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Old 01-09-2017, 09:02 PM   #1
New Member
Join Date: Jan 2017
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Smile First bus project!

Just purchased this beauty- a 1985 blue bird. Not wanting to turn it into a full on livable space but this will be used to house a mobile art gallery. Since most buses are only slightly taller than 6 ft when standing it in, we are wanting to try to add some vertical room if possible. I know literally nothing about buses- much less renovations- but I do have some resources and people that will be able to help that have experience. I was wondering if it would be possible to lower part of the floor rather than raising the roof but I couldn't find anything online about this- slightly discouraging because it makes me think we will have to go "raise the roof" route which requires welding which I don't know how to do! Any resources or advice would be greatly appreciated

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Old 01-09-2017, 10:13 PM   #2
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Join Date: May 2016
Location: Eastern WA
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Year: 2002
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Chassis: All American RE (A3RE)
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Most any school bus will have two frame rails the full length of the bus that would certainly be in the way.

Most any front engine bus will have driveline and exhaust in that space as well. Not much opportunity to "build down".

IMHO: Raising the roof would be the easiest and cheapest route to gain headroom.

An alternative: Transit buses. Typically have a low floor and more headroom.
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Old 01-10-2017, 06:29 AM   #3
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I would second the motion you consider a low floor transit instead of a school bus. Not only do they come with much higher headroom but most transit buses are 102" wide while all school buses are limited to 96" wide.

It is possible to lower the floor in places. I have seen where some people have successfully mounted a shower with the shower pan below floor level in order to get more headroom in the shower. But in order to do that you have to support the bottom of the shower somehow.

All school buses are built on parallel frame rails that go the length of the bus. On top of the frame rails stringers are mounted that go side to side. The floor is then mounted on top of the stringers.

Without even considering what might be mounted below the floor (fuel tank, air tanks, drive shaft, batteries, etc.) it would be impossible to lower the floor without figuring out how you would support the weight of the floor and everything on the floor. Regardless of how you supported the floor, the lowest you could go would be to the top of the frame rails. Lowering the frame rails between the axles would be a HUGE project and the result would most probably be not very safe.
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Old 10-30-2017, 12:04 PM   #4
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Join Date: Aug 2017
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What did you decide to do? I've been looking at cutting out a small section to lower the floor specifically for the shower pan. Things to consider: structural integrity of removed floor (affecting other parts of the bus?), insulation of new lower portion, grey water tank height (or adding a bulge pump), etc...
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