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Old 12-07-2009, 10:28 PM   #1
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What does your bus really weigh? Building a bridge.

Speaking of weight. I need to get my bus weighed. I really don't know exactly what it weighs.

The GVWR is 24,500# (under my state's weight threshold of 26,000# for CDL requirement.)
It's rated for 60 passengers -- I figure 100 pounds each for 6th graders, or 6,000# total.
Subtracting payload from GVWR, I come up with an empty weight of 18,500#, which is what I put on the title and registration.

I took out 500# of steel from the seats, and at least another 100# of seat coverings. I'm at stripped weight of 17,900#.

I installed:

floor: seven sheets of 3/4" plywood at 75# each.
cabinetry: five sheets of misc 1/2" ply at 50# each.
woodstove 200#
lumber 200# (? maybe?)
storage battery 150#
misc furniture and "appliances" 300# (? maybe?)
holding tanks: 100#
fuel tank: 75#
40 gal water: 330#
supplies and possessions 200# <this would be an interesting index to create on a per person basis...

total = call it 2,400#. My best estimate. Probably not off by more than 50%.

I should be right around 21,000#. I don't go over bridges with 10 ton weight limits. 20 ton, 15 ton, sure, but not 10 ton.

Bus weight presents a situation I must resolve.

I just bought some property to live on. It is remote. It is hard to get to. I have to get the bus there. I'm pretty sure I can get drive the 30' bus across the 27' wide creek bed. I'm confident that if I bottom out trying, I can get pulled out by the 4WD tow-truck I plan to have on site. I'm pretty sure I can drive the bus up the 5/8 mile Jeep trail that leads to the land. The tow-truck will precede me, and he can't get out unless I get up the trail...that's incentive.

But....

I don't want to drive my Jeep across the creek everyday for very long. I will not be able to do it when the creek is up (I am well schooled on the dangers of driving across water.) I have to get to school everyday. I need a bridge (which is a seperate financial/legal/engineering issue in itself.) So....

I need to build a 15 ton capacity bridge to get my bus OUT someday! I am not going to imprison the bus behind a small bridge (that is strong enough for cars and trucks, but not buses) and abandon it in the backwoods of SW Virginia. I have long term plans for it.

OR... can I build a removeable bridge that I can use daily for the car, and take up to drive the bus in and out on the rare occasion?

The latter is my plan. $$ figure into this in a big way, so I'm somewhat limited by capital resources, although I may be able to stretch myself some.

Very interesting...
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Old 12-08-2009, 08:04 AM   #2
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Re: What does your bus really weigh? Building a bridge.

The creekbed is about 27' wide from bank to bank, and about 5 feet deep. The normal creek flow is about 6" deep and 12' wide. The bed of the creek seems to be a rock shelf. From the street side of the creek (it runs along the paved road), the road goes down into the creek at a tangent, about 45 degrees to the creekbed. On the property side of the creekbed, the exit from the creek is pretty much straight up a cut in the bank (90 degrees to the creekbed). I think I can drive down into the creekbed from the road, turn a bit to face the other bank with my front end, and drive up the bank on the other side. It's not hard to make it in a truck or Jeep, but the length of the bus is the problem.

It will be a good test of my design of the propane carrier. Theoretically, the rear bumper would have to bottom out before the bottom of the propane carrier hits the ground. Theoretically. I will remove the propane tanks before crossing, but I might also just take the carrier off to be sure it doesn't hang up (it sits right behind the differential.)

*Probably* I can just drive across the creek and up the Jeep trail. But that's why I'm going to have the tow truck on site. When I first went out there, I couldn't get all the way to the property with my Jeep in 4WD-Low. I thought I was going to break something, and I was starting to bottom out in places. The former owner had the road re-graded, and now you could drive it in a 2WD pick-up. The road still needs a lot of work, as it was never designed properly with regard to drainage -- they just pushed a bulldozer up the hill. I can do the necessary work with a small rented front-end loader (at $175/day), and a half dozen pieces of corrugated drain pipe will help fix the drainage issus. The bridge is different.

First, it's a misdemeanor to dump rubble or construct any structure in the creekbed, itself -- and they prosecute people for it. Culverts are disfavored. Bridge construction requires some significant engineering at this scale, and that's fairly expensive.

My favorite idea is to put up some kind of moveable bridge that I can lower into the creek bed where it is only about 15' wide. Then I can drive across it and take it out of the creekbed -- sort of a drawbridge. That is going to be a tricky piece of work. The next idea is to build a 5 ton capacity, one lane bridge across the creek, but a 27' span still requires some serious engineering -- and it makes it impossible to get the bus out. A 15 ton capacity bridge would be ideal, but ain't gonna be cheap!

We'll see next semester!
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Old 12-08-2009, 12:06 PM   #3
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Re: What does your bus really weigh? Building a bridge.


Railroad flat cars are often used as bridges.
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Old 12-08-2009, 01:04 PM   #4
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Re: What does your bus really weigh? Building a bridge.

Do some research into what the army uses to move it's heavy equipment. They have pontoon type bridges that are used temporarily to get their caravans cross rivers. Those must be portable. Maybe you could find something like that at a surplus sale.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Elliot Naess
Railroad flat cars are often used as bridges.
True. Mountainviewdome used one to get across a washout somewhere out west (NV or NM?). If I can find the link I'll post it for ya.

<edit>
Here's the link to the pictoral of what they built: http://www.mountainviewdome.com/Creek%20Crossing.htm
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Old 12-08-2009, 11:08 PM   #5
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Re: What does your bus really weigh? Building a bridge.

first weigh the bus so that you are dealing with a known fact, look for a matched pair of flatbed semitrailers to set side by side on a pair of substantial piers on each creek bank remove the trailer running gear and sell it for salvage
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Old 12-09-2009, 12:10 AM   #6
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Re: What does your bus really weigh? Building a bridge.

Just build some ramps and ramp that bus over the creek.

I take no responsibility if you go this route and fail to make it across or severely damage the bus, yourself, fish, and any furry woodland creatures. just make sure you get it on video for our entertainment

Chris

Oh and before you ramp it make sure you get yourself on video saying "Check this out dude"
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Old 12-09-2009, 07:02 AM   #7
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Re: What does your bus really weigh? Building a bridge.

I like the thoughts of a traditional A frame bridge for the short span you are talking about. Should be quite DIYable using treated telephone poles.

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Old 12-09-2009, 07:23 AM   #8
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Re: What does your bus really weigh? Building a bridge.

Just make sure that if you use Telephone Poles or railroad ties that you wear gloves and long sleeves when handling it. Wear a mask when cutting it also. They are treated with Creosote.
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Old 12-09-2009, 09:33 PM   #9
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Re: What does your bus really weigh? Building a bridge.

Check out what the military uses.... Bailey Bridge would be my bet...
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Old 12-13-2009, 09:24 PM   #10
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Re: What does your bus really weigh? Building a bridge.

Regarding determining the weight of your bus - You can get it weighed by axle at just about any truck stop for $8-$12. Load it with stuff like you would normally have it, fill the tanks as you normally would have them, etc. Then take it to your your nearest truck stop.

Beyond knowing what bridges you can safely cross, it also helps with tire inflation. Most tires for trucks and buses have different recomended inflation pressures for different loads. Running at the proper pressure for the load will give the best fuel mileage, tire life and safety.
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