.
That's because nothing could be further from the truth. If they don't seen anything to pull you over for, they'll simply invent something (like going 72MPH in a truck governed at 67).
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Old 02-25-2005, 05:05 PM   #9
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I thought my post was pretty nice and straight forward. Polite actually. To say that police officers will just make something up if they don't have anything is, for one thing, very insulting to me and, secondly, a very sad statement for you. I said there are bad people in every job and I believe this is true. We have a local wrecker operator who would put decoy cars in a bank lot marked "no parking or you will be towed" to make local bar-goers think that it wasn't being enforced. He would then wait and when the lot filled he would get several of his wreckers there and tow a ton of cars. When people came out of the bar their cars were gone, along with the decoy cars. If someone caught him towing their car he would make them pay the tow or he would take the car, even if he hadn't hooked the car up yet. He also charged cash only and way over charged what the city allowed for a tow. When we investigated this he had no record of dozens of the people who complained to us about this because he never issued receipts. Do I think all wrecker drivers are crooks like this guy? Of course not. Are there more wrecker operators in this area who are crooks? Of course. Should I assume that all will rip me off when I have a problem? Absolutely not.
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Old 02-25-2005, 11:56 PM   #10
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Those sound like pretty typical stuff...much like cops, it's the 90% of tow jockeys that are crooks that ruin it for the rest.
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