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Author Topic: Luggage Bay Bed Questions  (Read 788 times)
Luke Wilson
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« on: May 23, 2014, 11:04:37 AM »

It's finally getting warm here in Michigan, and time to get started on the bus again!

Quick question for everybody: I've been searching and only found a couple of threads about the idea of a bedroom in the luggage bays:


Now obviously the main issue here is fire safety, and it's not quite clear to me from the other posts how to handle outside access via the bay doors. Anyone who's done this or seen it done want to shed some light?  Grin

Also, a related question: is the separation between the bays structural, or could it be removed to open up the space down there?

Thanks - this board is a Godsend.
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Luke Wilson
1981 MCI MC-9
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« Reply #1 on: May 23, 2014, 11:31:36 AM »

   I saw one many years ago in a 4905. It had two nice rectangular windows in the baggage door on pass side.  windows were approx 8 to 10 inches high by 12 to 14 long. they didn't open, just flat glass with a nice gasket. I don't see why opening slider window/s wouldn't work. There was a small opening in coach floor for access with a metal vertical ladder. I don't know whether it was used going down the road. Was used for the guy's kids The 4905 compartment goes clear across.
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GMC h8h 649#028
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« Reply #2 on: May 23, 2014, 12:01:43 PM »

This past month I have been busy reworking my bays to open them up for sleeping.  I started by removing all of the doors and cutting all of the bay supports off at the top.  Then I rebuilt the bulkheads using 2.5" square tube.  One bulkhead was eliminated to make two large bays instead of three small bays.  The frame work inside the walls must be changed if the bulkheads are moved from their original location.  The bay floor "joists" are made out of 1.5" square tube spaced 24" apart.  The bay doors had to change since the bays were different lengths.  I opted to use one 20' long door per per side, hinged at the top, and spring loaded to open at all times.  The doors are held shut by 3600lbs per side of force from mag-locks.  The circuit to the mag locks can be opened by pressing any of the four red illuminated push buttons inside the bay, a 7 button control panel outside by the entry door, NFC over z-wave by touching a compatible smart phone to a specific spot on the door, or direct z-wave control from a smart phone with wifi or 3g connection.

I know you're thinking- "What if the locks loose power, like unplugging the coach or the generator does't work?  Won't the doors flop open?"  The mag-locks are 12 volt and wired into the battery bank.  The coach can sit without shore power, generator power, or alternator charging power for up to three days before the doors will start to flop open one at a time.  For long term parked storage the doors can be chained shut using a small chain that is hooked to the inside of the door, run though a hole in the bay floor, and locked to the frame underneath the bay floor. The chain can be easily unhooked from inside if someone were to accidentally get locked inside.

I absolutely insist that no one rides in the bays while driving.  A small SUV could easily drive in though one side of the bay and out he other without hardly slowing down.  Also, no one is allowed in the bay with the engine or generator running-- there is no way a 20' long door is going to seal well enough to keep CO2 out.

« Last Edit: May 23, 2014, 12:05:23 PM by sparkplug188 » Logged
Luke Wilson
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« Reply #3 on: May 23, 2014, 12:37:16 PM »

WOW, now that is quite an undertaking! Thanks for the info there, sparkplug! Have you already got your bay access hole in the “top floor?”  I'm very interested in the design of that part of it as well.

Our idea is to use one or more of the bays as our almost two-year-old's “room”. I know that if I'd have had a little space like that, I would have freaking loved it as a kid! Plus more privacy for mom and dad. *ahem*  Tongue

Love the automation factor in your setup, as well. Are you using z-wave for more than just the mag-locks? I really want to incorporate some automation features into our project as well.

Cheers!
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Luke Wilson
1981 MCI MC-9
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« Reply #4 on: May 23, 2014, 12:39:19 PM »

The second link is my build.  I'll start with this, I never let anyone down there when traveling.  I haven't decided if it's as safe down there vs. the main coach if there was an accident, but since I'm always driving I can keep an eye on the kids if they are all on one level.  At the very least I can hear them yelling at each other!  Also, rescue crews would NEVER think to look down there for hurt people.
 
Without doubt, everyone wants to sleep down there.  It's the most sought after place to be on our bus.  We have a 3" memory foam mattress topper over 1/2" carpet padding.  The "walls" are 3/4" reflective foam board covered with fleece.  The fuel tank would radiate heat through the front bulkhead wall for hours and hours after a long drive... nice and comfy in cold weather, but OMG hot in the summer.  The reflective foam board blocks all the heat.  Since everything is insulated it's extremely quiet down there, almost eerily quiet!   There's a fan that blows fresh air through the floor into the bay, and a second fan to circulate.  Since the cold air from the AC units settles to the floor, the bay gets plenty of cool air blown in when the fan is on.    
I installed a flat panel TV and a DVD player.  While camping, the kids will pile down there (sometimes as many as Cool and watch a movie and chill out.  The older teens love it too, when it's their turn they can get away from the crowd.
 
When camping I put up Velcro screens and prop open the bay doors.  If you open both doors it's like a tent.  I use a prop rod to hold open the door since it takes the torsion off the rubber hinges that the factory setup has.  The bay gets lots of attention at camp grounds, too!  With the rope lights on, the TV, the door open, it's doesn't get cooler than that if you're a kid.
 
The only way to open the doors from the inside it to use a very long screw driver and find the hole to push open the outside door latch.  This is not easy for adults and impossible for kids to do.  I will figure out a better way of doing this.
 
The basement bedroom/lounge has provided enough room for all of us in a 35' bus.  If we didn't have that, I'd have to go to a 45' bus.
 
As far as storage, I can roll up the bed and store anything I want down there, usually the bikes, lawn chairs, etc.  Just open up the door, pull out the bikes, unroll the bed and instant basement lounge!
« Last Edit: May 23, 2014, 07:20:48 PM by OneLapper » Logged

OneLapper
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Luke Wilson
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« Reply #5 on: May 23, 2014, 01:05:28 PM »

Well, this absolutely seals the deal - gonna do it! What a great idea with the Velcro screens - definitely would add some camping back to camping!

From the looks of it, your setup is simply a hatch in the floor, correct? That's the only thing I'm a bit concerned about with our situation… Our son's still small enough that he couldn't get in/out easily by himself, but I'm not sure about how to do it otherwise - there's not much room there for a ladder.

That's a really good point about the rescue workers, I never would have thought of that.

Also, how big is your hatch?

Thanks!
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Luke Wilson
1981 MCI MC-9
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« Reply #6 on: May 23, 2014, 01:40:03 PM »

I do not plan on making a hatch between the bays and main living area.  The layout of cabinets, tables, and seats makes it impractical to incorporate a hatch.

Home automation is the best thing since the discovery of electricity itself.  Everything powered or controlled by electricity can be automated.  Every interior light, exterior light, door, and window shade will have a z-wave control and a hardwired switch for backup.  I am in the process of rebuilding all of the doors on my conversion to be spring loaded open and held shut with mag-locks.  Before jumping into the world of home automation, I highly recommend doing tons of research followed by a small scale retrofit of your shop or house.  It will give you a better idea of what works well and what doesn't.

This YouTube video will give you a very small sample of what can be done with z-wave modules commonly available at Lowes and Home Depot as well as online stores, like Amazon.
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eagle19952
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« Reply #7 on: May 23, 2014, 01:42:57 PM »

Also, a related question: is the separation between the bays structural, or could it be removed to open up the space down there?

No one has answered the important part of this query....
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Donald PH
1978 Model 05 Eagle w/Torsilastic Suspension,8V71 NA, DDAllison on 24.5's 12kw Kubota.
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« Reply #8 on: May 23, 2014, 01:51:52 PM »

No one has answered the important part of this query....

As far as the GMs go, the bays are wide enough.  I left the original walls and supports in place. 
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OneLapper
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sparkplug188
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« Reply #9 on: May 23, 2014, 01:55:34 PM »

The separation between the bays performs two structural functions on an Eagle-- It provides vertical and horizontal support for the bay floors and it also provides some additional support for the center of the living quarters floor.  The structural rigidity that holds the front axle to the rear axle comes from the walls of the living quarters, the center walkway floor supports, and the roof.

The eagle original bulkhead supports were made of 1.5" square tube and .75"x1.5" rectangle tube.  I reduced the number of bulkheads on my Eagle, but greatly increased the strength of the replacement bulkheads to maintain the original load carrying capacity of the bays.
« Last Edit: May 23, 2014, 04:57:43 PM by sparkplug188 » Logged
eagle19952
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« Reply #10 on: May 23, 2014, 01:58:50 PM »

I kind of knew that about the Eagle. The others not so much, but it is something I would think a remodeler would want to know before he got the cutting torch out  Shocked
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Donald PH
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« Reply #11 on: May 24, 2014, 02:04:30 PM »

Hi, my MCI 5A had a 2 1/2 square hole cut into the front bay, which was carpeted and insulated, at first we let the dogs go down there, but as time went by, we collected to much and neded all the bay room for camping stuff, this was done in 1987, lvmci...
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« Reply #12 on: May 24, 2014, 02:05:30 PM »

Hi, my MCI 5A had a 2 1/2 square hole cut into the front bay, which was carpeted and insulated, at first we let the dogs go down there, but as time went by, we collected to much and neded all the bay room for camping stuff, this was done in 1987, lvmci...
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MCI5A 8V71 Allison MT643
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« Reply #13 on: May 24, 2014, 04:32:01 PM »

It is amazing that precisely today I posted an update on our build thread about converting a luggage bay into the grandkids' room. Check it out!

http://www.busconversions.com/bbs/index.php?topic=22081.msg301874#msg301874
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Dr. Steve, San Juan del Río, Querétaro, Mexico, North America, Planet Earth, Milky Way.
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