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Old 07-30-2019, 06:26 AM   #1
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Hypothetical: Cutting the bus?

Hope I'm not too far out in left field with this line of questioning in this forum.
Roof raises are pretty commonplace in this crowd, but an overwhelming majority of the builders and owners here are mainly dealing with a stock bus that's less than 30 years old. Those that do modify the body are generally just doing a roof raise, which is pretty straight forward, cut the hat channel and extend, then skin over the new gap and often some windows.

I'm living in an alternate universe compared to that. I've wanted a vintage short bus forever, but have specific size parameters I'm shooting for while still looking cool. Basically, I want a 5 window hotrod bus, but most of the coolest buses are full size, more or less. I seriously considered buying Tango's 4 window Chevy project, but there were too many things that just didn't fit my plans.

So here's the deal. I've found a White SuperPower with good sheet metal, but it's quite a bit longer than I want. I'm thinking of cutting it into pieces, and putting it together on a modern chassis. This would involve reducing the length by about 8 feet, and relocating the wheelwell.
Is this an insane undertaking for someone who has never done more than engine and axle swaps in old Jeeps? I do have over 30 years experience in steel fabrication, and the cabin part doesn't really concern me. But making the dognose of a 70 year old bus fit a chassis and engine could get a little sketchy.
Jump in with both feet, or forget about it and buy a van?
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Old 07-30-2019, 06:42 AM   #2
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You sound like just the guy to do such a project.

Have you seen Tango's '46?
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Old 07-30-2019, 06:53 AM   #3
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Oh forget about it....no point in dreaming....

Ok for real you have done engine swaps, do metal work, so this is bigger, so what, go for it. Yes there will be a learning curve, and there will be nay sayers. So if you have the stick to it ness, and willing to make some mistakes and learn go for it. Build your dream
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Old 07-30-2019, 09:43 AM   #4
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you'll never know if you can do it until you try - I lend my voice to those saying 'GO FOR IT'
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Old 07-30-2019, 10:53 AM   #5
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By the late 40's most buses were of sectionalized construction and therefore lend themselves to the sort of thing you propose. Further, the frame widths on trucks had by then been standardized making frame changes fairly straight forward.

My little bus is a cut and paste job with a late model chassis so I know it can be done. I'd like to hear more about your plans and I'm sure others would too.

I'd be interested in swapping war stories but I don't want to clog up the site so shoot me a PM if you wish.
Jack
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Old 07-30-2019, 02:35 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by ol trunt View Post
By the late 40's most buses were of sectionalized construction and therefore lend themselves to the sort of thing you propose. Further, the frame widths on trucks had by then been standardized making frame changes fairly straight forward.

My little bus is a cut and paste job with a late model chassis so I know it can be done. I'd like to hear more about your plans and I'm sure others would too.

I'd be interested in swapping war stories but I don't want to clog up the site so shoot me a PM if you wish.
Jack
It isn't clogging if I started the thread specifically to discuss what you know, and I only speculate. This IS the place, and I'm sure others would like to hear what you know, and see me embarrass myself.

I dunno about standardized frame widths. The guys who are swapping Chevy pick ups onto modern chassis say that the '55-59 fits modern full size, but '54 and earlier are more suited to an S-10 chassis. But a White is a full sized vehicle. They made the tour buses for Yellowstone and Glacier parks, but those have a more sedan-like coach. The over the road buses have a normal coach body, compared to the airport limo style of the park buses. Wish I could post pics here, but my computer seems to think that the box that opens when you click the little icon is a pop-up, and kills it in half a second.

Quote:
Originally Posted by EastCoastCB View Post
You sound like just the guy to do such a project.

Have you seen Tango's '46?
I have seen Tango's bus, and mentioned it in the OP. Excellent build, but too short and I wouldn't have chosen that engine.

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Oh forget about it....no point in dreaming....

Ok for real you have done engine swaps, do metal work, so this is bigger, so what, go for it. Yes there will be a learning curve, and there will be nay sayers. So if you have the stick to it ness, and willing to make some mistakes and learn go for it. Build your dream
Definitely no bigger than some things I've participated in building, which has been anything from perforated sheet metal decorative, to multiple 35,000 lbs frames that bolted together under water, with an allowable 1/16" tolerance in bolt holes.
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Old 07-30-2019, 03:34 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ol trunt View Post
..... Further, the frame widths on trucks had by then been standardized making frame changes fairly straight forward....
Quote:
Originally Posted by JustKip View Post
I dunno about standardized frame widths. The guys who are swapping Chevy pick ups onto modern chassis say that the '55-59 fits modern full size, but '54 and earlier are more suited to an S-10 chassis. But a White is a full sized vehicle. They made the tour buses for Yellowstone and Glacier parks, but those have a more sedan-like coach. The over the road buses have a normal coach body, compared to the airport limo style of the park buses. Wish I could post pics here, but my computer seems to think that the box that opens when you click the little icon is a pop-up, and kills it in half a second....

I think in this case we're referring to trucks above a "light duty" (one-ton and under), basically anything medium and heavy duty. From what I remember, virtually all trucks and medium duty chassis use the same frame widths over the last 50-60 years or so. Mack was said to be the only exception as I recall. This excludes the lighter frames from Ford, GM and smaller trucks and coaches, since none of those would see medium duty use, 26' boxes, fifth wheels, and any of that, and in the case of coaches they are purpose built by the factory.
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Old 07-30-2019, 04:10 PM   #8
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Anything can be done with the right tools,mindset,planning and patience.
With yourself and the ones you ask to help/need help from.
There is another member here i think his profile name is Versatile that has swapped an old school bus body onto a modern frame already.
if you have fab skills and the place to do the work then your dream project only requires
You
Time
Money
Patience if finding the best candidates and the actual build.
With a body off build on a new chassis you could raise the body on spacer blocks enough to delete the wheel wells period if wanted and maybe even swap onto a 4 wheel drive chassis with the extra clearance.
I have daydreamed about getting an electrical utilities power line 4 wheel drive truck and extending the frame to fit my full size bus body.
i have the tools,equipment and knowledge but not the place or the money.
Not a fools errand if thats what you want.
GOOD LUCK
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Old 07-30-2019, 07:28 PM   #9
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Quote:
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With a body off build on a new chassis you could raise the body on spacer blocks enough to delete the wheel wells period if wanted and maybe even swap onto a 4 wheel drive chassis with the extra clearance.
I have daydreamed about getting an electrical utilities power line 4 wheel drive truck and extending the frame to fit my full size bus body.
Or,better yet, an Army "deuce and a half" 6x6!
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Old 07-30-2019, 08:02 PM   #10
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THAT would be the talk of the campfire!
More power!!!
Unh, unh-unh!
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