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Old 11-26-2005, 12:23 PM   #1
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trailer body transplant

Okay, here's a crazy idea. I live in central Indiana, northern IN is the RV/trailer capital of the world. There are THOUSANDS of travel trailers being shipped south by FEMA for temporary housing. I see them on the interstate every day! These are 34 ft. (I think). bare bones exterior, no awnings, looks like a white box. They must be fully equipped if they are being used for housing. Eventually, these things will saturate the market and should be cheap. What if....... you took one of these and put it on a bus chassis, integrating it into the cab portion of the original body. Just a thought.
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Old 11-26-2005, 06:30 PM   #2
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One thing to keep in mind is frame strength.

Somewhere i read about a bus body that was removed from the chassis. The bus frame was too noodly to drive and kept bending in the middle. Apparently the frame gets a good deal of strength from the bus body.

This problem could be overcome however....
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Old 11-26-2005, 09:08 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lapeer20m
One thing to keep in mind is frame strength.

Somewhere i read about a bus body that was removed from the chassis. The bus frame was too noodly to drive and kept bending in the middle. Apparently the frame gets a good deal of strength from the bus body.

This problem could be overcome however....
I would like to get more info on that noodly thing I was planning on cutting
off the entire back bus part and building my own RV on top, I have seen many cab and chassis HD trucks and long WB one ton trucks and the
frame was pretty strong and didnt flex much, I am glad you mention this
before I start cutting I will take another closer look at my frame I didnt study it but it looked pretty beefed up.


The house trailers he is talking about is probably 2x2 fur stapled together with aluminum skin inside and out I dont think they were made for 50k miles of bouncing down the hwy.
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Old 11-27-2005, 12:13 AM   #4
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Do you know if that was a conventional bus or a flat nose? As far as I know conventional skoolies are a bus body stuck on a truck chassis. A lot of people make car haulers out of skoolies and cut most of the body off except for a drivers area. I could understand something like a forward control bus having a less robust frame though.
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Old 11-27-2005, 02:17 AM   #5
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I thought of this idea when my grandma was selling her 35' camper trailer earlier this year. Travel trailers have frames dont they? couldnt you basically just weld the trailer frame on top fo the bus frame? I'm sure theres a million details as well but the basic idea of putting a camper trailer on a bus seems simple enough. It seems that someone out there must have done this before.
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Old 11-27-2005, 10:13 AM   #6
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After studying up on building and designing a trailer….I can say Lapeers right about how the combination of the frame and body portion gives any rig a lot of its strength.

Before I started stockpiling steel to build a trailer, I went to the dump here to check out an old 30 foot trailer frame that someone told me could be picked up cheap….
It’s amazing how flimsy those things are .
All you had to do was give the frame a good push at either end to make the whole thing wooble and bend.
It’s not that it was made poorly, it just was designed with the idea that…..
When you bolt the body to the trailer frame that’s when the whole thing tightens up.
School Buses are no different.
Even though a School Bus is a hell of a lot more strong then some cheesy trailer , you’d still run into some pretty serious frame flex if you took off the body.
Not saying you cant overcome those issues…just that a person would need to make sure whatever they attached to the frame had the right stuff to handle that flex and calm it down a bit.

This is just my opinion Brad …. If you do go the route of attaching a trailer body to your buses frame, I don’t think welding it to the frame is the way to go.
I’d just bolt it down to the frame. That way the frame could still flex a bit….and you’d get a nice strong combination. If you did weld the trailer to your bus , I imagine it wouldn’t take very long for it to start falling apart because it would be too stiff.
So I’d seriously think about just bolting it down…plus it also would be a lot easier to take the trailer body off and put another one on if you needed to.

This is a cool discussion. I’ve got a dog in this hunt too.
I can’t do it as quickly as I want to because of my job and the lousy weather here….but even so I have been Hacking off parts of Latcho Droms body.
We need to shorten her up to tow a trailer with. So, I’m getting rid of the approx. 2/3 of the body.
I’ll leave the front on and build a small ‘cabin’ on what’s left .
What I’m going for is something like this pic ….but a lot prettier.
http://www.mobilehomestead.com/latcho2/ ... uuler1.jpg

Michael & Millie, Sitka , Alaska
http://www.mobilehomestead.com/
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Old 11-27-2005, 05:51 PM   #7
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if nothing else it might be a good way to pick up parts cheap..buy oe and strip it out..if they have anything worth haveing
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Old 11-27-2005, 08:55 PM   #8
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I like the idea of transplanting a trailer body onto a bus frame.

What's the worse possible thing that could happen? You could end up with a ruined bus chassis, and possibly a ruined trailer body lol

Seriously though, it would make for an exciting challenge. If it's something you know you want to do, just do it, I think you can work through the problems that might arise.

I had lots of people tell me that you can't put a full size jacizzi in a bus. Look where I am at today...
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Old 11-28-2005, 08:41 AM   #9
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I don’t see any reason a person couldn’t do this….
But….One detail anyone needs to consider and work out…. is a trailer’s main load-bearing rails (frame) won’t sit on Bus main rails (Ones a single axle the others a dualie )
So you’d have to weld up some form additional framing that would attach to either the bus or the trailer frame to match things up right.
Then , whatever you do needs to raised up high enough to take the wheel wells into account ( a trailers wheel well is not going to match up with a buses )
So you’d have to raise the trailer up high enough to clear your rear dualies.

Or you could leave the front section on you bus…..that’s what I’m doing
http://www.mobilehomestead.com/latcho2/ ... opoff1.JPG

And build a deck on the rear section that would clear the dualies ….and put the trailer on that.

Michael
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Old 11-28-2005, 11:00 AM   #10
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I prefer to take everything out of the trailer and put it into the bus. You will spend a lot less time reframing windows than you would transplanting on a whole body.
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