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Old 11-12-2019, 09:33 PM   #1
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cutaway shortbus with lift "what changes"??

Looking at a few chevy 3500 cutaway 5 window busses I'm trying to figure out the difference between the wheelchair lift bus and standard.

Will be a 09 thomas 5 window on chevy 3500 van.
I hear ford e350/450 are the same on this.

Was adviced that the wheelchair lift bus would have a flat floor...
Why is that? Is the bus frame lifted higher off the chassis/ tires?

My fear is If it a few inches taller it may not fit my carport.

Thanks for the help!
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Old 11-13-2019, 04:08 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by Bpjr07 View Post
Looking at a few chevy 3500 cutaway 5 window busses I'm trying to figure out the difference between the wheelchair lift bus and standard.

Will be a 09 thomas 5 window on chevy 3500 van.
I hear ford e350/450 are the same on this.

Was adviced that the wheelchair lift bus would have a flat floor...
Why is that? Is the bus frame lifted higher off the chassis/ tires?

My fear is If it a few inches taller it may not fit my carport.

Thanks for the help!
Flat floor buses have hard, low suspension and low profile tires. YOu essentially trade a ton of ride comfort for that couple extra feet of flatness on the floor.
I've had 3 WC buses but I'm careful not to buy the lowrider style. I don't need a jarring ride.
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Old 11-13-2019, 10:41 AM   #3
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Is the whole bus/ body overall lower? Even with the stiff suspension it may be more ideal for my situation. A standard bus will fit in my carport halfway since the rear suspension is higher on back by a 1" or ...2" yea that close!!!

The biggest plus for me the handicapped one I'm looking at is noted coming with a duramax/allison 6 speed auto transmission which I though was impossible to fit in a van chassis. Same version non handicap are duramax with a 4 speed auto.
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Old 11-13-2019, 01:20 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Bpjr07 View Post
Is the whole bus/ body overall lower? Even with the stiff suspension it may be more ideal for my situation. A standard bus will fit in my carport halfway since the rear suspension is higher on back by a 1" or ...2" yea that close!!!

The biggest plus for me the handicapped one I'm looking at is noted coming with a duramax/allison 6 speed auto transmission which I though was impossible to fit in a van chassis. Same version non handicap are duramax with a 4 speed auto.
Oh, sorry I misunderstood. I'm not sure what the difference would be on a van chassis. Probably not any different.
IDK why WC buses are lower. My current bus was a WC bus and its got 5" lift blocks on every corner. The lift worked just like normal.
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Old 11-13-2019, 03:38 PM   #5
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I can answer this, we have 2 identical Chevy Collins cutaway buses at my bus lot right now. One has a WC lift, other one doesn't.

What Collins did was retain the same outside body shell but inside they raised the entire floor behind the drivers seat by 5-6 inches. You lost a TON of headroom to the point where i'm squatting to walk to the back of the bus.

It's been awhile since I've been in a Microbird or one of the other cutaway buses but I imagine they're the same. I'd get no lift if you could.
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Old 11-13-2019, 03:59 PM   #6
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I can answer this, we have 2 identical Chevy Collins cutaway buses at my bus lot right now. One has a WC lift, other one doesn't.

What Collins did was retain the same outside body shell but inside they raised the entire floor behind the drivers seat by 5-6 inches. You lost a TON of headroom to the point where i'm squatting to walk to the back of the bus.

It's been awhile since I've been in a Microbird or one of the other cutaway buses but I imagine they're the same. I'd get no lift if you could.
That's valuable info right there!
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Old 11-14-2019, 10:05 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WIbluebird View Post
I can answer this, we have 2 identical Chevy Collins cutaway buses at my bus lot right now. One has a WC lift, other one doesn't.

What Collins did was retain the same outside body shell but inside they raised the entire floor behind the drivers seat by 5-6 inches. You lost a TON of headroom to the point where i'm squatting to walk to the back of the bus.

It's been awhile since I've been in a Microbird or one of the other cutaway buses but I imagine they're the same. I'd get no lift if you could.
Ok I will try seeing some walkthrough of some thomas busses... that makes alot of sense if the floor is raised 5-6" they are now able to install a allison 6 speed transmission (wont fit on standard van chassis floor....
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Old 11-14-2019, 10:08 AM   #8
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Just saw a youtube walkthrough video and yes I clearly see that it thomas bus has a 5"-6" step up after the driver platform
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Old 11-14-2019, 12:33 PM   #9
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Ok I will try seeing some walkthrough of some thomas busses... that makes alot of sense if the floor is raised 5-6" they are now able to install a allison 6 speed transmission (wont fit on standard van chassis floor....
The van chassis buses will only have whatever Ford/GM offers from the factory. The floor only changes behind the driver's seat on the wheelchair cutaways.
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Old 11-14-2019, 12:39 PM   #10
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Saw some video walkthroughs and seen some thomas stay standard heights as long as they can fir the wheelchair behind the wheel wells.

Saw 2 2009 thomas busses one had a raised floor the other did not...

Trick is they have them on action in a few weeks I cannot see then till then...but they have some non handicapped busses for this Friday. Not sure to wait.
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Old 11-14-2019, 02:24 PM   #11
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I've got a 1992 ford E350 that is setup for wheelchairs. The placard says 8 passenger. it has 2 school bus seats, 4 students, and room for 3 wheel chairs. The floor is not raised, I have full 6'4" or so headroom and there is 6 inch humps for the wheel wells. The deck and hence the lift is about 2ft off the ground.
The tires are 225 75r16
Just another data point.
good luck on the adventure.
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Old 11-21-2019, 12:55 AM   #12
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I have a 03 Ford E450 Thomas chassis with WC lift. Floor is flat with step up behind driver, still have 6/0" interior height to the frame. I've removed the interior metal roof to expose the frame ribs and exterior roof. In between the I frame have 6/2" height. I'm 6' so it works well for me but if your taller it could be a problem. I wanted the side WC door as that's how I get the dirtbikes in the garage
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Old 11-25-2019, 12:09 PM   #13
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I have an '03 Collins 6-window wheelchair bus, with flat floor (no wheel wells). After floor removal, I had 6' 6" from the metal sub floor to the middle of the ceiling rib.
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Old 02-24-2020, 10:20 PM   #14
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What do you mean after floor removal??

I found a perfect bus,low miles only issue I see is that it does have the handicap floor, 6" step behind the driver's seat. So is that just a full floor above the original?
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