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Old 01-27-2017, 09:30 PM   #1
Bus Nut
Rameses's Avatar
Join Date: Sep 2016
Location: Chapel Hill, NC
Posts: 855
Year: 2002
Coachwork: Blue Bird
Chassis: All American
Engine: Cummins 8.3/Allison MD3060
Rated Cap: 84
Service Door Types

I knew there were two different styles of service doors. (Maybe more than two, please let me know if there are any others.)

The first type I'm thinking of folds inward...

The second type has two separate doors that swing outwards...

But today I realized that both different types were available on the same year of the same model of a given bus. I'd always thought that a particular model was just designed with whatever type of door the engineers spec'ed it with. Evidently door type is an option though.

My question is what factors would cause a customer to choose one door option over the other. Does it have to do with what type of opener mechanism is spec'ed?

Any insight is greatly appreciated. This's the kind of thing that drives me nuts once I realize it. Thanks in advance!

edit: Yeah, I know the buses pictured aren't the same model. Those're just the best pictures I could find of the two door types.

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Old 01-28-2017, 01:51 AM   #2
Join Date: Nov 2015
Location: Midwest
Posts: 2,573
Year: 2003
Coachwork: BlueBird
Chassis: TC2000
Engine: 5.9L Cummins
Rated Cap: '00
EVERYTHING is an option on these , I've found. I just got my Bluebird build sheet, and even skin-thickness is customizable- mine is 16 Ga., an upgrade.

Buses were built for city, for country, for North cold, Southern heat...Some have 4x4.

Doors that open-out might be tough where there are curbs vs bi-fold.

I think the more tires you kick, the better.
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Old 01-28-2017, 03:04 AM   #3
Bus Crazy
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Winlcok, WA
Posts: 2,233
I have seen many different versions of a service door.
  • Sedan doors. They are one piece and open outwards and usually only have a window in the top half of the door. Almost all are manually operated.
  • Crown Safety Panic doors. One piece door that opens normally inward but will open outward in case of an emergency. All were opened and closed by an air cylinder.
  • Two leaf power doors. Both leaves the same size and open normally inward but will open outward in case of an emergency. All were opened and closed by an air cylinder. Only found on Gillig Schoolcoaches.
  • Two leaf doors. These come in various different combinations and sizes. The most common would be the Thomas Safety door where both leaves are the same size and both open outward. Carpenter used a two leaf door where the forward leaf opened outward and the rearward leaf opened inward. Usually the outward opening leaf was half again as wide as the inward opening leaf. All of the different variations came as either powered (with an air cylinder, a vacuum cylinder, or an electric motor) or manually operated.
  • Jack Knife doors. These doors fold up as the door is opened. Both leaves were generally the same size. Wayne, Blue Bird, and Superior used the jack knife door a lot. The jack knife door built by Superior, if it was a power operated door, would open with the jack knife folding back. All of the rest would open folding forward. It is virtually impossible to sweep the step well all the way clean with a jack knife door--if it is open it is covering part of the bottom step and if it is closed the bottom step is very hard to get a broom into all of the corners. Most are extremely heavy and very difficult to open and close while on a grade even if they were power operated.
A lot of the choices for door opening style had a lot to do with what brand of bus body was being spe'c'ed and where it was going to be put into service. Jack knife doors or inward opening doors are really handy in urban areas where sticking out an outward opening door might mean you would be whacking stuff occasionally. Outward opening doors are really handy if you need to sweep a lot of debris out every day or shoveling snow out the door. You can even spe'c heated steps in the stepwell to combat ice and snow build up. Spe'c'ing jack knife doors in a Thomas bus was usually more expensive than the "stock" Thomas service door. Spe'c'ing outward opening two leaf doors on a Blue Bird was usually more expensive because the jack knife door was "standard" on the Blue Bird body.
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Old 01-28-2017, 08:42 AM   #4
Bus Crazy
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Join Date: May 2015
Location: Oklahoma aka "God's blind spot"
Posts: 2,446
Year: 1989
Coachwork: 1853FC International/Navistar
Chassis: 35' Retired Air Force Ambulance
Engine: DT466, MT643
Rated Cap: 6 souls and a driver
I utilized my air operated jack knife door as one solid out swinging door... (One leaf is wider than the other)
Now I have full width of my stairwell
Now, I'm pretty sure I wouldn't want it any other way.
I once complained I had no shoes....
Until I met a man with no feet
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