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Old 12-27-2006, 11:42 PM   #41
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That’s a great idea, Les! A truss would provide strength/stiffness to the ramp.

But there is a second element to the ramp that I have not mentioned yet:
Due to the high floor of the bus, I plan to build a bi-fold ramp. I have a “slab” of
aluminum, 8 feet x 10 feet 5 inches, quite stiff -- maybe 1/8 thick with an inch thick
ledge around the sides. (I have no idea what it was, but it looks very air cargo.)
The idea is to cut it in half and get a ramp 5’ 2 ½” wide and 16 feet long. See top drawing.

I’m also toying with the idea of making a beavertail in the floor -- see bottom
drawing. Would require taking a slice out of the frame rails, but with these
cut-off blades, that seems perfectly doable.



Yes, I have no shortage of ideas and ambitions!

Right now, I’ll settle for getting off the fence and cutting the top loose so I can
start jacking when the wind dies down. Sometimes you have to do SOMETHING,
even if it is wrong. Oh, somebody thought of that earlier:

"You may never know what results come from your action.
But if you do nothing, there will be no result."
--Mahatma Gandhi

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Old 12-28-2006, 09:22 AM   #42
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Hey...I like that saying! Reminds me of "Do something! Even if it's wrong!"...that from my brain after I stand staring at something forever trying to make up my mind (doesn't help that I'm a Libra! ).

So? Does the ramp close in the back of the bus? That is, is it the actual "door" or closure that seals up the back? Or is it just along for the ride with a door ahead of it?

Now I'm going to have to go out and stare at the back of my Blue Bird!
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Old 12-28-2006, 10:39 AM   #43
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Ramp system

I'm going to cut out only the back panel down to the bottom of the bumper. I'll leave the top cap to create some strength then brace the rear opening. I want the rear of the bus to look like a bus and not a hack job of ramp system. In the end you should only see a seal around the side where the back panel closes. As soon as the weather breaks here in Michigan I'll get started.

I'll use a couple of short bump stops to hit the ground so the back panel never has to then I'll have a 18 inch flip panel to creat a short little ramp to the main ramp.

Once you measure everthing out it creates a nice ramp angle if you include 3 feet of beaver tail inside the bus.
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Old 12-28-2006, 11:33 AM   #44
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I figure the ramp will be the door. Build ramp and door frame assembly on the
garage floor, then graft door frame into bus. But today I'll just cut it somewhere
-- anywhere! -- so I'm ready when the wind quits.

Three feet of beaver tail in the floor sounds about right. It will only gain a few inches
at the bumper, but worth while since it looks super easy to do. "Scraping off" the plywood
would gain one more inch.

No lift today -- quite a blow out there.
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Old 12-28-2006, 03:43 PM   #45
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I finally figured out how to post images. This is how I'm planning to cut the back end off. I have a 4 seater sand rail that will go in the back.





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Old 12-28-2006, 04:33 PM   #46
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Hey, that's not a bad idea, Rail Hauler! I'll ponder that option while I keep drilling
rivets and whatnot.

Jacks are bolted in and ready to launch. But man, it's blowing like a herd of
turbochargers out there!
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Old 12-28-2006, 09:49 PM   #47
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Elliot Naess
But man, it's blowing like a herd of
turbochargers out there!
I'm going to have to remember that one.
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Old 12-29-2006, 12:08 AM   #48
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:P
“Millicent, this is Houston. We have an update for you. The Weather Service
promises us a launch window opening at 10 in the morning.”

“Roger.”

“Millicent, this is Fred. Roger went out for pizza. Please confirm four jacks are
mounted.”

“Houston, confirming four jacks mounted.”

“Millicent, please confirm the rear cap is separated.”

“Houston, confirming rear cap separated.”

“Millicent, we are restarting your countdown at Lift minus 13 hours and counting.”

“Dude.”

“Dude.”

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Old 12-29-2006, 09:36 AM   #49
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Do you think you could do a web cam feed? I'm at my work computer all day long and would love to watch!

Seriously...best wishes for a safe and successful lift.

It wasn't until I saw the photo above with your lift apparatus in place that I realized how tall those jacks are...wow! That's a very nice setup. You're almost making me feel like I can do it too.

If I do go for the lift one challenge that I have is that my window posts (bus frames) are not vertical. Starting at the top of the side wall (bottom of the window) they lean toward the inside of the bus by an inch at the top over the 22.5" height of the windows. If I raise the roof 12" (that would be the plan) I don't know how to add-in the new extension pieces and marry up the angles of the remaining top and bottom sections of the original post. I may have to do some very careful measuring and a CAD drawing to see what the issues really are.
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Old 12-29-2006, 10:55 AM   #50
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All done! Wow, this went even quicker than I expected!




(photo of 2000 Blue Bird snagged off eBay)
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Old 12-29-2006, 11:47 AM   #51
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“Millicent, this is Houston. Good morning. Sorry to wake you so early, but the
President is on the line for you.”

“Go ahead, Houston.”

The President:
“I want to tell the men and women of Skoolie.net how proud I am of the men and
women of Skoolie.net. You are raising that roof in a way that is different from
when I used to raise the roof. The fight for adequate headroom is a basic human
right, and you brave people are very adequate; maybe even human.
Godspeed to the crew of Millicent.”

“Houston, is it too late to cancel this whole thing?”

“Millicent, yeah buddy.”




“Millicent, Lift minus two hours and counting.”



[Les, no web cam around here. I’m lucky to get my Instamatic to work!]
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Old 12-29-2006, 12:11 PM   #52
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While waiting for the frost to let go its bitter grip on the morning....

When I blunder into gainful employment, I often travel US 97 thru Oregon. Near
Madras, a most pleasant farming community, sits an old Carpenter pusher with
the roof raised. Just raised. No more. No skin, no attachment at front or rear.
Just a few scraps of angle steel tacked to some of the window pillars, daring
wind and gravity to send to roof down the hill to the stock yard. And there it sits,
out by the road, with its fading “for sale” sign.

L minus one hour.
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Old 12-29-2006, 03:07 PM   #53
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jimmyaustintx
Hey Les maybe he can sell you the set up after he is finish with the roof.....
Only if he comes with it!
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Old 12-29-2006, 09:12 PM   #54
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Announcer:
Laaaaaadiiiiieeeeesss and Geeeeeeeentlemen!
The Great Elliotski -- last surviving of the Great Elliotski Brothers Synchronized
Human Cannon Ball Troupe -- shall now attempt, for the first time in Clearlake
history, an amazing feat for your enjoyment. The Great Elliotski intends... (long
pause for effect) ...to levitate the roof of a school bus before your very eyes!



Crowd:
Wow.



Announcer:
Sponsored by... Acme Towing and Scrap Metal...



Jingle Singers:
...Junk bus, junk bus,
Acme loves a junk bus!



Announcer:
The Great Elliotski will now require complete silence, please.



Crowd:
Urp.



The Great Elliotski:
Ahbrah-kadabrah. Svarte fanden danse på tå hev langt inn i dypeste granskogen. Ohmmmmmmmmmm....





Crowd:
Where are the dancing girls?!



Announcer:
Hmmm, yes, that was rather boring. We now return you to our regularly
scheduled bingo game and barn dance, starring The Rootin’ Tootin’ Polka
Players featuring Jon Arbuckle on the accordion.
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Old 12-29-2006, 09:51 PM   #55
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Congradulations , see that didn't hurt that bad, the big question is, what do you do for an encore, it's almost New Years eve?Seriously ,its looking good and I'm impressed, excellent job, keep up the good work
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Old 12-29-2006, 10:58 PM   #56
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Yes, we do indeed have Lift Off.

Chief Assistant Peter arrived at 09:30 and we cut the last eight window pillars
about 10:00. The actual lifting was child’s play. We each pumped two jacks and
the roof went straight up like a rocket. The guide system proved good and stable.

Ready:


Pump! One click on the jacks gave us one inch lift.


This is actually fun! The jack and guide system is quite well visible here.
We are more than half way up.


Peter is an old sculler -- row, row, row your roof!


That took... oh... minutes. We spent more time taking pictures, and Peter telephoned
a third member of our Kinetic Racing core group and informed her of the Lift Off.

This thing is not all that heavy!


We spent the next three hours or so making the inserts fit into place.

The system is simple:

Lift the roof 30 inches.
File off burrs on the inside of both stumps of the severed window pillars.
Drop the inserts (each 29” long) into the lower part of the window pillars.
Lower the roof about five inches -- just before hitting the inserts.
Slide the inserts up and into the upper part of the window pillars, so they are
engaged both top and bottom. Hold in place with tape where needed.
Drop the roof the rest of the way so it rests on the inserts.
Weld.

I had made the inserts nice and snug with the flat stock spacers. Turned out,
there was quite a bit of variation in the dimensions of the window pillar “hat”
profile, so we had to grind some of the inserts to fit. Worse, there were Glue
Goobers inside the window pillars -- adhesive/sealant from the factory assembly
process -- so we spent time chiseling and digging that out. I insisted that all the
inserts slide to their stops both top and bottom by hand power. There are 34 of
them, which could add up to quite a bit of friction. I didn’t want to climb up on the
roof and jump up-and-down to get it into place! As it turned out, we still had to
pull the roof down with a bit of force to “impale” it on the 34 inserts -- gravity
wasn’t enough. Tight is right; that sucker is stable -- even before welding. Most
of the time was spent on this custom fitting, plus fabricating the last four inserts
for the front four pillars where the cuts are different and the inserts tailored to
each.
The roof clunked into place about 2 PM.

Well, pretty much into place. We measured diagonally and fine tuned with straps
to get it square.


With squareness (is that a word? ) at least as good as the original bus, we
tacked in these diagonals.


Finally, we welded inserts until we felt it was “Miller Time”.


The lift measures closer to 23“ than the intended 22,5. This is due to some thingies
(technical term, sorry) inside the window pillars. Never mind, as they are all the
same so the roof is level, and there is still ½ inch of room for rivets on a 48” sheet
of metal for the new skin. Perfect.

I still don’t know exactly how to handle the back end, but I can figure that out later.


This part of the job was a piece of cake. Of course, NOW the real work begins!

So... is this something that every Skoolie owner should do? Well, no. If you are
not confident that you are qualified to do this, then you probably are not. I would
have to say that you need a certain degree of fabrication and mechanical
experience to do this -- safely and otherwise successfully. There was a lot of
planning and fabrication, and during these four hours today, troubleshooting.
I would not dream of doing this without a sturdy guide system like I took
time to fabricate. This is NOT a job for two rusty scissor jacks and a
heapin’ helpin’ o’ luck.

To be continued!
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Old 12-29-2006, 11:17 PM   #57
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nice....all I can think of to say
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Old 12-30-2006, 12:39 AM   #58
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Personally I think it would look just way cool as a convertible! You can just get the hint of that from your photos. Wouldn't that be sumpin'?

Great photos and good work! It really looks amazing. Congrats on a successful lift.
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Old 12-30-2006, 01:11 AM   #59
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Thanks, guys!

It feels SO good walking around in there without ducking my head all the time.
I cannot even reach the ceiling unless I risk straining something on tip-toe. Love it!

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Old 12-30-2006, 01:14 AM   #60
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Les:

Quote:
jimmyaustintx wrote:
Hey Les maybe he can sell you the set up after he is finish with the roof.....


Only if he comes with it!
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We could talk about that.
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