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Old 08-13-2020, 12:07 AM   #1
Skoolie
 
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Do you use your side door? (Transit owners)

We are in the process of designing the layout of our skoolie, based on a Blue Bird All American Rear Engine, 10 Window. We're trying to decide whether to leave the side door accessible as a second entrance/exit, or just pretend it's not there, possibly repurposing for another use (not sure what that would be).

Are you using your side door? If so, how? Do you have retractable stairs or some other way of getting in and out?

If not, what did you end up doing with your side door?
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Old 08-13-2020, 12:29 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CoffeeGuy View Post
We are in the process of designing the layout of our skoolie, based on a Blue Bird All American Rear Engine, 10 Window. We're trying to decide whether to leave the side door accessible as a second entrance/exit, or just pretend it's not there, possibly repurposing for another use (not sure what that would be).

Are you using your side door? If so, how? Do you have retractable stairs or some other way of getting in and out?

If not, what did you end up doing with your side door?

I have a large door from the wheel chair lift. It is nice for bringing building materials onto the bus. I plan on leaving it for easy loading / unloading of groceries and gear. I also plan on having one row of removable seating that can slide in the side door and bolt down.

Ted
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Old 08-13-2020, 12:36 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by TJones View Post
I have a large door from the wheel chair lift. It is nice for bringing building materials onto the bus. I plan on leaving it for easy loading / unloading of groceries and gear. I also plan on having one row of removable seating that can slide in the side door and bolt down.

Ted
Our friends have a bus like that, 10 window transit with a wheelchair lift. We just have the small emergency door on the driver's side. I have a layout that leaves it open, but keeping that space means we give up some under-counter storage and it might not be worth working around the door when we start insulating and incorporating a thermal break. It would be a cold spot, unless we deal with it some other way.

I'm just wondering if I'm making a big deal around keeping something we will never use.
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Old 08-13-2020, 01:25 PM   #4
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I'm planning to delete my driver side emergency exit as I am relocating the primary exit to the passenger side nearly in line with the existing emergency exit.

That means removing the door, framing up the hole, covering with new skin. It'll be part of the entire process when raising the roof.

It boils down to balancing your needs and budget against the time and effort to make a change. If you do ignore it, make sure you can access it to service any leaks that might develop later.

Good luck,
jim
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Old 08-13-2020, 09:22 PM   #5
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That means removing the door, framing up the hole, covering with new skin. It'll be part of the entire process when raising the roof.
Jim, that sounds like a big job! How do you attach the new skin to the existing skin?
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Old 08-13-2020, 09:24 PM   #6
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So far, I'm not hearing from anyone who decided to use their driver's side emergency door as a "back door" for regular use. Granted, it's not very big, but with the right stairs, it seems like it could be useful!
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Old 08-13-2020, 10:16 PM   #7
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You could always use it to access a fold down deck on the drivers side.

Ted
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Old 08-13-2020, 10:34 PM   #8
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You could always use it to access a fold down deck on the drivers side.
I think my wife wants to put the water closet there so that we don't have to walk through the bus with a container of pee from the Nature's Head. That's not enough of an issue for me.
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Old 08-13-2020, 10:35 PM   #9
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So far, I'm not hearing from anyone who decided to use their driver's side emergency door as a "back door" for regular use. Granted, it's not very big, but with the right stairs, it seems like it could be useful!
All the small emergency doors I've seen are wider than 1 window.....the windowsill and chair rail were all I removed when I built my door. I'm 6'1", 235, and have no problems getting in and out.
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Old 08-14-2020, 07:28 AM   #10
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I'm only keeping my rear and side exit doors as emergency exits and as ways of getting large items into and out of the bus. In line with this, I cut off the external handles and sheeted over the openings, since I'll never have any need to open the doors from the outside. I may also eventually remove the side door and replace it with a big picture window, since the opening spans two gaps between ribs (my crazier idea is to have the side door be replaceable with a bolt-on unit that contains a wood stove and a diesel air heater, which would only be in place while I'm parked).

The emergency exit doors seem way too short to be useful as actual people doors without a lot of modification.
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Old 08-14-2020, 08:05 AM   #11
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Jim, that sounds like a big job! How do you attach the new skin to the existing skin?
When attaching new skin, you have to tuck under the forward edge and the upper edge, and lap over the rearward edge and bottom edge. Same as when doing a roof raise. It'll be a fair bit of labor, that's for sure.


I have heard of people being creative and using the side/rear door as a quick load/unload location, like for groceries. Build some shelves with doors on the interior, and access from outside to "restock". I've also heard of people putting their litterbox for cats where they can easily remove it without tracking it through the whole bus. I can see a composting toilet or chemical toilet having the same access benefit.

Just seal it against leaks/drafts, and make sure you can get to it should it need repairs. Beyond that, it's all whatever your imagination can conjure.
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Old 08-14-2020, 09:19 AM   #12
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the windowsill and chair rail were all I removed when I built my door. I'm 6'1", 235, and have no problems getting in and out.
Don, that is some nice work and a great idea! My welding skills aren't that strong (yet) but it's definitely worth considering. Did you end up closing up your front door?
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Old 08-14-2020, 09:24 AM   #13
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I've also heard of people putting their litterbox for cats where they can easily remove it without tracking it through the whole bus. I can see a composting toilet or chemical toilet having the same access benefit.

Just seal it against leaks/drafts, and make sure you can get to it should it need repairs. Beyond that, it's all whatever your imagination can conjure.
All good points! I hadn't thought about the sealing up part.I think we would keep it accessible from the outside regardless. We're not planning to delete much. Welding and sheet metal work are among the lesser of my capabilities. A few extension school classes would have come in handy at this point.
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Old 08-14-2020, 09:04 PM   #14
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Did you end up closing up your front door?
Yes....lots of BLM and Forestry Service roads in my future, so I wanted the extra ground clearance. Cut off bottom step, skinned with an interior ceiling panel, used the window from the new door location (turned sideways). The upper part will house my genny, the lower will hold the house batteries.
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Old 08-14-2020, 09:55 PM   #15
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Yes....lots of BLM and Forestry Service roads in my future, so I wanted the extra ground clearance.
That is awesome! I need to show these pics to a couple friends. They like those backwoods roads as well. I'm sort of stuck with the clearance that my 100 gallon fuel take offers, which isn't bad, but it's definitely the low point between the axles.
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Old 08-16-2020, 06:23 PM   #16
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I dig that wooden hood scoop!!!


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Old 08-16-2020, 08:37 PM   #17
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I dig that wooden hood scoop!!!
Thanks....took me three tries to get it right. It's not tied into the air induction routing......just moving the hot air off the firewall. It's made driving in the summertime a lot more comfortable.
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Old 08-17-2020, 11:08 AM   #18
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I have a rear engine bus instead of a transit bus, but I use my side door. It's in the middle of my bathroom for direct access from outside.

I have boat steps that pull out from underneath the door, but the wife and kids don't like how steep it is.
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Old 08-19-2020, 06:44 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CoffeeGuy View Post
We are in the process of designing the layout of our skoolie, based on a Blue Bird All American Rear Engine, 10 Window. We're trying to decide whether to leave the side door accessible as a second entrance/exit, or just pretend it's not there, possibly repurposing for another use (not sure what that would be).

Are you using your side door? If so, how? Do you have retractable stairs or some other way of getting in and out?

If not, what did you end up doing with your side door?
We love our side door! We call it the grocery door. We love rolling up to the side of the bus with the grocery cart and setting all the groceries right on the floor. No carrying up and down the stairs. We use our house as a truck and it's easy to slide. Sheets of plywood in through the side door. We use magnets to cover the door hole with screen sometimes, do the same thing with the roof vents, and on a cool evening we could have great Breeze. Full timing here in the desert of New Mexico.
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Old 08-19-2020, 08:16 PM   #20
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We also had a wheelchair lift removed from the rear of the bus. We have pneumatic front doors but don't plan on using them when camping. We built a mudroom with an interior door around the rear handicap door and added external retractable steps. This will be our main entrance when docked camping. Because it's our mudroom, we added a small washer and dryer set in there as well. The space also doubles as an RV "basement" for driving with large things like bikes.

I've seen builds with composting toilets use it for easy access to the waste storage and others use it as inside/outside accessible storage. Very useful feature if you can utilize the door!
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