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One of the problems in school bus conversions is how to lock the rear door.  Bruce on Yahoo Shoolie Group used a dead bolt lock on the rear door of his school bus conversion and I liked the idea so much I kidnapped it and expounded on it.

While I loved Bruce's idea, I have a hard time just doing things simple.  Also, this is my second school bus conversion.  When I did the first one I had a combination/key lock then also.  It was a manual combination lock.  The main reason I opted for that type of lock was if I were camping and wanted to go swimming or just didn't want to have to take keys with me I could just dial in the combination and open the door.  Nothing like losing your keys at the beach or the pool and can't get back into the house/camper.

Step 1: Gather Supplies and Get Started

This project actually took much more time than I had anticipated but in the end I'm well pleased with how it turned out.

Things you'll need:

School bus
Keyless digital lock  (The lock I used.)
Heavy duty slide bolt
Scrap pieces of wood (or plywood)
Extension lock piece

Various power tools:
Drill
Hammer
Screwdrivers
(and outer stuff depending on what problems you run into)

LETS GET STARTED!

If you have a door as this you'll need to remove the white safety bar.

Step 2: Place Your Slide Bolt

I had to use a slide bolt because the outside portion of the lock would have ended up in the handle well and not allowed the handle to swing. The slide bolt moved the lock far enough away to land on the raised portion of the door.  Also by being on the raised part of the door I also needed an extension piece inside the lock as the school bus door is 2 1/2" thick and I still had to add another 1' on the inside for the dead bolt to ride in.

when you purchase your slide bolt measure the travel of your school bus lock bar and buy a slide bolt with the same length of travel.  For example if when you open and close you bus door the flat bar slides 1 1/2", buy a slide bolt with at least 1 1/2' of travel beyound the edge of the housing.  Position your lock on the door so that it will have full travel.

Step 3: Center Your Door Lock.

Well you're finally getting down to the fun stuff.  Use the slide part of your dead bolt to find the center of your lock set.  With the bus door lock fully open and the slide bolt fully extended and the dead bolt closed mark the point where the post that turns the dead bolt lines up on the door.  This will be the center of your lock.

I used a 1 1/2" metal hole saw to drill the lock hole.  Keep the drill perpendicular to the door so the lock will line up correctly outside.

Step 4: Make a Baseplate for the Outside Lock

Once we have out hole drilled through the door we will mount the exterior lock mechanism.  Keeping in mind that this lock is in no way being used the way it was intended, we will be making a few adjustments along the way. Because the bus door alone is 2 1/2" thick (thicker than your average door) we will make a mount for it.

Copy the hole pattern from the mount that comes with the lock and make a flat plate copy.  Use this to mount the outside lock to the door.  Make sure to smooth all your rough edges as your electronic wiring has to come through these holes.

Mount outside lock using butyl window sealer or caulking to keep rain out.  Keep lock perpendicular to door.

Step 5: Make a False Door

Ordinarily, at this point, the deadbolt would be inside the door.  However the part we want to deadbolt is on the exterior inside of the exterior door.  Did you follow that?  So we have to simulate a door for the deadbolt to slide in and out of.

I simulated a section of a door by gluing two 1/2" X 5" X 9" pieces of plywood together and then skinning each side with 1/4" plywood for the deadbolt to reside in.  This is how the two pieces fit together.  The smaller shaft slides inside the shaft that turns the deadbolt.  The flat end needs to be cut off the inner shaft.  It will then slide inside the shaft from the outside lock mechanism.  Thus making this shaft twice as long.

Step 6: Mounting the Inside Lock

Attach your extended shaft to the shaft from the outside lock.  I wedged paper in the shaft to hold it in place while I assembled all this.  Pull your wire harness through your false door and position your false door in place so that the deadbolt action slides freely and screw it to the bus door.

Now is where you use the inside mounting plate that came with the lock.  This is what holds the inside mechanism in place.

Step 7: Finish and Enjoy Your Labors

Plug your wire harness into the interior lock.  I was surprised that with all that added depth I'd have to do some wire work to make the harness reach.It was just long enough with not a millimeter to spare.  If yours don't reach try rerouting your wire.  I did this several times.  The interior lock screws to the mounting plate.

I cut the red bar that opens the door short so as to not hit the new lock.  As I continue on with this bus project I'll finish the entire rear door and the lock will blend in much more.

Watch the video to see the lock in action.

Follow the entire bus project at
Nice job
u might wanna change yr code now? and or put a case on the outside to protect thelock from being hit with a sledge hammer.and put better protection from some 1 beating the window in.
If anybody wants to go through that much trouble, nothing's gonna stop 'em.
umm wat keep the dead bolt from sliding into locked open position?
By taking the pin (handle) out of the slide-bolt it will not lock in any position. It merely slides from side to side. The deadbolt (the lock) is a standard key lock and still works like any keyed lock.
Cool
Thanks!
nice stuff :)
Thanks!

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Bio: I am currently converting a 1988 40' Bluebird school bus into a motor-home / workshop that I plan to live, work and travel in. This is ... More »
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