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Author Topic: Bus Entrance Stairways Fabrication  (Read 3467 times)
Gary LaBombard
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« on: September 28, 2007, 06:06:46 AM »

For those of you interested in doing what I am giving you a glimpse of on your bus entrance way I am posting the before and after results of my latest completion.

After borrowing this entrance way stair idea from my friend Steve and getting technical information on how to fabricate these steps I went and fabricated my steps my own way of coarse.  This was fun but can be challenging at times as this was a project I never tried before and Steve put me into information I did not think of.

If you ever think of doing this and intend to carry a spare tire in your front end, (Eagle Bus), you have to remember the area needed to carry the tire and be sure you do not build the steps too big to take room needed for your spare tire.  Another area of concern is fabricating your steps to go into your right wheel well.  You sure don't want to rub your tires on your nice steps etc.  So if you plan to do a major design change, it is advisable to contact anyone you know that may have done your particular project for ideas of what and what not to do.

These particular steps took 1 month to make, there was lots of cutting, re-modifications when things did not look right etc. but this makes your project more valuable to you when completed.  Don't rush any worth while conversion project.  Get information like I did from Steve for ideas and formulas if needed and then of coarse, then do it your way for the most pleasure if it turns out to please you in particular.

A special thanks here for all the information and help from Steve.

Here are photo's.

Gary

« Last Edit: September 28, 2007, 06:08:42 AM by Gary LaBombard » Logged

Gary
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« Reply #1 on: September 28, 2007, 06:19:46 AM »

Looks nice Gary, I guess since the steps are done you'll be driving it to the Palmetto Cove Non-Rally? LOL? Ok maybe not just yet, but soon Huh? I'll see if I can have a Setra stripped out for you to demonstraight the curved steps design on at our next rally! LOL! Remember it may take quite a bit before I catch on! What kinda flooring do you like working with? By the time we get the flooring on I might understand how it worked !  LOL! ~ Grin  BK  Grin
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« Reply #2 on: September 28, 2007, 06:27:11 AM »

Hi BK,
Thanks for viewing this. 
I had to modify this post as I did not reply to your question.  No I will not be driving our Eagle to the Palmetto Cove Non-bus rally, (This Year) but will soon, she's coming along. As I get older I take longer to accomplish things. BK, any chance you can come to Kyle's Non-Bus Rally??

At the time I do not intend to put anything more on these steps except a matching paint to the new carpeting we will install.  I plan to have the paint with a nonslip grit base in it for safety and also a 1" yellow paint safety line across the front of each step for something to catch your eye when entering or leaving our bus again for safety.  There will be a safety hand railing also built in but not right now, now I have to continue the right wheel well assembly as of today.

This information is only intended to those interested in seeing my accomplishment and perhaps to consider doing a similar project on their conversion in the future.
Gary
« Last Edit: September 28, 2007, 06:37:33 AM by Gary LaBombard » Logged

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« Reply #3 on: September 28, 2007, 06:30:19 AM »

I understand Gary, and just remember that the Eagle was the Setra's older brother! SHould be very close in design to yours! LOL! ` Grin  BK  Grin
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« Reply #4 on: September 28, 2007, 06:40:09 AM »

Gary,
   Looks good.  You gotta get that thing done so you can do some "Show & Tells" at our rallies.  Jack
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« Reply #5 on: September 28, 2007, 06:41:46 AM »

Looks good, Gary. So are you going to put the co-pilot seat over beside you?
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Gary LaBombard
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« Reply #6 on: September 28, 2007, 06:49:27 AM »

Jack,
I am the very first person to admit I bit off way, way, way more than I wanted to chew.  Not that I couldn't because of my age and condition of my teeth. LOL a little humor there.  Anyhow, I try my hardest to emphasize to all newbies or anyone wanting to do this of the pit falls of my particular bus and hope they do not repeat anything I have had to do.  Major design changes all take time but fun to accomplish, look at Sonnie Grays bus for example and the accomplishment he has made.  He's my hero!! 

I would be very happy to have my bus viewed at rally's when we do start using it and show the before photos and actual after results.  Regardless of any skepticism I will complete this project and it will be around a long time after I am gone and forgotten.

Gary
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« Reply #7 on: September 28, 2007, 06:55:55 AM »

I gotta get back on the Eagle guys, but thanks for viewing and the questions and comments.  Yes Songman, I plan to (Build) a special copilot seat next to me but about 1 foot behind the drivers seat to make entrance to the driver area possible.  The copilot's seat will be removeable to make access to all mechanical moving parts under it for any adjustments needed.  This part of my plan is only an occasional thought, I take one area I am working on and concentrate all energies to accomplishing just it.  Then go on but the copilot seat is still in my mind.

Now I am leaving and going to go work on the bus.

Gary
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« Reply #8 on: September 28, 2007, 07:11:43 AM »

Very impressive.  It sure adds a lot to the conversion.  Does this mean you are putting the copilots seat next to the driver?
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« Reply #9 on: September 28, 2007, 08:23:09 AM »

Hi Gray,

Great Fabrication Job!   I like it..  Please just be carefull comming down thoose steps, the treads do seem a little tight.

Maybe plan on some extra grab handles.. None the less, a work of art.

The first trip is just over the horrizon.

Nick-
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« Reply #10 on: September 28, 2007, 09:06:21 AM »


 Gary

That looks so nice and well built.

 Hopefully when I grow up to your age I'll be able to fabricate at that level..

 Skip
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Gary LaBombard
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« Reply #11 on: September 28, 2007, 10:06:44 AM »

Hi Nick and everyone,
Making circular stairs or what ever you want to refer to them is pretty difficult to make them without cheating someplace with the limitations of space to fabricate and mount them and still have them safe to use.  I do plan on railings and will design them to be useable from the ground up to the  top stair.

I am enclosing 3 more photos that better show the width of the steps etc. but I assure you the width of the steps in the center and to the right is over what a normal step is.  It is virtually impossible to make them to any kind of code dimension for homes, the original steps were 10 inches high, mine are only 8 inches high and more comfortable to use going up and down. 

Well, lunch time is over, got to get back to the Eagle. 
Gary
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« Reply #12 on: September 28, 2007, 10:35:21 AM »

Good job Gary!  Installation is nice and clean.

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Regardless of any skepticism I will complete this project and it will be around a long time after I am gone and forgotten.

Of this I have no doubt, I just want you to get some good use out of it before you are gone and forgotten!!
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« Reply #13 on: September 28, 2007, 10:41:50 AM »

Looks great gary, nice clean job.
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« Reply #14 on: September 28, 2007, 11:22:13 AM »

Awesome work Gary! Cool

When you are ready, please post a few pics of the backside of the stairs as viewed through the wheel well.

Keep up the great work!!! Grin
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Darrin Bruner
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« Reply #15 on: September 28, 2007, 03:50:43 PM »

Gary,

Looks Great!

When I bought my bus the PO had started on a circular staircase to the side.

I tried to rework it, but could never get the rise and landings to feel right.

I think I may have may have one more step before the drivers landing, and that may account for the problem.

They key is, does it feel right.

I just redid the steps from the drivers landing to the upper area.

By adding a step it made it 100% nicer.

Thats the good part of building your OWN coach....NO expensive change orders... Tongue

Cliff

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« Reply #16 on: September 28, 2007, 05:36:50 PM »

Gary,
    They look great as I knew they would.  And the rust bullet really brought them alive as well. Keep up the good work buddy.  Talk at you soon on the tele.  Steve
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« Reply #17 on: September 28, 2007, 06:44:06 PM »

Hi Gary,

Great work on the entrance steps! One thing for sure you don't mess around when you do something!  Wink

One question I have, do you have a date in mind that you are working towards for enough completion to the point that you can drive it? Just curious. I know that TBR was a boost for me to get several things accomplished, that push with the result made my wife and I very happy. Now we can drive it somewhere, stay overnight and enjoy what we have accomplished to this point. And of course give us ideas for the rest of the conversion. I Love Driving Dreamscape!

Happy Trails and Enjoy the Ride,

Paul

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« Reply #18 on: September 29, 2007, 04:41:40 AM »

Nice looking steps Gary!  I'm sure after looking at Steve's steps they are an inspiration!  You guys do great work!   When we get "finished" I'd like you, Steve and I to park next to each other! We can really sit down and trade some "bus war stories", "how I survived the Rust monster in 12,000 easy lesson's"!  That would be worthwhile!   I'm sure this has been a huge task for all three of us, but I'm sure we are up to it!  The question asked was, "How do you eat an elephant?"  the answer is, "One bite at a time"! Grin
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« Reply #19 on: September 29, 2007, 05:03:29 AM »

The steps do look great Gary, but then you always seem to do a great job.  As to what Paul said...when you finish.  You are such a good sport...what will we have to tease you about when you get done?  Cat
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« Reply #20 on: September 29, 2007, 07:46:58 AM »

The steps do look great Gary, but then you always seem to do a great job.  As to what Paul said...when you finish.  You are such a good sport...what will we have to tease you about when you get done?  Cat

Cat when Gary gets done he'll be sitting around the campfires at rallies laffing at the MCI owners looking for rust after he say's "hang on everybody ssshh be quite do you here that?" and of course someone will say "ya, what is it?" an Gary will smile and say "that's the sound of an MCI rusting ! LOL!" Grin  BK  Grin
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« Reply #21 on: September 29, 2007, 09:10:09 AM »

Again I want to thank all that have commented on my entrance stairs adventure.  I call it this now as almost everything needing replacing, reinforcing etc. is surely turning into an adventure as anyone doing conversion refurbishing like this knows. 

It is positive comments like all the great busnuts has contributed here that make my day more positive to start & enjoy and continue my little adventure daily.  I know there is information that I post that is not needed by all that read it that is for sure, but if my post help some of you make decisions what to do, not to do, or answer where you can get more information from other bus converters then all the time I use making these long post is personally worth it to me.

Paul has asked when my target date to be able to finally use our bus really is and to be really honest I have set the 2008 TBR as that date.  But, I have set 2 other dates previously and they have since expired and here I still am.  As anyone doing a huge conversion project of turning a (pigís ear into a Silk Purse) as the old saying goes this all takes a lot of time.  I often choose with making a decision of working on the Eagle every weekend or choosing to make a trip to a wonderful fun filled bus rally and the decision is not very hard for me to make.  So it is this interruption that takes its toll but the decision to party at a rally is very easy to make. 

My bus conversion project by far is not the most extensive one being done, there is many busnuts that have even more extensive conversion plans in the works or near completion and one in particular is of my friend Steveís.  He is a cabinet maker by trade, (Oh, oh, perfection for sure will be exercised) and if you want to see a real intense project to view go to: http://ourbusconversion.blogspot.com and be ready to see an Eagle being refurbished with (4, Yep, four) slide outs being built in it.

My actual bus conversion project in particular will not be of interest to all when we finally get on the road, one of the reasons being that all my labor and materials up to this date are involved in only areas to be covered and painted and out of normal viewing to look at.  Unfortunately only those of us that have done extensive undercarriage fabricating repairs can only appreciate what the other busnut has accomplished.  I will not have nice corrian counters, lighted mirrored ceilings or commodes that wash off your butt to look at but I will welcome anyone to view and comment on what I have accomplished to date and encourage newbies and anyone interested in my conversion information.   

Even if I never get to drive my bus for what ever reason God has intended for me, I hope to inspire all newbies in particular as usual, to look at this conversion experience as an adventure to always enjoy doing even if it is never completed and most really arenít.  But the learning experience you receive and the knowledge offered by most sincere other busnuts willing to share is such a great experience in life that you cannot ever have taken from you.  This life is one time around and so short, set a goal but if your goal is not entirely reached take and enjoy all those you meet in your plan to reach those goals.

I know, I know, another long post here, one thing about my post is not everyone has to read them and thank God for those choices.

Again thanks for reading this lengthy post and thanks for the great comments and inspiration we all enjoy to get on occasion. 

I look forward to more rally meetings and Kyleís NON-Rally is soon on us at Palmetto Cove, I look forward to seeing those attending as usual.  Have a great weekend, drive safe and here is the tip of the day-(Always Have a Break Away Braking System of Some Kind Installed on Your Toad, ALWAYS!!).

Finally Done,
Gary       
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Gary
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« Reply #22 on: September 30, 2007, 02:45:32 AM »

Gary,
    If life's goals are touching hearts and sharing wisdom, you sir, have made it.  Thanks for the kind words of support Gary.  But dont forget that it was your cd that let it be known to me before I bought this bus of ours that anything is repairable.  And I got all that inspiration from your and Pat Bartlett's site.  Its all just part of a dream coming true.  Hang in there Gary you got yours wooped now.  Just think when you get yours done, you get to come help me finish ours....lol.....talk at you soon....

Pat,
    I do agree, you, Gary, and me, need to pop a bottle of bubbly when we get done and throw some cheers around.  Maybe we could hot rod a golf cart for giggles......lol.....

Now if I can just get my buddies new house done so I can get back on the bus project.   I got a long way to go to catch up to you two.

.........Steve..........
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« Reply #23 on: September 30, 2007, 12:07:32 PM »

Looks great Gary,  Glad to see your contructively working off your waterpump anger Cheesy Grin


If your thinking about redoing it,  what do you think about having the first step be an exterior step that  bridges between the door and the bottom of the bus.  that way it slides out when you open the door, with the door, no fancy mechanisms.  Then the first interior step could be higher and the incline would be shorter.  Might help out with spare and steer tire issues.

I saw one on a 4x4 truck like mine.  A plate mounted to the door and couple of brackets were underneath.  The outer bracket had a slot and supported it when the door was open, the other bracket had a clip, was closer to the middle, and supported the plate and kept it from rattling when the door was closed.

Just an idea,  Congrats on another progress note.  I'm envious. Cheesy
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« Reply #24 on: September 30, 2007, 12:16:50 PM »

Since the front entrance is so high (around 14 in. I believe) I installed an electric trailer step on DML. It was a single step but it lowered the first step up to about 8 inches. Otherwise Janet could not get into or out of the bus without a step stool and that was always a pain in the @$$. I always had to get out first and then put the stool out and then always get in last and bring the step stool.

The electric step was great. It opened when the door opened and closed when the door closed, except if the bypass switch was on when we were camped. Even then the step would close if the ignition was turned on and the door was closed.

Richard
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« Reply #25 on: September 30, 2007, 12:57:36 PM »

      We did like Richard.  We installed a single step Kwikee Electric Step on our bus.  It automatically extends any time the door is opened, always retracts when the engine master switch is turned on. We have an over-ride switch that allows to keep the step extended when camping. When the master switch is turned on this over-rides the over-ride, retraxcting the step. Did I say that right Huh   
      Makes it much easier for Paula (and me) to get in and out of the bus. Jack
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« Reply #26 on: September 30, 2007, 07:21:59 PM »

Hi Jack, Richard and John,

I have plans to install one of those hidden entrance steps like on Jacks bus but not right at this time, that is a luxury item I plan to install but have yet to discover what else I really need to do now to finish this darn ole framing reburbishing.  Your right though, that first step up and last step down is a butte, but we'll fix ER up when all this major stuff is complete.  I may need to look at these steps on buses at Kyle's and other rallies to get ideas what to do about that entrance step. I am not sure at this time with the non slip on the steps will also do as I want and also be able to clean easily but we have to try different situations if not.  But, with the nice impressions in the metal there is a air gap that will allow adhesive to bond to a rubber step cover if needed or what ever I have to cover them with if I do.  We'll try the non-skid colored matching paint for a little while at this time.

My steps will also have small LED lights on each step for night entrance and bus exit for safety.  I am trying to remember everything and with all your suggestions they are coming together.  Thanks again to all.

Also at Kyle's rally I will be looking at (GMC / MCI) entrance door heavy duty entrance hinges.  I do not want to use a piano hinge, not heavy duty enough for me unless I put two of them on!!  LOL.
Gary 

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« Reply #27 on: October 03, 2007, 09:43:18 AM »

Is this steel or aluminum diamond plate?  I see you plan to put down a non-skid coating to keep the plate from getting scratched and such.

This gives me a GREAT idea for redoing my driver's area floor and steps.  My bus got full of dust during my recent trip out into the desert.  The driver's area and steps was near impossible to clean with the way the flooring is installed from the factory. 

I might be able to get aluminum or stainless tread plate as scrap from a friend who works at a machine shop.
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« Reply #28 on: October 03, 2007, 01:22:50 PM »

Belfert,
My steps and driver decking are all steel diamond plate or some call it checker plate.  All 1/8" thick on decks and 1/16" thick on the risers.  Of course all is covered with Rustbullet after all is done.  I have no idea what to expect with just a non-skid painted surfaces on the decks and risers but will try it anyhow.   I am not building this for Donald Trumph. I Want it safe and functional and as you said Belfert as easy to clean up as possible.  Door entrance ways has to be a bummer to keep as clean as you would want them so you gotta have a little give on that I suppose.  If I put anything on top of the existing stairs treads I will let you all know what I have tried. I gotta give this a try as is.

Oh, this takes a lot of cutting of pieces to fit and more material to do a full set of steps than you think.  You must have a real good friend that can give you enough stainless plate to do a set of stairs like I made. I figure it was equal to about a full 4 X 8 foot sheet, a little more or less.  All mine was scrap steel pieces from a local fabricating plant.  Stainless has got to be a bummer to cut and weld also.  But your steps will sure be pretty if you can get it in stainless.  Again, watch for the slipping factor especially going down them if they ever get damp or wet. That is why I have no fear of painting them with a non skid material colored paint.

Good luck.
Gary
« Last Edit: October 03, 2007, 01:28:52 PM by Gary LaBombard » Logged

Gary
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« Reply #29 on: October 03, 2007, 04:40:42 PM »

My friend cuts a ton of stainless and aluminum at the machine shop he works in.  A lot of their stuff is really big so the pieces for a stairway might not be hard to come by.  I figure I would have until next spring to collect enough pieces.  He could get the pieces bent too.

I know from experience that spray paint on aluminum does not hold up to foot traffic.  The fabricator who installed my door modified my steps with a piece of spray painted aluminum and a bunch of paint is gone already.
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« Reply #30 on: October 04, 2007, 05:23:58 PM »

gary;

The steps look good. I hope you get your coach on the road soon, look forward to seeing you and linda again. As far as the lights and morrors on the celing, I don't recomend it and I will be taking the ones off mine soon . The corian counters are nice though. I must have missed the toilet that washes your backside,
where can I get one, the older I get the lazyer i get.

Don
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