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Author Topic: Walls  (Read 1636 times)
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MCI 1995 DL3, DD S60, Allison B500.

« on: May 14, 2009, 08:40:56 AM »

I have read the archives on this, but still have some questions.

I like the idea of using metal studs. My biggest question is, how do you attach them? We have our walls covered with 5/8's plywood, and we insulated our floor with 1.5" Styrofoam, and then covered it with half inch plywood (of course everything is supported on 12" centers). We want the walls to be sturdy. How do we attach to the frame of the bus? For example, the wall between the bunks, how to we attach that securely to the bus.

We want everything to be secure. We have some friends who converted their own bus. Unfortunately they had a wreck, after a couple of years, and we saw pics of the wreck. It was a incredible that nobody got killed. When they went off of the side of the road, and rammed into the bank, everything from the back piled into the front. I am not talking about some stuff falling up front. I am talking about everything from the back of the bus came forwards. Even their bunks in collapsed (again, it was amazing nobody was killed, or even really hurt).

My point is, we want to overbuild with strength. How can we make it to where everything is strong? How can we build those wall with strength?

Thank you so much, in advance.

God bless,


Sold - MCI 1995 DL3. DD S60 with a Allison B500.
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« Reply #1 on: May 14, 2009, 10:12:06 AM »

If you want super strong walls that can withstand a wreck you might want to consider building the bunks from tube steel welded together.  I know Craig Shepherd and probably plenty of others did their bunks that way.

Brian Elfert - 1995 Dina Viaggio 1000 Series 60/B500 - 75% done but usable - Minneapolis, MN

« Reply #2 on: May 14, 2009, 10:56:50 AM »

Hi John
If I were going to do my own conversion I would base it on the principles of aircraft interiors. What I mean is not to use materials that are unaffordable but use materials that are as light as economical possible and attach them to the bus sub structure such as frames and floor supports where ever possible. Remember in a crash things are subject to g forces and a crash such as you mentioned can create g forces of 10 to 50 g's depending on the severity of the collision. So if you build your bunks from tube steel and they weigh 100lbs a 10g crash they weigh 1000lbs, where as you make them from aluminum tubing they will weigh say 50lbs you get 500lbs of force, half, you see where I'm going with this. Lets say you attach them with six number 10 screws with a shear strength of 100lbs each assuming the substructure can take it you only have 600lbs of holding power and that's based on a actual direct shear load which you will not achieve because of the shape of the bunks.

In the design of my bus and having the floors pulled up for the wood replacement I would attach seat track to the floor beams so I had a very versatile attachment system that I was assured to be structurally sound and all my walls would have a direct attachment to the floor beam system in the bus. The track system is surprisingly affordable at $69.00 for a 12' stick. Attach your bunks to these and to the wall frame you can rest assured they will not come loose. These tracks can be located to give you longitudinal freedom of attachment for your walls etc.. Another trick is to run aluminum extrusion down the walls picking up all the vertical frames so when you bolt something to it you are actually bolting it to all the frames and not just one. A little money spent at the beginning of the conversion will pay big dividends later in ease of mounting and structural integrity.

Here is a soarce for the seat track. If you live near Seattle Boeing surplus probably has miles of the stuff even cheaper. This is just my opinion on how to do a conversion from the get go.

Note the breaking strength of one ear of this track #4000lbs (nice)

« Last Edit: May 14, 2009, 11:11:03 AM by Airbag » Logged
Tim Strommen
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« Reply #3 on: May 14, 2009, 12:30:46 PM »

I agree with Belfert and Airbag.

    When I picked up my bus, it still had the entire interior.  Part of that interior was two small walls right behind the driver's area.  This was attached at the floor and ceiling, and bolted to the wall (made of stainless steel tube).  There was an acrylic plate attached to the framework.  I did some asking at the manufacturer, and it served several functions:

Keeping people/stuff from the passenger space from flying into the driver space, keeping the driver area physically separated from the passenger space (this makes it easier to determine when someone needs a seatbelt, and keeps the driver's air in the driver's area).

I have since ripped out the original partition, but I am replacing it with a similar partition made of 2"-square tube steel, and steel decking as a filler (2" thick "n-deck").  The decking with a short span can support 4000psi with the proper framework, which should be fine in a crash.  I am also putting in a door with a polycarbonate window for the purpose of keeping stuff from flying into the driver's area, but also for closing off the entrance to improve the effect of HVAC while moving/stationary.  It's nice to have a curtain or door to keep the heat in the entrance, and the light from the passenger space out of the driver's space while driving at night.


P.S. I forgot to mention, if you are looking for an alternative "track" solution, try Unistrut (which is what I am using in my rig).  This is industry standard stuff (steel by the way, so can be directly welded to mild steel easily), and there are a great many accessories that make it easy to make frames, partition walls, shelves, wire organization, etc...
« Last Edit: May 14, 2009, 04:02:46 PM by Tim Strommen » Logged

Fremont, CA
1984 Gillig Phantom 40/102
DD 6V92TA (MUI, 275HP) - Allison HT740
Conversion Progress: 10% (9-years invested, 30 to go Smiley)
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