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Old 08-13-2022, 05:09 AM   #1
Skoolie
 
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Question Which 35'-40' long bus model w/just 8'-10' swingout?

_H_E_L_P_!_ I want to build a 30' long schoolie with large heavy slideouts and lots of extra holding tank capacity.

So I would like to find longer model suggestions of buses that have a 9-foot swingout instead of the common 12-foot swingouts on most full-sized models. I will remove a section from the middle to bring the entire length down to 30 foot long.

And I can't use a rear engine with around 6-7 feet swingout. Longer buses have greater load capacity and that helps me stay legal despite the heavy slideouts and large holding tanks.

~~~

Thanks in advance for your helpful suggestions. Here's a diagram of what I hope to end up with! It's nearly an overlander for some mild offroading. Peace!
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Old 08-13-2022, 09:12 AM   #2
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Canadian Public Transportation Database

I went through a similar process before shopping. To build a side hallway, I was looking for a long wheelbase & long bus. I discovered a good source for dimensions (and more) here:
cptdb.ca/wiki/index



(I used this info to find Freddy D)

Use the search feature to find specific makes/ models or browse buses from the homepage. I believe the wheelbase dimensions are from axle center to axle center.

Our RE has 9+ ft of swing out & 303" wheelbase. That's over 25 ft of bus between the axles, and only 6+ ft forward.

Compared to REs, FEs have more length forward of the front axles. Way more overhang in the rear, shortening the wheelbase from both ends.

Tough find, a 40 ft FE, with less than 10 ft after the rear axle. There would have to be more than 10 ft forward of the front axle. Not many wheelbases longer than 20' on FEs. Most are well under 240" leaving 20+ ft of bus. Where is that other 20 ft? I don't imagine most of it to be up front.

If you want to finish with a bus that has 30 ft in front of the rear axles, your search ought to be for a bus which has 30 ft in front of the rear axle. The rear overhang is a garbage measurement, right?
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Old 08-13-2022, 09:32 AM   #3
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So, I'm not sure I'm following correctly but, you want to take a long wheelbase 40' bus, load it to capacity and condense it to 30'? That's my understanding here, maybe I'm missing something?
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Old 08-13-2022, 12:58 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DeMac View Post
(1)
Tough find, a 40 ft FE, with less than 10 ft after the rear axle. There would have to be more than 10 ft forward of the front axle. Not many wheelbases longer than 20' on FEs. Most are well under 240" leaving 20+ ft of bus. Where is that other 20 ft? I don't imagine most of it to be up front.

(2)
If you want to finish with a bus that has 30 ft in front of the rear axles, your search ought to be for a bus which has 30 ft in front of the rear axle. The rear overhang is a garbage measurement, right?
Thanks for the response! (1) It does NOT need to be 40' long, but if they make one, I want one because it would have max load capacity. But then I would have to remove 10 feet from the middle, and I'd prefer just removing about 6-7 feet.

I want the bus to be as long as possible beyond say 34' long, or the effort to remove just a 3'-4' midsection of the bus, will cost too much to benefit too little. So I feel I need to remove about 6-7 feet, so the bus should ideally be about 36'-37' long.

Yes, I just COULD pick ANY old 40-foot bus and make TWO sectional removals to make the swing out a safe and effective length, AND take the rest out of the midsection...

~~~

But isn't taking one section of out the bus costly and risky enough? Causing two-section removals seems like too much work and cost to be cost-effective. So I NEED to find a long nearly full-sized bus, that only has a 9-10 foot swing out, so that I only need to remove ONE midsection of the bus to make it the right length.

Check my underlying assumption, because when you cut into the frame, that's serious work and probably should be done by a certified professional frame shop, as this is serious work that requires serious tools and training.

The welding and proper reinforcement is very important, and the structural reinforcements add weight and cost to the build. It "might" be possible to DIY the cutting part by getting a very large plasma cutter. But I would let a frame shop weld the frame all back together.

~~~

I hesitate to even ask how much it costs to remove let's say a 7-foot midsection of a school bus and to also rejoin the bus back together.

(2) The rear overhang is the critical measurement other than it ends up being 30 long. So what are you saying about the swingout measurement being not important?

It's very critical since it can't be too long nor too short. Must be around 9 foot long.
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Old 08-13-2022, 01:08 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Rwnielsen View Post
So, I'm not sure I'm following correctly but, you want to take a long wheelbase 40' bus, load it to capacity and condense it to 30'? That's my understanding here, maybe I'm missing something?
A long wheelbase 35-40 foot long bus, cut it down to 30 foot long taking out one midsection of the bus.

After it's all reunited. I'll do a roof raise, and then start work on the slide-outs.

So the extra load capacity of starting out with a "longer bus", helps keep my axles within legal regulation because of the (1)heavier build from thicker sidewalls, the slideouts and also their mechanisms add lots of weight.

~~~

Plus the (2)larger holding tanks when filled will be heavy. I say 35-40 and you say 40. It's 35-40. Ideally, it's 36'-37' long so I clearly get increased load capacity, but don't have to remove 9-10 feet of the bus. That's a very heavy task. I hope this clarifies.
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Old 08-13-2022, 01:19 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by DeMac View Post
...

If you want to finish with a bus that has 30 ft in front of the rear axles, your search ought to be for a bus that has 30 ft in front of the rear axle. The rear overhang is a garbage measurement, right?
This is for off-road and for on-road use, so I can't very safely use a bus with a huge 12-foot swing out. Too dangerous on the road for sharp turns.

And I can't use the short swing out of most rear engine buses which seem to be around 6-7 feet.

BTW, my floorplan does not allow for a rear engine bus, so it needs to be front engine and flat nose. ;) I hope this clarifies.
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Old 08-13-2022, 01:49 PM   #7
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Maybe I'm the only one who's never heard the term swingout, but are you referring to the distance between the rear axle and the rear bumper?

I must not be understanding correctly, because it sounds like you're searching very hard for a bus with a long wheelbase (and short tail), then plan on shortening the wheelbase. Wouldn't it be far, far easier to find a regular 40' bus with the wheelbase that suits your needs and then chop off the rear?
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Old 08-14-2022, 01:44 AM   #8
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ok, but do the math and you could have answered your own question

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tejon7 View Post
Maybe I'm the only one who's never heard the term swingout, but are you referring to the distance between the rear axle and the rear bumper?

I must not be understanding correctly, because it sounds like you're searching very hard for a bus with a long wheelbase (and short tail), then plan on shortening the wheelbase. Wouldn't it be far, far easier to find a regular 40' bus with the wheelbase that suits your needs and then chop off the rear?
No, because the average typical swingout for a full-sized bus is about 11-12 feet long, and so just do the math. Going from 12 to 9 foot on the swingout is only losing 3 feet, which is removing not nearly enough distance. 40-3=37 feet long, but I need the bus to only be 30 feet long when completed.

I sorta hate making 2 cuts through the entire body and frame but making four cuts to remove two sections of the bus seems foolish and would be a waste of time and money.

And yes, the swingout is the distance from the rear axle to the rear bumper. I don't know why most of you keep talking about the wheelbase when that's not nearly as important as the swingout distance.
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Old 08-14-2022, 01:59 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by DeMac View Post
If you want to finish with a bus that has 30 ft in front of the rear axles, your search ought to be for a bus which has 30 ft in front of the rear axle. ...
No. When I said I want to finish with a 30 foot long bus, I meant the total length, not just in front of the rear axle.
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Old 08-14-2022, 05:31 AM   #10
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From what I've seen, the highest GVWR buses are around 33K while the only slightly-shorter standard buses are around 30K. My 35' dognose weighed 16K gutted which would of course be even less if cut to 30'. Seems like maybe you'd still have plenty of weight capacity with a regular bus, especially since 40-footers with short swingouts probably don't exist.

If you have the technical ability to shorten a bus in the middle, seems like also cutting down the back end would be a trivial task.
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Old 08-14-2022, 09:28 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by musigenesis View Post
From what I've seen, the highest GVWR buses are around 33K while the only slightly-shorter standard buses are around 30K. My 35' dognose weighed 16K gutted which would of course be even less if cut to 30'. Seems like maybe you'd still have plenty of weight capacity with a regular bus, especially since 40-footers with short swingouts probably don't exist.

If you have the technical ability to shorten a bus in the middle, seems like also cutting down the back end would be a trivial task.
I did a little research and found that a 30-foot-long bus might have around 25,000-30,000 rating, while longer buses have up to 35,000 or is it 36,000 rating.

I want the larger rating bus chopped down to a shorter 30-foot length, so I MUST buy a larger bus and cut it down, or I risk building my expansive RV, only to be overweight on one of the axles, because I did not use a chassis with a large enough load rating.

As to your last comment, you think that cutting your bus in half "four times" instead of just twice is a good thing as long as the owner thinks he has the technical ability to do it.

~~~

I hope you realize that other people are probably going to read this thread and might not know to not follow your advice. That's why I'm objecting so that trouble is not multiplied.

I tend to offer advice because I believe it will help others. And I never said I have the ability to properly join together a cut-apart bus, but that cutting the bus apart would be easier than putting it back together.

I don't know that a DIY can cut through the frame to safely remove the body and frame, but I suspect if you had the right cutter, and worked safe enough, one could DIY the section removal part.

~~~

But if a professional knows it can't be done DIY, then so be it. They know better than I would. I never claimed to have that sort of expertise. So I am not sure why I got such a flippant response.

I said I would take it to a frame shop, and let the experts do it, especially the welding and reinforcement. So I'm not sure why you are trying to make a point about the owner's ability to do body and frame customization.

Is it wrong of me to wish to take it to a frame shop and let them do it? That's serious work that requires some engineering and the right tools for the job.
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Old 08-14-2022, 09:33 AM   #12
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What is the importance of the 9' overhang? If you dropped that down a little more then you'd be able to carry much more tongue weight if you're towing and you'd drastically improve your approach angles for light off-roading. A 9' tail is going to really limit your trail negotiating abilities, both in turns and in inclines. There're parking lots I can't even pull into because the entrance is too steep.

I'd also think that you'd be better off reducing length from one end rather than trying to remove a section from the middle. I can't imagine the engineering and fastener layout required to splice the frame rails back together to retain the factory strength.

FWIW, my 40' FE All-American has a 36,200# GVWR. It's totally gutted at the moment so I'm happy to take whatever measurements may be helpful. It's 11' from the back of the wheel well to the back wall.
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Old 08-14-2022, 09:42 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by musigenesis View Post
... My 35' dognose weighed 16K gutted which would of course be even less if cut to 30'. Seems like maybe you'd still have plenty of weight capacity with a regular bus, especially since 40-footers with short swingouts probably don't exist.
Have you looked at my design very much? It uses 5 inch sidewalls which are what,, twice as thick as most?

My walls are nearly residential in thickness, so please consider the accurate design specs involved, instead of just assuming.

And the slideouts are giant, 15' long at 39" deep and slides for 34", so they are heavy. And I will have about 3 times larger holding tanks than most have. So my build REQUIRES MAX load capacity. If you don't mind. LOL
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Old 08-14-2022, 09:45 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FreeEnergy4All View Post

As to your last comment, you think that cutting your bus in half "four times" instead of just twice is a good thing as long as the owner thinks he has the technical ability to do it.

~~~

I hope you realize that other people are probably going to read this thread and might not know to not follow your advice. That's why I'm objecting so that trouble is not multiplied.

I tend to offer advice because I believe it will help others. And I never said I have the ability to properly join together a cut-apart bus, but that cutting the bus apart would be easier than putting it back together.

I don't know that a DIY can cut through the frame to safely remove the body and frame, but I suspect if you had the right cutter, and worked safe enough, one could DIY the section removal part.

~~~

But if a professional knows it can't be done DIY, then so be it. They know better than I would. I never claimed to have that sort of expertise. So I am not sure why I got such a flippant response.

I said I would take it to a frame shop, and let the experts do it, especially the welding and reinforcement. So I'm not sure why you are trying to make a point about the owner's ability to do body and frame customization.

Is it wrong of me to wish to take it to a frame shop and let them do it? That's serious work that requires some engineering and the right tools for the job.
Two things:

First, you're coming in a little hot with these guys that are just trying to offer up some food for thought. Nothing that anybody has said has been flippant, condescending, or accusatory (except your replies)

Second, what he said was, cutting the tail off would be much easier than cutting a section out of the frame. That's it. Whether it's the frame shop that has the technical ability or the owner that has the technical ability is irrelevant. Whomever possesses the technical ability to splice frame rails together would be able to easily cut-off the frame rails on the end, sans engineering support.
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Old 08-14-2022, 10:07 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by STS23 View Post
(1)What is the importance of the 9' overhang? If you dropped that down a little more then you'd be able to carry much more tongue weight if you're towing and you'd drastically improve your approach angles for light off-roading. A 9' tail is going to really limit your trail negotiating abilities, both in turns and in inclines. There're parking lots I can't even pull into because the entrance is too steep.

(2)I'd also think that you'd be better off reducing length from one end rather than trying to remove a section from the middle. (3)I can't imagine the engineering and fastener layout required to splice the frame rails back together to retain the factory strength.

...
Ok, you make some good points. Thanks for the response. Nope, I don't need any specs off a bus with a 12 foot swingout. Waaay too long for me.

(1) Safety and performance towing a 30' trailer. I have considered the options and realize it's a trade-off, but I prefer the safety of not having a 12 foot swingout, and the performance of at least having a 9-foot swing out for the sake of the trailer so it does not crawl to the inside too much like they tend to do.

But with a longer swingout, you get less inside encroachment from the trailer. The trailer tracks the motorcoach better. But the longer you go, the more likely you are of causing a crash. So it's always a trade-off of mobility with a longer trailer, and safety.

~~~

I am getting my improved load capacity, like for the heavy tongue weight, by having a max load capacity chassis for the motorhome, instead of shortening the rear end to cause better-towing performance.

I might end up wanting a 7-8 foot long swingout, instead of a 9-10 foot long one, IDK, but I am pretty sure that 9 foot would be safe enough as I used to be a truck driver hauling nothing but 53' trailers.

And so I think I can handle a 9 foot swingout with a 30' trailer.

~~~

(2) I agree. But since I require more benefit than just removing about 4 feet and only getting about a 1,000 increase in total weight capacity, seems like a lot of work for a little benefit, when I can do the same exact amount of work and get maybe 3,000 more lbs load capacity.

And by removing that section, it's heavy, I am saving about a 1,000 lbs off the weight of the bus, and so by removing about 6-7 feet, that starts to make good sense.

So although cutting the end off and making the sectional reduction at the end of the bus is easier and more common, it's not what I can do.

~~~

(3) Me either, but there's a guy here who thinks if the owner thinks he can do it, then it's no big deal, just cut into the body and frame FOUR TIMES, no bid deal. LOL

I can't believe how flippant he was about it. It's like doing brain surgery or amputating a leg, and he's like, naw, it's no big deal if you believe you can do it, just do it repeatedly.

You might have been too cautious about it, but I agree with you much more than I do Musigenesis comment, "it's a trivial task" he said.
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Old 08-14-2022, 10:25 AM   #16
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I wrote a long response where I tried to offer helpful feedback. While I was typing, your most recent posts popped up and I realized that it's not worth my time. You're being an arrogant jerk to people who are trying to offer well-meant suggestions and help. I wish you luck in creating your "off road" land train.
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Old 08-14-2022, 10:26 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by STS23 View Post
First, you're coming in a little hot with these guys that are just trying to offer up some food for thought. Nothing that anybody has said has been flippant, condescending, or accusatory (except your replies)

Second, what he said was, cutting the tail off would be much easier than cutting a section out of the frame. That's it. ...
I completely disagree and feel you exaggerate. But every person has their own opinion. Now you know mine about yours. I noticed a somewhat unhelpful/unrealistic comment, and so you vilify me for it. That's rich. Have a great day.
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Old 08-14-2022, 10:26 AM   #18
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What do "crawl to the inside" and "inside encroachment" mean?

I've seen lots of trucks towing tag trailers and sometimes the hitch is only 2' from the back axle (like dump trucks). With a 9' overhang you're going to get lighter on the front wheels with heavy tongue weight (lots of leverage). My trailer with 1k# tongue weight squated my lwb f350 pretty good, and that only had about a 3' overhang. 18 wheelers and all other heavy towing applications have the weight over the back axle.

If bobbing the tail is out of the question then I think you're hunting for a unicorn. All FE buses are going to have a hefty overhang, except maybe the shortest ones. They build these things for navigating neighborhoods, not running combos through the woods.

Another consideration is the effect of vertical pivoting. It is going to be exaggerated with a long swing out like that. The coupling is going to be in the dirt or sky high with even the slightest angle change. Imagine going through a small dip in the road. My camper would drag the tail frequently. Next time you go into parking lot that is more than 2-3' difference in height above/below the road, look at all the scrape marks from tails dragging.
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Old 08-14-2022, 10:28 AM   #19
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Originally Posted by Tejon7 View Post
I wrote a long response where I tried to offer helpful suggestions. While I was typing, your most recent posts popped up and I realized that it's not worth my time. You're being an arrogant jerk to people who are trying to offer well-meant suggestions and help. I wish you luck in creating your "off road" land train.
Awe, sorry you feel that way. But I don't need you to invent problems that don't exist. I have enough trouble just with the bus project.

Maybe don't take personal what was on topic. I try to stay positive and helpful.

Peace
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Old 08-14-2022, 10:31 AM   #20
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Originally Posted by FreeEnergy4All View Post
I completely disagree and feel you exaggerate. But every person has their own opinion. Now you know mine about yours. I noticed a somewhat unhelpful/unrealistic comment, and so you vilify me for it. That's rich. Have a great day.
Wow dude. Bet you're a popular guy at all the parties! Good luck with your continued quest for information. If you have all the answers already then why are you here asking questions?
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