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Old 05-21-2019, 10:47 AM   #1
Mini-Skoolie
 
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Shuttle Bus Newbie,How are the Bodies Constructed

First post,and I don't have a bus yet,but starting to keep my eyes open and notice things in my travels,plenty to see.


Without writing a novel,I am looking to construct a rolling office and apartment for boondocking in a dense urban environment,along with some travel as work takes me there.I am in construction and also have a Lot of metal Fab,auto and carpentry skills,for a living professionally.I say that just to let folks know that nothing on this project would be beyond reach and I know well enough the hours and hours to be invested.(novel over for now 😀).


90% sure I need a roof raise.I am tall,and need to build a 4 season vehicle,super insulated for weather in the northeast.And also insulated for sound.My job gives me experience on both.


Probably want to find something about 25 feet.I drive a 20 foot service vehicle daily,so I understand the size and scale of it.


A gas engine,hopefully Chevy.The areas I would be in don't like you idling a diesel.But they also don't disallow sleeping in a RV,as a legal matter.I like the shuttles because they seem to blend-in,and I see many types of organizations keep them on the street,even over night.


(funny thing,as I typed this in a parking lot, 2 school buses short ones both Chevys, have pulled in one has four Windows one has five windows, I would take pictures of them but the operators are sitting in them and probably would think I was a spy for the school district if I took a picture,Collins)


Anyhow...How are the shuttles constructed?Is there a metal framework on the walls and roof skinned in fiberglass?All fiberglass on some?Only time I have been in one was at the airport,but I can actually get in some now that I have an interest.


Thank you in advance.
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Old 05-22-2019, 10:51 AM   #2
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Different manufactures construct differently. Mine has a steel 1" square Cage with 1" rigid insulation and fiberglass skins on interior and exterior. The back cap has 3/4" plywood with fiberglass skins. I have a startrans
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Old 05-22-2019, 11:55 AM   #3
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Thank you for that.I am starting to look through some threads to see some different shuttle busses in project stage.Seems like a wide range of body constructions,whereas school buses seem to be pretty standard among the manufacturers.


If you don't mind,Ledsled,when you get a chance can you measure from your floor to the bottom of the windows? My idea is to cut and lift somewhere beneath the windows to get the window bottoms a minimum of 36" above the finished floor. I could fabricate my own interior load bearing structure on the interior,floor to ceiling.
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Old 05-22-2019, 03:12 PM   #4
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04 Chev 10 window Micro bird is 30" from floor to bottom lip at windows. hth
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Old 05-22-2019, 03:31 PM   #5
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5 windows each side (2 escape on each side ) looks like 1.5" hat channel as main support from floor across to floor. right now it's all aluminum skin on the inside. Fiberglass insulation. Bus had individual bucket seats w/ seat belts . all wiring was run in aluminum hat channel above the widows and branched off where needed.
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Old 05-22-2019, 09:30 PM   #6
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Thanks eman,that helps a lot.I believe the shuttles have a much lower window.


I have seen a 5 window,one parked across from me yesterday,I believe I am looking for something longer.How long is yours from the back of the driver's seat to the rear wall?


Good to see you have a Chevy,is it gas or diesel?
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Old 05-22-2019, 11:15 PM   #7
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Our shuttle bus is an Eldorado Aerotech 24' with a Ford 7.3L Powerstroke. The inside measures 16' from the back of the driver's seat to the back wall, 7'6" wide and 6'6" tall at the center aisle. The body is molded fiberglass that wouldn't lend itself to a roof raise.



I'm 6'1" tall and after losing 3 inches of headroom when I insulated the floor and ceiling I still have plenty of headroom.
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Old 05-23-2019, 07:20 AM   #8
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Our shuttle bus is an Eldorado Aerotech 24' with a Ford 7.3L Powerstroke. The inside measures 16' from the back of the driver's seat to the back wall, 7'6" wide and 6'6" tall at the center aisle. The body is molded fiberglass that wouldn't lend itself to a roof raise.



I'm 6'1" tall and after losing 3 inches of headroom when I insulated the floor and ceiling I still have plenty of headroom.

Thanks Roach,I have been checking your build thread the last few nights,and I was about to post a question on it,but I think you just answered it.I actually printed out a picture of your gutted interior,just after you made a roof patch,and it appeared that the body was a complete fiberglass shell and nothing else,at least above the windows.


And yes,I realize a roof raise on one of these would be something of uncharted water,but I have several ideas on how to approach it.Luckily I am a decent fabricator and have friends and family who are world class fabricators to turn to.


If you get a chance,let me know a measurement from your finished floor to the bottom of your windows. Thanks,and 24 to 26 feet total length I think is what my sweet spot would be.
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Old 05-23-2019, 12:14 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Juan Handed View Post
If you get a chance, let me know a measurement from your finished floor to the bottom of your windows. Thanks,and 24 to 26 feet total length I think is what my sweet spot would be.

From my finished floor to the bottom of the window trim ring is 29 1/4". My floor is 3/4" poly iso foam board with 3/4" plywood on top. About 1 3/4" thick total including the linoleum (so 31" to the original floor)


From floor to ceiling at the center aisle measures 76 3/4" (6' 4 3/4"). The ceiling has the same 3/4" poly iso with some light weight indoor/outdoor carpeting glued on. The original headroom after the interior trim panels and the rubber flooring were stripped out was 6' 7".


It would be very interesting to see a roof raise on one of these!
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Old 05-23-2019, 12:33 PM   #10
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It would be very interesting to see a roof raise on one of these!

Hey Roach, while I am thinking about it, I saw a photo I believe where you were installing a heater that required you to cut a hole through everything from the outside of the body. It appears that there's some kind of corrugation material between 2 very thick layers a fiberglass? Was I seeing that right? Thank you for those dimensions that's a big help I'm kind of surprised that the windows are that far off the floor for some reason I thought that shuttles would be even closer than that.


One big reason for wanting to go with the roof raise is that I feel I need more insulation then what you have already installed. Mine would definitely be a 4 season situation. And as I explained in post number one, sound deadening is a big deal because it would be located in urban areas much of the time. And I really enjoy my beauty rest.
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Old 05-23-2019, 02:46 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by Juan Handed View Post
Hey Roach, while I am thinking about it, I saw a photo I believe where you were installing a heater that required you to cut a hole through everything from the outside of the body. It appears that there's some kind of corrugation material between 2 very thick layers a fiberglass? Was I seeing that right?

Yup. There's an inner and outer skin with some sort of corrugation in between. I'd guess the outer skin is 3/32 thick and the inner 3/64. there's about 7/8" between the inner and outer. I can walk on the roof with no deflection so the body is pretty sturdy. I read somewhere that the Eldorados were the only shuttle bus shells that were crash tested. The inner skin holds a screw real well. I had to use a big enough pilot drill or my sheet metal screws would twist off.
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Old 05-23-2019, 10:06 PM   #12
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Yup. There's an inner and outer skin with some sort of corrugation in between. I'd guess the outer skin is 3/32 thick and the inner 3/64. there's about 7/8" between the inner and outer. I can walk on the roof with no deflection so the body is pretty sturdy. I read somewhere that the Eldorados were the only shuttle bus shells that were crash tested. The inner skin holds a screw real well. I had to use a big enough pilot drill or my sheet metal screws would twist off.

Wow,I thought the corrugation was a separate material,looks like it is an integrated homogenized piece?
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Old 05-24-2019, 07:07 AM   #13
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Got to the bus last night and measured floor to bottom of window 30". I can stand up straight in my bus and am 5' 10" tall so bus is probably 6' ceiling.
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Old 05-24-2019, 08:26 AM   #14
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Got to the bus last night and measured floor to bottom of window 30". I can stand up straight in my bus and am 5' 10" tall so bus is probably 6' ceiling.

Thank you for that.That makes 2 shuttles with about 30" from floor to bottom of window height. So,if I get a little more feedback on this,I am going to start to guess that this is a more or less standard thing.


So to get a window to be above a standard 4" kitchen backsplash,it would require about a 12-16" lift,which is about what I had in mind.
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Old 05-24-2019, 10:54 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Juan Handed View Post
Thank you for that.That makes 2 shuttles with about 30" from floor to bottom of window height. So,if I get a little more feedback on this,I am going to start to guess that this is a more or less standard thing.


So to get a window to be above a standard 4" kitchen backsplash,it would require about a 12-16" lift,which is about what I had in mind.
36" counter top height

https://www.thoughtco.com/optimal-ki...height-1206599
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Old 05-24-2019, 11:03 AM   #16
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Yes 36" is standard.Plus 4 to 6" for backsplash,plus 3 or 4 inch floor build up for insulation,flooring,etc. to be below the bottom of the window frame.
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Old 05-25-2019, 09:48 AM   #17
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only 15' from the pole behind driver seat to back door.
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Old 05-25-2019, 11:12 AM   #18
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only 15' from the pole behind driver seat to back door.
That is still more room than I would have figured on for you. About three weeks ago I was in a parking lot where a bus driver came in and parked a Collins I believe it had 4 Windows and a wheelchair door on the passenger side. I'm not sure why I didn't get a picture and I didn't get a chance to board the bus either because the driver got out and disappeared somewhere for a while ,next time I see one like this and have the chance I'm going to try to take my tape measure inside.


It was also a Chevy which definitely caught my eye and I believe it was gas powered. It looked pretty much brand new.
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Old 05-29-2019, 05:20 PM   #19
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I have the exact same shell as Roach 711 with exact same measurements. But it is on a 2001 Chevy Express with a 6.5L turbo diesel engine. I am only 5 ft 2 inches tall so I don't need to raise roof. My older son is 5 ft 11 inches and fits ok. My windows are just about 30 inches up from floor. I am planning to replace windows with double paned windows. It will almost be like a roof raise because I am going to take out windows, re-frame and skin the shell and install 2 different windows (one horizontal and one vertical on each side) in different places.
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Old 05-29-2019, 09:02 PM   #20
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That’s good they work for someone. I’m 6’5” and everything is tooooo low in my 4 window Chevy short bus. It’s empty and ready to build so I’m thinking about ways to make it more comfortable. Happy trails
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