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Tag axle internal roof height options.

Discussions regarding bus to motorhome conversions are welcome here.

Tag axle internal roof height options.

Postby Cary » Thu Jan 31, 2013 6:05 pm

Hi all,

Finally joined after a while browsing. :)

In the not to distant future I aim to purchase a tag axle denning/austral coach to convert into a motorhome. Having previously fitted out a Toyota coaster and travelled for a while I can't wait to do it in something a lot bigger.

One thing that slightly concerns me is the internal roof height. The coaster was right on the limit with me having to twist my head if I had shoes on, it was a bit annoying bit still livable. I was in a denning denair the other day and roof height seemed fine in the centre, but towards the outer edges of the aisle it was a bit low for me.

One thing I have seen a fair bit of is people raising the roof of their coaches 2-300mm to gain internal height. While this would be nice I just don't have the room or $$$ to do that. As I will be doing most of the conversion myself it just isn't practical to go to that extent of frame work just for a little bit of comfort.

What I have thought though is there any way to lower the floor? If I could lower the floor so the whole width was the same as the aisle it would be fine. Obviously that would cut into storage in the bins under neath but I doubt I would be able to fill them while travelling anyway. Also it might not be possible around the rear wheels due clearance but if I could do it from the front to the rear wheels it would probably be enough.

Admittedly I haven't had a good look under neath but it does look possible from the pics I have seen. The only issue I can think of is if the main frame rails run down each side of the aisle.

Does anyone think this is possible? Could I lower the floor in this way?

Any help would be greatly appreciated. Even if you have some pics of the thru-bins showing the underneath of the aisle as most show the floor of the bins from what I have seen.

Thanks in advance,
Cary.
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Re: Tag axle internal roof height options.

Postby makeminea2stroke » Fri Feb 01, 2013 9:03 am

Hi Cary

I have a Denning Landseer and can confirm that the isle is sucken between the Chassis rails and the monos or Denairs I have seen are the same, so dropping the floor will involve a lot of work cutting the rails etc. I have seen a few conversions leaving the sunkeen isle as the main walkway, but they are a little limiting. If you are going to remove all the bus windows and resheet it where they were then you are allready half way towards the raise, but it is still a fair bit of work and expense I know.

Good luck
Cheerz
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Re: Tag axle internal roof height options.

Postby boronia » Fri Feb 01, 2013 9:22 am

Once you start playing withn chassis rails/frames you are altering the structural integrity of the vehicle. You would at a mimimum require engineering certification for the work, which may not be economically viable.

Perhaps you should look at some other similar motor home conversions to see how they were done.
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Re: Tag axle internal roof height options.

Postby csrbd » Fri Feb 01, 2013 11:17 am

Hi Cary.I am coming to the end of my 5 berth motorhome conversion it has a a flat floor throughout .For what it's worth,I looked at all kinds of vehicles to convert and in the end I decided with the PMC Elwood.It may not be as long as a tag-axle -(10 metres) but they were built exceptionaly well.Mine was retro fitted with a Cummins turbo diesel hopefully a bit more reliable and cheaper to run than the original 'pincher' motor.I'm guessing you need more room so maybe the Elwoods wouldn't be long enough,but having a flat floor definately makes life a lot easier when planning and constructing.With a headroom of 1.9metres there is plenty of room ....unless you wear a top hat!! Admittedly there was a lot of work involved installing storage bins underneath but I have to say worth it.
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Re: Tag axle internal roof height options.

Postby Cary » Fri Feb 01, 2013 4:43 pm

Thanks everyone for your replies.

Now I know there are chassis rails there I guess we will have to think about our options. No chance I want to get involved in cutting and relocating the chassis rails, it would easily end up as just as much if not more work then lifting the roof.

Being over 6 foot head hight is an issue, I guess this means more research on my part.

Thanks again.
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Re: Tag axle internal roof height options.

Postby hagenite » Sat Feb 02, 2013 2:57 pm

Interesting situation. The floor lowering should definately be disbanbed. The side rails will require extensive metallurgy testing and evidence to satisfy modification regulation compliance VSB-6 . The approach and departure angles will also be altered to their detriment. Raising the roof is a complex and time consuming task but maintaining the structural integrity of the main hoops and the tie-in to the cant rails will not be difficult for an engineer's assessment. A slide out has more structural concerns than a properly raised roof.
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Re: Tag axle internal roof height options.

Postby Cary » Sat Feb 02, 2013 4:16 pm

Yeah, I realise this now unfortunatly.

I am thinking that if I am taking off the sides to change the windows etc I am already half way to lifting the roof. I think that once I am in the process of the build and work has begun I will make the decision on whether to lift the roof or just do a basic fit out.

Decisions, decisions....
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Re: Tag axle internal roof height options.

Postby kelvin12 » Mon Feb 04, 2013 7:05 am

Raising the roof isn't as bad as what you think it would be considering you are going to remove windows and re-sheet anyhow. Your biggest problem is what you are going to find under that sheeting. By the time you fit new windows and frames you would be well on the way to a roof raise anyhow. If you are lucky enough to find the frame rust free then a few uprights aren't going to create much more work especially if you are going to re-use the old roof. The extra height give you a lot of options cupboard wise along the sides as well. You are going to need an engineer regardless to sign off on the completed build and to certify it complies as a motor home.

I am 6 feet in the old measure and walking down the bus with your head on the side is a PIA at best.

Keep us up to date with your decision and progress.

Dirk
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Re: Tag axle internal roof height options.

Postby Cary » Fri Aug 23, 2013 6:43 pm

Dragging this one back....

Recently while looking at some converted coach pictures I noticed the merc 0303 coach had low chassis rails. It looks like it would be fairly easy to drop the height of the floor compared to a denning/austral.

Anyone have a merc that could chime in?

Having not really looked into a merc as an option how do they go reliability wise? Also are parts easy to get?

Thanks again
Cary :)
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Re: Tag axle internal roof height options.

Postby makeminea2stroke » Fri Aug 23, 2013 9:56 pm

Hi Cary

If you are keen on dropping the floor. I have heard of it being done fairly easily on both the Denning and Austral Hidecks.

I have heard the Twin turbo 0303 get along pretty well, but don't know about parts etc

Cheerz
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Re: Tag axle internal roof height options.

Postby Cary » Sat Aug 24, 2013 12:03 am

Thanks Glen. :)

I had sort of given up in the idea and almost bought a tourmaster, missed it by a week or 2. I was just looking through some pictures on the Internet and noticed the low chassis rails on the mercs and the idea popped back into my head. :)

Being in the automotive industry I know anything European can be a bit more of a hassle with parts and availability. But wasn't to sure if that continued into the bus and coach industry as well?
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Re: Tag axle internal roof height options.

Postby kelvin12 » Sat Aug 24, 2013 8:13 am

G'Day Carey,

Hopefully some ex drivers/operators will drop in here. But for my bit Merc's, Volvos and Scanias and the like are expensive both in parts and finding service when needed. The Australs and Dennings use the same engine and drive lines, (6V92's and generally Spicer boxes or Allison auto's). Diffs and axles are different as far as I know at times.

Dropping the floor or raising the roof would pretty much run into the same expense from what I can see. Then if you are going to re-clad and change windows anyhow then I would suggest its pretty much the same.

Dirk
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