Since we ended up in a 27′ bus, we need to maximize our storage space. This means that every nook and cranny needs to be utilized. To be honest, we would have probably done this if we ended up with a 40′ bus too. The bus does not have rear wheel wells because of it being handicap accessible, but the front wheel wells were taking up a tremendous amount of space. About the equivalent to a 60 quart tote on each side of the bus.
cut them out they said, it will be fun they said.
After some research and 271 measurements, we felt confident in cutting out the wheel wells without any repercussions. We got a lot of negative feedback about doing so for fear the wheels would blow up through the floors and seriously injure someone, but this is not the case. It may not work to cut the wheel wells out of your bus and in fact, we even recommend that you do not do so for fear of injury.
- Our bus has a GVWR of 30,000lbs
- We (obviously) removed all of the extremely heavy seats (we had track seating)
- There is a bump stop that sits 3″ off of the leaf springs.
- There is still 7″ of clearance if the bump stop maxes out.
After getting the wheel wells cut out we had to figure out how to add supports without interfering with the tires vertical motion. We live in an area where there are a lot of Amish communities and because of this things can often be found for quite cheap. Rather than paying $20 a piece for angle iron at Lowe’s we went on a hunt for bed rails in the back country. We found about 5 beds worth of angle iron for $5. We used one long piece along the bus skin side of the wheel well and welded it flush to the skin. We then cut two more shorter pieces to brace the sides. We measured to ensure the angle was enough that it would never interfere with the wheel if there were ever to be an issue with the tire coming up nearly 12″.
Once the brackets were welded in nice and solid, we used some left over panels from when we took the ceiling out to make that patches. The patches were then welded at several locations around the perimeter and the job was done. While the ceiling panels alone were quite flexible, the brackets and welds made the panels just as sturdy as the preexisting flooring. We will need to undercoat the panels so that they withstand the test of time, but the project turned out great and we now will have plenty of storage space under the couches. This also completely opened up the living space and will make future projects such as insulating the floor, laying sub floor, and laying our laminate wood floor a breeze.