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Old 09-24-2020, 04:41 PM   #1
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Airport Low-Floor Bus info?

Does anyone know the construction details of these low-floor shuttle buses?
This one in particular has a blown up engine (dropped a valve),
so tempting to do a motor swap on for like..a v10.

I googled to see the frame construction that allows essentially no frame under the floor where you step on. I am wondering if it is using an overhead frame, which means one can't chop the roof off, another one a saw has the frame in the backside wall (other side of door opening), so it could have the roof chopped. No real info on the manufacturing website, just features of no-ramp wheelchair access.

https://www.publicsurplus.com/sms/al...ew?auc=2634634
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Old 09-24-2020, 05:59 PM   #2
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a blown engine if its wet sleeve would be an in-frame job.. $5-$10k? as a guess unless the head is damaged beyond repair.. or if its a non wet sleeve engine and requires a new block then you have HUGE bucks..



the lift-less wheel chair access is usually a kneeling bus with a ramp that pops out
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Old 09-24-2020, 06:03 PM   #3
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Can not help you a whole lot. Those airport buses gave me the inspiration after my 96 old mother with wheelchair came to live with us.

Dory was the result of that and she and we had some good adventures with Dory.
In our bus the underfloor is steel U profile and the rest is aluminum. The Profile above the window is one long extruded aluminum beam. The side are aluminum skin that is glued on with double sided tape. The roof is one big sheet of aluminum again with double sided tape.
Although the bottom frame can carry itself I would say that it is a unibody.
strength and light/
Our interior height in front is 8 ft and in the rear 6 ft 6 so no need to raise.


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Old 09-24-2020, 06:28 PM   #4
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after re-reading your post.


Our slf bus has 2 6" beams 3 ft apart in the center.
then their are cross beams every 3 to 4 ft. they are tapered to 4" on the outside .Then on the outside along the low section is 4 tall C channel. At the entrance door that becomes a 2" square tube. There is a lot thought and engineering put in these buses. The new cost reflects that. Ours has 420.000 miles on it and running strong.

I would think that you would find a running motor somewhere cheap.
Personally I think these SLF are very nice platforms for an RV. The thought of going up the stairs and down the stairs 10 times a day is not attractive anymore. I used to live in a "normal" city bus with a staircase and the stair case part got old .. especially with your hands full of a project or groceries.
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Old 09-24-2020, 08:25 PM   #5
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Airport guy said it dropped a valve and driver kept driving it, so the the engine is pretty much smashed up and not fixable at least financially cheaper to replace it.

I don't want to raise the roof..I want to essentially lower/remove it. But sounds like that won't be possible. Not that I need another project..
The low floor is really only where you step on, then it has a step up into the back and front areas where the wheelwells are. I don't know if that could be flattened between them or not, but yeah still lots of headroom in both stepup sections. I've ridden in these at our airport, maybe even this exact one. lol
btw, they get worked hard, almost always full everyday all day.
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Old 09-24-2020, 09:46 PM   #6
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They call it a low floor bus because the floor is literally the bottom of the bus, there is no traditional frame underneath the floor. The reason the floor is raised in the back is so you have clearance for the transmission, driveshaft, fuel tank, suspension, and differential. The front axles are typically independent front suspension.

I can see making a false floor to meet the rear floor and having tanks or storage underneath it.

We just had a Gillig on the lifts the other day for a rear main seal, too bad I didn't take a picture of the underside for you.
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Old 09-24-2020, 10:13 PM   #7
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Old 09-25-2020, 06:42 AM   #8
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personally why buy a low floor bus and then raise the floor? or buy a high roof bus and lower the roof? im all for building cool projects.. ive built a few in my time.. but seems counter intuitive.. as does buying a bus with a blown engine unless you are an engine builder and can fix it.. a dropped valve doesnt necessarily mean the block is toast.. if its wet sleeve you just re-sleeve it.. if the head cant be worked then you get another one.. an in-frame kit will include new pistons and valves..



if a shop is going to do all the work then you are far ahead to just a buy a bus thats in good running order and has the attributes you want right off.. if you are going to do the worlk and have the tools / space then buying a broken bus cheap can be a great way to go as the finished product results in a reliable roadworthy bus and didnt break the bank.
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Old 09-25-2020, 09:51 AM   #9
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Not going to lower the roof PERMANENTLY, just during travel..having a low floor, still gives you plenty of space when its lowered down.
Fuel mileage is directly related to frontal area.

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Old 09-25-2020, 10:36 AM   #10
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Workhorse mad a Low Floor chassis a few years back called the "LF72". Just google that for pictures of the bare chassis.

Might find similar stuff for the chassis this particular bus is on.
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Old 09-25-2020, 11:02 AM   #11
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Thanks, the LF72 is what would work for the 'high-low' plan, found an actual bus and it shows how low they can be!
They are front wheel drive, so only the drivers area is raised up, the passenger space is all flat and just off the ground. Perfect.





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Old 09-25-2020, 12:06 PM   #12
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wow i have never seen one of the workhorse busses out in the wild.. they look kind of cool retro space-age though..
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Old 10-02-2020, 05:47 PM   #13
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For those interested in the construction of an airport type of shuttle bus you might try a web search or Youtube search for an old episode of "How It's Made".

In Season 5 Episode 2 of "How It's Made" first aired on September 13th 2005 at the end of the program they show the construction of a stainless steel chassis airport bus. Very interesting if you want to know what an airport bus of this type looks like from the construction of the chassis to the finished product.

Superb views of the chassis construction, type of materials used and more.

Take a look. The construction of this type of bus may make you want to go out and buy one!
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Old 10-02-2020, 06:24 PM   #14
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btw, that sac airport shuttle bus sold for $1,200. When it was at $650 with 2 minutes to go, I was so tempted.

Don't know if the sac airport is the same as this video, but all stainless steel and low floor glued fiberglass walls, what not to like? For me though the roof provides structure so I can't cut it off like I could with the other one.

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