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Old 09-11-2016, 05:15 PM   #1
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Mar 2016
Posts: 31
Smile 1999 BLUEBIRD TC1000 Conversion!

Just starting my conversion on this mint TC1000 from AAA buses in Pheonix. Long time lurker here and I've gained immense insight watching everyone else, hope to contribute back in some fashion so I'll detail as much as possible of what I do and how. Some background:

I flew to Pheonix a few weeks back to buy this '99 BLUEBIRD TC1000, just put out of service from a local school district. Landed at 7AM and on my way back to NM by about 1PM.

5.9 Cummins, AT545, air brakes, 173,000mi.
HandiBus with lift, tires in great shape, new glass, remanufactured tranny in '13.

Paid more than what might be considered a real bargain, but it is in great shape and rather than hunt for the bottom dollar and spend to rehab I elected to get one that is pretty dialed and cared for.

Plan: My dog Otis and I are turning it into our traveling cabin for the winters. I work all summer in various places and travel most of the winter so it made sense to finally invest in one of my dreams, the Skoolie cabin! This rig is ideal because of it size, a light mid size bus I would say with a GVWR of 25,000 (<26,000) and a passenger rating of 15 (less than 16) both of which negate the need for a CDL. The small wheel base makes for a great turning radius, its size lending it to boondocking a bit more than full size and with more space than a true short bus. The 5.9 cummins is really accesible, parts and labor fairly common. I love this bus so far for many reasons, but let me go ahead and give some cons for those considering:

Power. She is a dog. But who is in a hurry? As long as its reliable we can be happy.

Noise. Having taken all the seats out the noise level is significant. Hoping the flooring and furniture etc plus some more insulation of the motor hood and dash help with this.

Actually very little negative she is going to be Epic.
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Old 09-11-2016, 06:02 PM   #2
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Old 09-11-2016, 06:13 PM   #3
Bus Geek
 
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Columbus Ohio
Posts: 7,174
Year: 1991
Coachwork: Carpenter
Chassis: International S3800
Engine: DT360
Rated Cap: 7 Row Handicap
Nice looking bus!! even air conditioned!!

school buses in general are noisy but dynamatting / hushmatting / etc around the engine bay / doghouse etc will reduce that.. plus any soft materials you install inside... fabric seats, carpets etc insulation on the floors, and walls will help that out for sure... along with making it more comfortable.. if you are living in it during winter you may want to tear out the inside walls and ceiling and insulate.. many here will say school bus insulation is terrible.. you can also hose it down while torn apart to check for water leaks around rivets, seams, etc...

-Christopher
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Old 09-11-2016, 09:15 PM   #4
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Join Date: Oct 2015
Location: Spring Valley AZ
Posts: 724
Year: 2000
Coachwork: Bluebird
Engine: 5.9 Cummins
Rated Cap: 2 elderly children
You got our evil twin. We bought our 2000 2 years ago from AAA and love it too.

Enjoy.
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Old 09-12-2016, 09:55 PM   #5
Mini-Skoolie
 
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@Caddilackid Appreciate the info. I'm holding off on the walls and ceiling for now if ever. Surprisingly thick insulation from the Phoenix summers and mainly huge workload and time to disassemble and reassemble. Too many plans to have her in dry dock being ripped and sewn for now! The small area will make up for the inefficiency. Definitely banking on some absorption of sound from materials and furniture. Maybe some type of carpet/dog bed atop the engine for co-pilot visibility and baffling?

@2Kool4skool Glad to expand the Armada! Read over your experiences at length before going down to phoenix
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Old 09-12-2016, 10:16 PM   #6
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Join Date: Oct 2015
Location: Spring Valley AZ
Posts: 724
Year: 2000
Coachwork: Bluebird
Engine: 5.9 Cummins
Rated Cap: 2 elderly children
Shhh...be very quiet...Look, it's a TC1000 in the wild!

I removed the doghouse, pulled the stock insulation and covered the inside with a product much like Dynamat, then replaced the OEM insulation. That made a big difference in engine noise.

Have FUN!
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Old 09-12-2016, 10:23 PM   #7
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Mar 2016
Posts: 31
Wow, I just wrote a huge update that didn't post. That's disappointing ha. What follows will be very abbreviated...

Anyway, rubber matting and inner four L track rails out. Kept 3/4" plywood down as it was in great condition, caulked the bolt holes, and layed 1/4" strips of plywood in rail depressions all cut by the kind if not slow dude at Lowes. Thanks friend. Set down 8 mil laminent also from lowes had at a great price (69c/ft^2). Not what I envisioned exactly but very inexpensive and easily replaceable. No insulation underneath floor interior instead opting to adhere/ anchor 1" foamboard insulation underneath the chassis. Plenty of room and access along with saving precious interior headroom. I love this stuff, used all over my boat in AK and did a fine job for long dark winters. Left two outer L Tracks for mounting furniture too, creating a semi modular interior.

Arrived today:
Eccotemp L5 H20 Heater
1200w inverter
Solar controller
Flowjet pump

Also installed these really cool locks all over! Really easy to retrofit with a 1 1/4" holesaw and drill. Only drilled one wrong gaping hole in the front too...

Hopefully getting my 50 gal H20 resevoir found for $10 slung underneath this week and lay out some plumbing. Maybe some DC/AC wiring too.
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Old 09-12-2016, 10:26 PM   #8
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Old 09-12-2016, 10:28 PM   #9
Mini-Skoolie
 
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@2Kool4Skool Haha. Mythic beast. Looks stellar. Thanks for the tip on the doghouse, I'm absolutley going to do that.
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Old 09-13-2016, 12:27 AM   #10
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Join Date: Dec 2015
Location: Utah
Posts: 266
Year: 1990
Coachwork: BB
Chassis: TC2000
Engine: Cummins
Rated Cap: 25.999K
I have the same handibus, just a generation older. Funny thing about an L5 heater and pump coming today, mine should be here tomorrow!! small world..
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