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Old 06-25-2021, 09:25 PM   #21
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Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: So Cal
Posts: 3,114
Year: 1935
Coachwork: Superior
Chassis: Chevy
Engine: 317 ci/tid / Isuzu
I'm not an engineer but I'd be concerned that a transfer of load would occur at both the front and back of your "red" insert. On the other hand if the new load could be managed by the original frame mounts it should be OK.

Take a look at the GM upfitters site for some ideas.

https://www.gmupfitter.com/.
Jack

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Old 06-26-2021, 05:45 PM   #22
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Oct 2020
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ol trunt View Post
I'm not an engineer but I'd be concerned that a transfer of load would occur at both the front and back of your "red" insert. On the other hand if the new load could be managed by the original frame mounts it should be OK.

Take a look at the GM upfitters site for some ideas.

https://www.gmupfitter.com/.
Jack
Do you mean to say they'd act like a stress riser? I can see that. I'm not exactly sure how it'd play out without delving into the engineering a bit more thoroughly... but I figure it could work like a bridge with an inverted truss, wherein the axles are the foundations of the bridge which the truss transfers the load to, and are roughly at either end of the truss.

In any case, I'll look at the bodybuilder guide!

Also, what's the opinion on taking paint off weeks or months prior to painting? I';m debating doing this soon because the bus in its current state is a blotchy mess of red, blue, brown, and black... it's a bit of an eyesore and the neighours would cause a fuss over that I know... :\ On the other hand, I don't want to jeapordize my paintjob or give myself extra work having to deal with future flash rust, if keeping the current paint on prior to that makes my job easier. Thoughts?
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Old 06-26-2021, 06:25 PM   #23
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Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: So Cal
Posts: 3,114
Year: 1935
Coachwork: Superior
Chassis: Chevy
Engine: 317 ci/tid / Isuzu
Give it a quick coat of temporary paint. google it.
Jack
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Old 06-27-2021, 01:26 PM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ol trunt View Post
I'd say go for it! Jack



Lift off the bus body


Set up frame
.

Roll frame under.
Do you have any more photos of this swap, by the way? What chassis did you use?
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Old 06-29-2021, 11:22 AM   #25
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Hey everyone, could use some insight here... I've narrowed my drivetrain/frame swap options down to the following and would like to know what you think of them. To my knowledge the 2 speed rear end with vacuum operation is inherently unreliable (GM switched to electric in 1960 IIRC), seems like a pain to drive, odd/obsolete bolt patterns, on both axles, and the 4-speed manual transmission apparently won't pair well with any modern engine let alone a diesel. The 283 gasser is weak, inefficient and small, in a medium-size bus. This is what I'm thinking:



  • 1. RAM 3500/4500/5500 with a Cummins 5.9 and automatic trans or expensive NV5600 manual
    • Cummins 5.9 is a great engine. I've heard RAM auto trans leave much to be desired... Manuals (NV5600) are expensive.
    • Can find a 4x4 chassis. Easy means of doing a 4x4 conversion on my bus.
    • Could either swap the frame or swap only the driveline, if the 1959 bus's frame is in good condition (will confirm it's good after I take delivery) and if I can find a frame with a close enough wheelbase. If I don't frame swap, just swap driveline components, this seems a non-issue.
  • 2. Chevy 3500/4500/5500 with a Duramax 6.6 and Allison 1000 auto
    • Unsure of Duramax reliability. Am I getting a significantly worse engine than the 5.9 for all the work I'm doing?
    • More reliable transmission compared to the Dodge auto offerings, I believe.
    • Can find a 4x4 chassis. Easy means of doing a 4x4 conversion on my bus.
    • Could either swap the frame or swap only the driveline, if the 1959 bus's frame is in good condition (will confirm it's good after I take delivery) and if I can find a frame with a close enough wheelbase. If I frame swap, it'd likely be a pain in the ass working with something not from a chassis-cab, with all the weird curves... If I don't frame swap, just swap driveline components, this seems a non-issue.
  • 3. Freightliner FL60 with Cummins 5.9 and Allison 2000
    • Relatively inexpensive yet great reliability.
    • 4x2 only. Could convert to 4x4 later on if I found it necessary with a divorced T-case and dana 70 front. 4x2 + locker is probably sufficient, especially if I add a winch and carry mud chains + traction boards as extra insurance.
    • The frame is two straight rails, 34" outside to outside... exactly like the frame the bus is currently on. Frame is (I would assume) heavier duty than the 3500/4500/5500 RAM and Chevy offerings listed above.
    • If swapped the bus body onto the Freightliner chassis, I'd have to move the rear axle forward. This means I'd have to drill new holes for the rear axle hangers. Is that an issue with these modern, heat-treated frames? Are there existing holes/equipment that'd get in the way? Is this somehow unsafe?
Some other points:
  • The 1959 GMC bus has a 156" wheelbase.
  • 34" frame width.
  • Frame appears to be in great condition but I need to inspect for sure, when I take delivery.
  • Leafs up front and rear, so I imagine swapping axles, even replacing the steer axle with a drive/steer, avoids the typical headaches of solid axle swaps on trucks with coilovers.
  • I can confirm a 5.9 cummins would fit in the engine bay of my 1959; it's been done before.
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Old 06-29-2021, 12:00 PM   #26
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Chassis: G30~Chevy cutaway
Engine: 5.7/350 Chevy Vortec
Rated Cap: Just me and my "stuff"?
I would heartily recommend a 1 ton chassis vs 3/4. The Freightliner chassis is actually more where I'd be looking if I was doing this project.

The extra weight you add inside during your conversion will surprise you, and overloading a lesser capacity frame/chassis will only lead to future headaches when expensive things fail.
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Old 06-29-2021, 12:47 PM   #27
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Join Date: May 2018
Location: topeka kansas
Posts: 1,005
Year: 1954
Coachwork: wayne
Chassis: old f500- new 2005 f-450
Engine: cummins 12 valve
Rated Cap: 20? five rows of 4?
what I did

I have a wayne like yours... 1954 right at 24 long. I used a crew cab f450 chassis... 34" frame rails.... this was a cab and chassis f450, not a pickup.

my bus wheel base was 154" donor was 176" so I cut 22" out and shortened. I am using a cummins 12v 5.9 and nv5600 six speed.

I had to build a 30" long "filler piece"... the frame dips down under the cab ... the 34" wide rails did not extend far enough forward. The filler is firmly attatched to the bus body and is clamped to the truck frame. You should see a series of spring clamps holding your body to the frame... It is not really bolted directly to frame at all.

Consider using firewall from donor frame.. I had to build brake/clutch/steering mounts because my bus had underfloor mounted clutch and brake systems.

Keeping the floor and fire wall from the donor truck lets you keep the body mounts for that part of the truck... that also lets you keep seats from the donor platform as well, as well as fire wall mounted heat/air conditioning, window defrosting, gauges, and a plethora of other nick knacky stuff like glove boxes and radios... depends how you want to run it......

I dumped my rear leaf springs and bought an air suspension system made for the f450... commonly used on ambulances, by a company called reyco-granning there are three different companies that do off the shelf rear suspensions for the bigger medium duty trucks ford/dodge/chevy/international/frieghtliner

my bus empty with no driveline and nothing in it weighed 6,200 lbs. the rear axle in the f450 from spicer is rated at 14,000 - ford derated this axle to 11,000. the rear suspension is rated at 13,500lbs. my front axle is rated at 6,000 lbs. At a later point in time I might put a driven axle in front and use electric drive on the front... intown, low speed, low speed, slippery conditions.... I wont even have to have a transfer case... If the main engine trans breaks I would still be able to move... but that is for later after I get the bus moving...


Mine is still in progress.

william
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Old 06-29-2021, 05:09 PM   #28
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Year: 1971
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Chassis: International Loadstar 1700
Engine: 345 international V-8
Must say I have driven a number of chevy/GMC trucks with vacuum shift two speeds, and they work great. Not saying keep the rear, just in my experience the vacuum shift works well.


Curious why you would deflate the tires before taking them off the axle? Any of the split rims types have trouble when being inflated when not properly put together. If they are aired up now it is extremely unlikely to suddenly come apart now. I have worked with all types of split rims many times and never had any come apart.



I do have a locking rear in my bus and it has helped a lot, and have pulled other buses out as well. Have had to be pulled out of mud once and soft sand once though. Was pulling another bus plus his trailer with a Jeep on it in soft sand I buried it down to my tool boxes.
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Old 06-30-2021, 12:42 AM   #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ronnie View Post
Must say I have driven a number of chevy/GMC trucks with vacuum shift two speeds, and they work great. Not saying keep the rear, just in my experience the vacuum shift works well.


Curious why you would deflate the tires before taking them off the axle? Any of the split rims types have trouble when being inflated when not properly put together. If they are aired up now it is extremely unlikely to suddenly come apart now. I have worked with all types of split rims many times and never had any come apart.



I do have a locking rear in my bus and it has helped a lot, and have pulled other buses out as well. Have had to be pulled out of mud once and soft sand once though. Was pulling another bus plus his trailer with a Jeep on it in soft sand I buried it down to my tool boxes.

My main issue with the rear is that it has a weird bolt pattern I think and from what I've read online, wheels for it that aren't split ring or split rim aren't commonly available. If I could somehow switch out hubs for single piece 20" or 22.5" that'd be nice, but I don't believe that's possible with these axles - as in, the hubs I'd be looking for simply don't exist. I agree, a two speed rear end would be awesome, especially with a locker. I'm not sure if a locker is available for this axle though - I still need to take delivery of the bus and confirm details like this. My original plan has always been to do a drivetrain swap though.


As for deflating the tires; is that best practice? No shops around here are willing to work on split ring or split wheels for liability/safety reasons. I'd hate to have something blow up in my face.


Regardless of if I go 4x4 or 4x2, I'll definitely be getting a rear locker. Would take a locked 4x2 over an open 4x4 any day!


Quote:
Originally Posted by magnakansas View Post
I have a wayne like yours... 1954 right at 24 long. I used a crew cab f450 chassis... 34" frame rails.... this was a cab and chassis f450, not a pickup.

my bus wheel base was 154" donor was 176" so I cut 22" out and shortened. I am using a cummins 12v 5.9 and nv5600 six speed.

I had to build a 30" long "filler piece"... the frame dips down under the cab ... the 34" wide rails did not extend far enough forward. The filler is firmly attatched to the bus body and is clamped to the truck frame. You should see a series of spring clamps holding your body to the frame... It is not really bolted directly to frame at all.

Consider using firewall from donor frame.. I had to build brake/clutch/steering mounts because my bus had underfloor mounted clutch and brake systems.

Keeping the floor and fire wall from the donor truck lets you keep the body mounts for that part of the truck... that also lets you keep seats from the donor platform as well, as well as fire wall mounted heat/air conditioning, window defrosting, gauges, and a plethora of other nick knacky stuff like glove boxes and radios... depends how you want to run it......

I dumped my rear leaf springs and bought an air suspension system made for the f450... commonly used on ambulances, by a company called reyco-granning there are three different companies that do off the shelf rear suspensions for the bigger medium duty trucks ford/dodge/chevy/international/frieghtliner

my bus empty with no driveline and nothing in it weighed 6,200 lbs. the rear axle in the f450 from spicer is rated at 14,000 - ford derated this axle to 11,000. the rear suspension is rated at 13,500lbs. my front axle is rated at 6,000 lbs. At a later point in time I might put a driven axle in front and use electric drive on the front... intown, low speed, low speed, slippery conditions.... I wont even have to have a transfer case... If the main engine trans breaks I would still be able to move... but that is for later after I get the bus moving...


Mine is still in progress.

william

Thank you for the insight and all the detail. Very helpful. Good to know the NV5600 can handle it. Do you think it'd be worth it to swap the engine and trans for a NV5600 + 5.9 or if I'm going to that length of work, just swap everything/swap the body onto a modern chassis? Is it a bit of the wash or would you consider the latter option the clear winner for some reason?

I'm definitely interested in the electric front drive axle idea. I have a 14kWh 48V battery and intend to use a starter-generator to help with low end torque eventually in my build (once those enter the used market) - will be similar to Jeep/Ram eTorque, but with a much larger battery. Would be cool to employ that with a front drive axle too! Do you know how you'd do it? A small two or three speed transmission of some sort would help. Alternatively, gearing low if you intend to use the electrical assist from a standstill, gear it higher if you use it while cruising mostly.
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Old 06-30-2021, 05:00 AM   #30
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Join Date: Oct 2017
Location: Virginia
Posts: 2,022
Year: 1971
Coachwork: Wayne
Chassis: International Loadstar 1700
Engine: 345 international V-8
I have done a many an engine swap, and have done a complete chassis swap. I find it to be much more work to do a chassis swap then changing the drivetrain. Body alignment especailly the fenders, hood and other front pieces I had trouble with and it took a lot of time getting that right. This was on a 47 Dodge truck that the original chassis was very badly rusted, and had been modified already. I put it on an early 70's international 1210 chassis.
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Old 06-30-2021, 09:24 AM   #31
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Join Date: May 2018
Location: topeka kansas
Posts: 1,005
Year: 1954
Coachwork: wayne
Chassis: old f500- new 2005 f-450
Engine: cummins 12 valve
Rated Cap: 20? five rows of 4?
why I swapped chassis

My 1954 ford stuff.... well, it all added up to maybe a pain in the tookus. I am building out for reliable first and foremost. I know I can get parts over night for just about every, steering/brake/suspension part on the bus. There are lots of the parts that interchange between f350 f450 f550.... example... I can use the radius rods that locate the front axle... from a f350... I think they may be lighter weight construction... but I can use it if I damage something. I dont know how easy it would be to find a tie rod end or drag link for a 54 f600 or wheel seal or wheel bearing....

I have firestone rims on my bus at the moment but I will only mess with them once...

I could buy the air suspension for the rear off the shelf and have it fit with the chassis swap... I would have to engineer the suspension fi I kept the old chassis. I have enough to do already...

most of the bust just sits on top of the frame.... the ford part of the body will have to have mounts built for it.... ick. I had to buy wider fenders from f800 to cover the wider front axle in the f450. I am able to turn the front wheel more angle in hopes that I dont have the turning radius of an oil tanker.

I would be done faster if I did not do a chassis swap.... but the pay off is peace of mind for parts availability, power steering, disc brakes all around, that should mean easier to maintain later on, cruise control, anti lock brakes, I have several gear ratios to choose from 3.73 3.91 4.10 4.30 4.88 5.13 are all pretty common.

The electric drive front axle.....I have several ways to go at this point... I know that chevrolet is offering/ is going to offer a off the shelf motor/battery/control system for electric. There is also used tesla parts...

so.. intended use... off road slow speed... like crawling over rocks, up forest roads, hell I have seen busses stuck on wet grass on just a itty bitty grade.

more like used when the rear end slips and is having troubles.

also in snow/ice to get going after stopping.... or like a front drive system

because the there is no transfer case I would include a "bias" control. Literally a knob on the dashboard that I turn to make most front drive or just a little.

I would put a limited slip in the front if I could... a locked front on ice just pushes too much.... detroit lockers are noisey... I like clutch type limited slips but they make heat... so maybe an air locker set up would be best for me.

big big battery pack... like 1000 lb kind of big

now here is some thing else that could use that battery pack... turbohcargers with electric is now coming to market... I am super interested in garrett turbos... I could put on a turbo that works very well at high altitude, but can use electric assist for spool up at low engine rpm.... big turbo performance with no turbo lag... that means no smoke at low rpms and no loss of engine performance at higher altitudes....but they need battery power to do that,

william
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Old 07-08-2021, 12:34 AM   #32
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ol trunt View Post
I'd say go for it! Jack

.

Lift off the bus body


Set up frame
.

Roll frame under
.

Drive off to your favorite camp site

\.
Who peddles?
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Old 07-10-2021, 10:30 PM   #33
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Quote:
Originally Posted by magnakansas View Post
My 1954 ford stuff.... well, it all added up to maybe a pain in the tookus. I am building out for reliable first and foremost. I know I can get parts over night for just about every, steering/brake/suspension part on the bus. There are lots of the parts that interchange between f350 f450 f550.... example... I can use the radius rods that locate the front axle... from a f350... I think they may be lighter weight construction... but I can use it if I damage something. I dont know how easy it would be to find a tie rod end or drag link for a 54 f600 or wheel seal or wheel bearing....

I have firestone rims on my bus at the moment but I will only mess with them once...

I could buy the air suspension for the rear off the shelf and have it fit with the chassis swap... I would have to engineer the suspension fi I kept the old chassis. I have enough to do already...

most of the bust just sits on top of the frame.... the ford part of the body will have to have mounts built for it.... ick. I had to buy wider fenders from f800 to cover the wider front axle in the f450. I am able to turn the front wheel more angle in hopes that I dont have the turning radius of an oil tanker.

I would be done faster if I did not do a chassis swap.... but the pay off is peace of mind for parts availability, power steering, disc brakes all around, that should mean easier to maintain later on, cruise control, anti lock brakes, I have several gear ratios to choose from 3.73 3.91 4.10 4.30 4.88 5.13 are all pretty common.

The electric drive front axle.....I have several ways to go at this point... I know that chevrolet is offering/ is going to offer a off the shelf motor/battery/control system for electric. There is also used tesla parts...

so.. intended use... off road slow speed... like crawling over rocks, up forest roads, hell I have seen busses stuck on wet grass on just a itty bitty grade.

more like used when the rear end slips and is having troubles.

also in snow/ice to get going after stopping.... or like a front drive system

because the there is no transfer case I would include a "bias" control. Literally a knob on the dashboard that I turn to make most front drive or just a little.

I would put a limited slip in the front if I could... a locked front on ice just pushes too much.... detroit lockers are noisey... I like clutch type limited slips but they make heat... so maybe an air locker set up would be best for me.

big big battery pack... like 1000 lb kind of big

now here is some thing else that could use that battery pack... turbohcargers with electric is now coming to market... I am super interested in garrett turbos... I could put on a turbo that works very well at high altitude, but can use electric assist for spool up at low engine rpm.... big turbo performance with no turbo lag... that means no smoke at low rpms and no loss of engine performance at higher altitudes....but they need battery power to do that,

william

Very interesting ideas with the battery-powered ancillary stuff like the turbo, pumps, etc. I plan on a 48V system so that's completely doable. I suppose finding a turbo out of a wrecked hybrid would be the way to go?



Quote:
Originally Posted by Ronnie View Post
I have done a many an engine swap, and have done a complete chassis swap. I find it to be much more work to do a chassis swap then changing the drivetrain. Body alignment especailly the fenders, hood and other front pieces I had trouble with and it took a lot of time getting that right. This was on a 47 Dodge truck that the original chassis was very badly rusted, and had been modified already. I put it on an early 70's international 1210 chassis.
Yup, I get where you're coming from. I am yet again considering a drivetrain swap. The F450 and similar trucks are rusty junkheaps around here, unless you pay more money than it's worth for 'em. Plus, it seems I have a SM420 4-speed with that 7.02 granny low. Perfect, if not overkill for the mild offroad trails I want to take a relatively heavy bus on. Swap the rear is easy enough. Swap the front will be a bit of work but I'm not the first person to of put a Dana 60 or 70 on the front of a Chevy Viking. Now, adding a t-case is where it gets interesting:

Novak Adapters sells an adapter for the Dana 300 t-case to the SM420 transmission. I know the Dana 300 is strong... but is it strong enough for a 9000lb bus? (I'm going off this data from a Ford bus of the same year, same length, and nearly the same GVW - 1000lbs less than my GMC). With the SM420, I can only marry to these t-cases. I suppose I could do a divorced NP205. Is it worth the extra complexity to do so?

I'll see how it runs first, but I am considering swapping the SBC 283 for a 4BT or 6BT. Would I be setting myself up for failure with a Dana 300, and jeopardizing the SM420 - as beefy as it is - if I swap a torquey 4BT or 6BT in front of it? Apparently the SM420 will handle 400-500 ft-lbs. just fine. Is this still bad, even though I'd only be doing some mild offroad in 4x4 (most often, just using it for some extra traction in snow).


I think if that's the case, and my drivetrain ideas aren't tenable, I think I'll opt for a body swap onto either a 4x4 F450, or find a F700/Topkick/Kodiak in 4x2 that at least has a beefy Eaton 6-speed or Allison, and a 3126 or Cummins 5.9. Do the body swap and worry about 4x4 later.

Anyone have thoughts on this, particularly about my drivetrain ideas?
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Old 07-10-2021, 11:00 PM   #34
Bus Crazy
 
Join Date: May 2018
Location: topeka kansas
Posts: 1,005
Year: 1954
Coachwork: wayne
Chassis: old f500- new 2005 f-450
Engine: cummins 12 valve
Rated Cap: 20? five rows of 4?
divorced transfer case

just as an example... there is an international fire truck.... with 4wd. like a 71 or 72 I have seen some of the mid to late 1970's medium duty trucks with 4wd and all wheel drive..... I have even seen a couple of busses set up that way. They dont come around often.... but I have also seen the front axles and transfer cases for sale at the heavy truck salvage yards too.

william
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Old 08-03-2021, 10:59 PM   #35
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Join Date: Oct 2020
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Well guys, one step closer to getting started on this build... Loaded up and on it's way from Saskatchewan!









If you're wondering why there's only one tire on the wheel, well... the Firestone split rims (RH5's I believe) did what they do best. I'll be glad to get those deathtraps off. I believe the wheels are 10x7.5 bolt pattern, 19.5" diameter. The rear end should be rated at 11,000 GAWR according to the GM literature. It's also a vacuum-operated two speed. I believe it's 6.17:1 which is too high for what I want (4.88 or therebouts would be better if I go the 6BT route, and I imagine it'd be okay with the gasser - I have no intentions of getting anywhere quickly, I won't have a full load of students, and I won't be stopping/driving all the time, like a bus would). Would anyone be able to identify this rear end? I believe it's an Eaton. I've been told HO72 before, but that doesn't seem right for a 1.5-2 ton truck. Not to mention, GAWR is off...

All in all, the frame and body seem to be in fantastic condition. Only two spots of through-rust near the front and rear doors. Typical for any bus. For something 60 years old, I'm very pleased - looks better than many 10 year old buses here in Ontario!




In the meantime, I have this NP205 lined up. It's a 10-spline passenger drop and will mate up perfectly with the SM465 + figure-8 adapter I have lined up as well. Passenger drop t-cases seem impossible to find in this country, but I figure that's the way to go: a Chevy or RAM pass. drop axle will match up very nicely with the current spring hangers on the front, at 32.8" center-to-center. Have seen a Chevy Viking 2-ton 4x4 conversion that used a Chevy axle with little work needed to make it fit, so figure I can't go wrong there. Ford driver-drop axles are a dime a dozen here but I just can't imagine any way I could get them to fit; 37" center-to-center.

Couple questions for those of you more experienced at this than myself:
- Is a Dana 60 large enough? Dana 70's seem scarce; only one I could find was out of a Ram and had coil junk on it. Not sure if I could weld on new spring seats at the correct distance, without biting into the diff housing. Any benefit to trussing a Dana 60?
- I hear the slip yoke on the NP205 rear output is undesirable. Is it worth it to adapt the existing bus' driveshaft (including its slip yoke) to fit a fixed output on the NP205?
- I'm thinking an 8x6.5" bolt pattern would be easiest to work with, given new Chevy or Dodge axles. I've also thought about 10x225 "big truck" wheels. Swapping the rear end for something with the correct hubs out of a medium duty truck, might be feasible. 8x6.5 seems easiest though. Any thoughts on that?

As for the interior, it'll look something like this:





Thanks for looking!
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Old 08-04-2021, 12:45 AM   #36
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Join Date: Jun 2021
Posts: 126
I want to read your RequirementsStatement.
.
2003, we converted a 1997 Ford CF8000 commercial truck to our concept of an ExpeditionVehicle.
It was an in-town beverage deliverer in Seattle... home to hills, snow, and ice.
4x2, it has a factory air-locker.
We completed our conversion in one week... while selling everything.
.
During our twenty-four months twenty-four thousand miles around south America...
...during our winters on isolated Baja beaches...
...during our summers up rough logger tracks to remote mountain lakes...
...we made friends with dozens of retired Euro-military 4x4 and 6x6 rigs.
Expeditionary in theory, they rarely go off-gravel; if they stick the thing, they need to call the military to drag them back to sanity.
.
*** Other than a unique project (parades?), I question the utility.
Our 4x2 trudges across rivers and through swamps, we forge trails on Baja deserts in search of the perfect beach.
.
As to mounting this bus body on a Dodge 2500 or Ford 4500, I harbor significant doubts about staying within GVWR.
*** If I was me, I would take the engine-less bus across a scale for an idea of which truck to roll under it.
I can easily imagine a medium-duty (aka 'MDT') commercial truck for the frame/suspension/brakes.
.
This body on a Dodge rolling chassis probably requires an automatic transmission; matching a stick-shift to a comfortable position in the bus cab might require more fabrication.
More time, more money, more frustration.
.
*** I can see this project occupying a lot of shop space for a lot of time.
This comes from a stuffer of a Chevrolet V-8 small block into a 1953 Austin Healey 100-4.
This comes from a stuffer of a Chevrolet V-8 big block into a 1958 Bentley.
Summer 2021, I am hybriding a right-hand drive garbage truck to a left-hand drive crewcab firetruck.
.
2003, we had good reason to acquire a square box on a 'million-mile' commercial truck -- a) load that empty box with camp gear, and b) hit the road.
I mentioned your RequirementsStatement... our RequirementsStatement specifically excluded fussing-n-fixing for weeks/months.
We also included a section about not re-inventing the wheel.
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This may come across as mean-spirited, but that is not our intent.
We prefer camping and traveling instead of staying home, dreading another weekend stuck in the garage re-doing another formerly great idea while fighting mosquitoes and cold/heat... and the urge to put the whole contraption on craigslist as a 'you finish'.
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*** Is your proposed project feasible... yes.
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Old 08-04-2021, 11:05 AM   #37
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Oct 2020
Posts: 47
Well I wrote out a whole reply but it seems to of gotten lost. So I'll be brief with the new one:

Basically, it makes no sense financially nor with my use of time and effort, to keep it 2WD: I have to change out the axles anyways. Current bolt pattern is an oddball size. Compatible non-split wheels are seemingly impossible to find, and even then, are too narrow for plenty of modern tires. Wheel adapters to the "big truck" 10x285 are $2,200 for a decent set, and not to mention... they're adapters. For the same amount of money, if not less, I could have new axles, common, easy-to-service axles, and more capability than I'd reasonably need (but there's a safety factor with having such capability, when traveling alone). Dana 60 front, Dana 80 rear. Will come very close to OEM GAWRs. The ability to drive FWD in the snow by twin-sticking my NP205 will be a very nice feature for 3 or 4 months of the year up here.


I agree, a RWD + locker will get nearly as many places as a unlocked 4WD, sometimes more. But, it'd be a dumb move to not swap axles, and stick with the current rear which is difficult and expensive to find parts for, and end up with an un-ideal bolt pattern, limited tire choices, and for the front; no ability to add a few inches of lift without front spacers (possibly unsafe, certainly frowned-upon), or oddball 2" wide spring packs (expensive!). Modern axles with 2.5" springs makes sense.


I plan on taking it down forest roads, as well as on crown land. Having rear-locked 4x4 will be nice and extra insurance when alone, in such places. The vehicle is also not terribly heavy; it comes in around 9,000 lbs fully loaded with bus body and students; the weight of 24 students should come in close to the weight of my conversion above tare, if we assume each student weighs 110 lbs.


In any case, I can assure you, it will never become a massive steel paperweight or facebook bus haha! It's a labour of love. Don't care how long it takes to build. I'm young and have been given the opportunity to take the year off anyways, so the timing is perfect.
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