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Old 02-19-2020, 08:04 AM   #1
Join Date: Oct 2014
Location: Asheville NC
Posts: 65
Year: 95
Chassis: TC2000
Engine: Bluebird
Leveling Bus on 8 slope, Lift 2.5ft

Hey y'all! My bus is currently parked on a slope and I'd like to do some kinda ridiculous deck-block-jack-stand situation to get it level. Bus is 35ft long, and to get the back tire level with the front tire, it needs to be up about 2.5 ft. (Using supports of various appropriate heights under the frame, though).

This will be semi-permanent: I won't be driving the bus around, but it needs to be able to be relocated eventually.

A few years ago I used some 50ton bottle jacks from Harbor Freight and deck blocks and 4x4 posts to support and level an RV that was a little longer than my bus, but on less of a slope. I used six or eight "feet" made of a 4x4 stuck vertically into a concrete deck block.

I've attached a photo. Yes, it is as absurd as it looks. Let us all pause a minute to laugh.

Considerations: I don't want to jack this thing up and have it roll back on me. It is large and gravity is scary. There will be several other people involved in this project, so I at least won't be solo-ing it.

Y'all have any relevant examples of redneck engineering, techniques, supplies I should use? Are there super-heavy-duty RV jack stands that exist that would work?

I did check out other posts on the forum and I like the "dig a hole for the front tires" idea...

(Hey, update! My arm healed from that time I almost cut it off with an angle grinder while taking the bus ceiling out, and although I still haven't driven my bus yet, it did just complete it's third relocation after I spent two days working on the engine with a mechanic buddy, fixing a fuel leak and bleeding the lines & injectors, that was fun as heck. The bus has complete insulation, a floor and most of a new ceiling! Still enjoying myself even though it's an extremely slow process for me!)
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Old 02-19-2020, 09:26 AM   #2
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It may be easier and safer to construct a leveling platform for each of the rear wheels that you can roll the bus backward onto, then chock the front wheels. Attempting to lift the bus at that angle onto cribbing or jack stands is likely to cause concerns with stability.

Construct the platform so the grade of the driveway and angle of the platform add to 90 degrees. I would use 4x4s and construct them in the "Crosstie Platform" method in this guide. You can integrate some wheel chocks into the platform to brace the rear wheels. The platform would be large, but you'd be using less material overall than if you were to use standard cribbing methods to achieve the same lift.
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Old 02-19-2020, 09:53 AM   #3
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Ive got to be honest, I really don't think this is a good idea. 2.5' is a lot to lift this bus and have it floating up in the air. It will be incredibly unstable and very unsafe.

You should really look at any and all other options for getting it closer to level. It might be worth it to try and have the area regraded to a less dramatic slope so you can park on a levelish surface without needing to jack it up every time you move it.

My driveway has a mild rearward slope, (bus is backed in) and my bus leans slightly to the drivers side due to the ridiculous weight of the head end of a horizontal engine, so I will never have a level work area. I just make everything square to the floor and some reference marks on the walls, and it has worked out fine for my build.

That being said, if you are hell bent on doing this unadvisable and ill conceived lifting operation there are a few points you should remember.

Can't tell from the picture if its a RE or an FE, I would not recommend trying to jack up the end with the engine, its very heavy. Or lifting the rear end, because that is where your parking brakes are holding you.

If its a RE, turn it around and jack up the front.

Make sure the wheels that are staying on the ground are extremely well chocked, and unable to move at all.

You will need to support it with cribbing stacks made out of at minimum 4x4 lumber. 6x6 would be better. Cribbing height should not exceed 2x the size of its base, and the ends of the stack should overhang at least 4", I would go with 24" cribbing as a minimum, with 3 pieces in each layer.

You will need properly sized wedges to angle the cribbing stacks to match the angle of your driveway.

You will also need to make and install some sort of struts to prevent lateral movement. These would be long pieces of timber anchored to the ground and extending up at an approx 45* angle to a solid attachment point above the COG, as high as possible. I might even set up a second set low, attaching to the frame.

I have done exactly what you are planning to do, I am a firefighter, USAR team member, rescue technician, and an instructor for my states fire academy specializing in technical rescue. We have trained on heavy lifting operations involving buses with vehicles deeply buried under the rear overhang to simulate severe rear end collisions. However we had professional extrication tools for lifting and stabilizing the load including Paratech rescue struts, Paratech lifting airbags, and an entire forest of cribbing. There was also about a dozen well trained rescue technicians and it takes input from all hands to do it safely and securely.

In short, don't do this, its a bad idea, its extremely dangerous, and there are other options.
Supercoach Build Thread
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Old 02-19-2020, 10:00 AM   #4
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Old 02-19-2020, 10:46 AM   #5
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I am with Willie. Lifting the bus that high would make it very difficult, if not impossible, to adequately support the bus in a safe manner.

Mine is not totally level and I had some challenges. Of course my level was useless. A buddy brought over his "smart level". I used it for about five minutes and took a break to order one for myself

You place it on a reference surface an hit the "zero" button. Then it will display the angle of whatever surface you place it on relative to the reference surface.
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Old 02-19-2020, 11:19 AM   #6
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You've already almost lost an arm to the bus. Think hard about whether raising it 2.5 feet off the ground is a good idea.
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Old 02-19-2020, 11:58 AM   #7
Join Date: Oct 2014
Location: Asheville NC
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Year: 95
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Engine: Bluebird
Originally Posted by EastCoastCB View Post
You've already almost lost an arm to the bus. Think hard about whether raising it 2.5 feet off the ground is a good idea.
EXACTLY WHY I AM HERE letting y'all do the good thinking yes. I have six to eight redneck engineers thinking we can do this thing and, yeah. Nah.
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Old 02-19-2020, 12:10 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Willie_McCoy View Post
I just make everything square to the floor and some reference marks on the walls, and it has worked out fine for my build.

My driveway is sloped (my whole property) and I have nowhere level to park, but this hasn't been an issue so long as I level to the floor and marks on the walls. I have little to no framing experience, and floor to ceiling, I've not been off by more than 1/16 of an inch nearly anywhere.

My build thread:
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Old 02-19-2020, 12:20 PM   #9
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If you know you don't have to move it for a while...

Maybe -- turn it around from how it's parked above and instead of jacking it up remove the rear wheels and lower it.

OR if that's not enough -- with 6 to 8 peeps you can remove the remove the entire rear axle (leave the inner wheels on so you can easily roll it out from under the bus and out of the way.

Then lower the bus onto cribbing supported at the frame rails. Just be sure to leave enough clearance for springs, drive shafts, exhaust pipe, fuel tank, etc.

Having the frame rails on railroad ties perpendicular to the frame will be quite stable provided the front wheels are well chocked.
(the wheel chocks I used in the field for military trucks had large spikes in the wooden wedges to keep them from slipping on soil)

The Murder Bus
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