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Old 10-28-2015, 02:18 PM   #31
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We have 4 kids (and maybe more in the future), and for a while I had been tossing around the idea of turning around row 1 seats and removing row 2 seats to make a double dinette in the front (just like your plans). I kept getting stuck on the safety "problem" of kids riding backwards, so I thought that was a deal-breaker. But then my husband casually mentioned today that their car seats are, in fact, designed to be used forward facing OR rear facing (plus, the Tesla Model S has rear facing seats - so the concept does exist for cars).

Eureka! That solves it - front double-dinette it is!

BTW - I love your layout, and we might end up copying many of your ideas for our build out.
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Old 10-29-2015, 07:40 AM   #32
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You'll need seatbelts.

In Canada school busses don't have seat belts because the seat in front catches each kid.
If you remove a row, or flip a row, or both, you'll have to be sure that the people facing forward are not catapulted into the people facing backwards, in the event of an accident.
An adult flying forwards at 30mph carries the equivalent Newtons of a charging elephant.
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Old 10-29-2015, 09:02 AM   #33
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Originally Posted by beyns View Post
An adult flying forwards at 30mph carries the equivalent Newtons of a charging elephant.
Man...that's a lot of Fig Newtons!
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Old 10-29-2015, 11:02 AM   #34
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Oh, I know it. I've been driving myself crazy with the safety of the seating in our bus. Buses in the US usually don't have seatbelts, either - likewise because the higher seat backs catch the flying kids (and because school bus drivers are so highly trained). But the other reason that doesn't get reported often is this: when you attach kids to the bus seats with seatbelts, it increases the load on the seats in the event of a crash - so much so that there have been incidents where the bolts that hold the seats to the floor have ripped through the sheet metal, causing the seats (with children attached) to catapult forward in a twisting way since they usually stay attached to the sidewall.

We considered welding LATCHes onto our seats, but have decided against it, since I doubt we could get the welds strong enough (researching the LATCH system, I've found out that the lower anchors are supposed to withstand 1.8 tons of force each in a crash, while the tether anchor is supposed to withstand 2.4 tons of force - so that's 6 tons of force PER KID, or 12 tons PER SEAT). But then I also learned that a lot of vehicles' LATCHes fail in crashes anyway, and I also reason that a 15 ton bus is going to decelerate more slowly than a minivan in a crash - unless, of course, you crash head-on into another bus or a mountain or something of significant mass).

Anyway, in the end, we decided to go with the complete overkill method, and reinforce the steel floor to prevent the bolts from ripping through, and we'll attach the car seats to the bus seat bars with reinforced straps that are used in industrial settings to lift many tons of weight. I am probably overthinking this, but the automotive industry has many decades of experience in safety features, and I'm sure they know something I haven't thought of.
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Old 10-29-2015, 12:28 PM   #35
Join Date: Jun 2015
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You'll need seatbelts.

My seatbelts are primarily focused on keeping the children in their seats. Whilst it is absolutely imperative that you plan for a collision, you must also deal with the more likely probability that an unsecured child will decide to move across or down the gangway at the exact moment you brake or turn a corner, causing them to topple. Admittedly any injury sustained is likely to be a concussion or laceration at worst, still, the increased likelihood means it must be factored into the equation. I had my lap belts custom made. They are aeroplane ones that are long enough to be anchored into the floor. More modern buses have "seat belt ready" seats, with additional steel tubing in the frame, but mine does not appear to have these. The other option is to install minivan seats with built in 3 point belts, from the pick n pull.
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Old 10-29-2015, 12:29 PM   #36
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Just ditch the school bus seats, and replace them with mini van seats from pick and pull.

Most mini van seats are on quick release mounts, and have built in seat belts.

Fabbing mounts in the bus floor to keep this quick release feature is easy.

This will get you way better seats, more comfort, they recline, and less work than trying to install seat belts on crappy bus seats.

"Don't argue with stupid people. They will just drag you down to their level, and beat you up with experience."

Patently waiting for the apocalypses to level the playing field in this physiological game of life commonly known as Civilization
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Old 10-29-2015, 03:01 PM   #37
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I built my own seats along the exterior wall. Bought 3-point seat belts from j.c. Whitney at around $20 each. Most are through bolted in the chair rail,one is bolted through the floor with a 6"x 6"x 1/4" galvanized top and bottom as a washer and the 3rd point is through bolted through the main rib's between the windows.
At the time we did this I had salvaged a lot of free framing material and finished plywood and my wife wasn't working so she made cushions while I framed and we bought seatbelts. That was cheaper than buying van seats for us and J.C. Whitney was a reasonable source for some of our things.
Good luck on your adventure
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Old 03-07-2016, 07:55 AM   #38
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We have seatbelt ready seats so we picked up belts from Summit Racing. For the tables on the two dinettes, we are making taking a 6' folding lifetime table and disassembling it. We will add a 3/4" rod to one side (hinge rod can only stay with one of the two halves) and then we have 2 nice half-folding tables of just about perfect size for $50. Each half will still fold nicely. I have to figure out how I am going to make the cleat to mount it to the wall...

I really think two dinettes with seat belt seating for 11 is the way to go for a bus with a large family.
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Old 03-07-2016, 10:47 AM   #39
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We've got 8 kids also, 5 boys 3 girls. We just started our conversion. Only have seats out right now but I'm working on ripping up flooring today.
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Old 03-07-2016, 02:57 PM   #40
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Location: Fort Riley, Kansas
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Barbar0ssa: Do you have pictures? I'd love to see this in action!
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