MCI 102-C3 coach to RV - Chassis/Suspension

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    MCI 102-C3 coach to RV - Chassis/Suspension

    This thread is the chassis and suspension offshoot of the original thread that migrated from Pirate4x4. As the subtitle implies, this will detail the heavier chunks of metals that dangle from the underbelly of the bus. The mother thread, which begins as the bus purchase and teardown, lies here - https://irate4x4.com/tow-rigs-and-tr...eral-floorplan

    The second post of this thread is where I began gawking at the subframes and pondering the leveling system and axle swap.

    NO COMMENTS UNTIL THREAD IS MARKED AS READY

    #2
    On the leveling jack idea, I've been piecing a few things together in my head. The 20-ton bottle jacks do well to lift one end of the bus. I don't think I would want to use any lesser capacity, so to find some 20-ton cylinders with a reasonable stroke would work. Specifically those with cup seals. I need a foot pivot. A 2-5/16" gooseneck ball with a 20-25k pound capacity sounds good. I just need to come up with a receiver of sorts to retain it. And lastly, a telescoping tube assembly that can latch with a ratchet or something.

    RV leveling jack systems seem to be out of the question. Since a coach bus is considerably heavier than your typical RV, the available systems look be too wienie to be comfortably stable. I'd like to mount the jack on the axles so that they could double as maintenance jacks for pulling tires off and such. On-board tooling comes in handy all the time.

    Not that I'm trying to outdo a system like the Big Foot Class A setup. It's just a great feeling to save a few grand and make something yourself that can be overkill and kill two or more birds with one stone. That and I haven't found anything showing that the leveling systems are capable of lifting the vehicle high enough to get the tires off the ground.

    Since the MCI buses are of unibody construction, running the cylinders in unison to lift it is kind of a necessity. I think there's enough auto leveling controllers out there now to make all this work seamlessly. One way or another, building some serious jacks sounds the most enticing at the moment. Throw me your $0.02 if ya like.

    Edit: Forgot to add that I want a pair of jacks on each of the three axles.

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      #3
      Java said,

      Can you dump the air enough that jacks in the axles will be able to level? Seems like frame/body mounted would be better.

      Are you OK with cutting up the storage bays? There had to be room for a 20" cylinder mounted in there aiming down somewhere.

      Out old rig had flip down hydro ones. They were so nice for tire changes! Ours were single acting with a spring for return and flip up.

      I would not use a controller personally.... Out never worked with a crap, but it was mid 90's engineering. I just manually did it by feel.

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        #4
        Java said:
        Can you dump the air enough that jacks in the axles will be able to level? Seems like frame/body mounted would be better.

        Are you OK with cutting up the storage bays? There had to be room for a 20" cylinder mounted in there aiming down somewhere.

        Out old rig had flip down hydro ones. They were so nice for tire changes! Ours were single acting with a spring for return and flip up.

        I would not use a controller personally.... Out never worked with a crap, but it was mid 90's engineering. I just manually did it by feel.

        Sent from my SM-G950U using Tapatalk
        Click to expand...
        Dumping the air sets it on the bump stops. There's some steel subframe tube work over each axle for the suspension. All the bays are aluminum that won't handle the weight. Not much to mount to within the bays, either. I'd be pretty happy with manually operating the jacks. Just have to be sure not to tweak the body too far. A controller would be more than half the cost of the whole system anyway. So far, I would still rather build the jacks. Can't find much in the way of grader balls for foot pivots. Gooseneck balls are $20 each, but need a socket of some kind.

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          #5
          Java said,

          Cool, If its on bump stops that should work well, if there is room on the axle for rams.

          Why do you need the ball? I see most RV's with a round plat/foot with a little dish to it. Mine were ~3" square flat plate, I threw a chunk of 2x6 under them in soft/snow. Which reminds me, if you use them in snow/ice and have single acting rams, they will freeze to the ground and not retract. Mine being flip up it was not the end of the world, just pull forward a couple feet and they broke free.

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            #6
            All kinds of room for stout mounting on the axles. I'd be hard mounting them since they're damn near inaccessible under the bus. I have to turn the wheels full lock just be able to squeeze between the tire and fender in order to get a bottle jack under the axle when the bus is aired down. I'm working to set it up so it's a piece of cake to lift.

            Shooting for the heavier duty ball pivot because of the amount of weight that'll be placed on them. I've seen that the RV feet are just a small ball in a plate held with springs or double-shear bolt mount. Neither look like they'd withstand the force of being ripped out of frozen ground. The gooseneck ball is cheap a super beefy. I'm looking up tongue sockets that I could cut and weld into some vertical tubing. Have to create a ball socket shell somehow without running the bill up too high. Also considered 1480 u-joint and two flange yokes. That's fancier than I need, but if the price is right and the needle bearings could take the force, it works.

            Figured that I really don't need the telescoping tubes to ratchet since it doesn't need to lock when we're just using the jacks for leveling. I just need some pin slots or something like a sleeve block to lock it when I'm getting underneath the work on the bus. For that matter, there doesn't need to be tubes. I can mount a foot pivot the cylinder shaft and add on a block like what's used on front loader bucket cylinders to block it up for working underneath the bucket. I was planning to mount the cylinders inside some tubing to keep the crud off, but they'll be retracted most of the time anyway.

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              #7
              Just noticed your build thread too, Java. I came across that site before we even purchased our bus. Sweet build, man. I was ecstatic to see that I wasn't the only one framing with steel instead of 2x4's.

              Comment


                #8
                Java said,

                Thanks! Yes steel makes a lot of sense, in places!

                Why the ball/pivot at all? Why not just a ~6" round disk on the end of the ram?

                Comment


                  #9
                  To compensate for uneven ground, mostly. I'm planning for us to be parking in the middle of nowhere on many occasions and I'd like to not have to find a flat enough area for a 40 foot bus. Seems like a wise idea to provide a pivot so as not to bend anything critical. Thought a hefty ram probably wouldn't care lol. I'll be putting plates at least 10" in diameter on it which should help in the event that we park in really soft ground. Been there numerous times during the rainy summers in central Missouri.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Java said,
                    JNHEscher said:
                    To compensate for uneven ground, mostly. I'm planning for us to be parking in the middle of nowhere on many occasions and I'd like to not have to find a flat enough area for a 40 foot bus. Seems like a wise idea to provide a pivot so as not to bend anything critical. Thought a hefty ram probably would care lol. I'll be putting plates at least 10" in diameter on it which should help in the event that we park in really soft ground. Been there numerous times during the rainy summers in central Missouri.
                    Coot, I see why, just seem over complicated. make that 10" plate have a bit of lateral grip and call it good.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Maybe some expanded steel welded to the bottom of the plates. I could get away without having pivots for most uses. If I do want to lift one end of one axle to change a tire, that will probably put enough angle on the cylinder to bend a plate that's simply welded to the shaft. Just my take on it by eyeballing how much the axles articulate when one end is lifted.

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                        #12
                        aczlan said,

                        If you want to know "is the foot in contact with the ground (or "is it up in the air"), you could use a switch like this one: https://www.surpluscenter.com/Hydrau...S-6C-1900R.axd on one side or the other of the cylinder.
                        ETrailer lists a weld on gooseneck coupler for $54ish: https://www.etrailer.com/Gooseneck-T...371808010.html

                        Aaron Z

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                          #13
                          I'll be using a switch or gauge on the lines to tell when the feet are in contact. Much easier that way to tell rather than watching for movement.

                          I saw that coupler on etrailer but wasn't entirely sure what the connection was like because they don't show the underside. I'm thinking a coupler like that if it isn't too loose, or some DOM tubing that slips over the ball that I can cap off on top and weld a retainer ring to on the bottom that slips over the ball flat before I weld the ball to a plate. - threw together a quick cad version.

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                            #14
                            Kids woke up so I husteld them into the bike cart and rode to Tractor Supply a few blocks away. Grabbed a 2" and 2-5/16" to take to Ecodynamics and fit in some DOM. The 2-5/16" measures 0.0075" under and the 2" measures 0.002" under. Eco has DOM with a 2" ID but no 2.3125" ID on hand. Ball load ratings are 5k and 25k. Quite the difference, but I'm pretty sure that's shear stress and not compression which is all they'll really see on a leveling jack setup.

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                              #15
                              Elwenil said,

                              Why not buy a large axle ball joint?

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