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Old 04-12-2018, 07:06 PM   #1
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Join Date: Sep 2016
Location: Fayetteville Arkansas
Posts: 419
Year: 1991
Coachwork: Carpenter
Chassis: GMC G3500 Vandura
Engine: V-8 5.7L Gas
The Daily Driver Bus Build

This is my 1991 GMC Carpenter Clipper. They were built from 1985 to 1991. Not many were produced due to the demand of class C and D buses.
In May 1991, Carpenter purchased the tooling, product rights, and intellectual property of Crown Coach and from 1992 to 1998 rebranded the style from the GMC Vandura Chassis to the Chevrolet Express/GMC Savana known as the "Carpenter/Crown by Carpenter Classmate" and the "Crown by Carpenter Commuter (commercial)" before ending production of type A buses altogether.

The demolition has been done. I'm starting this fresh thread specifically for the building of the Daily Driver Bus.
If you're interested in everything leading up to the purchase you can find it here.
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File Type: jpg bus.jpg (295.8 KB, 42 views)
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Old 04-12-2018, 07:09 PM   #2
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Join Date: Sep 2016
Location: Fayetteville Arkansas
Posts: 419
Year: 1991
Coachwork: Carpenter
Chassis: GMC G3500 Vandura
Engine: V-8 5.7L Gas
Here's a couple pictures of the bus gutted:
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File Type: jpg thumbnail (6).jpg (57.1 KB, 36 views)
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Old 04-12-2018, 07:13 PM   #3
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Join Date: Sep 2016
Location: Fayetteville Arkansas
Posts: 419
Year: 1991
Coachwork: Carpenter
Chassis: GMC G3500 Vandura
Engine: V-8 5.7L Gas
Then with the help of our friends at Unique Creations we began raising the roof:
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File Type: jpg thumbnail (9).jpg (65.3 KB, 47 views)
File Type: jpg thumbnail (10).jpg (60.9 KB, 47 views)
File Type: jpg thumbnail (8).jpg (101.6 KB, 49 views)
File Type: jpg thumbnail (7).jpg (73.1 KB, 53 views)
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Old 04-12-2018, 07:18 PM   #4
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Join Date: Oct 2017
Location: Ashtabula, Ohio
Posts: 922
Year: 1996
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: International
Engine: T444E 7.3L
That is awesome! Following this build!
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Old 04-12-2018, 07:35 PM   #5
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Join Date: Sep 2016
Location: Fayetteville Arkansas
Posts: 419
Year: 1991
Coachwork: Carpenter
Chassis: GMC G3500 Vandura
Engine: V-8 5.7L Gas
The first picture shows 1 X 3 inch square tubing clamped to the ribs. It was tack welded on the portion below the window for temporary reliable stabilization. This was done in four corners.
The next picture shows the top clamps removed and 2 tall screws jacks being turned at the same time lifting the roof.
The third and fourth pictures show our desired height reached at 15 inches and the top clamps reapplied. At this point we put 1 inch square tubing inside the hollow bus ribs and secured it with a few self taping screws up above and below our new gap.
At this point the original 1 X 3 was cut off no longer needed.

Next we removed the back windows and the lower row of rivets above the windows where we will slide the new sheet metal into before replacing the rivets. I guess we didn't end up getting pictures of that.
The 1 inch square tubing will be supported on both sides by two more identical pieces running from floor to ceiling to make it structurally sound. A combination of welds and rivets will hold it together.
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Old 04-12-2018, 10:12 PM   #6
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Mar 2018
Location: Central North Carolina
Posts: 17
Year: 1980
Chassis: Chevrolet
Engine: Small Block Chevrolet. May swap out for ?
Awesome job, I can't wait to see how it comes together.
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Old 04-13-2018, 01:56 PM   #7
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THIS is one I want to follow!
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Old 05-31-2018, 06:59 PM   #8
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Join Date: Sep 2016
Location: Fayetteville Arkansas
Posts: 419
Year: 1991
Coachwork: Carpenter
Chassis: GMC G3500 Vandura
Engine: V-8 5.7L Gas
We've been a little busy for the last month and fighting the rain on the days we try to come out but finally got a couple days in at the shop. It's all framed up now and supported with more 1 inch square tubing on either side of each rib and a few in each back corner welded at spots from the floor to the top of the window edge. The second picture is my passenger side window framing which will be at the head of the bed.
One other large window will go on the driver's side but it hasn't arrived yet so we'll have to wait on framing that one.
We should be able to get back over there tomorrow and hopefully make a little more progress. Just purchased a new impact drill from Harbor Freight on sale pretty cheap. We'll need to use that to drill all the rivet holes at the top of our new skin above the window. That's our next step. After that we'll cut the exact window hole in line with our frame, hit it with primer, permanently put it up and finally get the window sealed in place!
Attached Images
File Type: jpg thumbnail (12).jpg (54.8 KB, 24 views)
File Type: jpg thumbnail (11).jpg (45.2 KB, 22 views)
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Old 05-31-2018, 07:18 PM   #9
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Join Date: May 2018
Location: Kentucky
Posts: 15
Year: 1990
Coachwork: Thomas
Chassis: Chevy G30
Engine: 5.7L
I'm looking forward to following along with this build! Things are looking really good. What was the approximate ceiling height before the lift and what will you end up with after?
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Old 05-31-2018, 08:15 PM   #10
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Join Date: Sep 2016
Location: Fayetteville Arkansas
Posts: 419
Year: 1991
Coachwork: Carpenter
Chassis: GMC G3500 Vandura
Engine: V-8 5.7L Gas
It started at 6ft head clearance but after insulating would have been more like 5 foot 8 inches which wasn't going to work. We raised it 15 inches which now I think may be a little overkill but that will give us a 7 foot ceiling with 3 inches of insulation in the roof above that. Another reason I wanted 7 foot is because after this is built I'm going to be engineering an overhead track system with some sort of custom built sling so that my girlfriend can get me from my wheelchair to the bed and back without breaking her back. This is going to be pivotal the older we get. I'll also be working on a transfer system that attaches to wheelchairs instead of your old outdated hoyer lifts that take up so much floor space. I'm hoping to be able to help a lot of people out developing this. Fingers crossed.
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