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Adding a door

This is a public forum to discuss Eagle related technical issues. If you are having a problem with your Eagle, this is the place to find help.
Adding a door
Sat Sep 05, 2009 9:51 pm


I am considering adding a door in the side of the bus. Am I getting into a major engineering project? This is just an incomplete thought that I keep having and I would need to come up with a functional external set of steps.
Before I get too far into actually figuring out the aesthetic and stair design I am hoping that someone will be able to give me an idea of if I am looking at "just" building a reinforced door frame to compensate for the frame that I will be removing or if there will be additional reinforcements needed in other places.
The location that I am considering is in the rear right corner, where the ac condenser is now (I will be removing it). Either at floor level, or if possible one step down so that I would need less steps to figure in on the outside. Ideally I would like to have a set of steps that slide out from that compartment when I am done.
Thanks
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Re: Adding a door
Sun Sep 06, 2009 12:18 am


Lots of people have done side entry and closed off the front door. Normally they are done in the center bay and you don't have to have anything additional on the outside. I don't see any reason you could it at the rear if that is what you wanted. Your steps would probably have to come straight forward against the side of the bus because of proximity to the engine.

What is your plan for the rear entry?
Dale Houston
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Re: Adding a door
Sun Sep 06, 2009 12:53 am


I have seen the center doors and like them. I have a couple of reasons for the back door:
1) I don't like the idea of being back 40 feet and not having an exit.
2) my ever changing floor plan includes a large rear a/v room. It will double as my bedroom (pull out bed)
3) The small front sitting area will double as a spair bedroom with some sort of pull out partition between it and the kitchen. I am going with a mid kitchen and bath so that when I have guests they can be used without bothering the others. I would like to be able to avoid having to exit through that area when it is used for a bed room.

As far as the steps go, if I can't make them pull out I will build a set of runners that I will store and attach to the side of the bus when I am set up in a location. Sliding steps would obviously be nice for a lot of reasons, but making sure that the door doesn't cause structural problems is my priority.

At what point do I need to start worrying about structural problems when cutting into the sides or the floor. I have a million ideas running through my head and would rather not make a plan only to find out I got gready with the amount I want to cut away, or add to little (or 500lbs extra) reinforcement.
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Re: Adding a door
Sun Sep 06, 2009 4:04 pm


The rear corner is going to be a little difficult. At that point is where the rear cantalevered part of the bus is all hung from. You will need to transfer the frame from above the floor line to over your door and back down to the rear cross frame that picks up most of the weight of the engine. I won't say it can't be done but it will take some thought and engineering.

Good Luck Wayne
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Re: Adding a door
Sun Sep 06, 2009 6:59 pm


thanks Wayne, how far forward do I need to go to do it more easily. I know that a door is obviously not the same as a slide as far as how much is cut out, but no matter where I put it there has to be a "safe" width before things get complicated. Like I said, I would like a full size door, but even a smaller more emergency sized door would work. I also plan on cutting a hole in the floor for a set of basement steps and again am wondering what my limitations are without making my life more complicated than I needs it to be.
The door is a "would like to have" item, but the stairs are a must have.
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Re: Adding a door
Sun Sep 06, 2009 8:47 pm


Debar, The next best place would be the last bay. Remember if you cut the main truss above the floor you will have to build a new frame above the door to carry the weight. I have not done this but a few on this board have and will know how to do it. As for the steps down to the bays have at it. You can do about anything you want. You will have to strengthen the floor at any floor stringers you remove.

Good Luck Wayne
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Re: Adding a door
Sun Sep 06, 2009 8:56 pm


I can work that spot into my floorplan nicely. If I go there I would probably make the entrance at bay level and then stairs inside.
If someone who has done this could give me an idea of what kind of reinforcements I would need I would appreciate the help. Spending forever on my "perfect" design (as if it is possible to attain) only to have the bus fold in half is not a concept I look forward to. :)
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Re: Adding a door
Tue Sep 08, 2009 10:07 pm


Ok looking the frame design in the manual I can see why last bay would be best. It would require the least reinforcement making my life much easier. That location would "work" for me, but I think ideally the front of the center bay would work best. At least in most of my floor plans that location works. I am still moving my floor plan around so I have some flexibility. Looking at the frame in the manual and with what limited knowledge I have in structural design (common sense type knowledge) it looks like if I add a couple of of new cross bars to redistribute the stress, reinforce the existing surrounding beams and use a solid sheet (3/4" ply enough??) solidly attached in as many locations as possible I should be able to put it in that location.
If anyone could help with any details on stress redistribution that would be great. I intend to use a narrow door, most likely 24" if that helps with ideas. That brings the door from the post on the front of the bay to about the last set of rivets before the bay handle. My goal is to cut the bay door there and make it part of the door. Short of the actual cuts and the new door handle I want to make it look the same on the outside as it was. And that cut will let me use the left side of bay (under the stairs) with the stock handles in place.
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Re: Adding a door
Fri Sep 25, 2009 8:38 pm


O.k., so the last half dozen floor plans have all had the new door against the back wall of the last bay as suggested. I am really getting close to what I want using this location BUT I can't weld and am trying to figure out what the best way to reinforce that frame. I had another way off the wall idea, and am almost embarrassed to even type it, but sometimes saying something really strange will get a good alternative that someone else might not have considered to suggest.
I had considered building the door frame out of 4x6 pressure treated, but then I thought that (in addition to the weight)I would still get too much flex out of it. I do know that it would have had to have been covered with something else to avoid direst contact with the metal.
So assuming I am correct in believing that this idea was way wrong what kind of ideas do you have? What size and type of material should I use if I do this? I am all for trying new things, but obviously this is a critical job and not one I will attempt if I am not comfortable with it. I do have access to someone who can do some welding for me, but I am also trying to do as much of this myself. A lot of that is because I want to do it myself, and a lot is the, if it breaks I only have myself that I can blame. No matter how good the work is, if something does go wrong I would rather have it either in my skill set to have done it in the first place and to fix it if need be.
Thanks for all of the help, if it weren't for the people here I would be getting very little done and be bouncing off the wall ideas, off the wall and afraid to try anything. I don't know if I have said this in the forums, but the people here make me comfortable to ask things that I would normally never be willing to admit thinking. People here seem to be willing to admit to their mistakes and weaknesses in order to help others and not try to cover over things to save face as happens so often today.
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Re: Adding a door
Fri Sep 25, 2009 9:16 pm


I would recommend that you pursue the help of an engineer. What you are attempting to do is something that should be done with a great deal of thought and planning. I know you said you want to do most of the work yourself, that's great. But without the proper skills it might be putting yourself and others in danger of a failed attempt. I'm not trying to rain on your parade, just give you something to consider. I'm all for learning a new skill, I've done it all my life. Just take the time to do the proper planning so you have a successful outcome, one that you will be proud of and not one that has to redone.

BTW, you need to use tube steel to make a frame out of, same type as used in the frame. Then you can skin it and blend it in.

Are we still friends? ;)
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