bus chassis frame under a Deuce

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Larry Weibert

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I have been following many of the mods to benifit the deuce on many threads. I found a 98 bus with a DT466 manual tranny and hydraulic brakes. I am wondering what the thoughts are of actually using the chassis frame and maybe the firewall portion that contains the pedals and steering support rather then trying to transfer things to the deuce frame. I believe it would present its own set of problems but wondering if it wouldn't be easier than the other way around. I see there are all sorts of motor tranny and brake combos out there so open to that. Just thinking if using the whole set up mounted might be a workable option. I also saw were others have discussed transfer case change out to benefit final drive ratios. I was thinking 395s on the deuce if I did the it. Thanks in advance for your thoughts or suggestions.
 

montaillou

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I suppose it depends on what you plan on using the vehicle for. There are several things the deuce was designed for that may not be present when you start with a not-deuce frame.
 

cattlerepairman

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If I understand correctly, you would cut the bus frame behind the transmission mount, remove the corresponding length of Deuce frame at the front end and mate this bus front frame piece to the deuce rear frame piece. You could leave the rear frame two feet longer to give you room for a knuckleboom crane behind the cab (oops..sorry...that is just me thinking out loud here)
You would have a high strength steel front frame and a mild steel rear frame welded together and plated. They flex differently. Not sure if that would be an issue.
You would transfer the deuce front suspension and axle to the bus frame.

Lots of fabricating to do. I do not know if you save any effort or labour over transferring the engine and transmission into the Deuce frame.
 

Larry Weibert

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Hi Guys. Thanks for the replys. I was sort of thinking of using the lenght of bus frame inplace of the deuce frame. so you would have to mount the transfercase, axles and body. I read that thread link and found it interesting. I didnt realize it sounds like the deuce frame is more flexable. I guess iam trying to way it out. By using the bus driveline on the bus frame you gain the factory set up on the the steering , brake system, radiator, motor and tranny mounting. You would have to mount the transfer case rear axle assys and the body mounts and fuel tanks. I was thinking maybe weld a small square tube frame within the fenders hood and grille so the entire front end could tilt forward like the Int bus does for working on. My plan was to have a more road friendly driver with 395s on it.
 

montaillou

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You could leave the rear frame two feet longer to give you room for a knuckleboom crane behind the cab (oops..sorry...that is just me thinking out loud here)
:lol:

For my part, that 2 feet is where I'm planning a mechanical room for my HVAC, spare tire carry and tool storage.
 

Larry Weibert

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I like that idea the trucks are high and getting things in and out at 58 gets old quick. Wondering if you could run it off the hyraulic pump for the power steering and brakes and could you also run the winch with a hydraulic motor so you didn't have to add a pto. I never messed that stuff on bus set ups. Ill bet Rustystud could throw some light on it.
 
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rustystud

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Well you hit on a idea that I have had for several years now. Sadly I had my bus towed to the scrap yard this last summer, but I'm looking at getting a newer one with the DT466 engine with an Allison behind it. Most bus frames are 34" wide and made from extremely strong steel to meet federal standards.
So my idea was to keep the front of the bus and remove the back section. They are usually riveted together and by removing the rivets you could cut the front section behind the driver station and remove the back section of the bus and recombine them for a nice little area. I had planned on a small sleeping area with toilet closet. The axles could be moved straight over along with the spring mounts and bolted to the frame. You would have to remove all those riveted plates on the rear axle assembly which would be a pain, but it's doable. I would also keep the total frame length and just lengthened the drivelines. Might have to add some driveline pillow block bearings along the way.
With a system like this it would be more of a "sleeper" off road rig. Looks like a bus but performs like a Deuce.
I still have my older M35 REO with all it's drive train intact. So once my shop is built (if the county will ever give me a permit !) I plan on looking for a bus to convert.
 

Larry Weibert

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HI Rusty and thanks for the info. I found some with hydro brakes and some with the Air. What are your thoughts on that. I was told the 98-2004 were the better engines than the newer ones but know little on it. With the auto trannys are there certain ones or year combos you prefer this seems like a good time to pick from as wide range of yrs and types seem to be around the country. What transfer case and tire size were you thinking. I like hearing of others ideas as how they would do it. Your supper short bus cab sound very practical. Thanks in advance
 

jasonjc

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Well you hit on a idea that I have had for several years now. Sadly I had my bus towed to the scrap yard this last summer, but I'm looking at getting a newer one with the DT466 engine with an Allison behind it. Most bus frames are 34" wide and made from extremely strong steel to meet federal standards.
So my idea was to keep the front of the bus and remove the back section. They are usually riveted together and by removing the rivets you could cut the front section behind the driver station and remove the back section of the bus and recombine them for a nice little area. I had planned on a small sleeping area with toilet closet. The axles could be moved straight over along with the spring mounts and bolted to the frame. You would have to remove all those riveted plates on the rear axle assembly which would be a pain, but it's doable. I would also keep the total frame length and just lengthened the drivelines. Might have to add some driveline pillow block bearings along the way.
With a system like this it would be more of a "sleeper" off road rig. Looks like a bus but performs like a Deuce.
I still have my older M35 REO with all it's drive train intact. So once my shop is built (if the county will ever give me a permit !) I plan on looking for a bus to convert.

The chicken pickers do that around here they leave 2-3 row of seats and then a flat bed for the fork lift.
 

rustystud

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HI Rusty and thanks for the info. I found some with hydro brakes and some with the Air. What are your thoughts on that. I was told the 98-2004 were the better engines than the newer ones but know little on it. With the auto trannys are there certain ones or year combos you prefer this seems like a good time to pick from as wide range of yrs and types seem to be around the country. What transfer case and tire size were you thinking. I like hearing of others ideas as how they would do it. Your supper short bus cab sound very practical. Thanks in advance
I was going to use 11.00X20 tires and keep the deuce transfer-case. Though I do have one of the MRAP transfer-cases. I might try and squeeze it in. The year of bus would depend on the DT466 engine. I prefer a "non" ECM (electric control module) engine. Much simpler to install. No need for the engine computer. So a late 1990's model should work. The DT466 is a million mile engine. Meaning it can be rebuilt many times up to a million miles before metal fatigue becomes a issue. Most rebuilds happen at around 500,000 miles. So having a later model engine doesn't concern me much. Most buses have the MT600 series Allison transmission so no problems there. Though having a 5 speed would be nice. That would be a MT650/MT654 Allison.
 

rustystud

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Nice. That looks very practical. Iam amazed at how well built the bus body is with the rivets.
If you type in "federal guidelines for bus safety" you will see why. They must meet stringent standards for crash safety among others.
My little design doesn't really show want I want to do. I want a 40FT bus. Then I would cut off the back half and reattaching it to the front making a small bedroom and toilet just like my design shows. Then having that long section behind the cab be all flatbed with a heavy duty winch at the head. This way I would have a long haul vehicle carrier capable of sleeping in it, so I could go to Montana or places further away without worrying about where I would stay. I got this idea over 40 years ago when I used to travel all over collecting vehicles. I was at my buddies gas station when I saw a similar bus conversion drive by. They only had a 10ft bed though. The rest was the bus which they converted into a RV. This way they could carry their small car with them.
 
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andyh1956

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How many axles does the bus have? Does the bus have disc brakes on the front or both axles? What boosts the master cyl? Prolly a hydro unit I bet, that would be good!
However if the bus only had two axles I'm sure the bus master cyl won't run six wheel cyls. A wheel cyl takes a LOT more volume of fluid than a disc brake. I saw a local house mover try to use a DT 360 in a Duce once & it had a terrible axle / oil pan interference problem. Don't know what the outcome of that project was.
 

rustystud

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How many axles does the bus have? Does the bus have disc brakes on the front or both axles? What boosts the master cyl? Prolly a hydro unit I bet, that would be good!
However if the bus only had two axles I'm sure the bus master cyl won't run six wheel cyls. A wheel cyl takes a LOT more volume of fluid than a disc brake. I saw a local house mover try to use a DT 360 in a Duce once & it had a terrible axle / oil pan interference problem. Don't know what the outcome of that project was.
I would use the Deuces power boosters so the master cylinder on the bus would work fine. The engine axle clearance might present a little difficulty, but a little torch work and a hammer should help out there ! Or just cut and weld until it fits.
 

Larry Weibert

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Andy & Rusty thanks for that info. Is it better than to use a bus that has Hyrdo brakes. I did find a few some had manaul trannys as well. I think one pic looked like a hydro boost set up but i might be wrong on that. Whats the best way to integrate upgrading the brakes. Tks Larry
 

rustystud

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Andy & Rusty thanks for that info. Is it better than to use a bus that has Hyrdo brakes. I did find a few some had manaul trannys as well. I think one pic looked like a hydro boost set up but i might be wrong on that. Whats the best way to integrate upgrading the brakes. Tks Larry
I would keep the master cylinder the bus came with and just add the Deuce's "Air-Packs" to boost the brake pressure. Then you could use the stock wheel cylinders on the Rockwell Axles. Basically all your using from the Deuce is the transfer-case, the axles and the brake "Air Packs" . The rest is all the bus. The frame and body, (including the power steering system) the engine and transmission and all the electrical.
 

Larry Weibert

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Thanks Rusty. I am really looking forward to starting a project like this so i have a more comfortable driver as i plan on using it once a month to camp at a rocket launch which is about 110 miles away. The bus drive train answers so many short comings and things that are benifits to the 6x6. Rusty so I shouldnt buy a bus with air brakes is that what iam hearing so i can utilize the hydro system on the bus.
 
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rustystud

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Thanks Rusty. I am really looking forward to starting a project like this so i have a more comfortable driver as i plan on using it once a month to camp at a rocket launch which is about 110 miles away. The bus drive train answers so many short comings and things that are benifits to the 6x6. Rusty so I shouldnt buy a bus with air brakes is that what iam hearing so i can utilize the hydro system on the bus.
Yes. Keep it hydraulic.
I planned on using mine as a "retrieval" vehicle. I have had several "experiences" trying to retrieve a vehicle out of state where it was in a bog or big open "muddy" field. Since it was out of state I did not have all my equipment at hand and had to use what I brought only. One time I spent all day trying to pull a old dump truck across a muddy field with just a 8,000 Ibs Warn winch and 50ft of chain and four snatch blocks. Pull ten feet, reposition, pull another ten feet repeat !!!!
If I had had a vehicle with six wheel drive and a strong winch I could have driven out to the truck, hocked up the winch and pulled it onto the flat bed and have been gone in under a hour ! That is another reason to have the 40ft bus frame. The cab portion could be ten feet long and I still would have 30 feet for a flat bed.

I forgot to add, with the cab portion turned in to a small RV I could stop at any "rest stop" along the way home and get some sleep without paying a small fortune to sleep in some nasty motel.
 
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