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Old 11-01-2014, 12:53 AM   #1
Skoolie
 
Join Date: Oct 2014
Location: Maple Ridge BC Canada
Posts: 192
Year: 1998
Coachwork: Blue Bird
Chassis: TC2000 Rear engine
Engine: Cummins 8.3; MD3060
Rated Cap: 84
98 Bluebird TC2000 Conversion: 2 Feet Roof raise 3 Slideouts

Here is my 98 Bluebird TC2000 Rear engine 84 seats 8.3 Cummins Allison MD3060 conversion:

First a little story:

We are a family of 2 adults and 2 boys 3.5 and 5. We always wanted to travel but for years this was on the bottom of "to do now" list... One day we decided "enough is enough" and started to look for an RV.

Our goal was to find motorhome or travel trailer/truck that we can use on extended trips(3-6 month). After some time we realized that almost all RVs are designed for short trips. Rvs are usually come in 2 groups : family oriented (very basic, very cheap built, one time use) or "old couple" with a small pet oriented (much better quality, but no room for kids, expensive).

We need for our needs:
1. Master bedroom, with a queen bed and a desk for my office.
2. Kids’ rooms with 2 single beds, 2 desks and 2 closets.
3. Kitchen with full size stove, full size fridge.
4. Living room/dining room as big as possible.
5. Good size bathroom with normal size sink, shower and washer/drier.
6. Good towing capacity. Towing off road vehicle/boat.....
7. BUDGET. Can't afford to spend 100+k

One day we found a school bus 300 miles away from our home. The next day I was driving to see it. Few days later yellow monster was trying to find its spot in our driveway....
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Old 11-01-2014, 09:16 AM   #2
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Aug 2014
Posts: 37
Year: 2000
Coachwork: Thomas
Re: 98 Bluebird TC2000 Conversion:2 Feet Roof raise 3 Slideo

I'm looking forward to seeing some photos...
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Old 11-01-2014, 10:33 AM   #3
Bus Nut
 
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Join Date: Jul 2013
Location: Danville, California
Posts: 345
Year: 1988
Coachwork: Crown
Chassis: Supercoach
Engine: DD6-71T
Rated Cap: 78
Re: 98 Bluebird TC2000 Conversion:2 Feet Roof raise 3 Slideo

Welcome to our obsession. You clearly have a plan for how you want to use your bus. Use this site for ideas and feedback. You can't go wrong. One of our cardinal rules on the site. . . .no pictures means it did not happen. Again, welcome.
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Old 11-01-2014, 01:27 PM   #4
Bus Nut
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Virginia
Posts: 446
Re: 98 Bluebird TC2000 Conversion:2 Feet Roof raise 3 Slideo

Can't wait to see pics and the story of your build. You are in almost exactly the same situation I am in, and it sounds like your build is almost identical to what I want to do.
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Old 11-02-2014, 01:31 AM   #5
Skoolie
 
Join Date: Oct 2014
Location: Maple Ridge BC Canada
Posts: 192
Year: 1998
Coachwork: Blue Bird
Chassis: TC2000 Rear engine
Engine: Cummins 8.3; MD3060
Rated Cap: 84
Re: 98 Bluebird TC2000 Conversion:2 Feet Roof raise 3 Slideo

Here is a rough layout.



There will be 3 slideouts. First slideout is kitchen 13'x24". Second is living room/ dining area 13'x48". Third is a sliding bed in our bedroom.

Please disregard the year stamp 2008. Just like always forgot to change it after batteries replacement
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Old 11-02-2014, 10:16 AM   #6
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Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: Roswell, NM
Posts: 3,587
Year: 1986
Coachwork: BlueBird
Chassis: 40 ft All American FE
Engine: 8.2LTA Fuel Pincher DD V8
Rated Cap: 89
Re: 98 Bluebird TC2000 Conversion:2 Feet Roof raise 3 Slideo

I would suggest that if you are planning to do slideouts PLUS a roof raise, you head over to Ian's board and get some info from the guys who have done (some more than once) on coaches. Ask and they will give you lots of answers. I suggest you search the forum for "slideout" before you start asking questions. There is far more to a slide out than just cutting a hole in the side of the bus. Even with an Eagle (which is easier to put a slide out in than most) to extra bracing is time consuming and expensive. FYI our Blue Bird (86 All American FE) is framed similar to an Eagle... in case they ask.
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Old 11-02-2014, 01:59 PM   #7
Skoolie
 
Join Date: Oct 2014
Location: Maple Ridge BC Canada
Posts: 192
Year: 1998
Coachwork: Blue Bird
Chassis: TC2000 Rear engine
Engine: Cummins 8.3; MD3060
Rated Cap: 84
Re: 98 Bluebird TC2000 Conversion:2 Feet Roof raise 3 Slideo

Here are some pictures "Before"....

Just parked it in driveway:





Fun begins.....







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Old 11-02-2014, 02:34 PM   #8
Skoolie
 
Join Date: Oct 2014
Location: Maple Ridge BC Canada
Posts: 192
Year: 1998
Coachwork: Blue Bird
Chassis: TC2000 Rear engine
Engine: Cummins 8.3; MD3060
Rated Cap: 84
Re: 98 Bluebird TC2000 Conversion:2 Feet Roof raise 3 Slideo

Because my plan was to raise the roof and have 13' slideouts I had to reinforce openings (I needed to remove 4 posts) before I started to cut posts or the roof could sag

I welded 1/8"x 1.5" flat bar on the inside side of the original channel:

[

Then I welded 1/8"x 4" to make a "box":





I didn't want to weld to roof ribs, so I used steel rivets to attach "box" to ribs:



After I was still thinking about strength of the big openings and decided to add cross brackets. I used 1/8"x2" steel bar. It is riveted with steel rivets and PL premium glue:













After adding this reinforcements I started feeling much more confident about cutting posts and raising the roof....
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Old 11-02-2014, 11:29 PM   #9
Skoolie
 
Join Date: Oct 2014
Location: Maple Ridge BC Canada
Posts: 192
Year: 1998
Coachwork: Blue Bird
Chassis: TC2000 Rear engine
Engine: Cummins 8.3; MD3060
Rated Cap: 84
Re: 98 Bluebird TC2000 Conversion:2 Feet Roof raise 3 Slideo

To raise the roof is not so hard but you have to be prepared. First I made sliding guides. I used 1.5" square tube and 1.25" square tube:
[

And welded this guides to bus posts:



I made 4 of this and this was enough to hold roof while I was raising it.

I used 4 farm jacks to raise the roof. I also screwed 4 2"x12" wood blocks between posts in each corner:


I installed 2 6"x6" fir posts across the bus and screwed them to wood blocks. The farm jacks were pushing 6"x6" posts up. Unfortunately I lost some of my pictures but it is self explanatory.

The roof is up


When I raised the roof I measured how much roof sagged. There was nothing at all. So I can say reinforcement is strong enough.....
I inserted 1.25 square tubing inside each post and riveted them with steel rivets first. Then I welded extra steel. Here is what it looks like:


I didn't like rear door and all rear part at all. First it was all rusty and ugly, second it is flimsy and needed to be reinforced for new 8' roof. Because I want to have slideout that slides from back wall out I made new frame out of 2"x2" square tubing and welded it and riveted it instead of an old rear emergency door:


I extended new frame all the way down to rear bamper:


Here is view from side:


Also I added another steel angle here:


Now I like it. It is all very solid and built like tank.
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Old 11-03-2014, 12:11 AM   #10
Skoolie
 
Join Date: Oct 2014
Location: Maple Ridge BC Canada
Posts: 192
Year: 1998
Coachwork: Blue Bird
Chassis: TC2000 Rear engine
Engine: Cummins 8.3; MD3060
Rated Cap: 84
Re: 98 Bluebird TC2000 Conversion:2 Feet Roof raise 3 Slideo

All school buses have one problem. They have no storage room under the floor. In my case having rear engine bus is very beneficial because there is no exhaust pipe no drive shaft under the floor. This is why I jumped on this model. I wanted to add storage. Originally there were only spare tire box and another box for some junk. Both of this boxes were extremely heavy and not usable. I decided to drop side panels and make a huge 8'x17'x2' "basement" just like other buses have. Here is what it looks like:


This is another view:


I used 1/8" 1.5"x1.5" galvanized angle on sides. The floor is 1/8" aluminum panels. Also there are 1.25" square tubes under aluminum panels. All welded, riveted and glued with PL. I still need to add some threaded rods in the middle to tight it to bus frame. But I will do this later because first I need to clarify what size tanks will be used.
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