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Old 06-12-2021, 07:56 PM   #1
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Too tall?

I have a 2004 dog nosed international with a 22” lift. It’s 40’ long and when backing it out of the driveway it feels like it will tip over. Will things balance out when it if finished inside and maybe loaded down with water, generator and propane (i have a 25 gal propane tank from a pickup).

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Old 06-12-2021, 08:37 PM   #2
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Wait, a 22" suspension lift?? Pics please!!

As far as answering will it 'balance out' with the build-out weight, I don't really know how to answer this without knowing how it was lifted but my guess is probably not. Even empty a 40 foot bus is pretty heavy but balanced and if it's feeling tipsy now when you add several tons of building materials and equipment and tanks and such it's only going to amplify whatever handling you're already experiencing. Plus having everything two feet higher off the ground is going to screw up the center of gravity that much more. Unless you expect the weight of the build to make it squat a foot or so I cannot imagine how it's going to be better as you add weight unless I'm missing something about how you even achieved a 22 inch lift.
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Old 06-12-2021, 08:51 PM   #3
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Oh yeah, pics please!
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Old 06-12-2021, 08:54 PM   #4
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I'm going to guess OP means a 22" roof raise.
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Old 06-12-2021, 10:51 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by musigenesis View Post
i'm going to guess op means a 22" roof raise.
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Old 06-13-2021, 01:04 AM   #6
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How tall is your bus now? Keep in mind that you may have problems in some of the national parks (like Zion National Park), and in older cities with old railroad overpasses. If you were to add roof top air conditioners you may have trouble going down the interstates. That much raise certainly has changed your center of gravity to be higher. How much weight did you add with the raise?
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Old 06-13-2021, 04:40 AM   #7
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Lots of people have raised their roofs a comparable amount and there aren't any reports of people tipping their buses that I'm aware of. The moment of inertia of your bus roof is equal to its mass (which would be around 800 to 900 pounds) times the radius (which would be distance from the ground in a tipping event) squared, so going from 10' to 12' means it (the effect of just your roof) will increase by about 50%. This is roughly equivalent to putting 35 to 40 hundred-pound children in the seats (which are about 6' above the ground), still well below normal loading for a school bus. Additional mass inside from your build will add to the tipping probability, not reduce it, but since it will be down low on the floor (or underneath the floor) you should still be well within the safety parameters of the vehicle.

This is just a rough estimate. If you wanted more peace of mind you could hire a real mechanical engineer to do a full analysis - they would probably love to do it. Although in general it's probably best to consult with an engineer before you modify a vehicle, not after.
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Old 06-13-2021, 04:53 AM   #8
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Can I admit I'm a little disappointed? I was picturing the Bigfoot Monster Truck of skoolies! LOL

Okay, now that we know what animal we're dealing with... Yes there's going to be some shift in CoG - but - this seems a bit more manageable. More imperative than weight alone is the lateral forces at work when the bus goes off level surfaces or also expect more fight from crosswinds when you're rolling down the road. As I see it, you've increased headroom but most of what you'll install is still going to be low, and that's even assuming you build up the floor a foot or so. Heavy stuff like water tanks and gensets and batteries usually go at or below floor level so these will add weight down low that helps combat the negative effects of the tall wind sail of a side. If there's still some body roll following the build, two things to do - add more leaf springs (unlikely but possibly) and add/increase the sway bar (also called a stabilizer bar) capacity. Adding leafs to the suspension increases the load capacity but if this is required then you probably have an overweight issue anyways and while adding capacity here helps it doesn't address all the other weight bearing components which are equally overtaxed. Fortunately most buses have much more overhead weight capacity and I am less likely to expect this to be an issue you face. Alternately, adding a sway bar or swapping out the original sway bar for a beefier one is exactly what addresses the side-to-side sway of tall or top-heavy rigs as well as combats crosswind sway. When one side bears down on the sway bar it translates that force back to the side that's on it's way up and vice versa so body roll is reduced. It doesn't increase weight carrying capacity or change the ride characteristic beyond that function described above. This is actually a common upgrade for RV owners because sometimes the OEM sway bar from the chassis manufacturer wasn't big enough to handle the rocking of a tall RV body. Of course any RV upfitter worth their salt should probably know this and already order a better chassis or swap in a bigger sway bar as part of the prep. Since this is essentially what you're doing is adding more body height than what the manufacturer originally spec'd I think this is going to be an easy and effective resolution.

Keep us updated on your build.
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Old 06-13-2021, 10:55 PM   #9
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Sorry to disappoint. It’s been a lot of work but very rewarding. Here are a few more pictures. Looking to add roof units which would put me at 12’ over all height. Floor is 1.5” foam insulation and doing 3” spray foam on the walls and ceiling. BB0CD09F-35DD-45E6-AABC-DE01EC7B8F76.jpg

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