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Old 04-12-2015, 01:51 AM   #1
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Amphibious bus concept

Here's an idea that's been bouncing around in my head for years. It's an amphibious bus concept using pontoons that stow over the roof of the bus and swing down on a support system for use on the water.

Road position:


Water position:


Here's a breakdown of the amphibious parts in mid-transition. The fixed supports tie into the vehicle chassis rails under the bus:


For water propulsion, I'm thinking paddle wheels roughly aligned with the drive wheels and a telescoping set of forks that extend into the spokes of the drive wheels and in turn spin the paddle wheels. The vehicle's engine could then provide both road and water drive without the need for a complicated water propeller hanging under the belly. The paddle wheels could be installed with a partial channel hull in each pontoon that allows for clean water into and out of the paddles.

For steering, maybe some kind of fold-up front-steer rudder that is controlled by the front wheel. Probably wouldn't need one on each side.

Obviously, a lot of thought would need to be invested in figuring out the total displacement of the vehicle to engineer adequate floatation, and I doubt the pontoons would float the vehicle high enough to just drive in or out of the water without scraping the floats on the ramp, so maybe some kind of telescoping supports for the outriggers that allow driving into the water in a high position, then lowering the floats for better efficiency on the water.

Can you imagine living full-time in a bus that also can cross lakes and slow-moving rivers? Each pontoon has over 100 square feet of deck space! Add a low-profile roof deck and you'd triple your floor space while on the water. And you could travel the length of the Mississippi from north to south on just a few gallons of fuel.
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Old 04-12-2015, 06:18 AM   #2
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That didn't work out very good for the kid in the rover? Last year, he tried to drive around the world, when he got near water the pontoons were lowered etc
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Old 04-12-2015, 09:03 AM   #3
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you wouldnt travel far in southern waters. you would get hung up on sandbars and stumps. thats why we use pirogues!!

i like the concept, it would be killer to drive right off the beach and catch supper. but think jet propulsion from rear of pontoons. it wouldnt foul as easy and would provide both propulsion and steering. think hydraulic pumps and motors........
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Old 04-12-2015, 10:59 AM   #4
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you wouldnt travel far in southern waters. you would get hung up on sandbars and stumps. thats why we use pirogues!!

i like the concept, it would be killer to drive right off the beach and catch supper. but think jet propulsion from rear of pontoons. it wouldnt foul as easy and would provide both propulsion and steering. think hydraulic pumps and motors........
While I like the idea of steerable jet drive, I worry that the system would be costly to implement and more complex than simple paddles. If the paddles were just simple boards with nothing to collect debris and offset from the axis to allow clean exit from the water, I think fouling would be minimal. I'll try to model something for the concept.

Given the water displacement of large, flat pontoons, I think the draw would be pretty shallow, thus avoiding most of the obstacles that may hinder a shorter, narrower boat with a deeper keel. Plus, it's not like I'd be exploring uncharted waters in my busboat.
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Old 04-12-2015, 11:22 AM   #5
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Well, as a concept it's pretty cool, but the numbers don't work:

The floats as described displace about 21,000 pounds of water (48" wide x 18" deep x approx. 28' long x 2 pontoons x 62.4 pounds per cubic foot of water). That's not enough to maintain buoyancy at the vehicle's max gross weight, not including the weight of the amphibious gear which would undoubtably be several thousand pounds.

Increasing the floats' depth to 24" does bring the displacement up to 29,000 pounds and that would be enough to get the tires completely out of the water, but also would increase the road-going height of the rig to over 13 feet. Not to mention the weight of the floats when stowed would raise the center-of-gravity so high that I would fear driving on fast curves.

Anyway, it's fun to think about.
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Old 04-12-2015, 11:30 AM   #6
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Although ... filling the empty spaces under the bus with floatation would alleviate some of the necessary pontoon displacement. ;)
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Old 04-12-2015, 11:46 AM   #7
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Ok sing along...

Row row row your bus........
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Old 04-12-2015, 12:13 PM   #8
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Old 04-14-2015, 01:17 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PDBreske View Post
Here's an idea that's been bouncing around in my head for years. It's an amphibious bus concept using pontoons that stow over the roof of the bus and swing down on a support system for use on the water.

Road position:


Water position:


Here's a breakdown of the amphibious parts in mid-transition. The fixed supports tie into the vehicle chassis rails under the bus:


For water propulsion, I'm thinking paddle wheels roughly aligned with the drive wheels and a telescoping set of forks that extend into the spokes of the drive wheels and in turn spin the paddle wheels. The vehicle's engine could then provide both road and water drive without the need for a complicated water propeller hanging under the belly. The paddle wheels could be installed with a partial channel hull in each pontoon that allows for clean water into and out of the paddles.

For steering, maybe some kind of fold-up front-steer rudder that is controlled by the front wheel. Probably wouldn't need one on each side.

Obviously, a lot of thought would need to be invested in figuring out the total displacement of the vehicle to engineer adequate floatation, and I doubt the pontoons would float the vehicle high enough to just drive in or out of the water without scraping the floats on the ramp, so maybe some kind of telescoping supports for the outriggers that allow driving into the water in a high position, then lowering the floats for better efficiency on the water.

Can you imagine living full-time in a bus that also can cross lakes and slow-moving rivers? Each pontoon has over 100 square feet of deck space! Add a low-profile roof deck and you'd triple your floor space while on the water. And you could travel the length of the Mississippi from north to south on just a few gallons of fuel.

looks good, you first.
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Old 04-14-2015, 01:41 PM   #10
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