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Old 01-25-2017, 10:18 PM   #1
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Back deck for window licker short bus

Building a back deck on the window-licker bus. 24" stationary aft of the bumper, and another 36-48" that will fold up vertical when mobile.

These cutaways leave Ford with only so much frame, and if you want more bus than that you need to extend that frame. My bus is a 6-window, so it needed about 2ft of frame extension. So they butt-welded a couple pieces of bent channel to the ends of the ford frame and built the box on that. With a diagonal brace between the rails aft of the gas tank. Strong enuf to support a box fulla window lickers...but maybe not quite strong enuf to hang cantilevered deck off of.

So I need to reinforce the rear of the frame. I made a pair of reinforcements from 4" channel and some flatbar. These bridge the splice in the frame, are welded to the frame top and bottom along the cross-pieces, and are "rosette" welded inside the holes. They also tie in to the bumper brackets on the aft end.



Welded the first one in; it was the one right next to the propane tank so there was a bit of a pucker factor...but I think I got it hooked in there ok. I drew in the frame splice location with soapstone for illustration purposes. My overhead welds aren't the prettiest, but I think the penetration was good. The "rosette" welds came out looking kinda like the anus of a well-used pornstar...but I think they'll hold.





So these will go on the outsides of the frame rails. My intention is to ALSO weld a piece of rectangle tube between the rails just inside the bumper, with .250 flanges on top and bottom, and then the deck framing will thru-bolt thru these flanges as well as the existing bumper brackets, sandwiching the 3/16" bumper in between. I may incorporate a hitch receiver in this as well.
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Old 01-25-2017, 10:30 PM   #2
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I am building pretty much the same deck onto my shorty. 24" fixed with another 24" folded up. Just a place to hang my gennie and scooter. Have all the steel cut, just waiting until some other back end work is done to put it together. Will be fun to watch what you assemble.

Rock on!
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Old 01-26-2017, 12:05 PM   #3
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I am building pretty much the same deck onto my shorty. 24" fixed with another 24" folded up. Just a place to hang my gennie and scooter. Have all the steel cut, just waiting until some other back end work is done to put it together. Will be fun to watch what you assemble.

Rock on!
I was wanting to extend the C-channel frame out about 36" and replace the rear door and reverse the swing. Speaking of which; Do you have any idea why the rear door would swing out so that the opening is toward the drivers side? Seems to me the safety issue would be towards the passenger side, away from the road ? Just curious.
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Old 01-26-2017, 12:57 PM   #4
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I was wanting to extend the C-channel frame out about 36" and replace the rear door and reverse the swing. Speaking of which; Do you have any idea why the rear door would swing out so that the opening is toward the drivers side? Seems to me the safety issue would be towards the passenger side, away from the road ? Just curious.
Hum. Let's think about this for a minute. Bus goes off the road, and falls over on its side. Kids need to get out, so they open the emergency door and the door falls open against the stay and now is like a shelf. Out they go.

Hinge it the other direction, and they are trying to lift it up and crawl out from under it

That would be my guess
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Old 01-26-2017, 01:35 PM   #5
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But wouldn't that be the same if it the bus fell over on its side on the driver side? I thought that was why you have the rooftop hatches? I like your thinking though.
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Old 01-26-2017, 02:47 PM   #6
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But wouldn't that be the same if it the bus fell over on its side on the driver side? I thought that was why you have the rooftop hatches? I like your thinking though.
Which side is the bus most likely to flop over on. I would say the passenger side, because that's the side of the road that it drives on, and I'm thinking the most likely scenario would be going off the outside of a corner. Or, off the road and hitting the ditch, then flipping over.
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Old 01-26-2017, 06:17 PM   #7
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[QUOTE=Goatherder;181440]Building a back deck on the window-licker bus. 24" stationary aft of the bumper, and another 36-48" that will fold up vertical when mobile.


....the same but different. Deck will fold up tight against the back door, already forty feet...maxed out length wise.
I'll bolt everything together [grade 8 hardware] in case things don't work out or it gets damaged in any way. Not crazy about welding to the frame.
I'd like to be able to wheel the BBQ out the back door without humping it up and down three feet every time you want to use it.

I'll be watching to see what you come up with, I already have a plan for mine..not there yet.
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Old 01-26-2017, 06:19 PM   #8
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But wouldn't that be the same if it the bus fell over on its side on the driver side? I thought that was why you have the rooftop hatches? I like your thinking though.
What if you don't have roof top hatches?
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Old 01-26-2017, 09:24 PM   #9
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[QUOTE=REDD;181595]
Quote:
Originally Posted by Goatherder View Post
Building a back deck on the window-licker bus. 24" stationary aft of the bumper, and another 36-48" that will fold up vertical when mobile.


....the same but different. Deck will fold up tight against the back door, already forty feet...maxed out length wise.
I'll bolt everything together [grade 8 hardware] in case things don't work out or it gets damaged in any way. Not crazy about welding to the frame.
I'd like to be able to wheel the BBQ out the back door without humping it up and down three feet every time you want to use it.

I'll be watching to see what you come up with, I already have a plan for mine..not there yet.
I'd say welding to the frame is pretty much mandatory. You've got to reinforce the frame before you go hanging a bunch more weight off the back of it.

My deck will have brackets that bolt thru the rear bumper and into the frame reinforcements I am building. Rear bumper will be sandwiched in between 1/4" plates, the inside of which is backed up w 2x4 .188 wall tube spanning between the two frame rails.
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Old 01-26-2017, 09:39 PM   #10
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I had a couple of C-channel extensions fabbed to fit snugly inside my rear frame rails and bolted them in place. The deck will attach to them.
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Old 01-26-2017, 10:26 PM   #11
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Good idea the deck. Plan to do one on mine someday.
However i hear that welding to the frame is not ideal and that good bolts are better

Good luck!
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Old 01-26-2017, 11:11 PM   #12
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Redd & Goatherder I get your point about the exits.
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Old 01-26-2017, 11:59 PM   #13
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I had a couple of C-channel extensions fabbed to fit snugly inside my rear frame rails and bolted them in place. The deck will attach to them.
^^THIS^^ is the thing to do if at all possible. And bridge any splice that exists in the aft frame section. That's how truck frames get extended. I thot about doing this, but there is a bigass rectangle tube welded diagonally between the rear frame rails which terminates 4" fwd of the bumper. That, and I want the deck supports angling upwards so as to not create any extra "departure angle" or whatever the Jeepers call that. (when you snag the ass-end on obstacles)

I ghettoshopped a pic in MS Paint. I'll see if I can post it up.

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Old 01-27-2017, 01:58 AM   #14
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I have always maintained the underpinnings of the van/cut-away buses don't amount to very much. Your pictures really show how very little there really is under there. And the older ones that were built on the real cut-away chassis that have the steel floor of the original van under the bus floor have even less structure.

In regards to the way in which the rear emergency door opens, I think the comments about it rolling onto the service door side is a valid point.

If it should ever roll over onto the driver's side the service door would then be at the top and could be used as an emergency exit. Plus the windshields on all buses are mounted in rubber. If you kick hard enough into a corner you can pop the windshields out.

Regardless of how you beef everything up, make sure that you are not overloading the truck under your bus. School buses by their nature are not very light since they use so much steel in them. The weight rating of all of the van/cut-away chassis max out around 14K. But you can exceed the weight rating of the axles fairly easily. And the tires can support only so much weight as well.

Before you head out on your next adventure you should stop by somewhere and weigh your bus fully loaded and ready for adventure. You might be shocked at how much you weigh. Especially considering what your GVWR might be.

Good luck and happy trails.
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Old 01-27-2017, 08:53 AM   #15
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Welding on frames is frowned upon and even pronounced "verboten" by GM in several tech flyers. But, given that the tail section is not really subjected to the kind of loading as the central portion, I expect it can be gotten away with as long as the weight applied to the extension is minimal.

But personally, I went with with bolt ons just to be safe. And, I also had to spread the distance between the rails while I was at it in order to make room for a place to hang a spare tire. Here's a couple of pix...


C-Channel frame extensions


The actual deck frame will rest on top of these and also bolt in place. That way if some nitwit (such as myself) ever damages part of the deck it will be a lot easier to repair than if all welded.

I have all the steel cut for the deck frame and will likely start assembling it fairly soon. The only weight it will carry will be a little Honda genny and, just maybe, a small dirt bike. Still thinking that one through.
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Old 01-27-2017, 09:18 AM   #16
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I have always maintained the underpinnings of the van/cut-away buses don't amount to very much. Your pictures really show how very little there really is under there. And the older ones that were built on the real cut-away chassis that have the steel floor of the original van under the bus floor have even less structure.

In regards to the way in which the rear emergency door opens, I think the comments about it rolling onto the service door side is a valid point.

If it should ever roll over onto the driver's side the service door would then be at the top and could be used as an emergency exit. Plus the windshields on all buses are mounted in rubber. If you kick hard enough into a corner you can pop the windshields out.

Regardless of how you beef everything up, make sure that you are not overloading the truck under your bus. School buses by their nature are not very light since they use so much steel in them. The weight rating of all of the van/cut-away chassis max out around 14K. But you can exceed the weight rating of the axles fairly easily. And the tires can support only so much weight as well.

Before you head out on your next adventure you should stop by somewhere and weigh your bus fully loaded and ready for adventure. You might be shocked at how much you weigh. Especially considering what your GVWR might be.

Good luck and happy trails.
Well, thats why I'm beefing the structure up under there. This bus has the truck frame with the box's frame mounted on top of it. Box has it's own separate frame; this is a flat-deck bus so the floor is raised up above where wheelwells would be.

Re: weight - this bus had 9600 lbs empty weight on the placard, and it was 10k even on the scales at the dump, with me and the dog and 1/2 tank of fuel. And with a loaded rating of 14k, I'm thinkin I'll be OK. Tires are upgraded way beyond stock tires - 3200-3500 lb rating.

I find it hard to believe that I'll pack 4000 lbs more crap in this thing. Even with a composting toilet.
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Old 01-27-2017, 09:41 AM   #17
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Welding on frames is frowned upon and even pronounced "verboten" by GM in several tech flyers. But, given that the tail section is not really subjected to the kind of loading as the central portion, I expect it can be gotten away with as long as the weight applied to the extension is minimal.

But personally, I went with with bolt ons just to be safe. And, I also had to spread the distance between the rails while I was at it in order to make room for a place to hang a spare tire. Here's a couple of pix...

The actual deck frame will rest on top of these and also bolt in place. That way if some nitwit (such as myself) ever damages part of the deck it will be a lot easier to repair than if all welded.

I have all the steel cut for the deck frame and will likely start assembling it fairly soon. The only weight it will carry will be a little Honda genny and, just maybe, a small dirt bike. Still thinking that one through.
Looks good. I am trying to do this without removing or disturbing my rear bumper, as it is now properly located & sealed to the body with some kind of rubber goop. I'd just have to put it back...so why remove it if I can get away without. Also, the bumper on this thing is flat, 11"x 1.5" x 3/16" channel. The deck will bolt directly to this rear bumper, and the bumper will still be removable just like it is now.

Basically I'm adding structure to the frame ahead of the bumper to allow the bumper to be strong enuf to support the deck.
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Old 01-27-2017, 10:52 AM   #18
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Tango, I'm going to be in your neck of the woods in about an hour(it's 10:45 right now). I will be @ N. Shepherd & 610. Give me a call if you can meet. 832-643-1225. Sometimes my phone does not ring. If so I will call you back.
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Old 01-28-2017, 03:08 PM   #19
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Finally got Photobucket to work. Ghettoshop of bus with folding back deck.



(Ghettoshop being a "ghetto" version of a proper Photoshopped image. I did this in MS Paint. Its cheezy.

Here's my idea for the framing:
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Old 01-30-2017, 07:30 PM   #20
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