1983 GMC Ward 66 passenger (Bigasspimp Mobile)

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1983 GMC Ward 66 passenger (Bigasspimp Mobile)

Postby bapos » Mon May 23, 2011 6:28 pm

Hey Fellow Schoolers….

I have finally got my bus to convert and I am about to continue the work the previous owner started. It’s a 1983 GMC Ward 66 passenger model with a 366 gas motor, Allison 545, and air brakes. This was an activities bus so there is some extra storage on the outside and some shelving on the inside. With all of the looking I have done on the site I have seen very few buses of this year and not so many Ward bodies but maybe I am wrong?

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The previous owner did a lot of the work that so many people dislike to do. They removed the windows…. Skinned them as well as remove the seats and put plywood down. He then lost interest and financial ability so put it up for sale on craigslist where I picked it up.

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The bus did come with some cool extras. Train horn, RV windows, couple of captains chairs, shower pan, air ride drivers seat, rv air conditioner already installed on roof, back up camera installed, jack knife seats that convert to a bed, and some various electrical parts that came from the donor RV, a ladder installed to get on the roof as well as a step below the rear exit door. He put a set of LP245’s on aluminum rims in the front but still has 9r20’s in the back. It looks a little odd with only 2 aluminum rims so we may make a change in the future on rims but may go a lp245 all the way to increase the size to try and lower the rpms at highway speed.

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I think for the money I spent it was a decent deal. Yes there were newer buses available but being a man of a few years I am sure I rode on a similar buses as a youth so it has some nostalgic value to it. It’s a typical Texas bus that has VERY little rust.

The bus was located about 75 miles from the house so the drive to get it wasn’t too bad. I had never driven a bus before so I was a little nervous on maneuvering it in the beginning but that soon faded as I am use to driving trucks with trailers but this is a little different. The bus drove like a dream. I was a little surprised at how many rpms it was turning at 60 mph it was revving at about 3600 which I thought was a little high but you guys will have to tell me its right on or not? Other than the gas gauge taking a beating it drove with no issues so it was a good first journey.

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I have been lurking on the site reading up on the do’s and don’ts of converting school buses. My thoughts are more of making it a tailgate/party bus more than an RV. I know many of them share a lot of common equipment but I don’t see me ruffing it in the winter camping or on long camping trips. One of the more important things for me is for the bus to be cold. I am going to be running a generator so trying to run off of house batteries is more of a minor deal but will have those as well.

I am going to start and get the inside to insulate the sides and maybe the roof depending on what you guys say? Let me know your thoughts....

Thanks

Bapos
Last edited by bapos on Sun Oct 28, 2012 6:37 pm, edited 2 times in total.
Here is my school bus conversion thread http://www.skoolie.net/forum/viewtopic.php?f=9&t=10282

Pics of my conversion @ photobucket http://s18.photobucket.com/albums/b136/bapos/School%20Bus/
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Re: 1983 GMC Ward 66 passenger

Postby bapos » Mon May 23, 2011 10:25 pm

Only drove it home so no real estimate... I know its going to suck so no need to fret about it. I drove big cars in High school so no need to worry about it... gauge on E put gas in it.... then move forward.

Yes I have never seen shelves like those or additional cargo holds in the side but again I havent ever really looked.

Its going to be a play toy so Im excited.


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Here is my school bus conversion thread http://www.skoolie.net/forum/viewtopic.php?f=9&t=10282

Pics of my conversion @ photobucket http://s18.photobucket.com/albums/b136/bapos/School%20Bus/
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Re: 1983 GMC Ward 66 passenger

Postby mnoorani » Mon Jun 20, 2011 5:14 am

nice work bapos
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Re: 1983 GMC Ward 66 passenger

Postby sportyrick » Mon Jun 20, 2011 10:56 pm

bapos: My 427 runs best between 3200 and 3600 RPM so you were right on on yours. Under 3100 RPM and you lose a lot of power so you have to keep these tall deck big blocks revved up and in their power range. I never go over 4000 as that is over 70 MPH and it feels like it's getting ready to go to warp drive, or blowing up, which ever it wants to do first. More POWER SCOTTIE! 70 MPH is about 3600 RPM on mine, your a little low on speed and high on RPM, a taller tire will help a little. My rearend is a 6.84 but I have 10.00-20's on the rear, a couple of inches taller than your 9.00's. My fronts are 11.00-20, I didn't necessarily want those but the price was right, not a re-tread on it, all virgin but the rears are ho-chi-min double coin brand, Goodyears on the front. sportyrick
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Re: 1983 GMC Ward 66 passenger

Postby bapos » Sat Jun 25, 2011 9:47 am

Rick

I hear what your saying. I am going to go see if I have my tag on the rear so I can see what the ratio. I am not all concerned about the gas mileage on it cause its huge and heavy. What I am concerned with is over revving a older motor. I have been on the look for a reman motor to see what thats going to run and start to collect these things for that mishap down the road?

I am going to wait till the conversion is over to make a gearing change? I dont want to go too far and work the tired motor any more than I have to. I have a friend who works at Ft Worth Gear and Axle and works on larger rear ends all the time so I know he can make it happen. He built all of my demoliton derby car rear ends and I have yet to break one so I cant complain about the work. I will be doing a little bit of highway when we do tailgating events but its not a deal killer if we dont?

I have LP245s on the front now but still have 9.00x20s on the rear. I am sure once that change to 245's the revs will check a little but Im not expecting much.

I dont have any issues on recaps on the rears of the bus. The front is another story? I just got out of the commercial truck tire business and and well versed on recap (MRT michelin retread technologies) process. Theres nothing wrong with caps as long as they are on a good grade A casing. Chinese casings are disposable in my view.

Thanks for the input. I appreciate it.
Here is my school bus conversion thread http://www.skoolie.net/forum/viewtopic.php?f=9&t=10282

Pics of my conversion @ photobucket http://s18.photobucket.com/albums/b136/bapos/School%20Bus/
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Re: 1983 GMC Ward 66 passenger

Postby bapos » Sun Oct 28, 2012 1:10 pm

As trumpets sounds.....


We have work on the bus done after a VERY long break. After a bunch of ups and downs with a job we are semi soild enough for me spend a little money on it.

Sooooo I decided to start on the working on the skinning of the windows. This was very half assed done by the previous owners so I am just finishing what they started.

I invested in rivets off of Ebay. They seem to be very good pieces here is the link to the company http://www.adprivet.com/ultimate_rivets.html only issue I has was I didnt buy enough of them. The rivet gun came from Harbor Freight. So far its been a good unit. It did a better job of clamping things together than the previous owner did so I assume they did a manual riveting. Heres a link to the rivetor.....http://www.harborfreight.com/1-4-quarter-inch-air-hydraulic-riveter-98898.html


Ok few rules of engaugement here.

1) do not do this if you plan on using a cordless drill. Unless you have a SERIOUS bank of batteries. So plan on a electric drill and ear plugs.
2) make sure you order more than enough rivets. They dont ever go as far and you think. I spaced mine 2 inches apart and they are going like no tomorrow.


The previous owner started the window skinning project. They only put them up with a few rivets and I could only go on the assumption they will go back and do more of them but that never happend so I am doing just that. I am not sure how or what their method was on spacing but their were very random on their placement. I am planning on 2" spacing on mine so some of them will look ackward but I know mine will not have any issues.

Here is a pic of me getting started. What I did was I got a yard stick and cut it down to fit the window area. I marked it every 2" so I would make quick marks to drill the holes to put rivets in.

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Once that is layed out I drilled the holes and stuck in rivets. I used 3/16 rivets and bought a 3/16 drill but. it works well but its still a little small so I had to wallow it around a bit to get them to fit. It was easier to drill the holes and go back with the rivetor.

Here is some of the handy work towards the back of it....

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This is where I left off and will pick up again another day

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Only issue I see coming is where the top meets the curved part of the drip edge of the bus. The sheet metal is not tall enough so its flapping at the top. Im going to have to look on the inside to see what i can weld in and have something to attach to but not sure. I will have to see how this will affect the windows I will be using down the road.

I will start to document more work these steps so I hope to have more to say here down the road. This site has helped me but Im trying to tell how and why I am doing what I am doing. Not lot of people tell how they do certain things and I think it helps people when they know and hear ever step of the way.

Bapos
Here is my school bus conversion thread http://www.skoolie.net/forum/viewtopic.php?f=9&t=10282

Pics of my conversion @ photobucket http://s18.photobucket.com/albums/b136/bapos/School%20Bus/
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Re: 1983 GMC Ward 66 passenger (Bigasspimp Mobile)

Postby Diesel Dan » Mon Oct 29, 2012 8:39 am

I don't envy you having to sand/grind all that rust off of those window skins :shock:. It's a bit late for this advice now, but I would have done the sanding before the riveting. The rivet heads are trapping little bits of rust under them which you will not be able to sand, and (in the words of Neil Young) rust never sleeps :( .
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Re: 1983 GMC Ward 66 passenger (Bigasspimp Mobile)

Postby bapos » Mon Oct 29, 2012 12:31 pm

I agree its going to be a chore to get done. I think ill sand. The parts where ill rivet and maybe prime. Thanks for the advice
Here is my school bus conversion thread http://www.skoolie.net/forum/viewtopic.php?f=9&t=10282

Pics of my conversion @ photobucket http://s18.photobucket.com/albums/b136/bapos/School%20Bus/
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Rated Cap.: 66

Re: 1983 GMC Ward 66 passenger (Bigasspimp Mobile)

Postby Diesel Dan » Mon Oct 29, 2012 2:03 pm

bapos wrote:I agree its going to be a chore to get done. I think ill sand. The parts where ill rivet and maybe prime. Thanks for the advice


Those rivet heads will likely tear up your sandpaper and you won't really be able to get into the little nooks and crannies. If I were doing that job, I'd use a sanding disk for the open flat areas and a wire wheel for the areas with rivets. I've found that using an air powered sander really makes the job go faster than an electric sander, assuming your air compressor can keep pace with your work. There is also another type of sanding/grinding wheel that is made out of some sort of composite material and those work really good, better than the wire wheels for some applications. I like the wheel-shaped sander/grinders better than the cone shaped ones, and only use the cones for getting areas that are inaccessible to the wheel style. Fun fun fun!
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Re: 1983 GMC Ward 66 passenger (Bigasspimp Mobile)

Postby bapos » Mon Oct 29, 2012 7:32 pm

Dan...

Yes I have a DA sander so I know exactly what your saying. I do have a compressor that will keep up (7hp and 80 gallon... I think its 13 cfm) so thats not an issue. I am going to work on the passenger side of the bus this weekend and start to prep the drivers side also.


In my rivet thread http://www.skoolie.net/forum/viewtopic.php?f=11&t=17531....it was suggested to use CLR first, then sand, then prime. I think its a good idea. I like when chemistry does the work. If not I will consider using POR15 on it to chemically change it so I dont have major issues when it comes paint time.

Again all good ideas and inputs. Thank you all for the info.


Bapos
Here is my school bus conversion thread http://www.skoolie.net/forum/viewtopic.php?f=9&t=10282

Pics of my conversion @ photobucket http://s18.photobucket.com/albums/b136/bapos/School%20Bus/
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Re: 1983 GMC Ward 66 passenger (Bigasspimp Mobile)

Postby bapos » Sun Nov 04, 2012 1:16 pm

Just a small update. A lot of the same right now. Just more drilling and riveting. Got the passenger side done with the exception of the top. The sheet metal is short at the top to fasten. I dont want to rivet from the inside out as it will look like crap on the outside. Heres a look:

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Started on the drivers side with much of the same. I did however take my wire cup on a grinder to the sheet metal and it cleared up great with no pits. So Im going to finish the rivets on both sides then wire brush it and then expoy primer to keep it sealed up. This may all change if I need to weld in some support for the top to give something rivet to.

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So I used the 250 rivets on the passenger side so I ordered another 500 so we will see how far that goes.


Stay tuned
Here is my school bus conversion thread http://www.skoolie.net/forum/viewtopic.php?f=9&t=10282

Pics of my conversion @ photobucket http://s18.photobucket.com/albums/b136/bapos/School%20Bus/
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Rated Cap.: 66

Re: 1983 GMC Ward 66 passenger (Bigasspimp Mobile)

Postby Motobus » Sun Nov 04, 2012 2:32 pm

Did that bus come from Kansas? K-state is the ony reason I can think of for a purple bus. I can just imagine what you have planned for it to need to skin ALL the windows LOL.
Last edited by Motobus on Sun Nov 04, 2012 3:10 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: 1983 GMC Ward 66 passenger (Bigasspimp Mobile)

Postby bapos » Sun Nov 04, 2012 2:45 pm

It started out as a activites bus at a school then a church bought it and painted it that purple then the last owner ruffly sanded it to its current state.

I think it feels like a prison bus currently but I dont like windows to be honest. Im putting them in for some light and ventilation.

Some of my friends called my bus Barney... which I didnt like.

My plan is to paint it like the Texas state flag.
Here is my school bus conversion thread http://www.skoolie.net/forum/viewtopic.php?f=9&t=10282

Pics of my conversion @ photobucket http://s18.photobucket.com/albums/b136/bapos/School%20Bus/
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Posts: 582
Joined: Wed Apr 27, 2011 11:29 am
Location: Cleburne TX
My Bus: Big Ass Pimp Mobile
Year: 1983
Coachwork: Ward
Chassis: GMC
Engine: 366 Gasser
Rated Cap.: 66

Re: 1983 GMC Ward 66 passenger (Bigasspimp Mobile)

Postby Motobus » Sun Nov 04, 2012 8:18 pm

The Texas flag would be sweet. You're more ambitious than me. I've thought of some kind rat rod look for mine, flat black with flames or having a friend graffiti it.
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Re: 1983 GMC Ward 66 passenger (Bigasspimp Mobile)

Postby bapos » Sun Nov 04, 2012 8:26 pm

The Texas flag will be VERY easy. Hardest part will be the lay out and size of the star. Not sure whose bus this is but its what I want mine to look like

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i think it will be a very easy paint job. Let alone the paint will come from tractor supply
Here is my school bus conversion thread http://www.skoolie.net/forum/viewtopic.php?f=9&t=10282

Pics of my conversion @ photobucket http://s18.photobucket.com/albums/b136/bapos/School%20Bus/
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Posts: 582
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Location: Cleburne TX
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Year: 1983
Coachwork: Ward
Chassis: GMC
Engine: 366 Gasser
Rated Cap.: 66

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