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Old 02-27-2005, 02:57 PM   #1
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Adding a second floor to a bus - good idea?

I started a post to find out about the experiences others have had with grafting a VW bus to the roof or more broadly adding a second floor to their bus. Several people decided to get off on a tangent about police behavior (please start your own thread if you want to talk about something other than adding a second floor). Without going into the cop issue again, can anyone tell me about how they have added a second level to their bus or seen it done?
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Old 02-27-2005, 03:02 PM   #2
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This was my original post - pre cop-talk takeover

Can anyone tell me their personal experience with raising the roof of their bus? I have seen, and like the idea of, adding a VW camper bus to the top of a dog nose style school bus. I have four kids and plan to use the addition as a group sleep/play area. They like the idea of having a space of their own and the Dr. Suessian asthetic. I have found images of the "Boogie Bus" with one VW grafted into the roof in the slide out posting elsewhere on this site, and the "Magic Bus" with two zebra striped VWs on the roof. The only opinion I have found on the subject was by Mr. Sharkey (can not recall the URL) who disliked the idea beacuse of raised center of gravity, increased need for dodging trees and powerlines, squeeks, rattles, leaks, and the amount of gained space for the effort, but his objective is to gain light and head room not gain sleeping space. His complete removal of his Crown bus roof is total overkill for my objective. Is this VW bus modification worth the effort, totally stupid, or somewhere in between?
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Old 04-23-2015, 09:45 PM   #3
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Yeah so, me too, what gives? Has anybody done this I am into it too.
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Old 04-23-2015, 09:54 PM   #4
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Holy old thread. You just resurrected a thread that was 10 years old. lol.
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Old 04-23-2015, 10:03 PM   #5
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I have a 85 Vanagon I'll sell you to cut in half. I wanted to use it for my bus but I decided on doing a 20 inch roof raise instead.
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Old 04-23-2015, 10:17 PM   #6
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That might be cool. But I'm wanting to know how it's done and how it works for people in general.
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Old 04-24-2015, 04:50 AM   #7
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It was done w/I the last year or so haven't seen an update tho'
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Old 04-24-2015, 10:05 AM   #8
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I like the idea, as long as your under 13'6 you will be fine.

I have lifted the $hit out of my bus. 23 inches roof raise, and 12 inches of lift on the coach work.

I will be hanging all my real heavy stuff down low, so center of gravity will not be a issue. Also I will just pull over in windy weather, and drop the stabilizers.

I considered mounting a glass roofed minivan up there because I love laying in bed looking at the stars. But the van would be too high with my other lift mods, so I had to let that go.

If I was you, I would start by lowering the entire bus on it's chassis. Depending on the style of bus, you would need to lift the engine so it won't drag the ground, then slam the chassis withing a few inches of the frame touching the rear axle. This will buy you anywhere from 6 inches to a foot more useable space on top.

Now using two curved roofs will just waste space. So I would drill every rivet out of the chair rail, and lift the entire body of the bus off the floor. Then using the same method as a roof raise with formed hat channel, extend the body height 4 feet.

Now the simple part. Measure down 4 feet from the peak of the roof on each side. Again using formed metal for the new second level floor joist, attach them to each side of the support ribs at the 4 foot mark. This is your new second level floor, and the new ceiling for the first level.

Now you have a nice flat, easy to finish ceiling on the first floor, and a 4 foot attic for the kids with a flat floor.

Are you really up for this much work? Most take years to complete a simple conversion. Metal work takes forever.

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Old 04-24-2015, 10:25 AM   #9
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lowrider bus
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Old 04-24-2015, 10:47 AM   #10
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I will draw a diagram when I get time later.

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Old 04-24-2015, 12:46 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nat_ster View Post
I will draw a diagram when I get time later.
I think that's an interesting suggestion -- a crazy-high lift, which nets about 10 feet of interior height, then build a loft inside by splitting the vertical space into maybe 6'6" and 3'-something" (allowing for thickness of the floor-ceiling). Hey, maybe you could put a balcony in there!
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Old 04-24-2015, 01:23 PM   #12
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What about what this guy did - remember this video posted recently on another thread?
Man Turns Garbage Truck into Unbelievable Boat RV | Mega RV Countdown | ulive

Go to 1:54 in the video.

Instead of going double-high for the whole thing, he built "down" just for the bunks. I've been thinking about doing the same thing - on one side, where you'd normally have belly storage, setting up a 6'-8' section that goes "down" into what would normally be that storage bay. I'd frame it with angle-iron and insulate its floor and walls the same way as the rest.

You wouldn't get nearly as much space out of this as a full lift/drop, but I think it would be a lot easier to engineer a single reasonably-sized bay. For me, that would be the kids' bunks, to fit one more bunk into that area.

I wouldn't want anybody in there while traveling in case you get T-boned but it seems like an easy win if you just want more interior storage or an extra bunk.
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Old 04-24-2015, 01:52 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by family wagon View Post
I think that's an interesting suggestion -- a crazy-high lift, which nets about 10 feet of interior height, then build a loft inside by splitting the vertical space into maybe 6'6" and 3'-something" (allowing for thickness of the floor-ceiling). Hey, maybe you could put a balcony in there!
You visualized my description well.


Simple diagram.



Nat
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Old 04-24-2015, 05:07 PM   #14
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There is an american boat builder that designed and built an rv for traveling all over the world, he did same thing and even has a Japanese soaking tub...they spent a year in Europe on shake down run
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Old 04-24-2015, 08:33 PM   #15
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...

The video I linked to... it IS that guy.
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Old 04-24-2015, 10:05 PM   #16
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Your right, the garbage truck title threw me off, it was a custom cab chassis new from the factory

Weird title kickazz vehicle....
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Old 04-24-2015, 11:16 PM   #17
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VIDEO: Living on a bus, living on an old school bus ยท The Daily Edge

This guy did a nice job on the interior and I like the hatch opening on one end to access the roof.

Lowering an area reminds me of the homes in the north with "sunken living rooms".
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Old 04-25-2015, 01:12 PM   #18
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I was thinking the ladder in the "well" that accessed the bunks (one lowered, two above it) could do double-duty going up to a roof hatch and a roof deck. A roof deck is definitely part of our plan. We travel to / stay in a lot of places with amazing views, and you don't see them from the ground. It's amazing what the world looks like from 12' up... It's a perfect spot to have a glass of wine, play Yahtzee, or just chit-chat.
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Old 04-25-2015, 01:21 PM   #19
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I feel the same about roof decks.

I love heights and I love great views. This is why roofing is one of my favorite forms of work.

Even with my bus lifted the extra foot, the view from inside is better.

However from the roof it's amazing. The added three feet made the difference.

I'm going to have quick mounts for a few marine seats for when we are parked, so they don't blow off in the wind.

Nat
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Old 04-25-2015, 04:58 PM   #20
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I am building a deck on my B700, using the luggage rack as a foundation. I've built the sides to fold down without losing strength. The problem now is a folding 16 ft. staircase with rails. If you are interested in how to configure the support posts, let me know and I'll post photos.
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