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Old 09-19-2023, 01:44 AM   #1
Join Date: Aug 2019
Location: Delaware
Posts: 105
Year: 1988
Coachwork: Wayne
Chassis: International S1853
Engine: International DT360 5.9ltr Spicer 5 speed
Rated Cap: #26,500
Rear end overhang height?

I have a 1988 s1853 40ft bus. I'm building it to haul a car in the back. It's been a few years long project waiting to be started, been back and forth on how to do it best, on the back on a flat bed. A rollback type deal or a ramp truck. I think I've decided I want to keep it enclosed as originally planned but getting a car 43" up is not really a feasible setup. I'm thinking I'll have the ramp level off over the rear wheel tubs and angle downward to the rear where it will be hinged at the bottom. I'll cut a pie section from the frame up to the top rail, behind the spring perches, remove all the rivets holding the floor box/c channel sides to the body and bend the entire frame and floor down. it will be reaatached to the sides at the proper height required to keep the structure solid. I'll trim the frame ends to be level with the ground at the desired height and plate and box the entire rear section. Slice the rear body cap off and frame up inside to be the folding door/most of the loading ramp.

I can't find my dimensions at the moment but I believe my back bumper is 30" off the ground. There is a 4" exhaust pipe that's never touched ground below it, so like 25" I think off the top of my head. I'm trying to figure out how low I can reasonably safely go back there without causing myself issues. It's not going to be off road adventuring. Just thinking about the occasional weird parking lot hilly entrance and dragging the tail. It will be super beefy but i will need to be sure I don't ever tweak anything that could cause door opening issues. Looking at an angle from above the rear wheel wells rearward an ideal ramp height at the rear of where the cap ends would be about 22-24 and the floor is 3 thick plus a few inches for the frame cap with the massive pivot pins for the door.

So essentially I'm trying to get some feedback on how low anyone has had the rear of thier buss without a big scraper problem, maybe how high your hitch is without issue on a fullsize bus?

If I could get away with 18" it would be awesome for my needed ramp length.

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Old 09-19-2023, 08:28 AM   #2
Bus Crazy
Join Date: Oct 2020
Location: Near Flagstaff AZ
Posts: 1,897
Year: 1974
Coachwork: Crown
Chassis: "Atomic"
Engine: DD 8V71
There are some other factors I didn't see, how long is the overhang past the rear axle? The longer that distance, the more likely you are to experience some dragging in those situations. I've owned lots of school buses and lots of other buses...transit and coach styles...and every school bus has a lot more clearance than the transit and coach buses. Some of those don't even have the 18" you're hoping for, and they work fine in most places if you're aware of the limitations.
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Old 09-19-2023, 08:40 AM   #3
Bus Geek
Join Date: May 2014
Location: West Ohio
Posts: 3,438
Year: 1984
Coachwork: Bluebird
Chassis: International 1753
Engine: 6.9 International
Rated Cap: 65
My back steps are 12" or so off the ground, the genset in the middle of the bus is about 10" off the ground. Neither has scraped, and I'm not sure if either has been close to it.

I'm asked all the time how neither scrape, and I think most buses have gobs plenty of ground clearance to begin with. Being built that way, anything below the 2 foot body line causes people to get nervous and question.

There's plenty of threads on here about ground clearance. Search around and see what you find. But with a bus that's predominantly on pavement, I've got no worries about it. Maybe if you were in the mountains then it might be a concern.
My build: The Silver Bullet
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Old 09-19-2023, 08:49 AM   #4
Bus Nut
fo4imtippin's Avatar
Join Date: Oct 2021
Location: Jacksonville, FL
Posts: 604
Year: 2003
Coachwork: BlueBird
Chassis: TC2000 28ft
Engine: Cummins ISB 5.9 24v, MD3060
Rated Cap: 14
You might look at converting the rear to air ride. You can find rear clips from heavy trucks at junkyards. You can dump the air for loading and get about 4 inches lower, but not have to sacrifice as much clearance as loaded.
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Old 09-19-2023, 08:51 AM   #5
Bus Crazy
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Join Date: Nov 2014
Location: NM USA KD6WJG
Posts: 1,217
Year: 1991
Coachwork: Bluebird
Chassis: All American RE 40 FEET
Engine: Cummins 8.3
Before you do a lot of mods and make it un insurable as a motorhome you better check with the insurance people first. I would also check with the state to make sure it would still be a motorhome after the mods. Otherwise you may find yourself in commercial vehicle territory with all of that BS.
Why can't I get Ivermectin for my horses?
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