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Old 03-29-2015, 10:09 PM   #21
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I did what Nat suggested I took 3/4 in ply wood but cut it in 3in strips & screwed it to my ribs
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Old 03-31-2015, 12:25 AM   #22
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Originally Posted by taskswap View Post
Also, this site has one annoying piece, it's hard to pick up threads where you left off. You can get to New Posts but you have to choose whether to start with the first or last page. I wish it could just give me a link to continue each from what I'd seen before.
You can do that. Anytime a thread has new posts, you can click the little down arrow in front of the thread title ("A" in the attached image). You can also go directly to the last post by click the right arrow next to the name of the last person to post ("B" in the attached image).
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Old 03-31-2015, 11:39 AM   #23
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Thanks, PDBreske. I do that today, it's just a lot of clicking. Not much that can be done about it though. Browser manufacturers have locked down the ability to open multiple links from one click (ad vendors were being jerks).

Latest update: I was all set to do a slide-out room, but we're now debating whether it's necessary. We really want to get going, and that seems like one of those things that could snowball on me. My fab skills are pretty decent but nothing like nat_ster's or Vlad's. The mechanicals aren't that big of a deal, I'm just thinking over all the little details: sealing, having a topper to keep crap off it (a struggle with our current camper slide-out), making it look nice when retracted, etc. It seems like it could add as much as 30-40% to the build time, to do it right. (And I'm a do-it-right-or-don't-do-it guy.)

As a backup plan I'm considering a murphy-style couch/counter setup, like this:



Imagine the bed is the couch, when it's down. When up, it's just that table (no seating underneath - we'd have stools along the counter). We camp a LOT so we know our styles/needs pretty well, and I don't think we need a dedicated dinette. It takes a LOT of space to seat 5-7 people. We hardly ever eat inside our current camper - we set up a screen room and often even eat there when it's raining. We all have crazy schedules so "sitting down to dinner" as a family is just not as common for us.

I'm thinking this would give us the best of all the worlds: a couch when we want it, a table when we need that, and I could even make the table fold so the kids have floor space to play when it IS rainy (to us, play space is more important than the eating space - our kids are younger, still).

Any thoughts?
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Old 04-10-2015, 09:54 PM   #24
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New brainstorm: I've seen a bunch of people doing back decks but I'm more interested in something on the side, around the front door. Anybody done anything clever there? How much structure is available to support something?
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Old 04-11-2015, 09:55 AM   #25
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Fold down expanded metal deck 4 feet wide?

Nat
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Old 04-11-2015, 10:14 AM   #26
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Saw pretty much what Nat is describing on a bonafide "Hippie Bus" back in the early seventies. Had about a 2" square steel frame that ran from the rear wheel well all the way to the door that was braced against the frame for extra support. Theirs ran from the bottom of the body up to near the top of the windows and was at least six feet deep and supported on steel cables. When parked, they dropped it down, ran out a homemade canopy over it and made & sold hand crafted moccasins and boots at festivals and such. Also had a few fold down supports that rested on the ground as I recall.

To this day I still regret not buying the buffalo hide knee highs that had buffalo nickels for lacing. Very groovy. And so was their psychedelic paint job.
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Old 04-11-2015, 10:44 AM   #27
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That's kind of what I was thinking - something that folds and is supported by cables. I figured a lightweight aluminum expanded deck would be durable enough, would let dirt and crap fall through, and would never rust.

What I can't figure out is where I'd want to mount it. I want it at the front door where you come in. But I don't want it to BLOCK the front door - it'll be folded up while driving and I don't want it to obstruct the exit. I keep poking around for pictures of what others might have done and it doesn't seem like a common thing.

What I'm thinking at this point is I'll make it completely removable. I'll include a slot for it in the storage bays, and rig up two stout bolts as "pins" that it can mount on against the chassis. Two more above the door would support the cables. It's not as fast/elegant as something that just folds down or slides out, but probably a lot more aerodynamic...
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Old 04-11-2015, 11:23 AM   #28
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I thought of the same thing, a deck and then fold down a couple side "gang planks" and use them for cleaning roof and tying down kayaks and stuff

decided recently to go a "different" route

I saw a big expo type truck that had maybe 8 differnet ht "steps" that folded down they were maybe 2 feet wide and 2 ft long, like a giant stair case around the sides
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Old 04-11-2015, 11:48 AM   #29
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Somewhere in the back of my head I had envisioned something similar on the side using a slide out "drawer" for the deck. It would be attached to the frame rails and use barn door track for the "slides". Could probably be self supporting if only 4 feet wide, or wider with drop down legs on the outer end.
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Old 04-11-2015, 04:57 PM   #30
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I would hinge it off the side either at floor height, or at the bottom of the storage box height. Storage boxes on mine will be 12 inches from the ground.

With my midship door, the deck will swing down to the same height as the floor of my bus. The stairs will be folding, and built as part of that deck.

Due to the height of my bus, I can go 8 feet wide.

Cables will be attached at the strongest point, just above the window openings, where the headers run inside. Cables and pull points only need to take the weight of the deck, not the people.

I would only mount pulleys at the top and keep the two small hand winches at the bottom for simple access.

Fold down legs that telescope would be needed to support the far side.

If or when I add a soft awning, it will need soft sides that drop down to make a room.

It would also need water tanks that can be filled for weight at the outer corners of the deck. This would keep the soft structure from blowing away in the wind, but prevent having to haul extra weight around.

I won't be building mine till at least next summer. Outer shell and inside are my goals this summer.

Nat
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Old 04-11-2015, 04:59 PM   #31
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Nat sounds cool
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Old 04-12-2015, 08:48 AM   #32
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Thanks for all the ideas, folks. I thought of the slide-out option too, but my concern was I wouldn't be able to make it as large as I wanted to given the front wheel well. My other worry is I don't want something I HAVE to fold down to get out, because if you end up parking somewhere without enough room to do that, you're kinda stuck. ;)

I may give a go of having something double-fold. It would be hinged/supported along the side, but then it would have a second hinge along the front edge with a small section that would come down in front of the entry door. I have a hitch-mounted cargo carrier that does this with two bolts and a small extra section meant to form a ramp - I'd just keep that bit flat. Something like this:
Wheelchair and Mobility Scooter Hitch Carrier - Aluminum

Next question on the planning front - has anybody ever cut down their wheel wells to get a small amount of extra floor space above them? Just from eyeballing photos it looks like there's a lot more room in there than I have, say, in my car. I'm not sure what top clearance above the tire is actually REQUIRED but it seems like if some people are fine putting on bigger tires you ought to be able to do the opposite and take an inch or two off the top...
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Old 04-12-2015, 12:20 PM   #33
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I always figured that room above the tire was in case of a blow out.

My deck will not need to fold down to get out. For just quick stops, I will have 4 of them fold down foot pegs like on the front of out buses for cleaning the windshield. That along with a nice 4 foot long stainless steel grab handle running vertical up the left side of my door.

Deck will only be if we park awhile.

Nat
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Old 04-13-2015, 11:10 AM   #34
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Quote:
Originally Posted by taskswap View Post
I may give a go of having something double-fold. It would be hinged/supported along the side, but then it would have a second hinge along the front edge with a small section that would come down in front of the entry door. I have a hitch-mounted cargo carrier that does this with two bolts and a small extra section meant to form a ramp - I'd just keep that bit flat. Something like this:
Wheelchair and Mobility Scooter Hitch Carrier - Aluminum
That's what I was thinking and may do something similar. I like the idea of having a fold-out deck along the side that I can use for occasionally sitting outside with my dogs, but not having to worry about wet/muddy ground or ants, etc. I'll have the roof deck, too, but the dogs won't be able to go up there (even if I could get past the thought of one of them falling over the side) so the side deck option is appealing. Instead of being supported by cables, however, I think I'd go with drop-down legs that can be adjusted for length to support the deck from the ground. Much sturdier than any cable support and I wouldn't trip over them going from the door to the rest of the deck.
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Old 05-07-2015, 09:11 PM   #35
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Hey all, we've been in the market for a little while but are having a real hard time finding a good "fit" bus-wise to buy. I know there are lots of listings all over the place, but the budget is a little tight and flying to CA to get a hopefully-good bus isn't as great of an option for us as driving around local places to see what's in easy reach.

I'm in CT, and it seems like FE/RE buses are fairly uncommon here. There are some, but it's like 1 bus per fleet, usually the "field trip bus". They can be had, but they cost twice what a dog-nose does. Dog-noses are super-cheap here, and even with the road salt / rust risk I'm seeing plenty of options that are totally do-able.

Also, we're starting to kind of like the look. We want it to still be like a school bus, not an RV...

Given all that, the one thing we really want compared to the Class A's/C's we considered before going down this road is a front loft. What I'm wondering is - has anybody done a roof raise AND bump-forward in a dog-nose bus to make it kind of like what a Class C looks like?

To be clear: I'm not worried about HOW to do it. I'm pretty confident I can make it happen. I'm asking whether anybody HAS and has any lessons learned?
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Old 05-08-2015, 09:13 AM   #36
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good luck...and go for it, mileage would suck a little more ;)

and pictures would be required
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